The chapter (’Is Christianity Good for Women?’ ) in Guy Harrison’s book,1 discusses the terrible treatment women get in the Bible. For example,
# 1. The curse on the woman (because of her disobedience to God, Genesis 3:16), “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”
- He doesn’t mention that the male, Adam, got an even stiffer ‘sentence,’ ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food….’ 2 It is not as if all the burden is on the woman and the man can gaily sit in the sun and enjoy himself.
# 2. The wife should submit to her husband.
- What about the command to the man, ‘Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them?’ 3 It is not as if the husband can selfishly do as he likes. He has to care for and love his wife.
- Both male and female are made in God’s image. They are made of the same ‘materials.’ Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh….’ 4 According to God’s design there will not be male and female in heaven. The citizens there will be like angels. 5 So God cannot give preference to males to the detriment of females, though He assigns them different roles (see the curse when both were disobedient: the male will be the breadwinner and the female will reproduce).
# 3. The role of women in the church. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.’ 6 The idea is promoted that God is unfair to women, shut them up and cannot care less about them. It is not true.
- Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gave those instructions to Timothy, because there was a problem with false teachers with wrong doctrine in Ephesus. Some of the women were the primary advocates and promoters of the heretical teaching which upset the accepted patterns of congregational and home life. Paul wanted to rectify the situation.
- So Paul’s restrictive words must be understood within the context where false teaching was the issue. This is the exception. It cannot be applied as the norm in the Church, although it has been done throughout the ages. 7 That, however, is not God’s fault, but man’s disobedience and in many cases, plain jealousy because some women are gifted.
- In other places Paul talks about women in prominent positions in church life, like Phoebe, Priscilla, Junias, 8 Euodia and Syntyche. 9 In Judges 4 we read about Deborah the judge. Today there are international women preachers like Joyce Meyer and I am sure most men are pleased with her ministry (otherwise there would be no men in her audiences).
People do bad things because of sin (disobedience to God’s Word). For example, sin causes men in the Church to abuse women. That, however, does not mean that Scripture is wrong. People’s exegesis might be wrong and then it leads to the false charge that God allows women to be abused. It is rubbish. God loves women as well as men. Both genders are made in His image.
- G Harrison, 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian, Prometheus Books, 2013, kindle location 1809 – 1862 of 5739
- Genesis 3:17-19
- Colossians 3:25
- Genesis 2:23
- Matthew 22:23-30
- 1 Timothy 2:11
- WC Kaiser et al, Hard Sayings of the Bible, InterVarsity Press, 1996, p 665-667
- Romans 16:1,3,7
- Philippians 4:2-9