"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

5 Things Women Who Love Jesus and Believe the Bible Should Know about Their Personal Identity

I have the privilege of knowing many Christian women who love Jesus, believe the Bible, respect their husbands, and have a strong distaste for any beliefs or behaviors that contradict the Scriptures. I have empathy for the struggle these Christ-honoring women have with those who advocate "gender equality." They have long heard the significant men in their lives, including their pastors from the pulpit, declare the Scriptures teach that though women are equal in worth to men, they are not equal to men in authority. Men, it is declared, are designed by God to be "over" women in Christ's church, are the God-ordained authority in Christian families, and are the ones to whom Christian women are to "submit as unto the Lord."

If you are one of those women who struggle with the notion of gender equality because you believe it contradicts the Scriptures you love and the Lord you serve, then I would encourage you to read this short primer from a man who loves the Scriptures as much as you (and believes them to be the inspired and infallible Word of God), desires to honor Christ in his family and his church, and has as strong of a distaste for beliefs or behaviors that contradict Scripture as you. In other words, I am a conservative, Bible-believing, Christ-honoring, evangelical - just like you. There are 5 important things I want to remind your identity as a Christian woman.

1. The only spiritual authority in your life is Jesus Christ, for you are called a "priest unto God." 

Christian men who teach that Christian women are "under the spiritual authority" of another man - be it their husband, or their pastor, or their father - have substituted the authority of a man for the authority of Christ. When the Bible calls a Christian woman a "priest unto God" (Revelation 1:6; I Peter 2:5), it means that nobody comes between you as a woman who follows Jesus and Jesus' authority in your life. There will always be gifted men and women who come alongside you to encourage you, to give you wisdom, and to help you in life - but nobody else has authority over you. The world lives by the concepts of authority and power, granting positions of power and authority to people so that they can rule over and control others. Jesus said to His followers, "This is not the way it shall be among you. Whoever wishes to be great among you must become your servant" (Matthew 20:25-26). Notice, Jesus did not say the great ones in His church are His servants; Jesus said the great ones in His church are your servants. Meaning, any man who demands your submission and uses power or authority to dominate and rule over you is contradicting the teachings of Christ, and is a man that should be resisted for his own good.

2. You are no more released from the obligation to love your husband than your husband is released from the obligation of submitting to and serving you

When the Apostle Paul gives instructions for how a Christian man and woman are to relate to one another in the family and the home (see Ephesians 5:21-33), he says that husbands and wives are to love each other as Christ loves the church and to serve each other as Christ serves the church. For some reason, evangelical conservative men who love the Scriptures unintentionally skip or ignore Ephesians 5:21, where Paul says we all - men and women - are to submit to one another by serving one another. It's almost as if conservative, Bible-believing Christian men and women think that the role in marriage is for the husband to love, and the wife to submit. No, not at all. The role in a Christian marriage is for both the husband and wife to love each other and to submit to each other. In a shame-filled, curse-filled home, the husband and wife will attempt to manipulate and control the other person, always fighting to get ahead and above the other. But in a grace-filled home where Christ is Lord, the man and the woman are always seeking to serve the other, fighting (if you will) to come under and support the other person. (See this article for a more detailed explanation of a curse-filled home). By the way, for the man who says, "But if I serve my wife, then I'm not reflecting Christ's power and authority over the church. When does Christ ever serve the church?" - Answer: Jesus Himself says that in His Kingdom, He (Jesus Christ) serves His church (see Luke 12;37). Therefore, the Christian husband is just as obligated to serve his wife, as his wife is obligated to love her husband like Christ loves the church. It's mutual love, mutual submission, and mutual servanthood.

3. The image of God is as much seen in the woman He created, as it is in the man He created.

Many Christians have an image of God as a man.  The invisible, immortal God is "not a man." In fact, God will often represent Himself as female.  God says to His people: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" (Isaiah 49:15). In Calvin's commentary on this verse, the great orthodox theologian writes,
 "God did not satisfy himself with proposing the example of a father, but in order to express his very strong affection, God chose to liken himself to a mother, and calls His people not merely children, but the fruit of His womb, towards which there is usually a warmer affection.” (John Calvin)
In Genesis 1:27 it is said, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." The male and the female were created by God. The male and the female both bear the image of God. The male and the female are both included in the Hebrew word adam (man) -"So God created (adam )... He created them." Notice that God says "so that they (the man and the woman) rule over the animals.…" (Genesis 1;26). The male and the female were both designed by God as equals in the co-regency of the world God created.

Any system, any society, any organization that places one gender as an authority over the other, whether it be patriarchal or matriarchal in nature, is a direct violation of the command and design of the Creator God. When God calls and gifts a person to accomplish a task, restrictions to the accomplishment of that task never take the form of gender. The notion that women can't do some spiritual things that men can do in the church or in the home - like teach, lead, etc. - is a contradiction of the Scriptures themselves.

4. Your identity and worth as an individual should come solely from who you are by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, and not your marriage.

Jesus said, "At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage..." (Matthew 22:30). Marriage is something that is not eternal. At some point, marriage will end for everyone.  If a Christian marriage comes to an end, it is possible for the newly single Christian to find the same fulfillment and joy here and now that he or she will experience eternally. A divorcee who trusts Christ, a graced widow or widower, or even Christian singles who have never married  have as much personal value, identity and significance as any married Christian. In fact, it might be said that there is an advantage for the Christian who is not married; he or she has the opportunity to understand how to function individually now as Christ intends us to function eternally in the resurrection. .

Since all marriages will one day end for everyone, then there should be little emphasis on the form of one's family, and a much greater emphasis on the function of individual Christians within whatever kind of family unit they are in. What is our function or purpose as followers of Jesus? We are to love others as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).  When we learn to function in love, we never fail; even though the form our family once took has come to an end (I Corinthians 13:8).

5. Discover how God has gifted you, love and serve other men and women, and never back down from a servant leadership role, even if you find yourself leading men.

For years I have sought to show that the teachings of the New Covenant Scriptures and the emphasis of Jesus Christ concerning leadership and service in the Christian church and Christian homes is based on giftedness and not gender. Your identity as a Christian woman is found in the grace of God in Christ, and His callings and gifts to you. Avoid placing restrictions on yourself because you are a woman.

May God, by His grace, set you free to be.


Sallie Borrink said...

From one conservative, Bible-believing, Christ-honoring believer to another... Thank you. This is the reality my husband and I live in and I thank God continually for the freedom and joy we experience. I pray more and more believers will be set free as well.


Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Sallie.

I appreciate your writing ministry and would encourage others to read what you write!

Alyce Moon Faulkner said...

Thanks Wade.

Wade Burleson said...

You are welcome, Alyce!

Stephanie said...

This is so good! You have put into words what I have known to be true in my heart. I was called to seminary a few years ago, yet my husband was not. We both knew God was leading me to go and let me tell you, He blessed us like crazy when we followed His lead. I cannot imagine what our lives would be like had we let unbiblical gender-based restrictions prevent me from going.
Your words have also helped emphasize a huge truth God is trying to teach me right now. My identity is "child of God." It's not found in my role in the house, my place in society, my appearance, intelligence, etc. Thank you again for your encouraging message. I only pray that more of God's daughters come to find their identity wrapped up in Him and not these fleeting things of the world.

Wade Burleson said...

Love your testimony, Stephanie! Wish you the best in your seminary studies and future ministry!

Rex Ray said...


I believe your post is very true. I just don’t believe the man quoted backs it up. :)

We played on a basketball team that only won one game all year. Do you think some blame could be our coach who never played a game in his life? I should know because he was our father. (His first and last.)

Later, we played at the same school under a different coach and never lost a district game. Now that coach has a gym christened “Leonard A. Gerner Gymnasium.”

BTW, the center of the picture shows my cousin-in-law (sitting) and her son standing by her. His sister, Mary Hicks, married Everett McCullouch, the POW I wrote about on your September 1, post.

Paul’s advice on marriage is NOT to marry. “…it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am.” (1 Corinthians 6:8)

His reason for marriage: “If they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” (verse 9)

DUH? This is not what God said. Did Paul believe to fall in love was only lust?

The verses above imply that Paul could “control” himself, but did he have a problem in Romans 7:14-20?

“The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.”
“I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.”
“Instead I do what I hate.”
“I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.”
(Is that a cop-out…’The devil made me do it?’)

I said all that to say (‘tongue in cheek’), why should we listen to a man’s advice on marriage who never married?

“Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20-21)


1. Vs. 22 “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” [Husbands are on the same ‘level’ as God?]

2. Vs 23 “For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church.” [Husband is like Christ being the head... ??]

3. Vs. 24 “As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in EVERYTHING.” [Again; husbands are on the same level with Jesus??]

Vs. 25 “For husbands, this means love your wives just as Christ loved the church.”

Vs. 28 “…husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies.”

Vs. 33 “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself…”

Rex Ray said...


“In a shame-filled, curse-filled home, the husband and wife will attempt to manipulate and CONTROL the other person…”

Besides the pain in childbirth, God told Eve, “…you will desire to control your husband…(Genesis 3:16 NLT)

I believe in a Christian home this is not so. [Well, maybe as needed.] :)

Forty years ago our pastor who was my friend and the same age would not permit the woman shown on your post to attend our church because she is not wearing a dress.

He also said a staff member would be fired if he remarried even though he was not at fault. Years later he did marry and was removed but took the pastor with him as he revealed to the deacons the pastor while counseling with his former wife had sex.

The pastor’s son said he would kill the deacons but didn’t try. He was in prison for selling drugs and could not attend his father’s funeral about ten years later. The son later committed suicide. At one time I coached a soccer team where he and my sons played.

In the New Testament, besides Jesus, Paul is my biggest hero. While writing scripture, God did not hold his hand, but he wrote with his brain.

Onetime he had a poor memory:

“…I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius…Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.” (1 Corinthians 14-16)

Onetime he fudged a little on the truth:

“…I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!” (Acts 23:6)

Paul felt guilty about not standing for Jesus as shown by: “…what crime…found me guilty of, except for the one time I shouted out, “I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 24:20-21)

One time he changed the time of him saying, “I appeal to Caesar!”

When Paul was questioned by Festus, “…Jewish leaders from Jerusalem …made many serious accusations they couldn’t prove.” “…I appeal to Caesar!” (Acts 25:7-11) “A few days later King Agrippa arrived…” (Acts 25:13) “Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak in your defense.” (Acts 26:1) “Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:32)

Later Paul remembered the even quite different or regretted appealing to Caser.
(I believe it was all God’s plan for him to have time to write much of the Bible.)

“The Romans tried me and wanted to release me, because they found no cause for the death sentence. But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar…” (Acts 28:18)

Anonymous said...


God's in the process of blasting away some of my long-held twisted beliefs about many issues. Most of this was as a result of a recent crisis in my marriage. I had to be convinced by Him that it was o.k. to set boundaries and that I wasn't being unsubmissive and disrespectful to take bold steps for my marriage. During this process, He spoke to me about how much He values me and was concerned for me. I started seeing Scripture in a new light when it came to issues of submission and respect, etc. I feel there is more work to do with some of these issues, but what are your thoughts on what it means that my husband is my "head" and also why am I told to fear him?? These don't fit in with what God is doing in my heart and how He is adjusting my theology. What am I missing? Any resources you can point me to? Thank you so much!

Rex Ray said...

To those who may think ‘I’ve lost it’.

At one time SS material had: “We believe that the Bible has God for its author, salvation for its end; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.”

At a SBC I asked ‘their lawyer’ who ruled on motions “out of order”:

“What does “mixture of error” mean? To me, it means there has to be errors in order not to have mixture of errors.”

He replied, “That’s exactly what it means; that’s why WE added “and all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.”

That sounds like a good answer to me. I believe everything in the Bible that is true is Scripture, and anything that is not true is not Scripture.

Example of Scripture:

1. “Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out…” (Exodus 17:6)

2. “…the Lord said to Moses…you and Aaron… speak to the rock…it will pour out water.” (Numbers 20:7-8)

3. “…Moses struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out…” (Numbers 20:11)

4. “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the Land I am giving them.” (Numbers 20:12)

5. “The time has come for Aaron to join his ancestors in death. He will not enter the land I am giving the people of Israel, because the two of you rebelled against my instructions concerning the water at Meribah. ” (Numbers 20:24)

6. “The Lord said to Moses…look out over the land I have given the people of Israel. After you have seen it, you will die like your brother, Aaron, for you both rebelled against my instructions…” (Numbers 27:12-14)

Examples of Scripture not quite telling the whole truth know as discrepancies:

1. “The Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, “Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land!” (Deuteronomy 1:37)

2. “The Lord was angry with me because of you, and would not listen to me…look over the land…but you may not cross the Jordan River. (Deuteronomy 3:26)

3. “But the Lord was angry with me because of you. He vowed that I would not cross the Jordan River into the good land the Lord your God is giving you…You will cross the Jordan…but I will not. Instead, I will die here…” (Deuteronomy 4:21)

To hear Moses tell it, his punishment was not due to his disobedience, but was the people’s fault.

Wade Burleson said...


You ask, "but what are your thoughts on what it means that my husband is my "head" and also why am I told to fear him?? These don't fit in with what God is doing in my heart and how He is adjusting my theology."

Head means "source," not "authority over" or "control of." Jesus is the source for His body, just as the husband is to be the source of his wife. In other words, in the same manner Jesus gives life, love, strength, encouragement, service, etc... to His church, so too the husband is to be the head of his wife. We use this phrase in English when we say, "the Red River's head (source) is in Colorado." The only spiritual authority over any man or woman is Christ.

Also, the Bible says, "God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind." Anything that is "fear" of one's spouse is not of God. Control, love, and wisdom is of God. In the American Standard Version of the New Testament, there is a statement in Paul’s writings that troubles many. “Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Is a woman actually to “fear” her husband? Wayne Jackson points out "There is no Bible translation that is flawless, and this is an example of a poor rendition in the ASV. Even the older King James Version has a more appropriate term. The wife is to “reverence” her husband, or, as it is in the footnote, “respect” him (cf. NKJB; NASB; ESV).

The Greek term is phobeo, found 93 times in the New Testament.The word can signify apprehension, “to be afraid of” (Matthew 9:8; 17:6; 27:54). On the other hand, it can suggest “to have a profound measure of respect for,” or to “reverence” (cf. Luke 1:50; 18:2,4; Ephesians 5:33) (see: Frederick Danker, et al., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000, pp. 1060-1062).

Hope that helps.

Wade Burleson said...


You bring up an interesting point about Genesis and the curse. The womans' "desire" was to control her husband. The man's desire was to dominate his wife. The curse brings desires to suppress, control and manipulate. Grace reverses the curse and brings a desire to free others, empower others, and serve others.

Victorious said...

The womans' "desire" was to control her husband.

With all due respect, Wade, I see nothing that indicates Eve or any other woman as a desire to control her husband in Genesis. The word "desire" is translated in the dictionaries available to me as "stretching out toward" rather than a "desire." And the words "shall be" are missing from the original so it could most likely be a warning to Eve that if she turns toward her husband, he will rule over her. We see those prophetic words true throughout history.

Dr. Kathryn Bushnell has a diagram or chart that shows the Babylonian Talmud as the likely origin of the word "desire" which subsequently morphed into a sexual craving or longing for control by many. Dr. Bushnell was prolific in Hebrew if I remember correctly.

If you are interested, you can view that chart here:


The only curses mentioned in Genesis 3 were directed to the serpent and the soil.

Victorious said...

Here is Dr. Busnell's biography if anyone is interested. I inadvertestly misspelled her first name above - It should be Katharine.


Victorious said...

One last comment and then I'll be quiet....:)

God's words to both Adam and Eve were negative, adverse conditions which they would experience outside of the garden. It was a place specifically designed to be a place of happiness and prosperity for them but those would not be the conditions outside. Most of those negative conditions have been overcome today; i.e. via medical advances (for pain in childbirth), technological/agricultural developments (in farming and food production), air-conditioning to alleviate the necessity of Adam having to "sweat by his brow" etc. All but one have been alleviated and reversed...that is the negative, adverse rule of the husband over his wife.

Rex Ray said...


You quote Wayne Jackson saying “There is no Bible translation that is flawless.” You point that out that Ephesians 5:33: “fear her husband’ in the ASV has: “reverence her husband.” in the King James.
The NLT states: “…the wife must respect her husband.”

Now as far as which is the “source”, I would think since Red River comes from Colorado; making Colorado the source, then the wife would be the “source” since all men come from women. :)

Of course we could go back where Eve came from Adam which would make the husband the “source”.

I’d reach a compromise that God is the source since we all came from Him.

Wade Burleson said...

"I’d reach a compromise that God is the source since we all came from Him.

Couldn't have said it better Rex.

Rex Ray said...




While blogging, I learned crickets have teeth. I felt a sharp pain like a wasp sting on the top of my bare foot. On top of my foot was a cricket. It made blood run. A few days later, a doctor said one had bit his hand as he was going to throw it outside.

Rex Ray said...


Question: What do you tell people if they ask, “If every word in the Bible is not true, how do we know any is true?

I believe just as God has ‘hidden’ Noah’s ark that would ‘prove’ the Bible true, God wants man to believe through faith and the Holy Spirit which words are his and which are the thinking of man such as:

“I do not let women teach men…For God made Adam first…It was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing…” (1 Timothy 2:12-15 NLT)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this!

Our family has served overseas for all of our children's lives; they don't know any other life. I've observed from new arrivals to the field and in our own organization the "women can't have authority over men" line becoming more and more evident and affecting marriages and work relationships.

It has concerned me greatly as I have two daughters. I recently felt like I needed to bring some of this up with one of our girls who headed back to the States for college this year. We had a looooooong talk late into the night. (trying to fit in all the last minute things you want to be sure to tell your child). It was a good.

Thank you for laying this out so clearly. I am going to send this to her and save for my other girl. I don't want anyone snuffing out what God is doing in my kids' lives because of their gender. I want them to listen to Him.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It does help, thank you. I do have lots of questions and wrestling. I am struggling against a lifetime of looking at all of this through a particular lens. But, I know that God will continue to lead me and bring more revelation in His time to me regarding this issue.