Dear Sue Bohlin,
In your article "Probe Answers Our E-Mail: What's Your Position on Gender Neutral Bibles?" you write,
"I am also bothered by the unspoken assumption that women are too self-centered and hyper-sensitive not to be able to figure out that when the Bible--the very words of God Himself--uses the word "man" or "mankind" to refer to all humans, we can't figure that out without getting upset. Just about every language on the face of the planet uses the generic male pronoun to represent all people, but apparently our sensibilities are too finely-tuned to allow for readers of these newer translations to make the mental jump. . .! "
I think it sounds a bit harsh. As a Christian woman, I have struggled for years to see that women have as much value to God as men because it seems to me that the Bible is mostly for men and about men. Women were created for men, must submit to men, and to be the help mate to men. I know that most people claim that women are not inferior to men but when I read the Scriptures, I see the inferiority very clearly. However - I find it helpful to read a Bible that uses pronouns and nouns that clearly show which verses refer to males only and which refer to all mankind. I don't appreciate the comment about not being able to make the mental jump to understand the idea that male pronouns are often inclusive. I don't think I am being self-centered, since I truly believe that women are inferior to men in God's eyes, but I am learning to accept that God has a right to make us for what ever purpose He chooses, even if this hurts very deeply and doesn't make sense to me. Was there really a need for you to be so hard on those of us who struggle with these issues?
I regret that my article caused you pain. I'm not sure that it was me being harsh as much as your unfortunate (albeit understandable) tenderness and sensitivity at having been lied to about the inferiority of women. I think the high value of women starts in the very beginning of the Bible when God deliberately makes Adam incomplete without Eve, and says it is not good for man to be alone. . . and then Paul fine-tunes that truth in 1 Cor. 11:7 when he says that man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. If woman is the glory of the image and glory of God, then we are the best and most beautiful aspect of His creation! I love what John Eldredge writes in Wild at Heart: "Eve is the crown of creation, remember? She embodies the exquisite beauty and the exotic mystery of God in a way that nothing else in all creation even comes close to." Please also note the poignancy of his next sentence: "And so she is the special target of the Evil One; he turns his most vicious malice against her." I would respectfully suggest that your sensitivity may have been triggered by the arrows of the Evil One's "vicious malice" against you.
There is a strength and glory to men that is different from the strength and glory of women. When we look at the way the Lord Jesus treated women with such tenderness and respect and dignity, attributes totally unknown in the world at that time, we see what God REALLY thinks of women. He likes us; He loves us; He delights in us! He does not think we are, nor did He make us, inferior to men. We are different from men. He put the most beautiful and tender parts of Himself in US, to reflect His image in a way men cannot--just as there are wonderful parts of the Fatherhood of God that men reflect in ways we cannot. That is not a difference of value, but of function.
I truly ache that you struggle with the issue of women's value in the sight of God. My guess is that the way you've been treated by misogynistic men who do not protect and cherish women as God tells them to, has given you the wrong impression of what God thinks of us. I pray He shows you how very much He esteems you as a wonderful creation of His hand and heart.
I would like to invite you to listen to a powerful, encouraging and comforting recording of the Lord Jesus speaking to His Bride, based on what He has said in His word and produced by a good friend of ours, Bob Singleton, here. This has been very touching to the people who have heard it, and I pray it will minister to your heart as well.
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075