Book Of Galations The role of women in the Christian faith has always been matter of debate. Whether women are equal to men in the eyes of the church still presents itself as a major question as we move into the 21st century. Women are still not allowed to serve as priests or hold major positions in the churchs hierarchy. This inferiority is something that is seen as tradition and rarely do people question it. However, in Pauls letters he alluded to a different role that women should take on.
He presents the idea that everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord as long as they have been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.Although he was not the first to ever express these beliefs, the idea that Paul presented was quite radical for his time and may not have been taken with the same authority as some of his other teachings. However, the basic formula that Paul used in some of his letters was also presented by subsequent writers years after he was finished with his ministry. The most straightforward presentation of Pauls view on the role of women is in Galatians 3:28, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. This statement brought up the idea of baptism and the key role it plays in the life of a Christian.
Paul states that when you are baptized in the name of Jesus all worldly distinctions are no longer important.A person is not to be viewed based on past religion, life before baptism, or gender, he or she will now be viewed simply as a follower of Christ. By following Christ a person is baptized into a single body, no divisions are to be made due to past traditions. This formula for equality that Paul presents in Galatians 3:27-28 is echoed in many of his other letters. However, it is not presented as directly, there seem to be some omissions and changes. While writing to Corinth, Paul again expresses the idea of equality and togetherness through baptism in the name of Jesus.
In 1 Cor 7:17-24 Paul gives much attention to the Jew and Gentile relationship, as well as the slave and free man.However, in dealing with gender Paul simply writes, In whatever condition you were called, brother and sisters, there remain with God. Paul is not being as explicit as he was in Galatians. Why he backs off the strong argument he made in Galatians is debatable. However, later in the first letter to Corinth Paul seems to retreat even more. In 1 Cor 12:13, Paul again presents the idea of everyone being baptized as one in Jesus.
Nevertheless, he makes no effort to mention the gender issues directly.He does allude to it by writing, For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13) but never addresses the male and female issue officially. Paul simply deals with the Jew or Gentile and the slave or free in this verse, these are the same two distinctions as he did in 1 Cor 7:17-24. The effort Paul makes to have his teachings stay somewhat consistent from one letter to the next lends support to the idea that the formula Paul uses was an outline that predates his writings. It can be considered that this passage could have been a pre-Pauline baptismal formula that Paul cites. It could be that Paul simply adapted the formula by adding the male/female phrase as an effort to fully portray his own views.
It is possible Christians at the time would know that formula this was used in baptisms.Thus, by manipulating the formula, Paul may have been attempting to show people that the church could change and adapt to meet the needs of the people. Paul was going beyond what predated him by incorporating male and females into the formula. It can even be seen that Paul was going against teachings that were presented in the Book of Genesis. Genesis 1:27 says that God made humanity as male and female and Genesis 1:31 states this creation was very good. By presenting a different idea than that of Genesis, Paul goes against some of most time-honored teachings.
He is not concerned with the Law like most other Christians at the time. He wants the church to grow as one solid unit in the name of Jesus.This formula certainly has roots in pre-Pauline Baptismal says. However, it is also quite possible the Paul is citing a teaching of Jesus Christ himself. In chapter twelve of Mark, Jesus speaks of a woman who was a wife to seven brothers. He says that in the resurrection she will be wife to none of these men. Instead, For when they rise from the dead they are like angels in heaven.
(Mark 12:25) Jesus could be making that point that once he has died and is risen that all will live with equality through His name.In heaven, all will sit equally and one human being will not possess someone who has lived according to the teaching of Jesus. Instead all will live as angels with God. Pauls writings may make an effort to adapt this saying of Jesus to the early church. The words of Jesus as well as the words one would hear at a baptism held a great deal of power and influence in the early church. Although Paul is working off a pre-existing formula, the changes he makes from letter to letter brings about the question as to why Paul would write something in Galatians and then not continue with the same theme in subsequent letters.
There are quite a few possibilities as to why Paul would diverge from what he had written in Galatians.Paul may have received negative reactions from certain groups that were both involved with the church at the time, as well as those not affiliated at all. Pauls writings in regards to equality, especially those involving women, were quite radical for the time he lived. Paul knew that Christianity was an up and coming religion just gaining a foothold at this point. He knew that the religion could ill afford to upset certain higher authorities that might not agree with Pauls view of equality for women in Christianity. The fear of destroying a movement that he believed so strongly in over a single issue was to great a risk.
He knew that criticism from people outside the early church would not help the movement.Likewise …