Monday, August 18, 2008


While there are many major differences between humanity and all other creatures on the earth, there is one that stands out strongly because it is a direct command from God. That is dominion. No other creature in the world is commissioned to care for the earth or for the creatures of the earthy, yet humanity is.  And this dominion has been given to every human, both men and women, no matter their age or ethnicity. If you are human, you have a gift and responsibility to care for the earth and its creatures.  If we do not take our responsibility seriously, the job doesn't get done.  It's up to us and no others.

Equally important is that this responsibility, with all its ensuing abilities, is our primary responsibility before personal blessings to populate the earth. Each individual no matter what our other responsibilities has a command to guard the earth and its creatures. 

Gen. 1:26 Then God said, 'let Us make man (humanity) in our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' 27 So God created man (humanity) in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Since each human was given this responsibility, each human has an inherent gift of leadership and guardianship, both men and women. Although our personalities, skills and sex will influence how we work it out, the commission and ability is the same.  There is no preference by God.  If you are human, then you inherently have leadership skills.... perhaps not in the world's systems, but in God's system you do.


When Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon us, He did not send only part to some and part to others. While se are sealed by the HS, the infilling, immersion, or spiritual baptism is a separate experience that empowers God's people.  We are commissioned by the HS to do God's work. Everyone receives the same HS. 

The gifts spoken of in 1 Cor. are not actually gifts but the spiritual manifestations of the presence of the Hs in one's life. There are many different manifestations, all of which come with the presence of the HS.  Ministries are also not given by measure or doled out differently to some. The manifestations of the service ministries are the same in everyone whom God commissions, although personality, other skills and opportunities make them flow differently.  Teaching is still teaching, preaching is still preaching, evangelism still evangelism, etc.

The over emphasis on gender today causes some to erroneously think that the HS divides itself differently among men and women, yet there is no indication of such in Scripture.

John 3:34 "For He whom God has sent sppeaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Does Ephesians 5-6 Outline Male Headship?

Actually, it doesn't. When a word is used in metaphor or analogy it is used outside of its usual meaning. There is never a standard metaphorical usage in that there is only one metaphorical usage. Sometimes a metaphor is repeated often, but that does not constrain it as the only possible metaphorical use. The meaning of a metaphor MUST be determined in the context. In Ephe. 5:21-33 we have a metaphorical use of “head of” and “body of” inferring an element of husband wife relationship. Chapter six speaks of parenting (although Paul points to a failure of fathers) which we know holds an element of authority. Also chapt. Six speaks of the relationship between master and slave. Both children and slaves are under authority; a child to both parents, and slaves primarily to the husband, but in daily life the wife. The husband and wife relationship stands distinct from the other two by the metaphor of “head of” and “body of”. All three speak to the elements in a type of household of that era. Not all households had slaves, but when they did the responsibility of running the masters slaves fell to the wife who was to oikodespoteo them. 1 Tim. 5:14

Oiko - home
Despoteo – rule, manage (our word despot was transliterated from this word)

So what is the difference in the husband wife section of 21-33? Husband and wife are to become as one flesh. It is not one over or against the other. Many who have acknowledged the metaphor have still only paid heed to the “head of” tweeking it to mean “head over”. But the metaphor is not about the husband as "head" or “head over” and “body under”. There was a metaphor used occasionally in the OT of “head and tail”. That metaphor usually held the meaning of leader and follower; the head lead and the tail trailed obediently behind. That is not the metaphor here. Note that the husband is not told to be a “head” and the wife is not told to be a “body”.

So what does “head of and body of” have a meaning of in this place? It is defined in the context. The two elements leading up to the discussion of husband and wife are sacrificial love (vs. 2) and mutual honoring submission (specifically vs. 21 but encompassing 18-21). First the wife is mentioned that she is to extend the self instigated (verb form of upotassoMENOI) mutually honoring submission of verse 21 to her husband. The idea is that such respect (see vs. 33) does not stop at the door to the marriage. The wife is further admonished to mirror the trusting submission that all believers have toward our Lord (who first loved us and gave His life for us see vs. 2 again). Then the husband is told to sacrificially love their wife like Christ (vs. 2 again). Paul describes what Christ did in hopes of having a bride, sacrificing Himself and nourishing, caring for His potential bride. Then Paul says that a husband is to love (agape not eros) his wife and care for, nourish her as if she were his own body.

Thus the picture is that the wife is to honor, trustingly yield and receive from the husband as if he were “head of” her and the husband is to sacrificially love, nourish, and care for his wife as if she were “body of” him. The “head of” and “body of” metaphor is to tie them together to picture life’s union of “one flesh”. Husband and wife are to become as one flesh. Without the head the body dies, without the body the head dies. They are intimately dependent upon one another.

Had we been speaking of “head and tail”, that would not be the case, since any animal can get along without a tail. But Paul is painting a picture to teach us how to maintain real godly life in a marriage.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

LET the woman LEARN!

It has been a traditional belief that women are NOT permitted to teach men because to do so would usurp a man's authority,

1 Tim. 2:8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man, but to be in quietness.

1. men should pray lifting up their hands without wrath and doubting
2. women should adorn themselves modestly
3. LET a woman LEARN! ( notice the shift from plural to singular- Paul may be referring to a particular woman) (this is the beginning of the sentence and the primary command to which the rest must link)
4. In quietness and submission (this is a phrase used of students and reflects the proper attitude of a student)
5. I do not permit (this is different from quoting or making a command from God – it is Paul who is advising Timothy how to handle a situation and Paul is taking the responsibility for it by saying it is he who does not permit, rather than advising Timothy to not permit it.)
6. a woman to teach (who is Paul speaking about – he did not say, women are not to teach men)
7. OR to usurp authority over a man (this is an implication that some woman was authentein a man and Paul is saying he does not want it to continue)
8. But to be in quietness (a reference back to letting a woman learn in quietness which is the proper attitude of a student)

What is NOT said is that to teach a man usurps his authority. Rather Paul is admonishing that woman to LEARN, and not to teach OR usurp a man’s authority. The OR separates the two thoughts so that to authentein a man is not the same as teaching a man. The OR also does not say that to teach automatically results in to authentein. The woman is to neither teach nor authentein A man (possibly the teacher that she is to LEARN from in quietness and submission).

Hesuchia means quietness, peaceable. It is the same word used in verse 2, “lead a quiet and peaceable life”.

Acts 22:2 (English Standard Version)
2And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:

2 Thessalonians 3:12 (English Standard Version)
12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

2 Thessalonians illustrates the attitude of hesuchia. Thus Paul wants everyone to lead quiet peaceable lives, the men to lift their hands in prayer instead of wrath, the women in like manner to adorn them selves modestly (perhaps thinking of a gentle spirit) and THE un-named woman to LEARN in like manner – in a quiet and peaceable attitude.

A Conversation ~ About Being Born First and Authority

I am posting a conversation with a person who claims that he does not believe anyone can solidly prove that Junia was a woman. His mode of proving that she cannot be a woman is 1 Timothy 2:11-12. I've changed the quotes so as to make them generic.

Paul's statement and reasoning about not allowing a woman to teach a man OR TO USURP HIS AUTHORITY proves that Junia could not be a woman apostle. The reason? BECAUSE ADAM WAS FORMED FIRST...

OK let’s look at this reasoning. IF taking this piece of a sentence,” I do not permit a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man”, means what you think it means; and the reason you cite is what follows, then you have a problem. You have a few problems. Not only must vs. 13, be part of the reason, but verses 14 and 15 also are specifically linked and therefore must fit in with this idea.

1. you say that being born/created first gave the man authority over who came second, namely the woman. Yet, there is no Scriptural evidence to support a law or rule of the first born always legally being given “rulership”.
2. The woman being deceived and the man deliberately sinning would make an interesting rule for leadership. All who deliberately sin are better equipped for leadership and anyone who has ever been deceived is automatically disqualified. Ever seen a Biblical rule like that? I haven’t.
3. And how does verse 15 fit in with being a reason for women to be forbidden to teach men? Most theologians struggle with the significance of this verse in what it says and why it is being said.

Basically, this interpretation does not work, does not fit with the rest of what Paul is saying and does not fit anywhere else in Scripture. This interpretation is a result of helicopter theology, swooping down pulling out a piece of a sentence and reforming it into a predetermined bias.

AND we are still left with the problem of a silent rule that has never been put into effect for 4000 years. You want to say that God laid down a principle that would affect all men and women in their relationships, but God didn’t tell us about it at all. He let His people go on and live otherwise for 4000 years. I repeat – 4000 years. And still Christ didn’t even mention it in His ministry. In fact God never did tell us that He forbade women to teach or lead. You say that one sentence in a private letter to Timothy, where Paul was advising Timothy about a problem that Timothy was privy to, that God inspired Paul to IMPLY a principle that was supposed to have been instigated at creation, that no one ever knew anything about until just then. And you want to say that such implication upon implication implies that it would be sin for a woman to teach right doctrine to males or lead people in Godly ministry.

That is both preposterous and incredibly illogical.

Being born first does not grant one person authority over another person.

It is CLEAR from Scripture (and Paul testifies to this that ADAM WAS CREATED FIRST), that man ruled or reigned over creation.

The man did not rule over creation alone. Dominion over the creation was given to two, which in effect translated to the entire human race. It is humanity that has been given the dominion of the earth, not male humans.

Gen. 126 Then God said, “Let Us make man (humanity) in Our image, according to Our likeness; let THEM have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man (humanity) in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed THEM, and God said to THEM, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

As you can see God gave rule/dominion of the creation to THEM, THE MALE AND THE FEMALE HUMAN.

Thus far you have not been able to Scripturally prove that the man was entitled to dominion over the woman in the creation, neither from being created first nor by being given sole rulership of the creation.

Because you cannot establish this in Scripture, then we must conclude that you are incorrectly inserting assumptions into the 1 Tim. verses that pull this section away from Paul’s intentions. IOW you are incorrectly interpreting this section of Scripture.

Bottom line is that if you wish to prove that Junia cannot be a woman by this approach, you have failed.

Also, you need to prove that Miriam was not a leader in Israel of any kind, that God did not send her or choose her to stand before His people. You must prove that Deborah was not called of God, that she did not judge Israel for 40 years by God’s directions. You must prove that Huldah was not a prophet of God and did not lead the nation back to God by her instructions on the meanings of the discovered scrolls. You must prove that Priscilla did not actually teach Apollo. You must prove that Phoebe was not really a minister of the church of Cenchre, was not given authority, and certainly would not be entrusted with the epistle to the Romans since that responsibility carried a certain authority with it. And then you must actually prove that Junia was not a woman, rather than trying to say she just couldn’t be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Submit or Obey ~ part 2

Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, (submit) to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

The main issue of upotassomenoi is voice. If I tell someone to submit, I am commanding they come under me (coming under, or yielding is the main meaning) , my authority, my desires, my wishes (the tone and part of the meaning of upotasso is respect, see verse 33). But the ending menoi or mai that is added to upotasso in the instances we are discussing (Ephe. 5:21) bring a whole new picture. Instead of men commanding women to come under their authority, or even one man commanding women to come under male authority, we have something else that changes the tone and the picture. We have Paul first telling all brethren, male and female of all ages, to yield themselves to one another. Specifically, the tone is that each person is to command themselves (that takes away the issue of others taking authority over) to take a respectful attitude toward each other. It becomes self telling self to mold oneself under instead of exalting oneself over. Then we have Paul turning to the wives and saying, 'and you too' toward your husband, as if to say, this attitude includes the arena of marriage.

So because Paul is saying to control self, there is no issue of anyone taking authority over anyone else.

There is also no mantle of leadership given to husbands as some like to read into this section. When Paul tells wives to respect their husbands in the same manner as they do the Lord, he also turns around and tells husbands to respect their wives as their own body, without which they would have no life. The body does not live without the head, and the head does not live without the body. The picture Paul is trying to paint is one of a unity of respect and honor, not only of the whole body, but of all our intimate relationships: marriage, children, slaves.

If one reads the entire chapter we can see that first Paul tells all to love one another sacrificially (including spouses to one another) in verses 1-2. (walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.) Then he bookends this in verse 21 by telling all to respect one another and yield, honor, make room for the other by telling them to submit one to another (including spouses). I use the term "book end" because those exact two issues Paul addresses to both parties in the three groups from various angles. Thus he has laid out the picture of loving and respecting, with the verses 1-2 and 21, and inbetween those verses he goes into some detail into how that is accomplished: staying in the light and the fruit of the Spirit, redeeming the days with wisdom, being filled with the Spirit, praising God, always giving thanks, etc. It is that entire picture that we are to carry over into each of those relationships and which EACH PARTY is to live toward the other.

This leaves no room for one having the attitude of taking authority over but rather changes the attitudes (especially of those culturally given authority) to one of how can I benefit my spouse, my parent, my child, my master, my slave. And how can I do this giving honor to Christ.

Is it Submit or is it Obey

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

The word submit put in here in this translation, does not exist in the original. It actually reads,

“Wives, unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

The verb for verse 22 is borrowed from the preceeding verse 21, “submitting to one another” (not obeying one another), thus forcing the careful reader to carry over the tone and the context as well. So Paul in effect is saying that we are all to submit to one another and that includes wives to husbands. So what is the context? Can we “obey” one another? No, we cannot, because then no one gets to give the orders. The verb upotassomai is used in a form that calls the submitter to order himself into a proper attutude of respect, honor and support of the “one anothers” that he is to be submissive towards. It is this attitude that is to be carried over into the marriage relationship and actually ALL relationships though that will be worked out differently depending on the relationship.

While uptoasso CAN mean to order someone to subordinate themselves to them IF the CONTEXT is that "I am telling you to submit to me", but that is not its only meaning. All words have a range of meanings determined by context.

The word upotasso has different tenses in Greek. Upotasso is indeed often used as one commanding another and expecting them to comply to them.. However, that is not the tense or the manner that Paul used it. Every word has a range of meanings determined according to context and word tense and form.

The word used to mean “obey” throughout the N.T. is (h)upakouo. It is also used to mean “listen, heed” (Vines Expository Dict.). It’s a fairly precise word for the meanings: listen, heed, obey, obedience, obedient. The verb is derived from akouo and was very commonly and frequently used in secular Greek. And generally this obedience includes submission to authorities and leaders.

As a side note some might find it interesting, that in the Greek translation of the O.T. this was the word used when Abraham listened to Sarah and did what she asked of him. He listened and obeyed. ☺

The conclusion one cannot help but reach is that if Paul had meant obey or obedience in the places he used (h)upotasso or more specifically (h)upotassoMAI, then Paul would have used hupakouo instead. Fact is he did not.

The Greek words (h)upotasso and (h)upotassoMAI(menoi) are more complicated.

The base word upotasso means to arrange oneself under, more similar to our word subject, perhaps. It is usually used of one commanding another to “submit”, yield, come under them in some manner. However, in the N.T. Paul uses it almost extensively in the form of upotassoMAI(menoi) and in the sense of a humble attitude, support, and arranging in unity, comformity. Ephesians 5:21 and 1 Pe. 5:5 show it best.

Ephe. 5: 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

I Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Inserting the error of upotassomai meaning obey would make these two verses read that in Ephesians we are all to obey one another, and in Peter we are to first obey our elders and then obey everyone. Just doesn’t work does it. That is because upotassomai does not mean obey. Pure and simple.

The way Paul uses the word almost extensively throughout the N.T. is in that middle voice form. The middle voice is something we don’t have in English and thus have difficulty grasping. But it is when one orders oneself at ones own discretion. This way he is requesting that we all voluntarily, willingly, actively arrange ourselves to yield, support, and fit in to ONE ANOTHER at our own instigation. When Paul uses the verb in verse 21 and then omits the verb in verse 22 to the wives, he is effectively carrying over this attitude and saying of a sort , “wives you too”.

In addition, those who think it means submit to authority of another, there are much better and more precise words available that say exactly that, which Paul did NOT use. That would have been a form of archo (ruler) or despotes (master).