For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. (1 Timothy 2:13-14)
This passage puts forth a theological and logical basis for the role of husbands as household authorities. Husbands are suited for leadership because they (Adam) were created first. And it is best for them to lead since the first woman (Eve) was the one Satan chose to target with temptation, suggesting she was more easily misled than the man.
Within this context, one has to wonder whether these roles reflect the inherent nature of men and women, the result of the fall, or both. In other words, are men naturally suited to hold the line on truth while women are more gullible? Are their respective roles a consequence of the events in the Garden of Eden, or is it a little bit of both?
Once again, I am conflicted. While men certainly know how to hold their ground, they also appear to make up the bigger percentage of liberal theologians in history who have dismissed the authority of God’s Word. Maybe this is because women have not historically filled schools of theology, but this fact certainly runs counter to the notion that men are, by nature, more inclined to preserve sound doctrine. Ironically, the individuals Paul mentions in his letter as having shipwrecked are both men.
At the same time, there are many faithful women who are steadfast in their faith and in sound doctrine. And it is mothers who are often the first to insist their children participate in a church family that is grounded in God’s Word.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am a proponent of a family structure where men lead households, if there is one present (which is becoming less common by the day if the statistics I read about children being raised without fathers are accurate). The kind of leadership I think the Bible teaches is one based on mutual love and respect, but with the husband as the head, just as Christ is the head of the church and gave Himself up for her. And if there is no husband in the picture, or if he refuses to lead, then a wife must certainly fill the void as able, in the midst of her other responsibilities.
The only way I can resolve this conflict in my mind is to trust scripture, while accepting the reality of fallen human nature. Sin messes everything up! It tainted the relationship both Adam and Eve had with God and their relationship with each other. It created the problem with the false teachers in Ephesus, and the apparent crisis of women who felt compelled to usurp the authority of their husbands.
We are so accustomed to living in a sinful world, we can’t study anything in the Bible relating to relationships without being offended on some level. For example, what would happen to our reservations concerning male headship if we were all perfect?
I almost sense, in this passage, that Paul’s goal is to restore some order in a difficult situation where everyone shares some blame. His thoughts come across as rigid, but they are really an attempt to reset the design. Sin always messes everything up! But as we will see, there is hope.
Dear God, help me understand Your design. In Jesus’ name, Amen.