WOMAN’S GOD-GIVEN VALUE
LESSON 8 OF 8
Paul wrote much inspired scripture, but he sometimes deviated so as to give his personal opinion apart from the Holy Spirit as we shall see in I Corinthians chapter seven.
Paul was totally in line with the social customs of his day. This meant that he had the same sexist ideas of all the other men of his day. They did not value women.
In chapter seven he deals significantly with women and the subject of marriage. However, Paul puts a disclaimer in verse 12 specifically saying that his teaching on the subject is not by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is his words, and his alone. He says, “But to the rest I speak, not the Lord.”
This smacks against the common teaching that every word of the New Testament is the inspired word directly from God. In order to maintain such belief, you would have to call Paul a liar.
Paul says it again a second time in verse 40 where he says, “after my judgment…” He does say then that he thinks that his personal thoughts are in line with Holy Spirit, but it is still “my” thoughts or judgments.
Paul expresses his personal opinion relating to women in the book of I Timothy. There he speaks of women in chapter 2:9-15 in a very disparaging discourse. He criticizes their physical presentation, accuses them of causing sin (v. 14) to come upon us, and says her only true redeeming value (v. 15) is “saved in childbearing.” He further says in verses 11-12, “Let the woman learn (the word) in silence with all subjection (to men) … I suffer (allow) not (for) a woman to teach, nor to usurp (exert) authority over the man, but to be in silence (quiet subjection.)”
This goes contrary to the heart of God whose heart for the equality of woman was seen as God Himself raised up the likes of Deborah, Jael, Esther, the “virtuous” woman (Prov. 31), Lydia, and Golda Meir. That totally defeats Paul’s sexist personal view of women which he allowed to taint his letters.
He continued his personal discriminatory view in I Corinthians 14:34-35 where he again says they are to keep silent in church and never to speak. If they wish to learn anything, they must wait until they get home and ask their husband about it. Paul repeats the criticism of women again in I Timothy 5:11-15.
I believe Paul expressed these restrictions because of the fact that it was the common social view about women and about man’s supremacy over them. Therefore, he would give these instructions so as not to “rock the boat” and cause disputes within the church. He speaks elsewhere of the “liberty” we have in Christ. He might have feared that such “liberty” would see women move in the Holy Spirit and speak out in church these creating a “scene.” If that was his motivation, I can understand that he would wish to avoid creating a scene which goes against the cultural norms.
Nevertheless, Paul clearly did not have the heart of the Father. His Holy Spirit moves on men and women alike.
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