Does Paul teach male dominance?

Male dominance has been a controversial topic especially in modern times. Paul wrote, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). As Christ is the “savior of the body,” the church, so the husband should be the guardian and provider for his wife and family.

Paul makes the headship of men also clear in (1 Cor. 11:3): “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Here, Christ, although equal with the Father is represented as recognizing God as head. For even among equals there may be a head. A committee of men of equal rank still needs and selects its chairman.

Paul adds that all of God’s children are equal, “neither bond [slave] nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28). Distinctions of sex, class, or race are not found among God’s children. God created man and woman equal but with different and distinct roles.

The headship of the husband consists in his ability and responsibility to care for his wife, in the same way that Christ cares for the church. As Christ is the Savior of the church, so the husband should be the protector of his wife. Thus, there is no feeling of inferiority between the sexes in the family where Christ is the center.

And the Bible teaches that the response of the husband to the wife’s submission is not to control or rule her but to love and sustain her. That immediately makes a partnership out of what otherwise would be a “dictatorship”.

In practical terms, the Christian husband will never give rude orders to his wife. And he will properly provide for her needs (1 Tim. 5:8); he will ensure her happiness (1 Cor. 7:33); and he will also honor her (1 Peter 3:7).

Finally, the supreme test of love is whether the husband is prepared to give up happiness in order that his wife might have it. By doing so, the husband will imitate Christ who gave Himself for the church because she was in a great need (John 1:29). In a similar manner, the husband will give himself for the salvation of his wife and she to his, in mutual love (1 Corinthians 13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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