Even though most things in Christianity can be in one form or another traced to its original Jewish roots modern Christians rightly have lots of questions about Jewish ideas and practices. The idea of thanking God by a male Jewish worshiper for not being a woman raises our modern eyebrows to high heaven! Please, allow me to explain.

Every male Jew as part of his daily Hebrew prayer recites: “Blessed are you, LORD our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” Prior to that, he also blesses God for not making him “a Gentile” and “a slave”. To many people, these statements conclusively prove Judaism’s anti-gentile and anti-female posture. But is this conclusion correct?

While the entire Torah was given to Israel, many of its important laws were meant for the nations. But even within Israel, the laws applied differently to different groups (men, women, priests, Levites, kings, and slaves among others). The basic conclusion here is that Torah was and still is for everyone in general, but not every law in Torah is for everyone in particular.

Even though there are Torah commandments that the nations must obey, they are not responsible to observe the same number of commandments as the Jews. Therefore, thanking God for “not making one a Gentile” is not a statement of Jewish superiority of any kind; but indication of readiness and willingness to obey more commandments! (the same principle applies in the case of women and slaves).

The Apostle Paul taught that Torah’s laws were never designed as a mechanism for placing anyone in a position of right standing before Israel’s God. He argued that, with the coming of King Jesus, inclusion of Gentiles into the membership of God’s people must follow the original Israelite method that was at work in Abraham’s justification by grace through faith. Abraham believed God; then he was declared righteous, and only then was he circumcised (Gen.15:1-6; Rom.4:1-3; Gen.17). Paul even argued that the idea that Gentiles are being accepted by Israel’s God without circumcision is testimony to Torah’s veracity! He was absolutely right (Rom.3:31).

It is in this Torah context that Paul explained how Gentiles become full members of God’s family, through belonging to the Jewish Christ, without conversion to Judaism. For Apostle Paul, in the community of Christ, there is no place for preferential treatment between various groups – all are equally beloved and accepted by Israel’s God in Christ Jesus.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Gal. 3:27-28)

As a side note, an intriguing point should not be missed. It is remarkable that not only the three groups (Jews/Gentile, slaves/freemen, men/women) mentioned in the Jewish prayer are practically the same, but also that they are mentioned in the same order!

Did you get that? Not only three, but also in the same order?!

Among other things, it proves that the Apostle Paul wrote his letters to the nations “from within” and not “from outside” of the Ancient Judaism.

This means that if we were to understand the New Testament’s original meaning we must learn its Jewish context and culture.

The Bible does not need to be rewritten, but it needs to be reread.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

88 COMMENTS

  1. Im so grateful to God for the life i have and for who i am. I admit that often it is very challenging, troublesome and difficult, but it is Christ who gives me the strength to persevere through these troublesome times in a world ruled by satan. Without the Armour of God (ephesians 6) we are naked, vulnerable, easy targets for that old devil and his fiery darts. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Thankyou Lord Jesus for your mercy and grace. Praise God
    • God does not listen to Prayers from Jews.Since it is a Made up word to start with.Really what is a Jew.It was never in the Bible before 1750.I have been asking that question for years.He listens to the Prayers of His People Israel.ALL Israel will be saved says the LORD.

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  2. I give God praise and glory that he made me a woman . His child to obey and serve Him. Though I am weak He gives me strength and the words to magnify His name through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
    • It's interesting that the order of Creation in Genesis goes from lowest to highest. Man was made next to last; Woman was the last creature made on earth. Therefore, logically, Woman is of a higher order than Man! Just saying... :)

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    • All the people on the earth are weak, God alone is Almighty.
      Everyone can be strong with God's strength as child David, Debora, Ester, Junia, Priscilla.
      To exalt or humiliate someone is not a Christian principle. Be careful
  3. Gen15:5 says Abraham believed the promise of sons and was granted righteousness but he doubted the inheritance of land(15:8), which offended God, so He asked to be pacified through a sacrifice. Abraham's wobbling faith earned him a test of obedience via circumcision only. Abraham was no Israelite. It was the Israelites that were given the Law ,due to transgressions (Gal 3:19) and the Law does not nullify the Promise which the Gentiles inherit(Gal 3:9,14).So, how much of the Law does the God of Abraham require of the Gentiles? Same goes for women and for slaves.
  4. Linda is walking the Middle Path. Irasel included 12 tribes who also scattered among other nations around the world. King Joesph is known as the thirteen tribes of Israel, however, King Joseph brought people over here to America when Egypt was overpopulated. Linda is very thankful for Apostle Paul teaches. Apostle Paul never let the early Chruch of Rome baptist his wife. Linda picks up her holy books from a very early age loving the Apostles and Virgin Mary but she could not walk into the Chruch of Rome. Amen, Amen, Amen, and Amen
  5. These were blessings (to kneel) so their strength would have come from God, not law. Since the leader recited the blessings to the congregation, it makes sense that he included all audiences. I dislike sermons that pretend I was the audience. I was unchurched, I was not the audience! It also makes sense that waking up and going about daily affairs is individualized since different people had different laws. We speak to an audience locally. I wonder if they spoke globally.
  6. There are subtle nuances, though. Jesus severely chastises the pharisee who says to the Lord, thank you for not making me THAT man. So I suppose Lord Jesus circumscribes the ritualistic prayer so that it means gratitude and willingness to serve rather than to feel superior. It isn't ego that washes feet. It is God.
    • Good catch, Maria. There’s just no good save for this one. The prayer is very offensive in obvious ways, and is neither a scriptural suggestion for how we are to think, nor is it a mandate of prayer. Even if the prayer were all about submission to God’s will rather than the obvious expression of having the given the more desired setup for life (ACCURATE in manmade patriarchy, but not proscribed by the Lord in this way), why is there no prayer for how grateful the *woman* is for not being a man?
    • I suppose that a woman doesn’t have to bother her pretty little head with prayer and study in the patriarchal trappings of Judaism. It doesn’t matter whether or not she is properly submissive to the LORD as long as she is properly submissive to a man. I appreciate this forum for its superior grasp on the history and scholarship necessary to understand and interpret G d’s word. The phrase in question today, though, is from a man-made prayer that is being parsed with an attempt at scriptural justification, and the sources of authority just don’t match— or even compare.
  7. Had a professor talk about this so I did some research. Ended up writing a small book titled 'ABBA'S GIRLS. How are we to he from a Biblical Perspective?' Conclusion: Abba (Daddy) loves His girls.
    • Our pastor was just talking about it at our prayer meeting. All who will receive the promised inheritance in the kingdom of heaven are the “spiritual” sons of God, coheir w our Lord Christ Jesus. This includes all women in Christ & we were laughing because he said, we don’t even have to be men. Thanks be to God in the name of Yeshua. Do all words of Christ you’ve learnt & also ask for the Holy Spirit from God. Pr 9:10 the knowledge of the All-Holy is understanding JPS. Peace be w you.

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  8. Interesting! When I read the heading I thought, 'Well, I guess, I'm in BIG TROUBLE!' But HE used Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Rahab, Naomi, Ruth, Mary, Miriam, Deborah, Esther, and many others. I am very happy with this BLOG! I'm Abraham's descendant, heir according to promise! Thank you JESUS! El Shaddai! Shalom indeed! LOL Including HIS National Security! I''m sooo excited! LOL
    • Excellent, dear daughter of God. More than that, you are the servant of God in any level. He needs you. We all need you and love you.
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