Feminist interpretations of the Bible vary widely. In the guest post below, Amelia provides below 5 ways that the Bible supports feminism. Feel free to comment at the end of the post on your thoughts – Do you think the Bible resists gender stereotypes? Let’s discuss!
Feminist interpretations of the Bible
In biblical stories of creation, God created man in His own Image. Then, He saw Adam looked bored and sad. To make his creation happy, God decided to give the man a companion.
Taking one of Adam’s ribs, God created Eve. With Eve, Adam was truly happy and content. But later, Eve led Adam to sin against God’s will. Adam followed Eve; soon, both Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Mankind had completely fallen.
While there’s an idea that the Bible is inherently anti-feminist, the women in the Bible are rarely passive. While Eve’s story shows her in a negative light, it is still evidence that women had the power to manipulate and make decisions for themselves, even in the ancient Biblical world.
Modern evangelical feminists use the BIble to try to bring their understanding about God’s purpose for women in life and in human relations together. Below, let’s look at 5 supportive arguments of feminism in the Bible as they relatete to modern times.
1. Equality before God
Christians believe that all mankind is equal before God’s eyes. During the creation, God said, “Let us create mankind in our likeness (Gen 1:26)”.
From this creation story, both man and female are unique representations of God’s image. Both men and women are equal, and neither is inherently superior.
Christian feminists believe that mistreating a woman is mishandling Yahweh’s masterpieces. Many men and women still believe that women need to submit to men in certain relationships – like marriage. Ephesians 5:21:33 urges women to be submissive to their husbands just as the church is submissive to Christ.
Many men have used these verses to justify a strict patriarchal system, but feminists still point to them to describe the basics of the union between a man and a woman – a union based on love and respect.
2. Feminism in the Bible: God created women purposefully
In Genesis 2:19-20, God created a woman to help the male counterpart accomplish God’s work. Feminists view Adam as incomplete without a woman.
They also say that the Bible calls the creation “Very Good” only after the creation of a woman. Thus, the verses point to the importance of respecting and honoring women personally and its worth in society, relating it back to the significance of God’s creation. To quote author Dariush Youkhaneh, “women, you are treasures in this world.”
3. Man and woman are a unit to perform essential tasks
After creating a woman, God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful, fill the earth, and take dominion over the land. In these orders, God gave the mantle to both the man and woman as a couple (Gen 1:28).
The order wasn’t given to the man alone; the woman wasn’t an afterthought. Instead, it went to the two of them as a couple. It was the will of the Lord that the two would make each other complete.
From the verse, feminist interpretations of the Bible argue for the importance of viewing men and women as equals. Women, too, have a significant role in society.
4. Jesus and the adulterous woman
Here’s more relating to feminism in the Bible. When the teachers of religious law brought an adulterous woman to Jesus, asking whether they should stone her to death, Jesus defended the woman. He said that only the men without sins of their own could start stoning her.
Silently, the teachers drifted away, unable to do the deed. Jesus had shown that all people are equal; both men and women have sins of their own.
There was no one left to hurt the woman. Then, Jesus forgave her. Feminists use such verses to teach about the sinful nature of all humans.
5. Hope for redemption as it relates to feminism in the Bible
Evangelical feminists hold onto the hope of redemption from the old cultural fights by the spirit of the Lord (Ephesians 2:4-9). Through Jesus, both men’s and women’s sins can be forgiven.
Feminists argue that, after Jesus died on the cross, the old religious order was abolished. This gives modern Christian women a reason to participate in church leadership and worship activities.
Although in Roman Catholic churches, priests are predominantly male, we have seen women lead in various Christian communities. Before God, men and women are equal, former sinners delivered by what Jesus did.
Feminism and the defense of women has grown around the world from the 20th century, and is continuing to gain strength. There remains a huge need for more women to explore feminism in the Bible using the Bible in their defense. Seeing women as equals of men makes sense as God created them equally.
About today’s writer on feminism in the Bible
Amelia Evans is a freelance community manager and writer. Amelia is currently writing on behalf of Be in Health which focuses on personal holistic growth.