Christian Bishop's Wife
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Christian Bishop's Wife 87

Jesus Teaching

Bishops WelcomeThe Christian wife of a bishop in 1 Timothy 3.11 "is to be a women worthy of respect." "Wife" here is the same word used of "deaconess" though technically this refers to women in the Early Church who were ordained to the order of deacon. Wikipedia gives us a helpful outline of events. "Although St. Paul mentioned deaconesses at Cenchreae, and St. John Chrysostom considered the model appropriate for both sexes, deaconesses vanished from the church for hundreds of years until revived when Theodor Fliedner who founded a deaconess community among Lutherans in Kaiserswerth, Germany in 1836."

Deaconess Movement

Deaconess Ferard"Episcopalians in Baltimore, Maryland, started similar work in around 1855. The nineteenth century deaconess movement involved women living in community while carrying out traditional diaconate ministries, especially teaching and serving the poor in industrialized cities." The first deaconess per se in the modern era in 1862 in England was Elizabeth Catherine Ferard of the Church of England. Women and men had an equally important role in both the New Testament church and in the Old Testament. It is not gender but the person's spiritual and moral qualities that are essential for ministry.

Jesus Own Household

James, brother of JesusJesus' own household was of great significance and pre-eminent in the Early Church. Jesus called himself "the householder" in Matthew 10.25 and spoke in an opposite sense of the household of Beelzebub, an evil deity and his demons, from the Philistine city of Ekron. Jesus also described himself in Matthew 10.24 as "the master" and his disciples as "servants of the household."

Half Brothers and Sisters

Early Portrait of JesusEven though Jesus' brothers and family did not figure largely in his early earthly ministry, his brother James (otherwise called Saint James the Just) came to the fore to become bishop (or president) of the church in Jerusalem after Saint Peter had been executed. Another brother, Saint Jude, composed an epistle which was accepted into the canon of the Bible, even though the Reformer Martin Luther obviously didn't like it and called it "an epistle of straw!" Saint James and Saint Jude were of the line of David, and half brothers of Jesus, from their mother Mary and father Joseph. Aside from these two half brothers in Matthew 15.35 there were also Joseph (Joses), and Simon. Also mentioned in early traditions are two half sisters of Jesus whose names were possibly Mary and Salome. Jesus was conceived in Mary his mother by the Holy Spirit, whereas his half-brothers and sisters were the offspring of Mary and Joseph.

"Christian Bishop's Wife"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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