I myself am the sort of person who worries all the time about whether I have a very correct understanding of theology. I don't trust myself when it comes right down to it. This poses a problem for me because I love (as any faithful reader of mine would know) to bring things out of the text itself. I have solved this problem most of my life by looking back to the theologians of old, whether the Church fathers, or the reformers, on occasion. Still, I find often completely second guessing myself on how I see the Bible.
This is important because it takes faith to "do" theology. You have to take a risk learning the Word of God; be ready to be wrong, and be ready to be corrected. We should always be praying that God will not only guide us, but that we should dialogue with Him about His Scriptures.
The Bible demonstrates what it is to converse. We see it in the Psalms all the time. the Book of Hebrews, quoting the Psalms says this:
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
Notice, I italicized the second line of the verse. In Ron Man's Proclamation and Praise (Wipf & Stock, 2007), he explains at length the "revelation-response" pattern desribed in Hebrews 2:12 and throughout the Scriptures. James Jordan has also explained at length in various sermons, essays, and books the pattern of liturgical dialogue and biblical gender roles.~Hebrews 2:12
Yes, gender roles. In a sermon by James Jordan, he eschews the modern cultural myth, carried up from Greek philosophical thought, that women are somehow chaotic creatures and that men are stalwarts of reason. He further argues that women are not less reasonable or in any way less capable, in really anything, than men are. In fact, you see in the Bible somewhat the opposite. Women are glorified versions of men. Males are stylistically challenged as a whole compared to women. The importance lies in the pattern of authority and submission. He explains that, in gender roles, the Bible typically talks in terms of chronology rather than "who's in charge." Men begin things, women compliment and bring them to a full glory. There is little, if any, platonic chaos-to-order worldview in the Bible. Rather, one may find a shame-to-glory scheme which completely orients us to how we are to worship God and communicate both with him and each other.
Flowing from this, and not some arbitrary men-are-in-charge-and-women-aren't kind of philosophy, one can see why there needs to be a mutual spousal submission. This submission is not a power play but more of a conversational sort of submission, bringing us back to Hebrews 2:12 and the "revelation-response" pattern of liturgy and worship. Jordan highlights this dialogue pattern in Psalm 2, where there is parallelism used in every line, beginning with a revelation, "Why do the Nations rage?" and being glorified with a matching but progressive response, "And the peoples devise a vain thing." He describes the pastor's duty to proclaim the first sentence and the church's response with the second. This moves through the psalm all the way to the end. (Go look.)
Any of my readers who go to a liturgical type Church service will understand this quite easily. Liturgy is a school for all of us who need to be more heavenly-minded, to think in the sorts of patterns that Jesus does, mature and able to eat meat, and to be like God. And so, by paying attention to the liturgy, you can be sure that you have been enrolled into a long-term "how to speak to people 101 class." All people are images of God. We should, as worshipers of the Triune Almighty, treat His images with dignity and respect that in some ways, but emphatically not all ways, equals our respect for our creator. After all, we are called to love our neighbor as the second greatest commandment, next to loving Yahweh our God Himself. Therefore, He has enrolled us in a lifelong training on how to obey His own law by the administration of His Word and Sacraments, and therefore, we have a liturgy that teaches the same through both means of Grace.
In conversation, we can use this "revelation-response" pattern to glorify others above ourselves, the second greatest commandment being to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are also told to, "...in humility, count others more significant than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3) The basic principle is this: build one another up- In conversation. A friend of mine and I talked at length about conversation, about communicating and about hearing people out. A point he constantly rehashed is the concept of "verification". This has a simple form beginning, for those of you new to the idea, with the words, "So what you're saying is...," and following up with a summary of your interlocutor's point. This can be as simple as restating his words, or it can move the conversation forward.
It comes down to this.
STOP making your own point
STOP thinking about what you will say next.
STOP trying to be comfortable in your own intellect
STOP trying to prove yourself.
~ Instead, die to yourself. ~START giving your brother confidence
START saying things that add to others' ideas
START listening, and in listening, growing
START making their point with them.