Vol.XV No.VIII Pg.7
October 1978

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Do the Scriptures regulate the place of women in modern society? RB


God's word "regulates" those who believe and will to follow. Its rule is in the heart and is not forced upon anyone now, although all must answer to God in judgment (1 Cor. 5:12-).

The application of its principles are affected by current circumstances (1 Cor. 7:26). Under certain conditions it was best not to marry; but as a principle, "marriage is honorable in all" (Heb. 13:4). "Modest apparel" is demanded of Christians as a principle; but this does not bind upon us the skirt lengths, hairstyles, or customs considered "modest" in the first century. Brethren, use your head for something more than a knob for hat or veil.

The "place" of woman is clearly stated in 1 Cor. 11:3. "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." Question: Is this degrading to Christ? Should He have formed a protest, demanding equal rights? In the divine realm He had equality (Phil. 2: 6), but His function in our redemption demanded that He take a subordinate "place" for a time. Likewise, in the human realm, woman and man are equal before God (Gal. 3:28); equally considered in the scheme of redemption, and equally blessed eternally. But the woman has been given a functional position subject to man. This is degrading only to one who disregards God's right to assign functions. The principle ("the head of the woman is the man") of 1 Cor. 11:3, is applied in following verses to hairstyles. The styles themselves were "custom," something the Corinthians could "judge in themselves," as relative as "comely," and something dictated by "nature" (vv. 13-16). (NOT laws of physical nature, for this nature grows long hair on men as well as on women; but patterns of conduct established by general usage.) Detail of application will change; but not God's principle. The Christian woman today regards man as her head, and conforms to "usage" that so indicates.

The principle ("the head of the woman is the man") is applied in 1 Cor. 14:26-40 to women in a public gathering of the church, where men prophets are speaking by the Spirit of God. She was to be "silent" (sigao) under such circumstances. In 1 Tim. 2:11-12 she is told to learn in "quietness" (hesuchia- see AS), a reference to the submissive attitude she must show. This word is also in v. 2, translated "peaceable" in KJ, "quiet" in AS. She is NOT to teach nor have dominion "over man," BUT to be in quietness. The NOT-BUT is a Greek form of the comparative degree (cf. Jn. 6:27, and 1 Pet. 3:3-4). We are not forbidden to work for material things, nor to wear apparel; BUT spiritual goals are more important, as is the inward adornment. The woman is not forbidden to teach — period; BUT the "quiet" spirit must prevail — she can not have "man dominion." I find nothing here to restrict this teaching to "church assembly."

God exalts those who humbly serve in their assigned functions.