Women in the Bible
These verses are about the ritual impurity after the child-bringing. After a male child comes into the world and circumcised on the eighth day, the woman will be unclean until the eighth day. As David Guzik’s commentary on the main understanding of this ceremony is to understand the idea of original sin.
Every birth another sinner was brought into the world, and the woman was here symbolically responsible for bringing a new sinner into the world. (Guzik).
Moreover, as it seen the period of impurities is increased when having a female child, and the reason for this can be a female child will also give birth a sinner in the future. Leviticus 21:9 states that ” And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the whore, she profanity her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” Since the daughter of a priest represents the religion she needs to be careful about her behaviors and she has the responsibility of being a daughter of a priest.
Therefore, they need to follow the religion accordingly. However, this verse states that if she dishonors of herself the consequences would be punished fiercely with burning. It is a massive punishment. It needs to emphasize that Why only the daughters of a priest are responsible to follow the religion properly and they are punished when they dishonor themselves but no sons? The sons of a priest are not even mentioned.
The way the widows and divorced women were perceived in the Old Testament was not that positive. To give an example, in Ezekiel 44:22 ” They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests.” It is obvious that the priests were not allowed to marry a divorced woman or widows except a priest’s divorced wife. Discrimination against divorced women and widows can be observed through this verse.
Women’s place is lower in the Old Testament when it is compared it with the New Testament. There were many serious punishments and regulations towards the women. After mentioning some verses from Old Testament, it should be examining some verses from the New Testament too.
Corinthians 11:4-9 is about covering the head and instructions women in worship service:
Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. The man ought not to cover his head since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
Head in these verses refer headship and authority so that woman who wears headscarf implies that she is under authority of man and the church. (Guzik). Wearing headscarf is an essential cultural meaning. Moreover, a woman can pray or prophesy only when they are in control of the man or the church. It can be understood that every man is ahead of every woman and the man appointed as a head by God.
Also, instructions women in worship service are stated in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 too. ” The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” Even though this verse literally means that woman not allowed to speak in church and they should remain silent.
One of the doctrinal reviews claim that speaking of a woman is not a permanent prohibition rather than a temporary silence for ordering the chaotic church setting during the Corinthians time. (Grace Communion International 3). Furthermore, the woman should learn in a submissive manner to her husband and to the church. Her husband also should be able to give guidance and information to her. Yet, emphasizing only the woman’s silence as an obligation and submissive manner puts a question marks in the minds as respect the role of the woman in the Bible.
After head covering and women in worship service headings, the bible mentions about husband and wife relationship. As in Colossians 3:18 ” Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” Firstly, this verse addresses to the man and woman who is married. Many interpreters come to agree that the word of submitting does not imply obey but rather to surrender one’s right or will and also it does not convey inferiority of personhood. (Richison) In this verse, a woman does not submit her husband for not to fear of his anger or judgment but she submits only for the sake of God.
Another verse about husband and wife relationship is Ephesians 5:22-25
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
As in Colossians 3:18, it can be seen that the concept of a submissive woman again is emphasized in Ephesians 5:22-25. These verses again prove that the husband is the authority in the marriage. Another point, it is to the church’s glory to submit to Christ so that for a woman submission results in her ultimate good (Cole).
In 1 Timothy 2:11-15 ” A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety.” In these verses, a woman should remain in silent and submit her husband. A woman should not be the authority. As it mentioned before, Eve started the original sin and deceived Adam.
Therefore, women were accused of being an evil creature so that they must remain silent. In addition to this, through giving birth, women will be spiritually preserved from Satan by adhering to their God-ordained role related to family and the home. This is contrasted with Eve, who transgressed those boundaries and fell into temptation (Köstenberger).
In 1 Peter 3:1-2, ”Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” These verses state that a godly wife should be submissive to her husband, but not to another man except her husband. Since the men are to lead women in Christianity, being submissive to a husband is emphasized over and over again in the Bible.
As David Guzik explains the do not obey the word part referring to an unbelieving husband, but it is a stronger idea than merely “do not believe.” It has the idea of someone in active disobedience to God’s word. Even these husbands can be won through the godly conduct of loving wives (Guzik).
Women in the Bible are mainly defined as mentioned above. One of the major critiques towards the place of women in the Bible is that the submissiveness of the women. In the Bible, the emphasizing of a woman to be submissive to their man is repeated over and over again. However, in this day and time, many Christian women do not depend on this idea of being a submissive. They support the gender equality.
The Bible is considered to be addressing only the ancient times but not the modern day, and it is considered to be the collection of the old writings. For this reason, many Christian women believe that the Bible is out of date in terms of the topics of women. Even though the Bible offers them to stay in the background, controlled by the men, and women should be at the forefront of the Church and the household, but today it is the opposite.
Moreover, as in 1 Corinthians 11:4-9, in Christianity there is a necessity of head covering for a woman. Except for priestess, the Christian women also do not apply this rule for the centuries by reason of that verse is belong to ancient traditions and societies, not for all the places and not for the women all around the world.