Gender Issues in the Early Church Assignment

Religious studies

Please choose only one question from the options below and write an essay of 5-7 pages, double space. Options A and B: This assignment aims to help you identify some of the biblical narratives, archetypes, and images that shape our cultures today and discuss their relevance for social justice. Option A Locate either a piece […]

Gender Issues in the Early Church

The role of women in the early church is a significant discussion in the modern church because it forms the basis on which the New Testament interpretation is built. The Pauline text should be interpreted based on the purpose of Paul’s message to the people of God, thus creating an understanding of women’s role in the church. God saved Paul from the hands of bondage to form a new community of God’s people while focusing on all distinctions of religion, sex, and race, thus eradicating barriers that separate God’s people from His kingdom. Similarly, the new community attains high standard needs, which meets the basis of discernment, thus creating equality among the disciples of God. Therefore, the interpretation of Paul’s message and teachings highlights the place and role of women in the church through a critical evaluation of problematic texts in the bible.

The Role of Women Associates of Jesus and Paul

The theoretical approaches used in illustrating and understanding Paul’s teachings about the role of women in the early church create a theological context from which a new age is built. In 2 Cor. 5:17, Paul states that “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come,” thus implying that the form of civilization in the old age is full of devastations, which portrays the real situation in most modern societies. Therefore, both Gentiles and Jews are encouraged to free themselves from the bondage of gender biases and evil deeds because it is a clear manifestation of death and distortion. The existing evidence is undeniably sufficient to illustrate how women worked alongside men during the early church to spread the Gospel.

Paul affirms gender equality by analysing spiritual gifts and privileges, thus providing spiritual empowerment to the new eschatological world. Similarly, Toews adds that different roles played by women provide a linkage between dignity and the Christian ministry, thus disrupting marriage and worship experiences (26). Therefore, the Pauline teachings encourage the application of Godly gifts possessed by women to enhance church developmental practices. Most players who engaged actively in the development of early church had unique and excellent skills that discern different factors irrespective of sex. Mowczko states that Junia had unique and excellent skills, which made it possible to develop a church in Rome, an act that made Paul congratulate her efforts in spreading the Gospel. Therefore, women apply functional knowledge and skills through the reconciliation of Godly aspects of life, thus objecting to the unbiblical espousal of libertarian efforts that disrupt marriages.

Prophets can foretell and perform miraculous acts of God because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit, thus making them useful in providing guidance, encouragement, comfort, strength, and instructions. Mowczko claims that Paul recognized the ability to prophesy in some women during his early ministry, thus calling for the enhancement and development of such unique gifts. Therefore, Paul appointed a list of prophets and prophetesses, as illustrated in Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, which positively impacted the outcomes of his ministry. The four daughters of Philip, who were appointed by Paul as illustrated in Acts 21:9, become a useful asset for spreading the Gospel as they provide an immediate sense of action for nurturing the power of women. Therefore, women played an essential role in the early Christian life.

Paul’s Social Revolution for Women

In the Pauline texts, Paul has expressed interest in addressing social issues affecting women, thus serving as an advocate for social revolution. In Galatians 3:27-28, Paul combats the Christian view in Galatia, which links circumcision to obedience by providing an opposing view claiming that salvation is only attained through baptism and justification, thus creating Christian liberty. According to Mowczko, Christian liberty is guaranteed through initiation and accepting Christ as the saviour, therefore developing a transformational effect on people’s social relationships. Similarly, Paul’s teachings nullify the existing barrier between male and female, slavery and freedom, and Jews and Gentiles, thus denoting the most divisional concepts in the Christian world. The initiation of people into the Christian community marks the beginning of a new era free from barriers, thus building an eschatological society where men and women are equal. Therefore, the sexual identity of males and females is eliminated; thus, value judgment, which creates subjugation, is termed inappropriate by the Christian community living in the modern age.

The early church theorized theological approaches through the implementation of equality measures, thus prioritizing women’s development. In Philippians 4:2, Paul mentions those women he associates and struggles with within his ministry, thus recognizing the efforts of women in promoting the Gospel. Similarly, in Romans 16, Paul says other women participated in building the Christian community. Among them is Phoebe, who was the recipient of Paul’s letters, a helper, and a minister in the church of Cenchreae, thus breaking the concept of masculinity that previously dominated the Christian community.

Paul views women as symmetrically equal to men, thus changing the view of different people in the earlier society. According to Toews, Paul highlights challenges faced by married couples in Corinthian to provide a solution to sexual issues which classified women on edge, thus broadening the spectrum of female and male relationships (26). Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul explicitly highlights the importance of enhancing sexual freedom and responsibility, thus enhancing accountability by addressing women’s equality. Therefore, a complete consonance is developed based on the existing theological stance, which increases the equality of different church members. Additionally, Mowczko claims that married church members are equally divided in loyalty, as illustrated by Paul’s assertion, which holds a sense of inferiority and moral judgment on women in sexuality issues. Therefore, the vision of church development is based on decisive factors that enhance reality, thus improving the level of commitment amongst believers.

Feminist Approach to Interpreting the Scripture

The position of women in society was significantly elevated through the level of partnership between men and the church. According to, Ehrensperger, the church is said to be reluctant to embrace the mutuality and equality among different aspects of life regardless of gender and race (5). Similarly, the existence of rampant cases of slavery and racial discrimination in renowned Christian nations such as Britain and the United States denies most gifted women the opportunity to engage in ministry. However, Paul’s undisputed letters mention various women characters, namely Mary, Julia, Persis, Rufus’ mother, Phoebe, Tryphosa, and Prisca, who significantly contributed to the foundation of the early church, thus highlighting the importance of women in ministry work. Additionally, Mowczko states that most women in Pauline churches were used as a reference to illustrate the positive impact of ascetic messages from Paul, thus renouncing their marriages because they interpreted and reasserted traditional roles for women. Furthermore, the earliest ministry of Jesus was surrounded by women who accompanied him to different destinations while promoting the Gospel, thus enhancing the enactment of apocalyptic messages. Therefore, the use of varying feminist approaches provides the basis upon which the scripture interpretation is built, thus providing a clear understanding of the roles played by women in the formation of the early church.

In antiquity, men and women were considered different during the early church, thus creating a useful continuum in classifying humanity’s extent. According to, Ehrensperger, before the introduction of feminist approaches, men were considered the strongest because they were perfectly formed in their mother’s wombs as opposed to women; thus, women were required to assume the weakest roles in society due to their gender orientation (3). However, the concept of feminism introduced by Pauline churches changed the existing gender ideology, thus subjecting women to influential and authoritative positions. Therefore, the collaboration of different Christian and feminist concepts from the early church has provided an essential platform from which the place of women has developed.

The doctrine of faith and truth is a powerful tool in designing relevant approaches for evaluating the role of women in modern society, thus advancing the place they hold in the community. Paul and the general New Testament provide a reclaimed view depicting how men and women are reconciled through Christ, thus creating gender equality. Alternatively, women are considered more gifted and reconciled in Christ than men due to their significant contribution during the formation of the early church, despite being considered the weakest gender group. Similarly, the role of women in the development of the early church forms the basis on which a new reality in Christ is attained, thus enhancing equity and freedom before the gracious God. Therefore, the role of women during the early church led to the growth of different perspectives relating to women.

Works Cited

Ehrensperger, Kathy. “Feminist Perspectives on Paul’s Reasoning with Scripture.” Feminist Perspectives on Paul’s Reasoning with Scripture, 2007, www.westmont.edu/~fisk/paulandscripture/Ehrensperger.pdf.

Mowczko, Marg. “Women Church Leaders in the New Testament.” Marg Mowczko, 8 July 2010, margmowczko.com/new-testament-women-church-leaders/.

Toews, John E. “The Role of Women in the Church: The Pauline Perspective.” Direction, vol. 9, no. 1, 1980, pp. 25-28, directionjournal.org/9/1/role-of-women-in-church-pauline.html.


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