Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The Head of the Family (1 Corinthians 11)

"Man is not from woman, but woman from man" (1 Cor. 11:8).

At Creation, God established particular roles for husbands and wives that transcend culture and time. To have the kind of marriage God wants you to have, you must understand the role you are to fill. We will begin by looking at three verses on the role of the husband: “the head of woman is man” (1 Cor. 11:3); “the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church” (Eph. 5:23); and, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:12–13).

Each of these verses firmly establishes that the husband is in authority over his wife. The idea of headship is commonly used in connection with Christ and the church. As the head, Christ has all authority over the church and is responsible for her protection, provision, development, and welfare, Just as Christ leads the church in holiness, so the husband is responsible to lead his wife in holiness, to instruct her in the Scriptures, to protect her from all ungodliness, to provide for her, clothe her, and nourish her with all love, honor, sacrifice, patience, and affection.

Because of sin, the role of the husband as authority and head over his wife has become a point of contention rather than blessing. Women want to rule over their husbands (Gen. 3:16). They want to be independent instead of finding sustenance in their husbands, and they want to usurp their authority and assume the man’s place. On the other hand, men neglect their duty to exercise authority over their wives. They allow their wives to rule the roost, and they relinquish their responsibility to provide for and protect their families. They are also in danger of dominating and oppressing their wives. Instead of ruling over them “in the Lord” with grace and love, they become a hard taskmaster and rule with a heavy hand, sometimes to the point of abuse.

Because of sin and the difficulty of the task, it is obvious that a husband cannot fill his divinely ordained role unless he be a new creature in Christ. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can he exercise his authority in love, provide for his wife’s needs, and adorn her with a loveliness that will never spoil or fade.

Men, if you are married, make a list of ways you have not fulfilled your role as a godly husband. Be specific. Pray that you would obey God’s calling. Wives, pray for your husbands and help them. If you’re unmarried, pray for a couple you know who needs godly instruction in this area.