Saturday, July 17, 2010


The next woman we will look at for clues about Paul's relationship to women is found in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. Chloe's folks were a bunch of snitches. It was "them of Chloe" that had told Paul about the division in the Church at Corinth (11). Basically, that is all we know about her. The use of the term "brethren" indicates that her siblings or her Christian brothers and sisters were Paul's source. Either way, more than one person "of Chloe" informed Paul, and whoever they were, Paul considered their report accurate. Perhaps Chloe was the owner of a house where church was held, as suggested by the KJV translators who sought to make sense of the verse. This could have been like the case of Martha, with a group meeting at her home for "church" (Lk. 10:38). Paul was so confident in the source of the report that he addressed the problem at the beginning of his epistle.

Another case where Paul had great respect for women is found in the family of Timothy. Timothy had a Jewess mother and a Greek (Gentile) father (Acts 16:1). Apparently his grandmother and his mother had much influence in the family, because Timothy was raised to believe in Christ (2 Tim. 1:5). It is interesting that Timothy, having a Gentile father and being uncircumcised, would be led to Christ by two Jewish women. It is very likely that his grandmother and mother would have wanted Timothy to be circumcised, so Timothy's father must have had some say concerning the matter. Luke wrote that Paul met Timothy shortly after the council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), where it was determined that a Gentile did not need to be circumcised (to become a Jew) in order to become a Christian. And yet, ironically, Paul circumcised Timothy that he would not cause Jews to reject Timothy's preaching (Acts 16:3).

So what conclusions can we draw from Scripture concerning Paul's relationship to women? First of all, we know that Paul did not hold marriage as a priority for his own life (1 Cor. 9:5). He saw nothing unspiritual about marriage, but recommended a man remain single (1 Cor. 7:1-9). He instructed believers to remain as they were when saved; if married, remain married, if single, remain single (1 Cor. 7:20, 27). However, being single had its advantages. It allowed one to focus on ministry instead of worrying about persecution of one's wife and children (1 Cor. 7:26). Marriage also had the distraction of providing for, and the pleasing of one's family members (1 Cor. 7:25-35). But Paul clearly held faithful Christian women in high regard. Perhaps Paul saw society's unwillingness to accept women as equals to men, and he did not want to hinder the advancement of the Gospel, as in the case of Timothy's circumcision. We may never know, but one thing is clear, what Paul taught was inspired of the Holy Spirit, and it is Scripture. That settles it for me.

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