I am very close to a sister who has a hard time accepting that the Bible is talking to her when it says “he.”  She thinks that those parts only apply to men (even God’s promises!) and that God doesn’t view women with the same love and worthiness as he does men. How can I help her understand that those scriptures apply to women--and her, too?—S.G.

Sometimes in the NT the Greek word for sister is used (adelphe). More often, the word adelphos is used for brother or brother/sister. Adelphoi means siblings or brothers, while adelphai means sisters (no males in the group). When the writer must choose a pronoun, according to standard practice then (and now), the masculine pronoun is normally used. This is not sexist, it is just a convention.

The Bible, however, strongly upholds the honored place of women. For example, consider the 10 Commandments. Conspicuous is the 5th commandment: Honor your father and mother.  In the ancient world, normally mention of father would not be accompanied by a reference to the mother. But it is there – in the law of Moses – well over a millennium before the time of Christ! And there are many similar examples in the scriptures of both testaments.

So I tend to think that the more your friend reads her Bible, the more her viewpoint will change.