God established the husband/wife role in Genesis 3:16.
But how can it be? Doesn't this verse describe a consequence of sin?
Just to make sure we aren't getting ahead of ourselves here, let's go and take a look at what the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has to say on the subject.
The editors of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, John Piper and Wayne Grudem, tell us that Genesis 3:16 is not a prescription of what should be (409).
Not a prescription of what should be.
In other words, according to CBMW, the verse describes a consequence of sin, and can therefore not establish a Christian marriage, for the New Covenant releases us from the consequences of sin; it does not enslave us to sin.
So why does Gabriel tell us, 24 years after Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was written that Genesis describes how a Christian marriage, or any marriage for that matter, should be arranged? Because that is what the church used to teach, until our modern theologians couldn't keep on repeating the idea that God had punished the woman due to her sole guilt (which has a lot to do with the fact that women were no longer legal minors). And so the verse was returned to being a consequence of sin instead of a prescription of what should be.
But not everyone seems to have realized that the switch ever happened; Gabriel Powell is one of them.
But there is more.
In his e-mail to me, Gabriel had something curious to say about 1 Tim 2-3.
I do agree that masculine verbs/nouns can (and often do) refer to a mixed audience. However what makes 1 Timothy 3:1-7 speak specifically of men is the context. In the immediate preceding verses Paul explicitly prohibits women from teaching or taking authority over men. It is inconceivable that he would immediately turn around and say that the primary teaching/authoritative position is open to men and women. He would be contradicting himself in one breath.
Ah yes... but what if 1 Timothy 2 does not say women are prohibited from teaching men? Then it won't be inconceivable that 1 Tim 3 includes both men and women as the text itself indicates, and Paul wouldn't be found contradicting himself; he would be extraordinarily consistent in his affirmation that all Christians are free to seek the ministry of overseeing.
As evidence that 1 Timothy 2 does not say women are prohibited from teaching men, I offer an excerpt from my latest book Recovering From Un-Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Patriarchy (Chapter 9):
Christian: But I thought 1 Timothy 2 says women aren’t allowed to have authority over men?
Theologian: Perhaps there is something wrong with the verse, or at least with how we read it?
Christian: Could it be the translation again?
Theologian: Absolutely. The translation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is problematic on more than one level.
Christian: But if there is a problem with the translation, there has to be a problem with how we read the text as well.
Theologian: Very true.
Christian: But if there is a problem with the translation, do we know what 1 Timothy 2:11-12 says in the original?
Theologian: We know from Perseus Online Dictionary that authenteo, the Greek word that is usually translated, “to have authority over” in verse 12 had the original meanings “to have full power over” and “to murder.” Justin the Martyr used the word in the following quote:
“Euripides wrote, “Power absolute, I say, robs men of life.””
Christian: So is the verse saying women shouldn’t have absolute power over men?
Theologian: If it does, the verse points to shared authority.
Christian: And if it doesn’t?
Theologian: Then it tells women they shouldn’t murder men.
Christian: It can’t be!
Theologian: [Laughs] I agree. But what is of interest is this little word epitrepo, “permit.” Paul writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.”
Christian: Why is it of interest?
Theologian: Because the word is used when a request is either granted or withheld. Moses granted the Israelite men the right to divorce their wives, and Jesus expanded the permission to include women too. But this permission was not based on the creation account; it was quite contrary to it.
Christian: So why would Paul use such a word if his prohibition was based on creation? And what was the original request he was responding to?
Theologian: Those are both good questions. We know that this word, “permit,” is also found in 1 Corinthians 14:34, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed (epitrepo) to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.”
Christian: But didn’t we already find those verses problematic?
Theologian: We did. But you see, traditionally 1 Corinthians 14:34 was connected to Genesis 3:16, and because of this connection, the prohibition for women to speak in the church was believed to have been based on the concept that God had punished the woman with subjection to the man because of her sole guilt.
Christian: But wasn’t the man equally guilty?
Theologian: He was.
Christian: So, why did God punish the woman if the man was equally guilty?
Theologian: He didn’t, which is why the idea was rejected by theologians a few decades ago by common consensus, and Genesis 3:16 became once again a consequence of sin.
Christian: But if epitrepo is found in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, which is problematic on so many levels, and in 1 Timothy 2:12-12, which no one can agree on as to its meaning, what does it say about how this particular word is used?
Theologian: That maybe there is something about this word that we haven’t noticed before?
Christian: Such as?
Theologian: Well, look at where the word is found, and how it is used, “You aren’t allowed to speak; you have to be in submission!” “You aren’t allowed to teach; you have to be quiet!” These two are usually conflated to create the general idea that women aren’t allowed to speak, which is why they aren’t allowed to teach. Yet, we all know that not all talking involves teaching, nor does all teaching involve talking. So what kind of speech is prohibited, and what kind of teaching is allowed? And who decides?
Christian: So it’s the same problem as we have with masculinity and femininity?
Theologian: Exactly. And then there is the question why 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 says women should learn at home while 1 Timothy 2:11-12 says women should learn in the church in silence and in full submission. Which one is it? Should women learn at home or in the church? And what does this word “silence” refer to anyways? Complete silence, or some kind of qualified silence? If the silence is qualified, what qualifies the silence, and who decides?
Christian: Perhaps the word doesn’t refer to verbal silence?
Theologian: You’re right, it doesn’t. The word hesuchia found in 1 Tim 2 cannot refer to silence, because the same word is used elsewhere in the Bible with another meaning:
When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. The crowd that followed kept shouting, "Away with him!"… "Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense." When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet (hesuchia).
Theologian: The crowds weren’t just talking; they were in a total uproar, which means the silence that followed wasn’t just about abstaining from speech. We find the same in 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet (hesuchios) lives in all godliness and holiness.
Theologian: In other words, if hesuchia refers to silence in verses 11-12, then hesuchios must refer to silence also in verses 1-2—which means we should pray for kings and all of those in authority that we may be silent and never preach the Gospel.
Christian: That cannot be!
Theologian: It is the logical conclusion. However, if hesuchia refers to quietness of body and soul, instead of silence, Paul is telling people to pray for those in authority so that they would be able to preach the Gospel without fear of persecution. This is especially true since we know that in the first century those in authority often persecuted all kinds of people, and Paul was more than familiar with this having done so himself.
In other words, 1 Timothy 2 does not say women ought to be silent; it says they ought to live the life of quietness, which is something all Christians ought to do. Since most women do not cause a tumultuous uproar, nor should biblical teaching be done in such a way, nor do women seek to hold absolutely power over men, it is impossible that Paul is prohibiting all women from teaching in the church. He must instead be referring to a specific situation in the church of Ephesus in which a woman, or some women, were holding absolute power over men and teaching others with a tumultuous uproar.
Since it is clear that these verses do not tell us that women shouldn't teach, 1 Timothy 3 must tell us that both men and women are able to apply for the ministry of overseeing, especially since the text is gender neutral. And hence we find that the strongest argument against women in ministry is in fact the weakest link in the whole entire chain.
When we realize that not only are their arguments weak, and that the supporters of hierarchical theology do not even know their own theology, egalitarianism begins to look better and better by the minute.
 Justin on the Sole Government of God, Ch. V
 Mark 10:1-12
 Acts 21:35-36; 22:1-2
 1 Timothy 2:1-2