Pre-Egalitarianism by Daniel L. M. Smith

The role of women throughout the Bible evolved into Pre-Egalitarianism. According to The Oxford Dictionary, Egalitarian means,  “Believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.”[1] This concept comes from the Age of  Enlightenment. Nevertheless, if one reads the Bible one can see this happening right before their eyes throughout The Hebrew Bible and  the Christian Bible .  In the first creation story women and men were made at the same time according to A & E’s Mysteries of the Bible series. Biblical women went from total submission to men to equal to status over time.  This essay will look at the Hebrew Bible and the Christian  Bible proposing how women’s roles in the Bible evolved to a pre- Egalitarianism. This will be broken into two parts. The first is on  the Hebrew Bible and how women acted in that era. The second will be on the Christian Bible and how women behaved under Christ. Jesus never treated woman as less, but pretty much as equal to men .

The Hebrew Bible

Women of the Hebrew Bible are very different from the modern perspective of  women.

These were women of the desert and they had to be fit and strong to handle the environment

around them. according to Dr. Bryan Widbin a professor at Alliance Theological Seminary who

specializes in the Hebrew Bible.

D.W Baker writes in The Dictionary of the Old Testament,

The Old Testament, and the religion of which it tells, is male-originated, male-focused and probably anti-women. This is seen in the way that it is written, in the interests of the writers and most clearly in the laws which it describes, where women’s interests and concerns are of small account and where women are seen as little more than the property of men or at best as adjuncts. The Pentateuch in particular shows the truth of these statements.[2]

The Bible is male focused for the most part, however when women were spoken of they had

something important to say to the reader. The women mentioned in the Bible were not typical

for women of modern times These were the marginalized, outsiders and risk takers in this world.

 

Eve: Genesis  1 through 4

Eve, most likely, was not an historical person, but her story is a very interesting one. “This story would come to define women’s relationships with men within the Judeo-Christian background of the sexes. According to Mary Evans, “Thus the Genesis 1 account tells us that the distinction between the sexes is there from the very beginning, inherent in the idea of Man; the creation of mankind as male and female is an integral part of God’s decision to make Man.”[3] Men and women complete each other in a perfect union according to the Bible. The author of Genesis wrote, “Then the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”[4] This is a covenant that, for better or worse, they will be as one for life. This is example of the first marriage, according to many Biblical scholars.

According to the biblical account, God made Adam and then all the animals for Adam to have as partners . Adam was not happy and God put him in a deep sleep and God took a rib from Adam. From this rib, God made Eve. They lived in the Garden of Eden and they could eat from any tree, however not the Tree of the Knowledge of  Good and Evil. For  if they did, they would be like God and know good from evil. A talking Snake would trick them into eating from the tree. God would find out and punish them by removing them. They would have to work for their living and no longer would be free as they were in the past. In theory, Eve was supposed to follow Adam however she wanted an equal say and was tricked by the snake to eat from  Tree . By her doing this, she was changing her role to become more active in the world around her. She was not just a sheep following orders. She wanted to be equal to Adam and to God. By her doing this, she not only hurt herself, but harmed the whole of humanity. As the myth goes, all of humanity is connected to her throughout time.  They would have a child Cain who would kill  Abel because of Adam and Eve’s  disobedience. From this one story many have thought that Eve was responsible for the fall of humanity, however both her and Adam were guilty of it.

Sarah:  From Genesis 12 to 23

Sarai would become the mother of the Jewish people. She would follow Abram to this new land of milk and honey.  Sarai, by God’s blessing, becomes Sarah who had Isaac . From Issac would eventually come  the blood line of the Lord Jesus. Sarah is obedient to Abraham and travels all over with him, sometimes pretending to be his sister, when ironically  it has been proposed in Gen 12 that she was his half-sister.  She directed  Abraham to take Hager as his second wife. Hager would give birth to Ishmael, and Hager would look down to Sarah. Sarah would finally give birth to Isaac, but would force both Hager and her son to leave their family.  God protected them nevertheless. Abraham would finally get to the land and would have Isaac with Sarah. Sarah was not perfect and she had doubt.  

However, she was obedient to her husband.  Sarah’s role would change and she would become the matriarchal mother of the Hebrew people. Her submission would allow for women’s roles to change in the Bible over time, because of her providing the blood line to Jesus who would elevate women. The role of Sari would be as an obedient wife and she would then become Sarah. The Messiah would come and from her line and women would in the future have more options and equal rights through Christ.

Rebekah Genesis 24 to 26

Rebekah was from the old country before Abraham  came to the new Promise land.  For some reason God wanted his descendants to come from this part of the world.  Rebekah would marry Isaac and from this marriage Jacob and Esau would come. Esau was manipulated out of his birth right by Jacob.

Rebekah, by tricking her husband Jacob, would become the leader of Israel and she

would become  very important in Judaism. Rebekah felt it was her right to make one son have

power over the other. She felt Jacob would be a better son to rule over her people. If it were not

for Rebekah, Jacob would never have become Israel. Rebekah’s role would change from

daughter to wife and then to mother. She would be obedient and listen to her husband.

Pre-Egalitarianism would still have long way to go,; women were just objects of men at this period, it

seems.

 

Rachel and Leah: Genesis 28 through 36

Rachel and Leah were sisters and were considered property. Their father, Laban, would sell them both to Jacob after seven years. Jacob had  no desire to marry Leah, but was tricked according to Genesis 26 . He would have to wait another seven years to marry Rachel. Baker wrote, “ Laban suggested that, as soon as the seven days of the wedding festivities accompanying his marriage to Leah were fulfilled, Jacob could marry Rachel, on the condition that he work for Laban for an additional seven years.”[5] What made matters worse was that Leah could have many  children and Rachel could only have two. In this era, women not having  many children were seen as cursed. Both of these sisters would suffer in their own way due to the men in their lives. Their role seemed to be one of submission and yet their stories are still one of the most moving of the Bible today. If it were not for these women, the nation of Israel would not be what it is today. Women of this age, did not get to decide who why they loved and who they would marry. Consider how both sisters had to sleep with same man.

Baker states,

3.1.3. Genesis 26–50: Isaac, Jacob and Joseph Narratives. Rebekah, particularly in Genesis 27, continues to be portrayed as the dominant partner in her marriage. Her manipulation of Isaac and favoritism toward *Jacob is not necessarily approved by the text, but the writer clearly presents her initiative and ability. As the Jacob stories proceed, there is continued interest in family life, and the writer draws clear pictures of Rachel and Leah with an insight into the vital importance of fecundity for these women’s valuation of themselves. However, in these chapters the focus remains centered on Jacob, and there is little sign of a critique of contemporary values or any parallels to the concern for Sarah’s spiritual development that the earlier chapters present.[6]

  Not only would it cause them conflict, but it would also affect their children. Joseph would be sold into slavery by his brothers, so that Jacob thought he was dead. Rachel and Leah’s gender roles would not change or move towards  Pre-egalitarianism.

Miriam:  Exodus  & Numbers 12

Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. Miriam would watch Moses be sent down to the river into the hands of pharaoh’s daughter who raised Moses as an Egyptian. Miriam was a slave and would wait for Moses to return to save their people by the power of God. Miriam with Aaron, would be a prophet under Moses.   Dr. Rosen wrote, “Traditional midrash matches Miriam’s life nearly miracle for miracle with that of Moses, though without crossing the line that would usurp Moses’ power in favor of his sister’s.”[7] Miriam would come to challenge Moses and would lose, due to God favoring Moses over her. Baker wrote,  “Because of this incident, Miriam’s name evidently became associated with punishment and leprosy (see Deut 24:9). Her name can also mean ‘bitterness,’ for it resembles the Hebrew word for bitterness (Ex. Rab. 26:1).”[8] Does this mean women should not question men? This is the traditional view that women should be submissive to men, especially their husbands or their fathers or even their brothers. This would not have been easy for Miriam since she was a Prophetess (ex 15:20).  Moses, the father of Torah was being questioned by his sister and she died because of it.  This is a step back for women in being equal to men because she tried and failed.

Nevertheless, Miriam demanded respect and she got it. Was this a family matter? Who was Moses that he did not live as the Hebrew slaves, but she did. Maybe he did not fully understand what it meant  to be Hebrew according to her. Since this story goes back so long ago, there is no way to know what fully happened between them.  According to Baker, “In Jewish tradition it also says that, like her brothers Aaron and Moses, Miriam died by the kiss of God because the angel of death had no power over her (b. B. Bat. 17a)”.[9] It has been too long for people to know in this life, and in the next who will care to know ?  Here Miriam came  close to being Pre-Egalitarian, however, she pushed too far. For example, she questioned Moses and was punished by God alone in the desert. Pre-Egalitarianism was almost achievied but could not go all the way.. In fact, it was possible that it was pushed back for that generation due to her action.

Ruth: Book of Ruth                        

This whole book is about Ruth and how she was married to a Jewish man who passes away and his mother, Naomi, told her she could go back to Moab  since her son had passed away. Dr. Matthews wrote, “Widows in the ancient Near East had lost all social status and generally were also without political or economic status.”[10] She was Moabite and she went with her mother-in-law  Naomi back to Israel.  They would go back  to Bethlehem and she would find a man to take her as his wife. They needed a protecter to keep them safe in the village. Dr. Matthew  wrote,  Ruth is fashioning herself as a bride, and thus to be seen would be to tip her hand. Most consider her remaining hidden to be an issue not of propriety but of appropriate timing.[11] Therefore in this book, Ruth is an example of how a woman can be trusted and stay faithful to her family.  This is a neutral spot in the Bible were Pre-Egalitarianism is possible, but really did not fully happen either. Again, gender role is becoming more balanced here,than  previously.

Debra: Judges 4

According to Achtemeier ,

Deborah (debʹaw-ruh; Heb., ‘bee’). 1 Rebekah’s nurse (Gen. 35:8; 24:59). 2 An Israelite judge and prophet. Though the exact duties of the judges are not clear, some appear to have exercised legal functions while others were purely military leaders. Deborah combined these two important offices in addition to holding a third one, that of prophet (Judg.4:4)[12].

In this example Deborah would be a leader and Prophetess for her people. This is what the Book

of Judges Chapter 4 is all about. This is the story of Deborah and she is proof women can be

leaders too.  According  Achtemeier again,

Deborah’s victory is recorded in prose (Judg. 4) and poetry (Judg. 5). In the prose version, her general, Barak, refused to go into battle unless Deborah accompanied him. She agreed, declaring that ‘the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ That woman, we discover later on, is not Deborah, but another courageous woman, Jael.[13]

Here once again is proof that women could be leaders in the Hebrew Bible,  that  they all were

not like Eve who got humanity in trouble. This is the closest story in the Hebrew Bible that

portrayed to Pre-Egalitarianism and this is debatable at that. Was gender role being redefined by

this community or would no man step up? This has been lost to the ages and people will not

know for sure anymore.

 

Bathsheba: Second Samuel 11.

Bathsheba is King David’s wife and King Solomon’s mother. Collin Biblical Dictionary

wrote, “The second portion of her name, “-sheba” (“-shua” in 1 Chron. 3:5), probably refers to a

foreign god, which may indicate the family of Bathsheba was of non-Israelite origin.[14]  Her story

of bathing on the roof is known to most people. Was this done on purpose to get David’s attention or was she a victim? This has been lost to the ages, since the readers can not claim to read the minds of the deceased people. David would pay for his adultery and murder of her husband Uriah. David and Bethsheba would get married and, lose their first child. Bathsheba would go on to have Solomon. Solomon was not the first born, however Bathsheba got him this title. According to Collin Biblical Dictionary wrote,

 Bathsheba later became the mother of Solomon (12:24), and she and Nathan collaborated to intercede with the elderly David in a way that would ensure Solomon’s succession to the throne (1 Kings 1:11–31). In another instance, she appealed (unsuccessfully) to Solomon on behalf of Adonijah, Solomon’s half brother and former rival for the throne, when Adonijah asked to marry Abishag the Shunammite (1 Kings 2:13–25).[15]

Bathsheba was not a perfect person, however she took care of her own. She is an example of how

to make things happen for yourself. All people  could learn from this, especially   women.

These were some of the greatest women of the Bible and how they would come to influence the

world that people know. Now on to the Christian Bible and women from this period.

 

The Christian Bible

The Jewish people were no longer a proud nation, but a nation that was put into exile twice and now were trying to come back to the Holy Land. They were in exile for not listening to God and worshipping other gods according to their own Hebrew Bible.  This was the world of the Greek and Roman Empire but the empire would take over a large amount of people, that were never ruled under one kingdom before. Jesus would be born and his teachings would change the world, as we know it today. In this era where men were the center of attention,  this young Rabbi Jesus would come and make people rethink things about gender roles in his own way.

Marshall and McKnight writes,

Yet, as a Jewish male in an androcentric, patriarchal society, Jesus’ respect for women as persons of dignity and worth and his inclusion of them as disciples and proclaimers in his life and ministry was very significant in its own first-century context for women and their place and activity in ministry in the earliest churches and is important as a heritage for both Jewish and Christian people today.[16]

The role of women, still, was submission and some women were bending these rules to

help their people as in the past before Jesus came long. Furthermore, this how Jesus especially

acted with women.

  1. H. Marshall writes,

Women Healed by Jesus. Jesus healed various unnamed women: Peter’s mother-in-law (Mt 8:14–15; Mk 1:29–31; Lk 4:38–39); the daughter of Jairus and the woman with the twelve-year flow of blood (Mt 9:18–26; Mk 5:21–43; Lk 8:40–56); and the eighteen-year crippled woman (Lk 13:11–17) whom Jesus called a “daughter of Abraham,” probably an important status marker for a woman (see further the discussion of Lk 8:1–3 in 3.1. below).[17]

Women’s needs were met by Jesus equally and he treated women the same as men for the most

part. Jesus healed both men and women. There was no difference to him, it appears. According

to Millard Erickson  “Donald Shaner has summarized well Jesus’s relationships to women:

“It is striking that Jesus did not treat women as women but as persons.”[18] Women were always a

part of Jesus’ ministry and this cannot be denied in the research over the years. Women were also

part of Jesus followers, which was very different from other Rabbis.

Marshall writes,

The verb used to designate their following of Jesus is akoloutheō (or its compounds), a term which occurs over seventy-five times in the Gospels and normally means following Jesus in the sense of being a disciple. This lexical evidence confirms the narrative presentation of women as disciples of Jesus, although some would argue that when this term is used of women it does not designate discipleship.[19]

If women can be disciples there is no logical reason not  to think Jesus would be ok with

women being elders too. This is not full Pre-Egalitarianism. It is although, a step closer to it.

Jesus treatment of women would have the church rethink its view of women.

 

St. Mary the virgin:

Not much is known about Mary, other than her being the Mother of the Lord. According

to Robert Atwell, “Only her name is known for certain – Mary or Miriam (in Hebrew) – and that

she had an aged relative called Elizabeth.”[20] According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary was a young

Jewish girl living in Nazareth, betrothed to a man named Joseph, when a messenger from the

Lord announced that she was to be the bearer of the Son of God to the world. Now Mary, a

person of great faith did not ask questions, but was obedient.[21] According to The Orthodox Church,

Mary has been a model for the church ever since that moment. Mary was truly pure and unconditionally obedient to God. The tradition of the Church holds that Mary remained a virgin all her life (see note on Mt 12:46–50).[22]

Mary was also given the title “Mother of God” and this, in fact is true. For if you believe Jesus is God, then in theory Our Lady is the Mother of God. According to the Rev. Pohle, “The Third Ecumenical Council, which met in Ephesus on Whitsunday, 431, under the presidency of St. Cyril of Alexandria, defined it as an article of faith that Mary is really and truly the mother of God.” Mary’s role was done in obedience, however she had a vision. She would be a force in Jesus life. She pushed him to do his miracles, when he would be reluctant to do so.   If you look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke and Saint John, you have most  of the information on Our Lady. Mary was a poor Jewish girl living in Galilee. As we all know, Mary was visited by an Angel of God and she was going to carry the Son of God. Most people would have been afraid, but Mary asked the most logical question “How can this be since I do not known man?” (Luke) The Angel Gabriel would explain that it would be by the power of The Holy Ghost that she would get pregnant. Mary would say “let it be according to your word”.  She knew the Jewish people were to trust in God and follow her to her son and our Savior. The question  arises, if woman is good enough to carry our Lord in her womb, and she is good enough for God, why not for the church’s early ministry? It is rather a paradox that the Roman Catholic Church treat Mary almost like a goddess, however they still feel they need to keep women at distance when comes to the church. Mary was just woman and her purpose was to bring the Savior into the world. It must be stated that Mary is honered not worship by Catholics.

Atwell also writes, “In Christian tradition Mary is often described as ‘the second Eve’

who unlocks Eve’s disobedience”.[23] According to Saint John’s Gospel ch 19 and Luke’s Acts of the Apostles ok 2, Mary was present at the crucifixion of her Son, and was with the apostles and others at Pentecost.  Furthermore, according to the Gospel of John, at the time of his death, Jesus commended the care of his mother to the beloved disciple which may explain why in Christian tradition her final years are associated with both Jerusalem and Ephesus. Ephesus is where Saint John the Apostles went and he possible took her with him.

According to o the  NIV 12:1-5 The Woman and the Dragon ,

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.  She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.  Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.  She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”[a] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

The child is Jesus and the dragon has always been seen as the Devil. The woman by Protestants

is seen as only the church only, however according to Roman and Greek churches this is seen as

Mary too. If the child is Jesus then why cannot the woman be Mary? If this is right by this very

action has not a woman’s body become equal to man in this very act ? Ivone Gebara writes,

Mary’s assumption, however, restores and reintegrates woman’s bodiliness into the very mystery of God. Starting with Mary, the dignity of women’s condition is recognised and safeguarded by the creator of that very bodiliness. In Jesus Christ and Mary the feminine is respectively resurrected and assumed into heaven – definitively sharing in the glory of the Trinitarian mystery from which all proceeds and to which all returns[24].

From Gebara and Bingermer once more,

“Mary’s assumption—seen in the light of Jesus’s resurrection is hope and promise for the poor

of all times and for those are to come as well.” [25]

I know this is rejected, by Protestants however why? It not heretical. Mary is the mother of

the Lord; why would the very body who carried Jesus be left on earth? This is Catholic tradition

and most argue non Biblical, one could think otherwise, too. She is in the Cloud of Witness

praying for humanity.

St. Mary and St. Martha: Luke 10

Luke wrote, 

Jesus came to the village of Martha and Mary and decide to visit them as his way to preaching from village to village. Jesus knew them and they were good friends. Martha got ready to serve him and Mary decides to sit and listen to him instead. Martha was up set up, that she was not helping her get ready to serve Jesus.   (Luke 10:41-42)

What Martha is asking does not seem to be an unreasonable question. Middle Eastern women of that culture, even to this day, have been known to host guests, such as Jesus. However, Martha was not wrong in asking this question, but Mary had decided on the better choice and dropped everything to listen to Jesus. Many women, especially my mother, feel that Mary should have been helping. What my mother did not realize was that Mary was not just doing housework, but she was culturally out of place because she acted like a man would act.  This has been lost on the modern listener or reader because women and men for the most part nowadays do study together and women have more of an active role within the modern churches today. This is where Jesus was different from other rabbis of this era, he treated women as equals for the most part. No one else we know of ,did this.

  What do people think Jesus said to her ? Some would think, that  Mary should get up and help her sister in her time of need. Some may think, that he would tell her that what Mary was doing  was ok. According to Luke Jesus said,  “But the Lord answered, ‘Martha, Martha, do not worry over everything something are more important then other others thing. Such as making time for God before all over others” (Luke 10:41-42). Jesus heard her suffer and was not trying to belittle her feelings, but Jesus knew Mary was in the right. Father J.A Fitzmyer writes, that Martha wanted to follow the traditional meal, but the Lord Jesus wanted to  instruct them in the right way of living.[26][27] Even though she was acting like a man, she knew that Jesus would not always be there, so she would make the most of his time with them. Fitzmyer writes that Jesus was going against the traditional norm of rabbinic Jewish understanding of this era ”.[28]  Once again the Lord Jesus was breaking barriers all over the place, which is Pre-Egalitarianism. R. K. Huges wrote,

Judaism did not forbid women to be instructed in the Torah, however it was unheard of for a rabbi at this time to allow a woman to sit at his feet. Later rabbinic tradition includes quotations such as: The Torch should only be given to men, and a man should not teach his daughter the Torch for met for men.[29]

Some pastors could argue that Jesus was saying it was ok for women to be more active in his ministry and one could see this argument. But not a single woman was picked to be one of his twelve to go out and preach the Gospel. Sometimes we want to reach for things that are not fully there. Jesus is clearly saying women should be active listeners and being willing to drop everything and follow him. This alone is rather radical for this time period. Women were not really considered people and here this Rabbi  made time for them.

Nevertheless, Jesus broke down barriers and made equality of the sexes possible. After all  another woman named Mary  was the first to obey God and carried Jesus Christ our Lord. Now people  could be Martha and get caught up with all the social norms that our society dictates to us or people could be like Mary and drop everything and listen to Jesus’ message. People do not have Jesus walking among them today like Martha & Mary did. But we do have the church and the church today is supposed to be a mouth pieces for God, like the prophets of old.

 

St. Mary Magdala

Once more, we do not have the whole story of this woman’s life. However, she was the first one to see the risen Lord. In this very act, Jesus can be seen as giving equal rights to women. In this era, it was not very wise to have women speak as witnesses.  Richard Bauckham wrote,

As you know, the women in the Gospel narratives are the first people to find the tomb of Jesus empty. Moreover, they are the only witnesses to the empty tomb who had seen Jesus buried and therefore could vouch for the fact that the empty tomb really was the tomb in which Jesus’ body had been laid two days before. According to two of the Gospels, the women were also the first to meet the risen Lord. The argument you will have heard is that, since women’s testimony in the ancient world, including especially Jewish Palestine, was widely regarded as unreliable and untrustworthy, this role of the women in the Easter events is unlikely to have been invented.[30]

So by picking women, the Gospel writers were taking great risks that believers would not believe them. However God still picked her.

David Veal wrote,

Mary of Magdala (Magdalene) was one of several people of ill repute whose lives were radically changed by Jesus. The scriptures are not explicit about the nature of her many sins, but it is made clear in the gospels that Jesus gave her the will and power to abandon them. [31]

Veal also wrote, “Tradition has held that Mary of Magdala was a very emotional person and our

English word ‘maudlin’ derives from her name. She followed Jesus into Galilee and helped care

for him and the disciples there.”[32]  Atwell wrote, “Along with other faithful women, she stayed

beside the cross during the crucifixion and was the first disciple to discover the empty tomb on

Easter morning.”[33] Women were always there even when men ran for the hills, when times got

bad. Mary Magdala wanted to take care of Jesus’ body after he was murdered so she went to look after the Sabbath. In John 20:13 

Her tearful reaction on finding an empty tomb is still a favorite line to many faithful, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him” When the Lord appeared and called her name, “Mary,” she recognized him and exclaimed, “Teacher!” She was the first to see the risen Lord.

Mary Magdala would become known by the Eastern Church as the Apostles of the Apostles. Atwell wrote, “This commission earned her the title ‘Apostle to the Apostles’ in the early Church”.[34] She saw the Lord risen before they did. She would be there on the day of the Pentecost and she was a follower just as much as the men. Sadly later in history men would feel the need to belittle Mary and claim she was a street walker before she met Jesus. This would allow men to keep women down and think less of her. People know she had several demons in her, which could be real demonic creatures or just mental illness. Nevertheless, Mary Magdala was somebody who followed the Lord until the very end. She was living proof that God could use women to lead too.

Stanley J. Grenz  wrote, “From the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy at Pentecost (‘Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy’) through the early years of the church, women and men contended for the faith side by side.”[35] From the very start, men and women were treated as equal men and women both were baptised and received the Lord Supper. Genz wrote,

In any case, in the second and third centuries the church ordained women deaconesses along with male deacons. These women ministered to other women in a variety of ways, including instructing catechumens, assisting with women’s baptisms and welcoming women into the church services.”[36]

Women were active in the church and did a lot of forms of leadership.

Genz wrote,

In his most expanded statement of the unifying implications of the gospel, Paul declares that in addition to racial and social distinctions, gender distinctions likewise give way to a new unity in Christ: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).[37]

St Paul knew that God was not concerned about gender like men were. He wrote a greater

truth, that sometimes he did not always follow. Grenz wrote,

Egalitarians, in contrast, see Galatians 3:28 as the foundation for a new social order in the church. It is Paul’s “Magna Carta of Humanity,”” a charter of Christian equality. In their view this verse looms as the clearest statement of the apostle’s own understanding of the role of women, thereby serving as an “Emancipation Proclamation for Women.[38]

Jesus message is so radical it breaks down all labels and this means gender  too. Jesus spoke

to women as much as men. Alan F. Johnson wrote,

Domination by one gender over the other were not God’s ideal that we were supposed to work hard to uphold; rather, they were predictions of consequences that we were to work hard to overcome and that Jesus himself would fully overcome as a part of our redemption.[39]

Jesus came to  humanity to break  free from all labels and sexism as well. Erickson states,

The faithfulness of the women around Jesus in the time of crisis is striking. We see them at the cross (Luke 23: 49); they sought to anoint Jesus’s body (Luke 23: 55– 56); they discovered the empty tomb, heard the message of the two angels, and told the news to the apostles (Luke 24: 1– 11). 923 There are several indications in Scripture that the gift of prophecy was given to and to be exercised by women.[40]

Women were always in his ministry and were in the end as well.

Johnson wrote,

Scripture must always be my starting point. However, it has been my experience of sexism in the church that has driven me back to the Bible for answers. One of those answers has been this metaphor of the body with all of its parts working together for the good of the whole.[41]

Men and women needed to work together to reach all of humanity.  John Bristow wrote,

Centuries later, church leaders who themselves were a product of Greek culture and education interpreted Paul’s writings from the perspective of Aristotelian philosophy, even to the point of assuming that when Paul wrote of the husband being head of the wife, he was simply restating Aristotle’s analogy of the husband being to his wife like one’s soul to one’s body. As will be seen, a careful reading of what Paul wrote demonstrates that this apostle was actually challenging Aristotle’s idea instead of supporting it.[42]

Was Paul just a person of his age and that he was just sexist? Paul knew what was right, but he

comes off narrow minded , too. Women being silent in the church, what is that about ? Bristow

wrote,

The translation of this passage, if taken quite liter-ally and observed with all strictness, would mean that women are not to make any sound at all during worship. Women would not be allowed to sing during worship, either with the congregation or in a choir.[43]

Of course not, if this was the case women could not be active in church. When one takes a part of

the chapter and uses it, one can make it mean anything. Bristow wrote,

Instead, his words (as translated) have been employed to debar women from preaching, leading in worship, or even serving sacramental bread and wine (even when such actions do not involve any words spoken on the part of the server!). Such an interpretation is in keeping with Aristotle’s words (quoting Sophocles) that ‘silence is a woman’s glory.’[44]

If one wanted to get a full picture, they would need to read all of Paul’s letter to get the full story.

 

After reading all they facts from the Bible and church history one cannot help but see women

having a more active role within the Bible and more pre- Egalitarianism over time.

 

Pre-Egalitarianism did not happen overnight, it was a long process and it evolved slowly. It is right to say that Jesus helped to bring about gender equality, however, he did not force it. He allowed for people to grow in their own terms and become better people over time. Jesus did not pick high and Almighty; People  chose everyday people and one can see this in his outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Atwell  Robert Celebrating the Saints: Daily Spiritual Readings for the Calendars of the Church

of England, the   Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales

Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. 2003 Kindle Edition.

Bristow, John T. What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on

Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love 2011. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Bauckham, Richard . The Women at the Tomb: The Credibility of their Story The Laing Lecture

at London Bible College

Church Publishing. Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Kindle Location 5583).

Church Publishing Inc. 2010. Kindle Edition.

Evans, M. J. . Woman in the Bible: an overview of all the crucial passages on women’s roles 

  1. Carlisle, UK: Paternoster.

Erickson, Millard J. . Christian Theology. Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 2013

Gitay, Y. . Bathsheba. In (M. A. Powell, Ed.)The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and

Updated). New York: HarperCollins  2011.

Kroeger, C. C. Women in Greco-Roman World and Judaism. In (C. A. Evans & S. E. Porter,

Eds.)Dictionary of New Testament background: a compendium of contemporary biblical

scholarship. 2000 Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Patterson, D. Woman. In (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C.

Butler, Eds.)Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 2001 Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Prelinger , the late Catherine M. Episcopal Women: Gender, Spirituality, and Commitment in an

American Mainline Denomination (Religion in America) 1992 Oxford University Press, USA

Johnson, Alan F.. How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories

from Prominent Evangelicals 2010 . Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Hughes, R. K. Luke: That you may know the truth. Preaching the Word 1998. Wheaton, IL:

Crossway Books.

Hammer, J. Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women  2011. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish

Publication Society.

Grudem, W. A. (Ed.). Biblical foundations for manhood and womanhood (2002). Wheaton, IL:

Crossway Books.

Rosen, N.  Biblical Women Unbound: Counter-Tales  1996. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish

Publication Society.

Stanley J. Grenz;Denise Muir Kjesbo. Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in

Ministry (Kindle Locations 378-379). Kindle Edition.

Ochs, V. L. Sarah Laughed: Modern Lessons from the Wisdom and Stories of Biblical Women

2011 Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society.

Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background

commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Nelson, Thomas . The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today’s World

(Kindle Locations 70912-70914). Thomas Nelson. 2008 Kindle Edition. 

Taitz, E., Henry, S., & Tallan, C. The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E–1900 C.E. 2003.

Philadelphia: TheJewish Publication Society.

Roop, E. F. Genesis . Scottdale, PA:  1987 Herald Press.

Veal, David . Calendar of Saints: Lent Madness 2013 Edition. Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.,

[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

[2] Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] Evans, M. J. (1983). Woman in the Bible: an overview of all the crucial passages on women’s roles (p. 12). Carlisle, UK: Paternoster.

 

[4] Gen 2:23

[5] Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Baker, 903

 

[7] Rosen, N. . Biblical Women Unbound: Counter-Tales . Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society 96

[8] Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[9] Jewish tradition also says that, like her brothers Aaron and Moses, Miriam died by the kiss of God because the angel of death had no power over her (b. B. Bat. 17a).

Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[10] Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[11] Matthews

 

[12] Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

 

[13] Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

 

[14] Gitay, Y. (2011). Bathsheba. In (M. A. Powell, Ed.)The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated). New York: HarperCollins.

 

[15] Gitay, Y. (2011). Bathsheba. In (M. A. Powell, Ed.)The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated). New York: HarperCollins.

[16] Green, J. B., McKnight, S., & Marshall, I. H. (Eds.). (1992). In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[17] Marshall , 882

 

[18] Erickson, Millard J. (2013-08-15). Christian Theology (p. 500). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

[19] Marshall, 883

 

[20] Robert Atwell (2011-11-09). Celebrating the Saints: Daily Spiritual Readings for the Calendars of the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales (Kindle Locations 9313-9314). Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition.

 

[21] Atwell Kindle Locations 9313-9314

 

[22] Nelson, Thomas (2008-02-28). The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today’s World (Kindle Locations 70912-70914). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

[23] Atwell Kindle Locations 9313-9314

 

Atwell ( (Kindle Locations 9375-9378).

 

[25] Atwell ( (Kindle Locations 9375-9378).

[26] Fitzmyer, (892).

[27] Fitzmyer, (892).

[28] Fitzmyer, (892).

[29] Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: That you may know the truth. Preaching the Word (396). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[30] http://richardbauckham.co.uk/uploads/Accessible/The%20Women%20&%20the%20Resurrection.pdf

 

[31] Veal, David (2013-01-28). Calendar of Saints: Lent Madness 2013 Edition (Kindle Locations 1739-1741). Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.,

 

[32] Veal, (Kindle Locations 1739-1741). Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.,

 

[33] Atwell  Kindle Locations 8031-8032

 

[34] Atwell, Kindle Location 8033

[35] Stanley J. Grenz;Denise Muir Kjesbo. Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry (Kindle Locations 378-379). Kindle Edition.

 

[36] Grenz; (Kindle Locations 380-382).

 

[37] Grenz, (Kindle Locations 1117-1120).

 

[38] Grenz, (Kindle Locations 1135-1137).

[39] Johnson, Alan F. (2010-11-02). How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals (p. 42). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

 

[40] Erickson, Millard J. (2013-08-15). Christian Theology (p. 501). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

[41] Johnson, p. 162.

 

[42] Bristow, John T. (2011-07-12). What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love pp. 6-7. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

[43] Bristow, p. 60.

 

[44] Bristow, p. 61.

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