Friday, 7 November 2014
Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:11
Paul’s words thus far have shown that there is an understood hierarchy that exists between men and women. Because of this hierarchy, there are restrictions and rules which are to be adhered to in this relationship. However, Paul begins verse 11 with the word “nevertheless.”
The introduction of this word is to have the reader stop and consider what he will present next. They are words which indicate that even if there are defined lines of authority in the male/female relationship, they are not to be abused. Care is to be exercised so that this relationship isn’t harmed or somehow perverted in a way which degrades the female. And so he says, “neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.”
The fact is, despite a hierarchal relationship, men and women in the Lord need each other and compliment each other. In Genesis 2:23, 24, it says –
And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Since that time, all men have been born of a woman. Men and women have an undeniable natural interdependency, and though woman is subordinated to man in the family and in the church, it is a subordination intended for order and propriety, not for heavy-handed rule or abuse. The need for a woman to continue the species is seen in a notable way in the book of Ruth. When Ruth, Naomi’s stepdaughter, had a son the women of Bethlehem rightfully called out the value of Ruth saying –
“…for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Ruth 4:15
What seven sons could never have done without a woman, namely bearing a child, Ruth was able to do in her union to Boaz. As is evident here and throughout Scripture, the subordination of women is not without purpose and their importance is not only noted, but highlighted.
Life application: If you are in a discussion with a modern feminist and they tell you the tired old line that the Bible diminishes the role of women, tell them to quit with the clichés, read the Bible for themselves, and grow up.
Lord God, thank You for the women in my life. There is a continuous and unbroken stream of them from the first woman, Eve, all the way down to my wonderful mother. And then… kapow! You gave me a wife to cherish, love, protect, and make great dinners for me. I can’t imagine life without her. And in due time, along came a daughter as well. She is a joy to my life and a blessing to those who know her. What a great God You are to have created woman for man. They sure are swell! Amen.