Reflections after the readings for Gender Theology in Life and Ministry at Talbot

The Bible hints at some gender distinctions. In his general thesis (see below), John Coe captures some of this. In Genesis 2-3 and in Proverbs 31 (the entire chapter, not just the nifty wife part), we see some of these distinctions.

Back in August of 2006 (in response to an article in Biola Connections, "The Feminization of the Church," you can read a summary here or, even better, read the entire article on Connections), I proposed a few gender distinctions gleaned from Proverbs 31:
Proverbs 31:1-9 Masculine Wisdom
  • Chastity, 3
  • Temperance, 4
  • Speaking justice, 5
  • Doing justice, 9
  • Defending the downtrodden, 9
Proverbs 31:10-28 Feminine Wisdom
  • Strength, 17, 25
  • Active compassion, 12, 15, 20
  • Diligence, 13, 18-19, 27
  • Speaking wisdom, 26
  • Speaking kindness, 26
  • Trustworthiness, 11
  • Resourcefulness, 14, 16, 21
  • Caring for the downtrodden, 20
Discerning the biblical view of gender distinctions is a work in progress; there are areas of agreement and areas of disagreement in the discussion. If only there were a passage that said, "This is what men and women are like...", but such a passage does not exist. So for now, we wonder together. We pass on what we (think we) know. We each have bits of truth, but the whole of it must with until the eschaton.

Given that mutuality and partnership are primary (Gen 1:26-28), how do personality and culture shape the expression of these gender distinctions?


John Coe's chapter, "Being Faithful to Christ in One's Gender," in Men and Women in Ministry, proposes the following thesis:
  • Man's gender typology is "withness." It is characterized by representative rulership, responsible/sacrificial work, representative truth-telling, an exalted/explicit posture, incomplete wholeness, and strength.
  • Woman's gender typology is "forness." It is characterized by relational rule, helping/submissive work, open reception of truth, an uplifting/veiled posture, completing wholeness, and devout surrender.

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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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