The world has gone quite mad in the whole gender debate. Last week, Serena Williams lost the US Open Finals in part because of unacceptable on-court conduct. When she was docked a game for calling the chair umpire a “thief”, she accused him of sexism. Similar verbal offences by male players, she said, would have been left unpunished. Excuse me? Bad behavior is bad behavior! Period. It doesn’t help women’s cause when star athletes like her justify poor conduct by saying “the men do it too”! Oh yeah? Then, maybe male cleaners should be allowed to clean women toilets because the “women do it too” in male toilets, right? Equality is not equivalence.
What about leadership? Can women lead men? The world thinks so. Some of the top world leaders and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have been women. The Bible had women leaders. In the Old Testament, we read of heroines like Deborah leading and judging Israel. Esther saved the Jewish nation. Huldah the prophetess advised the king (2 Kings 22:14). Miriam led in the celebration of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 15:20-21). Rahab the harlot made it to the great hall of faith (Hebrews 11:31). Similarly, in the New Testament, Jesus had women as part of his team; they ministered to him (Luke 8:2-3). Women led in the early church: think Priscilla who taught Apollos (Acts 18:26) and Junia who was also a woman apostle (Romans 16:7)!
What hinders some churches from accepting women preachers then? The two texts that appear to forbid women from teaching are from Paul’s epistles: 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-35. Knowing that Paul had women leaders in his team (such as Priscilla, Junia, Lydia etc.), we must ask if these passages are absolutes or should they be interpreted in the cultural context of their time? I believe it is the latter approach that is right. Today we begin a new series on women in the bible. May God open our eyes to see the incredible leading roles they played in His Kingdom!
那领导呢？女人可以带领男人吗？现今的社会认为是可以的。有好几位的世界领导者以及位于《财富》世界500强排行榜的公司总裁都是女性。圣经里也有提到女性领导者。在旧约里，我们读到如底波拉一样的女英雄如何带领以色列并且是以色列人民的士师。以斯帖拯救了整个犹太族群、女先知户勒大劝谏大王(列王纪下22:14)、米利暗带领以色列歌颂赞美上帝如何把他们从埃及救出(出埃及记15:20-21)。妓女喇哈因着她的信心得以留名(希伯来书11:31) 。同样的，在新约里耶稣的团队中也包括了女性，她们也参与服事(路加福音8:23) 。在早期的教会里，女性也担当了领导的角色：如教导亚波罗的百基拉，还有身为女先知的犹尼亚安(罗马书16:7)！
Philip Lyn 医生牧师