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Thread: Gender Roles According to the Bible

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    Gender Roles According to the Bible

    I know that throughout the ages, the roles of genders have been put into a very firm place and has only relatively recently been shaken up.

    But how biblical is the old role of genders and the new role of genders?

    What do you think the Bible has to say about Gender roles?

  2. #2
    I’ve been in a discussion about this very subject and I can’t wait until there are some responses to this thread. I’m afraid I shouldn’t answer right now. I’m too emotionally charged!

  3. #3
    And I'm at work...but you gotta know I got something to add to this discussion. I have read one or two little things on the subject....
    I've always found it rather exciting to remember that there is a difference between what we experience and what we think it means.


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    The gender roles presented in the Bible are mostly in regard to marriage. It says that as Christ is the head of the Church, so man is the head of the household. The woman respects the man and submits to his authority, but the man loves the woman and would willingly do anything for her and even die for her.

    Authority is frequently seen by people as a sign of superiority, but I think that is incorrect. Submission is so difficult that sometimes the superior person is not the leader.

    God wants men to be the leaders and women to be the supporters. Both are equal parts of the body of the Church, they just have different roles.

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    "There is no Jew nor Gentile, nor slave nor free, nor male nor female, nor Scythian nor barbarian, for all are one under the headship of Christ." Spiritually, gender does not matter. Socially, it matters a little. I absolutely agree that authority is not superiority. I don't think that policemen consider themselves superior to others (at least if they think about it for a while), but they are in authority. Consider the motto "to protect and serve." This is the mission statement of an authoritative body. So it should be with husbands. They have authority, but they are not to use it unless absolutely necessary. They are to protect, love, and serve their wives in everything. The issue of authority should not arise until a crisis is reached.
    Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.--Romans 1:7

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    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    I will suggest this:

    First, if you don't believe in God or the validity of the scriptures, then what I'm about to say will be nonsense (then again: it may be nonsense no matter what).

    God is a God of order, authority and justice. As such, He supports authority - and this is confirmed both by Jesus and Paul. The primary advice given in terms of "gender roles" comes in Ephesians in the advice to married couples to "mutually submit" to each other (cf. Ch. 5). Women generally chafe at this chapter because the chapter essentially advises women to defer to her husband's authority; HOWEVER, this does in NO WAY suggest that she is to be a "doormat," nor is she to submit to things that are un-biblical and out-of-alignment with the character of God. Many misguided men have used the 5th chapter of Ephesians to exert unbiblical/unGodly control and that's flat out wrong. Husbands (who sometimes forget to keep reading after vs 24) are told to "love" their wives, even as Christ loved the church who gave his life for the church. So, while men may get the final vote in authority, we also are given the task of sacrificial loving. If a couple is keeping God at the center of their relationship, this arrangement will not result in repression or power struggle, but a mutual giving to each other - a mutual "submission" (which is really what Paul is calling for).

    The reason men are given authority is because more is expected out of us in terms of leadership - and that is a fundamental plrinciple of life: those with power get more responsibility. But if a man is loving his wife sacrificially, then he won't want to abuse the authority with which God has entrusted him.
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

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    Conqueror of Worlds Bakiryu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelEyes714 View Post
    I know that throughout the ages, the roles of genders have been put into a very firm place and has only relatively recently been shaken up.

    But how biblical is the old role of genders and the new role of genders?

    What do you think the Bible has to say about Gender roles?
    The Bible being written in ancient times enforces Zoroastrian belief that men are leader and women followers, mean are strong, women are weak. Thus undermining religious women and their self-work.

    Women are men's equals and the Bible its morally wrong in its belief that they are not!
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelEyes714 View Post
    What do you think the Bible has to say about Gender roles?
    The bible (the canonical text anyway) has a good deal to say about gender roles. One of my favorite authors (with regard to how women should behave) is Paul. In 1 Corinthians, in the section on speaking in tongues and prophecy, Paul says "As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church."

    It also says, "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5: but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head -- it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6: For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil. 7: For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8: (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9: Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) 10: That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels. 11: (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12: for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.)

    13: Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14: Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him, 15: but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? "

    The deeper question that was posted at the beginning of this thread has to do with is this attitude part of the beginning of the church or is it something that has been gradually imposed? Now that is a very, very good question.

    And then there is the question of how do contemporary Christians view this apparent misogynistic streak?

    See future posts for some of my thoughts on these last 2 questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaryLupin View Post
    And then there is the question of how do contemporary Christians view this apparent misogynistic streak?
    I am sure it is quite clear by now that I am not a Christian. So the following are observations of various Christian responses to the Pauline stance on women.

    One common response I see is that Paul believes that men and women have different roles (something seen frequently on this forum as well). From the conclusion of a paper on Paul called Women in the Pauline Mission the author Andreas J. Köstenberger says:

    "Paul’s teaching on the role of women and the way in which women actually functioned in the Pauline churches are consistent.101 Paul taught that women were not to serve as pastor-teachers or elders, and there is no evidence in Paul’s epistles or Acts that women functioned in such roles in the churches established by Paul. Where the principle of the man’s bearing of ultimate responsibility for God’s household was not jeopardized, Paul allowed women to serve without further limitation. Thus in 1 Timothy 3:11, he lays down qualifications for deaconesses...Above all, both Jesus and Paul sought to integrate women fully in the community of believers, treating them with dignity and appreciation for their contribution. But they did so demonstrably and precisely without removing all parameters for women’s ministry...What are the implications of these observations for the practice of the contemporary church? ...women are not permitted to serve in positions of ultimate responsibility over the entire church, such as pastor-teacher or elder. Positively, women may serve in roles of hospitality, missionary work, benevolence of various kinds, private teaching in conjunction with their husbands, ministry to younger women, responsibility for raising children together with their husbands, and other significant ministries...women made a vital contribution to the Pauline mission; they continue to make an important contribution today. It is not easy to write on a subject that continues to divide the church."

    Another reaction I have seen is the one that says (in essence) "bollocks to you Paul." Many Christian women read Paul's injunctions to remain silent as 1) evidence of the competition Paul and his ministry faced in Corinth (and other places) from pagan religions which often had female divinities and female heads of temples and other places of worship. Some see Paul's injunctions as 2) mere misogynism or at least evidence of his fear of women. One interesting response I have heard is to say that 3) this wasn't meant literally, that is he wasn't talking about actual men and women but rather the "male" side of self (the rational?) can speak in church but the "female" side of self (the emotional?) should wait until it gets "home" to let its hair down. Interesting theory except that few people/churches seem to have stopped from limiting women's roles until rather recently and most, of course, still do.

    For those of you Christian people out there...any other ideas about whether Paul meant his "don't talk woman" thing literally?
    I've always found it rather exciting to remember that there is a difference between what we experience and what we think it means.


  9. #9
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakiryu View Post
    The Bible being written in ancient times enforces Zoroastrian belief that men are leader and women followers, mean are strong, women are weak. Thus undermining religious women and their self-work.

    Women are men's equals and the Bible its morally wrong in its belief that they are not!
    Would you mind pointing out where the Bible indicated that women were "weak?" Where did the Bible indicate that men and women were not equal? And in what way are women men's "equals?" I, for instance, would not claim that men are generally equal to women as nurturing parents; I think women (in general, because there are always exceptions) are superior in terms of compassion, interpersonal communication, nurturing, multitasking, complex thinking, linguistic ability and intuitive knowledge.

    Have you actually read the Bible so that your charges are based upon your reading? That God assigned specific roles does not imply that one is better than another unless we have specific ideas about what kinds of things are "better" than another. Our ideas about what qualities are "better" or "worse" may be wrong. For example, the idea that "following" carries some kind of negative connotation is odd to me: a leader can do little if anything without those who follow; in fact, a leader by him/herself is virtually ineffective in getting anything done. I'm only using this as an example because you picked these terms.

    The actual term to describe Eve in Genesis is the term ezer kenegdo, which (according to Hebrew scholar Robert Alter) in only used 20 other times in the Old Testament and those other 20 times are all references to God Himself. The phrase is very difficult to translate, and most Bibles do a bad job at giving the term its proper intensity, which is reflected in the translation "lifesaver." I'm sorry, I can't see anything negative in those qualifications.
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakiryu View Post
    The Bible being written in ancient times enforces Zoroastrian belief that men are leader and women followers, mean are strong, women are weak. Thus undermining religious women and their self-work.

    Women are men's equals and the Bible its morally wrong in its belief that they are not!
    Very bold of you to say this! and I applaud you for it. I want to read Mary's article, but I have to go bed now, but it seems like the whole "women have to be silent in church" thing is one place where they're not equal. I'll have to look at it more later...

    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    Would you mind pointing out where the Bible indicated that women were "weak?" Where did the Bible indicate that men and women were not equal? And in what way are women men's "equals?" I, for instance, would not claim that men are generally equal to women as nurturing parents; I think women (in general, because there are always exceptions) are superior in terms of compassion, interpersonal communication, nurturing, multitasking, complex thinking, linguistic ability and intuitive knowledge.
    Well, I think you are just spouting it when you say women are 'superior in terms of compassion'. Complex thinking I don't understand, nor any of the others. You would not say this if you were a chess player, hehe. But really, I really really don't get what your views about women are, or how you came to have them. Except for multitasking. But for the others, man, you should just meet some Buddhist monks, I guarantee you. Check out some Dharma teaching by men and women.

    However, I don't want to argue this with you, at least not in really long paragraphs.

  11. #11
    Conqueror of Worlds Bakiryu's Avatar
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    Were in the Bible does it say that women are weak? Everything with negative connotations that happens is usually blamed upon a woman. it's usually hard to find "good women" apart from Mary, M-Magdalene, and Lazarus sisters. For example, who ate the apple and doomed men to original sin? Eve. Who gave away Sampson's secret? Delilah. Then there's Queen Vasti, Jezebel and the list goes on.

    If the bible isn't discriminating against women why aren't there women priests? Or women in church?

    From a feminist point of view the Bible thinks about women as lesser beings!
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    Registered User littlewing53's Avatar
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    bakiryu...there are some incredible women in the bible who have been recognized and named....old and new testament...

    rahab, esther, deborah, ruth, sarah...and proverbs 31...and...there's more Hannah, Elizabeth, Eunice....Tabitha...Priscilla...

    ...just to name a few...who stood in the gap when it was required....

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryLupin
    "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5: but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head -- it is the same as if her head were shaven.
    Interesting statement about men who cover their heads while praying. Identity crisis in a Gentile world?

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    Conqueror of Worlds Bakiryu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlewing53 View Post
    bakiryu...there are some incredible women in the bible who have been recognized and named....old and new testament...

    rahab, esther, deborah, ruth, sarah...and proverbs 31...and...there's more Hannah, Elizabeth, Eunice....Tabitha...Priscilla...

    ...just to name a few...who stood in the gap when it was required....

    Now, how many of those women were priestess?

    Esther just married a king, I admit she saved the jews but in the end, who knows what happened to her (and remember Vasti.) Ruth married this guy boz and was an obedient girl.

    What other qualities have these women to recomend them?

    God is reffered to as HE. How does anyone know if god's male if they haven't seen HIm? Jesus is male too!

    Are there no women in heaven then? does anyone care?
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  15. #15
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakiryu View Post
    Were in the Bible does it say that women are weak? Everything with negative connotations that happens is usually blamed upon a woman. it's usually hard to find "good women" apart from Mary, M-Magdalene, and Lazarus sisters. For example, who ate the apple and doomed men to original sin? Eve. Who gave away Sampson's secret? Delilah. Then there's Queen Vasti, Jezebel and the list goes on.
    That's quite an unsubstantiated generalization you begin with: "Everything with negative connotations that happens is usually blamed upon a woman." Not only is it a sweeping generalization, it's unprovable largely due to lack of evidence. There are plenty of good women in the Bible (and lots of less than admirable men, by the way).

    Eve was deceived, that is true - but Adam's sin (rebellion, because he knew better) is the worse of the two.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bakiryu View Post
    If the bible isn't discriminating against women why aren't there women priests? Or women in church?
    Now you're changing arguments; your original comment was about "weakness" and you've not proven your point yet. Women are "in church" - I see them every week when I go. As far as the female priest thing - I'm not sure what that is about. Just because the postmodern hyper-politically-correct 21st century believes that all roles should be equally held by both genders doesn't necessarily mean that we're correct. It may be less an issue of capability than of appropriateness - but since I'm not clear on the biblical injunction against female priests, I will refrain from pursuing that line of thought and stay with your orignial point that the Bible portrays women as weak. Once again, that is untrue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bakiryu View Post
    From a feminist point of view the Bible thinks about women as lesser beings!
    You've yet to establish with textual examples the truth of this statement. It is true that the culture represented in the Bible did not treat women well, but that is not a reflection of God so much as the culture that produced the book.

    The "feminist point of view" by the way is just that: a point of view. It is no more objectively correct than any other "point of view" out there (though it is politically correct to believe that it is).
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

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