It is stereotypically asserted that all religion usurps the rights of women and makes them second class citizens. Unable to speak for all religions, this article will focus on the Bible’s view of women. Only a gross misinterpretation of Scripture can lend itself to supporting this idea with regards to Christianity.
When God created Adam and Eve and in the Garden of Eden, He vocalized that what He had created was good. Differences in attributes do not equate to differences in inequality. Some schools of thought try to equate sameness to gender differences to promote equality. However, it is not necessary to stifle diversity to create unity.
Psalms 139 declares that each person is knitted together in his or her mother’s womb and is thus fearfully and wonderfully made. Scripture gives no cause to treat anyone with less value than anyone else. In fact, Jesus advocated that we are to love even our enemies. Paul wrote that whether slave or free one ought to be treated well. Jesus frequently disregarded the societal restraints on whom one could associate with for He always saw one person as having equal worth to another despite their heritage, gender, or lifestyle. If Jesus catered to one group more than the other it was the marginalized outcasts of society and not the aristocrats of the day.
Bible’s treatment of women
The verses that often cause debate regarding the Bible’s treatment of women are found in the Pauline epistles. Paul writes in one place that women are to remain silent in church and ask their husband’s questions at home. This must not be taken out of its cultural context. In those days women were not religiously educated and Paul is writing about keeping order when believers gather. The women, having this new freedom of being at the religious services with their husbands would have had many questions. It would be hectic for the women to be asking their questions in the middle of a meeting. Thus, Paul suggested that they wait and ask their questions at home for the sake of orderliness. He was promoting their learning, but doing so in a way that provided all to hear what was being taught. This verse was never meant to be a law to be enacted against women, but a guideline to help their learning and not hinder it.
Another popular debate surrounds the verses about marriage. For it is written, that a woman is to respect her husband and submit to him. However, what is often not highlighted is that just before that, the Scriptures call for the husband to love his wife like Christ loves the church, laying himself down for her needs. When these two principals work in tandem you have a good marital relationship. The husband is to be in service to his wife and the wife in this context is to serve and respect her husband. This is a beautiful picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church. It is a natural shadow of a spiritual reality. This is what a covenant relationship looks like and it is a privilege to live the illustration of this beautiful relationship.
In conclusion, the Bible is the most liberating to women of any religious text. The Scriptures clearly maintain the priceless value of women equal to the value of men. God said what He created, man and women; “it is good.” There is no place in Scripture where any license is given to create an unequal mentality regarding women. Each and every human being is fearfully and wonderfully made by God knitted together by His hands. He knows each one before they are birthed into this world down to the number of hairs on each head. Let it be known that God loves women equally and desires we treat each other in all kindness and love no matter what differences lay between us.