He (Paul) writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:16 NIV
One may ask after reading what the New Testament letters got to say about women, “was Paul trying to downgrade the place of women?”. Certainly not. Paul was a radical person. He can be easily misunderstood, especially by those who want to do what they want but need Scriptural backing, as Peter vividly said in the above verse.
Paul’s message about Grace has been misunderstood by generations as a license to sin instead of a license from sin. People say Paul said it is good for man to be alone (1 Cor 7:8) when God had said that it is not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18). People say Paul said only “holy” people can take communion (1 Cor 11:27) when Jesus had said communion was for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).
Paul is not a controversial person. It is just how we read the Bible. The fact that the Bible is the Word of God does not necessarily mean we shouldn’t know who the writer’s original audience were. Because aside Logus ( general Word applicable to everyone) there is Rhema (specific Word to specific people). To one man, God can say, “Go”. To another man, He can say, “Wait”. Yet to all of us, He says, “Love”.
Mind you, John the Baptist was instructed not to drink wine (Luke 1:15) but Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine (John 2:9). In one church, Paul instructed women not to teach (1 Tim 2:12), in another He instructs them not to even speak in church (1 Cor 14:35). Yet in another, Paul instructs them to teach what is good (Titus 2:3).
Am I saying we should be selective with the Word of God, throwing away what doesn’t favor us and keeping those that do? Certainly not. All I’m saying is let’s understand the context so that we know when to apply what. The Bible is such that – when you throw away the context – you can find a verse to support you even if you want to commit murder. We have to make sure that we are not applying a Scripture because it favors our stance but because it is the Rhema for the context we are living in.
There is rather more need for gender equity. This same Paul said it beautifully, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.”
1 Corinthians 11:11 NIV
I love you