Faith Crashers: Was the Apostle Paul a Misogynist?

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By today's standards it may appear that the Apostle Paul was prejudiced against women when he wrote in Ephesians for wives to submit themselves to their husbands. However Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land said Paul was actually ahead of his time, establishing equality between the sexes in marriage.

"In the modern world many people rather casually assume that the Apostle Paul was a misogynist based upon his teachings concerning the differing roles of men and women in the church and in marriage," Land said.

"What such critics fail to realize is that they are reading the Apostle Paul through the lens of a 21st century perspective, rather than the 1st century world to which Paul wrote originally."

Land, who is also the executive editor of The Christian Post, explained that in the 1st century women were considered property with few rights or protections. In his writings, Paul describes husbands and wives as equals even in the most intimate parts of their relationships.

Quoting 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, Land says of Paul, "He instructs the Corinthians that in marriage the husband and the wife have equal right to conjugal relations."

Men are also called to love, nourish and cherish their wives sacrificially with the measure being Jesus.

"One can only imagine the shock and consternation among many of the husbands in Corinth and Ephesus upon hearing the Apostle's commands and admonitions," said Land. "Can you not hear them exclaiming, 'My body belongs to my wife sexually, you say? Has Paul taken leave of his senses?' Or alternatively, their exclamations echo across the room, 'I'm to love my wife sacrificially, with an agape love which always puts her needs before my own? I never heard of such a thing!'"

Paul's admonitions marked the first time that sexual equality was asserted in any civilization thus making him more of a revolutionary than a misogynist, summed Land.