Bible Answer

Are women to submit to husbands?

Are women permanently punished forevermore to be ruled over by men in general or just by their husbands? If this is true how am I as a woman supposed to desire marriage? I am no slave to anyone and don't wish to be ruled over by a man or anyone other than my LORD.

Regarding Genesis 3, the words spoken to Woman are often misunderstood. Therefore, our ministry offers an in-depth, verse-by-verse teaching through the entire book of Genesis, including chapter 3, that will answer all your questions thoroughly. We highly recommend you listen to our Genesis Bible study.

Meanwhile, we can offer a brief commentary on your statements. First, the Lord did not require that all women be ruled by all men. The Lord only determined that in the context of marriage a wife is under the authority of her husband. 

Secondly, the Lord didn’t appoint Woman to be a slave to Man. Instead, the Woman was called to respect and obey her husband, and submission is not the same thing as slavery. Consider other examples of submission from society. Are you employed? If so, then you must respect and obey your employer or manager. Do you consider yourself a slave under those circumstances? We assume not.

Similarly, all citizens of a country must obey and respect the authority of their nation’s leaders, judges, police, etc. When we show a judge respect or when we obey the laws of your country, does this make us “slaves?” Obviously, the answer again is no. 

Such is the relationship between a wife and a husband. The wife is called to recognize her husband’s authority as God has determined it should be for the benefit of the family and His eternal purposes. She submits to her husband’s authority in the marriage because she desires to obey the Lord’s will (not necessarily because her husband “deserves” her respect in all cases). Nevertheless, she does not forfeit her dignity nor her right to speak her mind, etc. 

Unfortunately, our pride and ego lie to us by telling us that submission to authority is contrary to our best interests. To quote Bob Dylan, we all have to serve someone. If in our pride we determine to disobey the Lord’s command so we can serve ourself, then we will pay a price in eternity for our disobedience, and that price will far exceed anything we might gain for ourselves through our prideful rebellion to His word. 

Ironically, the command for Woman to submit to her husband’s authority is often portrayed as a punishment, but in fact God’s commands were grace to Woman. Notice that Woman is the only actor in chapter 3 who doesn’t suffer under a specific curse from the Lord. Satan is cursed personally and the ground is cursed because of Adam, but the Lord never uses the word “curse" in relationship to Woman.

Finally, if you you feel led to abstain from marriage, then we recommend you follow your conscience on this matter. Not all believers are called to be married. Please see 1Corinthians 7 for Paul's view on singleness.

Once again, for a more complete understanding of how the Lord responded to the Woman, please listen to our Genesis teaching.