Terrible Parts Of The Bible: Part 2 – Sexism

For a book that is supposed to be about love and tolerance, the Bible contains an incredible amount of sexism. It makes repeated reference to how women should be subjugated to men and  are not entitled to equal rights. In numerous instances they are blamed for tempting men into committing sin, even if a man is an equal partner in the act. For centuries the Bible was quoted in defence of treating women as second class citizens.

The sexism begins at the very beginning of the Bible where man is crated first (the implication being as he’s more important). Woman on the other hand is created from a small part of man’s body (his rib) as “a help” for man (Genesis 2:18). The standard argument to justify sexism for centuries quoted Genesis claiming God himself intended women to solely attend the needs of men. Just to make it clear when Adam and Eve are banished from Eden (note how in the story Eve is the guilty one while Adam is innocent, further justification for sexism) as punishment god declares that Adam “shall rule over thee”. (Genesis 3:16) This we have the beginning of the justification for the second class treatment of women.

It only gets worse. Women are not to have any influence; in fact it is preferable that they do not even speak. 1st Corinthians (14:34-5) says “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame to speak in the church.” So not only should they not speak but they should also obey their husbands (the only cases where I have heard the use of obedience in the house is for children and dogs). They should also be kept ignorant of anything their husband doesn’t want them to know. Way to go Bible on degrading the status of half the world’s population!

Just in case I’m using an extreme or obscure example, I’ll give more examples. Ephesians 5:22-5 “Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.” So your husband is like God and should be obeyed as such. This arrogance is clear proof that the Bible was man-made. Colossians 3:18 also declares “Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” So hear that ladies, God is telling you to do everything your husband tells you.

This is not all; in fact I’m only getting going. 1st Timothy 2:11-5 says “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” This is probably the most offensive and sexist comment of them all. It combines forbidding women to speak, keeping them in subjugation (according to the dictionary this means to bring under control or to enslave), declaring they can never be above man (presumably then always beneath him) and tops it off by proclaiming they have nothing worth listening to.

Then there is Romans 7:2 which says “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth.” St Peter (the one who founded the Christian Church) said (1st Peter 3:1-3) “ye wives, be in subjugation to your own husbands.” This is a practice the Church continues to promote to this day.

I could go on quoting all night, but I’ll save you the time and give summaries. There is the view that women are inherently unclean. Leviticus 12:2-5 says that when a woman gives birth to a boy she is unclean for seven days. But if she gives birth to a girl she is unclean for two weeks. It is not explained what is unclean about a perfectly normal natural act. Even worse, during a woman’s monthly period a woman is unclean but so is anyone who touches her (Leviticus 15:19). If periods are so bad then why did create them? This sounds more like immature boys than the teaching of an all-powerful and all-loving God.

Then there is just the absurd, like the verse which says that it is an “abomination” (Deuteronomy 22:5) for a woman to wear clothes that men wear (trousers for example). Then there is Leviticus 27:3-7 which declares women are not equal to men. In fact they are only three-fifths the value of men.

(Just in case some try to argue that women were treated badly in the past but then Jesus made this right, most of these quotes are from the New Testament)

While people often comment on the poor treatment of women in Islam, many do not realise that Bible shows just as little respect towards women. They are blamed for many problems even when it does not seem to be their blame. They are more or less written out of the Bible with all the main characters being male while the women are rarely even named. They treated as inferior to men, discouraged even from speaking, condemned as unclean and forced to obey their husband regardless of their own will.

I cannot reconcile a supposedly loving, caring God with one who is so blatantly sexist. This is one of many problems I have with the Bible.

Terrible Parts Of The Bible Part 1 – Genocide

Terrible Parts Of The Bible Part 2 – Sexism

Terrible Parts Of The Bible Part 3 – Homophobia

Terrible Parts Of The Bible Part 4 – Slavery

Terrible Parts Of The Bible Part 5 – Racism

Terrible Parts Of The Bible Part 6 – Anti-Semitism


Filed under Religion

21 responses to “Terrible Parts Of The Bible: Part 2 – Sexism

  1. Its not the Bible that is sexist. Rather it is the ignorant teachings based on passages taken out of context that are sexist. Humans are sexist, not God or His Word.

    Sorry you feel that way. I know you are not alone in thhis. Its a tagedy.

    God Bless,


    • But how do we tell the two apart? How can we know which is the word of God and which is merely men speaking?

      Also if I did take any quote out of context please show me where and I’ll correct it.

      • You can tell something is not of God if it is taught in a sexist manner. You merely repeated false teachings that have been regurgitated for many years and are accepted as fact by many.
        I have a post about Jesus and the woman at the well that you might like.

    • old post I know.. but What?? Those passages don’t magically change their meaning when read in the passages they come. No they still say the same things and mean the same things and sometimes it ends up even worse.

  2. But aren’t you suggesting we pick and choose what to believe? What if I choose to ignore the sexist parts and say, the homophobic parts? Or the parts against stealing or blasphemy? How can you accept some parts but reject other parts? Where do you draw the line?

  3. brian

    a pretty conservative xn is blogging on the Bible at this site. it might be helpful: http://www.patrickmead.net/tentpegs
    he points out some inconsistencies in the Bible, but still has faith, because of his understand of the book itself and how it came to be

    • Thank you, that link is very useful. Credit to that guy, he is honest about the difficulties and he doesn’t resort to making up ridiculous solutions like others I have read.

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  6. marglups

    Let’s break it down…

    Genesis 2:18: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'” You say that making woman as a “helper” is sexist. “The Hebrew word translated ‘helper’ is ‘ezer,’ which occurs 21 times in the Old Testament. In 2 instances in Genesis, ezer refers to the woman Eve. In 16 of the other 19 instances the word is used to describe God Himself! Obviously, the term cannot be said to represent some sort of subservient role. An interesting sidelight to the phrase ‘helper suitable for him’ is that the translation ‘suitable’ is not the most common translation for the Hebrew word. In fact, the most common translation is ‘opposite.'” (http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sexism.html) And we all know that opposites attract, just as the positive and negative in magnets.

    Genesis 3:16: “To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'” The determination of thy will shall be yielded to thy husband.” You quoted only the last five words of the verse. You can’t interpret the last five words without the context of “desire.” Many Biblical scholars believe that the “desire” referred to here is an “idolatrous longing.” And God tells us not to worship idols. We are to go to God with our longings, not man. Therefore, as long as woman has an “idol-like” desire for man and man-made “things,” she will be ruled by him. The ruling is a result of the desire. If the woman doesn’t desire, then there can be no “rule.” It’s kind of the mindset that if a woman believes she needs a man to provide for her and she gets a man to provide for her, then she is most likely, governed by that man. “I’d like to buy a new pair of shoes, will you give me some money to go shopping today?”

    1 Corinthians 14:34-5: “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” Please refer to http://www.gci.org/church/ministry/women9 for a doctrinal review team’s interpretation of this passage.

    Ephesians 5:22-5 “Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.” So your husband is like God and should be obeyed as such.” You write, “This arrogance is clear proof that the Bible was man-made.” Did someone say the Bible wasn’t made by man? Of course it was. The Bible is a collection of stories that were told, that is spoken, for generations before they were written. And after they were written, the word has been translated and translated and interpreted and interpreted. If you take passages such as these out of context and don’t have faith in God, you will interpret them as sexist. A deeper study of the passage reveals that it is really a statement of the relationship God wants us to have with him. I sat in my church last year and listened to a sermon by my pastor, who is pursuing his doctorate in theology, and that was his very message. A literal interpretation of this passage is, indeed, sexist. But when you understand that its true meaning is about modeling our earthly relationship with God, it isn’t sexist. I wish my pastor recorded and posted his sermons on the Internet, but he does not. In the absence of a recording of that sermon, please read Ray Stedman’s interpretation of the passage at: http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/ephesians/husbands-and-wives. Part of this interpretation reads “We must remember that this is an application of the general principle. Subjection, therefore, is not merely to be on the part of one alone, but, in the case of Christian husbands and wives, is to be done by both. The husband is to subject himself to the wife as much as the wife is to the husband.”

    Colossians 3:18 also declares “Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” You write, “So hear that ladies, God is telling you to do everything your husband tells you.” No, that is not what God is telling us to do. Again, it is a statement of how God wants humans, all of us, to live on earth as a modeling of our relationship with Him. Again, I’ll refer you to Ray Stedman at http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/colossians/living-christianly. He writes, “This word “submit” has become the focus of the feminist movement and is probably the most hated word among women today. The meaning has been grossly distorted. Many wrongs have been done in the name of submission. Perhaps the first thing that needs to be said about submission is that it does not cancel out equality. Although it is addressed here to wives, it is not a female word in the Bible but is addressed to men as well. Thus it is not a sexist word.”

    1 Timothy 2:11-5 says “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission…” “The subject under discussion in this passage, as well as in this entire chapter, is prayer. Paul is writing about the worship of the congregation when they come together, especially as that worship centers on and focuses in prayer.” (http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/timothy/adams-rib-or-womens-lib) In verse 4, prior to where you pick up, Timothy writes that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” ALL men – men and women. Again, the larger context is for us, all of us – men and women, to understand how to pray. Stedman writes, “Here is the area of great controversy: ‘What part can a woman play in a church service, in its leading, its speaking, and its teaching?’ According to this translation, women should be ‘silent’ in church. That word occurs twice in this passage: that a woman should ‘learn in silence’ (Vs. 11), and, she is to ‘keep silent’ (Vs. 12). I have been in churches where this was taken so literally that women were actually prohibited from even saying ‘Hello’ to anybody in the auditorium; they could not even open their mouths, literally, when they entered into the sanctuary or auditorium.

    But that is obviously a very extreme and wrong translation. The reason I say that is because the same word that is translated ‘silent’ here occurs also in adjectival form in Verse 2 of this same chapter. There we read that we are to pray for ‘kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.’ The word ‘peaceable’ is the same word which is translated ‘silent’ here. But surely Verse 2 does not mean that we may lead lives of absolute silence. It clearly means that we are to live an undisturbed life, i.e., without a great deal of hassling, etc., but a ‘peaceable’ life. That is a good translation for this word, which, if carried over here to this section we are studying, changes the thought entirely.”

    Romans 7:2, as quoted, is out of context. Romans 7:2 is about being faithful in marriage. The verses read: “1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.” And the Bible is pretty clear that adultery applies to men, as well. God spoke against adultery in more than one of the commandments. See Exodus 20:14 and Exodus 20:17.

    1 Peter 3:1-3: “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.” You write, “This is a practice the Church continues to promote to this day.” What church? Not my church. Again, this language that tells us how to model our relationship with God. Literally interpreted, it is sexist. When you look at is as an example of how all people – men and women – should submit to God. “Submission to authority can be totally consistent with equality in importance, dignity, and honor. Jesus was subject to both His parents and to God the Father, but was not lower than either of them. “Thus the command to wives to be subject to their husbands should never be taken to imply inferior personhood or spirituality, or lesser importance.” http://www.studylight.org/com/guz/view.cgi?book=1pe&chapter=3

    I could continue to interpret each of your quotes, but I’m out of time. I’ll summarize by saying I think you nailed it in one of your other blogs. People can take a number of verses from the Bible to support any belief.

    I would argue, though, if you want to take one verse out of the Bible out of context as sound advice, take this one: Matthew 7:12, otherwise known as “the golden rule.” It reads: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” So on any of the topics you’ve labeled as “Terrible Parts of the Bible,” I can argue that the golden rule overrules all of them. It’s as simple as remembering to treat others as you would have them treat you. Who in his right mind could rationalize genocide, sexism, racism, slavery or homophobia if he believes in the golden rule? Would I want someone to own me if I don’t want to be owned? No. Would I want someone to deny me service or basic rights because of my race, sex, or sexual preference? No. Should a Christian advocate the elimination of the people of other religions any more than other religions should advocate the elimination of Christians? No.

    • yeah no.. your rebuttals are ridiculous. You have not demonstrated a change in meaning by showing the “context”.

      Plus you flat out make stuff up that isn’t there and read it into the text instead of accepting what it actually says.

    • btw,, in genesis is clear from the context that woman is made after god tries out all the animals on adam for a “mate” and they all fail.

      you need to be honest with yourself about what the bible is actually saying.

      • Seth


        When we look at the Bible and what is says, if God truly was sexist to women then why would he ever use women in a significant way or put them in a position of power, such as Ester or Deborah?

        Deborah in Judges 4 was leading Israel, if the Bible or God was sexist, why would it allow a women lead over the men at any point?

        Even when you look at Genesis while Adam was made first, and the animals where not suited as a companion God made women, still in God’s image as seen in Genesis 2:23 “This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one will called women, for she was waken out of man.”

        Also, in Ephesians 5:22-24 it tells wives to submit to there husbands, as they also submit to the Lord. While this could been seem as sexiest, the follow 9 versus Ephesians 5:25-33 states:
        25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

        For being “sexist” God sure did want to make sure that men knew how men were suppose to treat there wives properly and respectfully.This does no t reflect God being sexist at all towards women, and there are many other examples found in the Bible showing God as not being sexist, but actually affirming of women.

        Like you said, need to be honest about what the Bible is actually saying.

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  14. Alexis Arline

    I alright found something wrong about your evidence. Not just eve was punished it was also Adam. Read the bible and then start realize that you are wrong. Don’t start thing without getting you facts straight.

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