Tag Archive for 'Gender'

Differences Between Men and Women

I wasn’t sure what the subject of this post should be so I just made one that would get some Google hits.

I was looking at Suzanne’s Bookshelf to see what she’s been writing lately. (This post isn’t about her.) In a post called Jana Chapman Gates on Complementarianism she quotes Thomas Schreiner:

because of the different inclinations present in Adam and Eve. Generally speaking, women are more relational and nurturing and men are more given to rational analysis and objectivity.

— “An interpretation of 1 Timothy 2: 9-15: A dialogue with scholarship” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2: 9-15 Eds. Andreas Kostenberger, Thomas R Schreiner and H. Scott Baldwin (Grand Rapids: Baker Book Houser, 1995) 145-6.

I like Thomas Schreiner a lot. I’m disappointed in this. It’s as bad as psycho-babble. I very much believe that any counseling done in a Christian setting should be based on the Bible, not the Bible plus… If we, especially Reformed people like Schreiner and myself, believe in Sola scriptura and that “God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1.3), then we shouldn’t need to rely on spurious descriptions like this or if we do use arguments like this, they should always be backed up by Scripture, not just human logic. (Sorry for the long sentence.) Maybe in the larger context it is, but I doubt it. If anyone has it handy let me know.

Some may say it’s obvious, but I don’t think so. Some people could see the terms used and think that men get the smart ones and women are just good with the children and being sympathetic.

What are some things that are in the Bible that show intrinsic differences between men and women other than any kind of roles which I don’t want to get into here? The only verse or passage I can think of is the “weaker vessel/nature/partner” (1 Peter 3.7) which I believe refers to physically, and being sexually and generally vulnerable to being dominated.

R.T. France On Translating Gender In Matthew

Matthew 4:19 NIV
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19 France
He said to them, “Come and follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.”

This famous verse is one of the most difficult in the NT to translate satisfactorily in a way which reflects modern sensitivity to the ‘exclusive’ effect of a generic masculine. Not only has the traditional masculine phrase ‘fishers of men’ become firmly entrenched in Christian usage, but any nonmasculine rendering also loses the echo (in English, not in Greek) of the preceding clause, ‘for they were fishermen.’ Nevertheless, the attempt must be made if we are to avoid the sort of misunderstanding which reputedly caused Fishing for Men (a paperback on evangelism) to be listed among recent publications in the Angling Times, while a young woman of my acquaintance was disappointed to discover that the same paperback was not a guide to dating. Simply to add ‘and women’ invites the response, ‘What about children?’ I adopt the TNIV rendering as the least unsatisfactory.

–R.T. France, Matthew, footnote on pg 144

Matthew 5:22-24 TNIV
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to that person; then come and offer your gift.

The ‘brother or sister’ (adelphos) of vv. 22-24 is probably to be understood as a fellow disciple rather than a literal family member, a similar concern with good relationships among fellow disciples will be the theme of the fourth discource in ch. 18, where the term adelphos will recur in Matthew 18:15, 21, 35; cf. Matthew 12:46-50 for the concept of Jesus’ ‘family’ of disciples. It would, however, be pedantic to suggest that Jesus’ ruling applies only to relations with fellow disciples and not to people in general; Matthew 5:44-47 suggest otherwise.

–R.T. France, Matthew, pg 200