I'm trying very hard here to not express my opinion;
just state the facts.
How am I doing so far?
The facts show clearly that both churches - Ephesus and Corinth - were loaded with serious problems regarding The Truth, which was Paul's primary goal. From all angles - cultural, professional, societal, and spiritual - both of these churches were weak.
However, I think there was also one more problem. And, well, it was all Jesus' fault.
Studying all of the women of the New Testament, I compiled an astonishing list of firsts that involved Jesus and Women. Take a look at this:
- First Person To Know That He Was Coming: Mary (Luke 1:30-32)
- First Person To Profess Faith In Him: Elizabeth (Luke 1:42-43)
- First Person To Proclaim Him to the World: Anna (Luke 2:36-38)
- Longest Recorded Conversation Between Jesus and a Person: The Woman of Samaria (John 4:1-42)
- First Person That Jesus Reveals His True Identity As The Messiah To: The Woman of Samaria (John 4:1-42)
- First Person To Anoint Christ: The Sinful Woman (Luke 7:36-50)
- First Person To Be Healed Through Touching Christ: The Woman With The Issue of Blood (Matt 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48)
- Earthly Home/Place of Rest for Jesus: Martha of Bethany’s home (Luke 10:38-42)
- First Person to Express Knowledge/Sorrow of Jesus’ Impending Death: Mary of Bethany (Mark 14:7-8)
- Only Person Christ Pronounced Immortal Fame Over Because Of A Specific Deed: Mary of Bethany and her anointing of Christ (Mark 14:3-9)
- People Who Financially Supported Jesus During His Ministry: Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Susanna, “and many others” (Luke 8:3)
- Person Mentioned Most Often In Scriptures, Besides Twelve Disciples: Mary Magdalene
- Witnesses of Christ’s Death/Present at The Crucifixion: Mary (Mother of Jesus), Mary Magdalene, Salome (Zebedee’s wife and the mother of James and John), Mary (The wife of Clopas and mother of James the younger and Joseph), John the disciple (John 19:25)
- Only Person At Every Scene Related To Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection: Mary Magdalene
- First Person The Risen Jesus Christ Appeared To and Spoke To: Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9, John 20:11-18))
- First People To Know Of The Resurrection: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James (Luke 24:1-10)
- First Human Heralds of the Resurrection: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James (Luke 24:1-10)
- First Person To Be Told By Christ To Herald the Resurrection: Mary Magdalene (John 20:17)
- Only Woman To Be Specifically Called a Disciple: Dorcas (Acts9:36-45)
- Paul’s First Convert in Europe and First Member of the Church of Philippi: Lydia (Acts 16:6-40)
This new religion ... this Christianity ... why, it was quite
... wasn't it?
It's leader - Jesus the Christ - had advocated breaking with all kinds of restrictive traditions that had been in place for centuries - for both Jews and Gentiles! These traditions had resulted in women being restricted to and educated for home pursuits only. Yet, this Jesus had
conversed with women,
worked with women,
been supported by women,
Now, think about all we've learned about the churches of Corinth and Ephesus.
Add in the mix this highly appealing, highly controversial, highly empowering attitude that Jesus introduced to his women followers.
Can you begin to see what the atmosphere must have been like in these new churches? Can you see the problems?
If you were Paul, what would you do?