Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Understanding Gender Roles

Monday, May 14, 2018

Understanding Gender Roles

Understanding Gender Roles

    One of the most misunderstood, abused, and rejected truths from Biblical instruction is that of gender roles assigned by God.  Abuses of gender roles have created difficulty because the roles are intended to function in real life situations, not merely within some idealist ivory tower realm of sinless perfection.  Any form of an idealistic world ceased to exist at the time of humanity’s leap into the corruptions of fallen natures.  In fact, gender roles exist because of humanities corruption due to Adam’s and Eve’s failures. 
Although Eve was created as Adam’s “help meet” (Genesis 2:18), there appears to be no other inference to her being created to be subservient to Adam.  The words “help meet” simply mean to aid.  The only positive commandment they had to fulfil together is found in Genesis 1:26; “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”  

The Apostle Paul instructs by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit about gender roles in I Timothy chapter two.  There is a subtle implication for God’s purpose in gender roles given in I Timothy 2:2 in instructing believers to pray, “for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.” 

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting {the implication is that our life and actions are constantly before the eyes of the Lord}. 9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (I Timothy 2:1-15).

The greatest gift that God has given to men, apart from salvation, is the gift of a woman with which to share our lives, to give us children, and with which a man can grow old.  If God would have required men to give birth to children, humanity would have ceased to exist after Cain was born.  

Men and women are totally different.  Therefore, the unisex movement is ridiculous.  The unisex movement wants to treat men and women as equals.  Equal means the same.  Men and women are not the same.  That does not mean women are superior to men or men superior to women.  This means men and women are like cats and dogs that occasionally like each other.  They have some similarities, but they are different.  Men and women process information differently.  In other words, men and women think differently.  Men and women act differently.  Men and women have different priorities in life.  These differences existed before the fall into sin.  In other words, God created men and women to be different.  Men and women are intended to complement one another. 

Like two different people looking at the same object, men and women were designed to see and evaluate what they see from different perspectives.  One looks for facts and physical description.  The other sees personality and character.  Idealistically, only together do they see and comprehend all that God intends them to see.  Idealistically, only together are they capable of doing what God created them to do.  However, since the fall, the ideal that God intended must be recreated.  God’s intended ideal exists nowhere in this sinful world because sin made men and women innately selfish beings.  

A great deal of effort will be required by a man and a woman for them to live together as husband and wife and “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Timothy 2:2).  The marriage covenant is essentially an arrangement between a man and a woman to live under certain conciliatory agreements with one another that are defined by Biblical gender roles.  That is why it is critical to understand that a marriage covenant is not just between a man and a woman, but a man, a woman, and God.  

Doing what God commands is called obedience.  Doing what God commands in a way that obedience becomes righteous is called love.  Biblical love cannot be defined or expressed apart from self-sacrifice.  In other words, loving Biblically is to make your desires and needs subservient to the person loved.  This is what God means by the command, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21), just before He gives the gender roles for the husbands and wives in that text.  Therefore, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” is the general governing principle for all relationships given in Ephesians chapter five and six.  God has established various levels of authorities in this world to insure some degree of order and to avoid the natural tendency of sinners to advance towards anarchy-LAWLESSNESS.  This was the substance of I Timothy chapter one. 

5 Now the end {goal or point aimed at} of the commandment {God’s mandate of righteousness} is charity {God’s ultimate charge to be given to the Church; self-sacrificing love} out of {three qualifiers} a pure heart {purified by knowledge of God’s will}, and of a good conscience {conscious/convictions of right and wrong}, and of faith unfeigned {unhypocritical or real, living, practicing faith}: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling {random, meaningless talk, babbling – talk much, but say little}; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully {the correct purpose for which the law was intended- sanctification}; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (I Timothy 1:5-11).

The Law confronts the Law breaker.  The Law generates fear in the heart of the Law breaker because the Law breaker knows there will be consequences to pay for breaking the Law.  The point here is that every person is a Law breaker in his heart.  Every person wants something that the Law forbids.  This is what defines the fact that we are all sinners by nature.  Fear of the consequences of breaking a Law may keep us from doing what is forbidden, but in our hearts, we know there is a desire for forbidden things. 

The Law was “not made for a righteous man” (I Timothy 1:9).  The Law is God telling us what is right and what is wrong and that He is constantly watching.  Consequences for disobedience are inevitable.  Therefore, the Law is God’s sovereign authority spell out in words.  The Law says God will do what He says He will do when any person fails to submit to His authority in the Law.  The Law is not a disconnected set of rules and regulations disconnected from the One Who authored the Law.  The Law is the defined will of God that defines the holiness of God and His sovereign right to execute righteous judgment on sinners who reject God’s authority communicated by the Law. 
I Timothy chapter two begins with instructions to all believers about the authorities over them.  For kings, and for all that are in authority.  Paul says, that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority.”  Every person has numerous levels of authorities in his life.  One of our first moral responsibilities as believers is to discover, recognize, and submit to the authorities in our life.  God’s Word gives us numerous lists of authorities to which we are to submit.

1 Be ye followers of me {as a God ordained authority in teaching God’s truths}, even as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3 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. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered {hair too long like a woman}, dishonoureth his head {i.e., Christ}. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered {hair too short like a man} dishonoureth her head {her husband}: for that is even all one as if she were shaven {civil authorities shaved the heads of women to publicly shame them for certain things}. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power {hair covering to show her submission to her husband} on her head because of the angels {angels fell into sin because Satan refused to accept God gift of dominion of the Creation to humanity in Adam; superior beings, angels, were made subject to inferior beings, humans}. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man {procreation requires one of each}, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man {creation by God}, even so is the man also by the woman {procreation though birth}; but all things of God {God is the ultimate authority in that He is the Creator and has defined and established the order of His authorities}’ (I Corinthians 11:1-12).

Almost everyone wants to be their own boss.  Almost no one wants to be subservient to someone else.  Being another’s servant to any degree is one of the most resisted aspects of life.  Almost every war or revolution is the outcome of resistance and rejection of having another rule over us.  In most cases, that resistance and rebellion is due to unjust, harsh, and even cruel treatment by “taskmasters.”  However, that is not always the case.  Some people are just anarchists rejecting all Law and all authorities living in constant rebellion against everything and everyone. 
This is the meaning of the phrase “for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers” in I Timothy 1:9. Murder begins with hatred.  The reason for this hatred is the disdain for authority in a child’s life.  Sometimes that disdain is created by parents who treat children in a manner that is unjust and cruel.  Most of the time, the disdain is just rebellion against authority.  This kind of rebellion will be extended to almost every authority under which a child’s life come.  This rebellion will extend to his peers, older brothers or sisters, teachers, pastors, even finally to police officers.  This rebellion is destined to become anarchy and a social disorder resolved by barred doors and windows. 
The point of God’s order of subservience is that God has ordained authorities to maintain some degree of order in a fallen universe.  These authorities are not always ideal because they are a part of the fallen universe.  However, at what point does the obedient, surrendered believer say to an authority he cannot obey a certain command?  The answer is simple.  No one should obey any command that is contrary to God’s commands.  A wife need not obey a husband who is leading her away from God’s will.  Yet, even in her being faithful to God, she must be careful in how she refuses to follow her husband lest she creates a poor example to her undiscerning children.  There are grave responsibilities and considerations of ramifications any time anyone steps outside of God’s chain of order.  

Again, we must reiterate, God understands that His chain of command is intended to be practical only when certain ideals are being practiced by everyone.  The more a society moves away from God’s intended norms, the more difficult it will become to live in subservience to ungodly people while trying our best to be subservient to God’s commands.  For instance, a woman has a husband who beats her and the children.  At what point does she call the police?  At what point does she separate for mere protection?  Does this behavior by her husband mean she can divorce him?  

What about Christ’s command in Matthew 5:39; “but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”?  What if someone hits you with a baseball bat? Should you turn to him another part of your body to be broken?  What if someone shoots you in the shoulder, should you turn to him your other shoulder to be wounded?  During Bible times, to smite someone on the cheek was to insult him intending to publicly degrade or humiliate.  Pride would respond in reciprocity because a person did not believe he deserved the humiliation.  Pride would escalate the degradation eventually resulting in war or killing one another (the Duel).  Humility can turn the other cheek because pride is absent.  This is the cultural context we must bring to I Timothy 2:8-15.

“8 I will therefore that {the} men pray every where {in every place as a testimony to dependence upon God for everything}, lifting up holy hands {hands that have been cleansed and that are undefiled before God}, without wrath and doubting {the implication is that our life and actions are constantly before the eyes of the Lord}” (I Timothy 2:8).

          The two great pains of life are child bearing and child rearing.  The first is borne by the wife and the latter is borne by both parents, but the responsibility for the latter falls mainly upon the father.  The father is the priest of his home.  The father represents God before his wife and children and he represents his wife and children before God.  This again is an idealistic representation.  He will often fail.  How he deals with his own failures will be the primary reason his wife and children will fail in being subservient to the authorities in their lives. 

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Genesis 3:14-16).

Genesis 3:16 is a remarkable text.  Women needed to understand that before anyone could be redeemed from the condemnation of sin, some woman at sometime would have to give birth to the Redeemer described in Genesis 3:15.  The pain of childbirth would naturally be an extremely painful situation that normal people would want to avoid.  Yet, God created women with a compelling desire to procreate.  Therefore, even though the pain of childbirth would be a strong deterrent against procreation, God had created women with a compelling desire to their husbands to get pregnant.  This is what is known today as the sexual drive.  Men are equally driven to sexual activity.  Yet, the sexual drive must be brought under righteous restraints or chaos and abuse will abound. 

Women have power over men because God has given them the power of consent.  However, if we live under a survival of the fittest mentality, the stronger would just take from the weaker without consent.  Forcing someone to have sex is condemned in the strongest terms of civil justice in every civilized culture in the world.  The power of consent should never be overruled by force of strength. 

However, according to I Timothy 2:9-15, women need to understand that the power of consent comes with the responsibility of their own understanding of their ability to generate human lusts and their restraint in sexual enticement.  There is a strong natural desire of a man for a woman and vice versa.  However, BOTH godly men and godly women should never be trying to generate lust in others by the way we dress or adorn ourselves.  In other words, we are naturally sexual beings, but we should not use sexual enticements to draw sexual attention. 

9 In like manner also, that {the} women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (I Timothy 2:9-10).

          Masculinity and femininity should be apparent.  In other words, men should look like men and women should look like women and the differences should be readily and easily apparent.  Sex and sexuality are different things.  A person’s gender should be apparent, but sexuality should be private between at husband and wife.  A person’s gender should be apparent especially in the way they dress and interact with the opposite gender.  

After giving this primary governing principle to women about ensuring they do not using the accents of sexuality to entice, Paul instructs about the way women are to interact with men within the church assembly. 

11 Let the woman learn in silence {quietness or peaceable as opposed to quarrelsome or argumentative} with all subjection {subordination}. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence {quietness or peaceable as opposed to quarrelsome or argumentative}. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was {the leader} in the transgression {Eve should not have taken this leadership.  Eve should have asked Adam FIRST} (I Timothy 2:11-14).

Some have taken this text to extremes.  Such extremes will not allow a woman even to ask a question to be educated.  That is not the point of the text.  The point of the text is the way a woman asks a question in a public forum.  Meekness and subservience must be the attitude of the woman to reflect her understanding of God’s assigned order due to the fall and the woman’s part in man’s deception.  Women should not take leadership in the presence of godly men.
“Adam was not deceived.”  However, Satan used Adam’s love for Eve to entice Adam into direct disobedience to God’s command.  Men will often do what they need to do to please their wives rather than obey God.  Men will rationalize themselves into degrees of disobedience progressively compromising God’s will to please their wives and even their children.  Although this often happens in the home, it should NEVER be allowed in the church assembly.  Many times, women speak through the mouths of their puppet husband.  The husband’s lips are moving, but the wife’s words are coming out. 

Notwithstanding she {not just Eve, but all women} shall be saved in {through} childbearing {the salvific hope of that humanity has laid in the Genesis 3:15 proclamation of the birth of the promised Messiah Redeemer}, if they {women collectively born under the curse and therefore all men and women} continue in faith {in the incarnate Messiah Redeemer} and charity and holiness with sobriety {as expressions/works of genuine saving faith}” (I Timothy 2:15).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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