Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Having admitted that I do not totally understand Paul's writings concerning women, nevertheless, I recognize his writings as Scripture, and reluctantly submit to his prohibitions (2 Pet. 3:15-16). When one thinks about it, the Holy Spirit inspired his writing, so in effect, I am submitting to the Lord (2 Tim. 3:16). Perhaps we can glean something from Paul's interaction with women during his ministry.

The first woman recorded to have been in conversation with Paul was Lydia. What little we know about her is found in Acts 16:11-15, 40. Since she was from the Macedonian city of Thyatira, in all likelihood, she was originally a Gentile (14). Another clue is that she was named after a Gentile nation (Jer. 46:9; Ezek. 30:5). Whether or not she had become a Jewess is not stated, but we are told she worshiped God (14), which leads me to believe she had; also, they were meeting on the Sabbath (13). There is no mention of a husband, so her business as a seller of purple apparently sustained "her household" which may have included children and servants. As Paul preached to the group of women assembled (13), the Lord opened her heart. It is interesting, in light of Paul's view of women that he would sit and teach a group of them. Lydia and her household accepted the Gospel as truth, and were baptized (14). Her gratitude was immediately expressed by her invitation to Paul and his companions to come abide at her home (15). Following Paul's release from jail, he returned to her house to comfort her and her brethren (40).

The reason Paul had been thrown into jail was because of the second recorded contact he had with women. A young slave girl, being demon possessed, recognized Paul and his companions as servants of God who were bringing the Gospel (cp. Matt. 8:28-34; Acts 16:16-24). Her masters, seeing that their lucrative "business" of her telling fortunes was gone, had Paul and his companions arrested. Note that there is no mention of her becoming a Christian, and that her status as a slave did not change (19). It would be nice if we knew she had been saved. This incident did provide us with a glimpse of a demon recognizing Paul as being a servant of the Most High God. It is strange that a woman in Satan's grip could see the truth, but men could not. Very sad!

The third woman named was Damaris (Acts 17:16-34). Paul preached in the synagogue and then on Mar's Hill in Athens (17, 22). A group of philosophers and Stoics, who loved to debate (21), listened as Paul presented the Gospel of Christ, some wanting him to continue on the morrow, and some already believing (32-34). Damaris was one of those who believed. Was Damaris a philosopher or a stoic? Again, it would have been nice to know more about her, but the Book of Acts is a book of the acts of the Apostles, not their converts. Speaking of the morrow, I will continue this then, Lord willing.

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