“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3)
“11 Let a woman learn in silence, in all subjection. 12 And I do not allow a woman to teach nor to exercise authority [over] a man, but to be in silence.” (1Ti 2:11-12 LIT)
“34 ¶ Let your women be silent in the churches, for it is not allowed to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as also the Law says. 35 But if they desire to learn anything, let them question their husbands at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in a church. 36 ¶ Or did the Word of God go out from you? Or did it reach only to you?” (1Co 14:34-36)
Let us start with the definition that: Preaching is Teaching is Governing.
To teach or instruct; one whose business or occupation is to instruct others; an instructor; a tutor.
One who instructs others in religion; a preacher; a minister of the gospel; sometimes, one who preaches without regular ordination.
One involved in activities of educating or instructing or teaching; activities that impart knowledge or skill.
TEACH applies to any manner of imparting information or skill so that others may learn INSTRUCT suggests methodical or formal teaching
EDUCATE implies development of the mind
TRAIN stresses instruction and drill with a specific end in view
DISCIPLINE implies training in habits of order and precision.
To urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action.
To proclaim or publish tidings; specifically, to proclaim the gospel; to discourse publicly on a religious subject or from a text of Scripture; to deliver a sermon.
To give serious advice on morals or religion, to discourse in the manner of a preacher.
To inculcate in public discourse, to urge with earnestness by public teaching.
To deliver or pronounce such as to preach a sermon.
To teach or instruct by preaching, to inform by preaching.
To advise or recommend earnestly a course of action.
We can easily see that Teaching and Preaching are essentially the same thing with the latter concentrating mostly on religious matters but with a lot of subjects overlapping.
Moreover Teaching/Preaching is also a form of governing for the audience is expected to put into practice the instruction received. Also the Teacher/Preacher has ascendancy over the audience for he is the giver and they are the receivers, in other words the Teacher/Preacher is in a position of superiority over the addressees for he is imparting instructions to them.
Immediately we see that if a woman Teaches/Preaches she is in a superior position to the audience and that is in clear and direct conflict with 1Co 11:3 and the others, above.
But let us develop the theme further.
What is the definition of the Kingdom of God? Our Lord Jesus has given many examples of the Kingdom but the essential one covering them all is this:
“The Kingdom of God is where His Sovereign will is carried out perfectly according to His commands and decrees”.
At the moment this is so in Heaven, but here on the earth we are to pray: “And He (Jesus) said to them: When you pray, say, Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it also is in Heaven.” (Luk 11:2)
To be sure, God is Sovereign and present all over His creation and this is not to be confused with the Kingdom of God where everything is done perfectly according to His will. God is all-powerful and has control over everything, there is nothing that exists and lives without His control, absolutely nothing. This earth although under the full control of God is not totally part of His Kingdom, as defined. His Kingdom on this earth is where the believers that do His will are, that is the true church. Anyone that say he is a believer should also do the will of God and not his own and be totally dedicated to: “But seek the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.” (Luk 12:31)
Anyone who says he is a believer but does things rather according to his own volition he is not seeking the Kingdom of God, but he is part of the world and has established his own personal kingdom. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” (1Jo 2:15)
We are called also to be perfect: “Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Mat 5:48) and to be perfect we must do the will of God to His glory, not our fancy notions. Thus it is not sufficient for anybody to says that he feel to be called to the ministry of preaching, amongst others, but this “calling” has to be tested, endorsed and substantiated by God’s rules, i.e. His Word, the Bible.
The best thing to do to ever understand well anything and to develop a solid basis is to start at the beginning: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;” (Gen 1:1). This statement sets the scene parameters in that it categorically states that “at the beginning GOD” there was nothing except God and that all the subsequent events have their beginning and reason to exist in God and in nothing else. This means that all our reasoning and actions must have their being in God and must be according to His will to be real: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; …..” (Act 17:28). Anything that is not in conformity with His dictates, the Bible, is false and has to be rejected.
The principles of living in the Kingdom of God begin in Genesis chapter one and end in Revelation and we do well to stick closely to them. In Genesis we see that the Lord created man for His purposes as the image and glory of God. After a while God says to Himself: “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen 2:18). From that we gather that Adam was in need of a companion as his helper. Now a helper is not equal or superior to the one he helps as per the definition: “One that helps; an assistant”. Moreover, Adam’s helper was extracted from Adam and therefore a derivate of Him, which by the logic of things makes the helper subservient to its source. And this is the first principle of the man’s ascendancy over the woman: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” (1Ti 2:13).
Secondly, soon after her creation we see that in the Garden of Eden the Devil deceived her. This was not true for Adam. He sinned, but he was not deceived. Eve driven by the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life had allowed herself to be mislead and fell into disobedience and for that she received a specific punishment: “To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16) And here is the second reason for woman to be in subjection to the man: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1Ti 2:14)
Thus this is the beginning and by the principle of the “first appearance” all discussion and reference on the roles of man and woman must by necessity refer to here:
Man was created first and as the image and glory of God whilst the woman (the derivative) was made as the glory of man” 1Co 11:7.
Moreover the woman was deceived by the Evil one and fell into transgression whilst the man was not deceived.
These two statements absolutely preclude woman to ever have any authority over the man, in any possible field, whether in the Church or in the World, for all is of God. If any woman goes against these declarations, she is expressedly going against the clear dictates of God and she is an avowed rebel and one day she will have to render an account to God for her rebellion.
Of course Leftists, Libertines, Modernists and Liberals do all they can to dismiss the first three chapters of Genesis as mythological and irrelevant to our modern enlightened days for we have advanced so much and the catch phrases are like: “surely in the 21th century you do not believe such fairy tales?” But the crux of the matter is that if the first 3 chapters of Genesis are removed, then the whole Bible would make no sense at all, and this is really what they want to do, to dispose of the Bible for It proclaims a God that limits their desire to revel in their debauchery.
Anyone that does not take the first 3 chapters of Genesis as true and does not believe that Adam and Eve were real persons; he is no Christian at all.
Indeed a prominent woman televangelist flatly rejects the Bible verses that forbid any woman from teaching or exercising authority over a man such as: 1Ti 2:12. But of course she has to, otherwise she would be a total hypocrite.
Do these famous pants wearing women give the impression of being Christian with their short hair and masculine manners??
In these latter evil days we are bombarded from all sides by all sorts of new ideas. The unbelievable suggestion of yesterday, entertained only by a few fanatics, is today the bold reform, and tomorrow will be the accepted practice. Novelties are so numerous and so wild and rash, that in even conservative minds the feeling of wonder is exhausted and the instinct of righteous resistance fatigued, if not lost altogether. Just a few years ago the preaching women were universally condemned among all conservative denominations of Christians. Now the idea is being presented to the churches, and female preachers are knocking at our doors. We are already told that public opinion is being swayed because of the boldness and reasonableness of the claims of these woman preachers that even our own ministers are hesitant to speak out against the movement. Only in the U.S. women preachers number over 20 thousands.
But how all this spiritual rot came to be?
The apostasy of the hour came when men and women having rejected Bible truth, are confused about the most basic things. Many men are trying to be like women in dress and manner, while many women are demanding the right to be like men, to dress like men, to do the same work as men, to play the same sports as men, to fight in armies like men. They want more than equal pay for equal work; they are demanding a man’s place in the home, church, and state. Sadly, the church is always affected by society. Thus the rebellion of women in the world is causing similar problems in the churches, and we find women demanding leadership roles in many Christian, if not all of them.
The first sign of this “Downgrade” appeared during the lifetime of that “Prince of preachers” Charles Haddon Spurgeon and he firstly coined the correct phrase “Downgrade”. In his own words: “At the end of the Puritan age, by some means or other, first the ministers, then the Churches, got on “the down grade,” and in some cases, the descent was rapid, and in all, very disastrous. In proportion as the ministers seceded from the old Puritan godliness of life, and the old Calvinistic form of doctrine, they commonly became less earnest and less simple in their preaching, more speculative and less spiritual in the matter of their discourses, and dwelt more on the moral teachings of the New Testament, than on the great central truths of revelation. Natural theology frequently took the place, which the great truths of the gospel ought to have held, and the sermons became more and more Christless. Corresponding results in the character and life, first of the preachers and then of the people, were only too plainly apparent.”
It is interesting to note some dates:
Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
“The Origin of Species” published November 24 1859. This is the official start of that most ungodly Theory of Evolution that in effects supplants God in the minds of many.
Revised New Version published in 1881. This version was guided by two unbelievers, Westcott and Hort; that rejected the Textus Receptus for the corrupted version of Origen. Indeed in 1890 Mar. 4th – Westcott admitted his disbelief in the fundamental basis of the Bible and did not believe that Genesis 1-3 should be taken literally: “No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history – I could never understand how any one reading them with open eyes could think they did – yet they disclose to us a Gospel. Interesting to note that Jesus, Paul and the Apostles frequently referred to those.
Interesting how all these factors coincided with that early breakdown in Christianity. That was known as the ‘Downgrade controversy’. There were two aspects to this development. Firstly, the publication in 1859 of Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ and in 1871 of ‘The Descent of Man’, had had an enormous influence on many thinking people and there was a widespread and growing conviction that the Scriptures were no longer a reliable basis for belief in our creational beginnings and the theory of Evolution appealed very much to the carnal side of man for in effect it did away with God. Parallel with this was the growth of what was called “higher criticism” of the Bible. Scholars were examining the text of the Scriptures, not with the eye of faith nor by the aid of the Spirit, but with a secular mind that questioned its authorship as well as the veracity of long–held understandings and interpretations “Has God said?”. As a result of their pronouncements, many people felt they could no longer adhere to the traditional views of the Bible.
Listen to Spurgeon’s own words of warning: “Biblical truth is like the pinnacle of a steep, slippery mountain. One step away, you find yourself on the downgrade. Once a church or individual Christian gets on the downgrade, momentum takes over. Recovery is unusual and only happens when Christians get on the ‘up-line’ through spiritual revival.” As one very well respected pastor has insightfully noted, “Christians today tend to forget that modernism was not first of all a theological agenda, but a methodological one.” Spurgeon was right and this is exactly what we are facing today.
Nevertheless Spurgeon faithfully stuck with the truth of God: “The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine.’’
And so we “the seven thousand left” must go on to preach that old truth to our last gulp of air.
And so from the second half of the 1800 the Downgrade it was truly down hill slide, especially sustained by the 2 World Wars, with WWII fuelling to no end the secularisation of society with the aid of that satanically devised Democracy system and its daughter, Feminism.
To make the point, it is estimated that today in England, that bulwark of Christianity that sent million of missionaries all over the world, only less than 4% of the population attends church regularly, and decreasing fast. In Europe the situation is even worse. The writers of the New EU constitution steadfastly refused to even introduce a statement in it saying that Europe had its roots in Christianity, let alone stating that we live under God.
And from here the thousands of women preachers were spawned. Firstly with that theory of Evolution the Bible was rejected as the source of inerrant divine guide, then Democracy has made everyone equal reducing God’s ordinances for His creation null and void. (if this were at all possible)
As Spurgeon cried with deep insight: “Once a church or individual Christian gets on the downgrade, momentum takes over, recovery is unusual.” And there our modern church is found falling away in profound decadency with most churches having “ICHABOD” written on their doors.
The issue of Women Preachers is just one of the symptoms of this malaise of the church and so from all sides the word now used is “Post Christian Era”. But here we are dealing with this “cancer” of women preachers in the church. The Bible speaks too clearly on this subject for there to be any confusion. The problem is that churches too often are looking to sources other than the Bible for guidance; indeed they are fully steeped in the tenets of secularism. God loves women as much as He does men. Women are as important to the home, church, and society as men are. In Jesus Christ, women enjoy the same access to salvation and blessings before God as men do. This does not mean, though, there is no difference in men and women in their appearance and roles. There is a basic truth, which needs to be restated in the church and society today: Men and women are different and are not interchangeable!
Men and women were made for different roles. The New Testament affirms that men are to be the leaders in the home, church, and state. Women were not created to rule these divine institutions; men were. The prophet Isaiah was condemning Israel when he said women ruled over them (Isa 3:12). In the church (and in society), according to the Bible, no woman is qualified to be a pastor or a deacon or in any other leadership position over men for the simple fact that God has made her a woman. Who says that? God says!
“Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I do not allow a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression” (1Ti 2:11-14).
“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 says the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1Co 14:34-37).
How could a woman possibly be a preacher when she is forbidden to teach or to have any authority over men? Women can only be preachers if they openly disobey the Bible’s teaching. Note, furthermore: “if they will learn any thing” which further strengthen the fact that they cannot teach.
Further, the Lord Jesus Christ appointed no female apostles, nor He personally instructed women. All of them were men. The standards for pastors apply strictly to men. Only a man can be the “husband of one wife” and can “rule his own house well” (1Ti 3:2,4; Tit 1:6).
PAUL’S INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOR ALL CHURCHES OF ALL CENTURIES
Some are saying that the commands quoted above were meant only for first century Christians, or were only for the particular situation at Corinth. This cannot be true for many reasons. Consider:
The Epistles of Paul are taken by all as God inspired Scripture and thus his instructions in 1 Corinthians 14 are the commandments of the Lord (verse 37). As such they must be obeyed by all Christians and by every church in all times.
The Apostle said that the instructions of 1 Corinthians 14 are a test of spirituality. He said that those who are truly spiritual must acknowledge that the instructions are the very commandments of God. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1Co 14:37).
In 1 Timothy the Apostle gives the very same instructions concerning women, and this epistle was said to have been written to teach the proper order for churches. The things contained in 1 Timothy are specific instructions about church order to be obeyed by all churches in every century; and it is in this book, the book that contains standards for church leaders, that God has forbidden women from taking authority over or teaching men.
In giving the instructions about women in the church, the Holy Spirit referred back to the original order of creation (the first 3 chapters of Genesis), Adam first, then Eve. The Holy Spirit, in guiding Paul’s pen, used this order of creation to prove that women must not take authority over men. Therefore, since the order of creation has not changed since 1 Timothy was written, and since it does not change in our culture or century, we know that the instructions of the New Testament about the woman’s role in the church apply to us today and tomorrow.
Paul referred to the Fall for support of his teaching regarding the woman’s subjection to the man. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1Ti 2:14). Again this shows that the Apostle’s teaching about the woman transcends any one culture or generation, remember that Paul war writing in the New Testament. Though we have been saved from the eternal consequences of the Fall when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ, we are still living under the abiding consequences and conditions of the Fall as long as we remain in this world.
Redemption has three aspects that must never be confused: past, present, and future. The three are seen in Romans chapter eight. Romans 8:1-10 speaks of the past aspect of our salvation–we have been saved from the eternal consequences of sin. Because of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the Cross we have been made eternally free from any fear of the wrath of God or punishment for our sin by God’s holy law. Praise the Lord! Rom 8:11-17 speaks of the present aspect of our salvation: we are being saved from the power of sin in our daily lives by the Spirit of God who indwells us. Rom 8:18-25 speaks of the future aspect of salvation: we will be saved from the very presence of sin when Christ gives us our resurrection body and comes to renew this fallen creation. We have eternal redemption right now as a present possession, yet we still “groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).
Likewise, the woman who trusts Christ receives eternal freedom in Him from the wages of sin, but she is not yet free from some of the consequences of Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. She still is to be in subjection to the man.
Paul referred to human nature to support his teaching regarding women. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1Ti 2:14). The woman has a different makeup than the man. She was designed for a different role in life than that of the man; that of a wife and mother. Her emotional, psychological, and rational makeup is geared perfectly for this, but she was not designed for leadership. In the Garden of Eden the devil deceived her. This was not true for Adam. He sinned, but he was not deceived. Eve had allowed herself to be in a position of decision-making she was not supposed to occupy and she fell prey to the evil one. It is no coincidence that women have been responsible for starting many of the false “christian” movements and have played key roles in spiritism, new age, mind science cults, and other satanic activities. Human nature has not changed and neither has God’s restrictions against women preachers.
Paul commanded that his instructions were to be kept until Christ’s coming. “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Ti 6:14). This command is given at the end of the epistle in which the Apostle had so clearly required that women be in subjection to men(1Ti 2:9-15). Since Jesus has not yet appeared, we are to continue to maintain these restrictions. Not forgetting Jesus’ words apropos: “For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Mat 5:18)
Paul’s letter to Corinth, in which he spoke of women being in subjection to men, was for all Christians, not just those in Corinth. In his introduction to this epistle the Apostle tells us plainly to whom he is speaking: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s” (1Co 1:2). It is clear that Paul’s instructions were not intended merely for some peculiar situation at Corinth.
While Galatians 3:28 says there is neither bond nor free in Christ, other passages teach that this does not mean there are no servant/master relationships. The Christian servant is free in Christ–free from the eternal wages of sin–but he is not free from his earthly position and responsibilities of servitude toward his master (Eph 6:5-8; Col 3:22-25; 1Ti 6:1,2; Tit 2:9-10; 1Pe 2:18-25). In fact, anyone who teaches against these instructions regarding submission of servants to masters is labelled proud and evil: “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. if any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:1-5).
These are strong words, and they refer directly to those who try to contradict the Apostle’s teaching requiring subjection of servants to masters, such as those who promote communistic “liberation theology,” and those who stir up all sorts of strife between workers and business. These words also apply to those who are trying to throw off the apostolic teaching referring to woman’s subjection to man in the church and home and outside. Such are proud, ungodly, and destitute of the truth, and are to be separated from! We can see how serious this matter is in front of God.
Galatians 3:28 says there are no servants and no freemen in Christ, yet other New Testament passages teach there are indeed Christians who are servants and Christians who are masters. Galatians 3:28 also says there is neither male nor female in Christ, but other passages show us that this does not mean all distinction between the sexes are done away in this world, nor does it mean that the original order of creation has been dissolved in Christianity. Gal 3:28 refers to the fact that ALL have access to salvation in Christ not to the dismissal of hierarchical order in human relationships as prescribed by the Word of God (1Co 11:3).
To understand fully any Biblical principle we must go to the beginning and any further discussion on the matter must refer to that, i.e. the principle of first appearance.
The Biblical directives are not bound to a specific time or a specific culture, but are universal for all times and all cultures for they are God breathed and God is not bound by anything and He knows the beginning from the end. Besides if the Biblical principles were bound to a specific time or culture, they would be useless to future generations, the very thing that satanically inspired democratic culture wants to implement.
The first three chapters of the Bible must to be accepted and believed as literal and Adam and Eve as real persons the first humans ever created and that no other humans were in the Garden, besides them. Failing to accept that pulls the rug under the Bible effectively destroying the whole Good News of Christ and His redemptive work.
In the first 3 chapters of the Bible we have the foundation of the whole human drama and its hierarchical order where the man was created as the pre-eminent human and the woman was added by extraction from the man as subservient suitable helper for him. “8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (1Co 11:8-9) The man is the head, not the woman.
Throughout the Bible we have passages that confirm that all distinctions between the sexes are NOT done away in this world, proving that the original order of creation has NOT been dissolved in Christianity but it is valid to the end of times.
The Lord Jesus Christ appointed no female apostles, nor He personally instructed women. All of them were men. The standards for pastors apply strictly to men. Only a man can be the “husband of one wife” and can “rule his own house well” (1Ti 3:2,4; Tit 1:6)
Women Preachers are a “cancer” to Christianity and are not part of the Kingdom of God. This concept is satanically inspired to dilute sound doctrine and to make Christianity fall into disuse as we so plainly see all over the world in these evil days.
“For false christs and false prophets will be raised, and they will give signs and wonders in order to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Mar 13:22
Source found here : http://www.albatrus.org/english/living/kingdom/kingdom_vs_women_preachers.htm
After reading this post I have a question for you, and one point of clarification. First, do you think that it is acceptable for women to be missionaries? I know that this has often been allowed by many conservative churches (including mine). Second, I think that it is important to clarify that the word “help meet” in Genesis 2 does not have the same meaning as the word “helper” in English. This word is used in other places in the Old Testament to refer to the work of the Holy Spirit helping man. I think that we would agree that it would be heresy to declare that the work of the Holy Spirit in being a “help meet” for man makes him subordinate to man. Therefore, it is not logical to state that “help-meet” in the context of Genesis 2 necessarily means that the women is a helper that is subordinate.
I have a question and a point of clarification. First, do you think that it is allowable for women to be foreign missionaries? I know that many conservative churches allow this (including mine). Second, I think that it is important to note that the Hebrew meaning of “help meet” in Genesis chapter 2 does not have the same meaning as “helper” in English. In other places in the Old Testament, this word is used to refer to the work of the Holy Spirit. I think that we would agree that it would be heresy to state that the role of the Holy Spirit as a “help meet” to man makes him subordinate to man. Therefore, it is not logical to state that the word “help meet” in Genesis 2 necessarily means that women are subordinate.
Thank you for commenting, I see your two posts are almost the same. I approved both.
As long as as a woman, one does not usurp authority over men in the church. Woman do not belong on the pulpit. As a missionary woman, there can be a lot to do for us like, teaching the woman the Word, teaching the children the Word, help woman out in child bearing and numerous womanly duties.
Here is some true words:
The Role of Women
From the very beginning, women fulfilled a vital role in the Christian church (Acts 1:12–14; 9:36–42; 16:13–15; 17:1–4, 10–12; 18:1–2, 18, 24–28; Rom. 16; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 1:5; 4:19), but not one of leadership. The apostles were all men; the chief missionary activity was done by men; the writing of the New Testament was the work of men; and leadership in the churches was entrusted to men.
Although the Apostle Paul respected women and worked side by side with them for the furtherance of the gospel (Rom. 16; Phil. 4:3), he appointed no female elders or pastors. In his letters, he urged that men were to be the leaders in the church and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12). Therefore, although women are spiritual equals with men and the ministry of women is essential to the body of Christ, women are excluded from leadership over men in the church.
Men and women stand as equals before God, both bearing the image of God Himself. However, without making one inferior to the other, God calls upon both men and women to fulfill the roles and responsibilities specifically designed for them, a pattern that can be seen even in the Godhead (1 Cor. 11:3). In fulfilling the divinely given roles taught in the New Testament, women are able to realize their full potential because they are following the plan of their own Creator and Designer. Only in obedience to Him and His design will women truly be able, in the fullest sense, to give glory to God.
Although women have traditionally fulfilled supportive roles in serving the church and gained their greatest joy and sense of accomplishment from being wives and mothers, the feminist movement has successfully influenced many women to abandon these divinely ordained roles. Unfortunately, this movement has made headway even in the church, creating chaos and confusion regarding the role of women both in ministry and in the home. Only in Scripture can God’s intended design for women be found.
The Old Testament and Women
In the creation account of Genesis 1, God’s first word on the subject of men and women is that they were equally created in the image of God (v. 27). Neither received more of the image of God than the other. So the Bible begins with the equality of the sexes. As persons, as spiritual beings standing before God, men and women are absolutely equal.
Despite this equality, there is in Genesis 2 a more detailed account of the creation of the two human beings that reveals differences in their God-given functions and responsibilities. God did not create the man and the woman at the same time, but rather He created Adam first and Eve later for the specific purpose of being Adam’s helper. Eve was equal to Adam, but she was given the role and duty of submitting to him. Although the word “helper” carries very positive connotations—even being used of God Himself as the helper of Israel (Deut. 33:7; Ps. 33:20)—it still describes someone in a relationship of service to another. The responsibility of wives to submit to their husbands, then, was part of the plan from creation, even before the curse. The first books of the Bible establish both the equality of men and women and also the support role of the wife (see Exod. 21:15, 17, 28–31; Num. 5:19–20, 29; 6:2; 30:1–16).
Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command resulted in certain consequences (Gen. 3:16–19). For the woman, God pronounced a curse that included multiplied pain in childbirth and tension in the authority-submission relationship of husband and wife. Genesis 3:16 says the woman’s “desire” will be for her husband but he shall “rule” over her. In Genesis 4:7 the author uses the same word “desire” to mean “excessive control over.” Thus, the curse in Genesis 3:16 refers to a new desire on the part of the woman to exercise control over her husband—but he will in fact oppressively rule and exert authority over her. The result of the Fall on marriage through history has been an ongoing struggle between the sexes, with women seeking control and men seeking dominance.
Throughout the Old Testament, women were active in the religious life of Israel, but generally they were not leaders. Women like Deborah (Judges 4) were clearly the exception and not the rule. There was no woman with an ongoing prophetic ministry. No woman was a priest. No queen ever ruled Israel. No woman wrote an Old Testament (or New Testament) book. Isaiah 3:12 indicates that God allowed women to rule as part of His judgment on the sinning nation.
Jesus and Women
In the midst of the Greek, Roman, and Jewish cultures, which viewed women almost on the level of possessions, Jesus showed love and respect for women. Though Jewish rabbis did not teach women and the Jewish Talmud said it was better to burn the Torah than to teach it to
Without making one inferior to the
other, God calls upon both men and
women to fulfill the roles and
designed for them.
a woman, Jesus never took the position that women, by their very nature, could not understand spiritual or theological truth. He not only included them in His audiences but also used illustrations and images that would be familiar to them (Matt. 13:33; 22:1–2; 24:41; Luke 15:8–10) and specifically applied His teaching to them (Matt. 10:34ff.). To the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), He revealed that He was the Messiah and discussed with her topics such as eternal life and the nature of true worship. He also taught Mary and, when admonished by Martha, pointed out the priority of learning spiritual truth even over “womanly” responsibilities like serving guests in one’s home (Luke 10:38).
Although men in Jesus’ day normally would not allow women to count change into their hands for fear of physical contact, Jesus touched women to heal them and allowed women to touch Him (Luke 13:10ff.; Mark 5:25ff.). Jesus even allowed a small group of women to travel with Him and His disciples (Luke 8:1–3), an unprecedented happening at that time. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene and sent her to announce His resurrection to the disciples (John 20:1–18), despite the fact that women were not allowed to be witnesses in Jewish courts because they were considered liars.
In Jesus’ treatment of women, He raised their station of life and He showed them compassion and respect in a way they had never known. This demonstrated their equality. At the same time, however, Jesus still did not exalt women to a place of leadership over men.
For further study, consult John MacArthur, Different By Design: Discovering God’s Will for Today’s Man and Woman (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1994).