the bible and women :: is the bible sexist?


“This one will be called woman, for she was taken from man.” Genesis 2:23

Do you remember the first time you heard in mathematics class that sums like: 5 – 12 were possible? Up until that point we had been taught that you can only subtract a smaller number from a larger number, the idea of negatives had not been introduced to us. Five minus twelve was always met with shouts of, “It can’t!” from the class.

Well, as we know now, it can. The presupposition which was at one time helpful turned out not to be strictly true. In fact, from about the third grade onwards, we learned that a lot of the things we had been taught to think were not the whole truth. We were slowly being weaned from being taught what to think to being taught how to think. For ourselves.

Many of us have never deeply considered the question of whether the Bible is sexist and yet underlying that question is an important question: is God sexist? A good starting point for this question is this:

“Historically, wherever Christianity has spread, the status of women has improved. Those countries where women are most exploited today are those with least exposure to the Gospel.” Sharon James, Does the Bible Demean Women?

The usual problem areas are: submission in marriage, the different roles of men and women and women in ministry. Evangelical feminists argue for an interpretation of the Bible that reinterprets the ‘problematic’ passages by relying on Scriptures that support mutual submission rather than a wife submitting to her husband. On the other hand, there are feminists who say that the Bible is not an authority on the issue. Later in her article, James outlines some presuppositions that are held today:

Presup 1: Equality means sameness. Talk of different roles is discriminatory.

Presup 2: Difference in role relates directly to personal worth. Submission equals relegation.

Presup 3: Women will be empowered only when they have become the same as men (filling the same jobs and reaching the same status).

Your turn.

Let us think, for ourselves.
What is your response to these presuppositions?
Do you agree/ disagree?
Is the Bible sexist?

Leave your comments below, what do you think?

Honey Love, Shula

Got questions, comments or just want to chat? Email Shula


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