In “Nobody’s Mother,” Sandra L. Glahn seeks God’s truth on women’s giftings

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In “Nobody’s Mother,” Sandra L. Glahn seeks God’s truth on women’s giftings

February 15, 2024 -

A woman bows her head and clasps her hands in prayer over an open Bible on a table with a cup of coffee nearby. By ptnphotof/stock.adobe.com

A woman bows her head and clasps her hands in prayer over an open Bible on a table with a cup of coffee nearby. By ptnphotof/stock.adobe.com

A woman bows her head and clasps her hands in prayer over an open Bible on a table with a cup of coffee nearby. By ptnphotof/stock.adobe.com

Accomplished and faithful women have felt “less than” because they don’t have children and their career skills are not welcome in church on Sundays.

Myself included.

Nobody’s Mother by Dr. Sandra L. Glahn offers a biblical framework for the courage women need to step out and lead in our giftings.

Searching for God’s truth

Glahn clearly states her theme: “Whether she is single or married, divorced or widowed, with or without biological or adopted children, a woman has the same highest calling as every other human: to glorify God and multiply worshipers––that is, to do the will of God (Mt 28:29–20).”

Glahn set out on a quest to answer two critical questions within long-standing church history:

  1. Was a local situation on Paul’s mind when he wrote to Timothy about women?
  2. Is a woman with a teaching gift limited to applying it to children?

The search for God’s truth in Nobody’s Mother stems from Glahn’s own experience as a talented professional without children who seeks purpose in work and in the church.

Glahn’s exploration of Paul’s letters to the Ephesian and Corinthian churches spotlights the power of cultural context, original language, and artifacts from the same time in history. All three––cultural context, original language, and artifacts––must be understood when attempting to interpret writings of any kind, including Scripture and especially Paul’s letters to specific people in specific communities.

In cultural context, Glahn compares the varying instructions given to Corinthian and Ephesian churches. These seemingly contradict one another unless Paul is speaking directly into distinct situations and cultural norms of two vastly different regions.

In the original language, Glahn unfolds how Koine Greek only has one word for woman and wife (gyne, γυνη), and one word for man and husband (aner, ανηρ), so researching context is imperative to determine which the writer intends. As a guide, when the two words appear together, they almost always mean married people. Thus, the focus turns to whether or not Paul is talking to specific husbands and wives, specific women and men, or all men and women for all time.

Glahn’s intensive research of first-century artifacts also sheds light on the true identity of women in Ephesus and the highly esteemed pagan goddess Artemis of the Ephesians. These identities factor into the context of the Ephesian church as compared to the Corinthian church.

The implications of Paul’s instructions for today’s churches depend on his intended audience and their context for each letter and each command. If Paul intended any or all of his instructions to be for all men and women for all time, believers today must seek to understand cultural context, original language, and the artifacts of Paul’s period to know how to apply them within the twenty-first-century body of Christ.

Conversely, if Paul intended to direct certain commands to specific churches and communities of the day, then we should extrapolate general principles to apply within today’s church body.

Who should read Nobody’s Mother?

Nobody’s Mother is for everyone who wants to maintain a high view of God’s word while reconciling conflicting interpretations about God’s view of women.

Nobody’s Mother provides contextual research and resources to help you, particularly if:

  • You see God give mighty gifts to women for the building up of the body of Christ––not just for the building of a nuclear family unit.
  • You’re one of the many women in the church today who aren’t married, don’t have children, and want to use teaching and leadership gifts in all aspects of life, including church. If this is you––take courage! You’re not alone.
  • You serve as an ally for women coworkers or advocate for the capable women in your circles, or if you see God giving spiritual gifts to women for the maturing of the body of Christ and you’re fairly certain women are supposed to use them beyond the nuclear family.
  • You serve as a leader in a church or faith-based organization that gathers men and women for Christ-centric mission in everyday life.

All believers want to be an important part of God’s mission.

Is there a place for us as women?

Yes!

God is calling all of us to a life of purpose. He has equipped us. He has strategically placed us. And he’s inviting us to join in his mission.

Find encouragement and confirmation in his word and in the journey of Nobody’s Mother.

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