The Responsible Woman

This puts a responsibility on each believer, be they male or female, for each one of us has been given one or more gifts, and are we using them? You see, we cannot use excuses, like: “But Lord, I am too old.”

Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist could have said that when she was told she was going to have a son at her old age. We can find her story in Luke 1:5-25, 57-66.

We’ll read Luke 1:13,57

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. Your wife will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John…”

When it was time for Elisabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.

Or we might say: “But Lord, I am too young”.

Mary could have said that, when the angel came to tell her she was going to give birth to the Saviour of the world and she was not even married at that time. We can find her story in Luke 1:26-38.

We’ll read Luke 1:38

“I am the Lord’s servant”, Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said”. Then the angel left her.

We might even say: “But Lord the times are simply too difficult”.

Jochebed could have said that when she had her son Moses, even though she lived in dangerous times when baby boys were being killed off. We can find her story in Exodus 2:1-10 and Numbers 26:59.

We’ll read Hebrews 11:23

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

God is not interested in any of our excuses, even though some of our excuses may  sound like they have come straight out of the Word of God. Perhaps you recognise some of them:

“Woman is made for man.”

“Man is the head of the woman”.

“A woman is to submit to a man in the church and at home a wife is to submit to her husband.”

“A woman is to be silent.”

“A woman is not allowed to teach or to have authority over a man.”

These are indeed strong statements and need careful consideration. We must always remember though that these statements are to be read in the light of the wider context of Scripture. They cannot overrule what Scripture teaches in general with regard to men and women. It would be wrong for any one of us to build a case defending a particular viewpoint, based only on one or two passages of Scripture. We must remember as well that the inspired and infallible Word of God contains material that, though we may learn from it, may not be applicable to us in the same way that was meant to whom it was written.

An example from the Old Testament would be the purification rituals a woman would have to undergo because of her ceremonial uncleanness after her monthly period or after the birth of a child as described in Leviticus 12 and Leviticus 15:19-30. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church began to adopt these Old Testament laws into their church laws around the 12th century, with unfortunate consequences for women. These church laws have only been changed recently.[1]

An example from the New Testament would be the issue of food that had been sacrificed to idols as discussed by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 8. This must have been a real issue in Corinth affecting Christians there and needed to be addressed. However, in most places, that is not the case today. Consequently, we are not be able to relate to this passage in the same way that those believers did.

Therefore, at times it may be useful for us to have some background information to help us understand how to apply in our lives today what is written in certain Scripture passages. Of course, this makes sense for, after all, Scripture was written a long time ago, over a long period of time, and it deals with different people of different cultures.



1. Decretum gratiani) Paucupalea, Summa, Dist., 5 pr & 1v.

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