A Resource for Biblical Study of “Headship” and “Submission”

If you bought the print edition of Untwisting Scriptures #4 and found some wonkiness in it (as I did), this is for you: If you’d like to receive a corrected copy, please let me know through email (rebecca@heresthejoy.com) and we’ll see what we can do.


I’ve been asked more than once to address the “headship and submission” Scriptures, and perhaps someday Joy Forrest and I will collaborate on something along those lines. But for the most part, those Scriptures have not been the primary focus of my spiritual abuse untwistings.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to review it, though, I’m happy to refer you to the work of Bruce and Joy Fleming over at The Eden PodcastThe Book of Eden, and more.

A while back I put a question out on my Untwisting Scriptures page on Facebook, asking for recommendations of podcasters who do work similar to mine—helping those coming out of spiritual abuse, untwisting Scriptures, etc. Several people highly recommended Bruce Fleming. Bruce had actually introduced himself to me via Facebook a few years back, but I had never reviewed his materials.

However, after getting all these glowing referrals, I made a point to listen to Bruce’s audios.

The main way I listen to any audio is when I’m fixing supper or doing other housework. But for Bruce’s presentations, that style of listening could give me only an overview of the meticulous deep dive into the Hebrew language he represented (from his own study and his wife Joy’s doctoral dissertation). I could see that in order to follow through with everything he was saying, it would mean sitting down with my Bible and a lexicon and various Bible translations.

This is my wheelhouse. I love doing this—it’s how I’ve done all my word and subject studies, many of which have ended up in the Untwisting Scriptures series. Of course I have the disadvantage of not knowing the original languages, so sometimes in the past I’ve contacted my colleague Sam Powell to get help with that.

But Bruce and Joy Fleming have studied the ancient Hebrew. They know and understand—and explain to us—terms like chiasm and hendiadys, which are pertinent to understanding the Old Testament Scriptures.

Bruce does cover the New Testament passages that talk about headship and submission, etc, for women. But he—on the basis of his own work and the work of his wife Joy—makes the case that all of these need to go back to Genesis 3:16 as the foundation. Here it is, in two Bible versions:

New King James Version
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

English Standard Version
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

(On first blush these two versions may look like they’re saying the same thing, but just you wait till you hear what he has to say about it.)

This is why his podcast is called The Eden Podcast.

This is why his website is tru316.com.

Understanding the compelling case the Flemings have made for what they believe to be the correct understanding of Genesis 3:16 sheds an entirely new light on the relationship of Adam and Eve, and then accordingly on Biblically  appropriate relationship for men and women, husbands and wives, down through the ages.

Some of you already know about the Flemings’ work—you recommended it to me. To you I say a hearty thank you.

To those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to them, I hope you’ll find them as intriguing and compelling as I have.

My life is so full and busy with my Rebecca Davis WordWorking business, my spiritual coaching prayer ministry, my book writing and publishing, and some other things, that I have little time these days for in-depth web articles the way I used to. But I’m very thankful for  those who carry on the work in other ways, and I’m eager to recommend them.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

You might also find Katharine C Bushnell’s book, God’s Word to Women informative and helpful. She also dives deeply into Genesis 3:16 and the original language. The book contains 100 Bible lessons specifically for women. It is not light weight in any way, shape or form!

My Life in Our Father's World

This topic has been prevelant in my life recently. Thank you for adding your voice to the conversation.

1 month ago

You said that Bruce Fleming comes highly recommended. Who has recommended him, any “valid” scholars and theologians? I tried to research him and his teaching but unfortunately I can’t find any information or critical review or theologian who backs his studies or critiques them. And it seems that in order for me to research his teachings personally, which I prefer, I have to purchase his courses and workshop if I want the “deeper” information. Feels gimmicky to me. And how is it that all other translations have gotten it wrong except for him? I’m not naysaying him but I admit that red flags go up. I would consider purchasing from him only because I have found you to rightly handle gods word, but I would like to know who these recommendations are that you speak of. Thank you

Brianna Tilden
Brianna Tilden
21 days ago

I haven’t listened yet to this podcast but do want to go ahead and also recommend Mike Winger for anyone who doesn’t know of his ministry yet. He does a great job looking carefully at scripture and isn’t afraid to go against the grain either. You two are like peas in a pod, both so earnestly desiring the truth and so compassionate towards individuals. Mike is in the middle of doing a “Women In Ministry” series right now where he handles all the relevant scriptures to the various aspects of this debate. I hope you will check it out!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
%d bloggers like this: