“The Bible is so chauvinistic. It has a bad attitude toward women!” This was the reason one of my SBI student’s friends gave them for why they had turned away from their childhood faith. My student wanted some help in countering this criticism of the biblical view of women.
We began to wrestle with this question by stressing again how we must enter the world of the text and allow it to tell us how the author is presenting the characters in the story. You can’t discern how someone, including a key woman character, is being presented by taking only a brief excerpt, divorcing it from its context, and then criticizing what the Bible is supposedly saying.
For example, trace how Luke presents the key woman character in today’s story. Luke begins by introducing a dying twelve-year-old girl. Then he maintains the tension of his narrative by delaying the resolution of this story by telling another story about a woman in desperate need for a miracle.
Read Luke’s words for yourself, ask how Jesus deals with this woman who agonized with a bleeding problem for twelve years, and then come up with your own ideas about whether Luke and the Bible present a low or high view of women.
“When Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed Him for they were all expecting Him. Now a man named Jairus, a synagogue ruler, came and fell at Jesus’ feet begging Him to come to his house because his only daughter, a twelve-year-old, was about to die. While they were slowly making their way toward the house, the crowd pressed Jesus. Now there was a woman who for twelve years had to deal with bleeding. She had spent a great deal, all her resources, on physicians. No one could heal her. Approaching Jesus from behind, she touched the border of His garment. Immediately her bleeding stopped.
Jesus said, ‘Who touched me?’ When everyone denied that they had touched Him, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowd is pressing and pushing on You.’ Jesus went on, ‘Someone touched me; for I know that power went out from me.’ Then the woman seeing that she couldn’t escape notice, trembling came and fell at His feet. Before everyone she explained why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Jesus said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’” Luke 8:40-48
If you’re still not sure how Luke’s narrative, the third Gospel in the New Testament, treats women, then go back to the beginning of his story and consider the role Elizabeth and Mary played in the birth narratives of John and Jesus, then check out how Jesus’ ministry was financed by wealthy women, some of whom traveled with Him and His disciples as they preached the Gospel from city to city, and then remember how Jesus treated the sinful woman who crashed Simon the Pharisee’s party, anointing Jesus and wetting His feet with her tears, then wiping them with her hair. As examples of godliness, faith, persistence, love, and devotion—it’s hard to find male characters who can match these ladies.
LORD, it’s powerful to see that Your Son even in the crush of a crowd was personally sensitive to the touch of this woman with such serious need. Thank you that You never lose sight of the individual and the need for personal touch. Thanks that whether man or woman we can all believe in Your divine power to go out to meet our need.
Note: Today’s Devo gave me a chance to illustrate how Mary and I, through Truth Encounter, are trying to get those who make statements about what the Bible says or doesn’t say to at least read the text carefully in the flow of its story instead of quoting a verse out of context and making judgments against it.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.