Genesis 1. That’s the beginning of the equality between men and women according to Cindy Garland, a professor who teaches the course Women in the Bible in the School of Religion.
Preceding the Women’s Rights Movement by thousands of years, the Bible from its beginning affirms the value of women as being made in God’s image, according to Garland.
“I find it fascinating that the very first thing we read in Scripture about both men and women is that they both were made in the image of God,” Garland said. “In Genesis 2, we start seeing the differences, but it starts with that foundation.
Garland also said the New Testament, specifically Christ’s ministry, celebrates the value of women despite being written in a time and culture when the value and equality of women was not recognized as much as it is in today’s society.
“Jesus’ ministry reflects the intent of the Godhead from the very beginning toward women,” Garland said.
“What we see in the gospels and even throughout the epistles is a going back to the Creator’s original intent.”
Garland cited two notable examples in the Bible to illustrate her point. She said Christ affirms the women’s value when He broke gender and racial stereotypes to talk to the woman at the well.
Garland said the story of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus is also important to note.
While the significance of this event might be passed over by modern readers, those in New Testament times would have certainly understood the implications of Mary’s position.
The foot of a Rabbi was the traditional position of a disciple, so sitting at Jesus’ feet signified that Mary too was a disciple of Jesus, a part of His ministry.
Similarly, Garland said women at BJU join Christ’s ministry when they participate in the operations of the University.
“I think there’s value [in recognizing] women as being part of the ministry and part of the body of Christ.”
Whether serving as department heads, division chairs, executives or academic deans, competent women play a vital role in the University’s leadership.
In this week’s photo story on page 5, a few of those women leaders share their perspectives on leadership and give advice to upcoming leaders here on campus.