–Originally published on FWB21 October 5, 2012–
The foundation of the husband/wife relationship and roles is found in Genesis 2:18-25.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Last night in our Bible study, someone shared the following excerpt from The Believer’s Study Bible:
God provided a “helper comparable to him” (‘ezer kenegdo’ in Hebrew)–one corresponding to him in kind. Rather than being a demeaning term, the word “helper” even describes God in Ps. 33:20–“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.”
I would like to interject that the term “helper” is used of the Holy Spirit, too, though in Greek. (I don’t know how the nuanced meanings between the Greek and Hebrew correspond).
The word describes function rather than worth. One does not lose value as a person by humbly assuming the role of helper. The woman was to be a help to the man:
1) as a spiritual partner to assist the man in obeying the Word of God and being active in spiritual ministry
2) as man’s partner in “being fruitful and multiplying”
3) as man’s friend to offer comfort and fellowship, and
4) as man’s encouragement and inspiration.
The woman is the perfect counterpart of man, possessing neither inferiority nor superiority, but being like and equal in personhood, and unique and different in function.
In a culture that has gone from one extreme of undervaluing women to the other extreme of undervaluing men, it is always good to look at the balanced truth of scripture. What joy and harmony come when our marriages function as God intended them to! The wisdom that is from above, when applied to life as we live it, indeed brings peace–along with a host of other blessings.
Praise be to God for His unspeakable wisdom!