Wednesday, 5 April 2017

women in the church

Now, I didn't like the following verses when I first read them. In fact, I was kind of offended.
Just a qualifier though, these verses refer to women in a place of worship, not in everyday life. It is not referring to in the workplace or home life, but in a worship setting.

1 Timothy 2:11-14
'Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

So, why should women be quiet and submissive? Not teach or have authority over men? I have spent the last few weeks pondering this, and looking into different variations of how to apply these words today. Even though I have looked at different viewpoints, I'm not sure I've got much further though. So, if you have any ideas or comments please let me know.

There are a few certainties I do have as I look at these words:
The Bible is truth, not just some of it but all of it, and it is as relevant today as it was when it was written.
The Bible is the word of God (not the word of man)
Jesus is the best example to look at when trying to figure out things we do not understand.
This passage was written to a congregational gathering; not for everyday application  but for whilst people were gathered to worship, pray and read the scriptures.

So, this blog is really my journey to trying to figure out what this section of scripture means. That women should be quiet, submissive and not have authority over men. Let's face it, it's quite directive.

Firstly, it takes us right back to creation where Eve listened to the serpent (who was the devil) and did what God had told her not to do. Now, it's easy to get a bit annoyed or even angry as a woman when you think about it we can think, 'hey that's not fair, I didn't do that, so why should I be punished for it?' But let's face it; who hasn't got it wrong at some point? If by some amazing miracle no-one had ever sinned up til this point, I would of stuffed up. So, if it wasn't going to be Eve, it would of been me, sorry. Honestly, it could of been any of us. We have free will, we choose, and like it or not, we don't always choose the right way.
The key point in mentioning Eve seems to be that she was deceived, she was lead to believe what wasn't true, she got blinded by something else. Really, she lead Adam into sin because she was deceived then offered him the same route which she took. I'm not saying she forced Adam to do it, he took the fruit as well, but she did pass it on. That's how humanity, and the world has ended up as it is - imperfect and corrupt. We disobey one little thing then it all gets out of hand.

Then, I look at Jesus. He's God walking the Earth as man, so if I want to understand the purpose of God and what the Bible means, I have to look at his example.
Now, Jesus had 12 disciples. How many of them were women? 0. A big fat zero, no women as his disciples. Now, Jesus - he did things that weren't the norm and annoyed quite a few because he didn't do what everyone else did. He did what was right. It is no mistake that the women weren't the ones chosen to lead, teach and demonstrate who God is. Jesus didn't make mistakes. He chose mentor a reason. I'm not saying he disregarded women, not at all. He spoke to women he shouldn't have (according to his culture), he had women friends, he healed women. Women clearly supported and followed him, but they were not given positions of authority as his selected disciples. They supported, enabled and encouraged his ministry, and that of the disciples. Jesus cared for the women around him but he seems to recognise some kind of order in gender. Women are no less important than the men, but we have different roles.

When I consider the above passage from these perspectives what I see overall is that it is about relationships.
In order for men and women to have positive relationships we need to look at our roles within them. Man was created first, and woman was created to be his helper. It doesn't matter if I like it or not. This is what the Bible demonstrates. Women can be strong and lead and teach - look at other examples from the Bible. Proverbs 31 is a great demonstration of a woman of noble character - she is respected because of all she does, she leads, teaches, has skills and responsibilities. Us women want to be useful, we can be, we are important. Jesus speaks to us just as he did when he walked the Earth. He has time for us, God doesn't squash us, in fact he releases us.

What is important is how we respond to one another. Generally, it is easy for women to be vocal, most of us like to chat, but how much are we listening and being taught? How willing are we to learn?

God wants us to live in right relationship with one another. He wants us to live fulfilling lives. He wants us to work together as men and women not to try and outdo one another or prove a point. We are created different for a purpose.

I'm not sure I have come to any conclusions about this passage, but I think it's about how we relate and respond to one another that is important.

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