Biblical gender roles is a hotly debated topic.Some people regard the Bible as misogynic because of it. Others completely deny that the Bible teaches different roles for the genders at all. Objectively, what is the Biblical base for gender roles and how should it be viewed? The first and foundational verse on the topic is this:
Gen 2:18 – And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he, according to some at least, testifies how this should color gender roles:
1 Corinthians 11:9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man :11 Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord :12 For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God.
Gen 2:18 and 1 Cor. 11: 9 are often quoted by complimentarians and deserve attention. If God made women to be a help meet, what should women be and do? If God did not make man to be a help meet, what should men not do? We can answer that by looking at the word translated as helper. The word translated as help is ezer. What kind of help is implied in that word? Well, the word ezer is used 21 times in the old testament.
->Twice, it refers to women.
->18 Times, it refers to God
-> Once, it says a weak nation cannot be a helper.
When God is a ezer(helper), He is a rescuer, He is help you cannot do without. God is not a helper as the office cleaner is a helper to the office staff, but a helper as a lifeguard is a helper to a drowning man. When a weak nation cannot help, it does not mean that they are incapable of carrying your water or chopping your wood. It means that they are not of much use politically, they cannot rescue anyone.
Right after the word ezer, the Hebrew use kenegdo, That means opposite or on eye level with. The women is not an inferior or superrior, but on his height.
Now, for you to think and pray over:
1. Does Genesis 2:18 mean that women as a gender, were created by God to be rescuers to men as a gender, or that wifes were created to be rescuers of their own husbands? Do a women have to rescue only her husband, or most men she meet?
2. 1 Cor. 11:9, 11 and 12 uses words that could be translated as “man” and “woman,” or as “husband” and “wife.” Why do translaters choose to use “man” and “woman” in English?
3. Would it be correct to read female inferiority into the role of rescuer/ helper? And into being made for another?
4. In practical terms, what could a woman do to be a rescuer as God intended?
5. Gender roles work both ways. In practical terms,what should a man not do, if he was not made to be a rescuer of his wife?
Please leave comments on how you, or your Bible study group, Biblically answers any of these questions.