Gender in the Bible

God & Women

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    Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Condensed, but without distortion, this divinely inspired Scripture is saying, not that God created man male, but “ . . . God created man . . . male and female . . .” If that sounds odd, it is because the English language has changed over recent years. Nevertheless, the point is so important that to ensure that no-one is left in any doubt, here in the very beginning of the first book of the Bible, this verse defines precisely what God’s Word means when it uses the word man. It means humanity. Whenever the Bible speaks of “man” or “men” in a general sense, it is referring equally to both genders. Yes, it is God’s express desire for women and girls to be included just as much as men.

Until the last few decades this was readily understood because it was the way everyone spoke, not just in biblical Hebrew, but in everyday English. Language has now changed so much that to reflect the true meaning, up-to-date Bible versions should use “humanity” or “people” rather than “man” or “men”.

In creating the human race in his very image, God chose to make humanity male and female. This suggests that, for example, the breadth of qualities pooled when a man and woman become one in marriage better reflects the breadth of God’s nature than either gender does without the other. Perhaps this is why people feel a unique completeness in a good marriage.

There are things that are distinctively feminine that reveal God’s nature, and likewise for things that are distinctively masculine. There are differences between men and women that are divinely ordained and for each gender those distinctive features reveal the glory within God himself. Men and women, however, are spiritually equal:

    1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

There are, of course, ways in which men are typically weaker than women. Physically, however, men are usually stronger than their wives, thus rendering their womenfolk vulnerable. This physical advantage must never be abused. Whatever edge either partner has, it must be used to serve – not put down – the other. That’s what love is all about, and God is all about love.

Gender differences must be respected and never abused or it could stop one’s prayers from being answered. Nevertheless, each gender is heir to an equal spiritual inheritance:

    Galatians 3:28 There is neither  . . . male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

If you feel that God loves women less than men or that he thinks women are inferior to men, that feeling – no matter how strong – is not from God. Most likely that deceptive feeling is the product of significant men in your life breaking God’s heart and incurring his hot displeasure by failing to treat women or girls with the tenderness, honor and respect that God longs for them to be treated.

To further explore this topic is to stray from the issue of self-harm but if you are a woman who worries that God might think women are less important than men, this could be a significant factor in the low self-esteem that drives self-harm. So if you wish to further explore God’s view of women and how he expects to be women treated, I suggest you first save the web address of this page so that you can find your way back again and then visit the following (you might be quite surprised):

Husband, Head of a Submissive Wife?

God as Tender as a Mother?

Is God Male or Female? God’s Gender

Help for Christians Who Wish They Were the Opposite Sex

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