Is the Bible Sexist? Part 1 of 2

Q. I disagree with 1 Tim 2:14 that “it was not Adam who was deceived. It was the woman who was deceived and became disobedient.” Adam, being older than Eve, should had been wiser than Eve. He should have told Eve not to eat the fruit, unless he wanted to know good and evil himself. Adam was beside Eve the whole time. Being a gentleman, he let Eve take the first bite. He could have refused to take the second bite. His own intention is revealed here. It must had been the delayed effect that Eve, after her first bite, did not immediately realize what she had done wrong. In verse 14, Paul was shirking the responsibility of men of loving and protecting his wife. He condoned the men to blame the women for their own mistakes.

A. We need to observe carefully what the Bible said and what it didn’t say, or we may be wrongly charging God or the human author with error, when the mistake was really in our assumption. The Fall of Man is recorded in Gen 3:1-7, which Paul commented on in 1 Tim 2:14. Note the following:

• Gen 3:1-5 give the dialogue between the serpent (the devil and Satan, Rev 12:9, 20:2) and the woman (Eve, Gen 3:20). We infer from v 6 that Adam was there, but there was no record of any exchange between the serpent and the man, nor between the woman and her husband. Adam may be there all the time as some commentators believe, or he may have just arrived as Eve ate. The Bible is silent and we aren’t sure which is the case.

Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. According to 1 Tim 2:14 Eve was deceived and fell into transgression. Adam was not deceived i.e. he knew what he was doing. It was a willful disobedience of God’s command.

• We don’t know when God made Adam and Eve what age He gave them. Likely He made both in their prime. Other than that all we know is that both were created on Day 6, so we really can’t say Adam was older and wiser. Both were without sin prior to the Fall, and did not know good from evil before they ate the forbidden fruit. God commanded the man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Gen 2:17, before He made the woman in Gen 2:22. So either Adam told Eve afterwards, or God told Eve Himself, otherwise she would not have known the prohibition as indicated in Gen 3:3, although she added the “touching” part herself.

• The Bible did not tell what went through Adam’s mind as he ate the forbidden fruit, so we don’t know his intention. Was it being a gentleman and “ladies first” as you suggested? Or was it not trusting God’s words despite His warning? Any imputation of motive comes from us, not the text. We can’t be sure it must be what we assumed, as there is NO hard evidence to back up our claim. The only thing we know for sure is that Adam was NOT deceived, so it was not out of ignorance, but deliberate, and therefore more deserving of blame. So the second option above is more plausible.

(To be continued)

Temple Tax (1 of 5)

The coin's image is wrong as the temple tax would never accept Roman coins.

The coin’s image is wrong as the temple tax would never accept Roman coins.

Prelude. This post is long, but touches on principles of interpretation which are applicable elsewhere. Although I have a different view on some of the interpretations, I wish all my members would spend as much effort studying and thinking through their Bible as this enquirer.

Q. This short story in only recorded in Matthew 17:24-27, probably because Matthew himself was a tax collector. However, some problems arise out of this story, which different commentators have given different answers:

(1) Why did the tax collectors asked Peter instead of asking Jesus directly? Was Jesus that difficult to find? How can they expect Peter to answer a question carrying legal responsibility on behalf of his master? I think there is not enough information for an answer, but some commentator said the tax collectors were afraid of facing Jesus, so when they saw Peter, they just asked him. Would this view already construe eisegesis?

As you yourself pointed out, there is not enough information in the passage to tell us why the tax collectors asked Peter and not Jesus directly. But that’s not the point of the incident. Jesus was easy to find. Everywhere He went, crowds gathered around Him e.g. Mt 13:2, Mk 10:1. When they arrested Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said:
Mt 26:55 Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me.

Some feel the tax collectors may not be after the fact whether Jesus actually paid the temple tax; they just want an excuse to trap Him. Knowing that Peter usually speaks before he thinks, they just asked him as an easy prey. I believe this is unlikely. Analyzing a passage is like a detective investigation – you have to examine all the evidence. If you check all references to tax collectors in the NT, although they were looked down upon by the Jews, they were always presented positively in the gospels e.g.
• loving those who love them (Mt 5:46);
• dining with Jesus (Mt 9:10-11; Mk 2:15-16; Lk 5:29-30);
• Jesus’ friends (Mt 11:19; Lk 7:34);
• getting into the kingdom of God by believing John’s message (Mt 21:31-32);
• came to be baptized (Lk 3:12; 7:29); and
• listening to Jesus (Lk 15:1).
Therefore I don’t think they were out to get Jesus. There is no motive.

Based on the gospel evidence, I disagree with the commentator’s view that the tax collectors were afraid of Jesus; I think they actually liked Him. However, I don’t consider the comment to be eisegesis. Eisegesis is interpreting a text by subjectively reading into it one’s own presuppositions, instead of drawing out its meaning through an objective analysis. Here I do not see any agenda from the commentator, only an incidental opinion without careful consideration of the broader background, of why they might ask Peter instead of Jesus. He was not pushing his preconceived notion and forcing the text to fit his mold.

(To be continued)