Sexism in the Bible?

Introduction

The claim is often made that the Bible is sexist and that Christianity
demeans women and makes them into

second class citizens. While I do agree that sexism exists in Christian
churches and that portions of scripture have been used to

perpetuate sexism, the Bible does not condone discrimination in any manner.
Men have cited verses about submission of

women to keep believing women "in their place.” Get out your Bibles
and let\'s see what the Bible really says about women,

submission, and equality.

Created in the image of God

Most people know that the Bible says God created man in His own image.
However, many do not know that "man" includes both males and females.
Both males and females are created in the image of God:

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

This verse implies that the "image of God" encompasses traits found
in both males and females and that the physical sexual differences between the
sexes are not important characteristics in terms of how mankind was created in
God\'s image.

Women as just helpers?

The story of women in the Bible begins in Genesis 2, where God says that it
is not good that man should be alone.2 So God made a woman as a "helper
suitable for him.” Some would say that making woman as a "helper" is
sexist. The Hebrew word translated "helper" is ezer, which occurs 21
times in the Old Testament. In 2 instances in Genesis, ezer refers to the woman
Eve. In 16 of the other 19 instances the word is used to describe God Himself! 3
Obviously, the term cannot be said to represent some sort of subservient role.
An interesting sidelight to the phrase "helper suitable for him" is
that the translation "suitable" is not the most common translation for
the Hebrew word. In fact, the most common translation is "opposite."
Anyone who is married knows that their spouse is often completely opposite from
themselves.

Women in the Bible - not just mommies

The women described in the Bible are not always homemakers and mothers.
Obviously, the biological function of women is to produce and care for children.
However, Deborah was both a judge and leader of Israel.

4 Other women were involved in ridding Israel of her enemies.

5 Quite a number of women are described as being prophetesses.

6 Other women in the Bible were involved in teaching the Word of God

7 or serving as deaconesses in the early Christian church.8

There are a number of other very strong women of faith described in the
Bible. In fact, two books of the Bible are specifically

about women, as indicated by their titles, "Ruth" and "Esther.”
Ruth is the story of the compassion and redemption of the

gentile woman, Ruth. Naomi, Ruth\'s mother-in-law, fell into the unfortunate
circumstances of losing both her husband and her

two sons, one of whom was Ruth\'s husband. With nobody to provide for her and
Naomi being "too old" to be remarried, she

chose to go to Israel, where the laws and traditions required the Israelites
to take care of widows, even if they were strangers.

One of Naomi\'s daughter-in-laws chose to stay in the land in order to find
another husband. But Ruth chose to go with her

mother-in-law, even though this meant that she would probably never be
married. However, Ruth was "redeemed" by Boaz,

who married her despite the fact that she was a gentile. The line of Ruth and
Boaz led directly to King David, and, of course,

eventually to the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

The book of Esther is the story of the rise of a young Jewish woman who found
favor9 in the eyes of the Persian king,

Ahasuerus (Xerxes), and became the queen of Persia. The former queen, Vashti,
had refused to appear before the court when

called by the king, and had been removed from the royal position. The king\'s
Prime Minister, Haman hated the Jews and

sought to destroy all of them through a plot of getting the king to
unsuspectingly sign a decree calling for their execution.

However, through the actions of the righteous Jew Mordecai, and the bravery
of Esther in confronting the king, the decree was

revoked and the conspirator, Haman, hanged. The Bible says that Esther had
"come to royal position for such a time as this"10

- destined by God to save the Jews.

Other strong women of the Bible included Sarah, the wife of Abraham, who was
preserved by the Lord despite the cowardly

actions of Abraham in saying that she was his