Women are Not the Glory of God

by JosephAlward 40 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Kenneson

    The Prominence of Women in the New Testament

    While there are many models of women of faith in the Old Testament
    (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Meriam, Deborah, Abigail, Rahab, Ruth
    and Naomi, Abigail, etc.), I want to concentrate on the New Testament.

    Anna (Luke 2:36-38)--she was a widow who lived in the Temple for more than 60 years fasting and praying. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple, Anna prophesied that he was the deliverer they had long awaited.

    Elizabeth (Luke 2:5-7, 57-60)--she was the mother of John the Baptist,
    whose work paved the way for Jesus; she also named John. She also blessed Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:42-45)

    Mary (Luke 1:26-31)--mother of Jesus and blessed among all women.

    Jesus flouted the conventions of his day by including women among his disciples (Mk. 15:40-41; Lk. 24:10; Jn. 19:25) His traveling band included a number of women. Joanna was the wife of the chief steward in Herod's court; Salome was the mother of James and John. Mary, the
    wife of Clopas, was the mother of James the Less and of Joses. And
    Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the Resurrection.

    Mary and Martha (see Jn. 11 and Lk. 10:38-42) did not travel with Jesus but were among his closest friends. Their home in Bethany, a few miles southeast of Jerusalem, was a favorite refuge and resting
    place for Jesus.

    Several of Jesus' healings involved women: Simon Peter's mother in law of fever (Luke 4:38-39); a twelve year old girl (Luke 8:41-42, 49-56). He healed a woman with a 12 year infirmity (verses 43-48). And he healed a woman who had been crippled 18 years (Luke 13:10-17)

    Jesus in his parables used women as good examples. The woman who found the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10); the widow who kept going to a judge to obtain justice (Luke 18:1-5); the poor widow who gave two small coins to the temple (Luke 21:1-4)

    Women were there at Pentecost (Acts 1:14) and continued to play a central role in the life of the Christian congregation. Dorcas
    (see Acts 9:36-42) was a seamstress and philanthropist in the city of Joppa. She had a ministry of almsgiving and good deeds.

    Lydia (see Acts 16:14-40) was a tradeswoman in Philippi, a woman of wealth and influence. She was a "dealer in purple color"--a merchant of one of the region's most valuable commodities. She was Paul's first convert at Philippi. She brought her whole household into the new faith and opened her home to Paul and Silas, providing them a place to teach and celebrate the Lord's Supper.

    Paul also converted some reputable Greek women (Acts 17:12; one named Damaris in vs. 34).

    Priscilla shared with her husband Aquila) the office of instruction (Acts 18:26)

    Nympha (Colossians 3:15)--a congregation meets in her house

    Lois and Eunice are responsibile for handing down the faith to
    Timothy (2 Tim. 1:5). At the end of 2 Tim. greetings sent include one to Claudia. Philemon 2 mentions Apphia.

    Romans 16 includes several women: Phoebe, who is a minister of he congregation that is in Cenchreae. Priscilla and Aquila are fellow workers in Christ, with a congregation meeting in their house.
    Greet Mary 9 ( vs. 6), who has performed many labors for you. Greet
    Tryphaena and Tryphosa,(vs. 12) women who have worked hard in the Lord. Greet Persis our beloved one, for she performed many labors in the Lord. See also verses 13 and 15.

    So rather than being insignificant in the New Testament, we see
    that women played a major role.

  • SixofNine

    Kenneson, what's your point?

    The bible would have us believe women are inferior and subservient to men and have us believe God made it that way. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar, and proveably so. I hope you weren't trying to skew the truth?

    'Cause, damn! I hate liars.

  • JosephAlward

    Kenneson believes,

    So rather than being insignificant in the New Testament, we see
    that women played a major role.
    There's no doubt that some women played positive roles in New Testament stories, but we should not exaggerate their importance. Consider Mary, for example, who was on the list of women Kenneson offered:

    After Jesus’ mother had said that he was “out of his mind,” and appeared outside a house to “take charge of him (Mark 3:21),” Mark does not have Jesus invite her inside, nor does Mark have Jesus go outside to greet her. Instead, Mark has Jesus makes it clear to his followers inside the house that he does not regard the woman outside as his mother.

    He explains to his followers what his definition of a “mother” is: A “mother” is whoever does the will of God, (Mark 3:31-35), with the clear implication being that one who didn’t recognize Jesus as the son of God was obviously not in tune with the will of God.

    Thus, Jesus effectively abandons his mother to serve God, thereby setting the example for the readers of Mark’s gospel to follow should their families, too, not believe that Jesus was the son of God. Thus, almost two thousand years before the practice of shunning of unbelieving family members was put into practice by Jehovah's Witnesses, the precedence for this behavior was established by Jesus himself.

    Surely we cannot claim that Luke had a positive view of Mary, can we, if he has her call Jesus crazy, and has Jesus essentially disown her?

    I won’t try to describe the roles played by all of the other women in the New Testament, but I will try to debunk the notion that any women were Jesus’ disciples. I will post here excerpts from my articles

    “Women Are Not the Glory of God,” at http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/women_in_the_bible.html

    and “Women May Not Teach Men,” at

    When reminded that even Jesus appointed no women apostles, feminists assert that Jesus was concerned that if he had done so, people would discount his message, that accepting women as apostles would be a cultural change too radical --too revolutionary--for people to accept, and that they would have turned away from Jesus and his message. That's preposterous, given the fact that Jesus' activities and teaching were already so revolutionary; who would worry about the women helping Jesus?

    Furthermore, Jesus as the son of an omnipotent God had the power to do whatever he wanted, and that included making anyone accept as truth anything he wanted them to believe; if Jesus had appointed women as apostles, he would have found a way to make a woman apostle acceptable to the people to whom he preached, that's a certainty. Bruce Waltke makes a similar point in his article,"The Role of Women in Worship in the Old Testament":

    Jesus...was a revolutionary in his age own with regard to the role of women in worship...[but he] confirmed the Old Testament patriarchy by not appointing a woman as an apostle, though women followed him, ministered to him, and were his close friends. It is nonsense to argue that the counter-cultural Jesus appointed only male apostles because he was culturally conditioned. Is it not plausible to think that had he intended to empower women to have equality with men in leadership he would have called a woman to be an apostle, either before or after the resurrection?
    Paul evidently never gave a thought to the notion that women could be bishops:

    A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach (1 Timothy 3:2)
    If women were allowed to be bishops in the first century church, then where is to be found a parallel statement about women, stating that they must likewise be blameless and the wife of one husband? There isn't such a statement. If the Bible writers wanted us to know that women could be bishops in the church, they would have know that readers would wonder why they didn't say that the wife as bishop must only have one husband, and likewise be vigilant, sober and of good behavior. The absence of such a statement is strong indication that women as bishops was unthinkable.

    This evidence, when placed alongside all the other evidence, makes it obvious that Gods' message to us is that women are not to teach men. Naturally, this doesn't deter those who practice a kind of Biblical "analysis" known as evangelical feminism, who the evidence shows are teachers of false teaching.

    The liberal response to this is to point to Jesus' statement, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). They say that even though there's no reference to women hating her husband, nobody believes that the Bible teaches that women cannot be a disciple of Christ. Therefore, they argue, if the statement in Luke must not be interpreted to mean that women cannot be disciples, why should we interpret the statement in Timothy to mean that women cannot be bishops?

    This argument is easily rebutted: no matter how much one might wish for it to be true, it's simply not true that the Bible teaches that Jesus had women disciples. The word disciple [mathetes] is used 268 times in the New Testament, and not once does the word clearly refer to a woman. And, of all the women one would think Jesus would accept as a disciple, one would have to count the women who went to the tomb to minister to Jesus; who else in the Bible were of greater help to him? Yet, these women are never referred to as disciples, and it's clear that the angel who spoke to some of them didn't consider them disciples at all; the angel tells the women to "go tell his disciples" (Mark 16:7) what had happened to Jesus. If the Bible writers wanted us to know that these women were disciples, they would have had the angel say, "Go tell the other disciples."

    Thus, we see that as much as many Christians would like to believe that Jesus had women disciples, it simply is not true.

    Joseph F. Alward
    "Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"


  • JosephAlward

    The Bible says that moral and righteous (upright) men are hard to find, but it's even harder--if not impossible--to find such a woman:

    I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare. "Look," says the Teacher, "this is what I have discovered: "Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things--while I was still searching but not finding-- I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all." (Ecclesiastes 7:24-28 NIV)
    If you believe that whatever is taught in the Bible comes from God, then you have to believe that God teaches that righteous women are harder to find than righteous men.

    You can believe that women are just as righteous as men, or you can believe that the Bible is the word of God, but you cannot believe both.

    Joseph F. Alward
    "Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"


  • FreePeace

    Hey Joseph,

    I love your stuff man! I too take great exception with the Biblical perspective about women being inferior or subject to men.

    Men and women are equals. No man or woman has the right to control another man or woman. Even though I never believed it fully, I got rid of whatever was left of that headship/subjection mindset several years ago.

    In my opinion, the Bible is nothing more than a pile of horseshit with a few chocholate chips sprinkled on top (and the chocholate chips can be argued).

    "The World is my country, and to do good, my religion." --Thomas Paine
    TruthQuest: http://beam.to/truthquest
    Who Am I? -How to Reinvent Yourself After Leaving the WTS

  • SYN

    FreePeace: I agree 100%, except that I think men and women are not equal, but complementary. Women can do things men can't and visa versa (SP?). But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be treated equally, and with respect from both sides.

    Seven006: "Have you tried drugs? Shooting up a little heroin might do the trick, it's hard to type when your stoned out of your mind. I don't know how TR does it!"

  • Kenneson

    Joseph writes: "After Jesus' mother had said that he was 'out of his mind,' and appeared outside a house to 'take charge of him' (Mark 3:21), Mark does not have Jesus invite her inside, nor does Mark have Jesus go outside to greet her. Instead, Mark has Jesus make it clear to his followers inside the house that he does not regard the woman outside his mother."

    Now how do you determine from Mark 3:21 that Mary was one of the relatives who thought Jesus crazy? They are not identified. Then
    it goes on to speak of the scribes who had also come thought he
    was possessed. Finally, in vs. 31 "His mother and his brothers
    arrived." Now when Jesus asked: "Who are my mother and my brothers"
    was he denying that Mary was his mother filialy? Or is he showing that doing God's will (vs. 35) is more important in the kingdom?
    Moreover, was Jesus even of the opinion that his mother didn't believe in him? Other passages in Scripture would not agree with
    that. Luke 1:30- 32, for example, has the angel tell Mary that Jesus "will be great and will be called Son of the Most High."
    Vs. 38 has Mary say: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." And Elizabeth tells Mary:
    "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." Where is there any indication in Scripture that Mary did not do the will of God? "...whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." Mary did the will of God. Jesus was not rejecting her, but broadening the concept of family to a spiritual one. John 19:25-27 indicates that when Jesus is about to be crucified he entrusts his mother into the care of his disciple John, telling him "Behold your mother." And Acts 1:14 has Mary
    and Jesus' brothers there in the first community of believers in

  • Kenneson

    I don't hold to the opinion of those who see "subordination" in
    Paul (Eph. 5:22) as connoting inferiority. It is not a term of ruler and ruled or leader and led, but of mutual service in love. Unfortunately the word carries a bad rap. It conjures up image of doormat passiviy and domineering authority. But in order to understand the meaning we must look at Jesus' relationship to the Father. Jesus is anything but passive. In fact, the relationship of the Father and Son is characterized by a mutual outpouring of love--the Father loving the Son, the Son loving the Father and the Holy Spirit bursting forth from that love. Far from holding back, the Father gives everything to the Son and the Son returns everything to the Father. This is hardly an oppressive, demeaning model, but one of total freedom, and total dignity.

    It is in the context of this freedom and dignity that all believers are called to subordinate themselves first of all to Christ (vs. 21)
    Before Paul even begins to talk about marriage, he locates man and woman as co-equals in the body of Christ. Here, he is speaking to the whole body of believers. We are called to subordinate ourselves to one another--to pour out our lives in mutual love and service.

    Marriage, then becomes one instance, one expression, of this mutual
    subordination. Paul is not trumpeting a man's rights over a woman's; on the contrary, he is presenting an incredibly profound Christological view of marriage. By using the term subordination, he purposefully evokes the self-giving love of the Father-Son-Holy Spirit
    as our model of relating.

    We can see these thoughts developed further in the verses that follow. Paul exhorts husbands to love (agape) their wives as Christ loved the Church. God as the head of Christ, Christ as the head of man and the Church (Eph. 1:22-23 & Col. 1:18) and man as the head of woman
    doesn't denigrate anyone. One who leads should do so by word and
    example, by caring and loving not by being bossy and mean.

    In Luke 22:24-27 we are told that the kings of the Gentiles lord it over their subjects, but it is not to be so among his followers.
    True leaders serve and are not themselves served by others.

  • SYN

    So Kenneson, which part of the Bible do you believe in? The Old or the New Testament? I don't think I need to remind you that only a single book in the Bible was "supposedly" written by "Esther".

    And that the Bible says "God is a man".

    Good luck explaining those away.

    Seven006: "Have you tried drugs? Shooting up a little heroin might do the trick, it's hard to type when your stoned out of your mind. I don't know how TR does it!"

  • Kenneson

    Don't forget two other books about women--Ruth and Judith.

    I accept the Old Testament as well, but this thread began with
    quotes from the New Testament, so I am concentrating on those first.

    Yes, God is depicted as a male in Scripture. So I can only go by that. Had God been depicted
    as a female, I would have no problem with that either. Instead of talking about Father I would speak about Mother. But then I guess
    men would then feel inferior?

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