The Role of Women in the Bible: Inferior or Complimentary

 

Question: In respect to the role of women according to the Bible, are women portrayed as inferior or complimentary to their male counterparts?

 The Role of Women in the Bible: Inferior or Complimentary

An unknown author once said, “A man wears the pants in a relationship, but the woman tells the man which pair to put on”.  A man can only be his best when he has a woman lifting him up to reach the top.  The New Testament of the Bible has verses that show how this concept has been around since Jesus spread his word of God.  However, an argument can be made that what appears to be a supportive role of the women in the Bible, could actually be more accurately described as an inferior role. On the other hand, support does not have to mean inferior.  Being supportive is just as important as being in charge.  Without support, often times people won’t succeed.  Support systems are the driving force or motivation behind success, therefore there is a strong argument that it is much like being a leader.  Many women in the Bible are able to take leadership roles in regards to their homes and teaching to young women.  However, there was a definite hierarchy which had women placed below men.   I will show that both views are represented in the Bible by analyzing 1 Corinthians, Matthew and Luke.

Some passages in the Bible clearly sound as if the woman is inferior to man, whether it be in marriage or otherwise. 1 Corinthians 11: 3-16 opens with “3- But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God”.   The word “head” can be interpreted in two different ways.  It can mean to be in a place of authority over someone else or it could mean that you have surpassed others, but are not necessarily superior to them.  According to Bart Ehrman, it is evident that Paul believes there is a definite difference between men and women.  Paul said it was okay for women to participate openly in church, just as men are, however they must do so as women.  Therefore they should worship as nature intended them to be, with long hair and a veil over their head, rather than like a man who has short hair.  If women go against nature, then they are going against God.  During this era, social norms said women were subordinate to men, and men subordinate to Christ, and Christ subordinate to God.

In a bit of a different role, women seemed to be very important to Jesus in a supportive role, rather than an inferior one.  In Matthew 27: 55-56, ” Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee”. Matthew 27: 55-56 It is mentioned that there were several women present that Jesus considered to be close friends that traveled with Jesus as he spoke to people and spread the word of Christ.  This does not appear to show the women as being inferior, rather they are being treated just like any other follower and they compliment the men as they help spread the word.  In those situations they were there as a supportive role and not allowed to be in positions of leadership or authority, but they could show leadership in ministering to the Lord just like anybody else.  We see a similar pattern in the role of women in Luke 23 -24, where the women seemed to be important to Jesus in his most meaningful times.  These women followers were there for Jesus’ death and they were there for his resurrection.  Jesus also commended Mary for sitting at his feet while Martha cooked a meal.  The significance of Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet is that this was what his disciples did when they would listen to him teach.  He treated her like a disciple.  It is evident here, that women played an important role in the Bible.  It was more of a supportive role, but not necessarily an inferior role.

The Biblical Role of Women

This link is a video that explains the role of women throughout the Bible.  It gives several examples of the fact that women were very important in the church and that Jesus had a great respect for women.  It explains the significance of the role women played in the Bible and shows many examples of Jesus interacting with women in a cordial, pleasant way.

In conclusion, there will always be room to debate the stories in the Bible because the stories can be hard to verify.  The New Testament makes it clear that women cannot be in positions of leadership or authority over men in the church, but they are allowed to be in leadership roles over younger women, elder women, and children.  However, they are instrumental in complimenting the roles their husbands or other men play in the church.  For women, their duty to Christ comes from their duty to men.  They can lead some people and they can worship in the church and also provide ministry and services to others, within the guidelines of the church.

 

 

 

Jesus Heals and Forgives With the Power of God According to Mark

Jesus Heals and Forgives With the Power of God According to Mark: 2015

Close Reading

MARK 2:1-12

Mark Chapter 2 deals with the powers that Jesus appears to have.  It is clear that he is showing more power than John the Baptist who had previously predicted a man more powerful than himself would come forth.   In Mark, Capernaum is mentioned several times.  Chapter 2 starts with Jesus returning to Capernaum and that it is home to Jesus.  There is some significance, for Mark, in mentioning Capernaum as it is not mentioned at all anywhere else in the New Testament.  As Jesus’ return spread through the village, people flocked to see him because they were either hoping he could heal the sick or they just wanted to hear him preach “the word”.  “The word” phrase is used more than once to indicate that what Jesus said was true and that it came from God.  In this chapter of Mark, Jesus is involved in many controversies.  Jesus seems to come out on top of all the questionable situations and proves his worthiness.  The fact that Jesus accomplishes the things he does in Mark 2, shows his superiority and that God has given him the authority to forgive people’s sins and heal them.  At this time, those attributes were only thought to be something God could do.  Obviously, there were many who questioned whether Jesus was worthy of such power.   The majority of the people came to watch him work miracles and heal the sick.  The crowd was so thick that it was hard to get a paralytic person up close to Jesus to be healed.  The people would do anything to witness Jesus’ power and so they opened up the ceiling above him and brought the paralytic man to him.

This picture below depicts the men lowering the paralytic through the ceiling so that Jesus could heal him.

http://www.ds-wa.org/the-healing-of-the-paralytic-by-rekha-mathew-st-gregorios-orthodox-church-san-francisco-ca.html

Both Matthew and Luke mention this encounter, but it is much later in their Gospels than it is in Mark.   A question that has been around for hundreds of years is regarding sin and sickness.  Is a person sick because they have sinned?  By the following account, it would seem the answer to that question is “yes.”  As if sickness was a punishment for committing a sin.  Therefore,, once the sin has been acknowledged and forgiven, then the sickness could be healed.  Jesus healed the paralytic because he could see the faith the man had and he aid to the man, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).  Health issues and sinning goes hand in hand, so Jesus knew that if he forgave the man for his sins, then the man can be healed of his health problems.  There were scribes watching Jesus heal the paralytic.  Their hearts tell them that only God should be able to heal the sick.  Jesus knows this is what they are thinking so he says to them, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’?” (Mark 2:9) However, for Jesus, it does not matter which way might be easiest.  He is not concerned with that.  Realize that he does not ask which is easier to do, rather which is easier to say to the paralytic.  Jesus is continually challenged and questioned by others and he continually rises to the challenge and puts those who question them in their place.

http://www.thisexplainsmore.com/2013/02/jesus-heals-paralyzed-man-walks-scribes.html

The picture above shows the scribes watching intently to see if Jesus can indeed, heal the sick and forgive them of their sins.

Jesus makes it clear to the paralytic that as the “Son of Man” he has the authority on earth to forgive people of their sins.  This suggests that Jesus is much more than just a man, he is superior to the general man.  As the paralytic rose to his feet ad walked off, the crowd was stunned and gave all the glory to God.

https://youtu.be/7l5yFH64QhQ

The above video depicts Jesus healing the paralytic man.

As the Son of God, Jesus would eventually sacrifice his life to allow forgiveness for those who have sinned and found faith to help them not sin again, therefore he was given the authority to forgive those sins while on earth.

As far as how Ehrman would interpret the writing of the Gospel of Mark is concerned, Ehrman questions the historical reliability of many things written in the Bible.  He believes that the writers could have very well made some errors in their writings.  He is a logical, realistic type of person and some of what is written in Mark is just too hard for him to believe.  Miracles and special powers are not something he believes in.

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