Tag Archives: marriage

What does it mean for a wife to submit to her husband?

The answer you receive will depend on who you ask. Evangelical Christians living in the United States generally fall into two camps when it comes to biblical gender roles: Egalitarians and complementarians.

Both egalitarians and complementarians believe in submission; however, each group defines submission differently. Egalitarians believe that biblical submission means mutual submission. Husband and wife are to lovingly and respectfully defer to one another. They cite Ephesians 5:21 (nlt) as the key verse: “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) is an organization that represents the main tenets of Christian egalitarianism.

Complementarians believe that biblical submission means that a woman should have the disposition and inclination to yield to her husband’s leadership and guidance.  They disagree with the egalitarians’ reading of Ephesians 5:21–33. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) represents the basic beliefs of complementarians.

Within these two camps, there is no consensus on the specifics of gender and gender roles. Subtleties, differences, and even sharp disagreements exist even among those within the same camp. Again, the answer to your question depends on who you ask within these groups.

If you’re married, a good first step is to have a conversation with your spouse. What do each of you think about submission within a marriage relationship? Have you both studied Scripture and the primary resources written by both egalitarians and complementarians? We cannot make a well-informed decision if we haven’t studied the grounds for each view ourselves.

My personal belief is that husbands and wives ought to submit to one another with the utmost love and respect. Each of us is to ask God for the ability to selflessly love the other with a 1 Corinthians 13 type of love. If a wife has gifts in an area that a husband does not have, he should intelligently submit to her gifting and expertise, and vice versa. For example, some husbands who have gifts of hospitality are married to women who have gifts of teaching Scripture. Each should freely practice his or her gift as unto the Lord.

When there is a disagreement, I do not think a wife must automatically acquiesce to her husband just because he is a man. They need to work through it, and if they cannot, they should seek outside counseling that takes both of their views into consideration.

There are equally lovely, intelligent, orthodox, and committed Christ-followers who have the highest view of Scripture who disagree on this issue. Both complementarians and egalitarians make ample use of Scripture to support their positions. Consequently, we cannot demonize our brothers and sisters who hold different views.

Did this answer your question?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (47 votes, average: 3.77 out of 5)
Loading...

Does the Bible Permit Divorced Persons to Serve as Church Leaders?

 

I recall a man in a church who was known and respected by everyone. He volunteered to help when people were in need and provided wise counsel when people were struggling. At a congregational meeting, his name was put forward as candidate for elder. But an objection was raised: 20 years earlier he had been divorced after his wife left him for another man. Even though he’d been faithfully married to his current spouse for many years, some in the congregation wondered if his election as a church leader would violate the standard set by 1 Timothy 3:2 and 1 Timothy 3:12:

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. (niv)

A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. (niv)

In Greek, the expression translated in most English Bible versions as “husband of one wife” actually reads “one-woman man.”

Some believe this passage implies that anyone who has ever been divorced and remarried is not permitted to serve as an elder or deacon. But this assumes that being a “one-woman man” means never being divorced. And that isn’t always the case.[1]

A number of other considerations must be taken into account in the context of Paul’s letter to Timothy and other New Testament passages. The “one-woman man” standard doesn’t stand alone; it is part of a larger group. First Timothy 3:2-7 seems to teach that a person’s suitability to serve as a church leader rests not only on one qualification, but many. An elder must be:

 

         blameless

         temperate

         self-controlled

         respectable

         hospitable

         an apt teacher (teachable)

         not given to drunkenness

         gentle

         not quarrelsome

         not greedy or covetous

         a good manager of his household and children

         a seasoned believer

         of good reputation with outsiders

 

A couple of additional thoughts:

First, the criteria for church leadership doesn’t seem to involve sins committed prior to conversion. The apostle Paul, for example, persecuted the church and participated in the murders of Christians prior to his conversion, yet he became one of the most influential church leaders of all time.

Second, a fair evaluation of an individual should take all circumstances into account. Are those who have struggled to preserve their marriage after being abandoned by an unfaithful spouse really in violation of the “one-woman man” principle?[2] Not likely.[3]

[1] Many scholars believe that this phrase is talking about current character rather than past performance. According to this line of thinking, a twice-divorced person who has been faithful to their spouse for 15 years may be more suitable to serve than a never-divorced person who habitually fosters inappropriate relationships with persons other than their spouse.

[2] Jesus himself acknowledged that sexual sin was legitimate grounds for divorce and remarriage (Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:11).

[3] If a person’s suitability on the basis of one qualification comes into question, his evaluation should continue based on all of the rest. If a local congregation knows that a man’s divorce had truly biblical grounds or occurred prior to his conversion so that he can be considered “blameless” (1 Timothy 3:2) and well-qualified upon the basis of all the other criteria, he can be considered a “one-woman man.”

Did this answer your question?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (17 votes, average: 3.29 out of 5)
Loading...

Is it wrong to marry someone of a different ethnicity?

Some have tried to use Bible passages like Deuteronomy 23:3[1] and 2 Corinthians 6:14[2] to make a case that people should marry only within certain cultural and racial confines like skin color or nationality. But when these verses are examined in light of their broader biblical context, their case falls short.

While it’s true that passages like Deuteronomy 23:3 prohibited Israelites from marrying individuals outside of the Jewish community, the Bible is full of exceptions to this rule. Joseph married an Egyptian woman.[3] Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute,[4] and Ruth, a Moabite widow,[5] both married into the tribe of Israel and became ancestors of King David and Jesus. And Uriah, the first husband of King Solomon’s mother Bathsheba, was a Hittite.

But the most interesting biblical example of cross-cultural marriage in the Bible is found in Numbers 12. In this account, Moses’ sister Miriam is struck with leprosy for criticizing Moses because he married a dark-skinned foreigner.

“While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman…The Lord was very angry with them, and he departed. As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy.” [6]

While the Bible does not condemn what is commonly called interracial marriage, some contexts and cultures make it more difficult than others. Some have even suggested that it should be avoided because of the cultural pressures and potential rejection it invites on couples and their children. Yet the Bible does not address this issue. There are times and places where these concerns might be well considered, but the idea of setting up artificial barriers based on skin color or other ethnic differences is not what ultimately brings the most glory and honor to God.

So, is it wrong to marry someone from another ethnicity? No; neither the Bible nor the spirit of Christ places any such constraints on people who love and care for one another.

[1] No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation (NIV).

[2] Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (NIV)

[3] (Genesis 41:44–52)

[4] (Joshua 2&6; Matthew 1:5)

[5] (Ruth 1–4; Matthew 1:5)

[6] Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed.) (Nu 12:1 & 9–10). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Did this answer your question?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
Loading...

Can domestic abuse be non-physical?

Yes, it certainly can. Often, verbal or other types of non-physical abuse are not considered abuse. However, consider this brief definition: Domestic or intimate partner violence/abuse is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors by an adult — male or female — including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion used against current or former intimate partners.

Domestic abuse can take many forms and they all should be taken seriously. Here are some examples of abuse that are not necessarily physical:

Verbal abuse involves belittling, demeaning, or threatening speech that is meant to manipulate or coerce one’s partner or spouse. Verbal abuse often carries the threat of physical violence, but not always.

Sexual abuse includes coerced sex through threats or intimidation or through physical force, forcing unwanted sexual acts, forcing sex in front of others, and forcing sex with others. But it can also be accomplished by withholding sex and intimacy as a means of control.

Psychological abuse can involve isolation from others (including family and friends), excessive jealousy, control of activities, verbal aggression, intimidation through destruction of property, harassment or stalking, threats of violence, constant belittling and humiliation, threats of physical violence or harm, creating a situation of total economic dependency, and financial enslavement.

Did this answer your question?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 3.30 out of 5)
Loading...

Is It Biblical to Use Birth Control?

The Bible neither advocates nor condemns the use of birth control because it was written long before modern methods of contraception were developed. Consequently, the Bible’s silence cannot be used to argue for or against birth control’s use.

Like many issues in life, God seems to leave it up to us to decide how to honor Him in this matter. God could have plainly stated: “All families must have five children; no more, and no less.” That would have ended the issue. But He chose not to, because He allows for personal choice here. But the freedom to choose necessitates wisdom. Wise couples will take into consideration their emotional, medical, and financial limitations as they seek God’s wisdom when having children.

Did this answer your question?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (17 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
Loading...