The Role of Women in the Bible
The question that often arises is ;What Does The Bible Say About The Role Of Women?
Although women have traditionally held supportive roles in church service and their greatest joy and fulfillment comes from being wives and mothers, the feminist movement has had great victories. Many women have been influenced to give up their godly roles. Unfortunately, this movement has progressed even in the church , creating chaos and unrest about the role of women – both in the ministry and in their roles at home. God’s purpose for woman can be discovered in Scripture alone .
Women in the Old Testament
In the creation account ( Genesis 1 ) God’s first words on the subject of man and woman are that He created both in his own image ( Genesis 1 :27 ). Neither received more of God’s image than the other. So the Bible begins with gender equality. As persons, as spiritual beings standing before God, man and woman are absolutely equal.
In spite of this equality of essence is found in Genesis 2 a detailed account of the creation of both human creatures, indicating the differences in their God-given function and responsibilities. God did not create man and woman at the same time, but first created Adam and later Eve for a very specific purpose: to be Adam’s helpmate. Eve was equal to Adam, yet she was commanded by God to submit to Adam. Although the term “helper” has positive connotations – it is even used for God himself as “the helper of Israel” ( Deuteronomy 33 : 7 ; Psalm. 33:20) – he describes the person in a serving relationship. The responsibility of wives to submit to their husbands is related to creation itself – ie it (responsibility) has its origin before the curse. The first books of the Bible establish both the equality of men and women and the supportive role of women.
Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command had certain consequences. For the woman, God announced a curse that included increased labor pains and tension in her relationship with her husband, to whose authority she was to submit. Genesis. 3:16 speaks of the woman’s “longing” for her husband , but that he should “rule” over her. In Genesis. 4 , 7 the author uses the same term “craving” and here means “excessive control over”. Hence the curse in Genesis refers . 3 , 16to a renewed desire on the part of the woman to exercise control over her husband – but in fact he will rule oppressively and assert his authority. The aftermath of the Fall in marriage has manifested itself throughout history as an ongoing battle of the sexes; the women sought control and the men sought dominance.
Throughout the Old Testament there are women who were active in the religious life of Israel but were generally not leaders. Women such as Deborah ( Judges 4 ) were undoubtedly the exception and not the rule. There was no woman in the old testament who held an ongoing prophetic ministry. No woman was a priest. No queen ever ruled Israel. No woman wrote a book of the Old Testament (nor the New Testament). Isaiah 3:12 implies that God allowed women to rule – as part of His judgment of the sinful nation.
Jesus and the women
In the midst of Greek, Roman, and Jewish cultures, where women were placed almost on the same level as possessions, Jesus showed love and respect for women. Although the Jewish rabbis did not teach their wives, and the Jewish Talmud says that it is better to burn the Torah than teach it to women, Jesus never took the position that women, simply because they are female, do not grasp spiritual or theological truth could. Not only did He draw them into His audience, but he also used illustrations and images familiar to them ( Matthew . 13:33 ; 22 : 1-2 ; 24:41 ; Luke . 15, 8-10 ) and applied His teachings specifically to them ( Matthew. 10 :34 .). He revealed to the Samaritan woman at the well ( John. 4 ) that he was the Messiah and discussed subjects such as eternal life and the type of true worship with her. He also taught Mary – while admonishing Martha – and pointed out the priority of learning spiritual truth over “feminine” duties and chores – such as serving guests in one’s home ( Luke. 10:38 ) .
Although men, in Jesus’ day, would not normally have allowed women to count out change in their hands – due to fear of physical contact – Jesus touched the women to heal them and equally allowed them to touch Him ( Luke 13: 10 . ; Mark 5 : 25 .). Jesus even allowed a small group of women to travel with Him and His disciples ( Luke. 8: 1-3 ) – an unprecedented event at that time . After His resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and sent her to the disciples to announce His resurrection ( John 20 , 1-18) – despite the fact that women were not allowed to testify as witnesses in Jewish courts, as they were considered liars.
Jesus’ dealings with women make it clear that he gave them a much higher social position than was customary at the time. He showed them compassion and respect, which was a whole new experience for them. This shows their equality. Despite this, Jesus did not elevate women to a position of leadership or preeminence over men.
Women in the Epistles
In the New Testament Epistles we find the two principles of equality and submission of women side by side. Galatians. 3:28 points to equality, expressing that the way of salvation is the same for both men and women and that they are members of equal status in the body of Christ.
Now this does not erase all differences between men and women, since that passage does not cover every aspect of God’s purpose for man and woman. In addition, there are many other passages that distinguish between what God desires for men and what He desires for women—especially differences within the family and within the church.
The role of women in the family
Although Scripture paints a clear picture of mutual love and submission within a marriage relationship ( Eph. 5:21 ) , we find four passages in the New testament that explicitly refer to the wife’s responsibility to submit to her husband ( Eph 5:22 ; Colossians. 3 :18 ; Titus. 2: 5 ; 1.Peter. 3: 1 ). The voluntary submission of one equal to the other reflects his love for God and his desire, which is in the Word of God to recognize the disclosed distribution of roles. It is important to note that the role of women is never portrayed in a demeaning or degrading manner; Men and women are absolutely equal. Rather, the husband is called to love his wife sacrificially—as Christ loved the church ( Ephesians. 5:25 ) —and to serve as a leader in a relationship between equals .
While the primary responsibility for the instruction and upbringing of children was given to husbands and fathers, i.e. the direction of the family ( Ephesians . 6: 4 : Colossians. 3:21 ; 1 Timothy. 3: 4-5 ) , women are made explicit suggested to be “engaged in household chores” ( Titus. 2 : 5 ) – which means for them to run the household. Your home and children should come first. This is in contrast to today’s secular emphasis on work and careers for women outside of the home.
The role of women in the church
From the very beginning of the Christian community , women exercised decisive functions ( Acts 1: 12-14 ; 9 : 36-42 ; 16 : 13-15 ; 17 : 1-4 ; 17 : 10-12 ; 18 : 1-2 18:18 ; 18 : 24-28 ; Rom. 16 ; 1 Cor . 16:19 ; 2 Tim . 1 : 5 ; 4:19), but never a leading one. The apostles were all men; the most important missionary activities were in the hands of men; the writing of the New Testament was the work of men; and leadership in the churches was entrusted to men.
Although the apostle Paul respected women and worked side by side with them to spread the gospel ( Rom. 16 ; Phil. 4 : 3 ) , He did not call female elders or pastors. In his letters he urged that men should be leaders in the church and that women should not teach or exercise authority over men ( 1 Tim. 2:12 ) . Therefore, although women and men are spiritually equal and women’s ministry is essential to the body of Christ, women within the church are also forbidden from exercising authority over men. Executive positions are reserved exclusively for men.
Man and woman are of equal value before God – both bear the image of God. Yet, without making one inferior to the other, God calls both men and women to fulfill their appointed roles and responsibilities.
Women are empowered to reach their full potential as long as they follow their own Creator’s plan. Only in obedience to Him and His purposes will women truly be able to truly honor God.