Women of the Bible | CBE International

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Women of the Bible

At Christmas, we think a lot about the birth of our Lord Jesus. Protestants don’t give much attention to the woman who carried him in her womb and bore disgrace as one conceiving a child out of wedlock. Yet, perhaps we should! Mary was probably in her early teens (Jewish girls married soon after puberty) when she was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her that she would conceive a child, by the Holy Spirit, who would be called the son of the Most High. Mary told the angel that this was impossible since she was a virgin. The angel explained again that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the child would be called the Son of God and that nothing was impossible with God. And then we have one of the bravest statements recorded in the Bible. Mary said, “I am the Lord’... Read more
I have just been browsing a website which promotes roles for women and men as God's ordained will for all time. It showed again the enormous power of words to create impressions and convince people of a point of view. History shows that many strong people convinced others that what they promoted was the 'truth' and consistently it has been done by ridiculing those who have a different way of looking at the same facts. I am not writing this merely to criticise those who made the statements I will reproduce below, but mostly as a reminder to those of us who believe in true biblical equality that how we say things is vitally important. We do not want to have a reputation for gaining ground or new adherants by misrepresenting those who have another opinion. We want to recognis... Read more
"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering" (Mark 5:34, TNIV). "After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and disease...These women were helping to support them out of their own means" (Luke 8:1-2, 3b). Do you wonder why the words and deeds of Christ are not given more attention in the current gender debate? If all of Scripture points to Jesus, and if Jesus’ treatment of women was radically different from his culture, even his religious culture, how do the life and words of Christ inform us today? For clearly Christ not only opposed abuse and patriarchy—the... Read more
The early evangelicals were the first to provide a biblical foundation for women’s leadership in church and society, though many evangelicals today have abandoned the hard-won gains for women’s leadership made by their ancestors. Those who advance women’s liberation and those who would deny it both turn to Scripture for support. It was the Bible that drove the early evangelicals in their work as suffragists, abolitionists, and as missionaries. They were the first to develop a whole-Bible approach to their advocacy of ethnic and gender equality. While some today believe women can lead a country but not a church, the Bible consistently celebrates women like Deborah whose leadership as a judge and also a prophet influenced all of Israel. In fact, Israel refused to go in... Read more
Suppressing the Gospel-leadership of Women: The SBC Kicking Against God’s Will? By Mimi Haddad Just recently more than 100 bookstores controlled by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) removed the recent issue of Gospel Today—a magazine that highlighted the gospel-work of women. Have you ever wondered if the SBC might be “kicking against the goads” in their tireless efforts to censor the obvious fact that God, throughout history, has and continues to gift, call, and bless the gospel-service of women? Removing copies of Gospel Today, as it celebrates women leading the world to Jesus, is like trying to suppress the early apostles! It is a futile effort because it opposes the will of God. Removing Gospel Today from 100 bookstores no more suppresses God... Read more
In my last pastorate, I was invited to hold a monthly service at an assisted living center.  Each time I led this worship gathering and preached, one faithful attendee came armed with her Bible and a frown.  She would sit near the front and, as the service closed and I walked about to greet my white haired "congregants," she always brought me the same admonishment.  "What do you do with the verse that says, 'Women are to keep silent?'" she would ask with a stony face and cold condemnation.  The first few times I spoke with her, I tried to explain about the verse, Greek, punctuation, the cultural context, the whole canon of scripture, (everything in my tool kit!), but I soon found she would have none of it.  So, I simply came to e... Read more
"Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided" (Judg. 4:4-5, TNIV). "Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel" (Judg. 5:7, TNIV). Last week we celebrated the political prominence women enjoy today as a direct extension of the gains earned for women by early evangelicals. The early evangelicals were some of the first to develop a whole-Bible approach in their advocacy of gender and ethnic equality—biblical ideals that propelled their work as suffragists, abolitionists, and evangelists on mis... Read more
“…you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints – be subjects to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer” (1 Cor. 16:15-16, ESV). Here is a pearl lost in a list of greetings. Why a pearl? Because in the Greek text, we observe Paul’s opinion of his coworkers and his desired response from the church they serve. He commends a whole household that has a diakonia or ministry. This same word is used abundantly in Acts and by Paul to describe the apostolic ministry, as well as in all three major spiritual gifts lists in the broader sense of the service of the church (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4). Archippus is also exhorted to pursue his ministry... Read more
Kudos to the people at The Jesus Film Project for their latest release, Magdalena: Released from Shame. I have not yet seen the film, but according to a Christianity Today reviewer, Magdalena “combines footage from the original Jesus film with new material emphasizing Christ’s compassion for women.” Apparently the purpose of the new film is to deliver the essential message of the original film specifically to women, as well as to non-Western cultures in which “honor and shame are more powerful paradigms than guilt and innocence.” The Jesus Film Project website describes the film this way: One woman caught in the scandalous act of adultery; another, rejected and ignored because of her promiscuous... Read more
The other story of Mary and Martha – Martha an example of faith We often hear the wonderful story of Mary, how she choose to listen to Jesus’ teaching rather than do housework like her sister Martha, and how Jesus commends her for her choice. (Luke 10:38-41).  We see Mary as the one who is more mature in the faith and Martha as the one who is less.  But do we ever consider the other story of Mary and Martha?  In John 11, Mary and Martha’s dear brother Lazarus has just died.  Jesus goes to visit them.  In the midst of her grief, Martha greets Jesus with these words.     21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God... Read more

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