1 Timothy 2:12 “I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.” HCSB
Does this verse mean that women are not supposed to have any authority over a man? Does the Bible give clear commands about this? From what research that has been done, there are no passages of Scripture that explicitly prohibit women from exercising authority over men except in the home and church (1 Tim. 2, Col. 3, Eph. 5).
Something to consider, though, are the principles laid out in Scripture. We see men are to be leaders, providers, and protectors, and conversely women are to be submissive, helpers, and keepers of the home. If these are biblical principles, shouldn’t they trickle into our society and culture? Shouldn’t that be the natural outflow of these Biblical standards? Our culture in the last 60 years has shifted and people as a whole and in general do not believe this to be the case. Christian men and women can do whatever outside the home as long as they put the right hats on inside the home. This is misguided at best, hypocritical at worst.
Are there are roles that strain women’s femininity and men’s masculinity? John Piper and Wayne Grudem in their book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, say that there are “roles that “stretch appropriate expressions of femininity beyond the breaking point.”1 And they also have said, “There are roles that strain the personhood of man and woman too far to be appropriate, productive and healthy for the overall structure of home and society.”2
A tool these authors use top help the reader understand at what point has a woman’s role outside the home and church have gone too far is a continuum scale that I have put in a box for reference.
“To the degree that a woman’s influence over man is personal and directive it will generally offend a man’s good, God-given sense of responsibility and leadership, and thus controvert God’s created order.”3
In the book it references two different jobs: A street light coordinator and a drill sergeant. A woman could design a traffic light pattern which directly affects men but it is done in an impersonal manner. A female drill sergeant on the other hand is very directive and very personal to men.
If the job is more personal and directive, this strains a woman’s femininity and treads on men’s masculinity. The more non-personal and non-directive the role, the less it will affect the gender roles. We as a Christian culture must champion this realm of thinking. We need to build up each other. We need to set good examples to our children. We need Masculine Men and Feminine Women. What areas in your life could you change/alter in order to build up your particular gender role and the opposite sexes gender role? How can you affirm and admonish your spouse? How can you teach your children these truths and help implement them in their lives? These are all questions we should wrestle with. It is imperative for the next generation.
- John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): a Response to Evangelical Feminism, Redesign ed. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 50.
- Piper, Recovering, 51
- Ibid., 51