Essay: The Bible is Not Misogynistic

 

As some may know, I have been taking an online class at edx.org on How To Write An Essay. This is my final draft. The grading criteria and my score is after the essay. The essay was written following MLA guidelines, but the formatting did not carry over when I copied and pasted.

The Bible is Not Misogynistic

With the unprecedented event of not just one, but two viable female candidates running for president of the United States, the claims made by feminists that Biblical values are misogynistic and must be discarded are becoming more strident. Conversely, others are trying to use the Bible to claim that a woman is a lesser vessel and is unfit to lead. Neither of these extremes is in fact accurate. In many places in both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible does speak of the woman as holding a special place in the community and in the home. She is to be treated well and with honor. The Biblical standard, when properly interpreted and applied, delineates a woman’s status as help meet and beloved partner, respected community leader and business woman, and teacher and trainer of those younger in the faith in the truths of Scripture.

In Genesis chapters one and two, we have the creation account, with chapter two expanding a bit on the bare bones account given in the previous chapter. In verses 18-24, we see God deciding that it was “not good” (King James Version, Gen. 2:18) for Adam to be alone. To mark to Adam how singular he was amongst all of creation, God brought forth all of the animals and had Adam name them. From them all, even man’s purported ‘best friend’, the dog, not a help ‘meet’ or from the Hebrew “such as was suitable” was found for him (“Help meet”, p. 468). So God created Eve from Adam’s side. The Hebrew reads that Eve was called ‘ishah’, woman, for she was taken from ‘ish’, man (Scofield, Gen 2:23, note f).  Verse 24 speaks of the man and woman joining in marriage to become ‘one flesh’. This is a binding, like the grafting of a bud onto a branch. The word ‘cleave’ has as early as 888 A.D. been used to mean “adhere to, be attached to”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (p.485). In Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, and 33, the husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church and as much as he loves his own body. In Colossians 3:19, he is commanded to do this without bitterness.
And what of the husband’s duty? He is to love, and because he loves, not to be harsh or bitter, in word, look, or act. The parallel in Ephesians adds the solemn, elevating thought, that a man’s love to the woman, whom he has made his own, is to be like Christ’s to the Church. Patient and generous, utterly self-forgetting and self-sacrificing, demanding nothing, grudging nothing, giving all, not shrinking from the extreme of suffering and pain and death itself – that he may bless and help – such was the Lord’s love to His bride, such is to be a Christian husband’s love to his wife. That solemn example, which lifts the whole emotion high above mere passion or selfish affection, carries a great lesson too as to the connection between man’s love and woman’s “subjection.” – Expositor’s Bible Commentary
This and other passages do speak of a wife’s submission to her husband’s authority, but it is more submitting to the captain of a team rather than to a slave master. The husband is to be a quarterback, not a dictator.

Of all the women in the Bible that are named as leaders, Deborah the prophetess is the first to spring to mind. She was the third of the ‘judges’ of Israel that led after the passing of Joshua. Deborah’s story is told in Judges chapters four and five. Deborah roused the people of Israel to rebel against Jabin, the King of Hazor, who had oppressed them for twenty years. She called Barak to her palm tree in the desert where people came to hear her judgments and told him to take an army of 10,000 men and attack Jabin’s general, Sisera. Barak refused unless Deborah accompanied his army as well. The Israelites routed Sisera’s iron chariots and Sisera ran. The paean of victory in chapter five gives glory to God and praises Deborah first before giving second billing to Barak, then goes on to credit the actual killing of Sisera to Jael, the woman who drove a tent spike through his head. So much for being unfit to lead. And as for running a business, we see in Proverbs 31, often called the passage describing the ideal woman, whose price is above rubies, the lady is seen buying a plot of land and growing a vineyard (v.16). She makes and sells linen sashes and garments to the merchants in town (v.24). In the New Testament, in Acts 16:14-15 and also verse 40, we see Lydia, a seller of purple, the dye used to make royal garments. She is not listed as the wife or widow of any man, so it is safe to assume she is an independently wealthy business woman with her own household and means of support.

Accepting that with experience comes wisdom, in Titus 2, the older women are exhorted to teach the younger the life skills and deportment that become a godly woman. We see this principle in action in other places as well. In II Timothy 1:5, Paul speaks of Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, giving him instruction in the faith from childhood. In Acts 18:24-26, Priscilla, with her husband, Aquila, after she heard Apollos preach in the temple about the ministry of John the Baptist in proclaiming the coming of the Messiah and the need to repent, took him home with her to “expound unto him the way of God more perfectly.” The couple are also mentioned in I Corinthians 16:19. Paul lists other women as church leaders who ministered to the saints, such as Phebe from the church at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1) and Mary, Tryphena, and Tryphosa at the church there in Rome (Romans 16:6,12).  It should be noted, in I Timothy 2:11, when Paul speaks of a “woman sitting in silence”, he is addressing the specific situation there at Ephesus. The converts there were new in the faith. In context, Paul had just been addressing proper modesty and behavior. The Greek word used, “hesuchia” literally means “in stillness, desisting from bustle or language” (“Hesuchia”, Greek); also “quietness; description of the life of one who stays at home doing his work, and does not officiously meddle in the affairs of others” (“Hesuchia”, Thayer’s). In other words, no hysterical outcries or goings on during the teaching or reading of the Word, maintaining composure, not gossiping. The Bible tells Christians we are at war against “principalities and powers”. How else is one supposed to receive battle instruction?

So one can see, when properly understood, the Bible is not a misogynistic treatise. In the Judeo-Christian ethic, a woman is a life partner, designed by God for mutual support and comfort; a community leader and active in business to support herself and her family; and a teacher of those less experienced in the faith to bring them to a greater understanding of the truths of God’s Word. So those who decry the Bible as anti-woman as well as those who try to twist it to suppress women into slavishly subservient roles are equally mistaken. The Bible teaches that a woman can stand shoulder to shoulder with her brothers in battle, with a different role sometimes, but equal before God.

 

Works Cited

“Cleave.” The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 1981.

“Colossians 3:19.” Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Web. October 10, 2015.

“Help meet.” Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Ed. Merrill F. Unger. Chicago, Moody Press: 1981.

“Hesuchia.” Greek Lexicon. Web. October 11, 2015.

“Hesuchia.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. Web. October 11, 2015.

The New Scofield Reference Bible, Authorized King James Version. Ed. C.I. Scofield. New York, Oxford University Press: 1967.

 ________________________________________________

Grading was a peer review. The class, being online, had over 5,ooo possible reviewers, approximately 85% of them ESL. Below are their scores and comments. Only the peer scores counted toward my grade.

THESIS         

OVERALL GRADE        8       OUT OF              10 POINTS

(The options were: “None” = 0; “Weak” = 5; “Strong” = 10)

  • ASSESSOR: PEER 1

Peer’s Assessment: There is a weak one. 

GRADE EARNED:5 POINTS

  • ASSESSOR: PEER 2

Peer’s Assessment: Strong thesis 

GRADE EARNED:10 POINTS

  • YOUR SELF ASSESSMENT

Your Assessment: Strong thesis 

Additional Comments (3)

  • PEER 1

To disprove a point some examples are not enough, you must take also counterexamples (there are many in the bible) and show they are a minority. Aren’t them?

  • PEER 2

This topic is difficult but interesting, I think with these issues can be many discussions but generally good. Congratulations

  • YOUR ASSESSMENT

The thesis states clearly what the essay is about and what points are to be addressed.

CONTENT

OVERALL GRADE                  5              OUT OF                      10 POINTS

(Options were: “Poor, (Difficult to read, boring)” = 0; “Fair” = 5; “Really Interesting” = 10) No comment section was given.

  • ASSESSOR:  PEER 1

Peer’s Assessment: Fair 

GRADE EARNED: 5 POINTS

  • ASSESSOR: PEER 2

Peer’s Assessment: Fair 

GRADE EARNED: 5 POINTS

  • YOUR SELF ASSESSMENT

Your Assessment: Really interesting! 

GRAMMAR AND WRITING

OVERALL GRADE                      5           OUT OF                  5 POINTS

(Options were: “Poor” = 1; “Fair” = 3; “Good” = 5)

  • ASSESSOR: PEER 1

Peer’s Assessment: Good 

GRADE EARNED: 5 POINTS

  • ASSESSOR: PEER 2

Peer’s Assessment: Good 

GRADE EARNED: 5 POINTS

  • YOUR SELF ASSESSMENT

Your Assessment: Good 

  • Additional Comments (3)

PEER 1

Good work, maybe too much emphasis on looking for examples of good words about women. One can say you’re beautiful to his wife and still beat her…

PEER 2

I do not know much about the Bible and I find it interesting to see how people interpret a book with a lot of power in humanity.

  • YOUR ASSESSMENT

The paper was well-structured and edited carefully.

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