Servant Headship: A Study on Biblical Manhood

Posted: April 30, 2012 by mhorst87 in Godly Manhood

27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” – Genesis 1:27-28, NASB

This is the first time in history that the God of Heaven spoke to mankind. This is His first command ever given to man. God had just gone through 6 days of creating the universe from nothing. Everything that can be seen, and everything that cannot be seen, except for God Himself, was made by God and for God. As an act of His perfect love, God spoke the Word, Jesus Christ, to create the world. Jesus went forth from the Father and created the heavens and the earth. God created the entire universe ex nihilo, a Latin term meaning “out of nothing.” God literally spoke His Word, and by the Word of God the heavens and the earth came forth out of nothing. The immaterial became material.

But then on Day 6, God does something very different. He gets His hands dirty. God stooped down in the dirt, and fashioned out of the dust of the ground a man to serve Him and watch over God’s creation. This account in verse 28 of Genesis 1 occurs after the events of Genesis 2:20-23. In 1:28, the woman is clearly in the picture, as the verse says, “and God said to them…

Man and woman were created equal in the sight of God. This is no theological stretch. Both were born into life from the fingers of the same God, and both were given the same privileges as the other. But then something happened. A wily old serpent came to the woman, tempted her to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and, with her husband’s full consent, ate of it, and so did her husband.

Because of this, sin entered the world. God pronounced righteous judgment. He pronounced judgments on the snake, the man, and the ground. But He also pronounced judgment on the woman:

16″To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'” – Gen. 3:16 NASB

For many years, this verse has been used as a crutch for men to think that they can rule women with an iron fist. Although this is an extreme case, most men would point to this verse as one of several that says that men are somehow a little bit superior to women in some way.

This is dead wrong.

The Apostle Paul, speaking to the Corinthian church, talks about this very issue and puts it to bed permanently. In verse 3 of chapter 11, Paul gives us a clear insight into the Biblical order of male headship, and NOT male dominance, as some would twist it.

3But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” – I Corinthians 3:11

This verse is a two-pronged rebuttal to the belief that men are superior to women. In the following paragraphs, let us together discover what this two-pronged attack is.

It would be best to start with Prong No. 2, because it sets up the explanation for Prong No. 1.

The argument at issue is that men are superior to women. Because, after all, what did God say in Genesis 3:16? “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Let’s answer this issue directly: NO, men are not superior to women. If this verse in I Corinthians is saying that, then by default, God the Father is superior to God the Son. It says at the end of the verse “and God is the head of Christ.” Since it is known that God the Father and God the Son are co-eternal and equal in power, glory, and majesty in every way, the belief that God the Father is superior to God the Son is patently false and illogical. So what does this verse in fact mean? It means that the Father and the Son are equals, but the Son submits lovingly to the Father, and the Father is the loving head of the Son. It does not mean that one is superior to the other.

But now someone will say, “Ok, but if you draw that conclusion, then you have to say the same thing about Christ being the head of every man. If you say that men and women are equal, and God the Father and God the Son are equal, does that not mean that Jesus Christ and man are equal?”

Now let’s answer this directly: NO, Christ is not equal to man. However, there is a reason that this verse makes this reference to the headship of Christ. Christ was the Suffering Servant. He humbled Himself, and became a servant. While He still holds headship and authority over man, He became the servant of man. He served us by doing something for us that none of us could do: He paid the penalty for our sins. He took the blow, He took the beating, He stood in the gap for man. This is Prong No. 1. Christ is the head of man, but He served man by standing in the gap for man, and standing up to the power of sin. In the same way, men, as the head of women, are to serve them, and stand in the gap when they cannot. Men, ours is the responsibility to stand up in the fiery trials, to take the blows and the wounds, to keep our women from harm, and to reconcile them and present them to God, spotless and blameless, as Christ will the church:

27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;” – Ephesians 5:27-28

So men, lets be the men that God has called us to be. As Christ is the head of man, let us be servant leaders to our women, and as God the Father is the head of Christ, let us be loving and pure in our position of authority, realizing that the female gender is in no way inferior, but to lovingly lead the wives and daughters that our Father blesses us with.

  1. One thing that men need to realize is that a woman is not there to meet his needs only. She is not placed in his life to “love honor and fetch” as Ergun Caner once said. I think I heard it said once that God had a purpose when he made woman out of the rib of man. Woman was not taken from th ehead to be over him, but at the same time she was not taken from his feet to be walked on BY him. When he created woman he made her from his rib, which is at his side so she may walk with him, The rib is under the arm so that she can be protected by him, and it is close to the heart so that she can be loved by him. The second aspect of that (protected by him) is something that men unfortunately forget. Women may say that they can handle themselves, but deep down you have to believe that they desire a man in their life that will remind them of how much they are loved and to stand up for them.

  2. mhorst87 says:

    Matthew Henry was the one that said “Be very careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears. The woman came out of a man’s rib, not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be superior, but from his side to be equal, under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.”

    It is a sad state of affairs today. I think that if more men were willing to man up and be godly heads in their homes, the divorce rate would plummet…something that I would very much like to see. Too often it is because men are distant, or not supportive of their women (wives and daughters) that it can just tear families apart. God intended for the man to stand on the front lines of the home to protect his family.

    I think that a big problem, as you stated, is that men too often today have a “love, honor, and fetch” mentality. As I recall, it isn’t “fetch,” it is “cherish.” Women want to be cherished. They want to be loved unconditionally. And what do we men want? Respect, honor, confidence, love. If men truly cherish their wives, they will receive all those things. Relationships between men and women are absolutely beautiful when they are done God’s way.

  3. larkinleeanne says:

    This is good, biblical stuff. 🙂

  4. Mike great challenge for the men who read this post. I pray that those who read this take it seriously.

  5. dochlyv says:

    Well said all!!

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