The Revolution that Paul Started

What the Capernaum steps to nowhere taught me about women in ministry.
The Revolution that Paul Started

There I stood, at the ruins that had once been the synagogue in Capernaum during Jesus' day. Not much was left. A few half walls. The floor. By ruins standards, it was pretty impressive. But after a week in the Holy Land, visiting different biblical sites, I figured this synagogue, while interesting, was probably not going to be a highlight of the trip.

So my curiosity was piqued when I noticed five steps outside the synagogue running along the side of one wall, leading to nowhere. Others in my group glanced at the steps and quickly moved on, wanting to walk inside, to glimpse the real stuff. But the mystery of those stairs intrigued me.

Why would there be steps outside the wall? I wondered. Where did they lead? Was there a second floor to the synagogue? If so, why?

It made no sense. Finally I turned and caught sight of one of our leaders.

"What's up with the steps?" I asked.

"Those steps would have gone to the second floor of the synagogue," he explained. "They were for the women."

I stared at him. Huh?

I simply took for granted that God could and did call women to lives of purpose and influence—not only in the home, but in the church, the workplace, the world.

"The women would have gone upstairs to worship," he continued. "They weren't allowed to worship with the men."

"So you're telling me women couldn't actually sit in the services with the men?"

He nodded.

"But wouldn't that have been difficult to hear what was going on?"

Member access onlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, join now for free and get complete access.
orJoin Now for Free

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Ginger E. Kolbaba

Ginger Kolbaba is the author of Desperate Pastors' Wives and The Old Fashioned Way. Connect with her on Twitter @gingerkolbaba.

Free CT Women Newsletter

Sign up for our free CT Women newsletter: CT's weekly newsletter highlighting the voices of women writers. We report on news and give our opinion on topics such as church, family, sexuality, discipleship, pop culture, and more!

Bible; Leadership; Spiritual Gifts; Women in Biblical Times; Women's Ministry
Today's Christian Woman, November , 2009
Posted November 2, 2009

Read These Next

  • Also in This Issue
    Who Are You?Member Access Only
    Too often we lose ourselves in the midst of our roles. Here's how to find the way back.
  • Related Issue
    Having Ears, Do You Not Hear?Member Access Only
    An ancient practice helps us stop merely studying the Bible and start listening to it in a way that transforms us.
  • Editor's PickBody Shame and Gospel Freedom
    Body Shame and Gospel FreedomMember Access Only
    "Too fat!" "Too thin!" Who gets to determine how you feel about your body?

Comments

Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter

May 25

Follow Us

More Newsletters

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
RSS