Some people do not accept any women in the ministry in any form. Others do. What is the truth? Let's study this subject:
1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
We see very clearly in the above verse that a woman is not to usurp authority over men, and we see very clearly that a woman is not to be the lead teacher of men. It even says they are to be in silence. However, we should never use only one verse to teach a doctrine. Otherwise, we may not be really understanding what it means. We should always read and apply "line upon line", 'precept upon precept' to get the sum/totality of His Word. Isa.28:9-13 Psalm 119:160. Therefore, let's continue in our bible study:
Please read all of Judges 4 and 5 where we see Deborah as a deliverer & judge of Israel and a Prophetess. She was in service to her people at that time. The men would not even go into battle without her! It reminds me of men today. Now look at:
Miriam: Exo. 15:20
Huldah: 2 Kings 22:14
Noadiah: Neh. 6:14
A prophetess in Isa. 8:3
Anna: Luke 2:36
daughter of Philip: Acts 21:9
1 Corinthians 11
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
3 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.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth (works of the ministry) with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
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.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
We see in 1 Cor.11 the instructions that when a woman is doing the works of the ministry, she is not silent while performing works of the ministry. During Paul's day, the custom was that a woman minister (prophetess, deaconess, etc.) was to have a head covering to show that she was in line with her husband and/or the main pastor (bishop) who is a male of course, but she is to wear the head covering only if it is among like minded believers and if it does not cause contention. vs. 16. The context of 1 Cor. 11 is about ensuring that the woman is under the authority of the man. Many women do not like those words! But is the Word of God! But please keep reading!
What about 1 Cor. 14:34-35 forbidding women to speak?
Let's read 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:
34 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.
35 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.
Please read the entire context and realize the setting. This is talking about women talking in the synagogue in an effort to learn. This is not talking about women prophesying or giving an edification. This is not forbidding women from ministering in the church setting. Otherwise there would not be instructions on how she should do it in chapter eleven. 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is talking about not interrupting the flow of services as each person takes turns sharing what God has placed on their hearts. The context is that women in this setting and era were sitting in the back of the synagogue (by man's customs, not God's directive). They could not hear what was being said, therefore they would yell up to their husbands sitting in the front & ask what was being said in an effort to learn. But this caused noise confusion. So to avoid chatter & confusion in the synagogue, the women were here instructed to wait until they got home & then ask their husbands what was said. That is the context! The context of chapter 14 has nothing to do with whether women could minister (serve). But when a woman does minister (serve) (Ch.11), she is to be under authority of her husband or pastor.
The word servant is the word diakonos, from which we get our word deacon. It can mean minister, servant, or deacon. Many people assume the word "servant" in Romans 16:1 to mean something similiar to the word "servants" in Philippians 1:1 which means "bond slave". Phil. 1: 1 "Paul and Timotheus, the servants (bond slaves or servants) of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops (overseers, elders, pastors) and deacons (diakonos! same word as in Romans 16:1)"
The ending of the book of Romans says "Written to the Romans from Corinthus, & sent by Phebe servant (diakonos) of the church at Cenchrea".
Acts 6:1-6 shows the first people put into the office of deacons.
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
(serve = diakoneo, From diakonos; to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially or as a host, friend, or (figuratively) teacher); technically, to act as a Christian deacon -- (ad-)minister (unto), serve, use the office of a deacon)
(serve tables, as a waitress, waiter, server, deacon, deaconess)
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
And thus we had the first 7 deacons. 1 Tim. 3 shows us more about deacon(ess).
1 Timothy 3
1 This is a true saying, if a man (Greek means anyone or person) desire the office of a bishop (overseer), he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife (still married to first wife if possible), vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to (not addicted to) wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth (over sees, maintains, presides) well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care (maintain) of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise must the deacons (diakonos) be grave (honest), not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives (if they have one) be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife (this is not commandment that the deacon be married males! Paul himself was not married! 1 Cor. 7), ruling their children and their own houses well.
(Notice this time children is put first instead of house!, whereas the house was put first in the office of bishop, I believe this is because Paul is recognizing that the teachers of the children are women and that there are female deacons)
13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Hey, notice where we are! 1 Tim. 3, just immediately after 1 Tim 2 where it was talking about women in 1 Tim. 2:11:
"Let the woman learn in silence (if sitting in the back of a synagogue) with all subjection (under the male bishop's/husband's authority)".
We have come full loop. We now see the context better.
1 Timothy 2:7-15:
7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
(Here Paul is saying I have these offices of administration in the church, over both males and females.)
8 I will therefore that men (in contrast to women leading the formal worship service prayer) pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
9 In like manner also, that women (Paul is preparing the women for ministry) adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works (of the ministry).
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection (when in the case of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 when/if she is sitting in the back and is not currently doing a ministry work)
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man (as the bishops/overseers/pastors would in the context of a formal worship meeting), but to be in silence.
(The Greek word in verse 12 for "to teach" would be more correctly translated as "to be a teacher". So Paul is saying he does not allow a woman to be in the office of a teacher over men (therefore they cannot be in the office of a teacher or any office of administration over the congregation that would include men. The Greek words for "usurp authority" also refer to exercising authority of office of administration.)
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Paul was teaching that the women should not be in the highest offices of the church but he was not saying that they cannot minister at all, sing, prophesy, teach children, teach younger women and fulfill the roles of deaconess which teaches one on one. The bishop is the main overseer or pastor and is the middle contrast between the 1 Tim 2 guidelines and 1 Tim 3 deacon requirements. The role of a deacon or deaconess includes answering individual questions of the ekklesia, personal bible studies with the members, etc., freeing up some time for the main overseer, bishop/pastor.
Also notice: Philippians 4 (Amplified Version)
1 Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and yearn to see, my delight and crown (wreath of victory), thus stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
2 I entreat and advise Euodia and I entreat and advise Syntyche to agree and to work in harmony in the Lord.
3 And I exhort you too, [my] genuine yokefellow, help these [two women to keep on cooperating], for they have toiled along with me in [the spreading of] the good news (the Gospel), as have Clement and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life.
Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives (& women ministers), submit yourselves unto your own husbands (& pastors), as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband (& pastor) is the head of the wife (& women ministers), even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives (& women ministers) be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
Women are not to be the pastor of a church. The pastor is over all the entire congregation including grown men. It is an office of administration which includes having authority over men. Women pastors are a direct conflict with the will of God. A woman may minister to the other women and children in the form of deaconess or teacher of women and children. A woman may serve the entire congregation in the form of prophecy, public worship songs, private prayers, fastings. But they are not to have office of administration over the entire congregation, except in situations of exceptions, which I will talk about later.
Women pride themselves on being nurturing, loving and caring. Therefore they should fulfill their ministry callings in the positions of deaconess and prophetess, rather than the administrative offices of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers of the whole congregation. The church is suffering from a lack of women fulfilling their roles of deaconess to the other women. As a pastor myself, I can testify that women demand more attention than the men in the congregation. They study more and ask more questions. They are naturally more sensitive and emotional. They require much more time and attention. The pastor of the local congregation needs the help of the female deaconess. The female population would be better served with male pastors and female deaconess and male deacons. Most assemblies only have a pastor, but no deacons and deaconess. Women need to step up to fill in the gap and fulfill their proper ministry roles in the church. And the men need to do the same thing.
Men cannot follow a woman pastor. Men by nature need to follow other men. The huge number of female pastors is partially responsible for the low number of men in the church. Women pastors prevent and hinder huge numbers of men from coming to Christ and attending worship services. I know this to be true and not just my opinion. I have observed it in the population. Men are naturally better managers. In my decades of employment in several different job genres, the majority of those people that I worked with, both men and women, told me that they would rather work for a man rather than a woman. They said that men are easier to get along with. Of course there are exceptions and there are plenty of women who would love to work for another woman. But the majority of people that I have worked with testify that they would rather work for a man. The women in the congregation can go to their girlfriends, sisters, and to their husbands and pastors for ministerial counsel. But the men in the congregation usually feel uncomfortable going to anyone for ministerial counsel except for when they are able to go to the male pastor. There needs to be that male head in the family and in the church. That's just the way God designed it. It is not to say that women are less of a person or less important. It's just that God designed gender roles.
I personally have knowledge of a situation one time where the male pastor of a church became bedridden and could not come to services any longer. His wife took over the pastoral duties and worship services of the church. But she did so under his mantle. It was under his authority and blessing. And she did a great job. But when he eventually passed away, she stepped down. That is the biblical thing to do. So there are situations (exceptions) that can arise to where a woman could be leading a church and it be acceptable. But in general, women should not lead the church. Whenever one does, she should make it very clear, that it is under her husband's or male pastor's mantle. Deborah, in the bible, was an exception to the rule, even as my pastor's wife also has an exceptional situation. It is not the general pattern of how God has designed men and women. It is not God's perfect will for women to be leaders of the church or leaders of their husbands.
There are other exceptions as well. In today's society, fewer and fewer men are fulfilling their calling. And very few people are accepting all truth. Therefore in a situation where a woman has accepted and grown in the truth, and then men later come to learn from her, or be embraced into her assembly, and there is not yet a male pastor available who is fully in the knowledge of the full truth yet, then it is acceptable for the leading woman to be ordained as deaconess and then lead the entire congregation in the truth under the male pastor's mantle/authority if the male pastor can not be available locally, such as in the case currently in Australia, where the pastor is in the USA but the deaconess in Australia.
Can a woman preach? She can preach to other women. She can stand up and deliver a prophecy or a message to the entire church. She can follow the format set forth by the male pastor that is over her. She can lead prayers. She can lead singing. She can lead women and children. She can even lead men if there is no male pastor available yet. But no, she should not preach a sermon to the entire church. The sermons should be left to the pastor, deacons and other male preachers. The main opening and closing prayers should be done by males based on 1 Cor. 11:8, unless otherwise directed by the male pastor, as in the case in our Australian congregation. Women can stand up and sing to the entire church. Singing does not constitute authority over males. Giving of prophecy does not constitute authority over males. None of this is making women less than men. Males and women are equal human beings. Not one is better than the other. But God gave us gender roles which He expects us to abide by. When you remove the gender roles in the church, you thereby encourage removal of gender roles in family.
Objection: Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Answer: If Gal 3:28 can be used to support female elders then it can be used to support homosexual "marriage" since there is no male or female in Christ.
Of course Gal. 3:8 is speaking of salvation being open to everyone who accepts Jesus as LORD and Savior. There is no way anyone can twist the scriptures describing Pastors as anything but men. 1 Timothy 2:12-13 specifically states that women should not be appointed authority over men who would be deacons and other members of the Church.
Objection: There should not be any women ministers, not even deaconess because the scriptures say that women are to keep silence in the church.
Answer: We must examine all scripture. Not just one verse. Other scriptures teach that women can be prophetess and deaconess and teach other women and children. The verse pertaining to silence is declaring that women should not interrupt the services in their attempt to ask more questions. They are to wait until they get home and ask their husband, unless the pastor declares a time for open questions after the sermon is already complete.
Do you disagree? We encourage you to take your time in prayer & fasting as you continue to examine this subject. Many times, it takes days-weeks, even years to undo man's doctrines or traditional thinking. It's a process. Many times, just reading websites is not enough. We must be willing to take the time to talk to our LORD & Savior Jesus Christ in much prayer & fasting, and continual repentance and continued growth in spiritual maturity. We should pray that He remove all deception from us & always be willing to change as He continues to teach us. If we have not changed anything that we believe in 12 months, we are not growing enough in his truth. We must continue to grow every year until we reach full maturity to the full stature of Jesus Christ. Eph.4:11-16. May Jesus continue to bless you in all of your seeking for his truth.
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Biblical Study on Women in the Ministry. Copyright 2012 I Saw The Light Ministries