Why should women be subservient to men? This past Friday I gave a talk at a Pride Event in Chapel Hill, in connection with our Homecoming for alumni interested in LGBTQ issues (we beat Duke the next day in one of the weirdest final five minutes of a football game I’ve ever seen).   The title of the talk was “Sex and Gender in the Bible” and the overarching questions were “what does the Bible actually say?” and “how much of it is relevant to a modern situation?”

The questions matter because the Bible, in many ways and in many passages, does not actually say what people think it says, and the reason for raising the question of relevance is not exactly what most people imagine (though it’s related).

What Does the Bible Say About Women Being Subservient to Men?

I had planned for the talk to focus on “homosexuality” and “same-sex relations” (which are the same thing) in the Bible, but I started out by explaining the biblical view(s) of the relationship of the genders, since the question of same-sex sex is closely related to it, in ways most people do not know and would not anticipate.  I’ll do a few posts on the matter here, starting with the gender issue.

The first thing to be said is that unlike views becoming widely (though not universally!) shared in 2019 America, in the Bible there were two genders, male and female, and that’s it.  Adults were men.  Or they were women.  Other options are not explored.

And for virtually the entire Bible the relationship between the two is constant: women are …

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