Jesus And Women: What Did Jesus Do? -- By: Joe E. Trull

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 14:2 (Spring 2000)
Article: Jesus And Women: What Did Jesus Do?
Author: Joe E. Trull


Jesus And Women: What Did Jesus Do?

His Treatment Of Women Was Revolutionary, Counter To The Culture Of The Day.

Joe E. Trull

Joe E. Trull is the author of Walking in the Way: An Introduction to Christian Ethics, from which this article is derived. He was professor of Christian Ethics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from 1985 to 1999 and presently teaches at Logsdon School of Theology and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Have you seen the bracelets with the letters “W.W.J.D.” printed on the band? This popular item is worn by children, teenagers, and adults to remind them to ask, “What would Jesus do?”

The reminder intends to help disciples of Christ to follow the example of Jesus. Yet that present-day question cannot be answered until the believer first reads the gospel and asks, “What did Jesus do?

The most distinctive element in Jesus’ teachings is Jesus himself. No other religion exists in which the historic founder is the standard for the doctrine he teaches. Only Jesus perfectly illustrates everything he taught. To his disciples, Jesus said, “I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). Simon Peter reminded the first Christians that Christ left “you an example, so that you could follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21).

A much-debated issue in the nineties is the proper role of women in church and society. In this century, basic equality for women finally has been realized. A dramatic reversal also has occurred in society’s attitude toward the mistreatment of females. However, many voices are crying for greater liberation and justice for women.

Where Does The Church Stand In All Of This?

Many accuse the Christian community of supporting beliefs and practices that perpetuate female subordination. Is it possible that the church of Jesus Christ may have defended social customs rather than upheld God’s ideal in gender relationships? Does the example of Jesus provide guidelines?

To interpret Jesus’ treatment of women in the first century correctly, an understanding of the New Testament world is absolutely essential. Although Jewish women occupied a position of dignity and responsibility in the home, in social life they were little more than an appendage of their husbands.

In his book The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, William Barclay noted, “In Jewish law she was not a person but a thing; she was entirely at the disposal of her father or of her husband. She was forbidden to learn the law; to instruct a woman in the law was to cas...

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