Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
The place of women in the family, in society, and in the church continues to be the object of much attention at the beginning of twenty first century. The oppressive attitudes and practices which prevailed in biblical times in the nations continue to prevail to this day around the world.
The supreme dignity of human beings is expressed in the concept that they are created "in the image of God." (Gen. 1:27)
The broadening brought about by the attitude of Jesus Christ is reflected at many levels in the early church. Mary the mother of Jesus is listed among those who worshipped in the upper room (Acts 1:14). Baptism is now administered to women as well as men (Acts
8:12, 16:15). Women perform the ministry of prophecy (Acts 2:18, 1 Cor.11:5). Widows who were often eking out a miserable existence in society are now recognised in the church (Him.5:3-16).The apostle Paul was surrounded by women co-workers. This whole approach is climaxed by Paul’s great declaration that "In Christ there is no male or female" (Gal. 3:28). Thus with respect to our position in Christ the New Testament obliterates any distinction of rank between male and female. Women have a glorious place and destiny in God's purpose.
Proverbs has a lot to say about women. How fitting that the book ends (Pro. 31:10-31) with a picture of a woman of strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and great compassion. Some people have the mistaken idea that the ideal woman in the Bible is retiring, servile, and entirely domestic. Not so! This woman is an excellent wife and mother. She is also a manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholster, and merchant. Her strength and dignity do not come from her amazing achievements, however. They are the result of her reverence for God. In our society where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realise that her appearance is never mentioned. Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character. The woman described in this chapter is an inspiration to be all you can be. We can continue to learn from her hard work, integrity, and resourcefulness throughout our lives.