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July 31, 2004

Should Women be allowed to Preach?

1 Timothy 2:11-12 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.

Should a woman be allowed to be a deacon(ess) or an elder in a church?
I would say that it goes against scripture to allow deaconesses or women elders (pastors). While many women out there could clearly teach me a thing or two about God and scripture, that would go against the model of federal headship. Man is the head of the family…

1 Corinthians 11:3 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

Ephesians 5:22-24 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Why would a woman be allowed to, say, lead a children’s ministry, but not be an administrative pastor of a church?
The key to whether women can teach a children’s ministry is in that they are not teaching men but rather children. These children should still be getting spiritual instruction from their fathers and mothers but are not ready to study on their own. A woman is capable of giving instruction but must submit to God’s authority and instructions.

Titus 2:3-5 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored

Would you let a woman be a guest speaker and give a sermon?
This is more difficult because a woman could be a very valuable guest speaker, but is that acceptable. I guess it depends on the context of the situation; is it topical or is it preaching? Does that even matter? I would be uncomfortable to have a woman as a guest speaker or giving a sermon during the service but a separate arena may be preferable – a special “class” or speaking opportunity for example. I have to admit that this is a very slippery slope.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

This section follows discussion about speaking in tongues and prophesy and so it may be limited to that concept but I suspect that it may be addressing the issue at Corinth where women may not have been turning to their husbands for spiritual leadership. They may have been trying to circumvent their roles and seeking instruction from other men (not elders) or were even trying to teach other men. I may have tried to cover too many ideas for one post but I hope it makes sense. I’ll respond to any clarifications you have or to expand on these ideas if needed.

When posting arguments for or against, please quote scripture. You can find online bible translations at Bible Gateway. Please understand that I have the utmost respect for Godly women and have no doubt they are very capable of teaching/preaching in the church. It’s just that I understand the scriptures to be God-breathed and true in their entirety. I also understand the scriptures to say that women are not to teach or preach in the church. It never says can’t or incapable of teaching.

Finally, what does this mean in regards to evangelism? Are women not to evangelize? Are they not to share the gospel? I don’t think this is the case. Maybe the instructions from God only applied to the church environment. This may allow for outside studies, books, seminars, children’s ministry, etc.

Note: I respond to comments in bold

UPDATE: this has been re-posted at Blogogetics.com and may have different have to follow.

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101 comments

  • At 5:46 am on October 1, 2007, christina commented:

    Another question, and again, please permit me to say these are questions and i have no ‘liberal’ or ‘feminist’ agenda…i truly am seeking guidance here…my question is this…you open your argument by stating it is clearly stated in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 that women should learn in quietness, not permitted to teach or have authority over men all because Adam was first, then Eve and that Eve was the one deceived, not Adam (i have a follow on question about this later) but what about 1 Timothy 2:15 that says “But women will be saved through childbrearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” This sounds like it says i, as a women, will be saved (forgived?) by having children, so I could become a pastor if i have children b/c I am saved? And what about 1 Timothy 3:1-5 which lays out who can be a Deacon? It states He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect (if anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” So this clearly states a man must then have children? So why do we permit Deacons who are single? with no children? or Deacons that have children that are unruly? Finally, i have a question from Genesis 3:6-7 “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasig to the eye, and also desireable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” This implies that Adam was there all along when Eve was talking with the Serpeant, right? So why is only Eve guilty? And like a lot of Jesus’ parables in the NT, the second party, in this case Adam, tells God it is Eve’s fault, just like the oldest son complained when the father gave the prodical son a party, right? This explains human nature, a theme us humans constantly are reminded of in the bible, that when our sins are showed to us, we first tend to blame others? but why is the prodical son taken as a symbol of God’s love for everyone, even the 11th hour confessor (like the thief i will confess to thee) but Eve and all women are condemned? Just questions, thank you so much for your time and patience!

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  • At 7:00 pm on October 19, 2007, Madison commented:

    thanks SO much for this article! i totally agree with it. the real question of women in church office really comes down to whether or not to believe the authority of the Scripture.

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  • At 9:29 pm on November 21, 2007, Gina commented:

    my question is concerning women who are divorced. according to scripture is it lawful for her to remarry?

    archshrk responds: You may find this is addressed in my post about Christian Divorce. But my quick answer is yes, it is lawful. We should avoid divorce as much as we can but God is forgiving and allows remarriage. But it needs to be God honoring just as everything we do.

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  • At 11:23 pm on February 2, 2008, SAM commented:

    “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man” Clearly this is talking about the marriage relationship. Can you show me from Scripture where a woman is commanded to be in submission to any other male?
    Did Mary ask her father or Joseph if it was alright with him before she said “yes” to the angel? Did the Proverbs 31 woman ask her husband before she went to buy a field? Does anyone see a problem here?

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  • At 3:07 pm on February 23, 2008, Tracy commented:

    I think that this is a very controversial issue, but I think that you are right on!! The Bible is clear about women teaching men. That does not mean that they cannot have the gift of prophecy, administration, teaching, etc. Many women have the gift of teaching and teach Sunday school, lead Youth Group Bible Studies (which is a command from Titus 2, women to lead the younger women), lead a women’s Bible study, work in the nursery, or sing in the choir. I think women should be actively involved in church, just not in the role of a preacher.

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  • At 3:11 pm on March 30, 2008, godsarmyof8 commented:

    We do not need to confuse the institution of church with the body of people called God’s church. It is about a relationship with Christ. Leading people can easily be confused with power and authority. Leading an institution is like leading a business. Guiding and teaching God’s people to be disciples is totally different. If someone, woman or man, is called to help the lost or feed the sheep, they are called to create diciples. Having a pastoring gift is to love on someone to bring them closer to Christ. The scriptures mentioned many times before in Titus and Corin. state the role a woman and man should hold. In observing those roles we are showing God’s love and His devine plan. The designed role of the family is the design for all institutions of man. It is not a matter of a women’s capability, it is a matter of obedience. Even Eve wanted to be more like God. What if Adam had stood up and assumed his rule over his wife? Perhaps this conversation would not exist.

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  • At 12:54 am on June 5, 2008, The best I can do | archshrk pingbacked:

    […] for the controversial types, I give you Should Women be allowed to Preach? A scriptural look at the roles of women in Elder positions. Not very popular with those who […]

  • At 3:27 am on June 5, 2008, Frank Turk commented:

    Your first question is a red herring. It is possible that a woman could serve as “deaconess” and not be eligible to serve as “elder”. These are not the same positions, biblically.

    I think that the Bible tells us they should not serve as either, but they are not one and the same question.

    archshrk responds: Very true. When I posed this question to myself and my readers, I wanted to be more general and look at the issue of church leadership. Deacons and Elders are different roles within the church body but at the time I wrote this, deacon was less clearly defined, or at least – less universally accepted. I would agree that both roles fall under the issue of Federal Headship – that is, women should not be deacons or elders. At the same time, not every man is qualified to be a deacon or elder.

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  • At 12:52 pm on June 21, 2008, Robert Hickman commented:

    Instructions are that deacons and elders are to be “the husbands of one wife.” Seems that this rules out women and single men as Deacons, Elders,and also Pastors since Pastors normally hold the rank of Elder. Our churches only ordain pastors that are married.

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  • At 5:50 pm on July 15, 2008, Joseph commented:

    Good day to everyone in this forum. I am going to drop some things real quick on this forum. If you look at the word you will find these things in reference to this topic:
    The first 2 preach Jesus to the Jews was a woman (see Luke 2:37,38)
    The first to proclaim the resurrection was a woman (see mat 28:8)
    The Samaritan woman preached to men (see John 4)
    Were in attendance at the first prayer meeting (see acts 1:14)
    the First people to greet Paul and Silas where women (see acts 16:13)
    First European converts where Woman (see acts 16:14)
    The 3 daughters of Phillip Paul recognized as Preachers

    Math 28:18 was not gender specific Jesus gave the great commission to both men and women

    Joel 2 says that the Lord will pour out his spirit on all flesh and his sons AND Daughters will prophecy (aka preach)

    So is there a problem with women speaking from the pulpit to a congregation I think not

    archshrk responds: Joseph, thanks for taking the time to leave scriptural arguments for your position. These would appear to support women preaching but that is a bit misleading. At no point do I suggest women should not share the Gospel nor do I believe any are excused from it. Rather, I am describing the Complementarian View that says we are created as equal image bearers of Christ but we have specific roles as men and women. Most of the scripture references describe evangelism which you term “preaching” but in none of these cases does the woman described have authority over the men. Regarding the Daughters of Philip, I think Jeffrey T. Riddle’s article Are the Daughters of Philip Among the Prophets of Acts? does an excellent job of discussing this in greater detail. Here’s a highlight…

    It must be acknowledged, for example, that Luke does not depict women as serving in leadership roles in which they exercise doctrinal or teaching authority over men. Women do not teach or preach in Acts. Like Dorcas, they are known for being “full of good works and almsgiving” (9:36) which might have included skillful sewing for the widows (9:39). Luke presents women who open their homes for the meetings of the church, as did Mary, the mother of John Mark (12:12). Like Lydia, they extend hospitality to the itinerant prophets (16:15, 40). It is true that Priscilla “explained” to Apollos the “way of God more accurately” (18:26), but only alongside her husband Aquila. It should likewise be noted that the four prophesying daughters are clearly “in the household of Philip” (eis ton oikon Philippou) (21:8). The implication is that they exercise this ministry under their father’s authority. It is difficult to find any liberationist models of women overtly engaged in leadership within the Christian movement in Acts. Richter Reimer’s effort to find a redeeming feminist message within the Ananias and Sapphira story (Acts 5) or in the brief mention of the daughters of Philip reveals how difficult, and indeed futile, the search is. Yet this need not mean that Luke represents a “retrograde movement” in early Christianity with respect to the place of women in early Christianity. The most satisfying conclusion that one may draw upon reviewing Luke’s depiction of women in Acts is the complementarian perspective. Luke affirms women as equal participants in the Christian movement and yet he also clearly affirms that certain offices, like that of prophet, are limited to men only. As for the daughters of Philip, once again, Luke can affirm the fact that they prophesy, this does not mean that they serve as prophets.

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  • At 5:09 pm on July 22, 2008, Should Women be allowed to Preach? | Blogogetics pingbacked:

    […] was originally posted on archshrk.com. You can read the comments and my responses […]

  • At 11:04 pm on July 27, 2008, J.R. commented:

    2 Peter 1:19-21

    Do not presume to believe that your particular understanding of prophecy is THE correct one! He says this is the “first” rule of studying prophecy; it is something we must arm ourselves with at the outset. We must be humble enough to realize that our interpretation of prophecy is probably WRONG!

    Further more the word prophecy does not mean to PREACH, hello?! It means to have knowledge of the future (usually said to be obtained from a divine source). That is not Preaching. The Holy Spirit can enter into the heart of any woman or man to be a prophet. But to PREACH is to Teach and it’s not coincidence that they both sound alike. Problem is that the world today is a very liberal, ungodly place in which we try to mix scripture with being political correctness. Will a woman go to hell because she preaches? I would trust not but I am not GOD – but lets us not take scripture into private interpretations and instead pray for understanding. The bible leave nothing to ambuguity.

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  • At 8:16 pm on September 8, 2008, Isaiah55 commented:

    I just wanna state to this entry:

    1. Congrats on the proof texting. That’s so original of you.
    2. Newsflash: Paul is not nor will he every be Jesus. Jesus supported women, children, the poor, the taken advantage of – he taught to love one another…he had plenty of opportunity to say that women can not preach but guess what…HE NEVER DID!!! DON’T YOU FIND IT IRONIC THAT THIS OPINION IS FOUND IN ONLY PAUL’S WRITINGS (NOT TO MENTION IT WAS TO A CHURCH IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT CULTURAL CONTEXT- but then again if you were taking culture into mind when reading the scripture in the 1st place you wouldn’t have written this post)???
    3. Riddle me this: in 1st Corth. Paul says that both men and women are given the gift of/to prophesy…so before he states the ALWAYS proof texted 1st corth. Scripture he states that women and men are to preach (aka prophesy)

    Actually, it isnt only written in Paul’s words! Its also written in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 also. And to ever say that anything in the Bible is wrong or mislead is to call God a liar, for if it were wrong or misleading then God would not have included it in His “Word”.

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  • At 9:40 am on September 21, 2008, Jon commented:

    Thank you so much for this! It’s good to see that there are people out there that actually read their Bible and know what’s going on. My Dad, (who is a pastor) ran across this one day and I was like “For real? Are you serious?” and then he showed me the scripture; I’ve been a believer of this ever since. Also keep in mind, “God is not the author of Confusion.” If you don’t know where that its, take a look at Matthew. Nonetheless, God is not going to contradict himself and say anything he doesn’t mean. The scripture means what is says, plain and simple. If you don’t believe it, oh well. Good post! God Bless!

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  • At 3:08 pm on October 11, 2008, Thomas commented:

    In the past I was living in sin everyday, I lived with my girlfriend at the time and we would fornicate. After a short period of time God called a stop to it. So I then tried to make the relationship last. People all around me would tell me it is a sin, but I told them we weren’t fornicating. I would ask, show me where in the bible does it say you can’t live with someone without fornicating? No one could show me, but I found out. The bible does say avoid all signs of evil and temptation. So there was the answer!

    Now the question is, “Should women be allowed to be the head of a church?” Umm well it clearly states in the bible more than five times that women must not. I think the question everyone should be asking is, “is it a sin to shack up (live) with partner without fornicating?” because the text is not clear on that topic as it is on “Should women be allowed to be the head of a church?”

    The moral to my example is how something can but questioned if it clearly states in the bible that women should not be allowed to be head of a church?

    If this is the case then although in the bible it say’s we should not fornicate, well let’s start to question that! Not.

    -T.E.W.

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  • At 7:18 am on October 14, 2008, Jon commented:

    I get what you’re saying Thomas but, I would say that living together isn’t a sin persay but, considering the fact that it would be EXTREMELY hard not to commit fornication; I wouldn’t recommend it you know? If you want to live with someone, you might as well just marry them so you don’t have to worry about that. Otherwise, just don’t live with them so that you can avoid temptaion you know? Take it easy man.

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  • At 7:27 am on October 14, 2008, Jon commented:

    I read your message again, that is great point man!lol

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  • At 5:12 pm on January 19, 2009, Red Poet commented:

    The Bible specifically says women should be silent in church. However, the world teaches false doctrines today. Only men were prophets. Of course, there was Anna the Prophetess, but that only meant prophesying about something to come. It was the gift of knowing a future event. In Anna’s case–the only female Prophetess in the Bible–this did not mean she was a preacher. In fact, she practice prayer, fasting and what not–remained very humble–and was no preacher or priestess. Not as we think today. Now, here’s the scripture that specifically says women should be remain silent in the church. However, church in the original Bible was ecclesia, which meant fellowship (or assembly) and in now way referred to the huge buildings we think of today. It was an actually group of believers who lived in a specific geographical location. Jesus did not go to building. He preached in the open air. He talked to the poor and homeless. Anyway, here’s that scripture:

    “”Let your women keep silence in the Churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they ought to be subject, as also the Law saith. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the ecclesia (fellowship or assembly).” 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

    John Calvin writes of this passage: “14:34 Women are commanded to be silent in public assemblies (not church buildings; they mean nothing to the Lord as we know them today) and they are commanded to ask their husbands at home.”

    But, let’s face it? Our world is riddled by doctrines of devils and women calling themselves preachers. They wear short hair and stand up on television and feed the lies of the trinity to the masses. Most of these protestant doctrines descend from the Roman Catholic Church by and large. She is Babylon. Mother of Harlots. She sits on seven hills. John Calvin also verifies the fact. He was around the time of the Inquisitions. He knows the deal. The second bloodbath will surely be worse than the first. It’s coming. Only a remnant shall remain. The rest will turn to the Beast and worship him.

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  • At 10:52 pm on March 30, 2009, Morgan commented:

    In the case of 1 Timothy 2 Paul was solving a problem for that particular church. At this time Timothy was in Ephesus, a place overrun with paganism that taught that women were superior to men. This was bound to run over into the church which was in chaos. Paul was speaking of the women who were falsly prohpesying in order to keep order.

    Also, reference Galatians 3:28
    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    1 Corinthians 12
    begins … “brothers AND sisters…”
    i encourage everyone to read this entire chapter

    Nothing not commanded by Jesus should be taught, and Jesus never said that women should not teach his word. We are all called to teach his word and bring others to him so that he can share his love and glory.

    Galatians 1:6-10
    (Galatians 1:9) “I have already said it. Now I will say it again. Anyone who preaches a “good news” that is different from the one you accepted should be judged by God forever.”

    Matthew 15
    (Matthew 15:3) Jesus replied, “And why don’t you obey God’s command? You would rather follow your own teachings!”
    (Matthew 15:9) — (here Jesus agrees with something in Isaiah 29:13) “Their worship doesn’t mean anything to me. They teach nothing but human rules.”

    I do not expect to change anyones mind as only God can truly change your heart and mind. I just want to give you something to think about and consider with as much respect as possible.

    Thank you,
    Morgan

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  • At 8:25 am on March 31, 2009, archshrk commented:

    Morgan, thanks for your comments. I always appreciate civil discourse and you provide scriptural support for your position, and in may ways, I agree. But I want to be clear about what I am talking about. Scripture plainly says that we all are to share and teach the gospel but the issue at hand (in this post) is the role of pastors/elders (not men vs. women). To that end, the verses you provided do not contradict my concussion – they support evangelism, but that is not a position of authority. However, feel free to expand on your thoughts and we can discuss them more.

    Also, I would not agree that “Nothing not commanded by Jesus should be taught“. The whole of scripture is God-inspired so you must take it all – as if from Jesus. If we didn’t, then most of the Old Testament would be void – and I doubt you believe that.

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