Exploring Banned Questions About the Bible (by Becky Garrison)
In Banned Questions about the Bible, Christian Piatt asked a number of us to respond to 50 provocative and often taboo questions about this holy book. Here’s my Easter answer to the question, “Aren’t women treated poorly throughout the Bible?”
While tradition tends to accord Mary with having found favored status with God (Lk. 1:26–38), let us not forget the women around Jesus who kicked some holy hiney. For example, Anna, the only woman designated a prophet in the New Testament, possessed the wisdom and foresight to see that this infant before her represented the Messiah (Lk. 2:36–38).
If Jesus truly wanted women stuck in the kitchen, he wouldn’t have encouraged Mary to join the other disciples in their discussions. Instead, he would have encouraged her to hang back washing dishes (Lk. 10:38–42). Furthermore, when Jesus was told his family was looking for him, he replied, “Here are my mother and my brothers!” (Mk. 3:31–35). He would not have said “mother” had there not been females as part of his entourage.
All throughout his ministry, Jesus debunked the first-century Jewish tradition that treated women like property. His actions with the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4:4–26), the woman about to be stoned for adultery (Jn. 8:1–12), and the female sinner who wanted to anoint his feet with oil (Lk. 7:36–50) marked him as a man who would break every holy law on the books so that women could be viewed as equals in the kingdom of God. Let us also not forget that Jesus made his very first appearance as the risen Lord before a “lowly” woman (Mk. 16:9 and Jn. 20:11–18).
Becky Garrison‘s most recent books include “Jesus Died for This?” and “Ancient Future Disciples: Meeting Jesus in Mission-Shaped Ministries.” Her additional writing credits include work for The Guardian, Washington Post’s On Faith Column, Patheos, Killing the Buddha, Geez, The Revealer, and Religion Dispatches. Follow Becky on Twitter or log on to her website at www.beckygarrison.com.