Paul, in 1 Cor. 11:3, says that there is “neither bond [slave] nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28). Distinctions of sex, class, or race are not found among those who are “in Christ”; nevertheless, in the different sexes, classes, and races all have their special contributions to make to each other and to society by virtue of their differing abilities.
But the scriptures add, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives…For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord” (1 Peter 3:15,6).
Every community must, for goal of organization and existence, have a leader or head. Even in our modern age of insistence on men and women being equal, the man who does not lead his family in love is regarded with contempt by both men and women. This principle of submission is permanent, but its specific application may vary from age to age according to custom and social consciousness (1 Cor. 11:3, 7–9; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:11, 12; Titus 2:5).
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24).
The scriptures give to women a position of subordination in relation to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1–6). The morals of Christian ties within the family are obvious when once it is seen that difference and subordination do not in any sense imply inferiority. The submission is requested of the wife is of the kind that can be given only between equals, not a stern obedience, but a voluntary submission in the respects where the man was qualified by his Creator to be head (Genesis 3:16).
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18). The wife should see in her relation to her husband a reflection, or illustration, of her relation to Christ.
As Christ is the “savior of the body,” the church, so the husband should be the protector and provider for his wife and children. There is no inferiority in a family where the husband shows the same goal for the good of his wife that Christ shows for His church. The husband will properly look after his wife (1 Timothy 5:8); he will do everything possible to provide for her happiness (1 Corinthians 7:33); he will give her every respect (1 Peter 3:7).
In His service,