Men and Women not Equal?: Biblical Analysis Part 2

This is the second post in a series dealing with the cultural application of the Bible. It was inspired by a comment from astarwashere on a previous post of mine.

In the last installment we looked specifically at the Old Testament and it’s stance on the equality of women. While I admit that I did not cover all of the verses in the Old Testament I think that the theme behind the post was conveyed. Today we will look at the New Testament specifically.

While there are a number of passages in the New Testament that seem to put women under the rule of men I will only address a few today. I will also look at passages that put men and women on an even playing field. I encourage you to look at others and investigate the happenings in the culture at the time of writing before you make a judgement based in today’s society.

Today we will start by looking at 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

Before we look at the specific words that Paul used lets look at what was happening in the culture at the time. In the culture at the time women were not valued for almost anything. The testimony of a woman in court counted for nothing. The assertation here that woman would actually have the brain power to ask a question was revolutionary. Yes, according to today’s standards this is very repressive, but at that time Paul acknowledged that women could think and should ask questions.

We must also realize that Paul telling women to be silent in the Church is speaking directly to a problem that was going on at the time. In the Corinthian Church there was much gossip and in-fighting, This was a direct result of the women in the church. So Paul is addressing a specific situation for this church, which lends weight to the statement that this verse is not prescriptive for all time.

It is unfortunate how the above verse is used by many ‘Christians’ in churches today. It has been used, unfortunately, to continue oppression of women by men. This is not a good thing. Unfortunately many men still use this passage as a crutch for their underdeveloped sense of self and lack of confidence with a strong intellectual woman.

Next we will look at Galatains 3:27-29:

“for all or you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 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.”

This is not the only passage revealing this equality among all. Colossians 3 contains more groups of people that are equal in Christ. While admittedly it does not mention male and female it does mention groups that are not mentioned in this list. Here we see Paul saying that all of us are equal in Christ. Also remember Onesimus and Philemon and how Paul asked Philemon to take Onesimus back as a brother in Christ. Onesimus was his slave who ran away and Paul asks Philemon to accept him back because of his repentance and his brotherhood in Christ. Paul asserts that Onesimus is now more useful to Philemon.

The bible is about making the marginalized more than what society around them thinks. Men who read this remember that all of the women around you are your equals, and sisters, in Christ. Men don’t use scripture to oppress women to heal you hurt ego or to make yourself feel better.

Here is a list of books resources used for this post:

  • Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis
  • Does Christianity Squash Women?: A Christian Looks at Womanhood
  • Zondervan NIV Nave’s Topical Bible
  • Advertisements

    ~ by curtismchale on October 25, 2007.

    4 Responses to “Men and Women not Equal?: Biblical Analysis Part 2”

    1. Pretty good exegesis. I don’t think people stop and consider the cultural ramifications and context of passages before they whip them out to justify modern social structures.

      A note on the 1 Cor. verse. Another reason Paul was recommending this for the church in Corinth had to do with educational disparity between men and women. While men (some) had upbringing in the temple, fundamental education, and societal sway, they were qualified to be teaching in the church. Women, lacking these things because of societal limitations, didn’t have the wherewithal to speak knowledgeably on things happening in the church. Of course, the same situation doesn’t apply today. Women are just as educated and qualified to be teaching as men. While there is still some lingering prejudice, in general the advancements available to men are the same available to women. I’m taking a Bible class right now (I will practically have a minor when I graduate from undergrad), and my professor/mentor is a woman. She’s got a lot of amazing things to say 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

    2. concerning 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:

      A The early church set up was modeled alot after synogoages. Men were on one side and woman the other. So should a woman want to ask her husband something about the message of course it would be loud and interuptive, so to keep order in the church Paul made a point to tell them they need to do this at home or after service.
      Unfortunately most people seem to have stopped researching History in order to uncover these types of things. Not taking any stances here on woman preachers, just that people who use this verse as justification for keeping woman from preaching are wrong…

    3. […] / compiled some interesting notes about Men and Women not Equal?: Biblical Analysis Part 2 Struggles with FaithHave a look at this […]

    4. “Paul is addressing a specific situation for this church, which lends weight to the statement that this verse is not prescriptive for all time.

      It is unfortunate how the above verse is used by many ‘Christians’ in churches today. It has been used, unfortunately, to continue oppression of women by men.”

      Most of the Bible is addressing issues in other churches at that time, so none of it should be applied today. That is some messed up logic. The entire Bible is made for all ages!

      Christians oppress women by telling them that they shouldn’t speak out in church. Do you even know what word oppression mean? I am an ESL and even I know what oppression means, and it doesn’t mean telling women what not to do or what to do. Oppression – the act of subjugating by cruelty, force, etc. or the state of being subjugated in this way. Nobody is putting women into concentration camps, starves them to death or beats them to death, because they speak out in church.

      So far your article is logically invalid.

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    %d bloggers like this: