Tag Archives: bible

What to do if your wife is spiritually wiser than you

bible1I consider myself a relatively smart person.  I got good grades at school.  I feel I learn things quickly.  I can put together an excel spreadsheet like nobody’s business.  But something I have a tough time with is unravelling the mysteries of the Bible.  Sure, I’ve got the basics down, but when you get into some of the tougher issues, my brain gets lost in all the words.  I think this malady is consistent with any sort of reading about deep subjects actually…Nathaniel Hawthorne or William Faulkner anyone?

I realize my shortcomings even more in comparison to the brilliance of Julia.  She has an amazing capacity to read, understand, and apply difficult concepts.  She’ll read a commentary on a biblical passage and simply light up!  She’ll talk with me about it… “You know what’s interesting!!! …” and follow it up with an in depth monologue about amazing concepts that I never would have even thought to think about.  And what’s even more amazing is the way she’s able to teach these concepts.  We’ll be driving down the road and she’ll see some neat clouds and draw Eli’s attention to how amazing God’s creation is.  Or she’ll make a lesson out of Eli not wanting to do some sort of household chore and turning it into an analogy lesson of sin and how it affects us.  And everything ultimately leads back to how amazing Heaven will be.

So, what do I do with this?  I’m called to be the spiritual leader of my family right?  And doesn’t 1st Timothy 2:12 say “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet”?  Does that mean that Julia SHOULDN’T use the knowledge she has to teach others?  Does that mean that I need to find some way to man up and solely take over any family teaching of Eli that’s going on?  Here are my thoughts on this…

Being a spiritual leader doesn’t mean you have to DO EVERYTHING.  A leader is an organizer and someone who sets vision.  A good leader will work to encourage and bring out the talents in the people he works with.  A good leader would not pass up the chance to use all the resources at his disposal.  In my case, this means that if my wife is a spiritual genius, it will be ridiculous of me to not encourage her to to teach people (including my son and me) whatever she can!

To address the Timothy verse…does this really mean that women should not teach any men?  What if they are wise?  That seems a little counter-intuitive to me?!  If you do more in-depth research into the Timothy passage, you’ll find it can be misleading if read wrong.

The fact that Paul says, “I do not permit” is an important distinction to note.  This shows that he is not sharing a missive from God that is a universal command which must be adhered to by all for the end of time.  Rather, he is simply sharing what he is doing…at that time…in HIS ministry.  This likely is a statement about his local church, and he chooses to share his experience with Timothy.  These words show this is not a declaration of what is “sinful” or “wrong” but rather what is working for his ministry…at that time.

The phrase “to have authority over” comes from the work authenein.  This is the ONLY time this word is used in the New Testament.  The word normally used to say “authority” is exousia (which is used over 100 times).  But Paul specifically does NOT use that word here.  Exousia is used to mean legitimate or routine authority (what you normally think of).  Authenein can be better understood as “dominating” or authority with a violent or sexual meaning.  Paul is not saying that a woman shouldn’t “exercise authority” as you would generally think of it, but rather that she shouldn’t be forcefully dominating the relationship.

Later in the passage, to “remain quiet” is based on the greek word hesuchios.  At first glance, this can easily be read to mean “quiet” as in…”without speaking or making noise”.  However, through context in other passages where it appears, a more fitting understanding is “peaceable”, “undisturbing”, or “properly keeping one’s seat”.  This is NOT saying “it is wrong for women to say anything in a church setting”…but rather that they should not cause a disturbance.

I believe one of the more important things to consider is to note the cultural significance of this passage.  Paul wasn’t writing a letter to Timothy in the 21st century.  This was going on 2000 years ago when times were much different.  At that time, women were not educated…at all.  So, imagine a scenario where uneducated women are causing a disruption at church by questioning the authority of men who WERE educated.  Considering this perspective, Paul’s direction to Timothy is less a declaration for WOMEN to never speak or teach or have authority from that day until the end of time…and more of a call for order within the church and a reminder that if you’re going to teach, you should know what you’re talking about.  Imagine if someone who wasn’t educated stood up in the middle of your church today and started challenging what the pastor (who went to seminary and has devoted his life to learning and teaching) was saying?  I think Paul would send a letter to that person (man or women) telling them they needed to chill.

I do not for a minute think that if a modern day woman is educated in Biblical issues that it is “wrong” for her to teach other women, kids, or even men.  On the contrary, I think it would be a travesty for a women to NOT use the gifts and intelligence God gave her to do so.  Furthermore, there are plenty of times in the Bible where God used women to teach and have authority.  There are countless examples where women are given spiritual gifts and talents which are meant to be used.

Here’s my challenge to you:
If your wife has spiritual insight, do not hinder her in any way from teaching.  Rather, find ways to encourage her to share what she knows.  It is very likely God is going to use her to teach YOU something great.  Don’t stop there though…encourage her to pursue opportunities to use that gift.  There are plenty of women AND men out there that can benefit from someone teaching them something.  This could be through a formal bible study environment, a blog, or even just one-on-one conversations through relationships.  If God has given your wife a gift, do what you can to help her use it!

Also…if you are in a situation where a women at church is teaching at some level…don’t get your back up or feel awkward…listen to what God is leading her to teach.  You may learn something.

How to lead your family spiritually: The definitive guide

Ok, so it’s not really the definitive guide…but I did put a lot of thought into this post.  And it’s about twice as long as my normal ones.  So I guess that counts for something!  :-)

A couple months ago I wrote about how being the spiritual leader of your family is the most important job a man has.  You might be saying…great, but how do I do that?!  That’s a fair question, and honestly I feel like the least qualified person to answer it.  I feel like I fail in this subject more than I succeed.  It’s only by the grace of God (and an awesome wife) that our family has any semblance of a solid spiritual foundation.  Knowing this is an important subject, I’m going to put some thoughts together about it.  Hopefully these will help organize ME to do better as well as encourage you to be moving in the right direction if you’re not already.

To effectively lead your family spiritually, I think there are three main things that need to take place.

1. YOU need to have a solid spiritual walk.  

Before you can have any impact on anyone else, I feel the most important thing is that YOU need to be praying and reading the Bible on a regular basis.  If you are not seeking after God, then how can you expect to lead your family?  It would be like a manager trying to run a factory full of workers when he didn’t know anything about how the factory operated.  If you are seeking after God the way you need to, then you will be much more likely to be able to lead, teach, and encourage others.  Also, the BEST way to lead is by example.  If your wife and kids see you following after God, without even saying anything, you will be teaching them.

man-reading-biblePractical ideas:

  • Download the YouVersion Bible app and sign up for a Bible reading plan.
  • Have a certain time each day (or certain days during the week) where you spend time in prayer and devotional time.
  • Get a devotional book to help get you going.
  • Join a men’s Bible study.

Although I feel like I struggle in this area, I did recently finish up a 12 month Bible reading plan.  Using YouVersion, I read through the whole Bible in 12 months.  It is amazing to see things from a different perspective when you read through in larger chunks.

2. Make sure you and your wife are growing TOGETHER

This could be from you, your church, the Bible, other books, other people, etc.  Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to do it all, just that you’re responsible for making sure it happens.

What stinks about this, is that out of all my husbandly attributes, this has historically been one of my weakest areas.  Julia and I have tried a lot of different methods to help grow our spiritual lives as a couple, but we’ve had a tough time being consistent with any of them.  It has led to her being frustrated…not wanting to nag me, but wanting me to step up and take the initiative.

Practical ideas:

  • Praying together at bedtime
  • Praying together ANYTIME you think about it
  • Reading through a book of the Bible then discussing
  • Reading a devotional book and discussing a chapter each week
  • Listening to podcasts of sermons while riding in the car
  • Try to be purposeful in conversations and sharing what God is doing in your lives
  • Set aside a time each week where, after the kids are in bed, you carve out time for spiritual growth together (reading bible or devotional book, talking about things you’ve learned, etc).  Putting these times on the calendar ahead of time is a good way to remember.

One of the best things we’ve tried, that we’re doing right now, is going through the Beth Moore study on Daniel.  Yes, Beth Moore is generally directed toward women, but it’s good stuff!  We’ll do the workbooks on our own, then get together to watch the video sessions.  It’s been nice to be able to really get deeper into the Word together and be able to talk about it.

3. Make sure your kids are getting the right foundation

IMG_1012Again, this could be from you, your wife, the church, or other people.  What’s important is that you make sure it is happening.  As someone who grew up in the church, it is easy for me to take for granted biblical knowledge.  It’s easy to forget that knowledge has to be learned.  And our kids aren’t going to learn about God on their own…or from watching TV or playing on the iPad.

Practical ideas:

  • Get a kids devotional book and read each night at dinner or bedtime
  • Bring them to church / sunday school / youth group
  • When you see something beautiful or amazing in nature, point out to your kids how amazing it is that God created it
  • When your kids do something bad, take the opportunity to talk about the nature of sin with them and why we need a rescuer to save us from it.
  • Find opportunities to serve other people WITH your kids.  If you model the behavior, and explain to them WHY we help others, it will help develop good habits for them.

All kids are different, but Eli is a creature of habit…and so are we.  So, we’ve found that by coming up with a routine (like devotional at bedtime…or whatever) we are MUCH more likely to stick with it.  And if we forget, Eli will let us know.  :-)

Here are a few books that we’ve used and LOVE!!  The Jesus Storybook Bible is a great kids Bible that you can read to them daily.  It is easy to understand, but also makes stories relatable to WHY they are important.  I highly recommend it.  Also, we have been using a family devotional book called Long Story Short.  It works for a wide age range of kids and is amazing!

My challenge to you:

Evaluate how well you are meeting each of these 3 points.  How is YOUR spiritual walk?  If you feel it needs something fresh to get you going, try one of the ideas above.  How do you and your wife participate in spiritual growth TOGETHER?  If it’s not happening much, try one of the ideas above.  And lastly, are your kids getting the spiritual guidance they need?  If not, what can you do to make that happen?

***As I mentioned, I can definitely use some help in this topic.  So…I’d love to hear from you!  What are some different ideas for any of the 3 areas that you have done that you feel have been helpful?  Enter your ideas in the reply/comments area below!***

The most important job a man has

2152f838-ea4c-4540-bfaa-afc44c3c5e22As a Christian husband, I feel there is one responsibility that stands out as more important than all the others.  Yes, it is important to make sure your family is taken care of financially, and that they feel safe and secure, and that they feel loved and appreciated, but I feel the most important calling of a man is to lead his family spiritually.

I’m going to go out on a limb here.  Guys, if your family is not grounded in the Word, if they are not solid in their understanding of who God is, what Jesus did for us, and how we should live our lives in praise of Him and in serving and loving others, then it is YOUR fault.  Yes, you heard me right.  YOU need to take responsibility for it.

Now, please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  This is not a comment on gender roles and what is appropriate for men and women to do.  I believe God has given both men and women insight and the ability to understand the Word.  I believe women can learn and teach the Word just as well as men can, and to stifle that would be to limit the potential for spreading knowledge and wisdom to others as well as ourselves.  Julia is blessed with an incredible understanding of God and desire to always be learning.  Not only that, but she is an amazing teacher.  When Eli does something silly that I’m about to laugh off and move on from, she will use it as an opportunity to make a life lesson from it.  Like illustrating what the grace of God is like while doing the dishes.  Or to talk about the importance of loving others when hearing news about needs in another country.  She also is always teaching and challenging me, which I appreciate.  This is one of many reasons why I am SO thankful to be married to her.

With that being clarified, I think all men need to take responsibility for making sure their family receives spiritual direction and growth.  That doesn’t mean they should PREVENT their wife or other people from contributing, but that they shouldn’t DEPEND on them to do so.

I have to be honest…this is not one of my biggest strengths as a husband.  I have the best intentions, but often fall short of what I want to do.  Thankfully, by the grace of God, I am blessed with an amazing wife that thrives spiritually even without much help from me, and am blessed in how she helps teach our son.  This is an ongoing growth area for me.

My challenge to you:
What are YOU doing to help advance the spiritual life of the members of your family?  Are you doing nothing hoping that your wife will take over the job?  Are you expecting your church to do the job for you?  Don’t sit back and outsource the most important job you have to other people.  STEP UP and MAKE SURE your family is on the right track.

…stay tuned for an upcoming post on ways to make this happen