This question refers to the biblical instruction for a wife to submit to her husband. There is much confusion about this. So, let me say four things that it isn’t before I give reasons for it.
What Submission in Marriage is NOT about
Well, first of all, biblical submission isn’t about gender inferiority. The Bible does not teach in any way that women are intellectually or spiritually inferior to men. In fact, the Bible teaches that men and women are created equally in the image of God. And that Christian men and women are both endowed by the same Spirit.
Biblical submission isn’t about gender inferiority. The Bible does not teach in any way that women are intellectually or spiritually inferior to men.
Secondly, biblical submission isn’t generically applicable. That is women aren’t just called to submit to men. Wives are called to submit to their own husbands.
Third, biblical submission isn’t about gender servitude. The husband is not boss to the wife.
And fourth, biblical submission is not absolutely applicable. That is, if a husband calls his wife to submit to a sinful action that goes against her conscience – or puts her in a place where she will be abused physically, emotionally or mentally – she has the obligation to not submit to him.
Why Does The Bible Ask Wives To Submit?
So, why does the Bible ask wives to submit? Well, I can give two reasons. One is a practical reason the other is a transcendent reason. The practical reason is this. When two people who are equally valuable, equally worthy, are on a team and they need to make a decision where they’ve come to an impasse – both of their opinions have been thoroughly exhausted – somebody has to lead. The Bible says that the husband is the head in this regard and so, his view will take precedence.
When two people who are equally valuable come to an impasse, somebody has to lead.
And this brings me to the second reason which is a transcendent reason. Which is that the relationship between a man and a wife depicts the gospel. In Ephesians chapter 5, the gospel is shown as Christ dying for His bride. Christ is male, the Church who submits to Him is female. But in Philippians Chapter 2, Christ shows what biblical submission is about by Him submitting to His father. So, both are called to play Christ roles in a different way in their marriage.