As Christians, we view God through a completely different lens than the rest of the world. Nonbelievers portrayed God in many distorted ways, including misogynic (woman-hating), chauvinistic, patriarchal, and sexist. In doing so, they take Scripture completely out of context. Take the accusation of sexism, for example. God is not a sexist. This is not to say that historically the church and some Christian men have not treated women as inferior. Sexist behavior has plagued us for centuries. But God does not consider women inferior to men.
God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us …male and female he made them” (Genesis 1:26-27). Men and women equally share God’s image. The Bible also says that God made women as man’s “helper.” Some say this proves women are to serve. But the Hebrew word translated “helper” is ezer. It denotes one who surrounds, protects, or aids. It is the same word that Jacob used of God when he said, “May the God of your father help you” (Genesis 49:25). Moses used it when he said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper” (Exodus 18:4). Even David used it repeatedly in passages like, “We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20). This is no lowly servant role. It is a lofty role to bring help to one who needs it.
While the New Testament does say that wives are to submit to their husbands, this is by no means oppressive. In fact, Scripture commands that we all submit to one another (see Ephesians 5:21). And finally, throughout Scripture we see that God elevated women to places of authority and godly leadership. A sexist would not do that. Jesus, the Son of God, affirmed the rights of women when he spoke to the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42). He affirmed Mary as she sat at his feet as a disciple. He gave great praise to the women who anointed him before his death (Mark 14:3-9). To Jesus, women were equals in God’s eyes. Relationally God sees no human status difference between male and female.
Question: What roles have women typically held in churches you’ve attended? Did you sense that women were considered inferior to male leaders?
Question: When you read the bible, do you sense that God values women as much as men? What examples can you share?
Content adapted from 77 FAQs about God and the Bible.