“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” (1 Corinthians 11:11–12, ESV)
When we lived in Savannah Georgia, we would often take our family to a restaurant that had a quiz game. Each table in the restaurant had a terminal and the main television would display questions with multiple choice answers. It was a timed exercise and teams would generate points based on how quickly they could get the correct answer. Our team, the Hankins, was comprised of my wife, two children, and me. We all had various levels of education and areas of knowledge. My wife was great in culinary, English literature, and other things that I knew little about. However, I was good in math, science, sports, etc. My children knew much about the current music, television shows, and various topics they were learning at school.
As we sat in the restaurant, we had a lot of fun. Yet, one of the things I realized was that our success was not because of one person. We all contributed and generally were at the top of the leader board. At least until the food came out. At that time our priorities changed. The point of this is that we all understood our level of expertise and we worked together to do well. We all complemented one another in the task at hand. There was not contention between us, no competition.
Paul in this passage had written about the creative order as it regarded man and woman. He wrote that the man was the head of the woman. Yet, while the woman was to be subordinated to the man, the woman was not in any way inferior to the man. The woman and the man had different roles ordained by God. Here Paul makes this absolutely clear.
Paul indicated that man and woman are codependent. God has designed the man and woman with differences but these differences were not to divide the man and woman. God’s design of their differences was so they would compliment each other. This complementary arrangement was such that it fulfills the purposes and plans of God and in doing so, they would glorify God.
The harmonious blending of the differences between men and women is a beautiful thing and testifies to the perfection of God’s design. Men and women must understand that they are different but not inferior to one another. When the man can function as the loving head of the woman and she can respectfully submit in the Lord, they will glorify God in a world full of strife.