What is faith? Part 9
The purpose of God’s written word is not to show us his personal relationship with every single individual who has ever lived on earth. That would be impossible. The books would be innumerable, if that were the case. Most of what God does in human history goes unrecorded. This includes his daily working in our lives.
The purpose of the Bible is to show God’s eternal plan of love and redemption. Therefore, he detailed how it all began, and then he traced the human family into which he would be born. Messiah then came as promised, and then God detailed the founding of his church. The final events prophesied will wrap it up.
There it is. The biblical history of the world in one short paragraph.
In the Old Testament Job and Melchizedek appear out of nowhere, worshipers of God and lovers of him. They play very significant roles, yet we have no idea who they are. We don’t know much about the apostles who weren’t Scripture writers. We don’t know about their personal interactions or travels.
And we don’t hear much about the women of faith unless we read very carefully, since women didn’t play as prominent a role in social, political, or public history during ancient times.
We hear about women like Deborah and Jael, because they performed unique public tasks in the life of the Jewish nation. We see women who contributed to the lineage of Christ like Sarah, Tamar, Ruth, and Rahab, two also mentioned in Hebrews 11.
In the New Testament we see the women who served the Lord and comprised the families of men who worked with Paul. But the majority of believers, then and now, men and women, lived lives of quiet obedience, unrecorded, not noted by anyone but God, the only one whose opinion matters.
In other words, the women mentioned in Hebrews 11 are just like us, and so are all the courageous believers who are not mentioned in the pages of Scripture.
It’s a mistake to believe that the dearth of women mentioned in the Bible or in this one chapter means that God or his people deemed women unimportant. Without women, there are no people. The role of reproduction is irreplaceable. Had God not given Eve to Adam, none of us would be here. A woman birthed the Son of God.
Women fed and arranged housing details for Jesus and the apostles. They stood at Jesus’ feet as he died, and overcame their fear to tend to his body on the third day—these two things as the men ran and hid. Women were the first people to whom Jesus appeared.
At a time when the testimony of women didn’t count in a legal court, Jesus chose to appear first to females and to send them back to his disciples with the most important message in human history.
Women held prominent roles in the early church. There were no hospitals or charitable assistance for the poor and the sick. Christian women filled this role. They cared for orphaned children who had been abandoned by their pagan parents. They held church office. At least one carried an apostolic epistle, Phoebe with Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Since creation, God declared men and women equal in his eyes. Male and female he created them as co-regents over his creation. At a time in history when women had few legal rights and slavery was rampant, the Holy Spirit said to the first-century church:
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).
Be not dismayed by the absence of more information written into the ancient record. Just as the other apostles and believers whose exploits are virtually unrecorded carried God’s word all over the world, so also the women of faith were vitally involved in that effort, carrying letters, and tending to the church.
Paul’s greetings and farewells mentioned Aquila and Priscilla in one breath, the many women who were like mothers or sisters to him, and the women who worked hard in the church.
God sees. It is enough.
He rewards all of us who labor behind the scenes for his church. He regards all of us equally as his own. Who cares what anyone else thinks?