The creation of woman was like the Bible commentator Matthew Henry says, “ Not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.i   It is sin that brought a consequence of man having dominance over the wife and the wife's subservience to her husband (Genesis 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:9-15). Otherwise, the partnership would have apparently been equal. “For also man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man ” (1 Corinthians 11:9, Darby Version).

salvation illustration Sin entered the world via Adam and Eve and death with sin (Romans 5:12). The consequences include an end to any long marriage relationship because of death. There are no marriages in the resurrection (Matthew 22:30). Meanwhile, what should have been joy and enjoyment for man and woman's marriage here on earth has instead become added with unpleasantries. One thing for the woman was to be in subjection to her husband (Genesis 3:16). The apostle wrote that this was due to two things: (1) Eve being created second and (2) her being deceived and sinning (1 Timothy 2:13,14). For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” The coordinate conjunction “and” (Greek,kai), to me, ties these two factors together for the resulting subjection.   For example, Mark 16:16 uses the “and” (Greek,kai) to connect the two requirements for salvation, “believe and be baptized.” Both are required for salvation. Hence, I conclude both "being formed second" and "being deceived" preceded the submission role of woman.


A new covenant was in God's eternal plan (from the beginning according to Ephesians). “Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good-pleasure, which he purposed in him [Jesus]” (Ephesians 1:9). It has now found fruition because of the unfaithfulness of the children of those originally rescued from Egyptian bondage. God had been a husband unto them (Jeremiah 31:31-33). But they had broken the covenant. Therefore, God promised to make a new covenant. God had divorced them because of their unfaithfulness (Ezekiel 16:15,59). This is fulfilled in the New Covenant of Jesus, the Son of God (Hebrews 8:8-13).

It is God's new covenant that governs today (Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 2:14-17). The burden of this writing is to determine what if any changes have been made in God's marriage law.


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” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

A husband therefore is still to be the head of the marriage relationship; the wife is still to be subject to her husband. Some say they do not want that in their vows. As one lady put it after a sermon on Ephesians 5, “Well, I'll tell you that I'm not going to obey him.” And she didn't. Within a short while she went searching outside of marriage for thrills. In the past wives and women in general have been abused in overbearing male societies. This is unconscionable. The reaction to this has been a successful feminist movement backlash in the United States. However, as in any "movement" there have been consequences as well. For one example, confusion exists now about the roles of husband and wife. But from the fall sin has required that there be subservience in a marriage.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24; compare Colossians 3:18). Jesus gives Himself as an example of the headship role to husbands by His love for the church and giving Himself for it. Love in this context is providing for the needs of the wife (as Christ provides for the church).

The Law of Mosesii is appealed to in asserting the role of wife to husband. As the apostle tells the wives to be quiet in the assembly and to ask her husband appropriate questions at home. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34,35). Decency and order in the assembly required men and women to submit to one another and speak in order. The women were told to keep silent. The obedience of women was ori ginally in the Law of Moses (such passages as Genesis 3:16, etc.) and is confirmed as still binding under the New Covenant.

Paul clearly affirms the continuation of the subjection law of Genesis: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:12-15). This passage does not say that a woman is not to teach, but that she must not teach over the man (with authority of a teacher) nor usurp authority over the man.

The submission of the wife can be a positive contribution to the marriage relationship. As Peter wrote, “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” (1 Peter 3:1,2).

A counselor writes of a case in which the wife clearly wanted to be the leader in the family and would not submit to his authority. She had authority in the workplace and was bringing her role home. The husband was very passive and did not take a leadership role. They had reversed their roles and as a result were miserable. The solution would be to read and accept God's Word on roles in marriage.

A wife's submission is not indicating inferiority to men. Husbands and wives are equal before God with distinct roles in a covenant established by God. When we accept the authority of God's Word and fill these roles, marriage surely can thrive and, if necessary, be restored.

by Gaylon West

"Throw Out the Lifeline"

i Dr. Susan Hyatt. 9/07/2013

ii Commentaries that agree on this being the Law of Moses: Orr & Walter, ‘1 Corinthians’, The Anchor Bible (1976); Robertson, et al, ‘A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians. 2nd ed.’, The International Critical Commentary (1971 ed.); McArthur (complementarian), ‘1 Corinthians’, MacArthur New Testament Commentary (1984); Ellingworth & Hatton, ‘A Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians’ (2nd ed., 1994); Morris, ‘The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians’, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (2nd ed., 1985); Garland (egalitarian), ‘1 Corinthians’, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (2003); Beale & Carson, ‘Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament’ (2007); Oster (complementarian), ‘1 Corinthians’, College Press NIV Commentary (1995); Hodge, ‘An Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians’ (1980 ed.); Bruce (egalitarian), ‘1 and 2 Corinthians’, New Century Bible Commentary (1971); Kistemaker, ‘Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians’, New Testament Commentary (1986). source: http://