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Friday, January 20 2012

I have spent a great deal of time studying Christian views regarding women in ministry. There are two main views, "egalitarian" and "complementarian." The defenders of both views support their ideas with Scripture. Each side believes that the other is misinterpreting various passages. I have looked at the arguments, and have approached the topic using the interpretation guidelines I was taught.

  1. When reading a passage, consider the context. Who? What? When? Where? and Why? Who wrote the passage? To whom was it written? What was the author dealing with? When was the passage written? Where were the author and recipients when the passage was written? What was their cultural situation? Why was the passage written? (to deal with a problem? to encourage the readers?) As a first look at the social setting for women in the New Testament, read my paper, The Social Status of First Century Women.
  2. Unless there is a reason to do otherwise, the plain and normal meaning of the words should be assumed.
  3. Passages should be understood within the context of the overall topic under discussion, not pulled out of context.
  4. When the meaning of a particular term is uncertain, it is often helpful to look at the word in the original language. Bible translators also have guidelines they follow. However, sometimes there are other words that COULD have been used as the translation of the Hebrew or Greek term. It is sometimes helpful to consider what the passage would mean if one of the alternative terms had been used in the translation.
  5. Although each of us is individually responsible to God, it is often helpful to carefully study the interpretations of others. If a belief is controversial, it is important to understand the various views and to personally search the Scriptures to discern the truth.
  6. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need to let Scripture interpret Scripture. In other words, ask yourself, "What interpretation is consistent with the overall message of the gospel?"

I am going to write a series of blogs on this topic, examining the arguments that have been made on both sides.

Posted by: AT 11:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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