Many people accuse the Apostles of being male chauvinists. They say that in their writings they speak mostly to men and assign women to a lower position. I believe that this is an inaccurate assessment based upon a mere surface reading of the Bible.
I’m not going into a detailed discussion of women in the ministry. However, a careful reading of who Paul greeted in his letters, and how they were titled, shows that Paul ordained women as both pastors and apostles. There’s no Scriptural “glass ceiling” that would keep a woman from attaining to any position or calling. It’s all based upon the will of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
What I really want to talk about is the use of the words son and sonship in Scripture. Unlike what many teach, it was not the Apostles trying to make the church a Patriarchy. In reality it was just the opposite.
In the cultures of the day, which included Roman, Greek, and Middle Eastern peoples, the place of women were at the bottom of the social ladder. At best, they were a piece of art to be seen and appreciated. At worst, they were treated as property, slaves, or a family pet.
In Peter and Paul’s letters this concept was totally done away with. They elevate women to a new level of equality unheard of in their day.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7
Peter used a word in this passage that is translated heirs with you. It’s literally the word co-heirs. This means that the wife is someone with an equal share and claim on the inheritance. This was unheard of in those ancient cultures.
Women rarely, if ever, shared in their family inheritance. But in the family of God, all this has changed. Now women are considered of equal importance in the spiritual inheritance of the Lord.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of 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.
In Christ there is no longer the differences and limitations placed upon us by society. These have all been done away with at the cross. Paul says that there is neither…male nor female. YOU ARE ALL SONS.
Why would the Apostle make such an absurd sounding statement? He did it to emphasize the truth that in the Kingdom of God women have all the rights and privileges of a firstborn son. God sees a woman on the same spiritual level as a man.
If you’re a woman of God, then never feel inferior or of less importance than a man. You can go as high in ministry as the Holy Spirit will bring you.
Question: How has the ministry of women positively affected your life?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014