Vol. 6, No. 1
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
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[Gospel Advocate 46 (2002): 54]
From the first century until today, women have had an important part in the work of the church. In Acts 1:14, we read that after the Ascension of Jesus, certain women were gathered in the upper room at Jerusalem along with the apostles, the brothers of Jesus and Mary the mother of Jesus. In Acts 5:14, we learn that "great numbers of both men and women were added to the Lord." As the Gospel spread to other parts of the world, women still were important. Paul baptized Lydia and her household in Philippi, thereby forming the nucleus for the church in that city (Acts 16:15). Later, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, "Help these women [Euodia and Syntyche] for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel" (Philippians 4:3). We don't know what specific work these women did, but Paul considered their work to be important.
In the sixteenth chapter of Romans, Paul commends and sends greetings to a long list of people, among whom are several women. At the top of the list is Phoebe, a servant of the Lord who had helped many people including Paul. Next on the list are Priscilla and her husband Aquila. Priscilla was well known in the church of the first century, not only for her teaching and hospitality, but also for the fact that she along with Aquila had at some time risked their lives for Paul.
Women are needed in the church today, just as they were needed in the church of the first century. As women, we need to be aware that there are many good works we can do that will not only help the cause of Christ and the people around us, but will also bring glory to God. One of the most wonderful gifts that have been given to women is the gift of influence. The influence that we have is most powerful and we must be careful to use it for good. The line between influence and manipulation is a thin one, and manipulation is never good.
We have the example of Rebekah, who caused her son Jacob to deceive Isaac, and her manipulation caused heartbreak for the entire family. Back at the beginning of time, we read of how the serpent first went to Eve, who was deceived, and then she went to Adam and used her influence to get him to eat the forbidden fruit. Delilah certainly used her influence in the wrong way to get Samson to disobey God.
On the other hand, we have many examples of women who used their influence for good. Jocabed taught Moses about Jehovah, and Hannah taught Samuel to be a man of God. Dorcas was another woman who did good works, and we cannot overlook Lois and Eunice, who used their influence to teach Timothy.
God gave women the role of childbearing, and it is also women who assume the biggest role in childrearing. Mothers have enormous influence over their children as they nurture them and teach them about God and his will. In the church, women teach most of the Bible classes for young children. Women nearly always teach the Ladies' classes. Women can teach anyone person-to-person, take food to the sick and shut-ins, make encouraging phone calls, write cards and visit the sick and those who are grieving. They can encourage and exhort and do many good deeds. All of these things they can do without having authority over man and having a public role in the worship service as some would have it.
The sphere of influence of a woman doing God's work is wide. Indeed, she many never know where her influence stops. In order to know what God's will is so she can use her influence for good, she must be a student of God's Word. Prayer is also important. With this two-way communication with God, the woman of God can use her influence for good, and she will indeed be blessed.