"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)

Calvin on the Folly of Women Reigning Over Men

“Yet consider now, whether women are not quite past sense and reason, when they want to rule over men. In a word, it is madness. For, were men made for women? It is true that today men are as channels through which God causes His grace to stream down upon women. For, from whence does labor come? From where do all the most excellent things and highly esteemed things come? To be sure, it all comes from the men’s side. So God is well pleased for men to serve the good of women, as experience shows. Yet St. Paul has an eye here to the beginning of the creation, where it was said that it was not good for the man to be alone, and that he needed someone at hand who would always be ready to help. Since God was thinking of the man, it certainly follows that the woman is only an accessory. And why? Because she was only created for the sake of man, and she must therefore direct her whole life toward him. She must confess, “I am not supposed to be without direction here, not knowing my purpose and station. Rather, I am obliged by God, if I am married, to serve my husband, and render him honor and reverence. And, if I am not married, I am bound to walk in all soberness and modesty, cognizant that men have the higher rank, and that they must rule, and that the woman who disregards this forgets the law of nature and perverts what should be observed as God commands.” This then the place to which St. Paul brings back women.”

— John Calvin, Men, Women, and Order in the Church: Three Sermons by John Calvin (Dallas: Presbyterian Heritage, 1992)

1 thought on “John Calvin on the Folly of Women Reigning Over Men”

  1. Great quote. Thank you. (I’ll be adding it to my database). I am a little surprised though at reading this from Calvin. I seem to remember reading of an exchange between him and Knox in which Calvin was much more conciliatory on the subject of women rulers than Knox.


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