The Church is a Bride!
When we discuss the many women of the Bible as it applies to our local assemblies and to the home, the discussion of this “female” is perhaps the most significant of all. The Church is called the “Bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev 21:9). In other words, the Church is the Bride of Christ (Rev 19:7-9; Rev 21:2). Even more to the point, female terms are used to identify the Church, which is the Body of Christ (Col 1:24; Eph 4:15; Eph 5:23). A female designation has been given to the Church. The significance of this cannot be overstated—because the Church is composed of both female and male members. This is important to realize because the gifts of the Spirit and the various ministries of the local assembly, are discussed in the context of both the Body of Christ and the human body (Eph 4:11-16; 1 Cor 12), which neither is presented as a male body. This also applies to marriage and the home, where the Body of Christ is discussed in that context in Ephesians 5:21-33.
When such an entity is designated as female – as the Church is – the gifts and ministries of its female members cannot be, and must not be, diminished. Likewise, wives. Rather, such a designation actually elevates the status of the female members. Or to put it another way, how can any entity or organism that is designated as female, have inferior roles to their male counterparts? Does that really make any sense? To relegate women servants of Christ to non-leadership and non-teaching roles is completely contrary to the nature of the Body of Christ and how it’s described. If anything, in view of its designation, it’s males who should be relegated to non-leadership and non-teaching roles. However, we know that would be nonsense. That’s not what the Bible teaches.
The truth is, as male and female servants, as one in Christ and equal members of His body, neither can be diminished to a lesser role than the other, and neither can be elevated to a higher role than the other. It wouldn’t make sense either way. The only male authority in this body that matters is the authority of the Lord Jesus, who is the authority of us all.
It also needs to be pointed out that, it’s the corporate body that’s viewed as female (Bride), as a new creation in Christ, as a new entity (Eph 2:11-22). But as individual members of this body, there is “neither male nor female” (Gal 2:28). Those distinctions are done away in Christ. We are simply “one in Christ.” Therefore, functionally, when Paul talks about the gifts of the Spirit and the various ministries of the body, it’s viewed as female—while the individual members of this body are viewed as neither a male nor female. What the Bible doesn’t do, is describe the Body of Christ or its members, as male.
The division between male and female (which I believe occurred in the fall), is removed in Christ. In Him there is now a complete union of the two. Patriarchy destroys this beautiful picture. It fails to recognize the glorious reality that we have in our union with Him. Patriarchy creates a division where there is none. Functionally, it causes division in both the Church worldwide and in our local assemblies—which can and does lead to many problems. The same is true of marriage and the home. Disharmony of truth leads to disharmony in how it’s lived out.