Saturday, April 4, 2009
Women in the Bible
I think the most impressive thing in the Bible involving a woman was the story of Mary Magdeline and her walk with Jesus. She was such a good friend that many falsely believed that there was a romantic angle. However, this never shows up in any text. She looked at Him like every one else did, as a leader. But I think Mary's relationship with Jesus went a little deeper. She seemed to have an understanding of Him and the cross before anyone else did. One of the stories is when Jesus has come to her home for a meal. Apparently instead of doing girl-work, Mary wants to learn. So she is sitting at Jesus' feet learning and Martha her sister gets just a little upset and asks Jesus to please tell her sister to get in the kitchen. Jesus scolded Martha for being so busy and said that Mary had chosen the best choice. What an astounding response for Jesus to make. I guess it doesn't sound so astounding to us but for a woman to be there amongst the men being taught was unheard of. A woman's place is in the kitchen. She was the one that wiped Jesus feet with her hair and tears and she did it again with perfume. John 11:2. She knew what a great sinner she had been and now what a great Savior He was. But the neatest thing is that she was the first person on the whole planet to see Jesus after His resurrection. She got to be the first person to go spread the news. Of course, nobody believed her. What else is new? Thomas refused to believe unless the Lord appeared to him and showed him His nail-scarred hands. So Jesus did arrange a meeting for him. But the point is that it was a huge honor for Mary and something I think that few men realize. God doesn't hold men higher than women or women higher than men. He does give revelation to women.
There are other examples in the Bible of great women. Deborah, Huldah, Ruth, Hannah, and Esther are in the OT just to name a few. Elizabeth, Mary (the mother of Jesus), Anna, Priscilla and Phoebe are in the NT. All of these women did great things for God.
What Paul wanted to guard against was a woman-led church. See, church might not be considered a manly activity. Even today these men that seem to be a little too effeminate for my tastes seem to find their way into leadership in the church. So Paul had to encourage these women to let the real men lead and to stop chattering during the service. You know how girls are. We like to share with each other. But he also told them to allow the women to pray and prophesy with their heads covered. You can't do that publicly unless a) you have something to say and b) you speak it out in public. This became a fashion statement over the years instead of an admonition to protect the girls when they were to speak. But if you check out the overall picture, Paul would be going against his own teaching to suggest a new law called "headcoverings."
Many women sincerely believe that the right attitude is to be quiet never saying a word because Peter said that a quiet and gentle spirit was of great price. 1 Peter 3:4 This is a calm spirit. One that isn't agitated easily. Also a fearful woman is one that is highly strung and the opposite of this. The Bible admonishes women not to be contentious too. Proverbs 21:19 says, It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. Proverbs 27:15 says, A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
In Christ there is neither male nor female and Jesus was one of the greatest liberators of women the world has ever seen. I love being my husband's helpmeet and a woman. It is the best!