11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence (1 Timothy 2:11-12, NKJV).
Different roles do not imply superiority and inferiority to God or His people. Although the world measures greatness by power and position, Jesus said, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant” (Mark 10:42-43, NKJV). God has given men a leadership role. In the church, this takes the form of men teaching publicly, not women. Instead of seizing the position of dominance, the godly woman is quiet and still in such settings. The Holy Spirit gives two reasons for this arrangement: (1) The order of creation (1 Tim. 2:13) and (2) The deception in the garden (1 Tim. 2:14). The woman’s role as wife and mother is honorable, and when combined with faith, love, holiness, and self-control, equips her for godly service and greatness in the kingdom (1 Tim. 2:15). Instead of being a misogynist, the inspired apostle Paul taught men and women to learn and live their distinctive roles in the kingdom (1 Tim. 2:8-10). Since he wrote the commandments of the Lord, when we obey them, we serve one another and, ultimately, the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3, NKJV)
One of the apostolic traditions (teachings) we follow as we imitate Christ is respect for and compliance with God’s arrangement of headship. Headship refers to leadership. Whether God, Christ, man or woman, each have a role that is definable and distinguishable. The apostle wanted them to know (perceive, grasp, understand) the orderliness of the headship, for it will lay a foundation for what he will say concerning certain women wearing an artificial covering in the following verses (4-16). Headship is not tyranny, and, following the leadership of one’s head does not make you a slave. Different roles do not mean one is more valuable than another. Headship describes the authority to lead, while implying one’s willing submission to that leadership. Christ willingly follows the will of God the Father. Man serves under Christ and also leads at His direction. Women are to respect to leadership role God gave men, not usurp it. When understood, this principle solves rivalry and produces solidarity with God and Christ, and between men and women. The dereliction of headship, the refusal to respect headship, and the usurping of headship are affronts to God and His order of headship. Once we understand (“know”) headship, we are ready to hear Paul apply this truth to the question of women wearing a covering when praying or prophesying (v. 5).
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22–24)
There is no greater expression of love than Christ’s love for His church. His sacrificial death on the cross is the model for how husbands must love their wives (Eph. 5:25). At the same time, the church’s loving devotion and submission to the Savior is the wife’s model for yielding to the leadership of her husband. The church’s role is not to lead Christ, but to follow His leadership. There must be a leader in a marriage, and God has given that role to the husband. Wives are to yield to the leadership of their husbands just like the church does to Christ. Marriage thrive when husbands are servant-leaders (like Christ). Marriages flourish when wives are devoted helpers who respect their husbands and yield to their leadership (Eph. 5:33). God’s plan for a successful marriage works!