Can a wife's authority be overruled?

Can a wife's authority be overruled?

Couple on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Wade Burleson has an interesting post about marital authority and the only time that the Bible uses the word authority in the context of marriage.  Burleson writes:

The often quoted book complementarian book Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanwood (1991), devotes entire chapters to passages like Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. Colossians 3:18-18, and 1 Peter 3:1-7. But the ONLY text in the Bible that actually uses the word “authority” in the context of marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, is given no consideration. Likewise, in John Piper’s book What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined by the Bible (2001) there are two lists of verses dealing with marriage provided, but 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 is not even included (see pages 21,66).

It is certainly interesting that the only place were the Bible gives the husband and wife authority over the other is missing in the sections dealing with authority and submission in  Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. RBMW is produced by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).  In CBMW’s book there is only one short reference to 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 in the overview section under question #46.   Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood says:

Neither husband nor wife is given more rights over the body of the other.  And when some suspension of sexual activity is contemplated, Paul repudiates unilaterial decision making by the wife or the husband.  “Do not deprive each other except  by mutual consent and for a time” (v. 5)

What are the implications of this text for the leadership of the husband?  Do the call for mutual yielding to sexual need and the renunciation of unilateral planning nullify the husband’s responsibility for general leadership  in the marriage?  We don’t think so.  But this text definitely shapes that leadership and gives added Biblical guidance for how to work it out.  It makes it clear that leadership will not involve selfish unilateral choices.  He will always strive for the ideal of agreement.  He will take into the account the truth that her sexual needs and desires carry the same weight as his own in developing the pattern of their intimacy.

So while neither the husband nor the wife has “more rights” over the body of their spouse, apparently 1 Cor. 7:5 still includes the husband’s leadership by “shaping” that leadership, according to CBMW.  The door is apparently not closed to the husband’s unilateral choice as long as it is not “selfish unilateral choices”.  It is apparent that CBMW allows the husband’s “leadership” that is “shaped” in 1 Cor. 7:5 to still override his wife’s will as he considers her needs but takes his leadership “responsibility” to take out his male trump card out if there is a disagreement.  The question should be asked whether 1 Cor. 7:5 mentions any leadership responsibilities at all for the man?  It is an amazing thing for CBMW to be able to pull out a “leadership” role even in a passage that is clear that the decision must be made by both in agreement.  No pulling out the male entitlement card is even hinted at in this passage.

male_card2 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

 

Wade Burleson then quotes from Jon Zens regarding the rule for times of temporary separation that forbids the husband from overruling his wife:

First, 1 Cor.7:1-5 is the only place in the NT where the word “authority” (Greek, exousia) is used with reference to marriage. But it is not the authority of the husband over the wife, or vice versa, that is in view, but rather a mutual authority over each other’s body. 1 Corinthians 7:4 states that the wife has authority over her husband’s body. One would think that this would be a hard pill to swallow for those who see “authority” as resting only in the husband’s headship.

Second, Paul states that a couple cannot separate from one another physically unless there is mutual consent (Greek,symphonou). Both parties must agree to the separation or it doesn’t happen. The husband cannot override the wife’s differing viewpoint.

John Piper suggests that “mature masculinity accepts the burden of the final say in disagreements between husband and wife, but does not presume to use it in every instance” (p.32). The problem with a dogmatic statement like this is that it will allow for no exceptions. But 1 Corinthians 7:5 contradicts Piper’s maxim. If the wife disagrees with a physical separation, the husbandcannot overrule his wife with the “final choice” (p.33). Such separation can occur only if both husband and wife are in“symphony” (unity) about such an action.

Now if mutual consent applies in an important issue like physical separation from one another for a period of time, wouldn’t it seem proper that coming to one-mindedness would be the broad model for decision-making in a healthy marriage? Piper feels that “in a good marriage decision-making is focused on the husband, but is not unilateral” (p.32). In light of 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 I would suggest that decision-making should focus on finding the Lord’s mind together. Over the years the good ideas, solutions to problems and answers to dilemmas will flow from both husband and the wife as they seek the Lord as a couple for “symphony.”

1 Corinthians 7:5 throws a wrench into the works for those who would include the husband’s “final say” in male headship. Paul teaches that unless the couple can agree on a course of action, it cannot be executed. I suggest that this revelation invites us to re-examine what the husband’s headship really entails (cf. Gordon D. Fee, “1 Corinthians 7:1-7 Revisited,” Paul & the Corinthians: Studies On A Community in Conflict, Trevor J. Burke/J. Keith Elliott, eds., Brill, 2003, pp.197-213).

I appreciate Jon Zen’s words about the husband’s obligation not to overrule his wife’s will in this important passage.  Dr. Zens has been very supportive to my own ministry and he recommends and sells my DVD set Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?

What do you think?  Is there a “leadership role” for the husband in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 as CBMW claims?

215 thoughts on “Can a wife's authority be overruled?

  1. Piper: “He will take into the account the truth that her sexual needs and desires carry the same weight as his own in developing the pattern of their intimacy.”

    Cheryl,
    Curious that her sexual needs and desires carry the same weight as her husband’s, but not the rest of her needs and desires. Can anyone say, “defy logic?”

    Can anyone say, “If there is even one tiny exception to a rule, then it is not a rule?”

  2. Love this post!

    This is the key quote IMO from Zen:

    Corinthians 7:1-5 I would suggest that decision-making should focus on finding the Lord’s mind together. Over the years the good ideas, solutions to problems and answers to dilemmas will flow from both husband and the wife as they seek the Lord as a couple for “symphony.”

    This is exactly right. This is egalitarianism 101. Considering the varying skills, experiences, and gifts that two people bring to a marriage, I constantly wonder why anyone would object to such an arrangement for decision making. It only makes sense. Unilateral decision making rarely works, and never works in such an intimate relationship.

    I recently finished reading “Undaunted Courage”, Stephen Ambrose’s biography of Meriwether Lewis. Even in a military era where iron fisted rule was the norm, the Lewis and Clark expedition was marked by amazing “symphony” in decision making. Not only did Lewis consider Clark the co-leader of the expedition, and treat him as such once they were under way regardless of their difference in rank, but there were many decision opportunities others were brought in and consulted and even delegated the decision authority. The reason is obvious – niether Lewis or Clark had all the skills and experiences necessary to deal with all the situations that would arise during their time together.

    I think as well about the Proverbs 31 woman. It astounds me how complementarians ignore her, and more importantly, the relationship she had with her husband. Clearly, this woman had a great deal of authority in terms of decision making within the home and even related to financial and other family dealings. But vs 11 and 12 should be like a 2×4 upside the head to any complementarian:

    “The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.”

    This is a man who has no fear of his wife participating and even taking the lead in decision making. Why would this be – listen to verse 26

    “She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

    A husband and wife working “in symphony”, as Zen puts it, bringing each of their gifts and experiences together and seeking the Lord for guidance is an incredibly powerful force.

    Another great marriage to look at is John and Abigail Adams. Even though they lived in a very traditional looking marriage in a very patriarchal time, John often, really almost always when it was feasible, sought his wife’s counsel before making major decisions, whether they affected their intimate family or the fate of a nation. Conversely, some of John’s most troubling personal times occured when he went it alone. He valued Abigail’s input above literally everyone elses.

    I know there is an old adage that says “too many cooks spoil the broth” but there is an even wiser and more trustworthy saying – “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” This goes not only for labor in the field but labor in the family. And when those two also look to the Lord as the only true authority in their marriage, they form a bond of immeasurable strength, because, as we all know, “A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”

  3. ”’He will always strive for the ideal of agreement.”’

    This scripture doesn’t say strive for the ideal in his sense of this. The bible is very clear, and he has no trump card of the ‘last word’ in this circumstance. If they attempted to use any common sense at all they would realize WHY that would be!

    I’m sorry but the way they setup this ‘leadership’ and ‘authority’ situation for themselves – it makes it very hard to deal with those that refuse to treat the family as they claim they should. The fact that they truly never spend in real time that reality of life for some? To me is shows they don’t know what to do about it. I have seen them touch on the subject of cruel authority within the home, and it was always followed by a BUT to the woman. They never grasped the fact that when you do that? You are handing the cruel man a trump card he will use next time. Yes dear but remember the BUT!

    There is reasons for the ‘no authority’ in this sense within the intimate times. If you use your authority you create fear, intimidation, violation, among other things. You don’t ‘strive’ for agreement. The bible is clear – you get one or you don’t go there. Its like they don’t think these things all the though! I mean HELLO! Please attach some common sense to this! Maybe God had a reason for what he said?!

    I will use a saying I heard years ago, “Gag me with a spoon!”

  4. I’m curious what people think. This is slightly off topic but still related to 1 Cor 7:4.

    I have long argued (mostly in vain) with my fellow Christian brothers about the bible’s teaching on “beauty”. I have contended that looking at women in terms of their beauty (what is really meant is “sexiness”) outside of marriage, even while single, is not only shallow but quite ungodly. Conversely, I have contended that the physical attraction mechanisms that do exist within us (and are especially “tuned in” in males) were originally designed to be expressed or acted on only within marriage.

    Here is the 1 Cor 7 part. I have used 1 Cor 7 as part of my evidence that men should not be looking even glancingly in a sexual way at womenn other than their wife. I know Jesus talks about “visual adultary”, but many men say that Jesus’ words don;t count unless a man is thinking about actual sex with another woman. I disagree, partially based on 1 Cor 7 (as well as Job 31:1). Here is how the argument goes.

    I believe that the authority over our spouses body extends beyond the exterior. I believe that we, and especially women, have authority over the hormonal responses, visual stimulations, mental image retention, and all other sexually related internal workings of our spouse. As such, I believe that anything purposely done by a man (or woman) to “kick into gear” their sexual biology, no matter how minor, violates their spouses authority over their body.

    What do you think?

  5. I have the spoon, Hannah, and I’m gagging on it. The mental gymnastics some of the comps go through in order to cling to the sacred cow of male headship would make any Olympian dizzy!

    The fact is that use of authority chokes out intimacy. If one partner is always domineering, there is no room for real respect and communication to take hold, since the one being dominated will often resort to manipulation in order to gain something of what they want (even if it’s not all of what they want). The one doing the dominating has no idea of how blind he or she is to the needs of the one being dominated, and, in being so blind, cannot respond in compassion, but only anger and recrimination, resorting to their “trump card” in order to “put the other person back in his/her place”.

    Is it any wonder, then, that in these types of situations, there is no real room for agreement, or the wonderful “symphony” that the Greek of 1 Corinthians 7 talks about? I think that a situation of mutual submission is one that really glorifies God, as each partner sets him or herself aside as he or she seeks the good of the other. After all, doesn’t Philippians 2:3-4 (which I think is a phenomenal text for marriage) call all of us as Christians to do just that? A dominating partner can’t empty him or herself, nor can the one being dominated, since they are both striving after what they want, forgetting that what they want as individuals needs to take a backseat to strengthening the relationship, and a significant backseat to glorifying God. So, burn the “male entitlement” card. It has no place in a Christ-honoring marriage.

  6. “As such, I believe that anything purposely done by a man (or woman) to “kick into gear” their sexual biology, no matter how minor, violates their spouses authority over their body.
    What do you think?”

    gengwall,
    I think that I like the way you think. 😉

    And I like the way you said, “purposely done” because I don’t think it’s humanly possible to quit noticing attractive things about other people – it’s what we do with those split second thoughts.

    (Exceptions for situations of mental illness and depression, etc. of course)

  7. I truly believe this is a battle between the flesh and the spirit. The battle rages in me personally all the time. It is basically the battle that inspired the book “Every Man’s Battle”. The inclination to look and think sexually is, to a great degree, “natural”. But all that is natural is not godly. And of course, we all know we are surrounded and bombarded 24/7 with the temptation to look and think sexually. We don’t deny the impulses and temptations exist, but we are called, I believe, to resist them at every turn. I believe the 1 Cor 7 teaching is not altogether separated from this reality.

  8. “A dominating partner can’t empty him or herself, nor can the one being dominated, since they are both striving after what they want, forgetting that what they want as individuals needs to take a backseat to strengthening the relationship, and a significant backseat to glorifying God.”
    Allison,
    Good point!
    How can they so misrepresent the beauty of the mutual love of “one-flesh” marriage relationships (like mine) turning them into a lord/servant relationship? Thereby actually creating power struggles instead of fostering loving cooperation.

    It’s no wonder Christian book stores, seminars and Bible study guides for hierarchist marriages are rampant – they’ve created a problem and there is no end to solving it!

  9. Two brief notes one on the post, one to a commentator:

    1) On the post itself, the word in 1 Cor 7:4 – “exousiadzoe” most commonly translated “power” or “authority” contains the idea of jurisdiction, or lawful claim. Both in current thought and even back then, the existence of lawful claim of a subject does not negate governance. For instance, in Acts 25, Paul appeals to have a Roman trial because it was his right (lawful claim) as a citizen of Rome, and all citizens of Rome were afforded certain legal standings and rights. This did not make them less the subjects of the state. I point this out simply as a flaw

    2) On comment #8: “How can they so misrepresent the beauty of the mutual love of “one-flesh” marriage relationships (like mine) turning them into a lord/servant relationship?” – We are called to total unity with Christ and yet to absolute obedience to him. We are called his friends only after we have called him Lord (Jhn 15:14-15).

    I shall make no attempt to prove anything beyond pointing out the flaws in the noted reasoning and leave any readers to draw your own conclusions.

  10. NN,
    A warm welcome to my blog!

    You said under point 1:

    Both in current thought and even back then, the existence of lawful claim of a subject does not negate governance.

    Paul appealed to the Roman government with his Roman rights, but this doesn’t translate to a husband and wife situation. A wife is not appealing to her husband as governor to claim her rights. Her husband does not have a “right” as “governor” while she has a “right” as a “subject”. Paul shows in the text that the two have equal rights without one having a higher right than the other. I think you are clearly comparing apples to oranges.

    Under point 2, you said:

    We are called to total unity with Christ and yet to absolute obedience to him. We are called his friends only after we have called him Lord (Jhn 15:14-15).

    Jesus is both God and the resurrected man. We cannot compare Him to the human husband as the human husband is not the wife’s Master and Lord. The wife is never told to give absolute obedience to the husband. Christ then is in a category of His own that no man is to replicate His authority as God.

    Thanks for pointing out what you think are flaws. It is always good to have feedback on the posts and on the comments too. I think those who read this post can evaluate for themselves whether you have pointed out a legitimate flaw or whether the “flaw” is not a flaw at all in the argument but a valid point.

  11. “We are called to total unity with Christ and yet to absolute obedience to him. We are called his friends only after we have called him Lord (Jhn 15:14-15).”
    NN,
    I agree – absolute obedience to our Lord and Him only because “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24

  12. You seem to have missed the essential point of my statement. Your assumption is that “I am comparing apples to oranges” – but my very point was that this was an assumption of yours and not intrinsic to the word itself. Therefore this passage can either be interpreted as a situation in which hierarchical governance exists or not. But the use of this word does not negate the possibility (as you seem to have claimed). Once again, I leave it to the reader to decide whether it is the case that there is hierarchical governance within the Biblical marriage relationship or not, I simply wanted to point out that the argument presented here was flawed and inconclusive.

    On 2 – You say that “We cannot compare Him (Jesus) to the human husband” in the context of marriage; it must be noted that Paul does (1 Cor 11:3. Eph 5:23). I offer here no explanation as to the particular interpretation of these passages and what Paul is saying but seek only to point out the direct scriptural problem with the claim made above.

  13. To Kay (#11),
    Does the Ensign obey the Captain or the Admiral?…

    And the correct answer of course is both, and the Admiral is supreme. Such is the nature of hierarchy.

  14. But NN, if we accept that hierarchical governance is in play in the marriage relationship, isn’t it reciprocal based on 1 Cor 7. The point people are making here is that 1 Cor 7 can not be used to show a one way hierarchy with husband as governmental authority and wife as subject. You agree that any governance that exists in 1 Cor 7 is completely reciprocal, don;t you?

  15. 1 Cor 7 seems to indicate an equality between the man and woman regarding their “exousiadzoe” toward each others bodies. Since “governance” has no meaning in instances of equilateral power (it is impossible to have a pure democracy of two equal members). I think “jurisdiction” or “claim” might be a better technical understanding of the word here. But certainly the passage does seem to indicate equality in this claim between each spouse to the other’s body. It simply must be noted that this one aspect of relational reciprocity does not negate the possibility of hierarchy in the relationship overall.

  16. Oh, ok now I understand which reasoning you were finding flaws in. It is true that 1 Cor 7 addresses an aspect of marriage, not the marriage itself. But Cheryl’s main point in the opening still has weight – this is the ONLY time that exousiadzoe is used in a discussion of marriage, whether it be between man and wife OR between Christ and His bride the church. Let me ask you – do you find it presumptuous that some find the existence of one way exousiadzoe in marriage when such an arrangement is never taught in all of scripture?

  17. As stated, it was not my intention to put forth a general interpretation. Merely to point out a flaw in the argument as it was made. To partially answer your question let us say that women are never told to be under “exousiadzoe” from their husbands in Scripture. However, wives are pointedly told to be under the “hupotassoe” of their husbands, (A Greek military term speaking of troops arranging themselves under the commands of their leader). while no reciprocal statement is made to the husbands (Eph 5, Col 3). Again I offer no interpretation of what this is supposed to mean or why exactly the apostle wrote it, I merely point out that these passages are present in the Scripture and do indicate an inequality in the instructions of the apostle.

  18. I’ll accept you are not making an argument of your own. For the record, husbands are given parallel instruction in Ephesians 5. I am sure Susanna would love to jump in here and explore the real meaning behind hupotassoe as she does in her book. Even in a military context, it is not the blind subjection to authority that many make it out to be. Other than that, I won’t derail the conversation anymore. Carry on.

  19. I assume that you refer to Eph 5:21. But this is a generalized command within the Christian church, Paul makes a point of “hupotassoe” when speaking to the wife (and a point of agapao when talking to the husband) indicating distinction between the two.

    And on the possible meanings of “hupotassoe,” it should be pointed out that this is the word used in Luke 10 to describe the subjection of devils to the commands of the apostles. I think this could hardly be couched as a friendly exchange of suggestions.

  20. But that command to the church eliminates a hierarchy, does it not? Or more in line with 1 Cor 7, does Paul not create a reciprocal subjection, leaving no one actually in charge? Are husbands exempt in their relationship with their wife inside the home from the very command they are called to follow outside the home. Certainly the walls of a home do not cancel the call for believers to subject themselves to one another. So, the question in my mind is not so much whether or not husbands need to subject themselves to their wives. They most certainly do. The real question IMO is why did Paul repeat the instruction when he turned to wives in particular. But that is best left for another time.

    Anyway, I was referring to the “love your wife” half of the marriage passage.

  21. NN,
    You said:

    Your assumption is that “I am comparing apples to oranges” – but my very point was that this was an assumption of yours and not intrinsic to the word itself. Therefore this passage can either be interpreted as a situation in which hierarchical governance exists or not.

    If you read again my comments, I clearly state that this passage is a unique passage (the only one…) and the usage of the word is always defined by the context. There is nothing in the context that gives more authority to the husband nor is there anything in the passage that gives the husband the right to veto the wife’s will regarding no separation. The passage cannot be interpreted with hierarchical governance even though CBMW would like it that way. They give no reason for interpreting it this way except that this is the way they interpret all the other marriage passages and this one must fall within the “normal” responsibility of the husband.

    As far as the other passages go, they are not in this discussion at this time other then they do not contain the word authority. I have made no other claims in this particular post. We have discussed other issues of marriage in other posts and we will be discussing more issues in the future, but for this post, my claim stands.

    1. There is only one place where authority is used in the marriage between the husband and wife.

    2. Is this one text where the word authority is used, there is no indication that the man has an overriding veto power over the wife’s will regarding separation.

    3. In this one text both the husband and wife are given equal authority and the when a separation may happen, it may not occur without both agreeing to the separation.

  22. “On 2 – You say that “We cannot compare Him (Jesus) to the human husband” in the context of marriage; it must be noted that Paul does (1 Cor 11:3. Eph 5:23). I offer here no explanation as to the particular interpretation of these passages and what Paul is saying but seek only to point out the direct scriptural problem with the claim made above.”

    So, this would mean that married women are not to strive to be Christlike since that is the husband’s ‘role’? That is sure what this sounds like? Or maybe they are only to be the ones to model His humility and the husbands get to model the authority?

    As to 1 Corin 11:3, how do you get that husbands are a sort of Christ to the wife from passage? Because, that is basically what you are arguing. If it was about heirarchy why does it say that the head of Christ is God…(instead of Father and last in the sequence?)

  23. assume that you refer to Eph 5:21. But this is a generalized command within the Christian church, Paul makes a point of “hupotassoe” when speaking to the wife (and a point of agapao when talking to the husband) indicating distinction between the two.”

    So, married men in the Body are exempt from that passage? So that would mean they are to submit to other male and female believers in the Body except their wives?

  24. “Does the Ensign obey the Captain or the Admiral?…

    And the correct answer of course is both, and the Admiral is supreme. Such is the nature of hierarchy.”

    NN,
    What does this have to do with a marriage?

  25. “assume that you refer to Eph 5:21. But this is a generalized command within the Christian church, Paul makes a point of “hupotassoe” when speaking to the wife (and a point of agapao when talking to the husband) indicating distinction between the two.”

    So, following that logic, it would mean that if the husband is exempt from submitting to his wife, then the wife must be exempt from the “love one another” commandment.

  26. To Kay on # 26, regarding comments #11 & #13.
    You quoted the passage “… no man can serve two masters…” I was simply pointing out that the nature of chains of command is such that a subordinate is required to submit to a variety of “masters” each in order of precedence. But this is the requirement, the two cannot be of equal precedence – if they disagree then only one can be obeyed.

  27. To Cheryl (comment # 22)
    The basic meaning of a word is determined by the basic meaning of a word, specific nuance within these possibilities are inferred from context. And as I noted in response both to you and others, I did not say that anything in this passage necessarily indicated hierarchy (indeed it does not). I was simply pointing out that this passage is not incompatible with hierarchy (which was the basic logical flaw inherent in your post). I was never trying to say that the passage proved hierarchy, only that it does not prove anything either way with regards to the overall marriage relationship because it could be compatible with either case.

    From this passage we cannot infer that there is hierarchy, but nor can we infer that there is none (as discussed previously). And this was the sole point of what I said.

  28. So NN let me see if I understand you correctly. You are saying that the passage is not incompatible with hierarchy and it is not incompatible with egalitarianism. It could be just as well used to prove the egalitarian way as well as the hierachical way since it is not incompatible with either?

  29. To Lin in #23 & 24, and Kay in #27 ,

    I never made any statements even remotely akin to what you state my logic to be. I simply pointed out that there are passages of Scripture in which Christ is likened to the (human) husband of a wife – I made no comment as to what exactly this meant.

    I also never said that men were “exempt” from the general instruction on submission. Merely that Paul gave distinct and inequivalent instructions to the husbands and to the wives in which the wives are explicitly told to “submit” (hupotasso) and husbands are not told this but rather an instructed to “love” (agapao). What the distinction is and why Paul made it I didn’t say, I merely pointed out that he did make this distinction.

  30. NN, you said “I also never said that men were “exempt” from the general instruction on submission.” Then you cannot claim a distinction.

    What you are pointing out is your claim and if what you point out is not a true claim, then why are you pointing out inconsequential things?

  31. More precisely, I am saying that since this passage (1 Cor 7) could is compatible with both interpretations, it is proof for neither.

  32. Okay, now we are getting to an actual claim of yours. You are claiming that 1 Cor 7:5 is compatible with hierarchy. Since CBMW has not shown how hierarchy is compatible with this verse, would you be so kind as to show how where the compatibility is shown in this passage?

  33. NN, I have a requests:
    1. Could you please give us the passage(s) in the NT in which hypotasso (submit) and epitasso (command) are joined together.
    2. Could you give us the passage(s) in which the word hypotasso is used in the context of the Christians relationship to God.

    I was a bit curios to the meaning of your comment that Jesus calls us friends only after we have called him Lord. If we consider that Peter denied Jesus right after Jesus had called him his friend, it seems somewhat peculiar that the rest of us are in a position in which we must yield perfect obedience which none of us our capable of before we can be called the friends of Jesus. I.e. it will never happen. In addition, when did Jesus become the Lord of all? After his ascension. Hence He called us his friends before He had become the Lord of all and thus your argument fails.

    That hypotasso is used as a military in Eph 5 is a common misconception. The only place in the entire NT in which “tasso” is used of a military person is in Luke 7.8, “For I also am a man placed with authority (exousian tassomenos), having soldiers under (hypo) me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.””
    The centurion was not saying that he was under authority as all translations would have it for “hypo” means also “with” and hence his argument was that he was vested with authority, having soldiers under him who did his bidding. He compared his own authority to that of Jesus’: he had to only say a word and the slave would be healed. Note that he does not use hypotasso of the soldiers under him; he uses the word hypo which is also found in Eph 1.22 where the fallen angels are pictured as conquered enemies under the feet of Christ. The church is not placed under the feet of Christ since the church is the feet of Christ and Christ Himself is the Head of His body – the church.

  34. To Cheryl (#34 & 35)
    I did not say that men were exempt. Merely that Paul made a distinction in his instructions to husbands and his instructions to wives (that is he told them two different things). Presumably this is good for doctrine, learning and reproof; so it seems reasonable to presume that the words of the apostle and the inequivalent instructions that he gives are of consequence and meant something.

  35. “I also never said that men were “exempt” from the general instruction on submission.”

    NN,
    So, since there is no exemption, then there is no “distinction.” Therefore this verse does nothing to bolster hierarchist’s proof and nothing to ‘flaw’ egalitarians.

  36. To Cheryl on #36
    Now that we have clarified what I was saying I shall answer your question by a restatement:
    The word in 1 Cor 7:4 – “exousiadzoe” most commonly translated “power” or “authority” contains the idea of jurisdiction, or lawful claim. Both in current thought and even back then, the existence of lawful claim of a subject does not negate governance. For instance, in Acts 25, Paul appeals to have a Roman trial because it was his right (lawful claim) as a citizen of Rome, and all citizens of Rome were afforded certain legal standings and rights. This did not make them less the subjects of the state.

    Therefore, it is possible to use this word to refer to the rights of an otherwise subordinate individual. That is it would have been legitimate to say that Paul had the “exousiadzoe” with respect to the government, even though that government was over him and had the right (“exousiadzoe”) to then put him to death.

    As such this passage is compatible with either belief structure – and therefore “proof” for neither.

  37. NN,

    exousiazo:

    to have the right of control, have the right/power for someth. or over someone exousiazo one who is in authority (Eccl 10:4, 5; TestSol C 9:8) Lk 22:25. Specif. the right or power to do with someth. as one sees fit (IG XIV, 79, 4) w. gen. of that over which one has the power
    Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature

    LN 37.48 (4) to have authority over Lk 22:25; 1Co 7:4(2); to have the power, to control 1Co 6:12
    The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament.

    This is the word for authority, the right to control that is used in 1 Cor. 7:4.

    Please provide the reference to exousiazo regarding Paul and the state of Rome so that we can have a look at the words in the passage that you are quoting from.

  38. “However, wives are pointedly told to be under the “hupotassoe” of their husbands, (A Greek military term speaking of troops arranging themselves under the commands of their leader). while no reciprocal statement is made to the husbands (Eph 5, Col 3).”

    NN,
    Why did you make this statement since you are not claiming an exemption from Eph. 5:21 for husbands?

    In the Greek, the word ‘hupotassoe’ is not included in verse 22 – hardly a pointed statement.

  39. To Kay #42,
    In the Textus Receptus, the word is there directly. In some of the other texts the meaning is there as a reflexive use of the word (Greek can do that in a way that english can’t).
    Beyond that I made no claim to interpretation, simply pointed out that Paul made a distinction in using this word.
    It might further be noted given your general form of argument that the “mutual submission” commanded in Eph 5 does not exclude the possibility of relationship hierarchy as can be seen in the commands to children regarding their parents and slaves regarding their masters.
    Again, I offer no proof that there exists a hierarchy of relationship within the marriage relationship; I merely point out that the arguments here leveled against the idea are intrinsically flawed.

  40. To Cheryl #41,
    “exousiadzoe” is from the noun “exousia” which contains the ideas of governance, rule, the power of choice, jurisdiction, right of claim, etc. It is from “exesti” which means “to be lawful” (and which in turn comes from a combination of the preposition “ek” = “out” and the “to be” verb “eimi”). But it is the idea of sovereign claim which is primarily in view. I am a citizen of the US and therein reside, as such France has no sovereignty over me directly. As a citizen it is my sovereign right to claim trial by a jury of my peers (at least theoretically). Typically authority is the best rendering for this word; however, “claim” is also contained within the scope of this word. Indeed any Roman citizen had the “authority” to demand a Roman trial – this did not make them any less subject to the overarching authority of Rome.
    And relating to the trial of Paul, this word is not used. Indeed he barely mentions his appeal to Caesar before Festus insists on shipping him off. But the fact of Pauls “authority” to do this is clearly manifest under Roman jurisprudence.

  41. NN,
    to call: epikaloumai

    (C) In a judicial sense, to call upon, invoke a higher tribunal or judge, i.e., to appeal to, e.g., Caesar (Acts 25:11, 12, 25; 26:32; 28:19).
    Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament

    (3) middle, as a legal technical term for appealing to a higher court appeal, call or summon as witness (2C 1.23)
    Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. (2000). Vol. 4: Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament.

    Is Paul “taking his authority” over the judicial system? The two words are not even similar (Acts 25:11 and 1 Cor. 7:4). One is an appeal and/or invoking a higher authority and the other (from 1 Cor. 7) is the higher authority in that particular category.

    Why do you connect these two terms when they do not mean the same and are different words? 1 Cor. 7:1-5 stands in a category of its own with authority and power to act on that authority.

    It seems to me that you are trying to do a dance with words and trying to force this dance onto an unrelated passage. It makes me wonder if the passage of 1 Cor. 7 is such an important concept that it is threatening to those who are in the mindset of hierarchy? Why such a stretch to try to undo the woman’s authority in the only passage relating to marital authority?

    NN, do you mind telling us where you stand yourself? Do you consider yourself into hierarchy or do you consider yourself to be a complementarian or what view do you take regarding the equal or unequal authority of a woman?

  42. To Susanna #37
    To the best of my recollection I never said anything about any passage using both of these words (hupotassoe & epitassoe). Feel free to draw my attention to that which you would like. It is noteworthy that the word hupotassoe is specifically tied to hupakouoe within the context of the marriage relationship in 1 Pet 3 (hupakouoe meaning “to obey” often used by Paul referring to the obedience of slaves and children).

    On the passages using the word hupotassoe with regard to our relationship to God, there are several. But I have every confidence that you are quite capable of digging them up, so why not point out which one you think needs to be brought into this discussion.

    For hupotassoe itself being a military term, it was. It finds use in the writings in several of the ancient well known Greek authors including Polybius through later Greek authors such as Plutarch (writing around the same time as the NT was penned). And its primary etymological meaning was of the arranging of troops under the orders of a commander. As such it also became coopted into non-military use to the direction and division of tasks and responsibilities.

  43. “It might further be noted given your general form of argument that the “mutual submission” commanded in Eph 5 does not exclude the possibility of relationship hierarchy as can be seen in the commands to children regarding their parents and slaves regarding their masters.”

    NN,
    Yes, I can certainly understand how that could be possibility in the minds of those who do not regard the one-flesh union of marriage as being any different than the relationship between slaves and their masters or the relationship between children and their parents.

  44. “For hupotassoe itself being a military term, it was.”

    hupotasso was not a military term exclusive to the military. It was a word that was used in the military like many other, but was not explicitly for such things. I think Vine’s made a mistake in saying that. Arranging oneself under can and does include so many other situations in life. In fact if we would just translate it simply ‘arranging under’ we might escape the many misinterpretations that are going around.

    In humility we should all arrange ourselves under one another, honoring God who made us. We should not think of ourselves too highly, but seek to support each other in the things God calls us into, helping each other, carrying each others burdens and seeking to do good for one another…. and so forth.

  45. To Kay #48
    I did not say that the husband/wife relationship was like a master/slave or parent/child relationship. Merely that the fact that parents and masters are not exempt from the “mutual submission” instruction, but are also given hierarchical authority over their charges means that this instruction of mutual submission must not NECESSARILY exclude the possibility of hierarchy within a relationship. I have made no effort to prove any sort of hierarchy, I am merely demonstrating the logical possibility intrinsic within the text.

  46. To TL #49 (& further to Susanne #37)
    To the best of my knowledge, hupotasso was in origin a Greek military term. We have no record of its use before the Hellenic period (which started in 500 BC); but extensive use within that period and following. Most commonly used in literary works by the ancient historians to describe military action. As time went on the word became much more widely adopted, used by Greek playwrights and considerably even in common writing. For instance, one common non military specialized usage was in document preparation to denote attachments & submissions. (E.g. “we submit the attched note for your inspection”, or “see appended note”).

    This word is also used several times in the Septuagint and is used to translate words that we translate as “subjugate,” “subdue,” “silence,” “be still,” “serve,” “put,” etc.

    The words use when instructing wives is in the middle voice, indicating a voluntary submission on the part of the person.

    As far as using it for “arrange under” in a technical translation for these instructions, that would be quite reasonable. But this does not change the distinction that Paul makes in his instructions to husbands and wives (again I offer no commentary as to what or why this distinction is, I merely point out that the apostle makes it).

  47. To Cheryl #45,
    You are quite right about what word Paul uses (epikaleoe) and what its meaning was in Roman empire jurisprudence (e.g. “to appeal”). However, to make this appeal, Paul had to have authority/claim as a Roman colonial citizen. Many others would not have had the authority/right to do this. Peter for instance had no such authority as an Israeli Jew, a Parthian traveling in the Roman empire would not as a subject of a different kingdom, etc.
    The word is not used in the Acts text. I was simply pointing out the fact that the right to make a claim upon the rulership does not negate that rulership.

    Again, I have made no claim that hierarchy is necessitated by this passage. I merely point out that this passage is not incompatible with the idea of hierarchy.

  48. “I did not say that men were exempt. Merely that Paul made a distinction in his instructions to husbands and his instructions to wives (that is he told them two different things). Presumably this is good for doctrine, learning and reproof; so it seems reasonable to presume that the words of the apostle and the inequivalent instructions that he gives are of consequence and meant something.”

    So, it should be understood that husbands are exempt from Ephesians 5:21 with their wives. As believers they should submit to other males and females in the Body except their wife? Is that how you understand it?

  49. NN,
    You said:

    You are quite right about what word Paul uses (epikaleoe) and what its meaning was in Roman empire jurisprudence (e.g. “to appeal”). However, to make this appeal, Paul had to have authority/claim as a Roman colonial citizen. Many others would not have had the authority/right to do this.

    Once again you are making the “claim” that the Greek word for claim means authority and this is not correct. Why do you continue to do this?

    The word is not used in the Acts text. I was simply pointing out the fact that the right to make a claim upon the rulership does not negate that rulership.

    But because your “claim” is that the meaning of authority is in the Acts text, your claim that rulership does not negate rulership is invalid from the text you are claiming proves this.

    Again, I have made no claim that hierarchy is necessitated by this passage. I merely point out that this passage is not incompatible with the idea of hierarchy.

    It isn’t necessitated and there isn’t even a breath of hierarchy in the passage which is why hierarchists seem to avoid the passage.

    So are you going to share your personal view? What position do you hold to?

  50. NN,

    There is no connection between the Middle voice and an action being undertaken voluntarily. I don’t know where that came from.

    IMO, the husband governs the wife on the same ethical basis as he is also a slaveowner. This is rather clear from the text. IMO, Paul did not articulate a clear policy on either slavery or marriage.

  51. “There is no connection between the Middle voice and an action being undertaken voluntarily. I don’t know where that came from.”

    I believe Bristow wrote about it in his book What Paul Really Said About Women. But he also mentioned the passive as being voluntary as well.

  52. To Sue #59,
    On greek verb “voice” see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_voice for a general explanation of the idea of “middle” voice. If you go through and look at the general usage of this verb as it occurs in the middle voice it seems to generally indicate a “voluntary submission.” If you look at the idea behind middle voice and also the idea of submission the reason for this becomes clear.

    On the rest, I never said that and I’m not at all sure where you got it.

  53. To Cheryl #58,
    For the last time, I never said that the word exousian was used in the Acts 25 passage, I was simply trying to use an example which would be familiar. The word for appeal is epikalaeo, the word for authority is exousiadzoe. They are etymologically unrelated. However, the conceptual link, is that for Paul to be able to make a legitimate legal appeal, he had to have the authority to do so.
    No this passage does not imply hierarchy, but nor does it deny it (the mistake made in your original post).

    On the topic of where I stand, I prefer to be heard for what I say and not what people will presume that I believe.

    “One of the most vexing things in the universe is a poor argument for a true idea.”

  54. NN,
    I think you should reread what I wrote. After clarifying the different words used, I did not state that you are claiming that the Greek “exousian” was used in Acts 25 but that the essential meaning is “authority” for you wrote “authority/claim as a Roman colonial citizen”. When you input “authority” into the meaning of the text right next to “claim”, you have gone past the actual meaning of the text. Thus you are claiming that although the word “exousian” is not in the text, the general meaning of authority is there. I strongly disagree. Here is where the problem is:

    However, the conceptual link, is that for Paul to be able to make a legitimate legal appeal, he had to have the authority to do so.

    The correct term would be the “right” to do thing, not the authority. Authority implies the power to command obedience and one in whom authority is vested. Paul had none of this with Rome. He had the “right” to a trial. He had no authority over Rome neither did he have the authority to govern Rome. His “right” to a trial is not even in the same ball part as a woman’s “authority” regarding her husband’s body.

    On the topic of where I stand, I prefer to be heard for what I say and not what people will presume that I believe.

    I think there are very good reasons to state your position because what you are saying is confusing and unsupported by the text. Honestly if I connected together two unrelated texts as you have and attached them together by ascribing the essence of “authority” when no such authority is evident in the text, I rather think you would be loudly protesting and denouncing my exegesis as contrived and biased.

    Perhaps it would be better for you to rethink your example to find a solid case of a real essence of “authority” that could relate to the text under discussion. This would make your point actually heard and much less confusing. Also if you are able to articulate your position, I believe that it would help against people’s presumptions. As you can see by not stating your case, it seems to cause more presumptions than if you had given a clear representation of your view.

  55. “No this passage does not imply hierarchy, but nor does it deny it (the mistake made in your original post).”

    This is the same logic used to say that creation order implies hierarchy. It does not emphatically deny hierarchy. Nor does it delcare hierarchy.

    Why not declare your position because what you continue to argue sounds a lot like what I wrote above.

  56. NN,
    Another confusing thing. You said:

    “One of the most vexing things in the universe is a poor argument for a true idea.”

    Are you saying that you are the one who is giving a poor argument for a true idea, or are you actually agreeing with us on this issue but saying that we are the ones giving a poor argument for a true idea? Without a stating of your position, I find your words extremely confusing because the quote has nothing solid to hang its hat on since you haven’t defined enough for me (or us) to understand.

  57. Michael Patton has put a really thought-provoking testimony up about what he originally thought was his male trump card privileges. He has given me permission to repost the story and I have just posted it here http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2009/12/12/how-a-passion-for-ministry-almost-cost-c-michael-patton-his-marriage/

    I think you will be as touched as I was to read the end result that started with a recipe for disaster. I think it touches on some of the issues that we have been discussing on this current post.

  58. To Cheryl #63
    “Exousia” as a jurisprudence word has the meaning of a “right” in a very similar sense to the modern English usage, similar to the US Bill of Rights. My reference of Acts 25 was never meant to be exegetic, I simply sought to give a biblical example of Roman Empire jurisprudence. Exousia is used in exactly this sense (as a right of claim) in Heb 13:10. Perhaps I should have simply used this from the beginning rather than using an example to illustrate. But even to have a “right” with respect to a governing authority does not negate the governance. (In the Hebrews passage – even those with the “right” to eat of the sacrifice are not therefore removed from the governance of God).

  59. Dear NN, I never said you said anything about the usage of hypotasso and epitasso together. I wanted to draw your attention to them since it is usually simply assumed that hypotasso is the antonym of epitasso – it is not. Wherefore the question is: if epitasso (command) is never joined with hypotasso, why would it include obedience to the one who commands? Greek lacks also the word “hypertasso” (set over), which should exist by necessity since in Greek that which is “hypo” (under) has always its counterpart in “hyper” (over). The Bible never says that man is “set over” the woman, hence the translation “set under” is quite peculiar. We do find hypotasso in the context of the Christians submission to God and it is found in Jas 4.6-9:
    “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists (antitasso) the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit (hypotasso) to God. Resist (anthistemi) the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
    The antonym of hypotasso is “antitasso” (to resist) and “anthistemi “oppose, stand against” wherefore hypotasso in the above context has the meaning “not to resist and oppose as an enemy would” i.e. to stand close as a friend or an ally would. (We find the same in Rom 13 and 1 Pet 5) James is not portraying Christians as arranged in a hierarchical relationship with God in the top; he is admonishing them to draw near to God and to remove themselves from their friendship with the devil which had made them enemies of God (See also Rom 8.7).
    An additional meaning of hypotasso is “to associate with,” hence I disagree that hypotasso was originally a military term which was converted into civilian use with the exclusive meaning to arrange persons in a hierarchical order. “Tasso” has the meaning “to set, arrange, to put in order” and Greek has tons of words which end with “tasso”: paratasso (“place or post side by side, draw up in battle order, stand side by side in battle”), diatasso (“to set in order”), epidiatassomai (“to add something that has been ordained”), protasso (“to arrange towards”), katatasso (“arrange, classify, enlist, rank”), entasso (“enroll, enlist, place among”), suntasso (“put in order together, put in the same class”), sunkatatasso (“arrange or draw up together, range oneself beside”), enkatatasso (“arrange or place in”), prosuntasso (“arrange beforehand”) metasuntasso (“alter the arrangement of a treatise”). I am sure the army used “hypotasso” but it does not mean that a civilian would have given the word the same meaning, just as the biblical ekklesia has nothing to do with the Athenian ekklesia. Paul certainly used military imagery in his writings (1 Cor 9.7; Phil 2.25; 2 Tim 2.3, 4; Philem 2). But consider this: who is the captain? Jesus is. All the apostles and co-workers were considered soldiers in the army of God, and they received their orders from God. The purpose of this army is to fight the army of darkness and anyone can become a soldier in the army of God by devoting one’s life to the task. Let’s for the sake of the argument assume that hypotasso is a military term in Eph 5, what is this army of two supposed to fight against? What is the purpose of the man’s commandments and the wife’s obedience? The enemy does not exist, unless of course we consider conflict an enemy in which case the man’s authority ends them very quickly. It is kind of ludicrous to consider a marriage in military terms, which is perhaps inevitable when only men do theology since men are generally more hierarchical in their thinking than women are and they often admire the army. But would a converted Pharisee see marriage in terms of military discipline? We do not find such a concept in Judaism, and when we take into consideration that the first three hundred years Christians refused to serve in the armed forces, it is highly unlikely that Paul would have seen marriage in such terms.
    The literal meaning of hypakouo is “to listen attentively.” Obedience is the derived meaning of the word since to obey one must listen carefully. In 1 Pet 3 Peter recollects the story of Sarah in the tent listening to Abraham who stands by the doorway. The text in Gen 18 does not mention that Sarah obeyed Abraham; it mentions that she listened (shama) to Abraham, calling him sir (adown) in her thoughts, i.e. exhibiting an inner attitude of devotion despite their old age and childlessness.
    “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son. Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” (Gen 18:9-15)
    ‘Adown was a common word used to address men in the Old Testament era, much like our ‘sir’ is today. Only about hundred years ago women in the Anglo-Saxon world called their husbands ‘sir’ and husbands called their wives ‘madam.’ It sounds perhaps excessively polite to us who call our spouses “honey” and “sweetie,” but it was a culturally accepted way of speaking. In the NT we find that John calls the recipient of his letter “kyria” (lady) – a courteous way of opening a letter addressed to a woman in the Greek world. The people called ‘adown did not expect obedience from those who used the term.
    I find your comment that there are several passages which use hypotasso with regard to our relationship to God highly puzzling since I found only two (Jas 4 and Eph 5). Considering I spent five years in research for a book on the subject, I would assume I would have found more – if there indeed are more. I would be grateful if you could provide them so that I could correct the chapter on hypotasso in the next edition.

  60. NN,
    The problem as I see it, is that you are continuing to look on the husband as a “governing authority” when 1 Cor. 7 shows that his authority is not that of “governing” but an equal authority with his wife.

    In Hebrew 13:10 the authority is to the complete and full right, power and authority to do an action. If you say that the ones who have the authority to eat from the altar (those who are in Christ) are still under the authority of God, I have no problem with that since God is the Sovereign of all. Anyplace and anytime God is Sovereign. But you cannot place a sovereignty on the man and say that the woman’s authority over his body doesn’t negate his sovereignty. His sovereignty over her as her ruler and king and lord doesn’t exist.

    You are using faulty examples and part of the problem, in my humble opinion, is that you fail to identify your point of view. Also a secular example cannot identify a sovereignty of the husband nor can God’s authority over us identify a sovereignty of the husband. The fact is that full sovereignty means that one has full rights and the ability to overrule anyone and anything. 1 Cor. 7 disproves at the very least the full sovereignty of the man and since no authority is given the husband except for 1 Cor. 7 and the man and woman were given equal rulership in the beginning, the burden of proof identifying full sovereignty of the man would be on the shoulders of those who claim it. Are you one who claims it? I don’t know.

  61. Cheryl, I agree with you. I find that complementarian theology fails to discern between the secular and spiritual usage of words. Just because Plato, Plutarch and Philo gave a word a specific meaning does not necessitate that biblical writers gave the word the same meaning considering their outlook on life was quite different. To use the worn out cliche: not every gay person is happy, nor is every gay person a homosexual. It is imperative that we discern the meaning the writer gives the word without assuming he or she is using the word in the similar fashion to other writers. This becomes acutely evident when we realize that kephale (head) was given the meaning “ruler” by Augustine because of his synthesis of neo-Platonism with his theology. Plato taught a soul-body dichotomy in which the sinful body was ruled by the soul. Augustine borrowed the concept in his interpretation of Eph 5: the head rules over the body. But note that he did not compromise his Christology in such manner, for he continued to argue with others that kephale in 1 Cor 11.3 meant “beginning” and he rejected every attempt to make the Son subject to the Father by assigning kephale the meaning “ruler” in 1 Cor 11.3.

  62. NN,

    28And(A) do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him(B) who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mat. 10:28

    “5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him(A) who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.[a] Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke 12:4

    In the first of these verses, the verb phobeo is in the middle voice, and in the second, the verb is in the passive verse.

    Would you care to explain how they differ in meaning?

    Carl Conrad is a retired professor of classical Greek who has studied the Middle voice for many years. Just a few weeks ago in the B Greek list he wrote,

    “The simple fact of the matter is (I think) that everybody is aware that there simply is no adequate “doctrine” of Greek verbal voice and that terminology and understanding of the phenomena are much too vague to be grasped with sufficient clarity to talk/write intelligently or intelligibly about it.

    My apologies to any out there who thinks that there really does exist an adequate “doctrine” of Greek verbal voice, and my earnest request that they come forward with it.

    Carl W. Conrad
    Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)”

  63. To Susanna #70
    A great many things said, and I think that a point-by-point response would be excessively long and the more critical bits could be lost. Instead, I shall keep this to a few core responses.

    Every study of this word (hupotasso) which I have ever read and those I know who are actually scholars of ancient Greek have all told me that this word is primarily military in origin and early usage. Other usage such as “to append to” in literary usage, or “to be associated near & under” as used by a Greek playwright (I think it was Aeschylus) were later expansions upon its original usage. If you have some further information on this I would be interested to hear it – but all of my research on that topic to date has been entirely agreed on this point.

    Its use in conjunction with an implied unfriendly command can be clearly seen in Luke 10:17,19&20. Since it refers to a command by the disciples to “devils” which the devils are unable to disobey; I would hardly call this a friendship or voluntary situation.

    On hupakouoe, the most common usage for this word was “to obey” and it was the word used by Paul to instruct both children and slaves in obedience. To “hearken” or “listen with intent to respond” is another possible translation with the same general object in mind. But the passage says that “Sarah” “hupatasso”-ed Abram [by] “hupakouoe”-ing him and calling him lord/sir (kurios). So we have a word most commonly used for submission (literally “to arrange under”) coupled to a word most commonly used for obedience (literally “to listen with intent to respond/act”) included with her using a title of respect (however exactly you want to translate it – your comment itself indicates that its usage in this passage is one of reverance). Even if you think that the word should not technically be translated obey but stated that Sarai “submitted” by “listening attentively with intent to respond” and by considering her husband respectfully; the implications of the passage are still quite clear.

    On the use of hupotasso & God, there are others in which the verb is indirect in its use of us with respect to the things of God (His law, His righteousness,… I don’t recall with exactitude at the moment).

  64. To Sue #71,
    I would entirely agree about the vagueness of the particular usage of the Greek voices. I simply note that here the verb is in the middle voice, and if you look throughout the NT, the middle voice for this verb is most typically associated with a voluntary submission on the part of the subject.

  65. To Cheryl #69
    I will reiterate – I have not said that the husband is the governing authority. Merely that this passage would be compatible with this case and therefore does not disprove complementarian claims. You will have to look for other arguments in support of your view.

    And if I may for a moment play complementarian’s advocate – I don’t think that any of them would say that the husband has full authority. Actually I am fairly sure that I have seen Piper claim that man has a limited authority within the scope of the commandments of God. Certainly this text would override absolute authority, but I don’t think any of the complementarians actually believe that anyways.

    So consider this an extended advertising campaign in support of truth and honesty in debating this topic. When we (collective we including both complementarians and egalitarians) find that we have made a faulty argument, let’s acknowledge it and move on. Let us seek truth and understanding rather than “winning the argument.”
    (http://nuallan.livejournal.com/34685.html)

  66. Greek scholars read the writings they have at their disposal, not everything that was written by the Greeks. Hence they assume that because the word appears first as a military term, it was such originally. Any lingustic will challenge that assumption by pointing out how quickly languages evolve. I grew up bilingual (Finnish and Swedish) and I am still fluent in both languages. But when I go home and listen to the Finnish or Swedish youth, I cannot understand them half of the time for they have changed the meanings of the words. It really only takes a generation or less to change a word and its meaning. That a play writer used the word with another meaning shows clearly that the word had a civilian meaning as well since the other writers were writing about the army, weren’t they? I.e. when used of the army, the word has a military connotation; when used of civilians, the word has another meaning entirely. Ultimately it really does not matter whether the word was used primarily by the military for Paul was not enlisting his readers in the army! If you wish to argue that hypotasso is a military term in Eph 5 you must also argue that kephale is a military term for it would make absolutely no sense to use a military term with a civilian term. Also, you seem to forget that Ephesus was an Asian city under Roman rule. The nuances of Greek words would be foreign to them for they knew only Koine Greek, not the classical Greek from the era of Greek philosophy. Hence, you must also argue that every person who spoke Koine Greek would have understood hypotasso as a military term and nothing else. You must also argue that the Romans in the city of Rome understood their relationship to to government in military terms since Paul uses the word in Rom 13. Unfortunately for your argument they didn’t. The freeborn Roman males saw themselves as equal to their rulers wherefore Augustus was careful to call himself “first among equals.”
    (To be continued)

  67. NN,

    You wrote,

    “The words use when instructing wives is in the middle voice, indicating a voluntary submission on the part of the person.”

    You are here making a claim that the middle voice INDICATES that the action is undertaken voluntarily. But later you say,

    “I would entirely agree about the vagueness of the particular usage of the Greek voices. I simply note that here the verb is in the middle voice, and if you look throughout the NT, the middle voice for this verb is most typically associated with a voluntary submission on the part of the subject.”

    Are you claiming that the middle voice indicates that the verb is voluntary or not? And can you provide evidence for this?

  68. I am well aware that the NT uses the word hypotasso of our relationship to God’s law etc. I was looking for the usage in the personal relationship between the Christian and God which is alluded to in Eph 5. The only instance I find is Jas 4 and in the context hypotasso has the meaning “to associate with” and there is absolutely no hint of a hierarchy.
    If hypotasso should be understood exclusively as a military term, here’s the problem: how does one arrange oneself under an impersonal object such as the law? I found this flaw in the thinking of the author of “Love and Respect,” Dr. Emerson Eggenrichs. He argues that hypotasso means “to rank or place under” but then he argues also that the husband submits to the wife’s need to be loved despite of a conflict due to Eph 5.21. How does one place oneself under a need? And how can the husband be “over” and “under” his wife at the same time in the same hierarchy? His entire research was based on the excellent book “Why Marriages Fail and Succeed” by Dr. Gottman (the best marriage book out there) but he failed to see Dr. Gottman’s point: both men and women need love and respect equally; when a husband treats his wife as a servant, he shows the kind of disrespect which will lead to a divorce. Dr. Eggenrichs ignored this fundamental point and argued that men need respect and women love and he based this conclusion on a hierarchy which he believes should exist in a marriage (not surprisingly, and he used to be in the army). No wonder Christian marriages are not thriving!

    You have the same problem with the word hypakouo: how do you obey such an abstract thing as faith? (Acts 6.7 etc) And how do you obey a knock on the door? (Acts 12.13)? If you assign one meaning based on your need to have a word mean a particular thing, you end up creating problems elsewhere.

    Kyrios in the NT, when referring to a human, invariably means “sir,” a courteous way of addressing a man; when referring to God, Kyrios invariably means Lord, for God is the Lord of all, a man is not. If you give kyrios the meaning ‘lord’ you make the man the absolute lord of the woman and you contradict what you just wrote in your previous post for a ‘lord’ had full authority over his slave.

  69. To Susanna #76

    All evidence indicates that Paul was extremely well educated within Greek society and would have been very familiar with the various uses and nuances of Greek words both in the current Koine and the literature of earlier dialects such as Attic and and Ionic. As to Ephesus – its cultural history was primarily Greek, it started as a Greek colony and never quite lost its Grecian roots despite its multicultural blending. Certainly not all of the citizens would have been familiar with the literary nuances of the word from Attic, but an audience never fully is and we were talking about the penmanship of Paul.
    I never said nor meant to imply that “hupotasso” was used only as a military word at the time of Paul – in fact I explicitly said quite the opposite. It had drifted into common parlance in a variety of instances – quite akin to a number of English military phrases which have come into general use in non-military contexts. They retain their original imagery but lose their military technical meaning. And this is the most probable way of understanding it, a non-military use of an originally military word. Non-military in use but retaining its historic imagery “to arrange oneself under” – hence is it most directly translated “to submit.” If we had a specific word in English for a junior officer following the orders of his commanding officer this would probably be an ideal translation of nuance but we do not have such a word. (I guess in this sense it might be translated “wives form ranks under your husbands” but this would be confusing for other reasons.)
    And your argument regarding Roman citizens and their government doesn’t work. While the Roman government recognized no “king” so that any citizen was theoretically equal to any other citizen under law, all citizens were still under the authority (submitted to) the government itself (at least theoretically).

  70. To Sue #77,
    Looking at it – I should have said “The words use when instructing wives is in the middle voice, typically indicating a voluntary submission on the part of the person in other instances of NT use” to be more exactingly careful in my statement.

    My apologies. Hazards of trying to answer so many different threads of conversation at once – I shall seek to be more careful.

  71. In the Septuagint the word “shama” (to listen) is translated with “akouo” (to listen) in Gen 18.10. “Hypoakouo” intensifies the word “akouo” and hence the listening is done attentively. Incidentally the word “obey” in Hebrew is “shama” (to listen), and has always the idea of listening to someone and acting accordingly. In Gen 18.10-15 Sarah is simply listening. She does not act according to the words she hears, for there was nothing for her to do. She hears that she will become a mother and after the initial unbelief, she embraces God’s promise (as seen also in Heb 11). Hence Peter could not have written that Sarah obeyed Abraham, for he used the text found in Gen 18.

    Chrysostom wrote that both the marriage of Abraham and Sarah was such that they both obeyed each other. Chrysostom was well versed in Classical Greek, and in both secular and Christian literature. Should we assume that he made a mistake in his assessment? Grudem tries to get around the fact that Abraham listen to Sarah by claiming that by doing so, they both ended up disobeying God. Of course he does not mention that by listening to men, many women have ended up disobeying God. Hence his argument proves only that he cannot give an example of Sarah obeying Abraham, for it does not exist.

  72. “All evidence indicates that Paul was extremely well educated within Greek society and would have been very familiar with the various uses and nuances of Greek words both in the current Koine and the literature of earlier dialects such as Attic and and Ionic. As to Ephesus – its cultural history was primarily Greek, it started as a Greek colony and never quite lost its Grecian roots despite its multicultural blending.”

    Then you will heartily uphold the notion that authenteo means “to murder?”

  73. “The words use when instructing wives is in the middle voice, typically indicating a voluntary submission on the part of the person in other instances of NT use” to be more exactingly careful in my statement. ”

    Help me, NN, I have no idea what evidence you are referring to. None at all. Can you provide even one example.

  74. Yes, Paul was well educated in the Greek society, but were his readers? Considering that the majority of the early Christians were illiterate slaves, it is a stretch to say that the readers would have been familiar with the Greek of Plato, Plutarch and Philo as Grudem would have it. I have been to Ephesus. It was quite remarkable city by all standards and bore all evidence of Rome in it with the baths and marble walkways. Certainly it had been influenced by Alexandria the Greek as well, but by the time Paul visited the city, it was under Roman rule. The soldiers present in the city were not Greek, they were Roman. Therefore if Paul was writing to the Ephesians about the army, he would have written to them about the Roman army, not the Greek. You have not yet provided any evidence of kephale being a military term. It is imperative since you argue that women are “junior officers” and should “form ranks under their husbands” and follow their commandments. I cannot find a text in which a husband is called a Centurion. (Or maybe we should call him a Uniurion, since he commands only one private).

    Ah, and you confuse the issue about Roman government. About 60-75 % of the population in Rome was made up of slaves, leaving a very small freeborn male population. The great majority of these were politically active, unless they were part of the military. The military could choose an emperor or depose of one for Rome depended on the military to keep their borders intact. In other words, the government worked very closely with the people out of necessity. You may speak of authority and submission, and certainly the Romans were obsessed with the concept of power and glory, but at the end the emperor knew very well that his existence was dependent of the people and to irate the people could cost him his head. Can a wife get rid of her husband when he drives her crazy? Can a husband do the same to his wife? At the end, you do not seem to realize that you are reading the Roman society into the Bible. Certainly this became true in the fourth century when the church married Rome, and already before it when Tertullian transformed the church into a Roman institution by changing the previous ministries into legal offices, barring both women and slaves form leadership (and laity for that matter).

  75. To Susanna #78
    I would think that it would be quite obvious how one submits oneself to a need or a law. That is, one acts under the requirements of said need or law and places those above one’s own inclinations on the matter. This is not an uncommon use of the word submit. I quite disagree about the flavor of its usage in James by the way, I think that it is most reasonable to read this passage as telling us to “arrange ourselves under the authority of God” to resist the devil (since we know that we are to obey him absolutely it makes the most sense to translate this word – which typically has connotations of obedience in this way).

    Similarly, it quite makes sense to speak of “obeying” (or disobeying) the directives of a faith. As to knocks on the door, “to listen with intent to respond” makes absolutely perfect sense (in fact this is the most literal etymological sense of the word).

    As to your statement:
    “If you give kyrios the meaning ‘lord’ you make the man the absolute lord of the woman and you contradict what you just wrote in your previous post for a ‘lord’ had full authority over his slave.”
    – “lord” does not mean the same thing as “absolute lord” which is why you had to use a different word set in English. Hierarchy means that there is a chain of authority – it is not a binary quantity.

  76. We get the word “submit” from Latin, not from Greek. During the Millennium of the Vulgate the Bible was read only in Latin, and hence our ecclesiastical language reflects the Latin meaning of the words found in the Bible. “Subicio” has the meaning “to arrange under” and especially under someone’s authority. But to give the same meaning to hypotasso is to fail to see that the nuances of the words are different. Hypotasso is never used with exousia when a marriage is referred to, hence comps must give kephale the meaning “authority over.” The word does not have such a meaning.
    Yes, we obey laws, but how do you “arrange yourself under” a law? And if you understand that a citizen “submits” to a law by placing the law above one’s own inclinations, are you saying that a wife should do so in regard to her husband? I.e. should she consider his will more important than her own? And whose will does the husband consider more important than his own? God’s? In other words, this hierarchy places the man in between God and the woman.
    In Jas 4 there is absolutely nothing said of God’s authority or the Christians need to arrange under God’s authority. You read this into the text – it is not there. The text says plainly “draw near to God and He will draw near to you,” and the comparison is friendship with the world versus that with God. Is there hierarchy within friendship? Does your best friend command you around?
    You have said many times that a Christian must obey God absolutely for He is Lord. The word “Lord” must therefore mean “an absolute Lord,” and this was how the Greek understood it, for the owner of a slave was called a “lord.”

  77. To Sue #82&83
    “Authenteo” as a Koine term meant “to have absolute authority – even over life and death.”

    Luke 10:17 & Rom 8:7 – “hupotasso” as a passive voice
    Rom 10:17 however is in a middle voice (“Let every soul be subject..”)

  78. NN, you wrote: “Authenteo” as a Koine term meant “to have absolute authority – even over life and death.”

    Since Paul was writing Koine Greek, he must have meant that the woman was not allowed to have absolute authority over the man, contrasted to equality in 1 Tim 2.

  79. To Susanna #84 & 87
    I don’t get the sense that you are understanding what I am saying, and I am afraid I don’t know how to make it clearer – so I think we drop this discussion of word origins where it is.

    The only last note that I would make is that you say:
    “The word “Lord” must therefore mean “an absolute Lord,” and this was how the Greek understood it, for the owner of a slave was called a “lord.” ”
    Since this is a single word (kurios) which is it? Does this mean lord & sir or does it only mean “absolute lord”? You have now stated both claims.

  80. Oh, I understand you perfectly well. I have heard the same arguments many times before.

    Kyrios when referring to God gives God absolute authority as it did the slave onwer, but when kyrios was used a courteous term, it means simply “sir.” You fail to see the difference and because of it you understand kyrios in 1 Pet 3 as ‘lord’ but it would make the man an absolute lord of the woman, which you deny.

  81. I continue to be intrigued by many of the things that are being claimed in this thread. I am not aware that the military use of hupotasso predates its use in rhetoric and medicine. I do know that it can mean to underlie or be an associated thought, to draw up behind as a spatial arrangement, or to be lower, as in a bone in the body being lower than, or attached to another bone.

    However, its use in the military, to my knowledge, dates from the Hellenistic era, and not the classical. But I may be missing something here.

    We can also see that it simply means “yield” or “give in to” someone who is beneath one in rank.

    2 Macc 13.23,

    ”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded (???????) and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”

    I would be very interested in any examples that anyone has for what is being said.

  82. Sue, the proper Greek word for “yield” is “hypieko.” Hence all who claim that hypotasso has the meaning “to yield” are misinformed.

    NN, have you found yet an example of kephale having the meaning someone in a superior position in the Roman or Greek army?

  83. Rom 10:17 however is in a middle voice (”Let every soul be subject..”)

    Perhaps you mean Romans 13:1. I would have to ask where you got the information that this was in the middle voice, since the Greek online Bible parses it as a passive voice.

    I don’t know what you are referring to either when you say that the instruction to wives is in the middle voice. The middle and passive are the same in many tenses so I don’t see how these two can be differentiated.

    In the Greek online Bible, all uses of hupotasso in reference to wives are identified as being in the passive voice. There is no way to tell which voice is used, so I don’t see any point at all in using this in an discussion.

  84. My reference of Acts 25 was never meant to be exegetic,

    I think the point is that conceptualy it doesn’t matter what one believes if it’s not bound by the text itself. So in this sense your “conceptual argument” is not valid. There are boundaries to the word or it wouldn’t have been written.

  85. Ok, if you do not want to discuss the origins of the words and their usage in the NT, how about the concept of hierarchy in itself. Why do we need a hierarchy in human relationships?

  86. NN,
    You’re outside the text and arguing from there where nothing can be proven or disproven so really, who cares other than those who arn’t bound by the text itself (I’m not implying you but making a point)?

  87. Sue, the proper Greek word for “yield” is “hypieko.” Hence all who claim that hypotasso has the meaning “to yield” are misinformed.

    I can assure you that the recognized New English Translation of the Septuagint has translated the passive of hupotasso in this manner, as “yield,” in the passage which I cited for you. This is the best international scholarship available, and the editor was my Greek professor.

    Please consider that it is best to refer to scholarship in these issues.

  88. The problem as I see it, is that you are continuing to look on the husband as a “governing authority” when 1 Cor. 7 shows that his authority is not that of “governing” but an equal authority with his wife.

    Case in point.

    NN, what you are bringing to the table is outside the text. What we want is the text.

  89. 1 Cor. 7 disproves at the very least the full sovereignty of the man and since no authority is given the husband except for 1 Cor. 7 and the man and woman were given equal rulership in the beginning, the burden of proof identifying full sovereignty of the man would be on the shoulders of those who claim it.

    Nice 🙂

  90. Merely that this passage would be compatible with this case and therefore does not disprove complementarian claims. You will have to look for other arguments in support of your view.

    Ofcourse it can be compatible, the society was patriarchal. So what? The time the text was written tells us nothing about whether or not male rule is biblical. God telling husbands that their wives have authority over their bodies amongst a patriarchal society doesn’t lend a thing but to egalism. The comp case has no support from the passage and the egal view does since both husband and wife have authority. The problem here is that the comp case has no support from the passage.

  91. The comp case literaly, never has support from the passage under fire. That’s the problem yet the “egal” position is supported all over the place. What doesn’t exist in scripture cannot be proven to be scriptural, comp case can never be proven. On the other hand there is support, evidence and proof everywhere for the “egal” position in the Bible. It’s amazing really.

  92. I am sure that the New English Translation of the Septuagint is excellent, but as you well know, translations do not always follow the original meanings of the words. Hypotasso for instance is given the meaning “obey” in some English translations, although it does not have such a meaning.
    I used a Greek dictionary (LSJ) and it gave hypeiko for “yield.” It is really not that important, but since the antonym of hypotasso is antitasso which means “to resist or to oppose” (an enemy), it would seem quite strange that hypotasso would have the meaning “yield” since the point is that the person who “hypotasso” is associating him/herself with the other person (as a friend and ally). Yielding is not necessarily involved. In Gal 2.5 for example the word “eiko” appears
    “To whom we did not yield (eiko) submission (hypotasso) even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”

    Here is where the matter becomes even more complicated:

    Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive (hypeiko), for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account (Heb 13:17).

    Hypeiko does not have the meaning “submit” hence it seems that translators sometimes confuse these two, just as they do with hypotasso and hypakouo. But as I said earlier, I think this matter is quite unimportant. Interesting for certain, but not of absolute importance.

  93. One hundred comments in and I’m not sure that any more clarity is being reached than with the original comment that precipitated this long chain.
    As such I believe I shall take my leave of this particular discussion. Best wishes

  94. NN,
    Well, let me be bold on this one and ask my question. You gave your blog address and I went to it and found out that one of your friends identifies herself as your wife. I know her! She is a very sweet lady! I went back through my records and found out that your wife and I had been conversing back to at least July of 2006 and as a result of our conversations I sent her a review copy of my DVD set on October 5, 2006. She told me that she would get back to me to point out any errors that she found in the DVDs and we could have some conversations about the material on the DVDs. She did post some comments on my blog in late December of 2007 but not about the DVDs and we have yet to have any conversation on any of the material in the DVDs I sent her. I haven’t heard from her now since Dec 2007. I am still interested in her view and now I am very interested in what you thought.

    So now might be a good time for us to discuss the DVDs since I think three years has been long enough to pick them apart if there was an error, eh?

    Was there anything on the DVDs that helped you to understand the egalitarian position?

    Was there anything on the DVDs that needed further explanation?

    Did you find any errors that you would like to discuss with me?

    If you are willing to correspond, I would be delighted. If you would prefer to keep it private, I am willing to do that too. My email address is listed on the email tab at the top of my blog.

    I appreciate you coming to my blog. I looked back at an old email from your lovely wife and she said that you love to debate. I just wish you wouldn’t have given up so quickly as debate and pushing for the truth can be very helpful for both sides.

    Please give your dear wife a hug and tell her I have never forgotten about her. She is one person that sticks out in my mind even after all these years!

  95. I have tried to read all of the comments…you guys really get going when you get going! I hope in saying the following I have not missed something so that I am stating the obvious!

    I was thinking that NN has a point in that Paul did have a ‘right’ to appeal to the higher authority (I realise that he was trying to suggest that the ‘right’ was an authority but Cheryl has addressed that). What NN says is true, Paul had this right. Not only that but I think it also relates directly to 1 Cor 7. But I think NN has not applied his own thinking correctly. If he has he would have come to the conclusion that 1 Cor 7 does provide evidence for egal thinking and undermines comp thinking. Let me explain!

    In verse 3 we see these rights clearly outlined. These are the same as Paul’s right to a trial. They are ‘conjugal’ rights as one version puts it (ESV I think). They are an ‘obligation’ or a debt owed. The interesting thing is that then in verse 4 Paul tells us where the appeal goes to – the ‘governance’ as NN put it. The woman is entitled to her conjugal rights and if she is denied she can appeal to herself as it is her that has authority over his body – she is the governing authority! Go Girl!!! Likewise the same for the husband. Go Boy.

    Beyond this there is no governance or higher authority. NN was trying to play with words (like taking ‘authority’ and making it ‘rights’) so as to skew the passage to only talk about rights. He could then claim that governance was not there and this had to be decided from other verses. He is wrong!

  96. Dave – because a subject has a specific right with respect to the governing authorities does not necessitate that this subject thereby has equal authority to the government over him. That is, my claim to trial does not thereby make my authority toward the US equal to the US’s authority over me. Nor does (for instance) the fact that a subsidiary company has an equal right to sue its parent company make the subsidiary company have equal authority over its parent company.

    Once again, I think passage does imply that the husband does not have “absolute” authority over the wife (he is instructed specifically not to deny her conjugal rights thus limiting the possible scope of his authority), but I’ve never heard any thinking complementarian claim that anyways. However, this stricture of limitation does not thereby negate any possibility of authority.

    (Thought I’d clarify for the new person commenting – consider me again bowed out)

  97. ” However, this stricture of limitation does not thereby negate any possibility of authority.”

    Isn’t this an argument from silence?

  98. Dave,
    Once again you have a wonderful way of putting things! You have condensed what I have been trying to say – that the woman has rights but she has the highest authority. There is not a whisper of a claim that the husband has an authority over her authority. That would be not only reading into the passage but actually removing what the passage says because she has an authority that the husband cannot remove or override. No other passage gives the husband an authority that overrides his wife so no wonder the comps seek to dismiss and dismantle this very important passage. But they cannot do so without doing harm to God’s inspired word.

  99. NN,
    Thanks for popping in for Dave. I hope that you will pop back for me too! After all I have been waiting for three years now to hear about the review of my DVDs and I am more than interested in what you and your wife have to say. Remember I sent the DVDs at my cost. So what is it going to be? Would you like me to start a separate post that will be a public discussion just on the DVDs? I can do that if you would like. Just say the word.

  100. And NN, “absolute authority” implies a higher authority. The husband is not shown to have an authority above the authority that the woman holds. Therefore, as Dave said, she doesn’t appeal to his higher authority. She is the higher authority. If he had the higher authority, the passage should instruct her to appeal to his higher authority just as Paul appealed to a higher authority. But, 1 Cor. 7 does not.

  101. NN, you said, “Dave – because a subject has a specific right with respect to the governing authorities does not necessitate that this subject thereby has equal authority to the government over him.”

    I completely agree with you, but the passage not only makes it clear as to the rights that the husband and wife have, it also makes it clear as to the ‘governing authority’ involved. Now, does the ‘governing authority’ of the woman extends to all areas of marriage beyond the marriage bed? That is the question!

    I would however ask the question, ‘Why is it that the only place that refers to the man being the governing authority of the woman it also says that the woman is also the governing authority of the man?’

    The burden of proof is surely on the comps to show us where the ‘governing authority’ of the woman is limited to the bedroom.

    Further to this, when we look at 1 Cor 7:3-4 we should note that the conjugal rights (i.e. sex) are only a part of the jurisdiction of the governing authority that has authority over the entire body of the spouse. The implication is that the authority extends to more than just sex, I would suggest to even things like providing for and caring for the body under their jurisdiction (Ephesians 5:28-29).

    Paul could appeal his right to a fair trial, but he had to do this to a governing body that had authority over more than simply the right to grant a trial to those who requested them. To me, 1 Cor 7:3-4 is simply an outworking of the concept of what it is to be one flesh, a concept that I believe relates to so much more than simply the act of sex, though the act of sex clearly comes within it’s ‘jurisdiction’!

    Thanks for popping back NN. I believe that we are now ‘getting somewhere’ after so many comments. Perhaps you might like to stick around just a bit longer?

  102. The question of authority really comes down to whether the man has authority in the first place. If the man does not have authority over his wife then there is no need to read anything into 1 Cor 7 which does not exist there. As already noted on the other threads, the idea that the man has authority over the woman as a created order comes from the 13th century; the early church used the fall account to justify the man’s rule over the woman. Modern comps do reversed theology compared to that of the patristic church in their rejection of Gen 3.16 as the beginning of the man’s rule and in their insistence on a creation-based female subjection. CBMW insists that their theology is an orthodox defense of the historic understanding of the church, but when you ask a comp to provide a quote from the first 13th centuries to that effect, they do not, for they cannot.
    With the sole guilt of Eve and the belief that the woman was subjected to the man as a punishment for her sin, comes also the concept that the head rules over the body. This is of course Platonism, since the Bible portrays always the heart as the thinking and guiding element of the human being. A head which rules over the body within an individual, and by analogy the husband over the wife, is foreign to the Hebrew thought and absent from both the OT and the NT. In the OT marriage is a covenant, made by both spouses, and both are held equally responsible for not breaking the covenant of marriage. Moses permitted divorce to the man due to the hardness of their hearts, but when we go to 1 Cor 7, we find that the same is required from the man as from the woman: stay married, or separate and remain unmarried. In the Shepherd of Hermas we find that the early church saw the exhortation of remaining unmarried as a provision for the one who had committed adultery to repent and return to his/her spouse.
    1 Cor 7 amplifies Gal 3.28: it is of no consequence whether you are a Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female; the same rules apply to all. The Jew has no greater privileges than the Gentile, the slave is the freeman of Christ and the freeborn is the slave of Christ, the man and the woman share all things in common, both in the bedroom and outside of it, wherefore it is better to remain unmarried if one wishes to serve God since the spouses will be occupied with pleasing each other.
    A Jew could very well use the comp theology to argue that only Jews should be allowed to be in leadership: the Bible was written by Jews; Abraham was a Jew; the priests were Jews; all the Kings and Queens were Jews; Jesus was a Jew; all the apostles were Jews; the Gospel was first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles; Gentiles had a different “role” in the church (they did not have to follow the law, wherefore God held only the Jews responsible, not the Gentiles, Acts 15). Of course a Gentile would immediately point out that the death of Christ broke down the wall of enmity and that God had made one body of Jews and Gentiles, wherefore it did not matter whether one was a Jew or a Gentile, since they all share in the same Spirit (1 Cor 12.13).

  103. “The implication is that the authority extends to more than just sex, I would suggest to even things like providing for and caring for the body under their jurisdiction (Ephesians 5:28-29).
    To me, 1 Cor 7:3-4 is simply an outworking of the concept of what it is to be one flesh, a concept that I believe relates to so much more than simply the act of sex…”

    Dave,
    Yes, my sentiments exactly. The sex act is THE defining difference between marriage and all other relationships, and it is certainly not something that can be compartmentalized from the rest of the relationship. What happens outside the “bedroom” will certainly effect what happens inside, and vice versa. One-flesh doesn’t split in two upon leaving the bedroom.

  104. Amen Kay! It is impossible to split a one-flesh union upon leaving the bedroom! I find it incredible that the man should have authority over the wife’s mind but not her body and I think it really comes down to this: the whole concept of the man’s authority is about preferences. The man’s final say, his right to make decisions and to impose them on his wife are all about preferences. Of course this is presented as “responsibility” but when you talk to women, you always hear the same thing: “I wish he would take some responsibility at home instead of leaving it all to me.” So at the end, the man is only protecting his right to live his life as he wishes and to expect his wife to comply with anything and everything he might throw in her way.

  105. Kay, you said, “The sex act is THE defining difference between marriage and all other relationships, and it is certainly not something that can be compartmentalized from the rest of the relationship.”

    Brilliant!

  106. The problem with NN’s view is that he see marriage as a hierarchy in which the wife can have a measure of authority (as she has over the children) as long as the husband has the ultimate authority. Hence he does not have a problem with 1 Cor 7 since he believes that the husband has the greater authority outside of the bedroom. Of course, to defend the hierarchy, they go from 1 Tim 2 to 1 Cor 11 to Gen 2 to Eph 5 and 1 Pet 3 to Gen 3 to 1 Tim 2. Authenteo is given the meaning “usurp authority”; kephale is given the meaning “authority over”; ezer is given the meaning “helper”; teshuwqah is given the meaning “desire”; kyrios is given the meaning “lord”; hypotasso is given the meaning “submit” and is understood as a synonym to obedience. These are all wrong! When these are corrected, the comps have nothing to defend their theology with and we are left with 1 Cor 7 and Eph 5.21: mutual devotion and love.

  107. Susanna & Dave,

    I would like to challenge hierarchist husbands to give up their ‘authority’ outside the bedroom as well and just see what happens to all aspects of their relationship, sexual or otherwise, with their wives. I would dare say, many would be pleasantly surprised.

  108. “The problem with NN’s view is that he see marriage as a hierarchy in which the wife can have a measure of authority (as she has over the children) as long as the husband has the ultimate authority. Hence he does not have a problem with 1 Cor 7 since he believes that the husband has the greater authority outside of the bedroom. Of course, to defend the hierarchy, they go from 1 Tim 2 to 1 Cor 11 to Gen 2 to Eph 5 and 1 Pet 3 to Gen 3 to 1 Tim 2. Authenteo is given the meaning “usurp authority”; kephale is given the meaning “authority over”; ezer is given the meaning “helper”; teshuwqah is given the meaning “desire”; kyrios is given the meaning “lord”; hypotasso is given the meaning “submit” and is understood as a synonym to obedience. These are all wrong! When these are corrected, the comps have nothing to defend their theology with and we are left with 1 Cor 7 and Eph 5.21: mutual devotion and love.”

    Susanna, You are singing my song. And I have long understood that this focus on authority of males is a huge sin trap for them.

  109. NN – thanks for providing the original challenge to Cheryl’s post. It has certainly caused me to look more deeply at the passage, and I believe helped me to understand it more accurately. Thanks!

    In relation to your original challenge, we certainly got distracted with some word meanings that did not even appear in the passage where we started. I therefore understand why you felt compelled to bow out and ‘move on’. You did however say the following…

    “So consider this an extended advertising campaign in support of truth and honesty in debating this topic. When we (collective we including both complementarians and egalitarians) find that we have made a faulty argument, let’s acknowledge it and move on. Let us seek truth and understanding rather than “winning the argument.””

    These are great words, thankyou for reminding us of the importance in seeking truth. My question for you, if you are still there, is would you like to show a flaw in our reasoning in response to your original challenge, or would you like to ‘acknowledge’ your faulty argument before moving on? We are still interested in seeking truth!

    Dave

  110. Kay, I believe that if men would really understand what they would gain from mutual love and devotion, they would embrace it. Unfortunately the allurement of power is such that most men are contended to have their personal lives shattered rather than seeing their wives, and women in general, as their equals.

    I was just thinking: if greatness comes from serving and men should be “servant leaders,” what should women be? “Leading servants”?

  111. “I was just thinking: if greatness comes from serving and men should be “servant leaders,” what should women be? “Leading servants”?”

    Good one, Susanna! That certainly illustrates the problem.

  112. “The interesting thing is that then in verse 4 Paul tells us where the appeal goes to – the ‘governance’ as NN put it. The woman is entitled to her conjugal rights and if she is denied she can appeal to herself as it is her that has authority over his body – she is the governing authority! Go Girl!!! Likewise the same for the husband. Go Boy.”

    Well put, DAVE!

    “Authenteo is given the meaning “usurp authority”; kephale is given the meaning “authority over”; ezer is given the meaning “helper”; teshuwqah is given the meaning “desire”; kyrios is given the meaning “lord”; hypotasso is given the meaning “submit” and is understood as a synonym to obedience. These are all wrong!”

    As well, Susanna!

  113. “Unfortunately the allurement of power is such that most men are contended to have their personal lives shattered rather than seeing their wives, and women in general, as their equals.”

    Actually, most men I know do their best to resist the allure of power (to varying degrees of success) and live lives that are fairly shatter free (at least in relation to their marital paradigm). Best be careful about stereotypes, eh?

  114. “Remember I sent the DVDs at my cost. So what is it going to be? Would you like me to start a separate post that will be a public discussion just on the DVDs? I can do that if you would like. Just say the word.”

    I wonder if NN realizes that Cheryl has been more than generous with these offers. Is he interested in debate practice or truth seeking?

  115. “What do you think? Is there a “leadership role” for the husband in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 as CBMW claims?”

    Going back to the original question, I had a funny thought. It reminds me of the movie “Animal House” and the “double secret probation” the fraternity was under. Apparently, CBMW thinks there is a “double secret authority” that men have.

    BTW – I expect that NONE of you have seen this movie, nor do I recommend it as it is quite immoral (and really funny). If you have seen it, I respect your efforts to keep that fact a “double secret”. LOL

  116. What many people may not recognize is that I went first to complementarians with my DVDs with the first ones receiving a pre-production copy. I asked for feedback and/or a review or a refutation as I felt that would be helpful to me. My interest is in truth. If I was not interested in seeing any blind spots that I may have I would never have gone to complementarians or especially to them first. Here is the very first review from a complementarian that viewed a pre-production copy. It is from Dr. Scott Heine:

    The story of creation tells us that both man and woman were made in the image of God. All people are given intrinsic value in the miraculous act of creation, and all people are loved passionately by God, regardless of gender, race, age, education, economics, etc. However, though men and women are equal in value and purpose in God’s eyes, there are passages in the Bible that raise the question of whether or not God limits the roles that are available to women in a local church family. Women in Ministry: Silenced or Set Free examines this question in a thoughtful and persuasive way. Through clear, concise teaching and multimedia, this series provides an excellent presentation of the arguments in favor of a woman’s freedom to serve in all roles of Christian leadership according to God’s leading. Though I disagree with the theological conclusions of this series at several points, I found the series very helpful in understanding the issues involved from a different perspective. Without a doubt, the presentation is offered with tremendous respect, integrity, and grace.

    -Dr. Scott Heine, Compass Church, Goodyear, Arizona

    Also regarding NN, I received an email from his wife last night saying that she will watch the DVDs once more to refresh her memory and get back to me privately regarding the material in the DVDs. I am hoping that NN will participate as well, but she made no mention if he was willing or not to dialog on the DVDs.

    Please pray for this precious couple that God will minister to them in their physical needs as well as open their eyes regarding women in ministry. I don’t believe that they have come to my attention and to this blog haphazardly. I believe that it was a Divine appointment that God is using to bring a blessing into their lives.

  117. gengwall,

    Ah, a “secret” leadership. A concept I had not thought of 😉 I guess this comes with “secret” authority that is never mentioned. Now how on earth will these men defend a “secret” authority without revealing how, why and where they got this “secret” from?

    The problem with “secrets” is that scripture shows that God’s secrets do not belong to humans. It is only the revealed things that belong to us.

    Deut 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

    Anyone who would claim that they have a “secret” authority would be in contradiction to God’s word.

  118. “I don’t believe that they have come to my attention and to this blog haphazardly. I believe that it was a Divine appointment that God is using to bring a blessing into their lives.”
    Cheryl,
    I’m with you – No matter why people come in the first place, it’s no mistake!

  119. Hey Gengwall, I dislike stereotypes as much as you do; I was talking in general terms looking back to the sordid past of humanity in which men have used and abused women rather than seen them as their equals. Only a hundred years ago in the Western world a wife was a man’s possession, rather than a human being with positive rights of her own. I find it highly ironic that European women gained full personhood before the law in the sixteenth century due to the witchcraze: the old rule in which the husband was punished for the crimes of their wives, which was designed to ensure the husbands control in the home, did not seem so appealing when the punishment was being burnt on the stake. This of course gave the women only negative rights (being held accountable before the law for crimes), not positive rights (voting, right to keep their earnings etc.). So, yes, you are right: most modern men try very hard to keep their marriages intact, but if we look at the larger picture, it isn’t so pretty.

  120. Gengwall, I noticed that you referred to my book on your blog! Do you think you could write a review and post it on Amazon.com and Christianbooks.com, or am I being too inopportune for asking? Since you are a man, (and do not let your male ego get the best of you, contrary to what you think!) it would be greatly valued. Yes, I know… it shouldn’t matter, but it does for some, so I thought I’d ask.

  121. I was planning on it once I’m finished. I have been wrapped up with a play that I was doing sound for and getting ready for Christmas so I haven’t gotten much further. But maybe after the new year.

    (Sorry Cheryl for commandeering the blog momentarily).

  122. So quiet. Maybe I should say something controversial. OK – some more devils advocacy. Some may say that although the authority appears reciprocal in 1 Cor 7 it really isn’t because of the differences in sex drive. Since the male sex drive is so much greater than that of the female, the authority he wields over her is proportionally greater. Therefore, he can in a sense overrule her authority in relation to intimate relation and there is a hierarchy which needs to be submitted to. What say you to that?

  123. Gengwall–

    My first response to that is unprintable. (At least in polite society, anyway).

    I will give you this: your proposition is very interesting. By appealing to physiological reality, you’re setting up an incredibly difficult question to answer. There’s a part of me that’s thinking, Holy biology, Batman, I can’t believe he went there! Honestly, that’s an argument that would never have occurred to me in a million years.

    As for my thoughts on it, I happen to believe that it’s not true. Even though it is physiologically true that a man’s sex drive is stronger than a woman’s, I don’t believe that that can be used to reinforce a hierarchical structure in the marriage. Otherwise, what does one do with Paul’s argument in Ephesians 5 that the husband is to serve the wife sacrificially, as Christ served the Church? In other words, show me the evidence. You’ve bit on an intriguing morsel; I’d love to know if there’s more to it than a simple (arguably facile) appeal to biology as a reinforcement of male dominance.

  124. Believe me Alison, you get some pretty wild arguments on men’s forums. I wouldn’t throw it out there if I hadn’t actually heard it myself from someone. I know why it is invalid. But I want to see how others would approach a rebuttal.

    As for your question, I don’t know what one does with Eph 5. Ironically, Cheryl has tried several times here to take the attention away from Eph 5 and focus on her core question which remains solidly in 1 Cor 7: is there a hidden hierarchy within the apparently reciprocal authority in this passage. So at the risk of offending, I would say tentatively that Eph 5 is irrelevant. *gengwall cringes*

  125. “So at the risk of offending, I would say tentatively that Eph 5 is irrelevant. *gengwall cringes*”
    gengwall,
    As you like to say, Saying it is so, doesn’t make it so – show me the proof.

    *btw, that is a wild argument, if ever there was one.

  126. gengwall,
    I would also say it’s almost like the guy arguing that way is being ‘sexist’ against males – as in: men are so driven by sexual urges, by virtue of being male, that they cannot put their fasting and prayer to the Lord in the proper -of highest importance – perspective. In short, their ‘maleness’ comes before their God.

    Shouldn’t ALL believers agree that prayer and fasting to the Lord are more important than our desires.

  127. gengwall,
    Let’s put that in practical terms. Say you and your family have just had a crisis. You make a quick phone call to a friend for much needed prayer. Don’t we want to call on someone who will actually have enough physical self-control to pray for us?

  128. “Some may say that although the authority appears reciprocal in 1 Cor 7 it really isn’t because of the differences in sex drive. Since the male sex drive is so much greater than that of the female, the authority he wields over her is proportionally greater. Therefore, he can in a sense overrule her authority in relation to intimate relation and there is a hierarchy which needs to be submitted to. What say you to that?”

    Doesn’t matter how much of a sex drive he has. The wife still has authority over his body and all it contains! There are no qualifications. And the husband still has authority over the wife’s body and all it contains.

    It’s a wonder no one has gotten into the problems of when the wife and husband’s desires are polar opposites.

  129. I think I’m joining the cringe party. I now understand what’s meant by “locker room talk”, especially on the net. I’m thankful that I don’t read men’s forums, otherwise I might be tempted to throw my laptop out of a fifth floor window.

    As for 1 Cor. 7, I would argue that there is no hierarchy either stated or implied. I’ve sat with that passage for quite some time, trying to ferret one out, but every time I’ve tried, I’ve ended up violating the spirit of mutuality that’s inherent to that text, which has rendered the text (and Paul’s argument) completely unstable. I’d love to know, gengwall, just why that argument is invalid. I have a hunch; I’d love to see if my hunch is right.

  130. “I would also say it’s almost like the guy arguing that way is being ’sexist’ against males – as in: men are so driven by sexual urges, by virtue of being male, that they cannot put their fasting and prayer to the Lord in the proper -of highest importance – perspective. In short, their ‘maleness’ comes before their God.”

    Kay, you stole my response. :o)

    And, btw…I have known people where the problem with sex overdrive was the wife, not the husband.

  131. “Kay, you stole my response. :o)

    Sorry about that, Lin.

    “And, btw…I have known people where the problem with sex overdrive was the wife, not the husband.”

    Perhaps we know the same people. 😉

  132. “I’ll wait a little longer before revealing my response.”

    gengwall,
    Apparently, your ‘little’ and my ‘little’ are two different things.

  133. gengwall: “Some may say that although the authority appears reciprocal in 1 Cor 7 it really isn’t because of the differences in sex drive. Since the male sex drive is so much greater than that of the female, the authority he wields over her is proportionally greater. Therefore, he can in a sense overrule her authority in relation to intimate relation and there is a hierarchy which needs to be submitted to. What say you to that?”

    http://health.discovery.com/centers/sex/sexpedia/hormone.html

    “However, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that because women have less testosterone than men do, they have lower sexual interest than their male counterparts. Instead, it seems that women detect and react to much smaller amounts of testosterone in their circulation than men do.”

  134. How about this one: according to some women need more love than men (Eph 5), hence we could argue that women can override their husband’s authority and right to command by their need to be loved since we know from 1 Cor 13 that love does not seek its own (which means that the husband cannot command the wife to do something he wants her to do, since he does not need to command her to obey God, since as a Christian her relationship to God is her private matter, not something her husband needs to be concerned about, other than how it affects the entire family). I.e. the husband overrides the wife’s authority in all matters and the wife the husband’s in all matters and voila, we are back at Eph 5.21.

    One more thing about hypotasso (submit): don’t you all think it is strange that we should read it as a military term when the true military term is ‘ezer (help) in Gen 2.18-24? And we are not talking about someone who is “under authority”. ‘Ezer refers always to an equal (if human) or superior (if God) who is sent, or comes to aid, when needed. The term cannot refer to a weaker, subordinated creature, for what good would it do to send such a person against an enemy which is too much for one to handle? The woman was not created to be subordinated to the man, but to be an equal strength. After all, puppies are adorable, but not really all that great when one feels alone and in need of company.

  135. Sorry for being awol in this discussion. Things have been very busy with all kinds of meetings and I had a very painful (!) dentist appointment today.

    Well I am certainly looking forward to gengwall’s insights or his being the devil’s advocate whatever his role is in this one 😉

    I agree with Susanna that God did not give Adam an inferior helper. Adam needed someone who had the power and ability to provide him what he needed. Adam certainly did not need a junior flunky who needed to be watched and trained lest she messed up the garden. Adam’s need was not to have someone to boss over. He had all the animals to boss if his need was to be in authority. Adam’s need was not for someone less than himself. He had all the “lessers” already created. He needed a strong person to meet his real need.

  136. To me, context here is very important. In the verses just preceding 1 Cor. 7:4-5 it says,

    “You know that your bodies are parts of the body of Christ. Shall I take a part of Christ’s body
    and make it part of the body of a prostitute? Impossible! Or perhaps you don’t know that the
    man who joins his body to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? The scripture says
    quite plainly, “The two will become one body.” But he who joins himself to the Lord becomes spiritually one with him. Avoid immorality. Any other sin a man commits does not affect his
    body; but the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory.” 1 Cor. 6:15-20

    Since chapter/verse divisions were not originally part of this letter and considering that the sex act is THE defining difference between marriage and all other relationships, I see verses 15-20 as related to 7:4-5 (and all of ch. 7 for that matter). Every Christian – our body, soul and spirit – no longer belong to ourselves, but to God. “So use your bodies for God’s glory.” 1 Cor. 6:20

    Now, I also notice a great similarity between the verses above and the beginning of Ephesians 5:
    “Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God. Since you are God’s people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you. Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God. You may be sure that no one who is immoral, indecent, or greedy (for greed is a form of idolatry) will ever receive a share in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with foolish words; it is because of these very things that God’s anger will come upon those who do not obey him. So have nothing at all to do with such people. You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, ” vs. 1-8.

    and these verses at the end of ch. 5:
    “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

    We are all parts of Christ’s Body. One part cannot use another part at will.

    “Or perhaps you don’t know that the man who joins his body to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? The scripture says quite plainly, “The two will become one body.” But he who joins himself to the Lord becomes spiritually one with him.” 1 Cor. 6:16-17

    “But he who joins himself to the Lord becomes spiritually one with him.” vs.17
    “”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Eph.5:31-32

  137. “Now, to deal with the matters you wrote about. A man does well not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.”
    1 Cor.7:1-2

    It appears that each man is given a choice and each woman is given a choice. The word ‘man’ in vs. 1 is ‘anthropos’ (human being) and ‘each man’ in vs. 2 is ‘hekastos.’

  138. Yes Kay – my “little” is different 😉

    sm hit it on the head. The premise is false on several levels.

    In order for the argument to even work, a greater male sex drive would have to be universal. It is not.

    Even without universality, male sex drive would have to be greater at least within each marriage. It absolutely is not.

    Even worse, sex drive levels change over time for both partners, so even within a particular marriage, which spouse has the greater sex drive is not necessarily fixed over time.

    So, unless someone arguing this position is willing to admit that in some marriages, and even for periods of time within any marriage, the woman would have the greater authority, they have no case.

  139. Just curious, gengwall – so, then why did you ignore my response #139:
    “gengwall,
    That’s not in the text. 😉 “

  140. Hi Kay. I didn’t ignore your response, or put more accurately, your response required no response. You are correct – that isn’t in the text. But since when has that stopped a comp? Remember, I was playing devil’s advocate. Reading into the text what isn’t there is one of the chief tactics in that advocacy.

  141. gengwall,
    I think that I ‘get’ what you’re saying…”But since when has that stopped a comp?”
    So, now I’m wondering – since when did logic, facts or science stop a hierarchist?? Normally, they foul egals for introducing ‘outside’ worldly, social, etc…evidence.

    Do you mind revealing the response, if any, from the comp? (if printable in mixed co.)

  142. “Do you mind revealing the response, if any, from the comp?”

    I can’t for two reasons

    1. It wasn’t just one guy.
    2. It was on Christian Forums some time ago and I simply can;t find the old post.

    Sorry.

  143. From what I recall, the conversation just frittered away. Some men tried to persist in their view that male sex drive is universally higher than female. It is a demonstrably false position and it wasn’t worth the effort to argue endlessly with them.

  144. “It is a demonstrably false position and it wasn’t worth the effort to argue endlessly with them.”

    It seems to me that so much of how we view God and His Word is due to our attitude ‘eyes’ – I tend to see God as “the Hound of Heaven.” Others see Him as the “rule maker.” Yes, He is Holy, but that doesn’t necessarily outweigh His Mercy.
    (even though it doesn’t look like it – this does relate to with the conversation…)

  145. The following is excerpted from a series of post called Sexual Detox from challies.com and is, I think, related. Challies does acknowledge the authority of each spouse over the other’s body but still hold to male leadership in the area of sex. I am not sure how that is reconciled as he didn’t answer my questions.

    http://www.challies.com/archives/christian-living/sexual-detox-ii-a-theology-of-sex.php

    “Unequal Desire
    Yet sexual desire, the appetite for sex, is not given in equal measure. It is typically given in greater part to men. Why is this? The answer, I’m convinced, goes right to the heart of the husband-wife relationship. God commands that men, husbands, be leaders. Men are to take the leading role while women are to follow. God intends that men take leadership even in sex and, therefore, he gives to men a greater desire for it. This way men can lead their wives, taking the initiative, taking care to love their wives in such a way that they wish to have sex with their husbands. Generally speaking, a man finds intimacy and acceptance through sex while a woman needs to first experience intimacy and acceptance before she can be prepared to enjoy sex. And so God gives the man a sexual appetite so he can in turn provide for his wife’s needs before she provides for his. His sexual appetite cannot be separated from his leadership.”

    Here are the questions I posted that went unanswered:

    “Men are created to be initiators (leaders in sex) and women responders, but if, however, in the sphere of sex women are given a pass to initiate (lead in sex “indicate” or “woo”) which could quite possibly be a rather frequent or at least a regular occurrence, is it possible that women could lead or take initiative in other areas as well?

    Specifically how does the Bible outline clearly that “God’s normal plan” is that men take leadership in the area of sex? What scriptures clearly set out this tenet?

    I noticed when asked if a wife may initiate sex, you responded a wife may “indicate that she would like to have sex” and that she may “woo” her husband? Do you consider this behavior taking initiative? Is there a level of subtlety that is to be maintained so as not venture into initiation or leadership?

    Do you believe that God’s plan is for men to take leadership in the husband-wife relationship? If so, is it a sin for a man to abdicate his leadership role as it relates to being a provider, protector, spiritual leader or in any other way a man is suppose to exercise leadership? If so, then wouldn’t it be a sin for a man to abdicate leadership in the area of sex if it is God’s normal plan for man to be the leader in the sexual relationship?

    Is it a violation of God’s design for womanhood for a wife to exercise leadership in a way that was God’s intention for man—i.e. provision, protection, spirituality? If so, wouldn’t it be a sin (violation of God’s design and plan for manhood and womanhood) for the wife lead out in the area of sex?

    At the very least, if one does not know if it is a sin for a man to abdicate his leadership role in the area of sex, wouldn’t it be best to advise against it?

    If leadership is rooted in an innate greater sexual desire, would a female/wife with a greater sexual appetite than her husband therefore be the leader? If a wife has a greater sexual appetite than her husband, would it not be aberrant?”

    This whole topic is intriguing b/c it seems to hinge on absolutes that are not. Since discovering this issue, I hear and read that men are to initiate, they are innately and divinely designed as initators, but however, a woman can initiate sex b/c men like that. This is just one among many.

    IF a woman is a responder and divinely and innately designed to be so, she should only respond b/c to do otherwise would violate God’s good design, right? IF it is wrong for a man to abdicate his leadership in provision, protection, etc., wouldn’t it be wrong to abdicate his leadership in sex irrespective of his interest and arousal by his wife’s initiating sexual b/c as Challies says God created men w/ a greater sex drive b/c he designed and intended them to lead in sex? Wouldn’t that be leading her into sin if he so desired such and encouraged it? At what point, after how many sexual intiatives would the wife be venturing into full-fledged sexual leadership and not just “wooing” or “indicating she wants to have sex”? Are their degrees of “wooing” as has been discussed in this thread already, I believe. (I’ve been reading Burleson’s, too, so I hope I have not confused the two.)
    I would like to know how comps would answer these questions and account for the inconsistency.

  146. Your list of questions is daunting (and right on) sm. I would not presume to add to it. I find the flaw in the argument at the very beginning, a flaw that you highlight amongst your questions:

    “Yet sexual desire, the appetite for sex, is not given in equal measure. It is typically given in greater part to men.”

    And, pray tell comp commentator, what happens when you have an atypical couple?….*crickets chirping*….

  147. “I noticed when asked if a wife may initiate sex, you responded a wife may “indicate that she would like to have sex” and that she may “woo” her husband?”

    I would just luv to know how “woo”ing is not leading/or attempting to lead one’s husband into sex. ?? That’s right up there with “joyful submission” – it’s different because they say it is different…

  148. Lin, you said…”And, btw…I have known people where the problem with sex overdrive was the wife, not the husband.”

    I do not understand…this is a problem? 😉

    Logically, if everyone had equal sex drive then Paul would never have needed to say anything. Everybody would just have sex on every 5th day at 3pm without fail…unless they were praying and fasting.

    Going back to our discussion with NN, I cannot help but think that 1 Cor 7:3-4 is talking about more than just sex. The reference to authority is to bodies, so reduceing it to sex drive I feel is limiting the scope of the authority.

  149. Isn’t it interesting that in 1 Cor. 7 husband and wife are told they have authority over one another’s bodies. Then in Ephesians 5 all are told that we are to be submissive one to another, before discussing how spouses are to be one one flesh.

    There is a dichotomy there you know. 🙂

  150. I guess when you tell husbands that wives have authority over their husbands body, as husbands do over their wives, that you are telling them to submit to one another.

    Hmmmm…headache…

  151. “Or perhaps you don’t know that the man who joins his body to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? The scripture says quite plainly, “The two will become one body.” But he who joins himself to the Lord becomes spiritually one with him.” 1 Cor. 6:16-17
    “”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Eph.5:31-32

    The more I compare these verses, I do not think that in Eph. 5 Paul is referring to Christ and the Bride (Church). I think the mystery is becoming physically and spiritually one-flesh. As in the head/body analogy – as Christ is the head of the Church.

  152. Dave, the problem is *hers* particularly if there is no “joyful submission” on the part of her husband in the faithful practice of the text we have undertaken.
    “…if everyone had equal sex drive then Paul would never have needed to say anything.” Exactly! Great point.
    Dave wrote: #113 “…when we look at 1 Cor 7:3-4 we should note that the conjugal rights (i.e. sex) are only a part of the jurisdiction of the governing authority that has authority over the entire body of the spouse. The implication is that the authority extends to more than just sex…”
    It seems to me that the jurisdiction of the governing authority extends to a spouse’s spiritual disciplines regardless of how honorable they may be, if they have implications that infringe upon or disadvantage the other spouse.

  153. I would also add to that last comment:

    …or that prevent a spouse from faithfully fulfilling their responsibilities or obligations to the relationship.

  154. “ In CBMW’s book there is only one short reference to 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 in the overview section under question #46. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood says:

    ‘But this text definitely shapes that leadership and gives added Biblical guidance for how to work it out. It makes it clear that leadership will not involve selfish unilateral choices. He will always strive for the ideal of agreement.’”

    What’s in a name? Leadership that does not involve selfish unilateral choices but strives for the ideal of agreement smells like mutuality.

  155. SM, you said, “Dave, the problem is *hers* particularly if there is no “joyful submission” on the part of her husband in the faithful practice of the text we have undertaken.”

    I was asking what the problem was with a wife having the greater sex drive. It was a joke, much like what I assume is used in men’s chat forums, though gengwall could probably clarify for us!

  156. Dave, I took it as a joke. You’re refreshing humor comes across well. Read mine as a joke of sorts, too, except that it truly can be a problem for a frustrated wife….

    Lin : ”And, btw…I have known people where the problem with sex overdrive was the wife, not the husband.”

    Dave: “I do not understand…this is a problem?” (with emoticon, IDK how)

    SM: “The problem is *hers* particularly if there is no ‘joyful submission’ on the part of her husband in the faithful practice of the text we have undertaken.”

    I hope that helps.

  157. Ah yes, I am reading you more clearly now! You will have to excuse us Aussies…we are not always the sharpest tools in the shed. In a typical male way I was not seeing any problem with a wife with a powerful sex drive. Very selfish of me!

  158. “What’s in a name? Leadership that does not involve selfish unilateral choices but strives for the ideal of agreement smells like mutuality.”

    sm,
    Perhaps the subject matter has tainted their doctrine.

    Things put forward by CBMW don’t normally smell that good. Case in point John Starke’s blog post:
    “It is important to realize, when reading Baxter and the Puritans…They simply assumed the clear, biblical teaching of a husband’s authority in the family and a wife’s JOYFUL submission. So then, at one level, Baxter?s direction for women wouldn’t sound too different than John Piper’s or Wayne Grudem’s.”
    A sample of Piper’s advice:
    “If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.”

  159. “‘But this text definitely shapes that leadership and gives added Biblical guidance for how to work it out. It makes it clear that leadership will not involve selfish unilateral choices. He will always strive for the ideal of agreement.’”

    But as you can see, its still all about the man. It’s as if they all have asperger’s disease with it’s associated narcissism.

  160. Both Grudem and Piper recognize that the concept of headship does not work in the real world, wherefore they conclude that “headship does not define the precise activity of husband and wife,” as long – naturally – as the man has the last word in all matters.
    And of course submission must be “joyful.” It would not be quite as pleasant to live with a woman who is unhappy. The “joyful” submission removes any and all feelings of guilt the man might experience and makes the whole arrangement look legitimate. Kind of like the “happy Negro” from the era of segregation (which is why black men stopped smiling in public in the 60’s which re-defined their image from “happy” to the more realistic “oppressed”). Women tend to smile more than men, and often their smile is taken for approval, whereas it is often just part of their nature as co-operative beings (women tend to be more co-operative, especially during the childbearing years due to large amount of estrogen. This does not mean that men are less co-operative, but some studies have shown that testosterone makes men more hierarchical, and dominating in relationships)

  161. TL, you are right: it is all about the man in complementarism. The whole Bible is read as if written solely to men and women are seen as appendixes to men, not as person’s with rights of their own.

  162. “And of course submission must be “joyful.” It would not be quite as pleasant to live with a woman who is unhappy. The “joyful” submission removes any and all feelings of guilt the man might experience and makes the whole arrangement look legitimate.”

    It also puts the burden of being happy on the woman and not the treatment the husband is giving.

  163. “This does not mean that men are less co-operative, but some studies have shown that testosterone makes men more hierarchical, and dominating in relationships”

    This may explain the tendency of the young. When we are young and hormones are raging we want to follow the hormones. As we mature the pull of the hormones lessens and gives us a chance to think and evaluate.

    Many young people like the man in authority and the woman yielding to his big strong shoulders. I have suspected it is because of the sin nature described in Gen. 3:16. The woman has turned to the man in ways that she should be turning to God for. And the man responds to it naturally by trying to be a bit like a god to her which humanly comes out in some form of domination even benignly. It will work for a while for many, until real life sets in.

    As a couple matures, the woman will often get tired of being controlled. When that happens either the man matures and relinquishes his control and they continue together to become more like Christ, or the woman knuckles under and lives a restricted and subdued life thinking she has to.

  164. Just read through the entire conversation over the course of two days. I hope its not too late to ask some questions? make some comments? I will break up my comments into sections because I have included more links than the filter will allow in one comment.

    NN said: Most commonly used in literary works by the ancient historians to describe military action. As time went on the word became much more widely adopted, used by Greek playwrights and considerably even in common writing. For instance, one common non military specialized usage was in document preparation to denote attachments & submissions. (E.g. “we submit the attched note for your inspection”, or “see appended note”).

    I recall reading that the word hupotasso was commonly used in the postal system with the meaning, “stick (to)”, “attach”. Can you (or someone) point to the original source of that information as I would like to have an accurate citation (for an article)?

  165. nn said (in comment 20):

    Paul makes a point of “hupotassoe” when speaking to the wife (and a point of agapao when talking to the husband) indicating distinction between the two.

    And on the possible meanings of “hupotassoe,” it should be pointed out that this is the word used in Luke 10 to describe the subjection of devils to the commands of the apostles. I think this could hardly be couched as a friendly exchange of suggestions.

    Disclaimer: I am not an expert in Greek, but I did take hermeneutics in seminary and learn how to use Word Study Tools for exegesis.

    If you will go to these links at BLB: Luke 10:17-20 and Eph 5:24 and scroll down, you will see that the form of hupotasso is exactly the same in Luke 17, 20, and Ephesians 5:24. ???????????=hupotassetai.

    If you scroll down further, you will see the parsing of the verb under “Tense” and all three cases are identified as the PASSIVE voice. I also checked the interlinear at: http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm
    and
    interlinearbible.org/ephesians/5.htm
    They all identify these instances of “subjection” as passive voice where the subject receives the action without volition/will on the part of the subject.

    nn, though on the surface, a shocking parallel, I think your example of the submission of the devils to the apostles actually provides a great deal of insight as to the nature of the submission of wife to husband. Do the devils have any will in their submission? Do they choose their submission? Can they decide not to submit? No, they are in subjection without any volition/will on their part. Their subjection is not a “command” that they must “obey”; their subjection their state of being, which they cannot resist even if they wanted to.

    Likewise, the submission/subjection of the wife in Ephesians 5 as well as in 1 Peter 3 is stated with verbs using the passive voice. This suggests that a wife’s submission/subjection is descriptive rather than prescriptive. Its not a COMMAND, its her state of being which she cannot resist even if she wanted to.

  166. I suggest that the passive voice of hupotasso is evidence that biblical teaching about wifely subjection is not a command to women. Commands are in the imperative. (eg. verse 25 directed to HUSBANDS is in the imperative love-agapete) . Rather this submission is a state of being and a response. Much like a garden passively receives watering, nourishing, cherishing,. The garden is SUBJECT TO the gardener. If tending, nourishing, cherishing, is neglected, the garden wilts and dies.

    I suggest that the statement in Ephesians 5:24 should not make wives sweat at all. Rather, husbands should be sweating. She has no power nor control to resist. When she marries, her husband holds her heart in his hands. Will he be harsh and trample her under his feet? crushing her spirit? or will he be like Christ and minister LIFE?

    The way I am seeing this passive voice of submission in marriage is reflected by this quote from the movie Fireproof:
    A woman is like a rose.
    If you treat her right she blooms.
    If you treat her wrong she wilts.
    In this way, a wife is subject to her husband as the church is subject to Christ.

    But Christ ministers LIFE, while a husband is capable of ministering a great deal of death.

    And a husband has a particular power and influence upon a wife that may not go “vice versa” because she is uniquely “subject to” (being harmed by?) him moreso than he to her. John Gottman observed this in his marriage laborator (see quote below). This view also makes sense of the instruction to wives that they need to PHOBEO their husbands (Eph 5:33).

    Susanna Krizo mentioned this passive state of submission/cooperation of women in comment 184:

    Women tend to smile more than men, and often their smile is taken for approval, whereas it is often just part of their nature as co-operative beings (women tend to be more co-operative, especially during the childbearing years due to large amount of estrogen. This does not mean that men are less co-operative, but some studies have shown that testosterone makes men more hierarchical, and dominating in relationships)

    and John Gottman has observed and reported this from his laboratory research

    This observation led me to formulate the hypothesis that marriages work to the extent that men accept influence from, share power with women. Next I applied this to a longitudinal study of 130 nonviolent newlywed couples and found that, amazingly, those in which the men who did not accept influence from their wives wound up divorced. The prediction rate was very good, 80% accuracy, and it did not work the other way around: Most wives accepted influence from their husbands, and the acceptance predicted nothing. [from Gottman “The Marriage Clinic”]

  167. Susanna Krizo,

    Oddly, the anti-spam word is “CONNECT” 😀

    I am intrigued by your research and insights on hupotasso, and by your new book. Can you provide an e-mail address?

    The reason I asked nn for a source for the use of hupotasso in the postal system with the meaning, “stick (to)”, “attach” is that I have noticed a thread of “attachment” like glue 🙂 in the teaching to BOTH husbands and wives (a head and body are quite “attached”)

    From Perseus, here are some definitions of the relevent words:

    upotasso LSJ
    post in the shelter of
    append
    underlie, to be implied in or associated with

    Col 3:18 anako
    be connected with
    belong

    Eph 5:31 cleave see also http://scripturetext.com/ephesians/5-31.htm
    glue on or to
    to be stuck to, stick or cleave to

    The latter is in the “leave and cleave” instruction. I am intrigued that “LEAVE” is in the ACTIVE voice “The active voice represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action” while cleave is in the PASSIVE voice ( as is hupotasso in Ephesians 5). Passive voice- the subject receives the action without volition/will on the part of the subject. However, IMO the passive accomplishment of “cleaving” remains contingent upon his active “LEAVE-ing” which I suggest is not just geographical distance, but leaving behind the “empty ways of his forefathers” as Peter puts it in 1 Pet 1:18.

  168. I think I erred and copied too much from the notepad, so please disregard that LOOOOOOOOOng comment in moderation

    Susanna Krizo,

    I am intrigued by your research and insights on hupotasso, and by your new book. Can you provide an e-mail address?

    The reason I asked nn for a source for the use of hupotasso in the postal system with the meaning, “stick (to)”, “attach” is that I have noticed a thread of “attachment” like glue 🙂 in the teaching to BOTH husbands and wives (a head and body are quite “attached”)

    From Perseus, here are some definitions of the relevent words:

    upotasso LSJ
    post in the shelter of
    append
    underlie, to be implied in or associated with

    Col 3:18 anako
    be connected with
    belong

    Eph 5:31 cleave see also http://scripturetext.com/ephesians/5-31.htm
    glue on or to
    to be stuck to, stick or cleave to

    The latter is in the “leave and cleave” instruction. I am intrigued that “LEAVE” is in the ACTIVE voice “The active voice represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action” while cleave is in the PASSIVE voice ( as is hupotasso in Ephesians 5). Passive voice- where the subject receives the action without volition/will on the part of the subject

    Seems a husband’s “CLEAVE-ing” is dependent upon his “LEAVE-ing father and mother”. I take “LEAVE-ing” as not mere geographical distance but putting behind “the futile ways of the forefathers”/”your vain conduct [received] by tradition from your fathers” 1 Peter 1:18

  169. Charis,
    I rescued your comments from my spam box. For some reason the software deemed them spam. Thanks for pointing me to the fact that some of your comments were missing in action otherwise it might have been some time before I checked my spam box 🙂

  170. Hey Charis. Hopefully Susanna and Cheryl will pick up on this and share some of theri discoveries about hupotasso. They have investigated the word far more deeply than I. I do wonder if this idea of submission being the “state” the wife is in will rub them slightly wrong. I know it doesn’t sound quite right to me. Let me explain.

    I believe the instructions to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 are fully parallel. In other words, I believe Paul is instructing both wives and husbands about a state they need to get to in order for marriage to function properly.

    Now, you may argue that the passive for the wife coupled contrasts the active direction for husbands to love their wives. I think that is an argument worth considering. Never-the-less, Paul appears, at least to me, to be instructive to both husbands and wives. Put simply, he wants them to do something. The fact that he commands it for men but leaves it as a voluntary act for women does not alter my view that the whole passage is instructive to all concerned.

  171. Hi gengwall,

    You have misunderstood me. I am not saying a wife’s submission is “voluntary”. I am saying that she IS in subjection (connected?) to her husband. She has no choice. Does your heart “choose” to be in subjection (connected?) to your brain? Upon marriage a husband holds his wife’s heart in his hand. He has a great deal of power to minister LIFE or DEATH to her. Hence the instruction to him in Eph 5 to agapete is in the imperative, while there are no imperatives there directed unilaterally to the wife.

    (Note: Col 3:18 has an imperative “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” but if we select from the range of meanings for hupotasso-‘connection’ and for anako/”fit”-“connect”, the verse would be rendered “Wives be connected to your husbands as you are connected in the Lord”)

  172. Charis,
    Thanks for all your comments. I don’t have time right now to think this one through as we are leaving soon to visit family. I am sure that Susanna will be back to comment when she is able. This is also a busy season for her as I believe she is doing a lot of baking for Christmas.

    As far as Susanna’s email address, I don’t think she makes it public, but she has a contact place on her web site where she can contact you back. You can reach her through the contact page at http://www.whendogmasdie.com/ On the left hand side it says “contact us”. Clicking there will take you to her contact information.

    Merry Christmas all!

  173. “(Note: Col 3:18 has an imperative “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” but if we select from the range of meanings for hupotasso-’connection’ and for anako/”fit”-”connect”, the verse would be rendered “Wives be connected to your husbands as you are connected in the Lord”)”

    I like your conclusion, Charis. And if fits quite well with my understanding. But I disagree that it isn’t voluntary. That is the whole point IMO, that it is all voluntary; both to be arranging ourselves under one another, or be connected, and in wives doing so with their husbands in their whole life. Wives should not withhold parts of themselves, unless the husband is abusive and harmful.

  174. Hi Charis,
    I am indeed busy right now, and yes, Cheryl, you were right, I am going to do a lot of baking! I must by necessity be brief, but I wanted to say that I read your comments (good questions, by the way) but I hope you do not mind waiting until after Christmas for us to resume the discussion.

    I wanted to comment on one thing though:
    That the devils and demons were subject to the apostles does not mean that hypotasso is involuntary when the relationship is voluntary. Demons are the enemy of the Light and in the Gospel they are said to be subjected to the apostles involuntarily as conquered enemies. We find this also in Eph 1.21-22, where the angelic beings (“powers and principalities”) are subjected to be placed under the feet of Christ (the Church is the feet of Christ and hence they cannot be under His feet, neither is the church His enemy, instead she is his beloved, whom He died for). If you look at Jas 4 you will find that the Christians had become enemies of God by choosing to be friends of the world. Only by resisting the Devil could they submit to God, i.e. draw near to Him and remain with Him.
    A wife is not the enemy of the husband (although it may seem so sometimes in a marriage and theology has traditionally seen women as a woe rather than a blessing) hence the analogy does not hold. The same problem is evident in Gen 4.7 which is used to interpret Gen 3.16: Eve was not the enemy of Adam; sin was the enemy of Cain, hence an analogy between the two does not exist. Marriage is a voluntary association between a man and a woman in which the two become one by leaving their parents and cleaving to each other, by being literally glued to each other. But it is possible to leave this covenant (as it is called in the OT) and this is what Paul is trying to prevent. He admonishes wives to remain devoted to their husbands in all things instead of separating themselves from them either physically or emotionally, and husbands to love their wives as they love themselves (i.e. doing to her what he wishes her to do to him). He is not enlisting the couple into an army, neither is he trying to enforce a one-sided involuntary submission from the wife for it would be absurd for him to tell the wives to do something all Roman women were already doing. A good comparison is modern Saudi-Arabia: let’s say the Gospel was preached in S-A for the first time this coming year. What likelihood is there that the women would decide to throw of their veils, drive cars and demand equality if Christianity taught what Islam already does? I would say the change of it would be nil. But what if Christianity taught a radical equality which would cause women to suddenly consider themselves equal to men? There would be a need to address the dynamics of a relationship between two equals and this is what we find in Eph 5.

  175. Oh, one more thing Charis: the human heart is not in subjection to the brain (try to tell your heart to stop beating, you can’t). The heart regulates the circulatory system, the brain the nervous system. These two independent systems make a human life possible. If the heart stops, the brain will die within 10 minutes. If the brain stops working, the heart can still keep on beating for years (with life-support, since the lungs are dependent of the brain).

  176. I would say that the heart and the brain are an example of mutual subjection, they are one body, interconnected, interdependent. AND their subjection is PASSIVE, ie there is no volition, no choice to it.

    Perhaps I am still being misunderstood regarding “voluntary”/volition? I am not saying that a wife is FORCED into subjection. I am saying that she has no volition in it, she just is subject to her husband (the greek verb is PASSIVE). As a garden is SUBJECT to the gardener, without volition nor choice. The garden will flourish or die depending upon whether the gardener chooses to nourish and cherish or not. So the wife is SUBJECT to the husband in EVERYTHING (PASSIVE), and the husband is to LOVE (4 times in the IMPERATIVE).

    Husbands should be sweating about this subjection, not wives.

  177. AND even CBMW husbands, if they understood this, would be going right to Ephesians 5:21 to INSIST that this (PASSIVE) SUBJECTION is MUTUAL!!!! 🙂

    which it is

    the mutual subjection of Ephesians 5:21 is also in the PASSIVE voice

  178. Perhaps I am misundertanding you Charis. I will ponder it more.

    What I believe is that Ephesians 5 (even starting before vs. 21-22) is instruction to first, Christians in general, and then Christian husbands and wives – active and passive forms not withstanding. It seems, like you are saying that Paul is simply stating the obvious about people’s “status”. I believe essentially the opposite – that Paul is instructing people to change the status quo.

    Anyway, I appologize if I am not understanding you. I have been baking bread for three days straight and maybe the yeast is going to my head.

  179. It seems like you are saying that Paul is simply stating the obvious about people’s “status”.

    Yes, in the case of SUBJECTION (which is in the passive voice)
    (BTW CLEAVE of verse 31- directed to husbands- is also in the passive voice)

    No, in the case of LOVE (which is in the active voice and imperative mood, ie iis a command)

    Voice/Mood/etc can be easily viewed here for all the verbs of Ephesians 5. http://interlinearbible.org/ephesians/5.htm The second line in blue of the interlinear. Move the mouse over the abbreviation.

  180. It seems, like you are saying that Paul is simply stating the obvious about people’s “status”. I believe essentially the opposite – that Paul is instructing people to change the status quo.

    Its not an either/or IMO. Paul is doing both/and.

    Looking at the verb forms helps to sort out which is descriptive (of how things ARE) and which is prescriptive (what one needs to DO if one wants a biblical marriage)

    And BTW I do feel understood by you gengwall. Thank you for that. I really appreciate your making the effort to understand what I am saying! 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  181. I will add – in Collosians 3:18 hupotasso is in middle voice, just as it is in Ephesians 5:22, in the Textus Receptus and the Majority text. In NA26, hupotasso is passive in Col 3:18 and Ephesians 21, and absent in Ephesians 22 where it is derived from vs. 21. What resource are you looking at that has it as an imperative in Col 3:18. I am looking at scripture4all.org (TR) and studylight.org (NA26) for my parsing.

    Susanna has an appendix in her book which shows how Ephesians and Collosians are really the same letter to different audiences. My point is that Paul does not alter the voice between the two – it is no more imperative in Collosians than it is in Ephesians.

  182. To whom it may concern – the resource that Charis gives is similar in presentation to scripture4all.org but has the NA26 text, whereas S4A has switched to the Textus Receptus text. Good to know when there are distinct textual differences like in Ephesians 5:21-22.

  183. gengwall-206

    I was aware of that for Colossians 3:18 (see my NOTE at the bottom of comment # 196)

    However, to my ears, the COMMAND of Colossians 3:18 is far FAR “softer” than taking Ephesians 5:24 as a COMMAND.

    Colossians 3:18 sounds conditional to me-
    “I COMMAND you wives to submit… WHEN it is FITTING IN THE LORD.”

    Whereas, Eph 5:24 states the Fact that wives ARE in subjection to their husbands in EVERYTHING. (thank God that is NOT a COMMAND 🙂 )

  184. Although I like BLB when I need to do word studies or to get a quick look at multiple translations, I don’t care too much for their parsing and layout in concordant/lexical view. It really is not nearly as helpful as a true interlinear view. So, your interlinearbible resource is a well appreciated addition to the tools I use.

    It may help if you know where I am coming from on Ephesians 5. I am working on a godly marriage model based on Ephesians 5. I see Ephesians 5 as a direct response, or correction if you will, to the damage to marriage caused by the fall, specifically Genesis 3:16. As such, my personal focus is on the instructive side of vss. 21-33. Maybe that is too myopic. That is why your take both intrigues and maybe confuses me a little. Still, it gives me something to think about over the holiday.

  185. The 1Corinthians 7 text is revolutionary it emphasizes mutualism all through the paragraph. The idea that a mans body belongs to the wife, that her sexual needs are being recognized and her husband has a responsibility to meet them. The in verse 5 συμφώνου, symphonoo, and if there is going to be a temporary time for the contemplative it’s not some male arbitrary unilateral decision it’s a symphony, a harmony of two bodies, soma, two souls, psyche, two pneuma, two spirits. This idea marriage for two thousand years was compared to the περιχώρησις, perichorisis, the Sacred Dance, the Trinity. An early church heresy in the church regarding the Trinity was hierarchicalism. There is no Hierarchy in the trinity, it’s a sacred dance and symphony of balance,and equality and marriage is symbiotic two sides of the same coin to separate does damage to both.
    Husbands and Wives dance your dance and celebrate your symphony.

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