Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Here's Dr. Wayne Grudem.

Dr. Wayne Grudem: Nowhere does the Bible say that all women should be subject to all men. The Bible says, "Wives be subject to your own husbands" (Ephesians 5:22), not to other people's husbands. The fundamental biblical picture of how men and women relate who are not married to each other is brother and sister.

Leslie Basham: It's Tuesday, May 17th, and you are listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Are there any differences between men and women? What are they? We are getting some wise, biblical counsel on that topic this week. Here's Nancy to introduce our guest.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We're listening all this week on Revive Our Hearts to a message that I think is perhaps the most helpful one I have heard the subject of men and women: their similarities and their differences, and what does the Bible have to say about the different roles between men and women? This message was given about a year and a half ago at a conference for about 2,500 single adults.

It was given by Dr. Wayne Grudem who is a professor at Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Grudem is perhaps best known for his book on systematic theology, which sounds kind of intimidating, but it's a very readable and helpful volume on basic Bible doctrine. He is also the co-editor, along with John Piper, of another helpful resource called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism.

In the first part of this message that we listened to yesterday, Dr. Grudem made the point that men and women are equal in value and dignity. Then he went on to explain that men and women have different roles in marriage and that that is part of God's created order.

As we wrapped up yesterday's broadcast, Dr. Grudem had just given the first two of ten biblical reasons why Adam and Eve had different roles before the fall. As I said yesterday, this is a very important point to understand as we think through much of what we are hearing today about the roles of men and women, both in the home and in the church. Let's join Dr. Grudem as he picks up with the third biblical reason why Adam and Eve had different roles before the fall.

Dr. Wayne Grudem: Number three: the naming of woman, Genesis 2:23, "Then the man said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.'" That verb there, called, the Hebrew word, qara', is a verb that has been used earlier where God called the light day and the darkness night.

Then He brought animals to Adam, and Adam called them by name, saying the Hebrew verb, qara'. The whole narrative prior to this sentence is that the act of giving a name is an act that signifies that the one who gives the name is one who has a position of authority, whether it's God or Adam. So again, this would have been seen to the original readers as a leadership function that Adam had in bestowing a name on Eve.

Number four: the naming of human race. I am going to look over at Genesis 5:1-2. Genesis 5:1-2, "This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created," Genesis 5:2.

The Hebrew word there, adam, is a word that has been used over a dozen times in the previous chapters to refer to Adam in distinction from Eve. It is the word that is used for instance to say, "The man and his wife were naked and they were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25).

God did not name the human race, woman. God did not name the human race, the Hebrew equivalent of person or humankind. God bestowed on the human race a name that has male overtones, and that suggests, that hints at, male leadership. So, number four the naming of the human race.

Number five: the primary accountability, the primary accountability. What happened after they sinned? Genesis 3:9, "But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'" Those are singulars. "The Lord God called to the man and said to him (singular, masculine singular),and said to him, 'Where are you (singular)?'"

Now, Margaret and I have three sons. They are grown now, but when younger if I would come into the room and see that three sons had been playing there and the room was totally trashed, it was total chaos, the first words out of my mouth would be, "Elliott, what happened?" Why? He is the oldest. He is the oldest, and I would call him to account first because he had greater responsibility than the other two--though they also had some responsibility.

So in the same way, after the fall, God comes to the garden and says, "Adam, what happened?" So the primary accountability again hints at the fact that God thought of Adam as having a leadership role in his family before the fall that Eve did not have.

Number six: the purpose, the purpose. Eve was created for Adam, not Adam for Eve. Genesis 2:18, "God says, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'" Literally, I will make for him a helper fit for him. So God is making Eve as a helper fit for Adam.

Now, I want to say very clearly here the word helper, the word 'ezer in Hebrew, is not a demeaning term. It is not a term of lesser value. In fact, it is most often applied to God Himself in the Old Testament. "The Lord is my helper. What shall man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6). But God himself many times in Scripture assumes a helping role with respect to us, and that word helper is the word that is used of Eve here. "I will make a helper fit for him."

Number seven: the conflict. The curse, when I say the curse I mean the punishment that God put on the human race after sin. The curse brought a distortion of previous roles, not the introduction of new roles. So here in Genesis 3:16, "To the woman he said, 'I will surely multiple your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'" "Your desire shall be for your husband." The word desire here, which God gave as a punishment, is not sexual desire, but is an aggressive and hostile desire to compete for leadership and to resist Adam's leadership.

Then it says, "And he shall rule over you." Now, that word rule is the word that is never used to affirm a godly, holy, fair, and just leadership by a husband over the wife in the Bible. That word rule is the Hebrew word, mashal, and it is used most frequently of someone ruling by virtue of greater power or strength. Yes, it's used of God ruling over the universe and ruling over the nations, but it is also used of the Philistines ruling over Israel and oppressing them. So mashal, I think here, is saying there is going to be conflict between Adam and Eve.

Eve is going to have this urge to resist her husband's leadership, this hostile desire against him. And Adam is going to rule over Eve, but to rule by virtue that he is stronger. There will be conflict involved there. Before the fall, Adam and Eve had a relationship that was beautiful, harmonious, loving and kind, and yet there was a leadership role that Adam had that Eve did not have. Eve was supporting and helping that leadership role.

After the fall God says, "I am going to introduce conflict here as a punishment. And the conflict is: Eve, you are going to resist the authority that Adam has, and Adam, you are going to rule over her by virtue of the fact that you are stronger." There is conflict.

For that reason, Genesis 3:16, ". . . he shall rule over you" should never be used to affirm male headship in marriage because it's part of the curse. From Genesis 3:16 on for the rest of the Bible, the story of the whole Bible was God undoing the pain and suffering that we have in various areas of life and bringing redemption and healing through Christ.

Reason number eight: the restoration. Salvation in Christ reaffirms the creation order. You know, if this is the right understanding of Genesis 3:16, and I believe it is, then what we would expect is that in the New Testament we would expect an undoing of that conflict. When we turn over to Colossians 3 for example . . . . In Colossians 3:18-19 we read: "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting unto the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." See, that is an undoing of the curse.

Reason number nine for male headship before the fall: the mystery, the mystery. And that has to do with something that we find in Ephesians 5. Paul says in Ephesians 5:31, "Therefore man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Why is it in quotation marks? Because Paul is going all the way back to Genesis 2, and he is saying this is what marriage should be. Before there is sin, this is what marriage should be like.

And then Paul says, verse 32, "This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." What does he mean? He is saying Adam and Eve were created to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church.

Is there any difference in role between Christ and the church? Is there any difference in leadership, or do Christ and the church share leadership equally? No, there is a pattern there where Jesus is the head of the church. He loves the church. He sacrificed himself; he gives himself up for the church, his bride, but the church is subject to his authority.

Reason number ten: the parallel with the Trinity. I am just going to hint to it here; I am going to come back to the entire point in a minute. I think between Father and Son in the Trinity there is a difference in authority, and it's a parallel to the difference between husband and wife in marriage. There is equality, and yet there is difference. I'll come to that reason in another minute in more detail.

So, that's male headship and those are ten indications of male headship, differences in role before the fall.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's Dr. Wayne Grudem, and he has been giving us biblical reasons why Adam and Eve had different roles before the fall. Now, I realize what we have been listening to today is a theologically heavy subject, but it's a very important subject as we try to represent as women God's heart for our role and our responsibilities in the home and in the church.

Dr. Grudem, along with John Piper, has co-authored a very helpful, little booklet that we are offering this week called Fifty Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood. This is a simple to understand booklet. It is digestible. It's accessible. I want to encourage you to get it because you need to be prepared to respond to some of the questions that'll get thrown at you today even in the evangelical world about differences between men and women in the home and in the church.

When you order that booklet, we are offering a simple study guide for the message. It's really just Dr. Grudem's notes from this message, and it will help you better digest some of what he is saying in this message this week.

Leslie Basham: Let me tell you how to order the booklet, Fifty Crucial Questions and the free study guide. Call us at 1-800-569-5959. That's 1-800-569-5959. You can also order the booklet on-line by visiting, and you can download the free study guide right to your computer.

Tomorrow, Dr. Grudem will give us some practical implications of what he has been teaching us. What does biblical manhood and womanhood look like in the home? He'll give us some personal examples. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.