Why was the woman created for the man?

Why was the woman created for the man?

One question that was posed to me last week was on 1 Corinthians 11:9 regarding the creation of woman for the man. Does this mean that the woman is somehow inferior to the man because she was created for him? Let’s have a close look at the passage starting with verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 11:7:

7. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

8. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;

9. for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.

10. This is why a woman should have authority over her own head: because of the angels. (International Standard Version)

11. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

12. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

In this passage Paul is talking about origins and the glory that goes with these origins. Paul highlights the origin of mankind in such a way that it ultimately brings us back to God as the ultimate first cause even though there is a mediator of sorts that is used in the creation of the woman. Let’s see how Paul does this and how this ties in with the point that Paul is making about the creation of the woman for the man.

In verse 7 Paul writes that the woman is the glory of man. The Greek word used here for glory primarily means thought or opinion, especially favorable human opinion, and thus in a secondary sense reputation, praise, honor. Woman is the reputation, the praise and the honor of man. He can glory in her because her very nature brings him honor. The true value of a woman to a man is the recognition that she is of equal worth and equal value and the glory that she shines forth reflects the man that she was created for. He is not in competition with her, instead she is someone to be proud of because she reflects the very best in him.

Because woman is the glory of man and because her very being brings him honor, Paul says in verse 10 that she is to have authority over her own head. The Holy Spirit has inspired the Greek word for authority that means permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something. This word for authority always means that the person themselves has the power or authority to do something. Paul is saying that because the woman is the man’s glory and because she was created for him, she has the power to carry out her mandate by growing with the man in the maturity of Christ. As a mature Christian she is to make her own decision over her own head. Why does Paul say that she has this authority? She has this authority because she too will be judging the angels in the next life (1 Corinthians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 11:10). In this life men and women are to grow up and be mature so that we can all make wise decisions in this life (1 Corinthians 6:2) and in the next life our maturity is required to make wise decisions regarding judging the world and the angels (1 Cor. 6:2, 3) For more information on the issue of authority on the head and angels see my post at http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2007/05/02/1-corinthians-11-and-paul/

Since maturity in the image of Christ is of utmost importance to Paul, as we are all to reflect the glory of Christ with unveiled faces (2 Corinthians 3:18) please note that Paul nowhere says that the woman was created to be the man’s servant or that she was created for the man to rule over her. She is not a burden to him as a child would be who needs someone to supervise them and monitor their every move. Paul says that she is his glory and she together with the man will rule the world and will judge the angels.

Man’s tendency since the time of Adam’s sin has been to try to subjugate the woman and push her beneath him as he rules over her. In contrast, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 11 that the woman was not created in this way. She was created to be the glory of the man and as she shines with her gifts and with her abilities, the man is to be proud of her and to see her as shining forth the praise and the honor of man. When men finally understand this, there will no longer be a book of lists outlining all that a woman is forbidden to do. No longer will she be forbidden to lead in prayer or forbidden to be an usher or forbidden to preach the good news. The glory of the church must be a united glory with all of us shining forth the glory of our Savior. All of us were created in God’s image and all of us are to once again shine forth his glory as we are knit together into one body. Understanding this will certainly help to keep us from competition and jealousy because when one member is honored in the body we should all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). The purpose is that there should be no division in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:25).

The next post will deal with some of Kerryn’s questions on the 1 Corinthians 11 passage.

19 thoughts on “Why was the woman created for the man?

  1. Thanks Cheryl,

    As usual much to ponder from your words.

    For those who are interested, Michael Kruse has an interesting post on “shame and glory” today – in terms of how we view it in the ‘modern western world’ compared to how “shame and glory” was understood in the Greco-Roman world. Considering Paul’s argument in 1 Cor 11 regarding ‘shame and glory’ it’s quite relevant i think to what you are discussing at the moment Cheryl. For those interested, see
    (May 24)


  2. Verse 10 in the ESV:

    10That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

    Is there any significance that the word ‘wife’ is used here instead of woman as in the NIV?

    We have always been taught that this ‘authority’ on her head was man ruling over her. No one could ever explain to me about the ‘angels’ but it makes sense based on Paul teaching earlier about us judging the angels.

    But I have to tell you the verses before and after the above are very confusing to me based on the interpretation:

    2Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head–it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head….

    …13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

  3. Thanks for your questions. I will be going through 1 Corinthians 11 for several more posts and will try to cover it as thoroughly as I can to get rid of the misconceptions. These verses have been difficult to interpret throughout church history mostly because of the preconceptions that we have brought to the text. In my DVD series I spent about 45 minutes on this section on 1 Cor. 11 going through the context verse by verse. One pastor who previewed WIM said that the exegesis of mine on this passage was the best that he ever heard and it made the most sense in context. Keep watching the posts here and I will try to make it understandable without having all the visual aids that I had in my DVD. As we go through these posts on 1 Cor. 11 keep asking questions whenever anything doesn’t make sense. God’s word was meant to be understood and I believe that in context it can be understood without contradiction.


  4. Lin,

    Good for you! I think you will find it very helpful because of the visual presentation. There is still a lot of information there jam packed into 3.5 hours and many people say that they need to watch it 3 times to grasp all the information but then it “clicks” for them and it has changed many lives. I look forward to other questions that you have as well as we go through 1 Corinthians 11 verse by verse.

  5. Cheryl,

    You speak incorrectly when you state that men are not to rule over the woman. Read the entire bible before quoting your favorite verses which enbolden your feminism. Try this verse for starters:

    Genesis 3:16
    Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and
    thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and
    thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over

    Sorry to burst your bubble but it would appear that God demoted the woman and put her under the rule of man because of her inability to be rational. Also note, in Genesis, that God when to Adam (the head) to ask what had happened and never asked the woman even though she was the one who ate from the tree first. The day women start preaching in church is the day the church begins to die. Perhaps that’s why God gave the commandment, “women obey your husbands” to women and to men He said, “Men love your wife”(notice wife…singular). Obedience implies submission. Love simply implies commitment….something most men have a problem with, hence the commandment from God to man.

    Don’t take it personally – it’s just the way it is. There are certain things that need to be in order if things are to work properly. In heaven we will all be equal in absolute terms because Satan will not be there to take advantages of our weaknesses and human flaws. Meanwhile, obey God – submit and obey your husbands.

    No matter how hard you women try to be like men or be “equal” to men it will never happen because it is not God’s will and God’s will is above all of us. His will cannot and will not be undone. Amen and Amen!

  6. It is interesting that you quote Genesis 3:16 as if God were commanding Adam to rule over Eve. Yet this is a prophecy not a command. And if it was a command, then why did God give it to Eve and not Adam? God doesn’t tell Eve to be ruled over. And He doesn’t tell Adam to rule his wife.

    On the contrary most complementarians educated on the Hebrew will admit that the “rule” that is in Genesis 3:16 is a harsh rule and they admit that it is a result of sin. They do not say that God has commanded man to rule their wives in a harsh manner as the word “mashal” suggests.

    No my friend, we cannot put words in God’s mouth and he nowhere says that woman is demoted from her original position. And he also did not ask Adam what Eve had done.

    Lastly if in heaven we will be equal, then you at least are not as unbiblical as some like CBMW who say that women will be restricted from teaching or having authority as long as we are descended from Adam and Eve (and we will always be humans even in the resurrection so in essence they say the restrictions are eternal).

    It is imperative that we do a better job when reading the scripture so as to not misrepresent God or misread God’s commands.

  7. The bible commands man to not be harsh with the wife, but it is clear from the verse I gave you above that God did punish Eve and all women after her by having man rule over her. To rule is to rule – there’s no way to water down that word, but man is supposed to love, cherish and be kind to his wife. God did not do it to spite the woman but to rather keep the woman from losing herself by having the man lead. Just look at all the households where women take the place of the man – it is almost always total destruction. This is what happens when you take things out of the order that God meant to put them in.

    Also, keep in mind the verse which states: ” God is the head of Jesus, Jesus is the head of man and man is the head of woman. You can no easier say that woman should be the head of man than you can say man should be equal to or the head of Jesus. There is an obvious heirarchy here and there is a reason for it. There is also another verse in the bible which commands the woman to no speak in church – but rather to wait until she gets home to discuss any questions she may have with her husband. Over and over again the bible is clear of the man’s duties as well as the woman’s and as long as we all follow God’s commandments there will be harmony in our homes and in our churches.

    Of course man wants to be God and woman, likewise wants to replace the man. Inversion of the hierarchy. Standard rebellion of the spirit. Be careful – there is a reason Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles and it wasn’t because he was a sexist. Women are too easily influenced by their emotions and will, inevitably, stray from the “truth”. God knew this which is why he asks the man to be the lead in the church and the head of the family. God chose only one man to start the Jewish nation while using various women – some of which were concubines. Just look at how bad it has gotten with men leading…..imagine the chaos and destruction if it were the woman. Good luck to you….

  8. Oh, one more thing. It was not a prophecy but a curse which is why God said it to eve. God also cursed man by cursing the ground saying that only by hard labor will he be able to sustain himself and his family.

  9. Paul said: “but it is clear from the verse I gave you above that God did punish Eve and all women after her by having man rule over her.”

    You can say that it is clear but my friend, you need to look at the words. They are not a command. It says “he shall rule” not “he must rule over you” or I command him to rule. It is a fact.

    It is also not a curse. God does not directly curse the man or the woman. The only thing that he curses is the ground and the animals. If you are going to misread even the basics in Genesis, what will you do with the rest of scripture?

  10. Oh really – God does not curse the man or the woman? What does God mean when he says: ” I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and
    thy conception”?

    It sounds to me like God himself curses and punishes Eve….as well as Adam. God does curse and God does punish people…personally….or have you forgotten about that small punishment called, “the great flood”? See, this is the problem with women interpreting the bible….you cannot do it without feeling emotion towards it…therefore you dilute it so it’s not so personal cause you can’t handle the truth.

  11. No God does not curse the man or the woman. Not only does scripture not say this, this would make having children a curse and tilling the soil a curse.

    Instead of a curse, God promises a Redeemer to take care of sin. He had already told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the fruit. Nothing else was a curse, it was a result of their now mortal bodies and the curse of the land.

    It is better to read what God actually says then to “read into” scripture by reading a curse when God nowhere says such a thing. i.e. the land was cursed and the result was that Adam would have to fight the weeds and work the soil to get anything to grow. The result of the soil being cursed was hard work for Adam. Adam’s work was not the curse but the result of God’s cursing something else. The same thing for the woman. She would bear many more children as God increased her ability to conceive. That brought along hard work with all those children and the change in her cycles brought extreme pain. It was a hard thing to them to bear, but it was never called a curse.

  12. He said : there is a reason Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles and it wasn’t because he was a sexist. Women are too easily influenced by their emotions and will, inevitably, stray from the “truth”

    Jesus chose 12 (Jewish) men because of the 12 tribes of Israel, he was trying to show the people of Israel that he is doing something NEW!At that point in time Men (Jewish) didn’t listen to women for that matter. Once enough Jewish Men or Men came to faith in Christ the Women would come along side and rule together with them equally, we see this in Creation of Adam & Eve! Yes God is a God of order but not in the way your thinking. I see a pattern here that the Lord is using but can in no way stop women from teaching Truth!

    Scripture No where said women are easily influenced. That would make God look bad, almost saying Eve (The Woman) was made badly. We know from Scripture She was made Perfect Every Thing Was Very Good! I’ve studied these issues greatly and have degrees to back up my studying. I have alittle Jewish blood running through my veins from my mothers side of the family. So that got me to learn more about my Jewish roots so to speak. Just take an honest look at scripture with out reading anything into it. Please pray for God’s Truth Not Man’s!

    Evangelist Michael Joseph Terran D.D.

  13. 1 Timothy 2:14
    and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

    1 peter 3:7
    Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

    According to scripture Eve was deceived. And is the weaker vessel. Why is that so difficult for you?

    1 peter 3:5-6
    For this is how the holy woman who hope in God used to doing themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything this is frightening.


  14. Jesus said the golden rule that sums up all the laws of all the prophets is to treat others how you want to be treated. A man who expects to preach, or speak, or make a decision or lead or rule must also then therefore rejoice in a woman experiencing the same freedom. A christian man cannot say he is truly a disciple of Jesus and say the sexist things I have just read in the comments above. Shame on them, their ignorance and their pride.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.