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Female Pastors or teachers of the faith

Discussion in 'Bible Study Q & A' started by Kris762, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Kris762

    Kris762 Well-Known Member

    Men and Women in the Church

    8 I desire therefore that the men pray leverywhere, mlifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the nwomen adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and 5moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 obut, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

    Ok..so what I gather from the Pauls statement above that women may not become pastors or teachers of Scripture...am I incorrect?
  2. mattfivefour

    mattfivefour Super Moderator Staff Member

    I think you are incorrect. I know Ron Graham would disagree with me, but I think that forces him to disagree with Scripture as well. And I say that for the reasons I am about to outline. This is a reprint of an article I posted here back in 2008.


    "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." (1 Corinthians 14:34)

    In Chapters 11 through 14 of this epistle, Paul is speaking of order in the church. In the course of this teaching he writes the above verse. It seems straightforward.

    But skip back three chapters and read what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:5 "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven." Here Paul is telling how a woman should cover herself when she speaks in church! Now if we take 1 Corinthians 14:34 as an absolute command against women speaking in the church, then why here is Paul describing how a woman should be adorned when she prays or prophesies in church? You might argue that in speaking of a woman praying in church Paul is speaking of silent prayer—which he is not—but you could argue it. But you cannot argue that prophesying is silent! So how do we respond to the contradiction?

    Simple. There is no contradiction.

    The Bible NEVER contradicts itself. It is all of one, perfect fabric. So there can be no contradiction between doctrines that the apostle writes in just one epistle ... let alone in all of God's Word. So if there is an apparent contradiction, a basic principle of bible hermeneutics teaches that the "contradiction" arises out of our interpretation of one or the other (or both) passages.

    1 Corinthians 11:5 seems to be fairly straightforward. But so does 1 Corinthians 14:34. How to resolve this seemingly unresolvable dilemma? Again, basic bible hermeneutics instructs us to look to other scriptures for direction.

    The obvious—and perhaps foundational—verse we should begin with is found in Galatians 3:28. Starting with the 27th verse: "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 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". Alright, so just as the early Christians were to put NO difference between Jews and Gentiles, they were to put no difference between men and women for all are Christians. But that is a matter of standing or state, not one of protocol or procedure. But it does give an important principle to keep in mind as we continue.

    Acts 2:1-21 I won't print out the entire passage here because it is so long, but the link will take you to it if you want. The important part is that on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is described as entering both men and women. In Verse 17, Peter quotes the prophet Joel prophesying that the signs would be on sons and daughters. And verse 18 says "And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." Suffice it to say that women are included equally with men in the prophecy ... and in the fulfillment of that prophecy as clearly seen—and reported—on that day.

    Acts 9:36 "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did." Here Paul refers to a woman as a disciple. The Greek is μαθήτρια (ma-THAY-tree-ah) ... a female disciple.

    Acts 18:24-26 "Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; 26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately." Here a married couple—and note the woman's name is given first—both acted in the role of pastor or teacher to a man from Alexandria, called Apollos.

    Acts 21:8-9 "On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses." In Greek the word translated prophetesses is NOT a noun as it is in English. It is a verb. specifically a present active participle which, if you remember anything from English class, means it would in English be the equivalent of "prophesying". In other words the evangelist's daughters were prophesying young women.

    Romans 16:1-2 "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also." The word translated servant is the Greek διάκονον (dee-AK-a-non) which in English is "deacon". Paul says this woman is a deacon in the Cenchrean church. The office of deacon, we know from church history, also included the duties of teacher and pastor.

    Romans 16:3 "Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus." Here Paul calls a woman a "helper" in Christ Jesus. Now in English that doesn't say a lot but, again, we have to go to Paul's actual words which he wrote in Greek: The word translated "helper" is the Greek συνεργούς (soon-ehr-GOOSE) which literally means "co-worker". So she is more than a mere helper. Priscilla —Paul says—is a co-worker, a colleague. He is placing her on the same level as he.

    Romans 16:7 "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." Junia is not a man's name. It is a woman's name. And the Greek makes this clear-- the name is Ἰουνιᾶν (you-nee-AN) which is the accusative singular feminine form of the name. Now many translators have ignored this fact and translated it as a man's name. But the Holy Spirit does not make mistakes. And ALL Greek manuscripts use the feminine NOT the masculine form of the name. Greek is a VERY precise language. So if the Holy spirit used the female form then He intended the female form. Therefore the woman Junia (Some early commentators say she was the wife of Andronicus) is referred to as of note among the apostles.

    1 Corinthians 12:4-11 "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills." Note in verse 4 that the Holy Spirit gives the gifts to ALL PEOPLE, not just men. And Paul clearly states that the gifts are for the building up of the church. Therefore it seems clear that the Holy Spirit would not give gifts to a woman to build up the church if she were not allowed to even speak in the church.

    1 Corinthians 16:3 "The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house." Here again we hear of both Aquila and Priscilla and hear that they have a church in their home. Given the fact that both of them taught the evangelist Apollos (as shown earlier) it is unlikely that Priscilla did not speak in her church.

    Philippians 4:2-3 "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life." Here Paul is referring to two women who were his "fellowlabourers". In fact the Greek makes it clear that these two women labored alongside him in the struggle for the preaching of the gospel.

    Philemon 1-2 "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house." Apphia was a woman. Both the name (Ἀπφίᾳ - ap-FEE-a) and the adjective (ἀδελφῇ - a-dell-FEH = female beloved) make this clear. The context shows the three were leaders of a home church.

    1 Peter 4:10-11 "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." This passage is speaking to ALL—both men and women—telling them that the gifts they received are to be used to serve one another. And Peter specifies speaking as one of the gifts.

    It is evident from ALL of the above scriptures that women were important in the church and in fact had roles that included speaking. therefore it is likely that it is our understanding of 1 Corinthians 14:34 that is flawed. For this, we have to go into the situation within the Corinthian church and the customs of the time. That is a matter for some other post, perhaps. But there ARE some very sound reasons why Paul gave this command to the church at Corinth. So I think we can see that scripture when brought to bear on scripture gives us a different picture than is commonly held. (Sort of like the image we have of Sodom that is different from what God found fault with, as I showed from scripture in another thread.)

    Furthermore, the word "churches" in 1 Corinthians 14:34 is ἐκκλησίαις (ek-leh-SEE-ice) in Greek from which we get our word ecclesiastic. It literally means "the called out" and refers to all of us. It does not refer to a building or exclusively to an assembly. It refers to those people whom God has called. In other words, the saints. For us to be told, then, that all saints are equal before God, that we are to put no differentiation between Jew and Greek, male and female, and for the Holy Spirit to give gifts to women that He says in His Word are to be used for the profit of the church, but then to believe that no woman may speak among the saints (because that is what the word "ekklesia" refers to)... is ludicrous.

    For the record-- I believe a man should head up a church in the same way that a man should head up a home. For both are symbolic of Christ's headship over us ... as scripture plainly states. And no woman should attempt to usurp that position.

    However to disdain the ordered operation of God's divinely bestowed gifts because they are being used by a woman for the building up of the body is—I would suggest—unscriptural, unintelligent, and just plain wrong.

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  3. Hannah

    Hannah Well-Known Member

    [Only my own observation and opinion, if people don't agree with it that's fine]

    First of all these scriptures tie up to what was said before. So let us start from the beginning of the section on women.

    Paul is giving an overall teaching here for women here. We are asked to be modest & moral or decent. To be concerned with doing good deeds or obeying God's Word. We are asked to learn to be quite and submit. OK I will stop there because this is the point here. Submit to whom and how?

    Out of reverence to Christ wives are told to submit to their husbands not the other way around. So you are not to have authority over your husband.

    Now you have to take everything in context to other scriptures.

    If you look at verse 15 on it's own it looks like only women who have babies are Saved.

    We know this is not the case because elsewhere it teaches "ALL who believe in Christ receive eternal life". So salvation comes through Christ and not childbirth for women.

    OK so what about teaching & silence then? That has to be taken in light of other scripture as well.

    Peter makes a similar teaching to what is said here by Paul.

    I note he says be submitted to your husbands. Peter doesn't say women cannot teach.

    The gift of teaching is not here specified to be only a gift for men only. We know there were many (female) prophetesses. So why should there not be any women who are given the gift of teaching??

    Again here teaching is not gender specific but part of the body of Christ edifying each other in God's Word. So it can be seen that women can teach.

    Women are also servants of the Lord and we should be able to teach, not just do all the others things listed here.

    Women have not been given authority over man or men. That is supported by other scriptures. However do note the wording of the verse.

    The Apostle Paul here is saying he is specifically not giving permission. Not Jesus or God but Paul is speaking here, because the Apostle Peter doesn't mention this at all in his similar teaching on women. You have to take what is being said in context.

    Why is Paul saying this to Timothy?? Are there some pushy, mouthy women there that are not submitting to their husbands and talking out of turn or trying to teach what they do not understand?? I don't know. I do know the Apostle Paul himself is saying women shouldn't teach or have authority over man. The authority part is supported elsewhere in the Bible but the teaching part is not and Paul has said he is saying this.

    So we cannot make a commandment of this saying all women cannot teach and must keep their mouths totally shut at Church. If this was so all the men would have to step up and take Sunday school. Suits me fine I've done more than my fair share of taking Sunday School and the older boys can be a handful. A few more men helping out would be good.

    However I don't believe it is the case. Women I believe can teach. I know wives are to be submitted to their husbands but that doesn't mean they are in submission to every Joe Citizen in the Church congregation. We (all men & women) are to be submitted to our Pastors and Leaders and Elders.

    Paul suggests that they should be men. A good idea as they should be in authority over their families. However it look like it is written as if in stone. Again a Pauline teaching that is valid and probably good but is it a commandment??

    Are these rules Paul has established that are wise and good or are they to be taken as absolutely commandments from God??

    I have known many women who are teachers but have not taken leadership authority.

    I know some friends who have become Pastors and Ministers. Not in the Anglican Church in Sydney they can only be Deacons but not ordained Ministers. Some of these female friends that are today Ministers (not all) have ended up coming out as Lesbians and I know they were strong feminists but it really upset me to hear they are Lesbians (and practicing not celebate). Anyway that is another topic and not the point here.

    One or two of my friends that are Deacons are married and are content in serving the Lord in this capacity and agree with their not becoming a fully ordained Minister.

    Personally I think the issue of female Church leaders is the same as male contenders. What are their reasons or motives for wanting to be in Authority over others? If it is not Pure and for the serving of the Lord with Humility but based on Pride and self-serving then we all know that they will be held to account!

    Now over and over again those in leadership are of the male gender. So it should be sensible to look to our men to fill these positions first. However the reality is that there are not always the men available to do so.

    In some Churches with dwindling numbers (and most Churches often have more women than men in the congregation) we find more and more women stepping up to taking the roles traditionally held by men in the congregation. I was discussing this with my Bible Study leader the other day. She is over 75 years old and has gone to Church since her childhood and has seen the changes. Back in the 1950s and 1960s there were plenty of men but it started to go downhill. Now many women come to Church without their husbands or male relatives. It isn't just that most women are widowed or even divorced. The men in their families since social pressure was removed to be seen as a good Christian citizen had stopped going to Church. So the sons don't go and today there seems to be a bit of an imbalance with more female congregation members than male.

    Why did this conversation arise?? We are studying Timothy in Bible Study and we noticed that Timothy himself was the product of a Christian mother and grandmother. Praise God he was brought to Christ but it was through the women in his family and not the men. So we can only conclude that Timothy's mother and grandmother taught him and he came to Christ throught their faith not his fathers.

    Sad but there are many families with only the women who know Jesus today. There are many congregations that have few boys and men in them. So the women have had to step up and take the leadership positions to keep their Churches going.

    I'm certainly not against women taking on teaching roles. I think they need to be careful not to usurp authority from men but many women are very gifted teachers and have much to offer the body of Christ so we can all be built up in God's Word. Also women like men who want positions of authority amongst Believers must have the right heart attitude and motives.
  4. mattfivefour

    mattfivefour Super Moderator Staff Member

    Kris, please note that I severed your "departing from the faith" post along with the one response to a brand new thread in this same forum.
  5. Kris762

    Kris762 Well-Known Member

    Matt and Hannah, thankyou both for taking the time to post in reply to my uneducated questions!

    I apologise for my seemingly dumbness, I'm still in that rather immature stage of Bible or Scripture study. The reason I asked the question regarding women in the Church is that I personally know a woman who is so full of the Spirit that it caught me off-guard last night when I came across Pauls statement, this woman is a real Soldier of Christ, full of a passion that I can only hope to some day acheive, she has strength in her that can only come from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I guess I should have known better than to look at one part or take one statement without corresponding it or comparing it to other examples...as we all know we need to interpret the Bible as a whole and not in segments if I'm making sense here. I'll make more mistakes and undoubtedly have more questions, please dont think I am challenging anything Scripture teaches, I'm just looking for understanding and clarification.

    You guys are truly Blessed to have such a knowledge of God's Word, can be slightly intimidating at times and potentially makes one feel a bit small...but I have a thirst to seek out God's Word and will not back off, so apologies in advance if I sound naive and I will try do more work myself and more Prayer in a request for understanding.

    Thankyou again, and just now thinking about it...the Lord has answered my Prayer for understanding through your posts!!

  6. mattfivefour

    mattfivefour Super Moderator Staff Member

    Brother, you are not "dumb". Unlearnedness is not dumbness. It is merely an absence of knowledge. As you feed on the Word, the Holy Spirit will minister more and more knowledge to you ... and you will find yourself, in turn, feeding it to others. It is what Christians do. They pass on what they have freely received. Now, it is true that some people have a special calling as a teacher ... just as some have a calling as a pastor or as an evangelist. But all Christians have gifts with which to build one another up. Never apologize for a lack of knowledge and never hesitate to seek it. Jesus told us that if we ask we will receive, seek and we will find, knock and it will be opened unto us. James said that we have not because we ask not; and (this is very important!) when we do ask we ask out of wrong motives. Never seek knowledge of the bible for the purpose of seeming more knowledgeable, or for being able to feel less intimidated around those who seem to know scripture. Many people can quote it, not as many know what it means. No, only ask for the knowledge of Scripture for the sole purpose of learning to know Your God and Savior better and better. The joy in His Presence when in His Word is beyond expression!!! And ask so that you may receive in order to share it with all who want it and are in need of it.

    God bless, Kris. I am honored to know you as my brother in God's family.
  7. Kris762

    Kris762 Well-Known Member

    I ask because I have a fear of not understanding Gods Word or misinterpreting it...I ask because I need to know for myself, it's driven by the heart...it's not a lack of faith in Christ or seeking knowledge for knowledge itself. Its that feeling you get when you really need or want to understand something in God's Word but require a little guidance or help...the questions bug you until you find the answers.

    Hey thankyou again Matt, today has turned into a awesome day after reading through what primarily you and Hannah posted!

    God Bless you both.
  8. Hannah

    Hannah Well-Known Member

    :hat: You are welcome. :nod
  9. mattfivefour

    mattfivefour Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ditto. :hug

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