Women in the Bible

An article in an Eastern paper says: “Women were not permitted to speak in the early Christian churches. The Bible takes no more account of women generally than the Koran or any other Eastern book.”

Nothing could surprise us more than to read this statement in a paper which ought to know better. Women were not only degraded among Eastern nations, but they are always degraded where Christian civilization is unknown. It is in the diffusive benevolence of Christianity that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28.

And the New Testament is not contrary to the Old, in this respect. Sarah was honored in the promise and birth of a son, as well as Abraham. She was called by name as the mother of “the seed,’’ to the exclusion of all others. Her name was changed as well as that of her husband.

Miriam was honored as well as her brothers, Aaron and Moses. Dr. Smith, in his Bible Dictionary says, “In Micah. 6:4 she is reckoned as amongst the three deliverers. She is the first personage in that household to whom the prophetic gifts are directly ascribed; Miriam the Prophetess, is her acknowledged title,” “judged Israel.” She was also a deliverer in the day of their trouble, as Barak refused to lead the armies of Israel against the Canaanites unless she went with him. And Jael, the wife of Heber, has honorable mention in the song of triumph which they sang. When Josiah repaired the temple, and learned by the book of the law which was found therein that there had been a great departing from the ways of God, and that wrath was like to come upon Israel, they took counsel of “Huldah the prophetess,” and the king and the priest and the king’s officers gave attention to the word of the Lord by her.

In Joel’s prophecy of the present dispensation it was said, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” No promise was given there to the men which was not given also to the “handmaids.” On the day of Pentecost Peter quoted this prophecy without any suppression or diminution, and soon after we find a remarkable fulfillment in the household of Philip, the evangelist, who had four daughters “which did prophesy.” If four sons in any one family ever prophesied we certainly have no record of it.

The number of women of whom honorable mention is made for their labors in the gospel is not small. Now, in view of these facts, how can any man in this age say that the Bible does not notice women, or give them a place in the work of God? The Lord chooses his own worker, and he does not judge as man judges. Man looks at the appearance; God judges the heart, and he never makes mistakes. Happy for the people when they can heartily coincide with His judgment, and be co-workers with him, instead of taking an independent course, and choosing their own way, which is sure to lead to darkness, confusion, and ruin.

The Signs of the Times, October 30, 1879.