19 April 2015
Reading: Acts 17; Psalm 91
4 Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men. 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (Acts 17:4, 12, 34 NLT)
Tradition has misled us to some extent about the status and role of women in ancient cultures. We’re told that women were treated merely as property in ancient Jewish society and even worse in Greek and Roman culture. It’s true that women really have been treated badly, and still are, in many places and situations.
But think about this:
• The woman described in Proverbs 31 was a businesswoman and capable manager of her household and was honored accordingly.
• Judges 4 and 5 tells of Deborah, a woman who was both a prophetess and a civil and military leader of Israel.
• Priscilla worked with her husband Aquila in business, and together they discipled believers, helped establish the church in Ephesus, and held church in their home.
• Lydia of Philippi was a prosperous, influential businesswoman in a Greco-Roman city, and Paul and Silas started the Philippian church out of her prayer group.
• In Pisidian Antioch, in what is modern-day Turkey, there were influential women who were ranked with the leaders of the city.
• In Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens, prominent women were among Paul’s first converts to faith in Jesus.
It’s clear that women have played key and influential roles in many different cultural situations. So my point is not about the role women should play, my point is that we so often form opinions and make judgments without really checking the facts. Let’s not just accept traditional opinions without serious thought and investigation. Some traditions are wrong. Some opinions are wrong. Check it out and think it through before making a judgment, forming an opinion, or arriving at a conclusion.
Father, Please help me to think things through in the light of all the evidence, and not make assumptions based merely on traditional attitudes and opinions. And thank you that you have always considered women to be capable and worthy of prominence and influence. Amen.