Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Women in the New Testament Summary

Women are critical to the life of the church. Throughout much of church history women have been treated as second-class citizens. This ought not be. When we look in the New Testament we see example after example of women being faithful, obedient servants. This should inform how we treat our sisters in Christ today. Read any of the posts in this series below:

The Church and Its Amazing Women
Women and Gatherings
Mary Magdelene
Mary and Martha
Euodia and Syntyche
Many Other Faithful Ones


Arthur Sido said...

How do you see women being treated as second-class citizens? That is a pretty strong accusation, can you clarify? I would point out that even those who are the most staunch of complementarians would heartily affirm that many of our sisters have been/are "faithful, obedient servants" and that they are precious to church and vital, in fact irreplaceable, in the healthy life of the church.

Eric said...


I wrote "throughout much of church history" because for the most part, as the church gathers, women are relegated to nominal roles. I'm mainly referring to either the Roman Mass or Protestant worship services. In both those settings women are barley allowed to be involved. I'm glad to say that this is much less the case in most simple gatherings.

Aussie John said...


In much of my sixty odd years as a follower of Christ, your words ring true, and still do in certain areas of this country.

I have often observed women who are, as Arthur suggests, being "faithful, obedient servants", but woe-betide anyone who suggests that they might be given any recognition, or stand in the pulpit to give an announcement, much less a Bible reading, or, dare I say it,explain a verse of Scripture, however brief she may be.

They would be publicly applauded for minding the children, providing food,cleaning the building after services, and praying, as long as that was done privately, never publicly.

Eric said...


Very true. Women add immeasurably to the life and vitality of the church. They often get stuck with much of the behind the scenes grunt work as well. And yet it is the males who get to be center stage (literally) every Sunday.

Arthur Sido said...

Eric, since the "grunt work" and not being the center of attention is the very heart of the New Testament model for the life of a disciple, isn't this what women and men alike should be striving for? There seems to be a very traditional church notion that is foundational to these sorts of conversations that if someone is not "teaching" or "leading", then what they are doing is of no value. Our sisters doing the "nominal roles" are being at least as faithful as the men whp are teaching.

Let me ask this. Based on the New Testament, are there any functions in the church and/or family that are exclusive to men?

Eric said...


I write about women being treated as second class from the perspective of how they are often treated in institutional settings. The reason I did that is because most of the church meets that way.

As for what only men should do, I believe only men should teach men the scriptures. However, even this is a bit slippery in light of Priscilla's example. In her case, both she and Aquila were involved with instructing Apollos.

If the church gathers according to the biblical model, with no one seeking to be in charge, then I believe women can be much more involved than they have been in typical gatherings.

I agree with you that the servanthood behind the scenes is of most importance. Too bad many believers ignore this.