Friday, November 20, 2009

Does the Bible Put Women Down?

Our politically correct and feminist friends may ask the question, “Does the Bible put women down?” The Bible, Jesus’ words and His actions give a loud, resounding “No.”

When the “Feminist Movement” gained strength in the 1960’s, it was a fight for equal jobs, equal pay and respect for women. Absentee husbands and dads were called to task for their commitments. The second stage was women engaging in bra-burning and buying the message that casual sex would break our invisible chains. Helen Reddy’s 1972 song “I Am Woman” became the iconic feminist theme.

Next, the Feminist Movement began viewing men as unnecessary extras to their lives and to child-rearing. And the Bible was suddenly regarded as a tool for men to keep women “barefoot, pregnant and chained to the kitchen sink.” Some became convinced that the Bible even gave men a license to abuse women.

How did God’s word become embroiled in the battle? As biblical principles in schools, government and faith at home began to sink below the American horizon, the bad rap on the Bible expanded. Fewer people were reading its pages, and simply believed what they heard when verses were twisted or eliminated for the Movement’s purpose.

The Bible doesn’t belittle women or make them second-class citizens. Jesus told Martha to get out of the kitchen and come learn the Scriptures like her sister Mary (Luke 10:38-43). We could even say he followed a woman’s orders by making wine for a wedding at his mother’s request, although He didn’t think it was time for His miracles yet (John 2:1-10). Wow. Sounds like today’s kind of guy.

When He came out of the tomb alive, Jesus thought enough about women to reveal Himself to them first, before any of the male disciples (Mark 16:1-7, Luke 24:1-9). As people became Christ followers, women like Priscilla were highly regarded as leaders of the faith in spreading the Gospel (Acts 18). When no man among the disciples believed Peter was free from jail, God used a woman, Rhoda, to convince them he was really knocking at their door (Acts 12).

Jesus began instructing men to stop treating women like possessions. In Matthew 5:27-31 and Mark 10:2-12, He tells men to stop committing adultery and discarding women in divorce. Isn’t this exactly one of the things the feminists originally wanted…for men to be faithful and respectful?

By saying “Anyone who has not sinned cast the first stone” (John 8:6-8) Jesus rebuked the double standard of a woman being accused alone for adultery when a man was also involved. Plus, He gave her a clean slate and took her into His group of followers.

Jesus addressed women in public, looking them in the eye, which was not the male standard at that time. The woman at the well was the first person He spoke with in Samaria (John 4 starting with verse 4). He used a widow’s contribution of her last coins to illustrate sacrificial giving instead of giving out of plenty (Mark 12:41-44); and chose a woman for his story comparing the wisdom of finding one lost coin to angels singing over one saved soul (Luke 15:7-9).

There are outstanding women in the Old Testament, too. Deborah, the Judge, and Esther, a Queen, were chosen to save the entire Israelite population from their enemies. Rahab, a prostitute, sheltered Hebrew scouts instead of notifying authorities of their whereabouts. The Proverbs 31 woman worked outside the home and dealt with merchants on her own, without her husband. Ruth started the bloodline of Jesus. Whole Bible books are named for Ruth and Esther.

These exemplary women are often overlooked because of New Testament verses that are often take out of context. At the top of the list is Ephesians 5:22-24 beginning with: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (NIV). Granted, there are unfortunately some men in churches who abuse this idea of “submission” to keep women suppressed, even to verbally and physically abuse them.

The seldom-read next few verses, Ephesians 5:25-26, prove these men are violating Scripture. The apostle Paul continued Jesus’ respect for women by telling men to love their wives as they would love their own bodies and the church. What man will beat himself black and blue, or put himself in the hospital with broken bones?

Although men are generally assigned to be heads and leaders of the church, their scriptural role is to be a servant to the people, not a deliberate dictator. Paul states in Galatians 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Scriptures are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

This article was originally published at The Underground Online Magazine.

10 comments:

Anonymous December 8, 2009 at 12:24 PM  

Nicely well said, but I feel sad, because no one cares any more. Our Government has ruined everything, along with it's churches. It's all about MONEY, and it is the root of all evil. MEN love money, and as long as taxes go their way! Nothing will ever get better. People love money so much they are willing to ruin the world, which I call hell, because men make their own hell and torment, just to get rich, from their week desires, and lust. They even pay women to sin, men don't get paid for a sin, they create sin, and I pretty much think we have too many alcoholic's running our country now. Twisted minds ruin our country. The U.S.A. is a embarrassment, and I am not a proud American, I am embarrassed I am one. I hate this world, because this world is hell, and men created it.

Sheryl Young December 8, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

Thank you, Anonymous. Yes, the world needs much prayer. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20), and today it seems like everything has gone in that direction. Those who love the world don't love the Father (1 John 2:15). But we can pray for God to give us one last chance!

Anonymous December 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

You're Welcome Sheryl
Hi I am Anonymous, who posted here on:
December 8, 2009 12:24 PM
My name is Debbie.
How can I help make this world a better place? ~ When I feel so helpless. How can a women get to the real points in life and make men understand with out beating their brains out?

Sheryl Young December 11, 2009 at 6:04 AM  

Debbie - sounds like you have had some really bad experiences with men. Not all men are insensitive and non-understanding. Pray that God will lead you to a Godly man who understands the biblical way to treat women, if it is His will for your life. And pray that He gives you the right words to say.

Gina Burgess March 24, 2010 at 8:38 AM  

Sheryl, this is a great article! I have written a lot about it (Nanowrimo in 2006) and it is still very close to my heart.

Anonymous October 27, 2010 at 10:06 AM  

Thank you for writting this article, it made me understand how women are important to God. I just had a bad experience at a women's bible study where the preacher was putting down women. He said all women preachers are going to hell because it is not their place to be preaching and that women need to be silent. Also he said that women need to be at home to take care of their children and be submissive to their husbands. I have never been so insulted in my life by what this man was saying that I decided to leave the church.

Sheryl Young October 27, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for your input. No church is perfect. Before leaving angry, be sure you are called by God to leave, or ask the pastor if he meant what he said in the strictest sense.

My personal belief, and that of several pastors I've spoken to and my own Godly husband, was that Paul wrote about women being silent in church because there was something going on at that time like the spreading of rumors and gossip. What we say must edify others and glorify God (Eph 4:29).

Re: Women preachers, I'm not so sure myself that a woman should be the head of a church if there is a man in the church called by God to do so. However, women who teach and deliver lessons on the Bible like Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore and others are within biblical guidelines such as in Joel, "in the last days the Spirit will pour out on both male and female." As in my article, Paul even exemplified women who were leading Bible studies.

Hilda April 30, 2012 at 6:35 PM  

Hello,
What a revealing article. it came at an opportune for me and the programme i am editing, We serve an awesome God,

Hilda April 30, 2012 at 6:39 PM  

What a great article, Thank you for your thoughtfulness and it has come at an opportune time for me as I am editing a programme about Emotional Abuse and why men put women down,

Sheryl (author of article) May 1, 2012 at 11:49 AM  

Thanks, Hilda! Glad it helped.

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