Does the Bible marginalize women?


Clarify Share Report Asked October 29 2014 Mini Brenda Birney

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
No, the Bible does not treat woman as either insignificant, peripheral, or unimportant.

Here are just some of the many ways that the scriptures show women:

Woman as the helpmate of man: Gen 2:18-23, Ecc 4:9-12 
God recognized that it was not good for man to be alone, and so made woman as support. Eve was a partner, and 'one flesh' with Adam.

Women created in the image of God: (Gen 1:27)
Woman was not made in the image of Adam, though woman was 'taken out of man' - she too was made in the image of God.

Women as mothers: 
Motherhood is arguably the hardest career on Earth. Eve mothered Seth, Rebekah mothered Jacob, Rachel mothered Joseph, Hannah mothered Samuel, Mary mothered *Jesus*, etc.
[However, in NT times many woman were exalting motherhood to the point of lording it over men and claiming superiority, and this was NOT good]

Pivotal in the eternal plan of God:
Mary, Abigail, Esther, Ruth, Tamar, Rahab, Rachel, Leah, Rebecca, Mary Magdalene, Jael, etc: Scripture is full of accounts of woman who played pivotal roles in God's eternal plan of salvation, or who were key figures in God's interaction with Israel.

Women judging in disputes (Judges 4-5):
Deborah led Israel as judge and prophetess, and even went with the army into battle when the man God chose to lead the army did not wish to go by himself. Because of this, God gave the glory of the victory to a woman (Jael) who killed the enemy king.

Women teaching the next generation of leaders:
Priscilla instructed a preacher alongside her husband (Acts 18:18-28)
Women taught their own families (II Tim 1:5, Prov 31:1, Prov 31:26) 

Women testifying about Christ, to men (John 20:18, Luke 2:36-38, Luke 19:37-40)

Women prophesying (II Kings 22:15-20, Acts 2:17-18, Luke 1:16-55, I Cor 11:5)

Women evangelizing (Acts 8:4, Matt 13:31-33)

Women and widows with various manners of authority in the church (Judges 4-5; Micah 6:4, Rom 16:1-2) [Paul says Phoebe is a 'commander of many/one who stands before', vs. 'benefactor' as often errantly translated without basis in the Greek or in scripture. What type of authority this is is unknown, but prostates was used in other writings of protectors of the people and synagogue leaders.

Women hosting church groups/gatherings: (Rom 16:3-4, Col 4:15, Acts 12:12) The early church was often reliant on wealthy widows and other women who opened their homes for meetings.

Women could be apostles, that is, sent out to spread the gospel, plant churches, do mission work, etc (Rom 16:7):
Junia, an apostle alongside either her brother or husband, was also imprisoned for for her testimony as a believer.
Peter also took along his wife (I Cor 9:15).

Women could be co-workers with the apostles in the work of the gospel (I Cor 3:5-15, Rom 16:3) [Many of the co-workers Paul mentions are women]

Women leading in a worship song (I Cor 14:26, Judges 5) [Though this is to build up the assembly, not usurp authority over it].

Women praying in the assembly (Acts 1:14, Acts 2:41-42)

Women could be disciple making disciples for Christ (Acts 19:33)

Women could be deacons: Rom 16:1-3, I Cor 3:5-9

Women could work hard for the sake of the Lord (Rom 16:6, Rom 16:12)

Women could participate in the assembly even with words of instruction (I Cor 14:26) 


In short;

While various social constraints were on women, due to the mostly patriarchal societies of the ancient world, God used women in many important ways. Jesus' treatment of women was revolutionary (John 4:1-26, Matt 9:20-22, Luke 7:36-50). Men and woman are both equal in Christ (Gal 3:27-29) for we are all children of God.

There are different roles for men and women, but this is not due to differing equality. Rather, it is to reflect Christ and the church (Phil 2:1-11, Eph 5:21-33)

Related Questions:

November 03 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

84924d6f 9be5 4261 9e07 ab5f6a8c5842 Lena Wms Student @Christ Gospel Church, S.S.Teacher, Observer
I am in total agreement with the first answer, Sister in Christ, Jennifer Goss. I would like to add one thing. The mutual basis for the common negative views on women having any ministry in the church is based largely on the misinterpretation of the question asked by the church at Corinth and Paul's answer. 

1Cor 14:34,35 is the question asked and restated by Paul as he did previous questions in this entire book. (1Cor 6:13-20 is an example)

Paul's answer to this question is found in the next two verses. 1Cor14:36,37 Paul was saying "WHAT?" Where did you get this from?"
"The Word came to EVERYONE!" "But hey, if you want to be ignorant, be my guest!" 

Let's reason this out:
It would make no common sense for Paul to say, "women keep Silent in the Church" in chapter 14 after telling her to, "cover her head while prophesying" in chapter 11. (1 Cor 11:5) The Bible does not contradict itself.

Will there ever come a time when the Body of Christ respects one another? Yes! Will it be on this earth? Hmm...

Be Blessed, 

November 04 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Optimized 1   afolabi Olusegun Engr. AFOLABI
The Bible is holy scriptures prepared with the conscience of God and Man, it cannot, therefore accept nor contain anything harmful to the creation of God. Mark 10:6, "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female'. Likewise, it also recognised the weakness of woman, and suggest that they should be guided and lead diligently by the man.

The concept of marginalization came about from the routine activity of man in the world, thereby leading to deprivation of woman from certain activities, on the presumption that they are more strength demanding. Marginalization should not be confused with the biblical term of woman being an "help mate". 

Being a "help mate" is a natural feature of the woman, but they need not be deprived of all values that would enhance their productive input, and a comfortable life. Matthew 7:7, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

God, the creator gave talents to individuals, and the need to utilize it must adequately be encouraged, and not to be discouraged for whatever reason, and provided such utilization is according to the biblical instructions. 

Hebrew 4:16, So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

November 19 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Gregory Tomlinson Minister, husband,father,grandfather,vet., college graduate
Does the Bible marginalize women?

Anti-Christian sentiment would suggest it but a close examination of scriptural context reveals something else. In Genesis chapter 2 tells us she is a special creation for a special purpose. Chapter 3 starts with the devil engaging Eve with half-truths to get to open her heart to disobedience. She gives into temptation and includes Adam in her transgression. God comes on the scene and the birth of blame shifting begins, each participant is punished for participation.

Adam and Eve represent their gender from this point on. Adam and his offspring are sentenced to labor for food and eventual death, Eve who represents the female gender is told she will be under subjection to her husband prior to this she was equal shared responsibility). Adam becomes her guardian and is responsible for guiding the household. Eve is told in sorrow (pain) she will bring forth (birth) offspring from that point on. The snake for allowing Satan to use him is told on your belly you will go (appears to lose its legs or wing’s) to lick the dust and will be considered the enemy of mankind. Both are expelled from the garden.

The bible sets forth many examples of very strong women of faith who make great contributions throughout history. Jennifer, Lena and Olusegun make very good observations and address New Testament statements so I will not rehash them. 

In Galatians 3 we see God is not a respecter of persons in 3:26-29 of Gal. It states: 

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The bible does not promote the marginalization of women or anyone but promotes submission to powers and authorities, giving honor to him it is due, and treating each other as we would want to be treated. We are instructed to treat each other with compassion, kindness, meekness, gentleness, and respect. (Romans 13:7)(Acts 17:12)(Mark 12: 31)(Col.3:12)

I cannot answer for specific interpretations by advantageous individuals who abuse scripture nor accusers who would look to cast the scripture in a negative light as they often have their own agendas. I can sincerely tell you that after more than 40 years of study the bible does not support it, and those that do will answer for every idle word. Maranatha

July 20 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Data Danny Hickman Supporter Believer in The Gospel Of Jesus Christ
The bible is the story of all of existence. God, people, the elements, all that heaven and earth contains. The bible is a story penned by men who did then, and still now marginalize women. The marginalization of women isn't by a book, but by people. If the question is whether or not God instructed man to marginalize women, the answer is no. God gave the woman her punishment for sin, and the man his (Gen 3:16-19). So neither was marginalized. They were man and woman before they sinned, and they still were afterwards. The bible speaks plainly of the value, virtuosity, loyalty, as well as the apparent beauty of the woman, in too many scriptures to try to list. Again, sinful man will marginalize another man who is different from him, the same as he will a woman. 

The book of Exodus tells how the king of Egypt became paranoid because of the growth of the population of the Israelites living among the Egyptians, so he "set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities..." Exodus 1:11. 

People have throughout the history of the world aflicted/marginalized other people. People who are like them and people who are different, it is all a matter of circumstances. The bible is only the story of man's victories and failures, man's sinful history. It never justifies any of it. The bible teaches that love is the solution to all that has gone wrong (Prov. 10:12). It has never justified any selfish behavior. 

There are questions about women, polygamy, slavery, war, rich man, poor man, the list is lengthy, on whether the bible condones such sinful comportment. The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. 

There was a plane incident on a runway in Mexico in which 93 people all survived, where the video would suggest that there would be many casualties, if not a total loss of life of all on board. It was a miracle that only 2 people were listed as in critical condition. The online sites where the story appeared was awash with opinions about it. The conversation quickly became about God's involvement or lack thereof. 

The unbelieving were saying that if He saved the people on board why didn't He just prevent it from happening? And what about when people don't survive horrific accidents, what do we say about Him then?

That's how believers sound to me when they seemingly say that if God didn't want the women marginalized, or men to marry multiple women, or slavery to happen, why didn't He put a stop to it or prevent it in the first place. Those are the thoughts of people, believing or not, who understand the bible as a handbook of rules and regulations (JMO).

August 02 2018 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 3185 %282%29 Meluleki Maphosa Amateur Bible Student
In my view it is not the Bible per se that marginalises women or looks down upon any of God's creation. The authors of various books of he Bible were socialised into environments that generally did not give women much regard. Despite glimpses of some very influential and godly women in the Old Testament, the overwhelmingly large portion of it disregards women and gives attention to men only. This is not the fault of the message the bible is sending but the people who wrote the bible couldn't help themselves.

Having said that if one wants a true picture of how God regards women then look at how Jesus treated women. He treated women with respect and gave them back their dignity. In John 4:4-42 tells the story of a woman so despised by her society that she was a loner and an outcast. Jesus used an approach that made that society forget this woman's status.

In John 8:1-11 also tells us of a woman shamed and sentenced to death by stoning. He rescued her and gave her hope not just for life but for eternal life. 

There are several examples of God's attitude towards women that belie the society in which the bible was authored. All women should take note of this and be inspired to work for God without limit.

February 07 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Does the Bible marginalize women?

Great question, Brenda! NAVE’s Topical Bible cites the creation of women in Gen. 1:27; 2:21-22. “From the very first chapter of the Bible, we are taught that women, like men, bear the stamp of God's own image (Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2)—men and women were created equal.” —John MacArthur

In Genesis 2:23, “Wives are seen as venerated partners and cherished companions to their husbands, not merely slaves or pieces of household furniture (Genesis 2:20-24; Proverbs 19:14; Ecclesiastes 9:9).” —John MacArthur

At Sinai, God commanded children to honor both father and mother (Exodus 20:12). —John MacArthur

Religious privileges of women among early Christians included praying. Acts 1:14: “On the day of Pentecost, when the New Testament church was born, women were there with the chief disciples, praying (Acts 1:12-14).” —John MacArthur

Women made garments, Acts 9:39 [Dorcas, here]. “[In New Testament times], emancipated from the public debauchery of temples and theaters (where women were systematically dishonored and devalued), they rose to prominence in home and church, where they were honored and admired for feminine virtues like hospitality, ministry to the sick, the care and nurture of their own families, and the loving labor of their hands (Acts 9:39).” —John MacArthur

Women may be weaker than men, 1 Pet. 3:7: "The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honor (1 Peter 3:7).” —John MacArthur

Virtuous women were held in high estimation, Ruth 3:11; Prov. 31:10-30. “Scripture honors women as women, and it encourages them to seek honor in a uniquely feminine way (Proverbs 31:10-30).” —John MacArthur

In business, Prov. 31:14-18, 24 women were proficient. “Scripture honors women as women, and it encourages them to seek honor in a uniquely feminine way (Proverbs 31:10-30).” —John MacArthur

Take Phebe, Rom. 16:1-2, as an instance of one of many good women. “Paul recognized and applauded their faithfulness and women’s giftedness (Romans 16:1-6, e.g.. the faithfulness and giftedness of Mary, Rom. 16:6.; 2 Timothy 1:5). —John MacArthur

November 28 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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