I thought Jonathan put a lot of time into writing this comment that it is worth re-posting.
jonathan has left a new comment on your post "Reader Comment":
Your definition of legalism doesn't even refer to law, and it probably should. We say 'legal' about anything pertaining to laws. We say 'legalism' about the abuse of those laws.
The pharisees provide a good example. They spent a great deal of time trying to trick Jesus with their legal expertise. They were very well versed on God's law, and were able to trap the unwary listener less familiar with the law. It didn't work on Jesus, though. We could all learn a lot from Jesus.
This is not to say there is anything wrong with laws! Far from it. Laws aren't the problem, legalism is. One way we can tell that the subjugation of women, via scriptural quotes, is legalistic is the degree that one sees such a law alive in the lives of believers. An excellent metaphor, straight from the bible, can be found in 2 Corinthians. Paul declares:
"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
Paul makes a pretty clear distinction between two expressions of God's word: One is written on stone, and the other written on human hearts. Are both God's word? I don't know, but Paul is pretty clear about WHO the word of God is: It's us! We are letters from Christ. We are the result of ministry, and we are words written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God. When we do not let women be letters of Christ, well, what does that make us?
That's why I don't believe you when you say "Yes". The Bible did not die for your sins. 66 books did not feed the five thousand. Not a single book has ever raised anyone from the dead. Books are dead. I would hope that your one true Lord and Saviour is not a book at all, but a person.
How would you help us better understand the laws about women in the bible, aside from citing them incredulously? Is citing them enough? Or is their wisdom behind these laws?