“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Concerted attempts have been made in our day to blur distinctions between the sexes. Some identify as neither male nor female. Changes in legislation and education have been made to soften the line between male and female to the point that even gender specific pronouns are being discouraged by some. A few Bible translators some years back aimed to produce a “gender neutral” version by employing “inclusive language” regarding the sexes. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and Today’s New International Version (TNIV) are examples of such attempts.
Galatians 3:28 has for years been twisted by feminists to mean because Christ sees no difference between the sexes, women should be able to exercise all the religious leadership roles as do men, regardless of what passages like 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 teach. Yet, Jesus Himself said, “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female,” (Mark 10:6). God’s design for the reproduction of humans included a male and a female (Gen. 1:27). God told Noah to bring both male and female animals of each kind into the ark so propagation could take place (Gen. 6:19). Even today, those who work with animals recognize gender differences are not trained into the animals. Gender differences are part of God’s natural created order and no amount of surgery, legislation, or indoctrination will change this distinction. So what is Galatians 3:28 saying? God created the sexes. With all the focus on gender in today’s world, it is important to recognize what Galatians 3:28 is and is not saying about males and females. Let us consider how it appeals to this sense of gender equality so prominent in our culture, and yet does not condone the thrust of contemporary movements to flout one’s biological sex.
The context of Galatians 3:28 is not specific roles in the church, nor social conduct, but salvation. Paul was combating Judaizing teachers who required circumcision and keeping the law of Moses in order to be righteous before God (Gal. 5:2-4). He shows that there are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. Galatians 3 is about being children of Abraham and inheriting the promise God made to him. Because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous (Gal. 3:6). Abraham was told that through his Seed, all nations would be blessed; that Seed is Christ (Gal. 3:8, 16). Thus, those who have become children of God by faith, by being baptized into Christ, are blessed with Abraham (Gal. 3:7, 26-27). The chapter ends with, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). Thus, the longing for equality is provided by Christ. All people—regardless of race, social status, or gender—have equal access to being part of God’s family and inheriting salvation.
But while we are all allowed to be on God’s team, that does not mean we all play the same position. God has particular requirements for those who oversee His flock, among which are the requirements of being a man who is the husband of one wife and has obedient children (1 Tim. 3:1-5). God wants older women to teach younger women particular lessons about their role as women (Titus 2:3-5). All can equally secure the blessings that come from being in Christ, but in how each of us serve the Lord, He has made His will clear that there are different roles He intends for men and women.