Question:

I am currently in a discussion with my brother about women praying with their husbands. I agree with your view of the matter and what the Bible says regarding a woman leading her husband in prayer. My brother takes the opposing view and stating that if that was the case, a woman shouldn't discipline or deal with finances or anything where she takes a leading role in the relationship over the man.

What are your thoughts?


Answer:

It can be hard to talk to family. Talks can become heated merely due to being related.

Your brother, like many people, struggles with God's standard. He didn't have an answer to the verses you brought up, so he tried to make the simple understanding of the passages appear to be absurd.

Roles of authority have been dictated by God. "But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ" (I Corinthians 11:3). The order of authority is God, Christ, Man, and then Woman. This is the way God says it works when it comes to spiritual matters.

Teaching is a way to exercise authority. In teaching the order of authority must be maintained.

"A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint" (I Timothy 2:11-15).

Paul gives two proofs for the command that a woman is not to teach or exercise authority over a man. First, Adam was created first. It is the right of the first born to be head of the family. The second is that Adam was not deceived when he sinned. This isn't a compliment to Adam. You can see this as a punishment to man because being in charge and responsible isn't usually fun. Or it could be indicating that there is something in the make-up of men that makes them less likely to be deceived, which is a good trait in leaders.

But notice the last statement: When a wife has children, she helps to save her children and herself, if they (the children) continue in faith, love, sanctity with self-restraint. How does she do this? One of the responsibilities a woman is teaching and leading children to the Lord (Proverbs 1:8; 6:20). The command to not teach or exercise authority over a man does not take away a woman's responsibilities to teach in all cases.

Leading a prayer is also a form of exercising authority. It is offering up petitions on behalf of the one praying and those listening. For this reason a woman cannot lead a prayer when a man is present because such offering of prayers is the man's duty.

Your brother's argument is that if a woman must submit to a man in certain areas of their life, then a woman cannot do anything. Consider that your brother submits to people every day; yet, he still does activities where he is in charge. For example, where I work my boss oversees my pay. She can fire me, if she so desires. I am under her authority. I am not allowed to access the payroll nor do I have authority to change my pay or dictate how many vacations hours I get. Does that mean I must twiddle my thumbs and do nothing because I cannot do payroll for myself? No, it is just not within the realm of authority that I was assigned. I do many tasks that are within my authority, while I remain under my manager's authority.

In the same way, a woman is not supposed to teach or exercise authority over man, but she has many other duties assigned to her by God.

  • Raising children in the faith (I Timothy 2:15)
  • Managing the home, which can include dealing with the finances and disciplining children (I Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:2-5; Proverb 31:27)
  • Handing out duties to those working for her (Proverbs 31:15)
  • Spending money wisely and earning extra money (Proverbs 31:14, 16-18, 24)
  • Teaching her children (Proverbs 1:8; 6:20; 31:26)

Since children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1) and not just their father, the mother as authority to make sure the children do as they are told.

Just because a woman is not to lead her husband, it does not mean she is limited in other areas. It is God who defines authority and how it is used. You will find people who want to make men and women the same in everything, but men and woman were made physically different and God assigned different roles to each; yet, we are equal in the sense of salvation and are companions (Galatians 3:28; I Peter 3:7). There are things women can do that men cannot. There are things men can do that women cannot. We need to trust that God knows what He is doing in assigning those roles.

by Alan Feaster