The Woman Factor by Stephanie M. White
The topic of a woman’s role has been a controversial topic in the church for generations. If we are going to experience all that God has for us as women, then we are going to have to understand God’s Word regarding women.
As we look at Adam and Eve we can begin to see what things are meant to be like for women. What were things like for Eve? The curse brought about what should not be; consequently, we need to determine (through the Word) what changes took place in the garden because of sin entering the picture. As we study the third chapter of Genesis, we see that Eve suffered loss as a result of a lack of faith in what God had said. She lost the ability to have children without pain and she lost her equality with man. Now, due to the fall of man, her desire would be for her husband.
The word translated as “desire” means to stretch out after; to long for. In the original Hebrew language that the Bible was written in, we find that this word paints a picture of the woman trying to obtain the position her husband has. No longer did man and woman walk in equality; man became dominant. As man began to look down on women, women were then considered inferior.
This inequality is not God’s perfect plan for women and we must understand the truth of God’s Word or we could become confused.
1 Timothy 2: 12 NIV I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.
Verses, such as the one above, have caused much confusion because such verses are not always studied; they are simply read. As we look at this verse, we need to understand that in the original language “man” is the word for husband and “woman” is the word for wife. Paul is unquestionably referring to the husband and wife relationship here; he is not talking about any woman or any man. He then goes on to use Adam and Eve as the example, who are a husband and wife team; and in doing so, he reaffirms the marriage relationship connotation. Unfortunately, this verse has been incorrectly employed as a put down to women; when in reality, it is an appeal to the husbands.
Paul is telling the husbands that their wives should not be responsible for educating them in Spiritual matters. He is stressing that they are supposed to be in God’s Word themselves as opposed to depending on their wives for Spiritual knowledge. He is not suggesting that women are subservient. A further dissection of this verse reveals that “permit” means to turn over or transfer; it does not mean “to allow” as it often does in the English language. When Paul said that he “did not permit a woman to teach…a man,” he was conveying that he did not give men a license to loaf spiritually thereby transferring the responsibility of spiritual instruction onto the wife. Paul was not saying that he would not tolerate any woman teaching a man. Paul was explaining that the husband must learn for himself; the wife cannot grow spiritually for her husband in the same way the husband cannot grow on behalf of his wife. Furthermore, we find many illustrations in God’s Word of God using women to instruct so we can be sure that Paul is not forbidding women to teach (Luke 2:36-38, Proverbs 31:26, 1 Samuel 1:2 – 1 and 2:21, Joel 2:28, Acts 2:14-21, Acts 18:24-26, Judges 13:19-24, Matthew 27:19, Luke 1:59-60, Philippians 4:3, Acts 21:9, Judges 4:4-9 and 18-24, Romans 16:1-4,6,15).
Scripture needs to be looked at in depth and it needs to be compared with other Scripture. It is important for us to understand that the Bible was originally written in Greek and Hebrew before it was translated into English; and in translation, some things became blurred. We need to be careful about what we think we know concerning the Word of God. We need to know that we know what God is saying; but more importantly we need to know that we know that it is what He said!
1 Timothy 1:7 (Ampl.) They are ambitious to be doctors of the Law, but they have no understanding of the words and terms they use or of the subjects about which they make [such] dogmatic assertions.
We need to understand the words and terms in God’s Word in relation to the original language that they were written in; if we do not, we will distort the Word (2 Peter 3:16). Some of us unbendingly believe things that are not even true because we lack understanding of the original, fundamental meaning of the words that we are reading.
This is the case with women teaching God’s Word. If we are not careful, we will believe a lie and be deprived of the blessings women have to offer thanks to the gifts that God has given them.
Paul also stated that women should be “silent”. What exactly does this mean and why did he say it? In the original language, the word “silent” means to still, and it means keeping one’s seat. The woman needs to be still and let God do the work in her husband as opposed to trying to change him herself. Some women want to change their husbands because they believe that they cannot wait for God to work. When a wife takes over what should be God’s job in her husband’s life, she is not “keeping her seat”. She is putting herself in a position that does not belong to her; consequently, she will eventually find herself being more like a mother or a dictator rather than a wife. She could also “switch seats” and take on the role of the head of the family when she is left with all of the Spiritual responsibilities due to the man’s lack of initiative. The original intention is for the man to lead the family and for the husband and wife to be equal. A leader does not have the right to dominate. In fact, anyone who knows how to be a successful leader will not dominate. He will lead by example and he will have people who want to follow him. God never intended for women to be treated unequally. Why would we think that He did?
Genesis 1:27 NIV So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The word “man” is used many times in God’s Word when the original word does not mean male. Men and women both were created in God’s image. Only as a result of sin did women feel a need to struggle to feel worth because now many of them found themselves in a position of inferiority. Women went on to be treated as slaves, sex objects, property and the like. The “two would become one” was not the norm soon after sin entered the equation; it evolved into “as many women as I need to achieve what I desire”. None of the Old Testament heroes would have been able to work in today’s churches! It is crucial for us to see that this was not God’s original intention but that this treatment of women came about as the end result of sin.
Through Christ women can now be restored to their rightful place, in spite of where sin has taken them. Women no longer have to be seen as second-class citizens in the church! Divine restoration is found in Christ, and in Christ woman is equal to man.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 11:11-12 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. I
n Christ women are equal; we are all on the same level. We need to see that we are not independent of each other. We need each other and we see this reiterated when we consider God’s design. He created us to work together as a team, a unit, a single entity (in marriage). It is true Eve came from Adam, but Adam would not have been able to produce another man without Eve. God fashioned us to require each other thus bringing to light the realization that one is not superior to the other.
THE WOMAN FACTOR by Stephanie M. White
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