Friday, July 16, 2010


Paul's view of women is very confusing. In one place, he seems to consider women as inferior to men, and in another, he shows the highest regard for "the weaker sex." Anyone who has been married for any length of time probably has quit using the phrase "the weaker sex" due to life experience.

A perfect example of Paul's apparent vacillation is found in his presentation of Priscilla. Priscilla was referred to by Paul six times (Acts 18:2; 18:18; 18:26; Rom. 16:3; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19 where the text called her Prisca). The very fact that she was mention six times and much was said about her part in the ministry, may indicate his enormous respect for her. Biblical authors often used the order in which two related names were listed in their writings to indicate which was to be given more respect. A perfect example is found in Matthew's description of Jesus and His mother on at least four occasions (2:11, 14, 20, 21). One never hears someone say, Sarah and Abraham, Bathsheba and David, Sapphira and Ananias, or Eve and Adam; it is always the male listed first and then the female. However, in the case of Priscilla, Paul clearly was making a statement in his writing concerning her and her husband. Three of the six references to her listed her first (Acts 18:18; Rom. 16:3; 2 Tim. 4:19). She was listed first concerning a trip with Paul (Acts 18:18). She was listed first in commending them as his helpers in the ministry (Rom. 16:3). And she was listed first when Paul told Timothy to "salute" them (2 Tim. 4:19).

Priscilla lived in Corinth with her husband, and Paul stayed with them because Aquila was also a tent maker (Acts 18:2-3). It is not clear, but it is possible that Paul lived with them for eighteen months (Acts 18:11). Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos the Gospel (Acts 18:24-28). While away from their home of Corinth, they possibly rented a house and church assemblies were held there; another interpretation of the verse is that Paul was saluting the church that met in their home in Corinth (1 Cor. 16:19). Either way, church was held in their home somewhere.

Another woman whose name is listed first and who held church in her home was Apphia (Phile. 1:2). Paul wrote of Archippus, Apphia's husband, to remain faithful in the ministry given him, presumably by Paul (Col. 4:17). Because the ministry is mentions only in relation to Archippus, it is possible that Apphia showed hospitality to their guests, just as did Mary and Martha, sisters to Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (Lk. 10:38-44; Jn. 11:1-44). When reading the Luke passage, it is interesting that Lazarus is not mentioned, and that the house belonged to Martha. More on the morrow, Lord willing.

No comments:

Post a Comment