Ephesians 5:21- 24
21Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. 24 As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
The rest of the chapter talks about how a husband should treat his wife using Christ’s treatment of the church as an example, but I’m just discussing the women’s part. There is a great article out there on the subject of subordination http://blog.adw.org/2009/08/an-unpopular-teaching-on-marriage/ Mostly he says that everyone needs to focus on the part about how men are supposed to behave as heads of the household. But clearly from Ephesians men are the heads of the household and women are not.
This does not mean that women should be pushovers, but rather, as the article states, men should love, purify, and provide for their wives. If women were the heads of the household that would mean that we need to love, purify, and provide, but we don’t need to. Or rather it isn't our role or our requirement. (I'm picturing a bunch of angry married women thinking that I'm telling them not to love their husbands, but that's not what I mean.) Our role is to maintain the house. See the past posts on what women’s roles are.
I love the first line “Be subordinate to one another…” because it shows that clearly men need women to maintain their household and women need men to provide for the household. So you could say that line again from My Big Fat Greek Wedding applies, “the man may be the head but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she wants.” In other words, a man is the head of providing and religious instruction, and the woman is the head of raising the children and maintaining the house. Maybe that’s why Hubby doesn’t interfere when HB goes to bed. Humm…
The Old Testament
The Old Testament contains many laws and stories related to women. Suffices to say that divorce, adultery, and clean/unclean laws with regard to childbirth and periods were the big ones. There are many stories related to both wise and obedient women, Sarah, Ruth, Rachael, Leah, and those who were not obedient, Lot’s wife. From them we can glean what is proper of a woman. However, I’m not planning on going through all those stories because Paul gives a pretty good description of the same thing.
I will leave you with this Bible verse from the Old Testament:
A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.
What does this mean? Well, men and women wore robes. Men wore shorter robes, which is why the Bible talks about girding your loins (literally pull up the robe and tuck it into your belt) for working or running. Only male Roman soldiers (there were no females) wore shorts or pants. Even male Roman citizens wore short togas. Female Romans wore long togas. So how does this translate in modern society? Well you could say that it means a woman needs to cover her legs. You could also interpret it to mean that women need to wear dresses or skirts. I leave it to the good Christian woman to decide that one.
In relation to women, most of the Gospels are stories in which Jesus heals or forgives a woman. There are some edicts that Jesus has given to women but they are all related to divorce and marriage. Otherwise Jesus is silent on specifics. One can assume that women should follow Jewish law on the matter of how women should conduct themselves. One could also assume that Jesus didn’t care, but based on how he dealt with adulterers, he did care that they sinned.
I leave you with the Samaritan woman at the well.
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
In context, Jesus was trying to get the Samaritan woman to realize her sin and that he was the Messiah sent to have her draw from the well of eternal life. Whether or not she gave up living with men, the story does not say. But I think the main focus is that Jesus spent time with a Samaritan, who were considered terrorists and betrayers of their day, and a sinner. With this double whammy, no self-respected Jew would be caught fifty feet near her, but here’s Jesus offering her a way toward salvation, as he does for all us sinners.