Women of the Bible

What Jesus thought about Women in the Bible

1024px-Última_Cena_-_Juan_de_Juanes

Christianity elevated the status of women more than any other religious or political system during the first century. Jesus’ disciples included several women (Luke 8:1-3), a practice very rare among the rabbis of his day. Not only that, but Christ’s first recorded disclosure of his own identity as the true Messiah was made to a woman (John 4:25-26). This woman, Mary of Magdalene, was an outcast Samaritan. Not even Jewish women would talk to her.

Moreover, Jewish tradition enforced women not to talk to outsiders or teach them their religion. Women themselves were not even allowed to teach. Rabbi Eliezer wrote in the 1st century: “Rather should the words of the Torah be burned than entrusted to a woman. Whoever teaches his daughter the Torah is like one who teaches her obscenity.” Jesus overthrew centuries of tradition. He taught Mary, the sister of Martha.

In Mark 5: 25-34, Jesus ignored ritual impurity laws. He cured a woman who suffered from menstrual bleeding for 12 years. In Judean society of the day, it was a major transgression for a man to talk to a woman other than his wife or children. It was also considered unclean to heal a woman in this way.

Furthermore, the gospels indicate that Jesus cursed a woman from an indwelling Satanic spirit (Lk 13:16). Then he called her a daughter of Abraham, implying that she had equal status with the sons of Abraham. This was an honorable phrase and once again elevated the status of women.

There were many times where Jesus was looked down upon by the Pharisees because he would talk to women. You might be familiar with the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed him with an alabaster of oil. Jesus highly exalted this woman in front of the Pharisees. He said, “this woman has come and repented of her sins before me. She has shown me more hospitality than you ever did. Woe to you hypocrites.” This is an excellent reference to demonstrate God honoring a woman prostitute in front of the  religious elite.

The Scriptures also apprise readers that women were present at Jesus’ execution (Matt. 27:55). Many women who followed Jesus from Galilee were present at his crucifixion and the men had fled the scene according to John 19:25. Some skeptics say that whoever wrote the Bible did so with a bias male dominance. However, why would the Bible admit that men ran from God at the time of Jesus’ greatest trial? This example illustrates that the women had greater faith than even the disciples.

I believe these examples prove that Jesus had high regards for women. What are your thoughts? If you believe he did, why do you think there are so many misconceptions today? If you don’t think Jesus had high regards for women, could you explain why? Thanks!

Great Women Leaders of the Bible

70px-Symbol_venus_svg

Skeptics today assert that the Bible was dominated by a religious patriarchy–a social system in which males hold the primary power, political leadership, and authority within society. Feminists have accused the Bible of having this unjust religious system that is oppressive towards women. Here are some scripture references that indicate important political and social positions that women held during the Old and New Testament times. After reading through the examples, please comment below and share your opinion on this question: “Does the Bible teach that women are less valuable than men?”

Huldah – A prophetess who verified the authenticity of the book of the law of the Lord given through Moses, which was the book of Deuteronomy. This is an important point because that means Huldah, a woman, was educated enough to read the Scriptures, understand the hermeneutical principles involved, and gained trust by men in a culture of patriarchialism (2 Kings 22:14).

Miriam – The daughter of Aaron and a prophetess. She was one of the triad leaders of Israel during the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 15:24).

Deborah – A prophetess judge who headed the army of ancient Israel. She was a great leader and influenced Barak, the commanding army general during that time (Judges 4-5)

Esther – According to the Bible, Esther was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. Her story is the basis for the celebration of Purim in Jewish tradition. This examples indicates that the Jewish people honored women before the United States. It wasn’t until 1911 when the International women’s day occurred around the week of March 8th. This whole book was written in the Bible, and guess who the hero of the story is? Esther! Go women! She was a God-honoring, loving person who demonstrated the faithfulness of God.

Ruth – The book of Ruth tells a story about a woman named Ruth who accepts the God of the Israelites as her God and the Israelite people as her own. The book is held in esteem by Jews who fall under the category of Jews by choice, as is evidenced by the presence of Boaz in rabbinic literature. Did you know that the Book of Ruth functions liturgically on a Jewish holiday called the Shavuot? Once again, a day of honor for women!

Eudoia and Syntyche – Devoted women who were active evangelists, spreading the gospel. This demonstrates that women were also helping out with the men and fulfilling the great commission to tell people the good news of Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:2).

Junia – Paul refers to a male apostle, Andronicus, and a female apostle, Junia, as outstanding among the apostles. Every Greek and Latin Church Father until Giles of Rome acknowledged that Junia was a woman. After that time, various writers and translators of the Bible resorted to various deceptions in order to suppress her gender (Romans 16:7).

Mary of Magdalene – She traveled with Jesus and His disciples throughout the region of Galilee and Judea. She was present at two of Jesus’ most important events: The Crucifixion and the resurrection. Her testimony to the resurrection demonstrates the type of faith that she had. In fact, it shows us how much greater her faith was than the disciples who had struggles believing that Jesus rose from the dead.

Mary, the mother of God – The gospel mentions Mary as the mother of God, and the most blessed among women. She spoke the words of praise in her most famous declaration of the Lord, the magnificat. Most people know her as the virgin who conceived her son miraculously by the agency of the Holy Spirit. This event led to the theological understanding of God’s hypostatic union–the union of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence.

These are just a few examples of women who were influential in the Bible. In my opinion, the culture surrounding biblical times were dominated by males, but the Bible illustrates how Jewish and early Christian women  were treated equally by Yahweh. As Gods word makes clear: “Let us make both man and woman in our image, according to our likeness”–this is the essence of equality.