11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
Call me old school, but this text is one the primary reasons I do not believe it is biblical, right, nor good for the church to have women serve as pastors, preachers, or teachers who exercise any authority over a man.
Is it because women are inferior? Of course not.
Is it because women are weaker than men? Nope.
Is it because men are smarter than women? No way.
Is it because I am Southern Baptist? It better not be.
Is it because I am a male chauvinist? Okay, you got me. . . I am kidding. No, I am not a chauvinist pig.
If you and I look at the text closely, Paul is making an appeal to the way God ordered things to be. Paul never says that he does not allow women to exercise authority over a man because men are better than women. No, no. He says – quite clearly, if we will but read the text – God ordered the universe in such a way that men are to be the leaders, authoritative figures, protectors, etc. over women. “Adam was formed first,” Paul said. Not because he was better. NO! But because this is the way God wanted it! God planned it this way, thus it is the way that it is supposed to work!
Men are to lead, pastor, protect, guide, etc. over women because that is simply the way God designed it! If we reverse this – i.e., allow women to pastor, lead, have authority over men – then we reject God’s order and design for things and deny that what He set up is for our best interests.
Here’s what is missed, in my opinion, when it comes to this whole “argument”: GOD SET THIS UP FOR OUR GOOD. It isn’t about equal rights or which gender is better than the other. It’s about the way God designed it for the good of the church, the family, marriage, and all of society. Men have God-given roles specifically designed for males. Women have God-given roles specifically designed for females.
Rejecting this isn’t progress for women at all. Oh no. It’s taking a huge step backward and a total rejection of what is best for us from a loving, caring, and kind God.
What happened in the Garden of Eden when Eve took the initiative over the man? “The woman was deceived and became the transgressor” (v. 14). Result? Disaster. Now – can the argument be made that Adam should have stepped up and led? Of course. But that’s NOT what happened and NOT the point. The point, again, Paul is making here is that God ordered it to be a certain way FOR OUR GOOD. When we mess up His divine and purposeful order – it isn’t good for anybody.
Regarding this, one scholar wrote, “. . . if the women at the church at Ephesus proclaim their independence from the men of the church, refusing to learn in ‘quietness and full submission’ (verse 11), seeking roles that have been given to men in the church (verse 12), they will make the same mistake Eve made and bring similar disaster on themselves and the church.” (Douglas Moo, page 190 from Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)
At the end of the day, whenever you and I come to the text of Scripture – we must believe it is from God, the One who loves us deeply, and wants what is best for us. Submission to His authority for what He has said and the order He has purposed for us is what is good and right and true.