Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:21-30, NIV).
Last week I wrote about “the fall” and the role of men and women. The blog triggered different reactions from friends and family, so I dug deeper into the Bible for answers. In Ephesians 5, the Bible clearly says to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ and explains in detail what that means for both men and women. Jesus is the Son of God and so was Adam. Both were fathered by God’s Spirit and God spoke directly to both of them.
So, what is the difference between Adam and Jesus? If we look at the creation, Adam and Eve were made in God’s image and so was Jesus. So why did Adam’s decision cause eternal separation from God (sin) and Jesus, being the “second Adam” redeem fallen mankind by living a perfect, obedient sacrificial life? The answer is that it was Adam’s job to watch over the Garden of Eden but he allowed Eve to lead, rather than protect her from sure death. Meanwhile Jesus submitted to God’s directive for His life, and ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
Regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God tells Adam “in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The Bible does not say God spoke directly to Eve, so we can assume that Adam told Eve what God said. God gave him clear instructions and gave them both free will. Adam failed to obey God and protect his woman, and that is when Adam was no longer trustworthy.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7, ESV).
In this verse, the Bible says to show honor to women as the weaker vessel. The world takes offense to the term “weaker,” however the Bible honors weakness. Jesus honored women and submitted to God’s will in all things. If the man is trustworthy and is head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church, then he will strive to be “like” Jesus and the woman can safely submit her will to his will. He may make mistakes, but he will repent and seek the head of his body, Christ.
I hope this help to redefine what “submit” and “weaker vessel” means from a biblical perspective and not through a worldview lens. This does not negate the God-given leadership skills of women, their intelligence, or their other gifts and talents. Women are a very important member of the body of Christ.