Studies on Specific Passages | CBE International

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Studies on Specific Passages

This is the last article in a three-part series on two passages that converge within the scriptural discussion around the role of women: the creation account (Genesis 1-2) and some of the words given to Timothy as he led the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 2). See Part 1 and Part 2. For sake of those just coming to the series, my argument is that, while complementarians contend that their understanding of men and women’s roles is established from “the original creation order,” the beginning chapters of Genesis do not support their view. Rather, they have taken their own particular perspective on male headship, read 1 Timothy 2 in light of that view, and stamped it as God’s original intention by reading that interpretation back into the creation account. Howeve... Read more
This is Part 2 in a series on 1 Timothy 2 and Genesis 1 and 2. Catch up on Part 1.  In my last article, "From Timothy to Creation: Part 1," I presented not just a faulty theological argument within the complementarian view, but also a faulty starting point for their theology. While they contend that their understanding of men and women’s roles is established within “the original creation order,” it appears that a particular perspective on 1 Timothy 2 is being imported back into the creation story. Hence, I’m taking time to examine the creation account of Genesis 1 and 2. I previously established that Genesis 1 shows the mutual togetherness (or equality) of man and woman. Both were true eikons, or icons/images, of the one true God. Both were s... Read more
For years, the Proverbs 31 woman has been held over the heads of women in the church, a caricature of singular perfection—making them feel inadequate and less than holy. “Look at all the things this woman does!” books and Bible teachers remind women. “Why can’t you do those things, too?” they ask. Many Christian women have been hurt and diminished by stereotype-driven, culture-biased presentations of the Proverbs 31 figure. Is it any wonder, then, that many women have come to dislike this chapter so much? I believe, however, that it is possible to go beyond the stereotypes and impossible standards of "biblical" womanhood to redeem the truth of this passage—without adding an additional burden onto women’s shoulders. "An excel... Read more
As in all of history, people today are searching for their unique identities. The great quest of life is often driven by the question: who are you, from which one asks—what therefore must I do? Learning what makes you, you, is a quest that requires great courage, fortitude, and most of all, attentiveness. Yet, too often, identity is linked exclusively to ethnicity, gender, nationality, age, and education. These social categories were very much a part of the order of the ancient world and they had a direct impact on religious life—barring many from participating in social and spiritual activities. This was a reality of the world prior to the work of Jesus. However, the gospel offers a different picture of human identity through our rebirth in Christ, lived out practically in... Read more
Elizabeth Staszak
Celebrating the ascension of Christ means celebrating his lessons, his teachings. Demonstrably, Christ gives us a cultural lesson found in the Gospel of John. It is a lesson in proper grieving, with Jesus responding to a sorrowful situation with a typically “feminine” attribute (a strong emotional reaction) and a typically male attribute (a show of power). The attributes are not mutually exclusive to one gender. Jesus mourns with Mary and Martha over the death of their brother and his friend Lazarus before raising him from the dead. This example is relevant today because Western culture allows for very strict definitions of what is considered appropriate displays of emotion from both sexes, but more emphatically, how males are allowed to show grief.   Emotional mourning... Read more
I grew up hearing the Bible stories surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. Of doubting Thomas, and the Emmaus road encounter. Of the final ascension. I remember the women—Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome—who discovered the empty tomb while delivering spices to Jesus’ grave (Mark 16:1-8). And the fact that Jesus first revealed himself to Mary, a woman, was constantly emphasized my wonderful mom. It showed that Jesus was different. And it meant something to our treatment of women in leadership. I remember those thoughts being ingrained in my head from the age of nine. I had years of Bible stories behind me at this point. But that wasn’t all—my family, along with a few others, had recently separated from our church over the issue that wo... Read more
Paul Hjellming
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever." (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV). As we look toward this holiday season I think it's important to remember what Christmas is pointing to. It's easy to allow the Christmas season to become the center of our religious calendar instead of viewing it in its proper context: a marker of the truths of Easter, the resurrection of the body and t... Read more
1.  Does the order in which they are created establish man’s priority over woman? Nothing in Genesis teaches that creation order establishes man’s priority over woman. God created the plants and animals before man, yet to whom did God give dominion? Was it not the one created later? In fact, the leadership of the one born later is a major Old Testament theme: Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Judah over his older brothers, Moses over Aaron, David over his brothers, and so on. The Genesis account of creation teaches not hierarchy, but that both man and woman together have dominion over the earth. God created man and woman equally in his image. This equality is not limited to spiritual standing before God, but includes shared authority over the earth. Contrary to the m... Read more
Judy Douglass
[Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Judy's blog on 12/1/2014. Reposted with permission.] I get asked the same question everywhere I go. Whether I am in India, Mali, Indonesia, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Hungary,  the U.S., it’s basically the same question: Who am I and why am I here? More specifically: What is God’s purpose for me as a woman? At transition points in our lives, when we feel dissatisfied or confused about our lives, when we have dreams that seem beyond our reach, and at many other times, we wonder who we are and what our purpose is. God has answers.  And for women these answers include specifcs for all women and for each woman.  Here is just a summary of those truths—the discovery and living out will be... Read more
When I attended Bible college in the 1970s, most of my teachers were former pastors. That meant much of their teaching was based on their seminary notes, illustrated by their own pastoral experience. One teacher in particular enjoyed puns based on proper names. Once he referred to two characters in Philippians 4:2, Euodia and Syntyche, as “Odious” and “Stinky” because their fighting and gossiping was a threat to their church. He was reading the biblical text with blinders on. Much as physical blinders on a horse limit their range of vision, so metaphorical blinders can limit our ability to see what the text in its fullness. We can be blinded by our preconceptions and biases, by what we expect the text must say, so that we fail to see what the text truly says.... Read more