When I was a little girl I remember singing at the top of my lungs, "The B-I-B-L-E, Yes That's The Book For Me..." Growing up with a father who was very much pro-women in both worth and authority, I believed that God the Father and His Word truly were FOR me. As a result, I sat wide-eyed on the front pew and listened as my preacher father shared from the good book.
I loved watching my dad preach. I thought every joke he made was hysterical and everything he taught was unflawed. Little girls get a bit obsessed with their daddies. We take their words in; we let them soak deep within our souls, and then we sort through all the imperfect words they spoke over us later. All earthly fathers are flawed so it does not matter if your dad was FOR you or not; what matters is that "God the father" is for you and so is His Word.
There are two things every woman must understand before reading the Bible. One, the Bible was not written in a vacuum. As author Carolyn Custis James puts it, “Patriarchy is not the Bible’s message. Patriarchy is the backdrop to the Bible’s message.” Patriarchy is a result of the fall of mankind (Genesis 3:16) and Jesus came to earth to set us free from the consequences of the fall.
Two, God is not a man and men are not God. Although we refer to God as "father" and often use male-pronouns when describing Him, God is genderless. "Father" is a metaphor used by Bible authors to help us understand God's love for us. In fact, God is also described as "mother" in the Word of God.
God: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” -Isaiah 66:13
This verse is just one of many examples of God figuratively being compared to a woman. The truth is that
women are full image bearers of God. Some Christians would like to pretend that men reflect God more than women do because Jesus was male when He walked the earth, but there is no evidence that Jesus was male before coming to earth, as a person within the godhead (the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit). There is also no biblical evidence that Jesus' "glorified body" is eternally male. Some find this statement audacious, but the point is that the godhead does not take after male or female. Men and women take after the godhead.
“Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them.” -Genesis 1:27
When I was 18-years-old, I ran off to Bible school to pursue ministry. I knew at 13-years-old that God had called me to be a minister and I had no idea that some Christians believed women should not be ministers. I was approached by some of the "cool guys." They asked me if I would sit down with them and have a mini Bible study. They showed me Bible scriptures that seemed to disqualify women from being ministers and teaching God's Word.
For the first time in my life, the Bible left a sour taste in my mouth. "Why did God tell me to pursue ministry if His Word tells me not even to speak in church (1 Tim. 2:12)?" As I searched more I truly wondered if the Apostle Paul hated women. Was my call from God all a figment of my imagination, I wondered. Why were both boys and girls interested in what I had to say about God as a teenager and why are both men and women interested in my teachings as an adult if I am not supposed to be teaching or preaching to men?
Jesus said, "A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit (Luke 6:43)." If my ministry calling was bad, then why was it producing good fruit? Why were people giving their hearts to Jesus for the first time? Why were people learning more about the Bible? If my calling is a sin, why is it causing less sin? I asked myself, what about all the women who led both men and women in the Bible: Judge Deborah, Apostle Junia, Deacon Phoebe, etc...
The truth of the matter was and is that the Bible must be read in proper context, and there are many female leaders honored by God in both the Old and New Testaments. At 31-years-old, I now read the Bible without a sour taste whatsoever, I know that the Apostle Paul sought to raise women up as equals, and I am sure that the B-I-B-L-E is the book FOR me!
Jory Micah Peterson was born and raised just outside Pittsburgh, PA where she now resides with her husband, Luke and their pet chihuahua, Noella. She holds an AA from Christ for the Nations Bible Institute in Practical Theology, a BS from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Church Ministries, and an MA from Regent University in Christian Doctrine and History. Jory is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker who is passionate about seeing women become all that God has called them to be in the Christian Church. She is currently working on her first book and blogs about “breaking the glass steeple” at jorymicah.com. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube @jorymicah. She can be found on Facebook at “Jory Micah Ministries.”
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