This is a hot button issue: the woman's role in church and family. Feelings are running high, and we all bring a certain bias with us.
First, we might bring our sexual bias to it. A man teaching from Genesis in Sunday school came to the verse about the woman having pain in childbirth and the man ruling over her. He asked everybody to write what struck them about this verse. All the women wrote down "I shall have pain in childbirth." All the men wrote down, "I shall rule over her." We bring our femininity or masculinity to this passage.
For example, there's rank chauvinism. The dictionary says the chauvinist has contempt for the opposite sex. Perhaps some of you men have seen such contempt in your growing years, and it colors your thinking when you come to a passage like this.
There's also radical feminism. Feminists feel the church denies the woman her equal status and opportunity because of her gender. Undoubtedly some of the causes are justified. But feminists push traditionalists into the belief that anything other than the hierarchical view of marriage must be rejected if the family is to be saved.
Some people bring religious bias. Our interpretation of these Scriptures often reflects our denominational background, our religious heritage. We all look to models of submission we have experienced, whether positive or negative.
Stuart and I brought our families and religious heritages to our marriage. My father, a quiet, gentle man, considered himself head of his home: protector, defender, and provider. My mom was a sweet, Scottish-born Presbyterian. She believed in the sovereignty of God and her husband. My father adored my mother, put his considerable business assets into her name, and looked to her to raise the ...
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Jill Briscoe is executive editor of Just Between Us, serves on the boards of World Relief and Christianity Today International, and is a minister-at-large with her husband at Elmbrook Church in Wisconsin.