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Greek Word Study - Woman

Women are greedy, inquisitive, lazy, vain, and frivolous.” At least that’s what the ancients said. The Mishnah, the book which preserves the oral traditions of the Jewish rabbis before A.D. 200, includes many such derogatory statements about women. The attitude of the Jews was typical, unfortunately, of most of the ancient world.

Other rabbinical wisdom that was preserved in the Mishnah includes the following: “Ten qab (measures) of empty-headedness have come upon the world, nine having been received by women, and one by the rest of the world.” “Happy is he whose children are males, and woe to him whose children are females.” “May the words of the Torah be burned, they should not be handed over to women.” While such statements may be quoting the worst of the rabbis, they still reflect a society in which leaders could make such statements.

So the word for this study is “woman.” The Greek word was gyne (guh NAY), which has come into our language in “gynecologist” (woman’s doctor) and “misogynist” (hater of women). The scripture worth contemplating is John 4:4-30. The disciples had just come back and were shocked to find Jesus talking to the Samaritan Woman. They were not surprised that he was talking to a Samaritan, nor that he was talking to a sinner. According to verse 27 they were surprised that he was talking to a woman.

Jesus did not come just to be a product of his times. He came to set things right. One of those things was to restore respect for women. Though slighted and ignored by society, women were welcomed into the church. The third chapter of Galatians shows that women come to faith (v. 26), baptism (v. 27), and salvation (v. 29) on the same terms as men. “Neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” (v. 28), means that women are equally acceptable to enter God’s family and are equally loved.