Biblical wives, husbands, heads, and elders

I have read many claims during my lifetime about what the Bible teaches on the roles of men and women in the church and home. Some of the claims can be supported by actual teachings found in the Bible. Some cannot. I have just posted a new survey on this blog attempting to discover what visitors to this blog believe the Bible specifically teaches on these subjects. If, as is often the case, you discover a significant problem in the way I have worded anything in the survey, please let me know ASAP, so I can revise the survey before too many people have voted.

This topic, more than any other, always has the potential for creating a lot of heat. Let’s try to keep cool in comments to this post.

9 thoughts on “Biblical wives, husbands, heads, and elders

  1. Keith Schooley says:

    I think “that the Bible teaches” is a little vague in the poll question itself. You are more clear on what you mean in this post. Perhaps the poll should read, “that can be supported by explicit teaching from Scripture.”

    The problem is that what people consider the Bible to “teach” ranges from what the Bible explicitly says (e.g., “Love your enemies”) to what may be legitimately inferred from what it says (e.g., the Trinity). But the farther you go into inference, the more subjective the interpretation.

  2. Wayne Leman says:

    Thanks, Keith. I agree. I had a wording like that at first and then went for something more concise. I’ll revise it now. I can revise the intro to the survey without having to redesign the entire survey.

  3. daniel reed says:

    I’d recommend adding additional questions to round it out and make it sound less one-sided. The poll is currently very woman-centric. (That’s not to say that the majority of popular/folk opinion on what “the Bible teaches” doesn’t primarily concern what a woman should/shouldn’t do!)

    For example, to “A woman should obey her husband”, I’d add “A man should obey his wife”. How about:

    -A man should obey Christ.
    -A woman is the head of her husband.
    -A woman is the head of her family.
    -A wife has authority over her husband.
    -The head of an unmarried man is his father.

  4. Wayne Leman says:

    Daniel, good suggestions. Thanks. I could tweak the intro to the survey without redoing the survey and having to restart it. Unfortunately, I cannot add your good suggestions without creating a new survey and starting over. Let’s save these good ideas for another survey.

  5. Glennsp says:

    Adding the following would have served no purpose as there is nothing in Scripture which would even remotely support them;
    “-A woman is the head of her husband.
    -A woman is the head of her family.
    -A wife has authority over her husband.”

  6. Charity says:


    There is something in Scripture which may “remotely support” the last point:

    “A wife has authority over her husband.”

    at least in certain circumstances. See 1 Corinthians 7:4 “The wife has not authority over her own body, but the husband: in like manner also the husband has not authority over his own body, but the wife.” in the Derby translation. This translation is also found in other versions.

  7. Suzanne McCarthy says:

    Thanks, Charity, in that verse the word is unambiguously ‘authority’. It is the only case where the word authority is used with reference to marriage and it is clearly mutual.

  8. Beyond Words says:

    Kind of hard to resond to this poll when some of us don’t even agree what headship means. *sigh*

  9. Peter Kirk says:

    Wayne, the poll doesn’t let me vote for “none of these”. And seriously, I wanted to, because without further clarification of words like “head” and “submit” I cannot agree that any of these are explicitly taught in the Bible.

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