“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”.( Galatians 3:28)
Some would have us believe that this verse teaches us that there is no difference between men and women (male or female) in the way we live out our lives in Christ in the family or the body. So what is this verse really saying?
In the context of Galatians Ch. 3 we see Paul is explaining to whom is the ‘promise’ of Abraham given (Gal 3:7-9) and that it is by faith in Christ that we become the sons of God (Gal 3:26) and so it does not matter who you are, Jew or Greek, Slaves or free, male or female, we are all one in Christ (v.27) and heirs according to the promise (v.28). This is all about our position in Christ and our standing as ‘sons of God’, both male and female.
It has nothing to do with how we function as men and women, otherwise all the instructions to men and women on how we are to conduct ourselves makes absolutely no sense and Paul is contradicting himself. Consider some of the following instructions……
Eph 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
Eph 5:24 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,”
Eph 5:33 “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
1 Tim 2:8-12 “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.”
“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”
Even if we want to question what ‘silence’ means, there is no way around understanding the statement that women are not to teach and have authority over a man!
1 Tim 3:10-12 “But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things”.
“Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”
1 Tim 5:14 “Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
1 Peter 3:5 “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,”
1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
And we could go on and on quoting other scriptures. There is no shortage of instructions given to the different roles given to men and women. One would have to have a very low view of scripture to not accept this.
So in summary I would say and exhort that we affirm that men and women are heirs together of the grace of God, equal in their standing as ‘sons of God’, but seeing that we have different roles that we have been given in our earthly ministry when it comes to order in the home and in the church. Of course women can declare the good news (gospel) of Christ, prophesy and pray when this is done in accordance with all the above scriptures, which would be not teaching and exercising authority over men.
Women have primarily been given a wonderfully important role in the care and nurturing of the home and family and it is such a high calling. Men have been given the role of leading and serving their wives and family; teaching and leading the church of God as gifted by God. Let us honor one another and support one another in the roles God has deemed right.