I recently read a brief book on the book of Acts by Charles Caldwell Ryrie (1961, Moody). I appreciate Ryrie, and have benefited greatly from his study Bible, Bible doctrine book, and other material from him. However, I came across a paragraph in the Acts book that is just pathetically bad. It is so bad, it actually did not make me angry or irritated – but made me laugh. I have laughed multiple times over it. It is bad. Here it is, on Acts 16 and Lydia – who was the first European convert. But a rather disappointing convert…
“Delays and disappointment characterized the first days of the work of Philippi. Paul waited until the Sabbath came and then went to the river bank in order to preach to the Jews of the city. Apparently there was not available even 10 men required for the formation of a Jewish synagogue, for the handful of Jewish women in the city had to meet by the river for prayer. But Paul preached the gospel to them and the Lord opened the heart of Lydia. But what a disappointment that must have been! Paul had been called by the Lord to Europe. He had faithfully preached. The first convert was not only a woman (and men were needed if a church was to be established) but a woman of Thyatira in Asia. Nevertheless, others were also converted – Lydia’s household, that is, her servants and dependents, and very likely through Lydia others in Thyatira heard the message when she returned home.” [Bold added, but not the exclamation point.]
So bad. I am laughing as I type.
JESUS WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED BY FEMALE FOLLOWERS!
Did Jesus leave the tomb after his resurrection, see women, and express disappointment? No! In fact, he sent them to go tell the men the good news of his resurrection!
Was Jesus disappointed that a woman showed up at the well – instead of men being there? No. Jesus had a theological chat with the woman at the well, and she went and told the people in her town about Jesus.
Note nevertheless in the Ryrie quote. Nevertheless meaning: in spite of that. The gospel did not spread in spite of female followers! Jesus valued and utilized his female followers.
Jesus encouraged Mary to sit at his feet and learn. Some Christian men today see no point in women getting advanced biblical education. Not Jesus!
According to Luke 8, many women followed Jesus around to hear his teachings and even bankrolled his ministry.
Not to mention that Paul valued and utilized female converts – mentioning many by name in Romans 16, commending them for their labor for the Lord.
I could go on. Female converts are not a disappointment…ever.
More about women in Luke-Acts here:
Raised from Obscurity, Women in Luke-Acts [book review]