Good News For All People -- By: Catherine Clark Kroeger
PP 11:4 (Fall 1997) p. 7
Good News For All People
Founding President of CBE, Dr. Kroeger is Adjunct Professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and author of I Suffer Not a Woman (Baker 1992).
One of my seminary students was leading a group of eight-year-olds at Vacation Bible School. The Scripture portion was John 15:5, a text in which the Greek used an indefinite pronoun, “anyone,” although it had been rendered as “man” in the New International Version of the Bible.1 Thus the children read:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
In the ensuing discussion, a question was raised as to whether this Scripture applied to everyone or only to men. Every single child said the text was directed expressly to men and not to women.
Upon hearing my recital of this story, my eight-year-old granddaughter volunteered the information that “man” and “he” meant male in regular school but could mean both genders in Sunday School! Her Sunday School, considered a flagship of Christian education in our denomination, is to be congratulated. But what of the children who do not have the benefit of such a Sunday School? Is the Bible only for those schooled in the niceties of evangelical phraseology? Jesus said, “Let the little ones come unto me, and do not obstruct them (Mt 19:14).”
The Universality Of The Bible
A major biblical theme is the universality of the Gospel. The angels proclaimed “great joy which shall be to all people,” while Jesus told his disciples to bring the Gospel to “all creation” (Mk 16:15). Salvation is to be made known to the ends of the earth. The joyous news is that whosoever will may come and that any who wish may drink of the waters of life. The Apostle Paul was quite specific that “the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord” (1 Cor 11:11-12).
From its opening pages, the Bible carefully stipulates the inclusion of women. In Genesis 5:1-2 we read:
When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man” [‘adam].
As the NIV Study Bible correctly notes, “Man” [‘adam] clearly denotes both genders in Genesis 3:22-24, as w...
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