Patriarchy and Worth: The Gospel's Challenge to an Ancient System

by J. R. Daniel Kirk | July 25, 2013

Does the idea that men are given leadership over the home or church really mean that men are better? In the ancient world, there was simple answer to this question: Yes. The rule of men, “patriarchy,” was developed in a world where men were seen as superior in those things required for good leadership: gifting, competence, rationality, vision, and strength. We will see how this idea permeated the Roman world—even the Jewish world that the New Testament writers inhabited. The ancient context sheds light on numerous New Testament passages, and also reinforces the importance of looking to our equality in Christ and the gifting of the Spirit as the standards for determining someone’s fitness to lead in the church.