what's new   ::  search our site


About us
Who We Are
Our Mission
Contact Us

Articles by Topic
Scripture Study
Word Study
Women in History
Bible Women

Healing Ministry
Healing Words
Dealing with Abuse

Online Books
Recommended Books
Recommended Links
Site Search
Site Map
GWTW Podcasts

Current News

Purchase Books
About GWTW
Available Books



If you would like to contact Seth or Barbara send e-mail to gwtw@godswordtowomen.org  and it will be forwarded. 

In the first exchange Barbara's comments are in bold. 

-----Original Message-----

From: Barbara Collins

Dear Seth:

Thanks so much for your insightful and thoughtful comments to J. Lee Grady's article on "Ten Lies the Church Tells Women."  I have answered below and have made comments to the questions you raised.  I am delighted that you as a man are exploring this subject.  I wish there were millions more just like you!

 Because of Him,

 Barbara Collins

"I read your 10 lies article and I found many of your points quite relevant and appropriate for a proper biblical understanding.  I would not be a good Berean, however, if I did not make but a few comments:

1. God created men and women separately and differentially.  OK, is that an intolerant view?  No, not unless you don't let me explain!  God created men and women separately (i.e., not at the same time).  In Gen. 1:26:27, the word for "man" in the Hebrew refers to mankind, man and woman.  This word is used throughout Gen. 1 and 2 until 2:23 where "man" is "iysh" and refers to man as an individual or a male person.  Gen. 5:2--". . .called THEIR name Adam. . ."  The name Adam belonged equally to man and woman.  Man at creation was male and female in one person. No problem, and that doesn't have anything to do with equality under sin.  Just a statement of fact that you won't argue (but is important to understand nonetheless) God created men and women differentially (i.e., with different attributes).  Yes, they were created with different attributes.

God didn't make men and women the same, such that they could substitute one another.  Rather, He created them opposite, such that they would complement one another, forming a union as strong as the nuclear force (the strongest force known in the universe).  Yes. Because men and women were created equal, women are not inferior to men. Both are mutually submissive to each other and together form an almost indissoluble union.  (Gen. 2:22). Here are some key areas where God create men and women quite differentially:

 a. Physiologically - Men have "male adapters" and women have "female adapters," if you know what I mean.  This is an obvious complimentary system in which we are able to reproduce.  Men and women also differ significantly chemically (the male testosterone to the female progesterone, for example). We are clearly different on a strictly physical level.  This is obvious.

 b. Emotionally - There can be no doubt that men and women differ emotionally.  Here is where people like to point out exceptions to the rule. However, just as men and women are different physically, they are also just as different emotionally.  Women tend (note the word tend) to be more emotional than men (read about the women Hitler commissioned to fight during the closing stages of WWII...they had a little different perspective on killing than men did - and that was a good thing).  Experience (and marriage) proves this point all too clearly.

 c. Spiritually - Just as men and women were created as physically and emotionally distinct creatures, our God also created men and women to fulfill certain roles in life, all to the glory of Jesus Christ (which is the purpose of all things).  Woman was not created after man, but both were created together at the same time.  Man and woman are equals, and both need each other to complement one another.  They are equal as persons and in position and are equally responsible. The simplest evidence of this is the curse of God in Genesis 3 (I think 3, but it is in there!).  God curses Eve, curses Adam, and curses the Serpent.  Each curse is distinct and separate, indicating already that men and women will be fulfilling certain roles.  Seth, I agree with points a. and b., however, I'm glad you're a Berean.  If you'll look back to Genesis 3, you will see that God did not curse Adam or Eve, but He did curse the serpent and the ground.  To both, He stated the consequences that would occur because of their sin.

However, there is a common denominator in EACH curse: suffering.  For the man, it is his work, for the woman it is childbearing, and for the Serpent, it is getting his head crushed by the seed of the woman.  Unlike the Serpent, however, the suffering of men and women will ultimately lead to their hope, as we know that suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance to character and character to hope.  The point here is that men and women have different modes of suffering, thus indicating that they have different modes in life - all of which is to the glory of Jesus Christ.  However, much of woman's suffering has come through a misinterpretation of Gen. 3:16--". . .and he shall rule over you."  The New Covenant superseded the Old which was just a shadow of better things to come.  At the time of the cutting of the New Covenant at the cross of Christ, no more would there be Jew nor Greek, male nor female, bond nor free; Christ was all in all.  (Gal. 3:28; 2 Cor. 5:17).  In the Kingdom of God, there was no hierarchy, no second-class citizenship; no more superior-inferior; lord-servant.  Everything evil brought into the world by Adam's sin including woman's subjugation, has been removed by the Last Adam.  Even if it were a curse on Eve, whicvh it wasn't, to have her husband rule over her, the curse was removed by Christ on the Cross (Gal. 3:13).  Man's desire to aggressively dominate was replaced by the love of Christ.

Yes, I said  Adam's sin.  Adam carries the responsibility for the  Fall. (1) "Adam was not deceived (when he willfully sinned), but the woman being (thoroughly) deceived was in the transgression (of Adam)."  I. Tim. 2:14. (2) "In Adam all die. . ." I. Cor. 15:22.  (3) ". . .by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. . ." Ro. 5:12.  The New Testament plainly states that Adam is responsible for bringing sin into the world.  Eight times, Paul declares "one person" alone was accountable for the Fall and twice mentions that person as Adam.  Adam was the chief offender because he was not deceived.  Adam's transgression was not that single act of eating, but his refusal to be that which God created him to be.  Eve transgressed the commandment because of deception.  The disobedience of Adam, who was not deceived, brought death to the entire human race.

 Well, I could go on and on. As you might already see, I am not really debating any one point.  I would warn that many of the justifications given for a specific point amount to conjecture, and don't really give a concrete answer to the Scripture(s) at hand.  For example, in lie #8 a book is referenced for an "understanding" of Paul's point.  I don't know what you are referring to.  I know that on p. 149 of his book by the same name, he quotes Katharine Bushnell's, God's Word to Women.  If you don't have a copy of this book, you may order one from our website.  I believe it is the most complete book on the subject of the biblical woman.   I would argue that the Paul doesn't mention that context, and that the context is being placed upon Paul's writing based on the presupposition that he can't be saying what he is saying on a global scale (because that would indicate that God was dealing with men and women differently).  Also statements like "Most theologians believe that this passage was addressing an isolated situation in Ephesus" (In biblical exegesis, the cultural context is always an important consideration) don't really answer any questions...after all, most of the world isn't Christian.

It is hard to get inside Paul's head to know what he was really trying to address (i.e., isolated events versus global statements of Christendom). You do the right thing by searching other Scriptures looking for links that might help clarify the situation (this is a great practice that ALL Christians should adhere to).  However, pointing to the OT is a slight mistake in this context...unless you want to reinstitute Mosaic Law in the place of Christ's atonement.  (Good point, Seth.  Many want to take women back to Gen. 3:16 and put her under the consequences of her disobedience.  God wants to restore woman and man to original creation where they were co-regents.  Nowhere in the creation account do we see man ruling over woman, and woman living out the idea that she was created to serve her husband.  God created the man and woman to rule and subdue the rest of creation, including satanic forces, but not to rule over one another.  The dominion He gave them would depend on their continuing to obey God.)  God uses each person to accomplish His work (Romans 9).

  The key here is this: blessed are the meek...not the strong, not the motivated, not the powerful.  No, God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.  When Paul advises slaves to obey their masters, he is not condoning slavery.  He is showing us that God loves servants.  If a woman submits to her husband, God will look more favorably on this then a husband who does not love his wife.  It is pretty clear really: clothe ourselves in humility.  Yes, the whole thought of "subjection" teaches a humble and conciliatory spirit, not a servile one.  "Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ." (Eph. 5:21).  Paul makes this statement without regard to sex and Peter likewise said, "Yes, all of you be subject (submissive, NKJ) to one another, and be clothed with humility. . ." (I. Pet. 5:5).  Both of these passages call for "subjection" from men.  Paul told the Corinthians to submit. . .to everyone who works and labors with us."  (I. Cor. 16:16).  Phoebe labored with Paul as did Priscilla, whom Paul called "my helper." (Ro. 16).  Here is a clear command which included men to "be in subjection" to women as those who worked and labored with Paul.

Well, I have said enough.  I hope you see what I am hitting at here, and you probably know all of this already.  Keep up the good work, and bringing people to Jesus Christ...male or female.

Seth Masek

From: Seth Masek

To:  Barbara Collins

Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2001 7:36 AM

Subject: RE: Reply to Your Email to GWTW

Wow.  I am so impressed with your comments!  We might squabble over points here or there, but I must say to you that you are one of the rare people to actually respond so quickly and thoroughly to question.  I might have to argue the whole male/female created at the same time (in the space/time continuum) because God saw that man didn't have anyone to "hang" with, unlike the animals...it was as if God noticed Adam was missing out on something...enter Eve.  Ahh, well, it doesn't matter too much - this isn't an issue so much to me, in the sense that there is no doubt men and women are equally condemned under sin, and are saved freely by God's grace by faith in Jesus Christ's saving work on the Cross.

Now, I do have one more little question, and I am asking you because it is evident you are cool (I like using "hip" words).  When Paul explains to Timothy how to setup churches, he instructs him on selecting deacons and elders.  A main requirement is that they are "the husband of one wife."  What does that mean?

  Just so you know, I have been greatly disappointed in previous discussions with Roman Catholics, charismatics, and others, when I try to talk about the Bible with them.  The discussion generally concludes with anger or general hostility (although much of the time, apathy, which is by far the worst).  I was so impressed by your response!  Well, enough puffing you up!  Keep up the good work!  

Seth Masek

p.s. - excuse any spelling mistakes please...after all, I am just a man.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth...and this is the gospel of Christ...And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation...Therefo re being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Seth:

One point I wanted to make but didn't think of it until later.  "For Adam was first formed, then Eve."  (I. Tim. 2:13).  In Gen. 1, "created" is used for these three realms--the universe, the animal kingdom, and man(kind).  Gen. 2 doesn't use the word "create" but a totally different word--"formed."  The word "formed" is a process in addition to creation which speaks of development or elaboration.  Paul referred to this word in the above scripture.  "Create" is to call something out of nothing into existence.  Gen. 1 and 5 says both male and female were created.  Later, Gen. 2, they were "formed" or developed, and Adam was formed first.  Woman was then formed as the finishing touch and completion of God's creation.  Woman was not made of dust but came out of the side of Adam.  She was "twice-refined."  Gen. 1 and 2 are not contradictory accounts.  Gen. 2 merely gives a more detailed explanation.  Man being created "in the image of God" is the three-part nature of both God and man.  (2:7).

Regarding Adam's aloneness, William Law, a learned theologian, declared:  "Adam had lost much of his first perfection before his Eve was taken out of him; which was done to prevent worse effects of his fall and to prepare a means of his recovery when his fall should become total. . ."  The first step toward the redemption of man, who was gradually beginning to fall, was the taking of Eve out of him.  After Adam was created, "God saw everything that He had made, and, behold it was very good."  (1:31)  Later, God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone."  What were the signs that the "very good" state of humanity became "not good?"

1.  Adam was offered "freely" the tree of life but did not eat of it.  (2:16; 3:22)

2.  Adam was made keeper and dresser of the Garden, but Satan later enters it in the form of a serpent.  (2:15)

3.  Had God simply meant by "not good" that one person alone was not desirable, the Hebrew expression for "one alone" as in Isaiah 51:2, for instance, would have been used.  In her book GWTW, Katharine Bushnell says that "alone" means "in-his-separation."  She then asks from whom was Adam "in separation" but from God.  Adam had begun to lose delight in communion with God and to take a great interest in the natural creation about him--his work.  So many men still do the same.  God would instruct Adam that they were not suitable as his companions and equals by supplying a "help meet," or a "helper comparable to him." (NKJV)  What was the purpose of dividing man into male and female?  Through the woman in co-operation with the divine will, deliverance from sin might come, and the female would become free from all dominion but God's.  What could better frustrate this plan than for woman to be taught that God demands that she submerge her identity into man?  Seth, I can't take credit for the above two paragraphs which are verbatim or summarized from Katharine Bushnell.  I'd never heard this explanation before I read Bushnell's book.  It makes a lot of sense.

In regard to your question about "the husband of one wife," I've heard all sorts of interpretations.  I agree with the footnote in Zodhiates' Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible which says, "'The husband of one wife does not mean that he, the bishop or the deacon (see v. 12), was never married before.  Nor does it mean that in order to be a bishop or a deacon, one must be married.  Paul was certainly considered both a bishop and a deacon, and he was never married.  If this meant that a bishop or a deacon was never to have been married before, then it would exclude a remarried widower.  But the Apostle Paul in Rom. 7:1-3 places no restriction upon a widower to remarry.  In the case of divorce, neither the Lord Jesus nor the Apostle Paul places such a restriction on a divorced person who was the innocent party in the unfortunate God-hated divorce process which is the result of man's sinfulness."  I trust this explanation will help you.

Your "p.s." asks me to excuse your spelling mistakes.  Okay, I will if you'll forgive mine.  What's all that Greek at the end of your message?

Because of Him,

Barbara Collins

From: Seth Masek

To: 'Barbara Collins'

Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 9:49 AM

Subject: RE: Reply to Your Email to GWTW

Once again, thanks for the great responses.  I am impressed by the amount of Scripture used to articulate the position (this is exactly what I am looking for when I discern an argument).  Just because man was created (or formed) first in the space/time continuum means nothing really.  It is obvious that it was God's will for woman to be formed, as He had foreordained the coming of His Son for the remittance of sin before the earth's foundations were laid.  Thus, it is of no consequence really that woman was formed after Adam (I need no real explanation here...there is certainly no evidence to indicate that being formed second means anything about how God views mankind).  The arguments by Katharine Bushnell are interesting, but once again based upon presuppositions, etc.  Saying that Adam was losing interest in communion with God is a bit speculative.  We definitely experience loneliness (as an emotion) and God created us with the emotions.  It is not unreasonable to assume that Adam may have been "lonely" but really the Scriptures are silent on the emotional state of Adam, and on the level of his communion with God.  These are inferred, but not demonstrated by the logic used to infer them.  OK, too many words about this!  I really don't read too much into any of this part, as it was all part of God's sovereign plan from the beginning.

Now, about the Pauline instructions to Timothy (and Titus I believe).  My question really wasn't answered.  Paul says "the husband of one wife."  OK, now I understand that Paul wasn't married (he even recommended against marriage), and that marriage may not be a direct requirement for eldership.  However, the text is consistently masculine.  This is clear from the text.  Now, I know about Romans 16 already.  My wife and I, of course, discuss these things with one another because they are of great interest.  What I am asking is this: why would Paul say "the husband of one wife" as opposed to perhaps "the spouse of a single partner" (in better words of course!).  Why husband?  And why did Paul use "he" so much in those statements.  Do you see what I am asking?  I am just trying to get a feel for how this Scripture would be interpreted, bearing in mind the greetings of Romans 16.  I am not trying to be pushy on this issue, but I'm really interested to hear how these Scriptures are interpreted.

The Greek symbols at the end of my e-mail are a "code" containing Scripture passages.  Break the code by simply highlighting the text, and changing the font to something like Arial.  You will then see the revealed Scripture(s)!  Yes, it is nerdy, but it is just so fun!

Thanks so much,


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth...and this is the gospel of Christ...And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation...Therefo re being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Seth:

First of all, let me say how much I love your "code" at the end of your email.  I've just got to use it myself soon.  Thanks for sharing it with me.

Regarding I. Timothy 3, the first question to be asked is leadership male only, or male and female?  Although the word "man" is used in 3:1, 5 for someone seeking the office of Bishop, the Greek word used it tis, a neuter word meaning male or female.  Had Paul wanted to communicate that this office was to be limited to the male gender, he would have used the word andron, which specifies male only.

Women served as elders and deacons in the early church just as the men; yet with the onset of apostasy, their ministry declined.  By the third century, women deacons were being called "deaconesses."  Although they were still being ordained, their ministry was looked upon as something less than a male deacon.

Now, let's look at 3:11.  In KJ and NKJ the word "wives" is used.  However, that women are included in the list of qualifications for bishops and deacons is seen in the word "likewise" which is hosautos in the Greek.  "Likewise" joins the whole list of qualifications of bishops/elders with deacons and with women which A.V. translates as "wives."  Paul first gives the requirements for men seeking the office of bishop/elder and deacon and then gives some additional ones for women.  In his book, Who Says a Woman Can't Teach?, Charles Trombley says that "some commentators say Paul gives additional requirements for the bishops' and deacons' wives.  Since there isn't a definite article in the sentence construction, nor is the possessive case used, this suggestion must be rejected."  (p. 195).  "Women," then, is the correct translation.

After completing his list of qualifications for bishop and deacons, (1-10), he continued by including women when he said gunaikas hosautos or "women likewise." Hosautos links the enitre list of qualifications with one another.  It links the deacons with the bishops/elders in v. 8 and then links them women in v. 11.

All of that to say, why did Paul specifically specify "the husband of one wife" in v. 2 or regarding deacons "husbands of one wife" in v. 12 or regarding elders in Titus 1:6 "the husband of one wife"?  First, I will give you the footnote in the Study Bible for Women - New Testament.  That Bible is the New Revised Standard Version and is the first major English translation of the Bible to attempt to redress the inherent bias of the English language toward the masculine gender.  The translators recognized many problems for women in the English language and have taken steps in this version to eliminate some of them.   Polygamy was still practiced in first-century Judaism, but we do know that it was finally outlawed by the Code of Justinian.  This reference to the "husband of one wife" would apply only to males as no woman was permitted to have more than one husband.  Women were particularly admired by the Romans if they were univira - having had only one husband.  These last two sentences sum up another footnote in this Bible.

Footnote on Titus 1:6:  "'Married only once' literally means 'husband of one wife.' This phrase has several interpretative options.  (1) The elder or pastor is required to be married.  (2) Polygamy is prohibited.  (3) Second marriages are prohibited, either after the death of a spouse or due to divorce.  (4) Marital fidelity to one wife is required."

Why doesn't Paul mention somewhere "wife of one husband?"  Personally, and I can't prove this, he spoke specifically to the men because the men were always the ones getting involved in polygamy.  It was never a wife with a number of husbands, but a husband with many wives.  I trust the above will shed some light on your question.

Because of Him,

Barbara Collins

top of page  I  home  I  about us   I   book  
 studies  I  healing  I  newsletter  I  current events  I  resources   I  contact