I have been raised within the RPCNA and as such have had a very complementarian view of scripture. I do try to have an open mind in regards to scripture and it's interpretation, however, and as such I am open to hearing different points of view. Something I have never heard is a solid biblical argument for Egalitarianism.

Keeping in mind that all of scripture is inspired by a God outside of time and all words in scripture hold an equal weight (even today in our current culture), what is the biblical argument for being egalitarian?


I am legitimately open to hearing from anyone with any interpretation of scripture. Ideally we could find common ground on Scripture's overall interpretation, but even if that's not the case, I would love to hear any and all arguments for Egalitarianism.

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    Gender egalitarianism I assume you mean? Generally, or specifically in regards to marriages, or church ministers, or something else?
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 22, 2021 at 13:49
  • Welcome to Christianity Stack Exchange. For those of us who don't live in the U.S.A. would you please tell us who/what the RPCNA is?
    – Lesley
    Mar 22, 2021 at 14:52
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    @Lesley The RPCNA is the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. It is fairly conservative and takes a lot of it's views from Calvinism. Mar 23, 2021 at 14:44
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    @Lesley In regards to your second question, my understanding of Egalitarianism is basically what you have described. My view on scripture has been that male and female were given complimenting (but separate rolls). Again, I am open to different interpretations of scripture (thus my asking the question) but I find passages like first Corinthians (among others) to be fairly clear-cut in a complementarian way. Mar 23, 2021 at 14:52
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    @CalvinBonner Your explanation raises more questions. Most bible believers do not think that all of scripture applies to all cultures and times. For example, we do not stone people who make clothes from two different fibres, or touch the skin of a pig. Nor do we make women remain silent in church. If you insist on only listening to biblical basis from a very small minority of believers then you are not going to get a full explanation. Mar 23, 2021 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


In the letter to the Galatians, it is written that in Christ, there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, men and women, slave and free, because we are all one in Christ. That's generally what is quoted.

However we can also see this in Genesis, where God made man in His image, male and female.

God also tells his people Israel (e.g. in Deuteronomy) that they are to have one law for the native and the sojourner, that they are not to favour either the poor or the rich in a dispute but rather must seek justice, a man cannot simply accuse his wife of adultery and declare her guilty without evidence, etc.

The message conveyed in all this is that God does not want one gender or race or class, etc. to do injustice to / mistreat the others. He wants justice for all. That's because we are all His children and he loves us. This does not however mean that we have no difference in roles; e.g. priests must be men (see the letter to Timothy). St. Paul writes we are the body of Christ and each person is a member of that body; just like in a body, each member has a different role to play but each is vital for perfect function.

Hence the adage: we are all equal but different


I have checked once more and I see that the egalitarianism you've asked about is different from the definition I thought about. I thought you're referring to equality as in our value, but the one you've referred to is about equality in authority and responsibility. My apologies.

The texts written above are used as evidence and further arguments for egalitarianism include the existence of prophetesses like Deborah, and how Aquilla and Priscilla (husband and wife) are listed together as a couple with Aquilla being mentioned first sometimes and Priscilla being mentioned first other times.

However, it must be noted that this doesn't suggest a radical egalitarianism where there is absolutely no difference in authority or responsibility; that egalitarianism isn't supported. Instead it focuses on there being overlap in roles.

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    Thanks for the answer. "each member has a different role to play but each is vital for perfect function." To my understanding this is basically Complementarianism though. The idea that no one is greater than anyone else but everyone has different strengths or roles within family, the church, etc. Am I misunderstanding? Mar 23, 2021 at 14:55
  • @CalvinBonner I see you had a different definition in mind that what I did, so I've updated the answer now to fit that.
    – Suryetto
    Mar 23, 2021 at 15:40
  • You say you "don't suggest a radical egalitarianism where there is no difference in authority or responsibility". But that's still complementarianism, isn't it? Any situation where there is a strict and explicit difference in the roles of males and females is complementarianism. Mar 23, 2021 at 15:44
  • No, because complementarianism claims non-overlapping roles (e.g. men = headship, female = support), but egalitarianism says that those roles can overlap, such as in a marriage where each must submit to the other. There it's no longer husband = head, but rather both have equal authority. The radical interpretation says this extends to all aspects of life.
    – Suryetto
    Mar 23, 2021 at 15:52
  • @Suryetto - Could you also add an update discussing 1 Timothy 2:11-14?
    – user50490
    Mar 23, 2021 at 17:54

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