“Wives Submit to Your Husbands” Did St. Paul Really Say That?

St. Paul is regarded sometimes as an appealing apostle, or an appalling apostle, on the basis of what he (allegedly) said about women. However, he is often misquoted, and misunderstood. In this discussion, we will consider the texts from the writings attributed to St. Paul which have a bearing on this. We need to note that the original apostle Paul stresses the equality and mutuality of women and men in 1 Corinthians 7, but this equality is much reduced in later writings by other authors in Colossians and Ephesians, and eliminated entirely in the Pastoral Epistles, 1 Timothy and Titus.

An important part of this discussion is acknowledgement of the literary form of “household codes”, common in Greek and Roman literature, which took the form of instructions for wives, instruction for children, instruction for slaves. The early Christian writers took this form of writing, and adapted them fort heir own purposes, accepting but sometimes modifying the expected domination of men over their wives, children and slaves.

Wives Submit To Your Husbands 2

Wives Submit to Your Husbands 3

Wives Submit to Your Husbands 5

Unfortunately several parts of this recording were lost. However, at the end of this post I will include recordings from a similar discussion in December 2008. It covers the same material.

There are several documents which help to explain this. The first is a background document on Pauline authorship, about  which documents came from Paul or from later writers. The second is the heart of this discussion, and I suggest strongly that you read and reflect on them for yourselves. It comprises the relevant extracts from the New Testament letters in question, and careful reading will show the very different attitudes expressed.

Background on Wives Submit

Paul on Marriage

And those other recordings …

Wives Submit 12_9_2008 Part 1

Wives Submit 12_9_2008 Part 2


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