Musings on getting "gender roles" from Genesis/the Bible

Last week a couple people emailed me with questions about something I published, and it has set my mind bunnies hopping down some trails, so I thought I’d cut and paste some of what I wrote to them and see if anyone here wants to weigh in on the things I have been thinking about. (Sorry in advance that this is kind of long for an OP)

There are certain Bible passages that Christians have traditionally seen as communicating some kind of universal truth about about how men and women should relate in marriage or in the church. They are often put out there as proof of “God’s design” for X (men or masculinity, women or femininity, marriage, the Christian family, leadership, the pastorate, etc) Examples of these kinds of passages would be the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2, the New Testament household codes (the parts of epistles with instructions to husbands, wives, children, and slaves), and the New Testament lists of qualifications for church leadership and instructions for orderly worship.

A big problem for me, as someone who studies culture, anthropology, and cognition in addition to Bible interpretation is the tendency I see in most teachers of “biblical” gender or social roles is the assumption that providing us with gender or social roles is something that the Bible actually intends to do or can do.

Clearly there is a lot going on when it comes to a question like “What do we do with 1 Timothy 2:12?” ( “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent”) It’s not as straightforward as simply figuring out which translation of the Greek or interpretation of what the Greek means is “best,” because different interpreters are coming to the passage with some wildly different assumptions about some fundamental things like how language works as a vehicle of divine communication and what the inspiration and authority of Scripture imply and entail.

How much does God have to accommodate the cultural frames and conventional reasoning and inferences and mental models of the biblical language/audience in order to communicate with them in their language in the first place? How are we supposed to get divine truth out of that accommodated message for them and put it in our own language and then interpret that communication in a way that applies to our different culture and context?

These are huge and messy questions and I don’t think most people who work in Bible scholarship have really wrestled to much degree at all with these kinds of questions. You can read a good deal of Evangelical scholarship that tries to reconstruct the cognitive environment of the ancient Near East for understanding the Adam and Eve account or of first century Ephesus for understanding those hard passages in 1 Timothy. We can try to figure out what false teachings might have been circulating and how different pagan origin stories that were part of the cult of Artemis might have been syncretistically taught alongside the Adam and Eve origin story or how ancient ideas about reproduction and sexuality related to head coverings and all of this can help as we are trying to guess what implicit information was being used to interpret some of these more difficult passages in their original communicative context and that can all be helpful for figuring out “what it meant to them.”

But at the end of the day we always bump up against what strikes me as the central issue with debates about “biblical” gender roles or “biblical” roles for men and women in churches. Both the “complementarian” construct for how gender roles should impact marriage/family and church and the “egalitarian” construct for how gender roles should impact marriage/family and church start with modern Western/American social/cultural constructs and then try to see how Scripture challenges and instructs those social/cultural constructs.

The Bible does not “teach” complementarian gender roles or egalitarian gender roles. The Bible presumes the gender roles its audience had in their culture, just like it presumes their ancient cosmology and ancient medicine. We get our gender roles and our ideas about how community organizations like churches should be run from our culture and socialization, just like the OT Hebrews did and just like Jesus’ Jewish disciples did, and just like the early church in its various locations and
differing Jewish/Gentile contexts did.

Then the gospel (like the Torah for Israel before) challenges those gender and social roles and asks us how we are going to live them out in Christ-like Spirit-filled ways as transformed humans whose primary identity is now aligned with God’s family and God’s Kingdom. The gospel will transform our gender and social roles and the way we function in them, but it won’t just wholesale replace the gender and social roles we have internalized as encultured embodied humans in our societies.

The ministry of Jesus and the letters of the New Testament were received in a patriarchal culture. The household codes and the directions to the churches were given into a context where people had pre-existing ideas about what made people good men, women, teachers, leaders, etc. They had pre-existing ideas about male authority and female decency.

In many ways Jesus challenged some of their ideas and elevated the role of women and other socially marginalized people in pretty radical ways. So did Paul with his inclusion of women as co-laborers in gospel work and the way he subverts the expected gender roles in his letters.

Even with the Ephesians household code that we have been discussing lately, it’s a gospel subversion of the culture’s accepted norms. Household codes in that time and place normally followed the structure “Man of the house, exercise authority, Make sure wives do X, Make sure children do X, Make sure slaves do X.” The entire code was usually directed at the head of the household and what he needed to do to ensure order. It was a super hierarchical, patriarchal format.

Paul is kind of radical when he says here’s a Christian household code. Everyone put other people in your household first, because that’s how Jesus taught us to live. Wives do X, Husbands do X, Children do X, Fathers do X, Slaves do X, Masters do X. Now instead of all the commands being directed at the man in authority, the commands are directed at everyone living together and responsible for everyone else. The women, the children, and the slaves are seen as people with agency and worth and they are addressed directly. The men are given mutual responsibility in all of those relationships and their role and responsibility is expanded far beyond simply ensuring obedience to their commands.

So I think when we are interpreting that passage, it should be super important to us to try to understand what were their givens, and what was being challenged by the gospel, and what was being transformed, and whether our own implicit ideas about men/women/family/social structures need to be challenged in a similar way or a different way. I don’t think we should be trying to discern some kind of “God’s design” for gender roles or social structure from their situation and then imposing that back on our own context as if we can just replace our own enculturation that easily.

It seems to me the reason “complementarianism” generally fails in many parts of the US or other Western societies right now, especially with younger people is anthropological, not religious. It’s not starting with the gender roles and social structures that are endemic to the context where the gospel is working.

We have an egalitarian cultural context where most couples expect equality in their relationships and women have (theoretically at least) equal access to social opportunities in the wider society. So when we impose different gender and social roles on Christian marriages and churches, it causes friction and feels foreign. The gospel should be making us ask how we transform our enculturation toward love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control, not how we adopt a different culture’s way of setting up homes and churches. Some areas of the country and some American subcultures (and many influential old white males with pulpits) like complementarianism because it fits their existing enculturation and preferences, not because it’s God’s design.

I work in an Indigenous community. When we work with the church at Bible interpretation, we don’t “teach egalitarianism,” we teach the fruit of the Spirit and the gospel of love and reconciliation and unity between all the people in God’s family. They have patriarchal gender and social roles that are challenged by the gospel, but they aren’t replaced with new egalitarian constructs or new “biblical” constructs. The gospel has challenged men selling daughters into marriage like property for a bride price, and men having more than one wife, and young men kidnapping and raping a girl to avoid paying a bride price and marry her cheaply, all things that used to be culturally acceptable under the prevailing gender and social norms.

Christian men now make alliances with other Christian families to marry off their sons and daughters in an honorable way after they finish their educations, because that is how they understand the gospel to challenge their existing roles as fathers and husbands. Christian men don’t beat their wives or kids like fathers and husbands are culturally entitled to, but they are still considered the boss of the home by their wives and children, because that is how they are encultured.

It’s kind of funny to me that the church has decided that good Christian men must give all their money to their wives, because 1 Timothy says women are to manage the home. Within their cultural gender roles women are considered more selfless and frugal and naturally concerned with everyone else and and men are considered naturally selfish and wasteful. So they teach in church that a man should not spend money without his wife’s permission, because he’ll probably just be selfish and it’s a woman’s job to take care of the family with what the husband provides because by nature she’ll just be more wise about it. It’s interesting to me that that’s the way they have heard the gospel challenge their gender roles, but they didn’t get those gender roles “from the Bible” even though they think of them as “biblical.”

Anyway, all that to say, we are always trying to apply truth from the Bible to our constructs of marriage, family, and social life, we aren’t getting are constructs from the Bible in the first place. We go wrong when we pretend we do.

So I think instead of asking questions like “Should women teach in church?” like we can get some kind of absolute gender role or church role from the Bible, we should be asking, “Given how this church in the Bible was challenged in this way, for these reasons, and given how things are in our culture and our church and how the gospel is challenging us to walk in love, peace, and justice, should a woman teach in our church?”

I think the answer depends on how people have been encultured and how far the gospel (or other social factors) has already pushed their culture toward egalitarian constructs. It doesn’t depend one bit on Adam being created first or giving Eve her name or God presenting Eve to Adam as his helper. None of that gives our culture its gender roles. Our goal should be for Christians to be seen as virtuous and loving and just people by our unchurched neighbors within the frames of our own culture.


A well thought opening post with a lot to digest. The problem for many conservatives and even liberal Christians is this is an extremely slippery slope. You write:

Does the Bible teach or presume a monotheistic view of God? There seems to be some conflict in this area. Does it teach or presume the Jews were chosen as God’s people? Does it teach or presume a loving and compassionate God? Does it teach or presume a jealous and avenging God? Does it teach God told the Israelites to take the stand and keep the women for themselves or presume the story as a part of their cultural identity? Does it teach or presume a specific vision of God, Jesus, salvation, belief in the afterlife, heaven, hell etc? Does it teach or presume a flood? Aren’t Jesus’s views and opinions all a product of his culture as well? If so, how do we know they tell us anything real about God? Does the Bible teach an Exodus occurred or presume it? One could easily say ancient authors believed in an Exodus and flood and Garden and used them to teach us information about God. What happens to all of Biblical history and all of the straight forward meanings of things written on the page when we are are allowed to excise things as mere culture as opposed to God’s truth?

At the end of the day, once we accommodationists start calling plain rules and commands in the Bible cultural beliefs we are free to dispense with, what is left? What views in the Bible are not a product of their culture and time? Are we to read scripture and only accept what goes against the grain of the culture at the time as God’s message? That seems to be the goal of redemptive trajectory hermeneutics. But why does this only apply to issues we disagree with the Bible on today (like gender roles). Once this can of worms is open, should it not apply to every single page of the Bible?

So I think what is needed is to hash out how we know when the Bible is teaching something and when it is presuming it and I think this needs to be done with a lot of case studies where we can be confident our methodology isn’t just picking and choosing based on our modern ideas. And what does this mean for the rest of scripture? What does it mean when the Bible teaches something based on presumed views about Gender? Clearly one of the passages in the Bible is “teaching” as a command that women cannot have authority over men. It is doing so on the basis of presumed gender beliefs for sure. But I am not sure how it is not still teaching something based on them.

Jesus’s parables certain assume a lot of his shared cultural beliefs about God. Can we dispense with some of them if we don’t agree with those cultural ideas? Also, Jesus was very much “teaching” on divorce not Adam and Eve. But his whole argument is contingent upon the Adam and Eve story and them being created for one another. Are we to accept what Jesus was teaching even if we dismiss what he based it on?

I doubt this is how most of the Church reads the Bible today or even throughout history. Even those who adopted the allegorical interpretation in parts still took plenty literal. It is much easier to adopt a complementation position than to completely overturn how scripture is being read and understood.

And in some ways, we need to let scripture serve as conscience and corrector do we not? Are there going to not be issues where we disagree with God on? Things we don’t or can’t understand? Isn’t it our job to succumb to God’s will here in trust? How do we know when that is the case and when its not in scripture? Especially if we are going to let modern culture dictate what is “true” in the Bible. For some people the belief is we should be doing the opposite…not being polluted by the world and letting the Bible guide and change modern culture.


Which passage? Clearly some passages do presume henotheism and/or a divine council. Paul presumes polythiesm in the sermon in Acts 17.

I think you are imposing an inappropriate either/or here with “Does the Bible teach or presume…” In many cases it does both because revelation has to start with what is already “known.” As humans we have to hook our new knowledge into our old knowledge to learn anything. We are always constructing our new concepts on the foundations of and with the tools we have from our existing concepts.

I am asserting that “gender roles” and “acceptable church roles” are not in the category “truth about God and humanity” that God intends to reveal in his word. I am not asserting that nothing in revelation falls into that category. When the Bible teaches that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-contriol, it’s not asserting a social construct. In fact, each culture will have its own constructs about what all those virtues look like in an embodied form and they will not all look that same. That doesn’t make the truth it reveals somehow not really true for everyone, it just means it will be received subjectively and embodied relatively in a community of believers.

Seems like an artificial binary to me. I think the real question is what constructs was revelation addressing and how did those constructs transform as a result of relationship with God. That’s how we get at the principles and truths that were transformative.

When we approach many of the commands in the letters I think we approach them with this “design” assumption that the point in giving them was to get people to conform to some kind of objective, culturally external “right way” of doing things, instead of the goal being to get them to function with love, unity, peace, and justice in their communitiy according to the norms of their culture and the understandings of reality shaped by their constructs.

Sure. But the gospel of the Kingdom is pictured as yeast, salt, light, a slow-growing tree, planted seed, an investment that bears dividends. Truth permeates, and develops, and extends, and grows, and works in transformative ways that are at first not obvious or dramatic. But over time the Kingdom turns things upside down.


I guess what I am asking is why are you drawing the line on "gender roles”, “acceptable church roles”, “ancient cosmology” and “ancient medicine” and not “other things”? My point is how do you objectively just draw the line around only those things. Why is what the bible teaches us about
“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control” truth to you but not what it tells us about gender and marriage?

In God’s word there is clearly a lot said about gender. I don’t think it is all consistent but it is certainly there. There are also plenty of other things in the Bible we generally accept on the same basis as the male-female created order. Maybe all these points need to be rethought? What I said “Seems like an artificial binary” to you but why doesn’t that apply to the select topics you chose to single out as being presumed rather than taught as opposed to all others in scripture? Every story can be considered didactic in the Bible.

Why should Christians adopt the latter hermeneutic over the former? For some people obeying the Bible is “to function with love, unity, peace, and justice in their community” whereas making the Bible subservient “to the norms of their culture” is inappropriate. If the Bible were written solely by man this would be easy to promote but Christians still think God chose what to include in the Bible and interpret it as such.

Maybe jumping into an example would help:

3 Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” 8 He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”[a]

Jesus is teaching that a man cannot divorce his wife for any reason. Why not?

Because God made them male and female.
Because God did this men and women marry and become one flesh.
Jesus very plainly says God has created things this way from the beginning.

I am sure you agree with Jesus that frivolous or selfish divorce is wrong, but do you agree with Jesus’s explanation of why it is wrong? And if we reject all the premises an argument is based on, what remains of the argument itself? The bottom line here for most Christians is Jesus puts a stamp on the male-female created order of Genesis. You can claim Jesus was just appealing to it based on something they know and a standard they accepted but all evidence shows Jesus himself accepted that same standard to some degree. I think most Christians are still of the “Jesus said it, that settles it” variety.


They are social constructs one learns through acculturation, not objective facts about the world or religious truth claims.

I reject that “husbands must be in charge in a marriage” or “the earth is flat and sets on pillars over the watery deep” is a religious truth claim.

Jesus died for our sins, on the other hand is a religious truth claim.

I don’t really know what criteria I am using, it seems intuitively obvious.

“God created male and female and instituted the bond of marriage” is a religious truth claim
“Men are in a hierarchy above women” is a social construct.

I am asserting that when you do, you are using the Bible as it was not intended to be used and hearing communication it does not intend to communicate. Like I said in the OP, it goes back to your presuppositions of what the Bible is and how God speaks truth through it.

A key point being that their culture had a construct for an “any reason divorce” and Jesus was speaking directly to this cuturally contextualized question, by bringing up general truth that challenged their specific constructs. I do not beleive he was introducing the rules for divorce and marraige for all people everywhere at all times.

I think he was saying, “Look guys, marriage establishes a kinship bond with obligations to a woman to care for her as your own flesh and blood for life. When you divorce a woman for any reason you feel like (under the terms of this “any reason divorce”), you lightly toss aside a life-long bond that God has ordained.” And yes, I agree with what Jesus was saying and think we can apply that truth to our own constructs of marriage and divorce.

I feel privileged having read that! It’s not often that I come across someone who so clearly grasps that nothing in the New Testament is about rules, it’s all about principles, as Paul showed in his treatment of Old Testament texts – way to go!

Regarding the I Timothy passage, IIRC from my Canonization of the New Testament courses, that passage was occasion for some denying that Paul actually wrote the letter because it is quite contrary to his practice since some of his earliest congregations started out with women as the leaders plus he mentions one woman as an apostle and several others as “co-workers” besides effectively endorsing a husband-wife team as ‘the first theological seminary’. And in fact up until almost the fourth century the authorship of all three of the Pastoral Epistles was questioned; in the third century they probably would have appeared on the list of antilegomena, books that were “spoken against” (just as Revelation and some others were at the time when Eusebius wrote).

The real question that gets neglected because no one really understands the concept involved is the justification given:

" For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor"

That’s totally invalid to modern minds, and not exceptionally acceptable to second- and third-century minds since by Paul’s designation it was plain that a woman could be an apostle! The verse has given rise to all sorts of questionable ideas, not least of which is the notion of “the weaker sex” – “after all”, it goes, “the woman got deceived, and the man knew what he was doing, so women are weaker in spirit (and in body, too)”.

The next line doesn’t help the case:

'Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control."

Seriously, nobody with a decent intellect has any idea of what the crap this is supposed to mean! There have been deviations where it was taught that if a woman doesn’t bear any children she won’t get into heaven, but that’s smack in the face against Paul saying that in Christ there is neither male nor female.

And that leads to where things ought to start: “in Christ”, Paul’s big refrain in a couple of his shorter letters, a status that means not in the world or in the kingdom of the Deceiver, a status that radically changes things – for example when Paul tells the women in Corinth to wear veils, something taken as oppressing women today but which then was radically feminist because it was only wealthy or noble women who went around with veils on; the common woman went bare-faced; thus Paul is telling the women of Corinth that in Christ they are both wealthy and noble, and they should proclaim that by how they dress.

So where does this take us as far as Timothy – how do we understand this from the perspective of being “in Christ”? I think that without saying so that’s what you address in discussing Ephesians so well. Another aspect that has to be considered is that just as the instruction to women in Corinth to go veiled, we have to take the passage in Timothy as being culturally bound. The best educated guess I’ve ever encountered is based on Timothy being in Ephesus, where Artemis reigned, and where there was a different issue with women than there was in Corinth: Ephesus boasted a cohort of “sacred” prostitutes as well as a lot of not-so-sacred ones. Further, apparently women in Ephesus were known for being both crass and independent, aspects that were magnified by the heresy the author seems to be addressing. The two groups of women – prostitutes and the upper class – had in common that they were loud and bold. Thus Paul’s instructions are meant to tell women how to behave so as not to resemble the worldly type.

Though the particulars of the situation aren’t critical; what’s important is that the writer is instructing Timothy in guiding the women of that church into behavior that both distinguishes them from the prevailing culture and at least hints at the Gospel in the way they do behave.

And that is similar to how your church has responded: stop being like those still in the world, and do so in ways that will make Christians stand out. They’ve taken the principle to heart and applied it to their situation in a way I think that Paul could applaud.


Hey, now, people have done lots of research into the possible context. Sandra Glahn has a book coming out about it.

Do you know where you got this? I’ve heard the opposite, that it just refers to married women covering their hair in public and pretty much everyone did, as is still the tradition in many parts of the Middle East, Orthodox Judaism, and conservative Eastern Orthodox areas.

Yes, I think this is key. Some kind of syncretistic false teaching was evidently spreading among the “gullible” women of the congregation.

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Well said and I completely agree with you. The problem with trying to extract explicit rules from the Bible for what appears there in narrative form is that, since no where are such rules specifically mentioned* as such, all one can do is look for confirmation for rules one carries from ones own cultural milieu. How else does one begin to look for and recognize what may count as such a rule.

Edited to add: *Leastwise not in the NT, there are several commandments in the OT as I recall.

Have either of you actually read the New Testament? Jesus gives a host of moral commands and prohibitions. In fact, he intensified quite a few commandments and imposed more stringent standards on his followers. Try the Sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7 for starters. Even Paul, for all his talk of grace and freedom has no problems issuing all sorts of rules and commands he expects to be followed by the recipients of his letters.

The NT is not just a “rule book” but claiming “nothing in the New Testament is about rules” is way out of bounds. Moral behavior is of paramount concern to everyone. This requires following appropriate rules.

I suspect the criteria is modern gender equality. Because many millions of Christians today and even more in the past have not found this “intuitively obvious.” They have found the exact opposite to be intuitively obvious. Man is the head of woman. But most Christians, all present company included, tend to find their beliefs in the Bible. In fact, from my vantage point, the passage in Timothy makes exactly the religious truth claim you think is not a religious truth claim. That Adam was formed first…. The person impersonating Paul believed exactly this. It seems very much like the author viewed Eve coming after Adam as an objective fact of existence. That was the created order. You might not see it as an objective truth claim but the author writing it most likely did. If God also co-authored scripture we are left with a problem. This is not like Genesis 1 which was never intended to be a scientific description of reality. The statement intends to say and imply exactly what it does here.

That God made the earth is a religious truth claim.
A statement on how God made the earth is not exempt from being a religious truth claim. Just because Genesis gets all all wrong doesn’t change this. Just because you or I or anyone disagrees with some misogynistic comment in the Bible does not mean it’s intuitively obvious it’s not a religious truth claim. I don’t think whoever originally wrote Genesis1-3 was thinking about science at all though. So when we interpret this as teaching theological truths about God we are in good shape. But what theological truths do the misogynistic statements in the NT teach?

Also what is obvious or intuitive is not always reliableS For millions or billions of Christians it has been obvious that God made the earth in 7 days. For millions of Christian’s the Bible was perfectly fine with slavery. So obviously it condoned and regulated it as a normative part of society. Surely if God had an issue with it he would have said something. For Christian’s going on crusades or the Church burning witches, their actions have all been intuitively obvious as the truth of what scripture wanted then to do. For others the exact opposite is trueS I am not sure “intuitive to us” is a good criteria. It can be helpful but it sometimes may be little more than peering into the well of the Bible for guidance only to be met by our own reflection.

Based on the encultured belief in blood magic of a primitive people steeped in ritualistic animal sacrifice? A people who thought sacrificing animals would bring atonement and forgiveness? Does God really love to watch animals get slaughtered and enjoy the smell of their roasting flesh? So powerful is the aroma we got a rainbow after the flood IIRC. There lies the problem. If the gender comments are all intuitively not religious truth claims I’m not sure why any “sacrificial” language about Jesus is also not intuitively labeled a social construct? God can just forgive just as Jesus did. No blood shedding necessary.

Jesus said all that but he also said “this is how God made it from the beginning.” That was his exact argument. He was specific and reference a specific story in the Books of Moses. To divorce a woman, in addition to mistreating her and not fulfilling your obligations to her, and probably more importantly in that culture, is also an affront to God. It disrespects him and the system He established. The fate of the woman doesn’t even show up in the passage to be honest as far as I can tell. He just says it’s not what God wants and ties it to the created order. That is the aspect these misogynists would have cared about. Not feeling bad for skirting their obligations to a woman. If they cared about that they wouldn’t have been divorcing for frivolous reasons to begin with.

So you are saying the Church has been reading the Bible wrong for almost two-millennia but modern egalitarians and their 79 different genders figured out a way to get behind what the text plainly writes to determine what they think it means? Clearly this hermeneutic will rightly be treated with a lot of suspicion by Bible believing Christian’s.

There are a ton of similar comments about women in the ancient Mediterranean world. It’s quite obvious what it means. And Paul’s saying in Galatians is a charming spiritual platitude and good model for guidance but in the actual world I’m not sure what it actually did at the time. There were definitely Jews and Gentiles in the world. There were absolutely slaves and free folk. And there definitely were men and women with different expectations and social roles.

I think Vinnie is missing a lot of the cultural context behind Mat 19:3ff namely the Pharisees’ technical terms being used, one of which Christy points out is the “Any Matter” divorce of Hillel and which Shammai thought was not a valid reason. Thus the question is on a difference of interpretation on what we now call Deu 24:1 and not a question of general scope, whether there is any valid reason for divorce in Torah.


That Artemis stuff is complete fabrication as far as I am aware. There is not a single shred of evidence this is the case beyond “ I want this passage to be limited to one specific cultural instance.” This is a textbook example of eisegesis.

The person impersonating Paul was not obligated to tie the subordination of women into the created order. That person did not need to contradict Paul and claim women will be saved through childbearing. Even if this was about Artemis worship none of that needed to be said. Those comments are intentional choices and fit very much in line with some other Mediterranean views about women. My guess: the role of women in the Christian movement was too radical. The women were doing things some thought men were supposed to and they needed to be shut down. It worked.

8 I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument, 9 also that the women should dress themselves in moderate clothing with reverence and self-control, not with their hair braided or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, 10 but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God. 11 Let a woman[b] learn in silence with full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman[c] to teach or to have authority over a man;[d] she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve, 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Is 1 Tim 2:8 also limited to a specific cultural incident?

The context is in “every place the men should” do such and such and then the author turns immediately to women in this same context. This is as universal as it gets.

I think straight up excising this stain is better than trying to cleanse it with theological fabric softener. And for an NT not concerned with rules, I see four at the end in verse 15.

Welcome to the forum. I have read quite a bit on the divorce issues. Technically its divorce and remarriage. Historically, a saying prohibiting divorce is probably the securest saying of Jesus there is as it is multiply attested in source and form (Pal and Mark–Epistle and Gospel), occurs in the first stratum (Paul in 50s) and cuts against some common grain at the time (men could do as they pleased with their property). I have read enough to know that the Hillel and Shammai reference are completely unsubstantiated. Jesus is not taking a side in a debate that may not have existed until hundreds of years later. So many commentators uncritically appeal to this debate as if it was established fact at the time of Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. John Meier writes:

In light of the almost universal tendency on the part of exegetes to explain Mark 10:2–12 (as well as any teaching on divorce attributed to the historical Jesus) by appealing to the debate between the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai,155 it is important to emphasize a point made earlier in this chapter. Almost all the pre-70 Jewish texts known to us reflect a Judaism in which a man could divorce his wife for practically any reason. There is no hint of a debate over the precise grounds for divorce, let alone the specific debate over ʿerwat dābār (“shame of a thing” in Deut 24:1) between the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai, as reported in the mishnaic tractate Giṭṭin. The first glimmer of a debate over grounds for divorce may (ironically) be the exceptive clause in Matt 5:32 and 19:9, though this Jewish-Christian development may not reflect the same sort of debate as that found in m. Giṭṭin. --Marginal jew v4 p 126

Longer version:

The most remarkable point about this final passage in m. Giṭṭin is some- thing that is often missed by commentators on the NT: only when we get to the Mishna do we have, for the first time in Palestinian Judaism, clear documentation of a scholarly dispute over what precisely constitutes suf- ficient grounds for divorce. As far as datable documents are concerned, this is something startlingly new in Judaism. What is found prior to this in Palestinian Judaism is (1) first of all and predominately, the near-absolute right of the husband to divorce his wife (Deuteronomy, Philo, Josephus); (2) secondarily, a sectarian attack on polygyny that may also imply (at least in the view of some scholars) an attack on divorce when it is followed by re- marriage (the Damascus Document); and (3) finally and marginally, a total prohibition of divorce (Jesus). Nowhere in pre-70 Judaism is there any clear attestation of a detailed discussion or debate on which grounds for divorce are deemed sufficient. **Therefore, despite the almost universal tendency on the part of NT exegetes to explain Jesus’ prohibition of divorce against the “background” of the debate between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel, this tendency may actually be a prime example of the anachronis- tic use of later texts to explain earlier ones.**81 That is, a text written down for the first time at the beginning of the 3d century a.d. (the Mishna) is called upon to elucidate a teaching of Jesus reaching back to the early part of the 1st century a.d., with written attestation in the 50s by Paul and ca. 70 by Mark. Considering the dearth of any clear attestation of the dispute over the grounds of divorce between the Houses in the pre-70 period,82 we would do well, as least initially, to explain Jesus’ teaching on divorce solely in light of what is truly prior to and contemporary with the Palestinian Judaism of the early 1st century a.d.83

Another reference from Meier which really gets to the heart of the issue for me:

He [Moses] wrote you this commandment with a view to your hardness of heart”—perhaps in the sense that Moses both knew their hardness of heart and wished to expose it by giving a commandment that would bear witness against them. “Hardness of heart” refers here not to a primitive level of culture or social institutions but rather to a stubborn refusal at the core of one’s being to hear and obey God’s word, in this case, his will expressed in the Torah. At first glance, this seems a strange accusation, since the Pharisees have just paraphrased a passage of the Torah, Deut 24:1–4.

In vv 6–8, Jesus provides the exegetical basis for his accusation that the Pharisees, for all their claims of zeal for the Law, are actually in rebellion against God’s will as revealed in the Torah. Jesus locates and defines the primordial will of God in the Torah by moving back from Deuteronomy to the creation story in Genesis 1–2. At the very beginning of the Torah, at the very beginning of creation, God is said to create the human species as male and female (Gen 1:27), a duality that, according to Gen 2:24, is meant to merge into a unity that is the basis of human society. “For this reason [namely, the fact that the human species is created as a duality], a man (anthrōpos) shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two [implicitly, only two] shall become one flesh”—that is, one human reality, one human being. Jesus hammers home this oneness, which he sees as indissoluble, by repeating the final phrase of Gen 2:24: “Consequently, they are no longer two but one flesh.”

Jesus’ rapid exegesis contains an implied hermeneutic: Genesis trumps Deuteronomy. But this is not just a question of the relative order and authority of two books within the Pentateuch. The deeper point being made is that the order of creation, revealed in Genesis 1–2, trumps the positive law of divorce in the Pentateuchal law code, promulgated in Deuteronomy."


There’s a deeper problem: the prophets often treat the Law of Moses in the very same way, the epitome of which is in the pronouncement that God “hates and despises” things He’s commanded. So if the prophets can set things aside, why can’t we?

Except that misses the point – as does the above set of questions. The prophets point the people not to the Law to obey it, but to the character of God so they should be like it.
That’s our measure: the character of God.

As for all the examples you give asking about what the Bible teaches, the starting point is the fact that the scriptures are ancient literature – first you find out what kind they are and what meaning that carried, then you read in the original language and as much of the culture as you can absorb.

Of course it’s teaching something, it’s teaching how the Gospel impacted that culture. It isn’t “a teaching” as in a rule set in stone; we don’t actually have rules set in stone any more, and the Holy Spirit reduced the entire Old Testament in terms of rules to just four (Acts 15), so we don’t have much for rules at all.

No – we do what Paul did, and look for the principles. Of course we need to understand first century Judaism in order to catch a great deal of Jesus’ meaning!

A modern rabbi noted that Jesus was teaching as though what He referenced had authority, whether or not it was “objective reality”. And BTW the point about divorce doesn’t require that the Adam & Eve account be historical in our sense of the word, it can rest on the first Creation story: “male and female He made them”.

I usually avoid the meme, but I think that “spirit v letter” comes in here. The reason is that we aren’t supposed to conform our lives to a text, but to a Person – the text only helps us understand that Person and how others have interacted with Him in the past. The ground to always come back to is what Paul says: “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”; we are at all times brethren of the Crucified One and that is our starting point. The illumination of that begins with the Resurrection as confirmation of the Person of the Crucified One.

Indeed the great majority of what Paul wrote rests right on those two Events, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection – he used them to explain everything from Baptism to marriage!

Most Christians are bare beginners at “Love your neighbor” and have hardly set foot on the path “Love one another as I have loved you”. Focusing on the Crucified One and the Resurrection and tackling those commandments, one old and one new, will do more to impact the world for our Savior than any discussion on how to approach any given piece of scripture!


As i just quoted Meier to Donald Johnson, Jesus references both creation accounts:

In vv 6–8, Jesus provides the exegetical basis for his accusation that the Pharisees, for all their claims of zeal for the Law, are actually in rebellion against God’s will as revealed in the Torah. Jesus locates and defines the primordial will of God in the Torah by moving back from Deuteronomy to the creation story in Genesis 1–2. At the very beginning of the Torah, at the very beginning of creation, God is said to create the human species as male and female (Gen 1:27), a duality that, according to Gen 2:24, is meant to merge into a unity that is the basis of human society. “For this reason [namely, the fact that the human species is created as a duality], a man (anthrōpos) shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two [implicitly, only two] shall become one flesh”—that is, one human reality, one human being. Jesus hammers home this oneness, which he sees as indissoluble, by repeating the final phrase of Gen 2:24: “Consequently, they are no longer two but one flesh.”

Also, I don’t think Adam and Eve were historical people. Whether Jesus did or not is a different issue.

Dare we treat Jesus the same way the prophets teated the Law of Moses? I didn’t say we couldn’t set things aside. I don’t think God murders babies or condones rape. So I definitely set many things aside in the Bible. I also support gender equality but I am not going to dismiss what Genesis says about marriage and the created order. I will dismiss what the impersonator writing in Paul’s name said in 1 Timothy, but not what Jesus or the creation story says. My question is more of what is the methodology for choosing? I saw the process as arbitrarily calling gender cultural. My immediate thought is what isn’t cultural? How do I read the rest of the Bible?

For sure but as the Christian punch line goes, ancient literature written by God (and man).

Jesus considered much of the OT as his sacred scripture. I don’t think its wise to imagine Jesus engaging in reductio ad absurdum arguments every time he appeals to something and we don’t like it.

100%. Im a Christ-ian, not a Bible-ian. But that is the starting point of modern Protestants who love Pauline theology. I prefer to start with the Gospels and let Paul supplement the story of Jesus. I don’t let modern Pauline theology or his views on the law completely dictate how I read Jesus in the Gospels. I think Paul’s arguments in Romans at times are very weak. For me the Gospels inform the rest of scripture–including Paul. They are the key to the whole Bible.


Nope, try again. Did you miss the part where I said I don’t think the Bible teaches egalitarianism. Plus “modern gender equality” is not a heuristic that helps you decide “this is a faith claim” and “this is a cultural construct.” What does modern gender equality have to do with evaluating something as ancient cosmology? Or a faith claim like Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead?

LOL, that’s what the article that inspired these emails was about. It doesn’t mean man is the boss of the woman, even in it’s ancient context.

Yes, I agree that some things would fall in a gray area. But plenty are obvious.

No, the link to sacrificial system is a metaphor that helps us understand the atonement. It’s accessing an existing construct to make sense of an abstract truth claim.

I never said or meant to imply that we can’t label anything part of God’s design, telos, or created order. I said cultural gender roles in marriage aren’t God’s design they are our culture’s design. That doesn’t mean marriage in a very general abstract sense isn’t ordained by God for humanity.

The church has been reading the Bible so many different ways for 2000 years so I don’t know what you are talking about. And if the next sentence is your summary of anything I asserted, I question your reading comprenhension. Did you miss the whole part where I specifically asserted that the Bible doesn’t teach egalitarianism and patriarchal societies are going to continue on in their patriarchy when they read it?

Come on Vinnie, do the reading before you tell other people they don’t know what they are talking about.

The fact that humans typically can be unequivocally categorized male or female is a biological fact.
I said gender and social roles are cultural. Gender roles are how your society defines what counts as masculinity and femininity and how people perform identities as a “good” woman or man or wife or husband according to the norms and conventions of their society. Social roles are the positions you can fill in society based on your identity.


I appreciate the complex questions that arise in bringing the Gospel to a foreign culture, but I don’t appreciate making the Genesis account this simplisticly irrelevant. Not one bit?

Problem is this can as easily be said about an immodest, effeminate, or gay culture.

This also appears to measure our love based solely on how we relate to one another.

An important lesson from the Bible is how we become like what we worship, and one controversial pastor, who I’m conflicted with now, still said something very important, about how when we worship a triune God, we evidence the fruit of that worship in our culture with diversity and unity.

I also remember C.S. Lewis, I think it was him, said as we separate our culture from Christ, there will be a gradual loss of creative ability. And this would obviously be more apparent in a post-Christian culture, than a pre-Christian culture.

I’m still being guided by what you said in the other thread:

“In its context the Bible consistently elevates women above standards set by the cultural norms of the day.”

So my apologies if I misunderstood you.

No, not man is the boss of woman. Specifically, husband is the boss of wife. In your article you write:

Understanding what the original hearers would infer based on their cultural knowledge is a big part of understanding a text that relies on metaphors, similes, symbols, and figures of speech to assert something true.

But nowhere do you actually dialogue with their ancient cultural knowledge or background assumptions. I see nothing about “household codes” from Philo, Josephus, Aristotle etc.

Talbert in Paideia writes, “These codes are of two types. The first type is a code of duties for Mediterranean households (Eph 5:22–6:9; Col 3:18–4:1; 1 Pet 2:13–3:7; Did. 4.9–11; Barn. 19.5, 7). The second type is a code of duties for the household of God, the church, and is modeled after the codes for households (1 Tim 2:1–2, 8–12; 3:8–13; 5:1–3, 17–22; 6:1–2; Titus 2:1–10; 1 Clem. 1.3; 21.6–9; 38.2; Ign. Pol. 4.1–6.2; Pol. Phil. 4.2–6.1).”

Aristotle says marriage is a union of a natural ruler and a natural subject (Pol. 1.1252a 24–28). When a slave is added to the mix, this is called a “house” (Pol. 1.1252b 9–10). Several households equal a village (Pol. 1.1252b 16); several villages equal a city-state (Pol. 1.1252b 28–31). He says,
“Household management falls into departments corresponding to the parts of which the household in its turn is composed; and the household in its per- fect form consists of slaves and freedmen. The investigation of everything should begin with its smallest parts and the primary and smallest parts of the household are master and slave, husband and wife, father and children; we ought, therefore, to examine the proper constitution and character of each of these three relationships. (Pol. 1.1253b 1–14)”

Talbert goes on to write:

The fourth element in the household is the relation of income to expen- diture. A series of manuals on household management are known from the fourth (Xenophon, Oec.), the third (ps.-Aristotle, Oec.), the second (ps.-Aristotle, Mag. mor.) and the first (Arius Didymus) centuries BC. Balch and Lührmann contend that the pattern of submissiveness is based on a topos “concerning household management.” The early Chris- tian authors utilize the first three elements and drop the fourth, which dealt with finances. That this approach continued into New Testament times can be seen from the itinerant philosopher Dio Chrysostom, whose Concerning Household Management discussed the role of the master of slaves, a wife’s duty to love her husband, and the rearing of children. Working from 1 Peter, Balch takes the position that the household codes functioned as part of early Christian missionary strategy (e.g., 1 Pet 2:12; 3:1–2). If Christians who had changed their gods still maintained order in the household according to the best values of the culture, then they would decrease the hostility of their pagan neighbors and perhaps encourage them to convert.

In the article you write:

I would like to point out a fundamental metaphorical reasoning error that I see all the time when complementarians read this passage. They see that in the passage both husbands and Christ are mapped to the head and they see an analogy that relates Christ the groom’s demonstrated love for his bride to a command to love their wives.

But the Text in question is broken down into the following by Talbert in Paideia:

Wives-husbands (5:22–33)
Wives: hypotassein (to be subject to) (5:22–24)
husbands: agapan (to love) (5:25–32)
summation: husbands love; wives pho-bein (to fear/ to reverence) (5:33)

Children-fathers (6:1–4)
children: hypakouein (to obey) (6:1–3)
Fathers: do not provoke to anger, but
bring them up with discipline (6:4)

Slaves-masters (6:5–9)
slaves: hypakouein (to obey) (6:5–8)
masters: do good, leave off threats (6:9

Clearly the wife is the submissive partner, the one not in charge. This is plain from the three part relationship and all the household codes in the wider mediterranean culture. That wider culture provides the background for understanding this passage. Talbert does:

The wives: [let them be subject to] their own husbands as [they are] to the Lord. This is not so much a reference to the wives’ individual relations to Christ as to their relation to the Lord as part of the church. This is made clear by the argument in 5:23–24. These verses say how wives are to be subject to their husbands: as they are to the Lord. The point is not, “Be subject because you are subject to Christ,” but rather, “Be subject in a way that is analogous to your subjection to Christ.” The why comes next. The verses fall into a chiastic pattern. Wives should be subject to their husbands

A because the husband is the head(=ruler, as in1:22; not source, as in 4:15–16; Dawes 1998, 123–35) of the wife (5:23a)
B as the Christ is head of the church (5:23b),
C (he is savior of the body) (5:23c);
B′ but as the church is subject to Christ (5:24a)
A′ so also the wives [are to be subject] to the husbands in everything (5:24b).

The argument is clear. As Christian wives within the church are subject to Christ as head, so in the household they should be subject to their husbands. The reason given is that the husband is head—but how he is the head is not explained. In the culture of that time and place, it was generally believed the husband’s headship was a law of nature. The wider culture shared the assumption that wives should submit to their husbands. For example, Aristotle says, “The rule of the household is a monarchy, for every house is under one head” (Pol. 1.1255b; 1254ab). Dionysius of Halicarnassus praises Roman household relationships be- cause of their insistence on the obedience of wives, children, and slaves (Ant. rom. 2.24.3–2.27.4). Josephus stresses subordination within the three household relationships in order to show that Judaism accepted the basic ethic of Greco-Roman society and so was not subversive to it (C. Ap. 2.201).

We can agree that Paul is primarily concerned with unity it Christ here. But this is how it is achieved? By freedommin Christ while still maintaining proper household codes. I can also softly agree with Talbert on the following: “It was not the Pauline way to regulate everything of pastoral concern in the churches by casuistic law. The Pauline way was identity formation: shaping character by Christ, the living law, and giving only enough specifics to illustrate the direction Christian decision-making would take.”

Honestly, much of what you wrote in that article just goes right over my head. But you write:

But we should be able to agree that figuring out what the original audience would have most likely understood from the figurative language used is essential to understanding the metaphorical reasoning behind what the figurative language is asserting (and also definitely not asserting) about abstract realities.

They would have understood the patriarchy they were steeped in. It may be that freedom in Christ had gone too far and this is here to pull on the reigns a bit. Hard to say. Clearly to me, the Biblical text subordinates the wife to the husband. Talbert:

“The verb hypotassein has the connotation of a subordinate, submissive role. Further, Titus 2:9 and 1 Pet 2:18 use hypotassein for slaves as well as for wives. Moreover, 1 Pet 3:1, 5–6 uses “submit to” and “obey” interchangeably. The shift from “submit to” to “obey” in Eph 5–6 is stylistic only. Wives are asked to do the same thing as children and slaves.How the Christian wives are to act is rooted in their relation to Christ. Their submission to Christ in church is the model for their submission to their husbands in the household. Here a distinctively Christian principle infuses the common cultural ethos.”

Whether this is binding in Christian marriage today is a different issue. Talbert doesn’t think so:

If these observations about the ancient household and its codes are correct, then it becomes obvious that the material in Eph 5:22–6:9 and other early Christian sources is not appropriately used in defining what a modern Christian marriage should look like.

But interpretations of this text are legion:

Talbert: A number of different hermeneutical strategies have been employed. Some interpreters see Eph 5:22–33 as a defense of patriarchal order (Clark 1980; Knight 1991). They conclude that the health of the family depends on wives’ submission to their husbands. Most interpreters, however, see patriarchy as a problem for the modern family rather than its salvation. As a result, a number of studies have used various devices to deal with the patriarchy of Eph 5:22–33.

Others argue that the patriarchal assumptions implicit in Eph 5:22–33 deprive the passage of normative value (Schüssler Fiorenza 1995; Dawes 1998, 197–99; Lambrecht 2001, 307). They deny that this parenesis con- stitutes “a timeless and universal prescription for marriage through the ages” (Lincoln 1990, 392). In fact, Eph 5:22–33 is a testimony to the author’s failure to interpret the lordship of Christ aright (McFarland2000). Sometimes the patriarchy is rejected but the exhortations to sub- mit and to love are retained, provided they are applied to both marriage partners (Gielen 1990).

Still others attempt to interpret the text in such a way that will not be morally objectionable. For example, it is claimed that the household code should be read against the background of the alternative option of ascetic renunciation of household obligations, such as one finds in the Acts of Paul (Seim 1995). Or the code should be read in terms of the exhortation to mutual submission in Eph 5:21 (Mollenkott 1977; Scan- zoni and Hardesty 1975; Osiek 1992, 84). Verse 21 is said to function as a critique of the rest of the passage; the following household code reflects a viewpoint with which the writer does not entirely agree (Sampley 1971, 117). Gager (1975) argues that the code should be read in light of the political realities of the time and so as a necessary adaptation in order to survive. Alternatively, the code can be read as an acceptance of patriarchy that nevertheless gives it new meaning through willing acceptance and meaningful motivation (Yoder 1994, 175–85). Or the code can be read in light of its transformation by two principles: “in the Lord” and “in love.” The task of a contemporary Christian ethic is the same: to transform the structures of our time “in the Lord” and “in love” (Fuller 1978, 116–18; Dudrey 1999, 40). Suffice it to say that no hermeneutic of Eph 5:22–6:9 has won scholarly consensus.

It is clear when the Bible says something we don’t like, we will find a way around it.

I did find his theological treatment on slavery and women at the end interesting.

Why is saying “The Genesis account doesn’t teach gender roles in marriage, it teaches something different” the equivalent of making it irrelevant? All I did was point out examples of things complemetarians use to assert that it is “God’s design” that men be above women in relationships for all eternity and say they were doing interpretation wrong because Genesis doesn’t impose gender roles on a culture. That doesn’t mean there are no truth claims in the passage, it just means the truth claims aren’t about gender roles. It’s more unhelpful either/or thinking to say “Either the passage says what I think it says, or you are saying it’s irrelevant.”

Because at the end of the day every argument for a Kingdom focus in our mission must boil down to “But what about LGBTQ?” I’m sad for you.

Immodest, effeminate, and “gay culture” are all cultural constructs, and we could let the gospel transform them and see where we end up, but no, we’re too interested in trying to impose different constructs we think we got from the Bible, be we really got from different American subcultures.

:100: This is how our love is measured.
Where in the list of what love is in 1 Cor 13 is there a quality that doesn’t involve “how we relate to one another”?
Right after a big foot washing object lesson about how Jesus’ disciples are to relate to one another as servants, Jesus says:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”” How is it love without the relating to “another” part?

If you are in the camp who thinks anyone in their right mind “measures love” by how much Christians yell at people to be more “biblical,” I think you are just so confused.

CS Lewis doesn’t make sense within the categories of thought used in postmodernism, because he was such a post-Enlightenment modernist. We cannot separate our cultures from ourselves. There is no such thing as a single Christian culture that replaces the culture we are born with. There are just individuals and churches who have started somewhere and moved toward Christ and his Kingdom. I do believe that cultures where Christ and his Kingdom have been working for generations move on a trajectory toward greater love and recognizing the dignity of all people. But that’s not because their cultural roles and constructs have been replaced by “biblical” ones, it’s because people filled with God’s spirit have impacted their communities with God’s love, and that means people experience a different reality and that different reality shapes their enculturation.

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That was an observation, it wasn’t a proposed hermeneutic for evaluating a truth claim versus a cultural construct. Though I guess I am saying that our hermeneutics need to evaluate the context of the passage well enough to be able to make observations about where people were and what they were being called to move toward.

That was a given in the cultural context, it was not something Paul was revealing as absolute truth. He never asserts anything like “God made men in authority over women”

Yes, it was a blog post and anyone who wants to can look up 1000s of pages of Evangelical scholarship on household codes as they relate to the epistles. The focus of this article was metaphors and analogies, and where they don’t get you, (men have authority over wives), it wasn’t analyzing the household code in Ephesians in relation to other cultural exemplars.

The usbject/verb in question is hypotassomenoi allēlois which has a 2pl subject, each other dative, (you all to one another) in verse 21. The wives come in as a verbless clarifying clause, “wives to their own husbands.”

No, not clearly at all. That is imposed on the text by people looking for the text to teach them about authority. It is part of the background assumptions, yes, probably, but it’s not what the text is “teaching.”

This is a bad interpretation based on not understanding the difference between metaphorical senses and the meaning of metaphors. Husband is the head of the wife is a metaphor that entails that husband and wife are one and interdependent. I’ve backed this argument up extensively in an article peer-reviewed by NT scholars here.

Nah, more like when Bible scholars do exegesis we don’t like, we argue with them to do better.