Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wives take Authority over your Husbands

Where in scripture are wives told to take authority over their husbands? We could claim I Tim 5:14 in the original tells wives to rule their husbands, since husbands are part of the household. (I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, ["guide the house" should be "rule the house"] give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.) But notice wives are not extrapolating wife authority from that verse. Perhaps this omission means wives are amiss in their obedience to this scripture.

Husbands do not have even that much in scripture commanding them to rule their wives. Instead they are told to love, sacrifice for, honor, and love their wives as they love their own bodies. The verse in Timothy about managing their households specifically mentions their children, not their wives.

Eph 5:25-29 “Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it;” and “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”

I Peter 3:7 “Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life: that your prayers be not hindered.”

Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

Since God does not command husbands to take authority over their wives, but commands them to love and honor their wives lest their prayers be hindered, and since He also says male and female are equal, who is following the Bible? Those who practice husband authority, or those who practice functional equality?

God does command us all to submit to one another. God also commands us to be kind to one another. If taking authority over another adult is kindness and submitting one to another, then women need to obey the command to be kind and submit by taking authority over husbands, too.

If authority over is “suffering long, being kind, not envying, not vaunting itself, not being puffed up, not behaving unseemly, seeking not her own, not easily provoked and thinking no evil, (I Cor 13:4-5) then wives should be doing this authority over, too.

This is not an argument from silence. If anyone claims it is an argument from silence, then women could claim the silence about wife authority also means they are to take authority over their husbands. It is an argument that carries no water.

In fact, complementarians teach the opposite of God's commandment to husbands. The command to wives to submit to their husbands is NOT a command to husbands to take authority over wives any more than the command to husbands to sacrifice for their wives is a command to wives to be the masters of their husbands.

It is time complementarians follow God, not man.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.


  1. Most of the instances in Scripture where the subjection of wives is mentioned, it is not a COMMAND at all! Most of the instances, the hupotasso verb is PASSIVE (its descriptive of a state of being, not prescriptive of a certain kind of behavior). Check it out for yourself at
    There is one exception to this. Col 3:18 is the sole occurance of an IMPERATIVE (ie a COMMAND) "wives submit", but I find this instance also has the HUGE loophole "AS IS FITTING IN THE LORD".

  2. Charis,
    I agree with you. For this particular post I was writing from the comp viewpoint, the way they see the "wife submit" verses and twist them to mean the husband has authority over the wife.

    But now that you mention it, note also that the places where husbands are called the "head of the wife," that no authority action is suggested. Those verses also seem to refer to a state of being. In Eph 5:23 where we are told "the husband is the head of the wife,even as Christ is the head of the church," notice that Paul does NOT say "and he is the ruler of the body." Instead he says Christ is the savior of the body.

    And then in verse 25--only 2 verses later--husbands are told to do the opposite of rule. So whatever "head" means, that person is COMMANDED to love and serve. There is NO mention of authority-over for husbands--ever.