I’ve heard some of my friends reject Christianity because women are not respected. They are not encouraged to be their fullest potential. They are looked down upon as the weaker sex. I always found this an odd way of thinking as I had never seen a true Christian man treat his wife that way. My husband and I joke that while our Pastor is the pastor, he doesn’t run the church (the church secretary does that) and he doesn’t run his house (his wife does that). Those do not sound like weak women to me. Growing up, my mom was a lot stronger than she let on. She was married to not the greatest man. (No, I’m not saying my dad was horrible. He just wasn’t a great husband. I still love my dad.) She worked more than full time as a teacher and then High School Counselor. She raised 2 daughters, whom I believe did pretty well for themselves in life. And, I should mention that her husband, for over 30 years, battled MS and in the last 15 years of his life could barely feed himself, couldn’t feed himself the last 5 or so, and she still worked to pay the bills. Hmmm, that’s some weak woman, isn’t she?
So, where did this belief come from? For my birthday, my mom gave me exactly what I wanted, a Chronological Study Bible. What is really neat about the one she gave me, is it gives more than just information about the verses, but some of the history that was going on in the world at the time. Tonight, I was just skimming through and came across a section titled “Family Values in the Household (Col. 3:18,19). So, I read the brief 3 paragraphs and found some interesting information.
Romans in the 1st century felt that religions from the East, such as Judaism, Christianity, and the worship of Isis, undermined traditional Roman family values. Because religious groups were sometimes expelled from Rome, members of persecuted minority religions often adopted traditional “household codes” to prove that they would uphold traditional Roman values. Philosophers from the time of Aristotle onward detailed these “household codes,” which showed the male head of the household how to rule his wife, children, and slaves.
The structure of these traditional codes was adopted in Christian letters, including wives, husbands (and fathers), children, slaves, and slaveholders (Col. 3:18-4:1) The Christian adaptation balanced commands for those who were socially inferior (wives, children, bond-servants) with responsibilities for the Socially superior (husbands, fathers, masters).
The Christian codes, such as one in Eph. 5, differ considerably from traditional household codes. They address wives, children, and slaves themselves, and not just the male head of the household. They do not tell the husband how to “rule” his wife, but how to love her (Eph. 5:25). Although traditional Greek and Roman values demanded the wife’s quiet obedience, the Christian code defines “submission” primarily in terms of respect (Eph. 5:33). The wife’s submissions was based on the broader Christian virtue of servanthood which applied to all Christians – husbands as well as wives (Eph. 5:21).
Those three paragraphs are quoted from the Chronological Study Bible, Copyright 2008, p.1363. (My apologies to the Collegiate community out there for the poor citing of the quote. It’s been a long time and I’m too tired to list the reference in the acceptable way for a paper. You get the idea.)
So, where most of our world believes that suppressing women comes from the Bible, it actually doesn’t. It comes from the way Rome and Greece were at the time period. The bible actually states otherwise. Submission, is not a negative term, it’s a positive term. It means to respect your spouse. Honestly, if you don’t respect your spouse, why are you married to them? And respecting does not mean to agree with everything they say.
3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
So, again, why would you not respect your spouse? If you don’t, don’t be married to them, you should have never married them in the first place.
So, these ‘weak’ women are not weak at all, if in a true Christian relationship. They are held in high esteem and high regard. Are you respecting you spouse and lifting them up?