Belief in the Messiah

For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:13-16 (NRSV, italics added)

Paul’s series of questions are embedded in a longer passage discoursing on belief and trust in Jesus as Messiah. All who call on the Lord will be saved, but how will people know to call on Jesus if they have never heard of Him? How will they hear of Jesus if no one is talking about Jesus?

But then, if no one is called or commissioned – or at least, sees themselves as such – to talk about Jesus, then what?

For Paul, these were largely rhetorical questions, whether he was asking them of the air to make his point, or he was answering questions which had already been posed to him as an excuse for not believing.

To his Jewish audience, it might have seemed as though they had never been prepared by God, or the prophets, or the Torah, to recognize someone like Jesus as the long-promised Messiah. Paul roundly debunks that thinking in this chapter of his letter.

Belief in the Messiah’s New Life

But my musing has taken me into another area of truth that many Christians today seem to be asking the same questions about. It goes something like this:

  • Every woman who is born anew from above, who has the Spirit of Christ, is worthy to serve the Lord in all capacities.
  • But how are men and women supposed to believe that if they do not know it?
  • And how are they to know this truth if they have never heard it?
  • And how are they to hear it if no one has been sent to them to proclaim it?

Like Paul, I find these questions either rhetorical, or presented as an excuse for subjugating women because of cultural preferences as opposed to biblical teaching.

Because, the Bible has story after story of women serving God in every capacity, with God’s blessing, anointing, empowerment, and direct call. In the scriptures, women teach and lead at every level, including instructing kings (Abigail, Huldah) and priests (Hannah, Huldah), establishing the canon of scripture (Huldah), leading a military campaign to victory (Deborah), and so on.

Women worked hard for the Gospel, pastoring churches, teaching, preaching, and facing every risk, shoulder-to-shoulder with the apostles (Romans 16 mentions many of these women). Women came pouring out of the upper room, along with the disciples, aflame with the Holy Spirit, proclaiming the Gospel in every known tongue (Acts 2). Women journeyed with Jesus, ministering as the Lord’s close followers and students (Luke 8:1-3). Women were called by Jesus as His disciples, and sent by Jesus as His apostles (Woman at the Well and Mary of Magdala).

So, we have ample evidence from the scriptures that women are to teach and lead in the same capacities as men. It is through these stories that we are to understand what Paul wrote in his letters.

Paul Did Not Limit Women In Any Way

Whatever it is Paul was saying to each of the assemblies he addressed, we can know for certain what he was not saying.

Paul was not limiting women in any way, not in their practice of faith, not in their spiritual gifts, not in their ministering among the body, and not in their daily lives.

We should already know this, the scriptures have made it plain, it has been proclaimed. And it is a truth worth still proclaiming.

For Paul, people of Jewish faith and heritage had a steep mountain of religious expectations and cultural perspective in their way. Jesus simply did not match up to the picture of a Messiah they had built up over the centuries. So Paul set about methodically opening the Hebrew scriptures to the illumination of the Holy Spirit to show how prophecy of Jesus had always been there, but had been misread and misunderstood up to that point.

I aim to do the same. People of Christian faith and heritage also have a steep mountain of religious expectations and cultural perspective in their way. For the last seventeen centuries, Christians have buckled under the ancient Greco-Roman cultural construct called patriarchy.

It is my aim, in the tradition of Paul, to methodically open the scriptures with the illumination of the Holy Spirit to show how God’s anointing and appointing of women in all capacities has always been there, but has often been misread and misunderstood.

Carrying On Paul’s Tradition

Bible Study

“Broken, Searching Trusted, Powerful” is a Bible study that asks fresh questions about thirty-two women portrayed in the Bible.


The Youtube series “Broken, Searching, Trusted, Powerful” acts as a companion piece to the stories introduced in the Bible study.

The YouTube series “Bonus Women of the Bible” continues with more depictions of biblical women.

NEW! Podcast

Now, a new podcast, Her Story carries on the work of retelling the stories of women who were divinely called and empowered to do great things.

Many of them rose to the occasion, and a few very famously did not.

Often, the tragedies and triumphs in their lives are missed, their accounts sidelined, and their portrayals given from perspectives that dismiss the honor and dignity they deserve.

Excavating their narratives from millennia of obfuscation, you and I now meet the freshly restored, valiant, vivid, and sometimes villainous women of the Bible.

Her Story offers a deep appreciation for God’s work and call in and through women in the scriptures and encourages you and me to take practical steps towards recognition and support of women in all levels and varieties of ministry and spiritual leadership today.

When you subscribe to Her Story, you will meet a woman from the Bible every Wednesday.

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