The Layman's Bible

Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation

Gender Issues in the Bible

Let’s be honest, at times the Bible doesn’t come off as the most women-friendly book in the world.  Really, as a guy, I sometimes wonder why it is that so many women are Christian when the cultures that Scripture came from (both Old Testament and New) were very male-oriented.  As such, the Bible tends to come off as sexist and it’s very easy to get upset while reading it.  I’m not going to lie; even I have found some things in the Bible to be pushing it a bit.  Because of this, the Holy Spirit decided to address some of the gender-based issues in Scripture with me; teaching me how the Lord sees men and women and to help me to understand that maybe the Bible isn’t so sexist after all.  The articles in this section are based on what the Holy Spirit taught me (and then I frantically wrote down so I could tell you).

I didn't make this graphic, but it's really good.

I didn’t make this graphic, but it’s really good.

The first issue addressed is that Paul Tells Women not to Talk in Church.  During the course of his letters, Paul made it fairly clear that women were not supposed to talk in church.  This seems a bit…extreme.  And it is- if we interpret it literally.  Now, to be fair, Paul may have actually meant that the women of his day weren’t supposed to talk in church; but God had another reason for putting it in Scripture.  If you’re curious as to what that is, check it out!

The second issue comes from the Old Testament.  In the book of Esther we watch as a woman gains power and uses her place to save her people- very feminist and uplifting, right?  Well, it is if you forget that time that Queen Vashti was Dethroned as an Example to All Women.  See, at the beginning of Esther, the Queen of Persia refuses to show up at her (probably drunk) husband’s party.  The wise men of the time felt that her independence might rub off on the other women in the kingdom and therefore she must be punished so that the women of Persia would remain in submission to their husbands.  Suddenly, the book of Esther doesn’t seem so uplifting.  But of course there’s more than meets the eye here, so check out the article and see what’s up.

In the final article, the Holy Spirit answers a question that I think many people are curious about: Does God Have Gender?  Back in college, I knew a fair few people who went around calling God “she.”  I think they figured they were being progressive and likely there wasn’t any reason they couldn’t.  But God doesn’t see gender the same way we do and therefore we should try to understand how the Lord differentiates between men and women before applying pronouns.

We see things so narrowly.  Oftentimes we can’t see beyond our own nose.  The point of these articles is to expand your thinking (as God used them to expand mine) on topics like gender and marriage.  Keep an open mind as you approach these; because if you’re like me, this stuff will change how you look at Scripture, the world, and life itself.  Happy reading!

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