Thus far in our study of the family I have looked at the family structure and the responsibilities of the husband/father. In this article I want to start looking at the responsibilities of the wife/mother.
In many other belief systems the woman is considered less than the man. Some who call themselves Christians have also used the teaching that the man is the head of the house to teach the same thing. We will see that the Bible does teach submission, but not lesser value. God always does thing in an orderly manner and He has ordained that the family should be orderly. There must be one head if there is to be order.
I Peter 3:1-2 “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
This is not a subject that is politically correct at this time in history. I think this is due to a misunderstanding of what it means to be in subjection. It is not slavery or servitude. It does not mean that the wife cannot voice her opinion. It means that she places herself under the governance of her husband.
In a republic the people choose their leaders and the leaders make the decisions. In marriage the wife chooses her husband and he makes the final decisions. In a republic the people have the right to petition the government. In a marriage the wife has the right to have her say in things but the husband has the final say.
The wife submits to her husband out of love. Proper submission has a positive effect on the husband. If he is lost, her conduct (conversation) can bring her husband to Christ. If he is saved it encourages him to follow God’s precepts.
Her conduct must be coupled with the fear of God. The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. The fear of God makes us seek His will and knowing His will causes us to do what is right. Wisdom is best defined as the right use of knowledge.
The husband also has a head to whom he is responsible. I Corinthians 11:3 shows us the proper order in God’s government: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
God the Father is the head of all things, Christ is subject to the Father, the husband is subject to Christ, and the wife is subject to the husband. Just as Christ’s subjection to the Father voluntary, so should our subjection to our authority be voluntarily.
Remember, Christ is God the Son. His subjection to the Father does not make Him less God. Likewise the woman is no less woman because she is in subjection to her husband. It gives order and structure to the relationship.
All mankind is under Christ’s lordship whether they submit or not because God is greater than man. A wise man voluntarily submits to God. His voluntarily submission brings proper order in his life and in society. The woman is subject to the man to bring proper order in her life and in the marriage. It has nothing to do with value, it has to do with order in the family.
The next two verses, 3-4, tell what makes a woman beautiful: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
The word adorn means to decorate and make beautiful. These verse tell us it is not the outward things that makes a woman beautiful. True beauty comes from within. Physical beauty fades with age and a person with physical beauty can be an ugly inside.
A beautiful woman has a meek spirit. This is not a weak spirit, it is a mild temperament that is not easily provoked. It means she is humble and submissive to authority.
She should have a quiet spirit. She should be calm and peaceable. She should not cause controversy, disorder, or trouble.
God doesn’t look at things as man does. To Him that which is of great price in a woman, that which He sees as real beauty in a woman, is a meek and quiet spirit.
Man looks at what is on the outside but God looks to see what is in the heart (I Samuel 16:7). This doesn’t mean the outward appearance is not important, but it is the things of the heart that matter most. The outward appearance is a reflection of what is in the heart.
I Peter 3:5-6 Shows us the example set for us by the godly women of the past: “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
Old time refers at least to the time before the Woman’s Liberation Movement. The reference here is to women like Sarah, Rebekah, Ester, etc. The real change started after WWII when the women had to work because the men were at war. When they came home, the men had their wives keep working “until the house was paid for.” It really leaped forward in the 60’s with the woman’s liberation movement.
The reason the women of old could submit is because the trusted in God. Remember, the conduct of the wife has an effect on the husband. Remember also, the husband us under God. Trusting God makes subjection easy.
The future of the younger women depends on the elder women setting an example. The world is teaching that women can and should do everything men do. An example of this attitude is clearly seen in something that happened on the O’Reilly show. In one story he talked about a boy who refused to wrestle with a girl. Sadly, the predominately moral conservative audience thought the boy was a pinhead for his stand.
Certain things are unladylike and should not be done by women and girls. We should be teaching our young women to have this meek and quiet spirit that God dearly loves. While I was looking for a church when we moved to North Carolina I came across some pictures of a youth camp where one church sent their young people. The girls were all dressed very modestly, but they were teaching them to box. It seems to me they were more concerned with the outward appearance than the inner person since boxing does not teach a meek and quiet spirit. Modesty is important, but the heart is more important.
A wife who follows these precepts will be of great price in the sight of God and her husband. A woman who rebels against these precepts will cause great turmoil in the home. Women must remember that the next generation is depending on them. Like the men, women must be concerned with the example they leave for their children and grandchildren.
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved