Saturday, May 8, 2010

Women Empowered Through Reading the Bible

Alice C. Linsley

I developed and teach a course on "Women in the Bible" at Midway University. The course has been popular with the students at this mostly women's college. Unlike the usual university course on women in the Bible, there is no attempt to force the test into a Feminist mold. There is no discussion of a gender continuum because the Bible knows humans as only male and female, and affirms that both are in the image of God.

Unlike courses that filter biblical information through a feminist ideology, the students investigate the Bible by drawing on the tools of cultural anthropology. There is no "feminist" tone with its stress on empowerment, yet the women are empowered when they discover that the social structure of the biblical Hebrew is not patriarchal, and women had significant roles in their social circles. Some were prophets (Deborah) and some had such great wisdom that they were consulted by kings (Huldah).

Upon the completion of the course last week, I asked the women to complete a survey and course evaluation. I found these very interesting and helpful. I'm sharing some of these with readers of JUST GENESIS.
This course made the Bible interesting and fun.  Its given me a new confidence I didn't know I had. My daughter and I both read the Bible now every night! -- Alicia
This class was so fun and it really made me think about the women we studied.  It also helped me in my relationship with God and has encouraged me to be like the Virtuous Women of Proverbs 31 and to encourage others to do the same. --Ashley
Because of this class I now have to be the woman God has always wanted me to be, His daughter! --Anissa
I was raised in a thick Southern Baptist home and had no idea until this class how powerful the women of the Bible were. We began attending Bible classes at church about 5 weeks ago and I have been able to speak up in the classes. This class has opened my eyes and been life-changing for me.-- Tamara
These women actually helped to bring salvation's plan into reality. Certainly that is their biggest contribution... bringing salvation to the world. We see this finalized through Mary when Jesus was born.-- Sandra
The study of the Bible has encouraged me not to walk in fear of what God has called me to do. Because of this class I feel more confident studying the Bible. I really can't wait to have more time to do so. I have shared so much of what I've learned with my sister. She always awaits my call on Thursday nights after class!-- Carol
This class has made me aware of the importance of looking deeper into the Bible. It has made me curious enough to want to start from Genesis and read the whole Bible, and to be aware of patterns, binary distinctions, and hidden sons.--Sue
I knew from the very first night that this was going to be an interesting class!  I was so excited about all of the material we learned each week that I would go back and tell my mom about things the next morning. I've tried to read the Bible before and it didn't make sense to me. Now my interest is sparked and I plan to start attending church again so that I can make sure my three sons are exposed to the Church, God and Jesus.  Attending this class has inspired me to raise strong Christian men.--Sonja

Related reading: The Bible as Woman's Story; Why Zipporah Circumcised Her SonThe Daughters of Horite Priests; Wells and Brides; A Woman at a Well; The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 1); The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 2); The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 3); The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 4); The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 5)


Georgia said...

This is the coolest thing and best ministry idea I have read in a long time.

Georgia said...

By that, I meant, ministry to women.

Knowing how God regards women builds dignity, strength, depth and purpose...and leads to knowing God and saying yes to Him...which builds holiness, peace and joy.