The traditional view expressed in 1 Timothy 2  11 & 12,  'Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man ; rather, she is to remain quiet,'   are Paul's own words and his own opinion.   Remember he frequently differentiates 'I, not the Lord'.  This is no direct quote from Jesus here.  

     On the contrary, Jesus Himself said plainly in all three Synoptic Gospels "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you."[Mt 20:25–] [Mk 10:42] [Lk 22:25] While "lord it over" implies abusive leadership, His words "exercise authority" have no connotation of abuse of authority, who otherwise were being enslaved or destroyed by forces within themselves and in society. Here Jesus forbids any hierarchy in Christian relationships, including both women and men.

     "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out His hand towards His disciples, He said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is My brother, and sister, and mother."  Mathew 12:46, Mark 3:35

    We are Christians, not Paulians, and we follow Jesus and His example, not Pauls.



The many female disciples identified in the New Testament:

Mary Magdalene
Mary, mother of Jesus, and the mother of James the Just, Judas, Jude, and Simon.
Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee who was the father of James the Greater and John the
Apostle. Possibly both the daughter and sister-in-law of Mary and the sister of Jesus.
Sisters Mary and Martha of Bethany, also the sisters of Lazarus
Mary of Clopas possibly Mary Salome the daughter or wife of Clopas
The Three Marys
Lydia of Thyatira
Tryphena of Rome and Tryphosa
Women who received power of the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost

The following New Testament women, though not called "disciples" in scripture, were closely identified with either Jesus or his apostles:
Unnamed women at Pentecost with Mary Mother of Christ, his brothers and the 12 Male Disciples
Unnamed sisters of Jesus, one of which might be Mary Salome
Wife of Simon Peter
Wives of apostles other than John
Wives of Jesus' brothers Joseph, James, Simon, and Jude
Mariamne sister of apostles Bartholemew and Philip
Woman with an issue of blood
Poor widow who cast two copper coins into the temple treasury
Widow of Nain
Woman who anointed Jesus' feet
Woman bent double
Saint Photini and her five sisters: Anatole, Photo, Photis, Paraskeve, Kyriake
Woman taken in adultery

     Women feature prominently in accounts of Jesus' crucifixion and in reports of his resurrection and at Pentecost. In all four gospel accounts, women were the first to receive a sign of Jesus' resurrection and to report it to others (the "Good news").  Women are the premier disciples of Jesus the Risen Christ.

    Authorship of one of the apocryphal gospels, the Gospel of Mary, is attributed to this most famous of Jesus' female apostles. In chapter 96 of the Gnostic text Pistis Sophia,Christ says: "Where I shall be, there will be also my twelve ministers. But Mary Magdalene and John, the virgin, will tower over all my disciples and over all men who shall receive the mysteries in the Ineffable. And they will be on my right and on my left. And I am they, and they are I.'

    The Gospels record several instances where Jesus reaches out to "unnoticeable" women inconspicuous silent sufferers who blend into the background and are seen by others as"negligible entities destined to exist on the fringes of life." Jesus notices them, recognizes their need and, "in one gloriously wrenching moment, He thrusts them on center stage in the drama of redemption with the spotlights of eternity beaming down upon them, and He immortalizes them in sacred history."


     According to New Testament scholar Dr. Frank Stagg and classicist Evelyn Stagg, the synoptic Gospels of the canonical New Testament contain a relatively high number of references to women. Evangelical Bible scholar Gilbert Bilezikian agrees, especially by comparison with literary works of the same epoch.  Neither the Staggs nor Bilezikian find any recorded instance where Jesus disgraces, belittles, reproaches, or stereotypes a woman. These writers claim that examples of the manner of Jesus are instructive for inferring his attitudes toward women and show repeatedly how he liberated and affirmed women.  Starr writes that of all founders of religions and religious sects, Jesus stands alone as the one who did not discriminate in some way against women.

     By word or deed He never encouraged the disparagement of a woman.

     Karen King concludes, based on the account of Jesus' interaction with a Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28, that "an unnamed Gentile woman taught Jesus that the ministry of God is not limited to particular groups and persons, but belongs to all who have faith."


     Jesus healed many women of "evil spirits and infirmities". Only of Mary Magdalene does Luke provide any detail of her healing, stating that "seven demons" had been cast out.  Presumably these "many" women had been healed of various illnesses—physical,emotional, and mental.

     No specific data is provided on Mary Magdalene's "seven demons". It is significant that women whose conditions subjected them to scorn and penalty found in Jesus a Liberator who not only enabled them to find health, but who dignified them as full persons by accepting their own ministries to himself and to the Twelve.

    There are no Samaritans among the Twelve.  Yet Jesus affirmed both women and Samaritans as persons having the fullest right to identity, freedom, and responsibility.

     Perhaps custom here was so entrenched that Jesus simply stopped short of fully implementing a principle that he made explicit and emphatic: "Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."[Mk. 3:35]






So Christian sisters, let's ask ourselves honestly and soberly; do we really want to self-identify as Nasty Women??? Is this the way we exemplify our Shepherd? Is this who we are???

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