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The Magic Book

February 4, 2014

I’ve been mulling over an article I saw on the blog “True Love Doesn’t Wait.” a few days ago.  You can read the full article here.  In it the author, identified as “Jeff”, examines Numbers 30, and some other passages and reaches some interesting conclusions.  In specific he says:

“So, this passage addresses widows, divorced women, married women, unmarried women still in their father’s house, and all men.

But, did you notice who is not included in this passage? What woman is not mentioned? Where is the woman who is neither a girl in her father’s house, nor a wife or widow or divorced woman?

Where is the “independent” woman? Where is the career woman? Where is the thirty-year-old unmarried woman living alone in an apartment, who is the CEO of a major corporation and has achieved all of the goals our society has set for her?

Scripture appears to remain completely ignorant of such a woman.”

So there you have it, because there are no independent women mentioned then independent woman are not “biblical.”  Lest you still be unclear he later explains:

“All of this, if nothing else, should reinforce the principle that marriage, even young marriage, is emphatically normative. But, I think it goes even farther. I think it speaks to Scripture’s (perhaps unspoken) condemnation of unduly prolonging the unmarried state.

Scripture’s exclusion of the “independent” woman, the woman (not a widow) who is unmarried in her thirties and working a career outside the home is more than mere oversight. It was intentionally omitted…. Scripture overwhelming supports young, fruitful marriages within the Church with the woman guiding the household, submitting to her husband, bearing children…

…to the utter exclusion of the contrary.”

Regardless of where you stand on the role of women in today’s society the key question here is about how to read the Bible.  If you accept the idea that the Bible does, and always intended to, give specific guidance on exact career/life choices for 21st century women then you are compelled to search through Numbers 30 and other passages to find it.

If, on the other hand, you assume that the Bible is the story of redemption as it actually played out in history and that its laws, parables and letters gave guidance to believers in that time as to how it might be applied then you are left desiring to apply the same principles to our times.  Since there was no such thing as a woman “CEO of a major corporation” you have no call to believe that the Bible specifically addresses that situation.  Of course, this approach takes away the legalistic quick answer and makes actually living the faith more complicated.

I really don’t want to get hung up on this issue Jeff speaks to, although I think his conclusion about modern day women is deeply flawed.  What troubles me is that the way Jeff reads the Bible requires him to seek a “biblical” answer to everything, including at what age you should marry and when you start “bearing children.”  Where does it stop?

I saw a cute article just before the Super Bowl listing 15 Bible verses that Seahawk/Bronco fans need to know.  The write culled out verses, essentially about birds or horses, and reached two funny results about the Bible’s answer to who would win, or at the very least, who God was rooting for.

The problem is that Jeff uses the same methodology to reach his conclusions and he is not joking; he thinks he is doing an important study.  Worse yet, he not only plans to apply his conclusion to his family he wants all of us to agree with him.  His plea is a “you ought to” pitch to others saying that we need to agree with him or risk being “unbiblical.”

I saw a cute little Christmas movie some weeks back where one of Santa’s elves was sent to a family to help them discover the “true meaning of Christmas.”  To aid her quest she was given a magic book where, when she opened it, the words “ask me” appeared.  She could then ask it any question she wanted to help her understand the culture and the answer would appear.  Isn’t it time to stop treating the Bible as a magic book?  Don’t we want to love the Bible, and the redemption story it gives us, for what it actually is?

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