Notes on King James Bible - New Testament Themes

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King James Bible - New Testament Topic Tracking: Gender

Matthew

Gender 1: Already, even in the beginning of the New Testament, the gender gap begins to widen. There are certain expectations for the relationship between a man and a woman. Under normal standards, Mary's pregnancy was a disgrace and grounds for calling off the marriage. The intervention of God, however, subverts this expected outcome.

Gender 2: Jesus revised faith and it seems to be more lenient on women. Harlots are said to be allowed in the kingdom of God. Divorce, however, is allowable for a woman only in the case of fornication: when a man has extra-marital sex. In heaven there is no marriage. Although the relationship between a man and a wife is fundamental on earth it is meaningless in heaven.

Gender 3: Not until the end of Matthew is there any hint that women may be a big part of Jesus' inner circle. His body is ministered to by women, a common thing at the time, but the angel appears first to Mary and tells her to speak to the disciples.

Luke

Gender 4: The Gospel According to Luke begins with two women: the mothers of John and Jesus. In the other Gospels the tales begin with the men involve;, in this one, on the other hand, the tale begins with the mothers who bore the men and how they came to learn of their pregnancies.

Gender 5: In Luke, there is more frequent mention of women. Jesus heals more women. More significantly, Mary Magdalene, a prostitute, is mentioned as his follower much earlier than in Matthew and Mark. She is healed by him and becomes his follower.

John

Gender 6: Following Luke, the Gospel of John begins to give women a more important place. In Samaria, Jesus speaks first to a woman and it is her actions that bring him followers. She brings them to him and then they hear his words.

Gender 7: The Old Testament is very harsh on a woman convicted of adultery: her punishment is death. Jesus does not deny that the woman has sinned nor that she does not deserve death. Instead, he says it is not the duty of men to judge her because they also have sin. He makes the crime of adultery between a woman and God not between a woman and man.

Acts

Gender 8: For the first time in the New Testament, a woman is baptized and taken directly into the ministry of the church. Although temporary, she carries on while Paul is in jail. This is not a common occurrence and in the development of the early church, it becomes more rare.

Romans

Gender 9: Although Paul speaks primarily of men when he is talking about redemption and relation to God, it is likely that he uses this term as a general term for all human beings. In the covenant of Abraham the contract between God and men was circumcision. Women could not be circumcised in this way. To a certain extent, this covenant excluded women. Paul writes that women may remarry when widows without sin.

1 Corinthians

Gender 10: Paul's letter to the Corinthians deals primarily with physical issues. He writes much about sex. A woman who fornicates is condemned unless she marries. He speaks of other fornicators, presumably men, with less vitriol.

Gender 11: As the church develops, the role of women becomes more limited and oppressive. Although women were followers of Jesus, in Paul's vision of the church, they are to keep their heads covered and their mouths shut in the church itself.

Ephesians

Gender 12: While Paul states merely that men must love their wives, the implied statement is that they must treat them fairly. In this is the Old Testament ideal: a woman must obey her husband because he will tell her to do what is best for her. A child must obey his parents, a wife must obey her husband, and a husband must obey God.

Colossians

Gender 13: In this letter, Paul states what he omitted when he wrote to the Ephesians. Women are supposed to submit to their husbands as their husbands submit to God. If a man walks in the way of Christ, he will guide his family well.

Timothy

Gender 14: Paul's rules about women become stricter. They are not supposed to speak in church and are to learn in silence. Young women must be kept busy because they easily turn to evil ways. Young widows are a threat to the community for this reason.

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