In this post, I am going to consider biblical verses that were used against women.
Genesis 2:20 (NKJV): “So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” The Hebrew word for “helper” is “’ezer.” It is used in the Old Testament 19 times. In most cases, it denotes God who helps a human being, for example: Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:7, 29; Psalm 10:14; 33:20; 70:5; 115:9, 10, 11. Only 4 times it denotes a human being who helps another human being. Thus, ‘ezer is a higher one who helps a lower one or an equal one who helps an equal one and never a lower one who helps a higher one. The Hebrew word for “comparable” is “neged” which means “matching” or “equal.” Thus, Eve as a helper for Adam was equal to him.
Genesis 3:16-17 (NKJV): “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all days of your life.” In Hebrew text, the word for pain in verse 16 and for toil is the same. It is ‘etsev. It may mean “hard labor, physical or psychological pain, sorrow.” The word for “rule over” is mashal. However, this word may also mean “similar.” Thus, verses 16 and 17 may be translated: “in pain (‘etsev) you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall be like you are… in toil (‘etsev) shall you eat of it all days of your life.”
1 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV): “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” The word “head” is usually understood as authority. However, in Ephesians 4:15-16 and Colossians 2:19, Christ as the Head of the Church does not rule over it, but supplies it. Thus, headship may be not the matter of authority, but the matter of supply.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (NKJV): “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.” These verses apparently contradict 1 Corinthians 11:5 which allows women to pray and prophesy. One of interpretations of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is that Corinth was a multi-national city. In the church, many women could not follow what was said because they did not know the language well. They were distracted and began to talk with one another, thus making noise. Paul prohibited them to do so and told them to ask their husbands at home if they did not understand what was said. Paul told them to do so because at that time men usually knew languages better their wives who stayed at home.
1 Timothy 2:11-12 (NKJV): “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” Paul wrote this epistle to Timothy who was in Ephesus. This church was filled with false teachings that were spread by some women (1 Timothy 4:7). This is why he forbade women there to teach. This rule was given only to that local situation.
Ephesians 5:22 (NKJV): “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” In Greek, this verse is a continuation of verse 21 (NKJV): “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” In verse 22 in Greek there is no word “submit” and literally these verses should be translated: “submitting to one another in the fear of Christ, wives - to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” These verses teach mutual submission of husbands and wives to one another.
Regarding women’s position in the church, Galatians 3:28 sets an important universal principle: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The early church followed this principle and men and women had the same positions and the same functions in the church.