Women have been clamouring for equal rights and have made great strides in ascending the corporate ladder. Many feel that they are still short of target as they cite areas where they still have much to accomplish. They are sometimes accused of becoming too aggressive as they compete in what was a male-dominated environment and have lost that feminine touch. No longer in the home bringing up the children, they are accused of abandoning their role as home makers and generations of children are being raised with either nannies or relatives who are not always willing or able to give the necessary comfort and care to the offspring of others.
In Biblical times, the role of women was significantly different from what is expected of them today in the western world. It was a male-dominated world. 1 Timothy 2:11&12 – “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Paul sees women not as equal partners with men, but subjugated to a role of quiet obedience. Titus 3:5 That they (the aged women) may teach the young women “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” The aged women who have already learnt the rules of subjection are to teach the young ones to follow their example of being obedient to their husbands, discreet and chaste and good house-keepers. 1 Cor. 14:34 & 35 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. Paul sees it as shameful for women to speak in the churches; their role is to be silent and obedient, not only at home, but also in the church. He sees it as offensive to the law.
Many churches today oppose the ordination of women as pastors, priests, or ministers, but they can be teachers in the Sunday Schools, or providers of food at Church functions, etc. Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” 1 Cor. 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man: and the head of Christ is God.” Paul feels submission is the duty of wives to their husbands and postulates that just as the head of man is Christ, so the head of the woman is man. However, Paul admonishes husbands: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
In Genesis God said it is not good for a man to be alone “I will make him a help meet for him.”(Gen. 2:18) and he made woman out of the ribs of Adam. For many this gives man superiority over woman, and places woman in a secondary position to man. The Bible says “the two shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24), so how can there be a division of one being superior to the other? and God did say the woman will be a helper (not a slave) for the man Prov. 31: 10 “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” The fifth commandment states “Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Father and mother are to be given the same honour, not one more or less than the other.
We see that our Lord valued women by the way He treated them, with respect. There was no censure on His part towards the Woman at the Well, a Samaritan woman and He a Jew, with all the biases the Jews had against the Samaritans. He knew her past for He told her you have well said you have no husband; you have had five husbands and the one you are living with now is not yours. Not only did He sit and converse with her, he asked her for a drink, much to the woman’s surprise. How is it that you, a Jew ask a drink of me, a Samaritan woman? (John 4:7-18). At the home of Mary and Martha, Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words and Martha asks that Jesus reprove Mary for not helping her out in the kitchen, Jesus praises Mary for choosing the best part – absorbing His Word.
The women were important to Jesus’ ministry. When the disciples fled at His crucifixion, the women stayed at the cross and they were the first to arrive at His tomb at His resurrection and were given the honour of taking the good news back to Peter and John and the disciples. It was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who first saw Jesus at His resurrection (Matt. 28:1-9)
While women may have been seen in subordinate roles, many women have been the power-house behind their hushands’s achievements. Men have attested to this, that if it were not for their wives, they would not have been where they are. Proverbs 31: 11 & 12 states: “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” God has given women a unique role, that of bearing children, who with God’s guidance and wisdom that He alone can dispense, can become role models themselves and perhaps rule the world.