This is a great question and I thank you for asking it. I want to start with a quote from Genesis 1: 27, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” God clearly distinguishes that He created two genders, male and female, and He did create them with different intentions in mind. In Genesis 2:18 God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for Him.” So, we see in Genesis that man was made, and woman was created as a helper and companion for him.
Now, the Bible does clearly lay our roles to the man and woman. I am going to focus in the New Testament as this is what applies to all of us now. Starting with 1 Peter 3: 1-7, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
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.”
The relationship of man to woman is clear in the Bible. Women are to be submissive to their husbands as examples of the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Adorning themselves with the beauty that is in the relationship to their husbands was how holy women honored and glorified God. Likewise, husbands are to live with their wives, and be understanding and honoring to them. They are heirs and companions with us in the grace of life.
Further description of the differences between man and woman are given in 1 Corinthians 11: 2-16, “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For 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. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 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. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.”
The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the Head of Christ is God. We as men are the head of woman, we have the responsibility of being the leaders and defenders as given by God. We are to take this responsibility very seriously, but we are not to think that this means we are to be tyrants. Verses 11-12 tell us that “in the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor man of woman. For as woman was made from man, so now is man born of woman. And all things are from God.” In Christ, we are different in our roles, but we are dependent on each other, just as we are to be dependent upon Christ together for His glory.
Specific roles are also given in Titus’ letter from Paul. Paul states, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
Men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. We are to be the leaders and teachers of the word of God. We should be sound in our understanding of scripture and, as is said in Timothy 3, above reproach. We should all strive to be men of God, honoring to Him, and having nothing that can be said against us in our walk with Christ.
What is the role of a woman? Be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to much wine. Why? They are to teach what is good, and to train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not be reviled. When men follow their roles in Christ, and women follow their roles, we honor God and also show to the world what the commandments of His word sow into our lives. A true and fulfilling marriage is one that follows these commands given by God. As is a fruitful church body, one that is closely following the rules and commandments of God for the roles of men and women.
It is so hard to see sometimes in this society that has been dominated by the ideas of transgenderism, feminism, and same sex marriage, and sees so much of the roles of men and women being reversed and ignored. When men are removed from their role and women are removed from theirs, it destabilizes all of the society. We can see the downturn of society and the increasing corruption that comes from not following God’s commands every day. Throughout history, these types of corruption have led to the downfall of empire after empire. God’s laws and commands were given because God is sovereign and good, and He understands how we, whom He created, would be able to best live in this world. But our rebellious nature’s lead us to turn away from Him and follow our own hearts, which are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”(Jeremiah 17:9).
The Bible is full of the clear instructions for the roles of man and woman. In order for us to live, not only in a fulfilling way, but in the way that honors God and brings glory to Him, who belongs all glory. But we can see in the decay of our own societies, what the results are of this abandonment of God and His will for our lives. Society calls the laws of God, “being intolerant” or “bigoted” or “sexist,” but God is not mocked(Galatians 6:7). What we sow, we also will reap.
I hope that this has helped to clear up some of the confusion on this issue. God gives each gender very clear and specific roles in life, and He also clearly identifies the only two genders that exist. We are born one of these genders, and no matter how we may try to change it, we cannot undo the work of God. He created us each male or female, and to dishonor that is to dishonor the One who created us. There is no profit in that, and what we sow we shall also reap.
Thank you for this great question Timothy. I hope the answer helps. May God grant you wisdom and discernment as you seek His will and may He lead you to the truth as only He can. God bless you and thank you.