Whenever you’re trying to understand a problem that has no easy answers, you can’t go wrong by going back to the basic question; “how did God intend for this to work?” When God created men and women, what did He have in mind? God made each of us fit for the task He meant for us to do; so what tasks did He intend for men and women to do?
Men and women are quite different creatures. Both inherently selfish and carnal, and with the same potential for righteousness and love, but each were hard-wired with different desires and impulses and gifts. Presented with a given problem, most men and women will go about solving it in completely different ways.
For example, women are more likely to use poison to murder someone than men; men are more likely to cheat on their wives; more women prefer cats, and more men prefer dogs. When shopping for a new car, a woman will feel the upholstery and admire the color while the man will look at the engine and the price. When getting in a taxi, men will usually confirm the price and destination first; women wait until they’re settled into the taxi to take care of such details.
These generalizations reflect fundamental differences in the character God crafted each gender to have. Imagine Adam and Eve in the garden, not having sinned; who would have been the logical choice to raise the little children? Could Adam provide milk for the baby? And while nursing, would Eve have been a wise choice to hunt, farm, or kill a marauding bear?
This is what I meant when I said “think about what God intended”. This principle applies to EVERYTHING in life; from farming to eating to working; you figure out what God intended, and you’ll have your answer on what you should do.
Women are physically weaker; so God made them to prefer indirect solutions, solutions which don’t involve brute strength but subtlety and deviousness and manipulation. Hence that’s why women generally prefer poisoning to knifing. Men tend to rely on their greater strength and bulldoze their way through a problem.
Men tend to have a “wandering eye” and desire multiple women because God wanted humans to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Yet He also wanted a clear inheritance passing through the male line. So God made carnal men to desire many mates, because that is the fastest way to make a population grow.
Women, even though carnal and lustful (especially in our society), are still far less likely to tomcat around; women desire stable relationships while men fear commitment. Women need more than a handsome man; they also need to know that he saved puppies from burning buildings to feel strongly attracted to him. Men are far less... complicated.
All of this reflects the fact that God intended for women to desire a single husband, because that protects the lineage and inheritance – and would make them better mothers in the process. And despite all that’s wrong in our society, most women still haven’t completely lost that instinct.
Women love cats because cats are independent and confident; traits one would find in a strong leader and protector for a family, like the man whom God designed women to desire. Emotionally, cats are the “bad boys” women so often go for; the independent, insensitive, selfish men they find so attractive.
On the other hand dogs are very dependent on their masters, which is what carnal men are designed to desire in a woman – someone who will follow their rule. They also defend their masters and are fiercely loyal; another trait men are built to desire in a woman. Her faith in him gives him faith in himself. Her belief that he can do something is often the only reason he is able to do it.
Men measure their own power by the power of those who follow them; so a mean dog whom only they can handle boosts their pride; just like a strong bow only they can string or a proud horse no other man can ride. Likewise, they desire the most spirited woman they can handle, one who will show weakness only to them.
These few examples are just a sample of the millions of ways the creation around us testifies to God’s plan (Romans 1:19-20, Job 12:7-10). Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 11:13-15 that he expected us to learn from these obvious facts. What did He mean by that? That’s...
LESSON 43: What Nature Teaches Us About Women
Before I go on, I should clarify one thing. I keep saying “carnal men and women” because this is what is hardwired into our natures (Romans 8:20). But much of that nature must be overcome if we are to be spiritually mature. Because the things God values are not the things that men value (Luke 16:15). Nonetheless, the things that God built into our natures are the things which men and women should desire under the old covenant.
As you learned in the last lesson, the OC’s goals were modest. For a man to have multiple wives was efficient. For him to have wives who worshipped him was perfectly adequate for those goals. So what was hardwired into us, if obeyed carefully within the law, would lead to a perfect OC life.
But when you are converted from that OC existence to an NC understanding of the world, you must change not only your habits and get rid of your sins, but your fundamental nature must change to mimic the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). As you do that, over time, you will find that your “hardwired” desires begin to change into God’s hardwired desires. Not overnight, but in time, you will find that the things that used to appeal to you no longer do (Romans 6:21).
Men should begin to value the quality of a relationship over the quantity of them. And where carnal man needed a subservient woman, spiritual man will desire a friend – still lower in authority than he, for that is how God set up the world – but she must be more of a partner than the OC wife needed to be.
And the mature, confident, spiritual man does not need to exercise his authority just to prove that he has it. He does not need to have a woman groveling at his feet to know that she loves and obeys him; if she truly does, and if he is emotionally secure, then he will need to use no more than a whisper or a glance to correct her. And he will much prefer a friend who takes his guidance than a slave who takes his orders.
Likewise, women should no longer desire a strong protector as much as a righteous man, for that is all a faithful woman needs – because God is also her protector now, not just her husband. She will also not so crave the security of the comfortable surroundings and safe home that she was programmed to desire; for the incessant worry carnal women are known for, will be replaced by faith in Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-34.
When a person is converted to the NC and it begins to change them, the fundamental desires will also change subtly. But like with the change in the commandments that Jesus brought, it’s not so much a change as an expansion; the NC does not change the fundamental desires of humans, it’s better to say that it expands them to include God and to value the spiritual above the physical. The desires are the same; but the satisfaction comes from different places.
A woman’s worry is to make sure that she can provide a home and safety to her family. A converted woman will not grow beyond that; indeed, it will grow deeper. But her faith will assure her that God will provide those things even if she can’t, thus there will be no place for worry.
A man’s need to assert his authority and show off his abilities to stoke his own pride will not be changed; but it will grow into something more appropriate to a child of God; Jeremiah 9:24. His love of justice and revenge will not change; it will simply be put where it belongs, in God’s hands.
You’re about to learn about what God designed humans to be like, and this applies first and foremost to the physical, carnal, old covenant human; but with conversion, each of these desires will be adapted to fit what a mature, spiritual, child of God should desire. Not quickly or always easily; but if the change doesn’t take place, then the divine nature is not being adopted.
1 Corinthians 11:13-15 is a good place to illustrate the point of this lesson: that nature alone can tell us right and wrong. So HOW does “nature itself” teach you that it is a shame for a man to have long hair? Well, think about what God intended for men to do. Can you be a good hunter if your hair is snagging in the bushes as you stalk the deer? Is it safe to work in a factory around heavy machinery with long hair that can get wrapped around the lathe and (quite literally) rip your head off?
Can you be hammering on a blacksmith’s anvil all day if your hair keeps falling in your eyes? Or work in the hot field hoeing the corn with a head of hot, dark, heat-absorbing hair? Long hair gets in the way of most jobs that men were designed to do with their greater strength. Thus nature itself teaches us that long hair is a shame for men.
So what does nature teach us about women’s hair? Most of those tasks are not suited to a woman’s gifts. For doing the things described in Proverbs 31:10-31, long hair would seldom be in the way. On the other hand, hair is one of the most beautiful assets a woman has (Song of Solomon 4:1). God says a woman’s hair “is a glory to her” (1 Corinthians 11:15).
Of course, churches either pretend these verses aren’t there... or else try to dogmatically define “long” and “short” hair with a ruler. Both, as always, missed the point. For that, you need to – as always – read the context. Backing up to 1 Corinthians 11:3, Paul is referring to that “great mystery” which we studied in the last lesson.
This gives us context to prove this isn’t simply about men and women, there is also symbolism involved (which we haven’t time for today). In verses 4-7, Paul talks about heads being “covered”. Misinterpretations of this verse is why men take off their hats in church and women put them on; why men take their hats off during the pledge of allegiance or the national anthem, and similar customs.
But if anyone had just read the context, they would see this was talking about HAIR, not HATS! God says for women to pray with short hair is a shame; to understand that ask yourself how many women find bald men attractive? Some. How many men prefer a bald woman? None. Thus nature itself teaches us it is wrong for a woman to have a shaved head.
Or just look at how people who have undergone chemotherapy feel about losing their hair. They are ASHAMED of it. It’s contrary to nature and robs them of their beauty. It’s a sign that there is something wrong with them, and that is embarrassing to anyone!
Can you make an offering to God of anything having a spot or blemish? Leviticus 22:19-25. Could priests who were deformed in any way do the work of a priest behind the veil or the altar? Leviticus 21:17-23. Does prayer allow us to approach behind the heavenly veil? Hebrews 10:19-22. Can we do so if we are deformed? Malachi 1:7-14.
It wasn’t just that they were sacrificing the lame and sickly to God; if that had been the best they had, God would no doubt have said it was “the thought that counts” (Luke 21:1-4). But as verse 14 showed, they COULD have done better, and CHOSE not to. Likewise someone who was, say, badly burned and cannot grow hair is doing the best they can. Someone with beautiful hair who hacks it off to look like some 15-year-old glue-huffer... isn’t. So it is a shame to them – and to their husband/parents, and in turn to God (1 Corinthians 11:3).
Likewise, it is a shame for a man to have long hair, for the same reasons. As to what defines long and short hair, the Bible doesn’t say. Cultures change and the line between the two changes a bit with it. It has nothing to do with ruler length; if it did, God would have said “for a man to have hair longer than one handbreadth is a sin”. God didn’t say that because there is no such rule.
It is just a principle, and the best way to explain it is probably with Deuteronomy 22:5. If you apply that to hair, it makes good sense. You should be able to look at someone’s hair from behind and tell if they are a man or a woman. If you can’t, they should be embarrassed – and if you tell them that you couldn’t tell, they probably will be.
As a final note, it is a shame to him/her, not a sin. Shaming and disrespecting God could certainly be a sin, but Paul didn’t use the word “sin”. This fact allows us to explain certain exceptions like the Nazarites (Numbers 6), such as Samson (Judges 13:3-7); these things were ordinarily a shame, but not a sin. They were done for certain reasons to make certain points, not unlike some of the strange things the prophets did – for example Ezekiel 4:1-8, Isaiah 20:2-4, and so on.
We aren’t trying to explain any of these things, just pointing out that it was no sin for a Nazarite to have long hair and for a female Nazarite to shave her head at the end of the vow. It was a shame for them, but that was the point – just as it’s a shame to wear sackcloth and ashes (Ezekiel 27:31, Jeremiah 6:26). But there is a time to be shamed. However it is the exception, not the rule.
HOW GOD INTENDED A FAMILY TO RUN
Continuing to apply this same thinking, how did God intend for a family to operate? You’ve studied the scriptures on the governmental structure, but think about it from a different angle. Don’t ask “how did God command a family to operate?”, but ask “how did God INTEND for it to operate?” Ask His creation, not Him, this time. The answer will certainly be the same – but the details will help us understand both answers better.
Who was created to help whom? 1 Corinthians 11:8-9. God designed women to help men accomplish their goals of caring for the family – including, of course, their wives. But He clearly designed men and women to complement each other, to be counterparts; not to overlap in their jobs, but to have each be better at their own assigned sphere of action.
With that in mind, would you expect Adam or Eve to be better at multi-tasking? Think about it. What makes sense, given all we know about men and women and the psychological and physical differences between them? This is not a rhetorical question; think about it!
As any mother knows, a woman must be capable of juggling a dozen tasks simultaneously. She must be able to manage the needs and demands of her children – which, being even more selfish than their adult counterparts, are many – managing the home, preparing meals, and many other things. In a modern home she has many other responsibilities, but let’s keep this simple.
On the other hand, men tend to do one large task at a time. They go out and hoe a field. They go build a house. They go hunt a deer. These things require skill and persistence and the ability to focus on one thing at a time. A man seldom has to deal with a dozen simultaneous tasks; he may juggle dozens of long term needs and goals, but seldom more than one or two at a time.
As head of the house, a man must plan out the future and schedule and prepare many things; but a woman is generally too busy dealing with today to worry about much beyond tomorrow. God surely had to foresee this and prepared men and women to do their jobs accordingly; this explains why long-term strategy games like Chess and Risk appeal to, and are mostly dominated by, men; while time management games, and games requiring more intervention and detail management appeal more to women. Because that’s what men and women were made to do. And more importantly, made to enjoy doing!
God made each of us “upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29), and He made us to be happiest when we follow His law and do things as He intended. However, just as in Eden, our impatience and greed always tempt us to take shortcuts to achieve instant gratification; which inevitably take us farther from happiness. But we have been designed to be happiest when doing the things we were designed to do.
CORRECTION IN THE FAMILY
In that same vein, men and women are distinctly different in how they view correction. When a child is disobedient, women generally tend to talk about it, try to reason with the offender; men will instinctively take a more authoritative position and want to solve the problem by force. One is not better than the other; but each serves a different purpose.
Women were designed to deal with children on a constant basis, at least up to a certain age. Theirs is the task of nurturing and guiding a young child through a million tiny lessons that need explained and reasoned through. This is what God made them to do, and they are far better at it than men are (Proverbs 31:26-28). And this is what they enjoy doing – it’s what satisfies their maternal instinct.
But there are times when a child is not ignorant but rebellious. When the problem is not that he doesn’t understand his sin, but that he simply doesn’t care. When he doesn’t care, explaining it to him again won’t help. Explaining that “it isn’t nice to kick other people” will have no impact because he doesn’t care how other people feel! He is selfish! And that’s when the child needs a man to correct him in a man’s way.
We covered this extensively in Lesson 40, so we won’t say any more on that here; all this is just to show that contrary to the male-supremists out there, there is nothing wrong with a woman’s way of managing, thinking, working or solving a problem. It’s only wrong when it’s applied to the wrong job!
Women work and think differently than men, as surely EVERYONE knows, and they were designed by God to work on and solve different types of problems than men. Saying that men and women are equal – that is, exactly alike – is foolish. Men are better at many things; women are better at many other things. Yes, there are exceptions. But that doesn’t change the rule.
The fact that society didn’t adequately respect a woman’s role is deplorable. On the other hand, the world reacted to that by pretending that men and women are potentially equally good at any job; which is simply un-Biblical – and the results have been disastrous to the family structure God intended.
THE BIBLE’S FEMINIST SIDE
I want to distance myself as far as possible from the authoritarian dominant male stereotypes out there; those who abuse their families and live selfishly as a king, having their families serve them instead of serving their families. There are quite a few of them, though Western society discourages it so heavily that they are gradually dying out. And that is a good thing.
Women are not intended to be kept illiterate, barefoot, and pregnant. Nor is a good idea ever ignored just because it came from a woman in the Bible. This is a commonly assumed error, that the Bible supports the stereotypical attitude of male chauvinism and... it doesn’t. Not as the world understands the term, anyway.
Bear in mind that when the Bible was written, most civilizations treated women as property; little better than slaves, and in many cases, no better. What you see in the OT is a considerably emancipated female life. Not as good as the NT, but then... the OC wasn’t as good. That was the whole point.
So let’s look at some of the women’s rights in the OT. Could women own property? Numbers 27:1-8. Land could not be sold, and to prevent the property from passing to another tribe, God did place a restriction on this inheritance in Numbers 36:1-12. But otherwise, notice that the women had complete freedom to marry “whom they think best”.
At marriage, women give up their “freedom” in order to follow the command in Genesis 3:16 to obey their husbands. Until that time, are they free to follow their own desires? 1 Corinthians 7:34. The exception is a man or woman of any age living in their father’s house, which as explained in Lesson 40 subjects them voluntarily to his rules.
But women were not chattel; the Bible does not teach arranged marriages as a rule, although there are some cases which might be interpreted that way such as Exodus 21:7-11; but even there, she has significant rights. And it is possible, although it doesn’t say here, that the woman may have had to consent to this deal beforehand – as in the case of Rebecca (Genesis 24:57-58), who was by many definitions “sold” to Abraham (Genesis 24:52-53), yet clearly had the right to refuse.
The Bible heavily discouraged, even in the OC, the owning of Hebrew slaves, male or female, except as a punishment for theft; and in no case could a Hebrew remain a slave longer than seven years. See Jeremiah 34:8-9; did the carnal slave-owners like that idea? Verses 10-11. How did God feel about their attitude? Verses 12-22.
God took this SERIOUSLY. Women’s rights were better protected under God’s law than in any other culture in history. This is not to say that women did not have more liberties in a few other cultures, where women could be priestesses and in a few even hold public office or go to war. But that didn’t make women happy; it just gave them the freedom to do a job God designed men to do, which was bad for the people and for the women. True rights, rights which gave them the greatest freedom and the best chance at happiness, was better protected in God’s law than in any other.
Granted, the Bible has been used to rob them of those rights by those who always “twist the scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). But that is true of the rights of all people, men and women alike, who have been harmed by misunderstandings and outright abuse of scripture.
Not everyone is a textbook case. Things happen. People sin and people get pregnant without marriage. Husbands are killed in war. Husbands have to travel for work. A man has no sons, only daughters, and dies; there are many times when the ideal is physically impossible.
God intended for a son to carry on the inheritance and family name. But in the last example, that clearly wasn’t possible. As you read in Numbers 27, the daughters of Zelophehad asked what to do in an exceptional case and God gave them the answer – an answer that fulfilled the principle of the law while respecting the rights of the women.
Likewise, there are times when a woman has no choice but to lead a family. She can try to raise the children on her own. And she will succeed – but the results will not be the same as it would have been with a husband. It will require much more from her, and the children will have a harder life, both during childhood and later as adults – than those with a father would have had.
But we play the cards we’re dealt, and we don’t always have a choice. So we do the best we can. She will be the head of the house until someone comes along qualified to replace her. This may be a new husband (preferably a relative of her husband, to protect the inheritance – see Deuteronomy 25:5-10).
Or she may move in with her father-in-law as Tamar did (Genesis 38:11). In this way, the children still have a male role model and that office is filled, albeit imperfectly, by a grandfather or uncle. In any case, when her oldest male child reaches the age of responsibility – twenty – he is entitled to his father’s inheritance if his father is dead, and as the oldest male of that generation, he is responsible to lead that family.
Did Jesus have the authority to care for – and lead – His mother? John 19:25-27. Was His father Joseph apparently dead? Mark 6:3. (Everyone in the family was mentioned but His father.) Was Jesus responsible to see to his mother’s security and comfort? Proverbs 23:22. Did that mean that He necessarily had to live with/near her? Matthew 8:20. Or be with her constantly? Matthew 12:46. Do any of these obligations necessarily apply to your “old family” who hates the truth (and you for obeying it)? Verses 47-50.
Of course, some of these rules and obligations don’t apply today. These principles were designed for a world in which land could not be sold, in which families all served the same God under the same covenant. A barren widow today can’t be expected to have children by her husband’s brother, for example – nor would there be any real benefit if she did.
But underneath those laws lay the principles that inspired them; chief among them, that the family name and structure be protected. And that the children be raised, not by a woman alone or by a strange husband, but by a relative – a man who understands and relates to the children in a way that only a relative can.
But again, these are ideals and principles that are not always possible to use in our world. Do the best you can, and the better you match the principles, the better results you’ll see. For example, your children are likely to be better off with (and better understood by) a “brother” in Christ, than by a carnal physical uncle. Notice how that still upholds the principle behind the law.
WOMEN IN SPIRITUAL MATTERS
Were women used by God as prophets? Exodus 15:20. Did men sometimes go to these women for help? 2 Kings 22:14-15. Was the prophetess married? 2 Chronicles 34:22. Were some prophetesses unmarried? Acts 21:9.
Were there prophetesses in the temple? Luke 2:36-38. [Note: “the temple” was a large place with many subdivisions. This does not necessarily mean she was in the holy place or most holy place.] Did Aquila and his wife Priscilla BOTH educate Apollos in the way of God? Acts 18:24-26.
Had Apollos said “I won’t learn about God from some WOMAN!”, as many men might have said, he would have stayed ignorant – and good riddance. TRUTH matters – not gender. Paul spent considerable time with Aquila and Priscilla, and they traveled with him for a time (Acts 18:1-4, 11, 18).
Were both women and men expected to attend services in the OT? Nehemiah 8:2-3. The Bible encouraged women to learn about God. Did men and women both become believers? Acts 5:14. Were the women sometimes called first? Acts 16:13-15. Will there be women among the firstborn saints? 2 Corinthians 6:18. Spiritually speaking, does God make a difference? Galatians 3:28.
The Bible does not slot women into a mold of obedience and servitude. It evaluates the actions of men and women equally (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, 2 Chronicles 15:13). The wages of sin is death, whether it’s a man or a woman that commits it. On the other hand, obeying God leads to the same inheritance and rewards whether it is a man or a woman (Proverbs 31:30).
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
As with most subjects, you can carefully choose a pile of scriptures to support either a pro- or anti-feminine view. And as always, people just pick the ones that prove the point they want to believe and ignore the rest. So naturally, both sides are wrong because both sides only have half the answer! There are a lot of scriptures which show that women had real rights and freedom under the OC, and there are more to come.
But God did not make women equal. Women are not as strong as men. Yes, there are exceptions; some women are stronger than some men; but any ten randomly chosen men can lift more, push more, and hit harder than any ten randomly chosen women.
Women are smaller than men for a reason. I didn’t make them that way; God did. Women were created after men for a reason; again, not something I can be blamed for; God did that. They were not created at the same time, as partners in the same goal, men were made FIRST. THEN women were created as a help for them. This is a Biblical fact that women may not like, but cannot dispute.
Just as Jesus was born again before the rest of the sons and daughters of God will be, and thus is our elder Brother whom we will always obey... so in this physical world men were made first, and made stronger, because men were created to lead. Why else were men and women made different? If they were truly intended to BOTH be leaders, and BOTH be men... God would have created them at the same time, the same size, and with the same strengths.
But God knew that opposites complement one another; and He knew that it took BOTH of them, working together as one, to create the Godly seed He desired! (Malachi 2:14-15). That verse is difficult to translate, but it seems to say something like”And did not he make them one [flesh]? Yet had he the remnant of the spirit. And why one [why did He make them one flesh]? That he might seek a godly offspring.” (KJ2000 version, bracketed text mine).
Neither the man nor the woman alone is able to create a Godly seed; it requires BOTH (1 Corinthians 11:11-12). Neither one is more important than the other; but ONE must lead. That burden – and it is a burden, not a blessing – fell to the man, not the woman.
WHAT WOMEN ARE NOT GOOD AT
God designed men and women to be good at, and enjoy, each of their roles – when they are doing them properly, at least. God never voluntarily put women in charge of leading things for the same reason God did not put women in charge of the home; because the ultimate authority, the head of the house, absolutely MUST be a stern, punishing-style of authority.
The second-in-command must be a loving, supporting, approachable, patient teacher; but BEHIND that patient guidance must be another higher authority with an edge of fear to it, which the child, student, or disciple must be afraid to disobey. It is fear that is the beginning of wisdom – as you studied in the last lesson. Not love, but fear.
Education and growth should minimize the need for fear. And if things go well, if the second-in-command does the job right, and the student is willing... he will grow up in the understanding of the law, and gradually true, perfect love will cast out fear, when fear is no longer needed (1 John 4:18). Only then can master and disciple, father and son, king and peasant, God and man, be friends (John 15:13-15). But that friendship must start with fear (Proverbs 9:10, 15:33, 16:6, 19:23, etc).
And women are not good at that. Women don’t like being “mean” to children; they avoid harsh words and harsh actions unless they are annoyed or angry. At which point they usually lash out in selfishness. But all things being equal, they always prefer “asking” a child to do something than “telling” him to do it.
Men are generally the exact opposite. Men are impatient and tend to “tell” rather than “ask”. They are more likely to give an order than to explain what they are doing. More inclined to solve a problem with a swat than with a talk. Most marital squabbles over how to raise the children happen because parents are trying to agree on one or the other of these approaches, which is impossible. BOTH are right, and BOTH are necessary. Each in their proper place.
Again, yes, there are exceptions to these generalizations about men’s and women’s attitudes. Especially in today’s world with messed up education, bad examples and strange growth hormones in our foods, there are a lot of weak, “sensitive”, almost effeminate men and a lot of aggressive, domineering women. In fact, these exceptions may have become the rule; but these things are contrary to the way God designed men and women and contrary to nature, not unlike the things in Romans 1:21-32.
You may think that’s a bit extreme, but notice how God includes all of these sins as symptoms of the original problem – forgetting God, and rejecting His commandments. And one of these symptoms is children being disobedient to parents. Why? WHY are children growing up rebellious and Ritalin dependent? This will offend many people, but the answer is simple: because their fathers behave as women and their mothers behave as men.
You can see that for yourself in nearly every home – Women now handle all punishment in most modern homes. While theoretically the gender roles could be reversed with the woman being stern and the man being patient, it doesn’t work in practice because God made men and women to do a certain job. By reversing roles they do each other’s job poorly. It makes both of them lousy, unhappy parents because they’re not doing what God designed them to do. Men are not patient instructors and women are not good at being feared.
WOMEN AND CHURCH AUTHORITY
As you’ve seen, there are several examples of women being prophetesses or educators; but there is not a single example of a woman ever being a church LEADER. There are no female apostles, bishops, evangelists, deacons, or examples of a woman holding any authority in the NC church.
Women preachers, their conscience condemning them for exercising authority in clear contradiction to what the Bible says, abuse the Bible in all sorts of ways to justify their actions. They desperately try to grab any scripture and twist it to prove a point the Bible just doesn’t support.
Everyone knows how Paul felt about women preachers; and as Paul was an inspired apostle of God, what he said is a good place to start. Did Paul allow women to preach? 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Why? Verses 13-14. Did Paul consider women more susceptible to deception than men? 2 Timothy 3:6. Are women supposed to be the head (leaders) of the church? 1 Corinthians 11:3. How should women behave in church? 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
This doesn’t say God intended for them to be kept barefoot and pregnant – they have definite and important jobs to do in the church. Do women also labor in the gospel? Philippians 4:3. What are women intended to do in the church? Titus 2:1-5. What should widows in the church do? 1 Timothy 5:10.
No woman can walk away from those verses with any doubt about whether or not God intended for women to be preachers and elders in the church. There is no way around it. Women were never given any official position in the church – except one. There were prophetesses, who were “second” in authority (1 Corinthians 12:28).
That looks contradictory; how can women be prophetesses, “second in authority”, yet not to exercise authority over a man? But it’s easy to explain now because of all the groundwork we’ve laid about authority in the past five lessons. Remember you learned in Lesson 39 that prophets – male or female – had no official position in the church hierarchy. They had no office or authority to command anyone!
The office of a prophet existed primarily as an adviser to the apostle/king/elder, the exact same office a wife fills for her husband! Thus having a woman advise the leaders is not at all contradictory to the Bible’s commands! The Bible truly is remarkable when you let it explain itself!
The church cannot be run by women because a woman’s style of teaching would quickly destroy a church. A church MUST have a man as its head, just like any other family, to provide that stern discipline and keep sin out of the church.
Women can be prophetesses and can be useful in a thousand ways, including teaching; for a healthy church they are absolutely essential just as in a healthy family. But they cannot hold an office in the church with veto authority over men, because their instincts were simply not designed to protect and defend a family from sin and deception.
DEBORAH: THE EXCEPTION
It’s funny that the most “liberated” woman in the Bible is completely ignored by all of the feminist preacher-types out there. But not surprising, because Deborah, by the very fact that she WAS a leader in Israel, proved that women should NOT be leaders!
The story begins in Judges 4:1-5. Already this is a unique story, for there is no other single female judge in history. In verses 6-7 Deborah reminded Barak of the words God had, apparently, already given him (which is the job of a prophetess). But in verse 8, Barak refused to go unless she went with him. Barak was afraid – forgivable, I suppose, but nonetheless his behavior was that of a woman (Isaiah 19:16).
So what did Deborah tell him? Judges 4:9-10. It was a shame to Barak, and to the whole nation, that there was not a MAN in Israel. David didn’t need a woman to bolster his faith before he went after Goliath (1 Samuel 17:26). But God respects actions and abilities, not people. If a woman is the best person for the job, He sends a woman. It’s out of context, but Ezekiel 22:30 still seems relevant here. If He can’t find a man to stand in the gap, He will send a woman. But in practice, that is very, very rare.
An example of this is 2 Samuel 20:15-22. One wise woman saved a city. Not by leading the armies; but with a woman’s gifts – solving a problem without force. Is there male or female in Jesus? Galatians 3:28. God is not a respecter of persons. If a woman is smarter, then she’s smarter. If she’s weaker, she’s weaker. (1 Peter 3:7).
When a woman is the best person to lead, it’s a great shame for the nation – but in that case, God will use a woman. But only if that woman is leading for the right reasons, not for her own pride or the elevation of her own sex. Only if she does so, knowing it for the shame it is, and mourning for the fact that God must deliver His enemies into the hand of a woman. And a woman who deserves this role will be actively seeking a true man who is worthy to rule over her, so that she can obey the command in 1 Peter 3:1-6.
Is a righteous man rare? Psalms 14:2-3. How easy is it to find one? Job 33:23, Song of Solomon 5:10-11. How easy is it to find a virtuous woman? Ecclesiastes 7:28. What is she worth? Proverbs 31:10. Men worthy of leadership and responsibility are rare. At least in Solomon’s experience, worthy women, even when the only available men are greatly flawed, were far more scarce. He never found even one.
WHY MEN HATE RELIGION
It is a curse of our times that women do lead the houses, the governments, and most of all the churches (Isaiah 3:12). It is precisely this estrogen-dominated religious system which is causing God’s people to err. It is the women who instinctively believe that judging is wrong; that harsh sentencing should never be given; that we should all just “get along” in love and harmony and hope.
It is the female side of government that encourages “peace on earth and good will towards men”. But it is the male element, the element which God designed to be in charge, which brings a sword to cause division, not harmony (Matthew 10:34). It is the male element that, with sharp, harsh, sometimes cruel words, strike a sword through the hearts of sinners (Luke 2:35, Hebrews 4:12, Isaiah 49:2, etc.).
This is what is so lacking in today’s churches, and why every church from Taoism to Catholicism complains of not being able to keep men in their church. This is no doubt why churches are symbolized as women in the Bible. Every church in the world is full of women who love the teachings because they are more appealing to them! They are DESIGNED for them! (2 Timothy 3:6, Genesis 3:6, 1 Timothy 2:14).
The oldest lie in the world was designed by the universe’s best liar to work on a woman! Therefore it is no surprise that women are the greatest fans of that old lie. Of course I don’t mean to say that the majority of preachers are women; but they are pandering to the masses, and they feed them whatever the people want (2 Timothy 4:3-4). And they want smooth things, not harsh things (Isaiah 30:9-11). And so they get them.
But men, even carnal men, are frustrated when judgment upon sinners is not executed speedily (Ecclesiastes 8:11). Men love justice, which is why they love movies like Rambo and the Gladiator and the Patriot; movies which portray, graphically, the wages of sin being paid.
It is also why even carnal men generally like prophecy much more than women; because the harsh punishments in Revelation are graphic promises of justice being served to a world that is long overdue to be judged. Men enjoy this, more than they should because they themselves are still part of the problem – see Amos 5:18-20. Do these men have any right to criticize the rest of the world? Verse 21. What SHOULD those men who desire to witness the vengeance of the apocalypse do? Verses 13-15.
Those who love studying the coming of the day of the Lord and the wrath of God’s plagues generally don’t stop to think that they will share them unless they repent (verses 16-18). These men are just being led by their innate desire to see judgment and justice done; but rather than start with imagining your enemies being slaughtered by plagues and hailstones, they should first judge their own thoughts and deeds, then they would see more clearly to work on the world’s problems (Matthew 7:5) – and then they would actually start to UNDERSTAND prophecy.
But churches never do that sort of judgment; instead they talk about half-understood prophecies of Revelation and interest some men that way, or – and far more commonly – they teach about love and harmony and peace-at-the-expense-of-truth-and-judgment and bore men to tears.
It is contrary to every male instinct to pretend to love someone who betrayed and wronged them or their family – which is exactly what false churches force them to do. Churches cannot keep men because churches do not offer what men love – true judgment.
Churches spend their full efforts trying to destroy the very thing real men love, and replacing it with a feel-good, soft-on-sin doctrine of so-called “love”. Men either give into this and become spiritual women, or rebel against this and think that all Christianity is bunk and attend only to please their wives.
A true church of God will be attractive to men and women alike; it will make the men an active part in the judgment they so desire, which will bring about righteousness and harmony which in turn will give the women true love and peace and harmony the likes of which no false church can possibly offer.
Nor will a true church lose its children as soon as they are old enough to leave. A church that cannot offer its children a better life than the world around it is dying... and the world will be better off without it.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The guiding rule of marriage in the OC was to protect the male lineage. It was VERY important to God that people knew who their father was, so they knew which tribe they belonged to and which inheritance they deserved. This is why brothers had to raise up children for their dead brothers (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).
Men were allowed as many wives as they wanted headaches, while women were under no circumstances EVER permitted multiple husbands. The reason is based in the inheritance. It was VERY important to God that children know who their male ancestors were; because that was how property was divided, how inheritances were traced, how offices and appointments in the temple were made, and so on.
Land was not allowed to be sold so it was passed on from generation to generation, and if a line died out, the land went to the next closest family member; if more than one son was born, it was divided between them. Because the land is one of the things God promised Abraham, each unborn descendant of Abraham is entitled to a little piece of it. God made laws to protect that inheritance so that no foolish man could lose his grandchildren’s piece of Abraham’s promise.
All of God’s government is based on male line of heritage; few things angered God more than confusing that lineage. God went to great lengths to make laws that prevented anyone from being his own grandpa – such as Leviticus 20:10-12, 14, Leviticus 18:17, Amos 2:7, 1 Corinthians 5:1, etc.
These things cause “confusion” – confusion in the lineage, confusion in the inheritance. For a woman to have more than one husband would cause her children “confusion” in the male line; for a man to have multiple wives does not.
This kept the family rooted so everyone knew who their parents were, and could trace their lineage back, ultimately, to Adam and God. This is one reason why God hated divorce so much; because it confused the inheritance.
God designed the home to work perfectly; but only if it has all the ingredients it needs. Only if it has a righteous man and a virtuous woman helping him; only if he is a firm but fair father, and only if she is a mother who is skilled at nurturing and teaching her children – yet who defers judgment to her husband.
Without any of these elements, the home will surely fail. If you simply look around you, the happiest families with the best-behaved, best-educated children in the world today are those few conservative Christian groups that encourage homeschooling homemakers. They are not perfect, nor even converted; but the closer you come to obeying God’s laws the more rewards you will reap. They do fairly well as an old covenant family, and they receive the rewards appropriate to an old covenant family.
In conclusion read Romans 2:6-13. We can be sure, based on the context and scriptures like Galatians 3:28, that this applies equally to men and women. And as such, it’s an appropriate summation of this lesson.
The laws and restrictions, benefits and promises apply the same to men and women alike. God gave each of us jobs to do, and gave each of us gifts that make us better at certain things than others – even in the same gender. Some men are designed to be the mouth of the body of Christ. Some the ear; some the hand. It is contrary to God’s clear intent if the hand rebels against the mouth and tries to speak for it.
Those with a gift of music should create psalms. Those with a gift of understanding should study. Those with a gift of cooking should cook. Those with a gift of teaching should teach. Those with a gift of working with children should... you guessed it... work with children (1 Corinthians 12).
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman. Do what God designed you to do. Working against the clear gifts of God is contrary to nature and thus, tantamount to a sin. Since men and women in general were designed for two different types of tasks, then men and women should, in general, do those tasks they are best suited to do.
There are exceptions, and when that happens respect God’s judgment in giving the gifts and work WITH Him, not against Him. Just remember Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 12:48. You’ll be judged based on what you accomplish with what you’ve been given.
If you’re that one Deborah, then do what Deborah did! If you truly are wiser and better qualified to lead than he is, a true man will step aside. But if he IS a true man, he won’t NEED to step aside, nor should you want him to do so!
A man can and should learn whatever a woman has to teach. But a woman was never given authority in the NT for a reason; because in a NC church, if it IS a NC church, no woman should ever be better qualified to lead than the men in that church. If by some strange chance she is, the church is so far gone it’s probably beyond saving.
This lesson, like most others, can be summed up in a simple principle; figure out what God intended, and all these problems dissolve. Men and women have different gifts. Going contrary to those gifts is bound to lead to failure, and it always does. Working with them is working with God.
It really isn’t that complicated; understand the difference between the way God designed men and women, and you will understand the difference in the way God uses them as a part of His plan to bring many sons and daughters to salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons AND daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.