This is a question that comes up a lot. Some of Paul’s writings on gender relations, for example, cause a bit of consternation in folks. Take his letter to the Ephesians. There Paul uses the language of submission to describe a wife’s posture toward her husband. He says, for example,
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV)
Is this proof that Paul was nothing more than a barbaric misogynist? Is Paul sexist and anti-women? Moreover, should we in the modern world follow Paul’s thinking on submission?
The answer to these three questions is, respectively: No. No. And yes.
Now, before you proceed to be off with my head, watch this interview I did below. I show that Paul, far from being a sexist, was actually quite the feminist for his time. In a world where women were often treated as having less worth and value than men, Paul (and the NT) presents women as equal to men. In fact, Paul not only thought wives should submit to their husbands but also that husbands should submit to their wives. This would be a radical idea in a male-dominated world like Paul’s–and in our own.
Check out the video below: