Reading the Bible as a Woman (RBW)

  My approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

Though all women are not the same, and we need to be aware enough to ask what women, and who, and where, nevertheless, all women know that the issues affecting women are interconnected. Therefore, to increase my own and other women’s understanding of the Scriptures, I began to engage in critical text analysis. To do this requires analytical reading and thoughtful writing. In breaking down and studying the parts, I became better able to evaluate past and present male commentators and interpreters of the text.

In so doing, a different understanding overall of the female character developed. Once understood, it changes the traditional conclusions previously drawn by male interpreters about the women’s roles and actions. Where women are concerned, all bibles available today, are interpreted by a number of men invited to function as a board whose theological stance on women will comes to the fore in their interpretation of Genesis chapter two. Theology is built precept upon precept and line upon line, thus other passages that deal with the same topic will be tainted as well.

There are a whole variety of contemporary frameworks for interpreting the Biblical text. That is the type of interpretive work that I am passionate about and which challenges and excites me. In the interpretation of a text, hermeneutics considers the original medium as well as what language says, supposes, doesn’t say, and implies. The process consists of several steps for best attaining the Scriptural author’s intended meanings.

The term ‘biblical hermeneutics’ is a common one in scholarly circles and it simply means investigating the broader historical-critical, socio-political, geographical, cultural and linguistic / grammatical context and underpinnings of interpretation. A growing number of scholars now research these matters and these explorations provide us with an ever increasing number of just interpretations of the women and the text. Finally, an application of truth may be made only after arriving at the correct interpretation. In this I encourage the woman reader to develop and arrive at her own truth.

I write from the viewpoint that the Israelites began as a matriarchal society, but interpreters have translated it from the beginning as a patriarchal one. Also, that the Scriptures are eternally centered in Christ and the whole material universe was created to reflect the spiritual realities that are hid in Christ. My writings show clearly that from the beginning to the end the overarching theme ultimately leads to the Believer’s glorification/consummation in the marriage supper of the Lamb: Christ and His Bride, the Church. My writings also bring a challenge to the woman believer to live the best life she can live. He is Coming Again!

My interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, for example, shows that God indicates in the first mention of a subject the truth with which that subject stands connected in the revealed Scriptures. God then makes the revelation of any given truth increasingly clear as the word proceeds to its consummation. The truthfulness and faithfulness of God become the guarantee that God will not set forth any passage in the Word that contradicts any other passage. It also means certain people, events, objects, and rituals, found in the Old Testament, may serve as object lessons and pictures by which God teaches us in the New Testament of his grace and saving power.

Patristic writers are also held to account for their infectious hatred of women, revealed in their writings. Where necessary, these are brought to the reader’s attention to help them become aware of the bias in interpretation in today’s teaching of Scripture. It reveals the nuanced and more recognisable gendered text, which once this masculisation of the scriptures is exposed, shows ingrained damaging attitudes and biased interpretation of certain words in, and whole readings of, and interpretation of scripture, that grossly impede Christian women’s full freedom in Christ.