Women & the Church (Conclusion)

Anyone who thinks Paul is always easy to understand is fooling themselves. Even Peter acknowledges within the Bible that Paul can be a bit confusing sometimes.

count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (2 Pe 3:15-16)

In these last few posts, this has all become evident. If we single Paul’s words out, we end up twisting them to say what they actually don’t say within the entire context of all of his works.

We must learn to read the wider context and then come to our conclusions. It is not always easy and Paul certainly uses strong language to make it all the more difficult at times; but these are letters written to people—each within their own context and written for different reasons. We are not reading a fluid book of theology, but rather, Paul’s mail. We must read it with the Spirit and do research with the Spirit to understand it more fully.

At the risk of oversimplifying things in a world where hundreds of proposals have been offered to deal with Paul’s view of women, we have reached a conclusion here that is essentially two-fold: (1) Women were not supposed to take on educational teaching roles in Paul’s time because they were not educated and (2) anything else we take from Paul to be sexism is not intended to view women as lesser, but rather to recognize an understanding of order in which, in the end, both man and woman are subjected to God and the same in Christ.

You can read all of the previous posts about Women in the Church in my excursus, “Women in Ministry,” in my book, The Rush and the Rest.

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