2016 Archives

5 Bible Stories that Crash Common Christian Gender Roles

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gender roles blog
I’ve noticed something pretty disheartening within Christian culture. I’ve noticed that there are some really unbiblical “roles” or expectations that people try to force on men and women.

There seems to be this unspoken expectation that “all men are like this” and “women are like this”. But what about the poor men or women who don’t fit neatly within those stereotypes? Well they are left feeling shamed and flawed. I don’t like this at all because most of these “roles” are more tradition than they are biblical. I want to clear things up! Let’s jump right in:

1. Ruth pursued her man Boaz. In fact it was her who proposed to him. See Ruth 3:1-11.

So often we hear the advice passed around, “Women should not pursue a man. It’s a man should initiate a relationship.” “No one like a forward woman.”

Why do we pass this stuff like it’s biblical? It’s just not scriptural at all. Nothing in the Bible says a relationship should be exactly this way or that way.

Just to be clear, I think woman and men should use wisdom in relationships, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be too aggressive or dominating. That’s just sound advice for any gender of person who is considering a dating relationship. Be kind. Be respectful. Be honest. Listen to God. 🙂

2. Men showed passionate emotion.

*David danced half-naked and passionately before the Lord in worship. See 2 Samuel 6.
*Jesus wept. John 11:35.
*The male disciples kissed as a greeting. Romans 16:16, 2 Cor 13:12.
*Men were not afraid to demonstrate physical affection to one another. John 13:25.

In Christian circles, especially in the United States, it is my perception that we over sexualize everything. I think we’ve sort of lost track of what Phileo love is all about. I do however realize that some people are going to be more likely to demonstrate physical affection than others, and we should definitely respect people’s boundaries if someone is not comfortable with hugs or kisses.

It’s not uncommon to hear parents tell there boys, “You’re acting like a little girl!” if they’re crying or upset. The problem with that is that they are programming that boy to believe that males aren’t supposed to show emotion. Not biblical. God has emotion. There’s nothing wrong with crying. Men can and should cry. It’s normal. Some people are more sensitive than others, and that’s ok. Some people rarely cry, some people (like me) cry often, even when they are happy.

It’s about time we stop shaming men for having passionate emotions.

3. Men submitted to women also.

Abraham submitted to Sarah, at God’s command even. See Genesis 21:12. When I first saw this verse it truly made me LOL, especially since so many people use Sarah as an example of a submissive and obedient wife. That’s why I have no problem being like Sarah like 1 Peter 3:5-6 recommends. Clearly Abraham and Sarah had a marriage of mutual submission. Sometimes it was her who submitted, sometimes it was him, as a good marriage should be.

Jesus submitted to his mother when she insisted that He turn water into wine. See John 2:1-11.
Many are shocked when I point this out but why is it so shocking? The reason it’s so shocking is because many teach one way submission as if it’s the only way a marriage should run. The Bible paints a different picture, if you’ll be open to scripture showing you that your former belief system was wrong.

Ephesians 5:21 states that we should submit to one another, which builds a very strong case for mutual submission, even in marriage. Why would God call for mutual submission in general and then somehow when a woman get’s married she ONLY submits to her husband? Makes no sense. Furthermore, nobody anywhere (that I’ve heard of) takes that same skewed logic and tries to apply it to the verse only a few lines below that calls husbands to love their wife as Christ loves the church.

“Oh sorry, I’m a wife. I don’t have to love my husband. The Bible only says that husbands have to love their wife. This isn’t a mutual command.”


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We would say that’s crazy but that’s what the majority of Christians I know do this with the topic of submission.

4. Women were often leaders.

In the book of Acts, scripture says that Priscilla and Aquilla (wait, did the author of Acts not know that a husband’s name isn’t supposed to come second? hmm… maybe it doesn’t matter whose name is first after all. Turns out that’s just another thing we say is the “right way”, but based on what? Patriarchal tradition, that’s what) taught Apollos and gave him a better understanding of the word. See Acts 18:24-26.

Never mind the fact that we have a woman apostle listed in our Bible, and multiple other women leaders. Believe it or not, even Jesus was taught by a woman, his mother. In fact as a grown man we have an example of Him submitting to his mother when He performed the first miracle. He wasn’t willing but Mary respectfully insisted.

Deborah was the equivalent of the president to Israel at one point (Judges 4), and God appointed her that position. Not because there weren’t any Godly men in that day, but because she was God’s woman for the job.

5. There were men with self control over sexual impulse.

Remember Joseph? Jacob’s son? He resisted temptation of a beautiful and powerful woman when he refused Potiphar’s wife.

The Bible teaches that we as believers have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and also that we as humans are capable of self control. In fact, self control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, according to Galatians 5:22-23.

It is disrespectful to men for us to allow the disgusting “boys will be boys” mentality to continue to permeate our culture’s beliefs.

Nope. Sorry. I have a son and the buck stops here. Our men are not animals driven by instincts! They are mighty men of valor and to that we will hold them accountable, with all due honor and respect.

In a nutshell, we’ve gotta stop trying to fit humans into labels and surrender to the fact that God is an amazing Creator who knows what He’s doing when creating diversely beautiful human beings.

This has been fun, don’t you think? Well I hope so! I love studying the Bible. It’s such an amazing book(s) to read and study! To be honest, I could go on and on with these because I didn’t even cover them all. Maybe I need to do a part 2!

The point of this was to show how many common gender role stereotypes that some denominations teach are just not at all biblical. To be honest, I’m pretty sure God is creative enough that there are not just 2 molds that He used to make men and women: All the men are like this, and all the women are like that. That’s nuts!

Some men love babies so they volunteer in the Church nursery to work with the little people. There’s nothing wrong with that or weird about it. Some women never have children and have the gift of singleness. Nothing wrong with that. Some men stay home with their children and care for their home while their wife works an out of the home job. For other families it’s reversed, where mom stays home. As long as these couples are using their gifts to serve God and love one another, who are we to try to act like they are doing something unnatural.

God made people so diverse, so instead of shaming those diversities, let’s celebrate them!

It’s time for us to stop doing hermeneutic gymnastics to try to make manmade gender roles seem biblical.

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