|Volume 19 Number 2 February 2017||
Acts 8 tells us about the persecution that the Christians in Jerusalem underwent. They had to flee from Jerusalem and spread out to many other places. The chapter also tells about the preaching of Philip. It further tells us about the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. We are also told about the conversion of Simon the Sorcerer.
Within the context of those accounts, we are given several different names or titles of our Lord, the second person of the Godhead. In verse 5, Philip was preaching Christ. In verse 12, he was preaching about Jesus Christ. In verse 16, we are told that the Samaritans had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
In verse 20, we are told that Peter was able to pass on the gift of God, miraculous powers. In verse 32, Jesus is represented as a sheep and a lamb. In verse 25, He is referred to as simply Lord. In verse 35, He is simply called Jesus. In verse 37, the eunuch said he believed that Jesus is the Son of God.
In verse 26, it is very likely that Jesus is referred to as the angel of the Lord. In the Old Testament, there are several instances where this designation is for the second person of the Godhead. Notice in this context it is not “an” angel of the Lord but “the” angel of the Lord. A specific individual is indicated. The word “angel” means “messenger.” Jesus is the Messenger, the Word.
That brings us to another possible name used in this chapter. In verse 4, we are told the Christians went everywhere preaching “the word.” It is possible that there is parallelism here with verse 5 where we are told Philip went preaching “Christ.” With the fact so many names and titles for Jesus are in this chapter, it is not impossible that “the word” is a designation for Him here as it is in John Chapter One.
Study your Bible. Learn all you can about our Lord, Jesus, Christ, the Angel of the Lord, the Word, Who is God. Learn about the One who became like a sheep and a lamb. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
Women and the Bible
There is no question that women have made tremendous strides in the past 100 years as far as achieving certain rights which previously they have been denied. This article’s purpose is not to examine these achievements or to look at both the positive and sometimes negative consequences of such achievements. Instead, this article is focusing on what the New Testament teaches about women and how some are attacking the very teachings of the Bible related to women. A common theme in today’s religious world is that the Bible’s view of women is outdated and not fit for today’s culture. The Episcopalian bishop, John Spong, on page 117 of his book Living in Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality says, “There is no doubt about the fact that the Bible is biased against women… Both the religious and ethical directives of the Bible were formulated out of a patriarchal understanding of life, with the interests of men being primary. Are we willing to return to these destructive definitions of both men and women?”
Jesus Elevated Women
Jesus treated women much differently than the rabbis of His day. The traditions of the Jews in the time of Jesus forbade a rabbi to speak publicly with a woman. Throughout the Gospels we find Jesus speaking publicly to women. Many of us are familiar with the accounts of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), the woman begging for the life of her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28), the sinful woman at Simon’s house (Luke 7:36-50) and many more. There is not even a hint in the Gospels that Jesus looked down upon or considered women inferior. In the famous story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, Jesus told Martha that Mary has chosen “the good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Jesus thought it was important to teach spiritual truths to these two sisters.
Jesus was not ashamed to talk to a Samaritan woman and teach her about the Messiah (John 4:7-26). Even Jesus’ own disciples “marvel that he is talking to a woman” (John 4:27). Jesus appeared to have a rather large following of women during His ministry. In Luke 8:2-3 we read concerning those who were following Jesus, “and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.” There is no question that Jesus broke through the traditions of His day to treat women with dignity and respect.
The New Testament Elevated Women
After the beginning of the church in Acts 2, we find women noticeably present in the activities of the church (Acts 9:36; 12:12; 16:14-15; 18:26; 21:8-9). Paul frequently referred to women in his letters. These women were important enough to address by name, and undoubtedly Paul was aware of their value and contributions to the cause of Christ. Not only does the New Testament show that women played a prominent role in the early church, it also teaches that women are to be treated fairly and equally. Husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Husbands are further commanded to “love their own wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:28). Peter said, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Paul’s famous passage that teaches male and female equality is Galatians 3:28, which reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The parts of the New Testament that seem to trouble some are passages which teach the wife’s submission to her husband (Ephesians 5:22), limit a woman’s role as a leader in the church (1 Timothy 2:11-12) and give her a distinct role as a mother within the family (Titus 2:4-5; 1 Timothy 2:15). Submission does not mean inferiority or suggest a second-class status. It is simply God’s plan. The fact that a woman is not authorized to preach or teach publicly to men does not suggest inferiority or a second-class status. It is simply God’s plan. The fact that God has ordained certain but differing roles for men and women within the family does not suggest inferiority or a second-class status for women. It is simply God’s plan.
We need to remember that equality is not the equivalent of sameness. Men and women are equal, but they are not the same. The fact that God has created us this way and has given us different roles does not diminish either’s worth or value. In our culture’s rush for egalitarianism in all relationships, we have bypassed some very important biblical truths. Let us remember that God’s ways are always right (Psalm 18:30; 1 John. 5:3).