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Particulars of Christianity:
312 The Church Ethic

New Testament Protocols
Regarding Men and Women (Part 2)

The Importance of Family Part 1: Marriage
The Importance of Family Part 2: The Family
Divorce and Remarriage: Introduction and Basics
Separation and Divorce in the Law of Moses
Marital Separation in the Gospels
Marital Separation after the Gospels and Conclusions
Marital Separation: Objections 1-3
Marital Separation: Objections 4-6 and the Early Church
Remarriage Addendum: Exception Clause Comparison
New Testament Protocols Regarding Men and Women (Part 1)
New Testament Protocols Regarding Men and Women (Part 2)
Comparative Peer Dynamics Chart

As we continue our study, our next passage is Colossians 3:18-19.

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God…Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

As we can plainly see, Paul's comments here in Colossians 3 are basically identical to his comments in Ephesians 5, which is slightly more detailed. Particularly of note is that here in Colossians 3-4, Paul addresses the exact same 3 groups that he addressed in Ephesians 5-6: wives and husbands, children and parents, and slaves and masters. Paul even addresses them in the exact same order as Ephesians 5-6, always starting with the subordinate party in each group. For that reason we will not spend much time restating everything that was just covered in Ephesians 5.

Instead, we will simply note that our conclusions from Ephesians 5 are further supported by Colossians 3. And we will add two small items. First, Paul mentions an additional nuance to a husband's obligation. Husbands should not be bitter against their wives, which simply means that husbands are not to treat their wives in an embittered, exasperated, irritated manner. And second, Paul mentions an additional obligation for masters. Masters are to be fair to their servants.

This takes us to our next passage, 1 Timothy 2.

1 Timothy 2:7 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. 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.

This passage from 1 Timothy 2 contains details that parallel two of the passages that we have already examined. In 1 Corinthians 11:8-9, Paul explains how men are the head of women because man was formed first and woman was created from man. Paul states the same thing here in verse 13. In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Paul states that a woman is not permitted to speak up or ask questions at weekly church gatherings. And Paul states the same thing here in verses 11-12. So, we know that Paul has similar ideas in mind in this passage that he did during those two previous passages. Consequently, this adds further support for the understanding that women are not permitted to ask questions or speak up during church gatherings but must learn from their husbands at home, as stated in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 also.

Furthermore, modern culture has to some extent suggested that Paul's instructions here concerning the role of women were based upon cultural norms at that time. And, according to this type of theory, because cultures change Paul's instructions here were not meant to be binding in our modern culture, which does not hold to the same norms regarding the role of women. The basic concept in such an assertion is that Paul's instructions regarding women are not binding today because they are based on that particular culture and, therefore, are only meant to be binding in similar cultural environments. Or, in other words, Paul's instructions here accommodate his current culture and in a culture without such customs for women, such as our modern society, Paul's instructions need not be applied.

However, this is entirely incorrect. The whole premise of this suggestion is refuted directly by the text itself. Paul's instructions here are not based upon the current Greek culture in which he lived. Nor were Paul's instructions driven by an accommodation of those ancient societal norms. Instead, as verse 13-15 plainly demonstrate, Paul's reason for these instructions is derived from ancient Biblical culture and driven by God-given scripture. In verses 13-15, Paul explains that women are to be silent in church and not permitted to teach men because of the biblical fact that Eve was deceived. Thus, Eve demonstrates a difficulty in determining truth from falsehood. Adam, in contrast, was not deceived, but chose knowing his choice was wrong.

Thus, Paul gives these instructions regarding women not because of Greek culture at that time and not to accommodate his cultural environment, but instead Paul gives these instructions because he is concerned with the ability to recognize truth from falsehood. According to Paul's interpretation of the Genesis account of the fall of mankind, women have a lesser capacity to recognize truth and falsehood than men and so for a woman to be placed in authority over a man endangers the preservation of the truth of Christian teaching. And this is why Paul forbids a woman to have authority over a man, because he is concerned with preserving sound doctrine and because Paul believes that women have a greater capacity and tendency for being deceived or perhaps even self-deluded to accept false teaching, which allows them to do things that are sinful.

In summary, what we learn from 1 Timothy 2 is that women are obligated by Paul to stay silent in church gatherings and are not permitted to have authority over men. The reason for this is Biblical. And this simply confirms what we have read in other passages so far.

There are three other quick points to make concerning 1 Timothy 2. First, we should take note of Paul's mention regarding women and their attire in verses 9-10. We will see Peter make similar comments a little later on in our study.

Second, Paul's statement in verse 15 is a reference back to the curse of sin from Genesis 3. We have already discussed how verses 13-14 refer back to Genesis 3's account of the fall of man. And in Genesis 3:16, part of the curse of sin is that God greatly multiplied the pain and difficulty women have during pregnancy and child-delivery. Paul's statement in verse 15 is that if a woman "continues in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" God will keep her safe as she goes through childbearing and pregnancy. The Greek word for "saved" in verse 15 is "sozo" (Strong's No. 4982), which simply means, "to save, keep safe and sound." The Greek word for "in" in verse 15 is "dia" (Strong's No. 1223), the primary definition of which is "through."

So, Paul is not saying that having children is related to a woman's eternal salvation. He is simply saying that God will keep women safe during pregnancy and delivery if they continue in faith and charity and holiness instead of being deceived as Eve was in Genesis 3. Paul is simply referring back to the fall of man and the curse on women from Genesis 3 just as he was doing in the two previous verses, 13 and 14.

Third, with regard to Paul's statement here in 1 Timothy 2 that he does not permit a woman to teach a man or have authority over a man, we must consider the example of Aquila and Priscilla. Aquila and his wife Priscilla were close friends of Paul as can be clearly seen in such passages as Acts 18:1-4, Acts 18:18-19, Romans 16:3-4, and 1 Corinthians 16:19. So, Paul is not ignorant of Priscilla's work when he writes these words in 1 Timothy 2.

The question arises over a quick statement made in Acts 18:24-26 in which both Aquila and his wife Priscilla are depicted as jointly teaching Apollos. But there is no contradiction between this incident and Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 2. Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 2 prevent women from speaking in Church, but when Aquila and Priscilla were teaching Apollos, they were not in a weekly church gathering. They were not in a church setting, which is what Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. They were three individuals speaking to each other in a casual private setting. Since Paul's teaching in 1 Timothy 2 is meant to govern the Church as a corporate entity functioning as a body, his teachings would not be binding on whether or not a woman can talk to men about doctrine in private, individual settings such as one's own home.

Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 2 prevent women from teaching or having positions of authority over men in the church, but when Priscilla spoke with Apollos, she was there speaking with her husband, not on her own. As such, she was simply working with her husband. If Aquila had not been there and Priscilla would have been teaching Apollos on her own then perhaps there might have been a conflict with 1 Timothy 2. But that was not the case.

Consequently, since the situation with Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18:24-26 does not contradict Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 2, Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 2 are not modified or nullified in any way by Aquila and Priscilla's actions in Acts 18:24-26. Thus, Paul's teaching in 1 Timothy 2 concerning women, teaching, and authority over men remains intact.

This brings us to our next passage, 1 Timothy 3:11.

1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

Here in 1 Timothy 3:8-10, Paul gives requirements for deacons. In verse 8, Paul begins by saying that a man must be grave in order to be a deacon. And Paul contrasts this graveness with being "doubletongued," "given to much wine," and "greediness for money." So, in order for a man to become a deacon, he cannot be any of these things. But that isn't all. In verse 11, Paul states that in order for a man to become a deacon, that man's wife must also be grave as well. Since Paul has defined graveness in verse 8, we know all of those same requirements for graveness also apply to the wife.

Furthermore, in verse 9, Paul says that in order for a man to be a deacon, he must keep the teachings of the faith in pure conscience. In other words, a deacon must keep what was taught to him, just as stated in 2 Timothy 2:2, and he must do so sincerely. He cannot do it for money or be insincere or deceptive about it as verse 8 explains. Thus, when verse 11 states that the wife must also be "faithful in all things," it is applying this same standard to his wife. She must not deviate from the sound teaching of Christ either. If she does, then her husband is not qualified to be a deacon.

The reason for this is given by Paul in this same chapter, just a few verses earlier when Paul gives similar instructions concerning overseers.

1 Timothy 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

For a man to be an overseer, he must be a faithful and competent ruler over his own household. For, as Paul says in verse 5, if a man can't rule his own household, he won't be able to faithfully guide the church of God. Now, given the fact that we have seen both in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and Ephesians 5:22-33 that it is a husband's obligation to teach his wife sound doctrine, this rule applies here to becoming an overseer or deacon as well. If a man has not carried out this obligation to be a teacher to his wife and, thus, has not been able to keep her in accord with sound doctrine, then he is not qualified to do so for the church.

So, this passage from 1 Timothy 3 simply further affirms the obligation of the husband to teach his wife sound doctrine and her corresponding obligation to submit to him in this regard and be faithful to that doctrine. In fact, this is so strongly upheld that a man is apparently disqualified from being a deacon or overseer if these obligations are not met.

This takes us to our next passage, 1 Timothy 5. We will divide 1 Timothy 5 into two parts according to the two separate concepts it discusses.

1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

1 Timothy 5:1-2 is simple enough. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Paul obligates men to treat older women in the church as mothers and younger women as sisters and in purity. One item to note is Paul's use of the word "rebuke" here in 1 Timothy 5. It is interesting to note that this is NOT the same Greek word as used on other occasions in the New Testament for rebuke.

The word here is "epiplesso" (Strong's No. 1969), which means, "to strike, beat upon, to chastise with words." From the inclusion of "striking" and "beating up," we can see that this is a very severe form of verbal attack. In fact, the root word is "plesso" (Strong's No. 4141), which means "to smite." In contrast, for example, we might consider the Greek word "elegcho" (Strong's No. 1651), which means, "to convict, refute, confute." "Elegcho" is found in such passages as John 16:8, Titus 1:3, and Titus 2:15. In Titus 1:3 and 2:15, Paul is actually instructing Christians to rebuke those who oppose sound doctrine. But there is no contradiction here. Christians are to "to convict, refute, confute" as "elegcho" indicates even if it is an older Christian man or woman who speaks false doctrine, but we are not to go so far as to "to strike upon, beat upon" or otherwise maliciously verbally attack an older Christian man or woman.

Since 1 Timothy 5:1-2 is straightforward enough, we'll move on to our next portion of 1 Timothy 5.

1 Timothy 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

Here in 1 Timothy 5:9-15, Paul is discussing the admission of women into a group that remains single. In verses 9-10, Paul lists the qualifications for a woman to enter this group. And in verse 11-15, Paul states that young women should not be admitted to the group and the dangers that will occur if younger women are admitted. This does not add much to our understanding of the roles of men and women or husbands and wives except for two items.

First, in verse 14, Paul states that he prefers that young women should marry, in which case they should faithfully guide their household, which of course is in accordance with the previous passages that we already seen concerning women in marriage. But of course, this is not a command, as Paul states plainly in 1 Corinthians 7:6-9. Second, notice that Paul's primary concern here in 1 Timothy 5:9-15 is his desire to keep Christians from falling away from sound doctrine into error and bad behavior. This is why Paul says he does not want these young women to "cast off their first faith," or "turn aside." As we have seen in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and Ephesians 5:24-26, its amazing how much Paul's chief concern in his descriptions concerning the role and obligations of women is the preservation of sound Christian teaching. We'll see further indications of the very same thing in the next passage.

As we move ahead, our next passage is 2 Timothy 3.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

In this often-quoted passage, Paul discusses how before the return of Christ there will arise men who hold to a form of godliness but who really do not love God or truth. The fact that these men at least start off in the church or perhaps appear to be Christians is also evidenced by Paul's instructions to turn away from these men. For, if these men were out-spoken obvious pagans, then Paul would not have said that they have a "form of godliness" and it would not be necessary for Christians to "turn away from them" since they would already be outside the church community to begin with. Additionally, similar statements are made concerning "turning away from" or "disassociating with" those who claim to be Christians but deviate from sound doctrine in such passages as Romans 16:17, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, and 1 Timothy 6:3-5.

But concerning the rest of our study, this passage relates well to Paul's comments in 1 Timothy 2:13-15. In 1 Timothy 2:13-15, using Eve's fall into sin in Genesis 3 as an example, Paul states that women have a greater capacity and tendency to be deceived by false teaching than men do. This is Paul's reason for prohibiting women from holding positions of authority over men or teaching men. This passage in 2 Timothy 3:1-8 simply corroborates Paul's comments in 1 Timothy 2, because in this passage Paul describes how some women are misled by false teachers who, although they have a form of godliness, actually oppose the true doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Before we move on, we would like to take note of verses 6-7 and Paul's use of the phrase, "silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." A bit of vocabulary investigation will help bring out the relevance of this comment.

The word for "laden" is the Greek word "soreuo" (Strong's No. 4987), which means "to heap together, to heap up." The word for "divers" is the Greek word "poikilos" (Strong's No. 4164), which means simply "of various sorts." And while the English word "lusts" may conjure up notions of sexual desire, the Greek word here is "epithumia" (Strong's No. 1939), which while inclusive of sexual lust refers to much more broadly to a general "desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden." So, we should not conclude that Paul has sexual desires exclusively in view here. In fact, Paul's use of the word "poikilos" to indicate a variety of desires demonstrates that Paul is simply talking about Christian women who still linger and cling to the desire for a variety of things, which are forbidden to Christians.

Moreover, Paul's use of the word "soreuo" for "laden" is interesting. What Paul has in mind here is a contrast with such passages as Hebrews 12:1-2 and Philippians 3:7-8.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Here in Hebrews 12:1-2 we see a very direct contrast with the "silly women" of 2 Timothy 3:6-7. Those silly women are heaped up and loaded with all sorts of desires that they won't let go of. By comparison, in Hebrews 12:1-2 Paul writes that instead of being heaped up and loaded with desires we are to lay aside everything that weighs us down including every sinful desire so that we can pursue God unhindered. A very similar sentiment occurs in Philippians 3:7-8.

Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

In Philippians 3:7-8, Paul says that he counts all things as loss and counts what he has had to give up as mere dung so that he may pursue the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Notice particularly that Paul counts it necessary to give up or lose these other things in order to obtain this knowledge. This is strikingly contrasted to 2 Timothy 3:6-7 where Paul describes these silly women as being laden down with desires instead of giving things up. And the end result is that because these women do not give up these things that they desire, they are not able to ever arrive at the knowledge of the truth.

Paul's statement in these 3 passages is simple. Christians, including women, must not be hindered by our desires for various sinful things that are forbidden to us in Christ. In the case of these women, Paul makes note that they are "ever studying," yet their studying is fruitless and never produces sound understanding or conclusions because the learning process is obstructed by their desires to preserve those things, which they desire to do.

This is very significant, not only as it pertains to women, but to men also. These passages show a direct relationship between our ability to learn truth and our desire to preserve the things that we delight in. We should not rush out to get rid of all fun and enjoyment in life. Certainly that is not Paul's intent. For, in 1 Corinthians 7, as we have seen, Paul commands that married couples should engage in the enjoyment of sexual intercourse on a regular basis. But, if one is trying to learn truth while at the same time desiring to create doctrine that allows them to do the things that they should not, like the silly women of 2 Timothy 3:6-7, such an individual will be always learning but never arrive at an understanding of sound Christian doctrine. And, according to Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 2 Timothy 3:6-7, which we have examined above, this tendency is especially at work in women who, like Eve in Genesis 3, for the sake of the things that they desire are inclined toward deception and self-delusion to accept false teaching.

Paul's description here in 2 Timothy 3:6-7 may even indicate that these women deliberately engage in learning activities designed to prolong the process so that they don't have to every actually arrive at conclusions, reconcile contrary claims, or think things through to a sound understanding. This process may be intuitive because rather than having the aim of obtaining correct understanding, these women desire to study in such a way that allows them to continue the things that they desire. As such, the things that they set about learning are simply designed to create loopholes or uncertainties that allow them to perpetuate their behavior.

And for this reason there is an incentive to cultivate uncertainties in Christian doctrine for where there is uncertainty concerning right and wrong, truth and falsehood, the standard for behavior is obscured. In short, if we cannot know truth in certain areas, then we have liberty of action in those areas since the standard of behavior and/or belief has not been conclusively established. Thus, such women might actually prefer methods of learning which perpetually obstruct reaching conclusions, or as Paul puts it they prefer to be "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." These women (and perhaps some men as well) actually prefer not coming to knowledge or conclusions about the truth because where the standard of behavior and belief is not established there is liberty of behavior and belief in that area.

Paul speaks similarly in 2 Corinthians 11.

2 Corinthians 11:1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. 6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

In Ephesians 5:22-33 Paul states that it is a husbands obligation to teach his wife the Word of God so that he can present her to Christ "holy and without blemish." In that passage, Paul presents Christ's work of purifying the Church as an illustration of the husbands work of purifying his wife through teaching her the Word of God, just as Christ did for his disciples in John 15:3. Here in 2 Corinthians 11, Paul uses the example of the husband and wife as an illustration of his desire to keep the Church in sound doctrine so that it will be pure to Christ.

And notice that just as Paul refers to Eve being deceived in his instructions concerning women's roles in the church in 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Paul again refers back to Eve being deceived here in 2 Corinthians 11. In verse 3, Paul refers to how the serpent deceived Eve with subtlety and that likewise, through subtlety Paul fears that the Corinthian church might be led away from the simplicity of Christ's teachings. The Greek word for "simplicity" is "haplotes" (Strong's No. 572), which means "singleness, simplicity" and includes the idea of "one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy." In this sense, we can see that Paul's desire is that there would be no contradiction between what the Corinthians profess to believe and what they practice.

And to a certain extent, if a person deliberately engages in learning processes which are designed to perpetuate the process rather than arrive at conclusions, they will inevitably get caught up in subtle nuances, which combined with their intentional avoidance of seeing things through to conclusion will inevitably result in their believing contradictory things. Thus, they will not remain in the simple and consistent teachings of Christ Jesus but they will be seduced by subtlety, arrive at inconsistency, and never arrive at conclusions or a sound understanding of truth.

Lastly, we note two additional similarities between 2 Corinthians 11 and 2 Timothy 3. First, in contrast to the false teachers who Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians 11 who deceive through subtlety, Paul claims that he is excellent in knowledge and that he has preached every thing. The result would be that their knowledge of the things of God should be complete instead of "never able to come the knowledge of the truth."

Second, in 2 Corinthians 11, Paul is concerned that the Corinthians might be misled by false teachers and he uses the analogy of Eve being deceived in Genesis 3. In 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Paul also makes reference to women in general having a greater capacity for being deceived by false doctrine, which is why in that passage Paul states that he doesn't permit women to teach or have authority over men. By comparison, in 2 Timothy 3, Paul expresses that women are particularly susceptible to such false teachers, particularly if those women hold on to desires for a variety of things which are forbidden in Christ rather than casting such weights aside as Paul instructs in such passages as Hebrews 12:1-2 and Philippians 3:7-8.

This concludes our examination of 2 Timothy 3. At this point, we only have 2 more passages to examine. The next passage is Titus 2.

Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

This passage in Titus is very straightforward. These verses do not say much about the obligations of husbands and wives or the roles and authority of men and women in the Church. But this passage does provide plain instructions concerning the character and behavior of Christian men and women of all ages. However, it is significant to note the reference made by Paul to aged women as "teachers of good things."

First, this verse, of course, does not imply that women can be teachers over men, which Paul prohibits explicitly in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Rather, in this verse, older, more mature women are teaching younger women. And second, one of the things that the older women are to teach the younger women is to be obedient to their own husbands. So, this passages is further support to what we have already seen in such passages as Ephesians 5:22-33 and Colossians 3:18-19. So far, we have seen overall consistency on that point, placing the husband in authority over the wife including especially with regard to doctrine, which the wife is to learn from the husband and submit to.

This brings us to our last passage, 1 Peter 3:1-7.

1 Peter 3:1 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; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 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. 5 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: 6 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. 7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

The first item that we should note from this passage is Peter's commentary regarding Christian women adorning themselves. Paul comments on the very same topic in 1 Timothy 2. Likewise, in 1 Timothy 2, Paul instructs that women should be in subjection, just as Peter begins by saying "ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands." So, we know that both Peter and Paul have the same concepts in mind and that both are in agreement on this topic.

Second, we should state up front that the presumption here is that both spouses are Christian. This is evidenced in several ways. First, the notion that a husband and wife would both be Christians is most likely the expectation and the norm at that time. This is caused predominantly by the extent to which it was established in society at that time that men were the head of their household. Thus, presumably, if a man converted to Christianity his wife would also. This is also supported by the fact that Christians were not allowed to marry unbelievers (1 Corinthians 7:39, 2 Corinthians 6:14). The result of these two realities is that situations where one spouse was Christian while the other refused to accept Christianity were most likely the rare exception rather than the rule.

Interesting also is Peter's comment in verse 2. We have already seen from Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 that it was the responsibility of the husband to teach sound doctrine to his wife and the wife was to submit to him in this regard. But what action can a wife take if her husband does not obey sound doctrine? The word for "conversation" in verses 2 and 3 does not mean a discussion or conversation as we might think of in English. It is the Greek word "anastrophe" (Strong's No. 391), which means, "manner of life, conduct, behaviour, deportment." Here Peter explains that when the Christian husband is not obeying the Word of God, then the Christian wife should win him over, not by word, but her consistent godly behavior and by obeying the word herself.

In this we see that the role of husband and wife was not equal or the same when it comes to the issue of persuading each other in sound doctrine. The husband has the obligation and authority to teach his wife sound doctrine. The wife has the obligation to submit to him in this regard because he has the obligation and authority to do so. But, the husband is not required to submit to the teaching of his wife, nor is she necessarily granted the same ability to persuade him by direct, verbal instruction. Instead, because the husband is not subordinate to his wife, if a Christian husband deviates from sound doctrine, his wife must primarily try to win him through her conduct rather than instruction.

But, in contrast, if the Christian wife were to deviate from sound Christian doctrine, the husband would not have to restrict himself to winning her over by his conduct. Because he has the authority to instruct her in doctrine and she has the obligation to submit to him in this regard, in order to bring his wife into accord with sound doctrine, a man simply has to act in his authority as the head of the household and instruct his wife concerning what is correct. And to that she is obligated by Paul in Ephesians 5 to submit.

Additionally, in Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul plainly asserts that the wife is obligated to submit to the husband and that the husband conversely, has the obligation to instruct his wife in sound doctrine. In that passage Paul describes that teaching doctrine to one's wife is an act of love just as Christ loved the church and cleansed it by the things he taught, both in word and deed.

Peter does the same thing in 1 Peter 3. Having begun by stating that the wife is obligated to submit to the husband just as Paul says in Ephesians 5, Peter closes in verse 7 by stating the corresponding obligation that the husband must live with his wife according to knowledge. So, while the wife is obligated to submit to her husband's teaching, the husband is obligated to live and teach according to the correct knowledge of Jesus Christ, which is directly equated with the doctrine of Jesus Christ in such passages as Ephesians 4:13-14, Romans 10:2, Romans 15:14, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 6:6, 2 Corinthians 8:7, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 1:17, Philippians 1:9-10, Colossians 3:10, 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Timothy 3:7, Hebrews 10:26, 2 Peter 1:3-8, and 2 Peter 3:18.

Lastly, we would like to make note of one other item from verse 7.

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Having just instructed the wives to submit to their husbands, Paul here instructs the husbands to live and treat their wives according to sound Christian knowledge. However, what is also interesting is that Paul connects a husband's and even a married couple's ability to have their prayers answered with whether or not they live together according to knowledge. The husbands are to dwell with their wives in a manner that is in accordance with sound knowledge and the wives are to submit to that. If these steps are not done, it will interrupt their ability to have their prayers answered by God.

Peter's teaching here is identical to Jesus' teaching in John 15. Peter simply extends Jesus' instructions in a way that governs the relationship of a husband and wife.

John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Notice that this is the exact same passage from John, which Paul quoted from in Ephesians 5:22-33 where, like Peter, he instructs husbands to teach their wives the Word of God and wives to submit the their husbands in that regard. In Ephesians 5:25-26, we saw Paul quoting from Jesus comments in John 15:3 and 13. In 1 Peter 3:7, by stating that a husband and wife's ability to have their prayers answered depends on their living together in accordance with sound Christian knowledge, Peter is likewise quoting from John 15:5 and 7 where Jesus states that if we do not remain in his teachings, then we will not be able to receive what we ask for in prayer.

So, once again we see that these instructions are intended to be truth preserving. In other words, we see the extent to which the New Testament including even the protocols for how a husband and wife relate to one another and the role of women in the Church in general are intended to preserve sound Christian teaching. It is for this reason that Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 forbids women to speak in church gatherings or to teach or hold authority over men. And it is for this reason that both Peter and Paul write in 1 Peter 3:1-7, Ephesians 5:22-33, and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 that men are to teach and dwell with their wives in sound Christian knowledge and the wives are obligated to submit to their husbands in accordance with this sound Christian knowledge. And, of course, then the husband and wife would together pass this sound Christian knowledge along to their children. The entire process is purposefully established to preserve sound teaching, not only within the Church, but also within the family and so to preserve also, God's appointed order for how families are to operate and relate within themselves. In this way even within married relationships there will be as little distraction from the pursuit of God as possible.


Having completed our survey of New Testament teachings regarding men and women and particularly husbands and wives, we have found the following protocols and obligations are articulated repeatedly and consistently.

General Protocols for Men and Women in the Church
1.) Man is the head of woman.
2.)Women are not permitted to speak or ask questions in church but are required to learn from their husbands privately at home.
3.)Woman are not permitted to teach at church or to hold authority over men.

Protocols for Husbands and Wives
1.) Husbands are required to:
a.) Teach their wives sound doctrine.
b.) Not to act bitterly or irritably with their wives.
c.) Dwell with their wives in accordance with the sound knowledge of Jesus Christ.
d.) Following after the model of Jesus Christ, lay down their lives for their wives, which means meeting their wife's spiritual needs regardless of what she necessarily wants or understands at the time.
e.) Engage in sexual relations with their wife according to her needs with regard to lust and sexual desire, considering his body not to be under his own authority in this matter but under his wife's authority. Husbands are not to refrain from sexual intercourse unless both the husband and wife consent and even then only for a set time and afterward to resume regular relations according to her needs.

2.) Wives are required to:
a.) Submit to their husbands, particularly in the area of learning doctrine.
b.) If the husband is not obeying the Word of God, the wife is instructed to persuade him by her own behavior in obedience to the Word of God.
c.)Engage in sexual relations with their husband according to his needs with regard to lust and sexual desire, considering her body not to be under her own authority in this matter but under her husband's authority. Wives are not to refrain from sexual intercourse unless both the husband and wife consent and even then only for a set time and afterward to resume regular relations according to his needs.

Apart from meeting these obligations, which are expressed throughout the New Testament particularly by Paul, Paul goes on to state in 1 Corinthians 7:29-35 that he would prefer husbands and wives live as though they were not married so that they can pursue Christ without the distractions of married life as each spouse tries to accommodate the other in the day to day affairs of marriage and family life. So, in other words, the obligations summed up above as expressed throughout the New Testament are considered absolutely required for husbands and wives but the obligations beyond these which arise in marriage are regarded as distracting to both parties and so those extra obligations and accommodations should be minimized or forgotten as much as possible in order to pursue Christ without distraction.

Of course, as we have moved through this study we have also taken note repeatedly how these protocols both for the Church in general as well as for husbands and wives in particular were designed with the purposes of preserving sound Christian doctrine and godly order in mind, both in the Church and in the family. This demonstrates once again the paramount importance that sound doctrine had in every aspect of the early Church, to the extent that even the protocols governing obligations in married life were designed for the purposes of preserving sound Christian teaching. This concludes the summary of our findings regarding the New Testament protocols for the roles of men and women in general and for husbands and wives in particular.


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