ARE WOMEN INFERIOR TO MEN?
Since we are on this subject of the superiority of man over a woman, it is important to enunciate very carefully what the Bible says regarding the position of men and women in the church and the society at large.
As you study the Bible, it becomes pretty obvious that God has a divine order in society relative to man and woman. This divine order is manifest in marriage, the Church, and every dimension of human life.
The basic pattern of God in every society, as it relates to the differences between men and women, follows a general principle. There is Authority, and there is Submission. This is evident in all facets of human relationship.
For the purposes of their role in society, men have been designed by God to have the position of authority, while women have been assigned the position of submission. This is God’s divine pattern, and it is the distinction in the role, duty, and assignment a man and a woman are supposed to play.
Therefore, a man must think of himself as someone who has been given by God a responsibility for authority in one sense or another. While a woman must recognize the fact that, as a woman, she must have a spirit of submission to men.
Authority, however, must never be confused or conflated with superiority. While men have been given divine authority over women in the society, God has not given men divine superiority over women. The distinction in the roles and duties between men and women is not an affirmation of men’s superiority over women. Also, this authority-submission principle is based on love and mutual respect and not tyranny or cruelty.
Before God, there is no distinction in spirituality, no distinction in the essence, no distinction in personhood, and no distinction in the worth or value of the person between a man and a woman.
Furthermore, there is no distinction when it comes to thought, intellect, will, mind, capacity, or ability between men and women. There’s also no distinction in terms of what they can accomplish or how they can relate to or with God. Women are not inferior to men in terms of anything other than each has been assigned different assignments and roles within the framework of society.
In every sphere of human endeavor you are bound to find this authority-submission duality. Within all human relationship dynamics, there is always someone who is the leader or head who gives the command and points the way. Then there are the followers who carry out those commands. Leadership and authority are meant to create the governance structure for the optimal performance of function.
Leadership, however, does not confer superiority in God’s scheme of things. In fact, God’s definition of leadership is servanthood. Jesus demonstrated this in John 13 when He washed the feet of His disciples. It is mankind, in their fallenness, that have come to misconstrue leadership responsibility as proof of superiority.
A good illustration of this is the place of employment. The subordinate in a place of work is not in any way inferior to the boss. The subordinate might even be more intelligent, better educated, and have more qualifications than their supervisors. Aptitude wise, the subordinate might also be superior. Oftentimes, the only difference between a subordinate and his boss is the title; a title conferred because of length of employment.
Hierarchies and authority in the place of employment are simply for the purposes of corporate governance and function. Somebody has to be in charge to give direction or directives, and somebody has to carry them out. Otherwise, there’ll be chaos.
Same applies to the church. We have pastors, deacons, elders, and the members. Pastors are not spiritually superior to deacons; what they have is a different function. Likewise, the deacons aren’t superior to the elders; they merely have differences in roles and functions. And none of these are superior to the church members. Before God, they are all one.
This is also true with a man and a woman in a marital union. Yes, the husband is the head (master, lord, ruler, etc.,) of the wife. But being head doesn’t make the man superior to the woman in anything; not in ability, essence, intellect, person, personality, or spirituality. The man is not better than his wife. What’s different are the roles and duties each has been divinely assigned.
Also, the headship of the husband over the wife is based on love not dictatorship, and it is certainly not a master-slave relationship. The woman is not a slave stripped of personhood, value or worth.
This distinction in roles, assignments, and duties between a man and woman are alluded to in several passages of Scripture including the following:
1 Corinthians 11:3
“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.”
“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”
1 Timothy 2:11-12
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”
Similarly, the equality of man and woman in terms of their spirituality, ability, capability, essence, intellect, emotion, wisdom, standing with God, etc., are described in the following passages:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 3:7
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”
So, the Bible is pretty clear. Man is not superior to woman. What’s different are the roles each has been assigned. That’s the full Gospel.