What does the Bible teach about gender roles?

Many theological issues and questions within Christianity have sparked debate and argument over the centuries, but few bits of theology have as much of a practical, everyday effect on our relationships as the Bible’s teaching on the respective social roles of men and women. At the Been Thinking About blog, Mart De Haan has posted his reflections on what the Bible tells us about gender roles. Does the Bible dictate that women should submit to male authority? Mart notes that “the Bible has slowly developed a reputation for being on the side of men who want to treat women as sexual property and assistants rather than as equals”:

As in the case of so many political and social issues, there are scholars, and studied opinions on both sides. Some believe that the most important statement the Bible makes about gender is found in the words of the Apostle Paul when he writes that, in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Others argue just as emphatically that the same Apostle Paul encouraged wives to learn quietly in church (1Cor 14:34), and at home, to be submissive to their husbands, as unto the Lord (Eph 5:22). In another letter Paul adds, “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” (1Cor 11:2).

The post generated quite a bit of reader discussion, so De Haan followed up with second post reflecting further on the topic. If the famous Bible passage about submission to one’s husband has you wondering about the Bible’s teachings on gender roles, these posts and the discussions offer a lot of good food for thought.

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