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What Does The Bible Say About Women In The Church

Bible Verses About Women

What Does the Bible Say About Female Pastors?
    • General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center

    In numerous key narratives, women in the Bible fulfill critical roles, despite being a marginalized minority in a patriarchal, male-oriented society. Scripture unquestionably places women on equal status with men in their relationship to God. These Bible verses about women reveal the unique character strengths and dramatic impact women had on biblical history.

    Read About These 5 Women From The Bible

    Other women mentioned in the Bible are worthy of our attention. Their stories spring to life with encouragement, hope, wisdom, and more. Some are heroines. Others are prophetesses. All are women with faith in God. Explore the accounts of these five women:

    • Apphia

    God created women in His likeness and image, and their stories display His glory. Some read rather succinctly while other stories linger a bit longer. Regardless, we see females filling a variety of important roles, allowing us to better understand what the Bible says about women.

    Kristi Woods is a writer and speaker but mostly a Jesus girl. She writes weekly and offers faith-building tools for a deeper walk with God at www.KristiWoods.net. She contributes regularly at iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com and is published in various print and online publications. Kristi, her handsome, retired-from-the-Navy husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle and have set roots in Oklahoma–where she keeps close watch for tornadoes and good chocolate. Connect with Kristi at KristiWoods.net.

    What Women Are Not

    To help clarify the misconceptions about girls and women, a list of what women are not will first be examined.

    1. Women are not commodities. In a world where sex trafficking and slavery are rampant, the idea that women and girls are mere commodities to be enjoyed is promulgated around the world.

    Fueled by a wrong view of women and the prevalence of pornography, women and girls have long suffered the effects of being seen as objects rather than human beings.

    This is evident in the modern slavery crisis where the majority of slaves, who are trafficked are women and girls .

    Scripture is in direct opposition to those who view women as commodities to be used. Instead, the Bible is clear that women are made in Gods image. As Genesis 1:27 says, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them male and female he created them .

    All girls and women have worth because they have been wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of the loving Creator .

    2. Women are not defined by their appearance. With covers of magazines showcasing edited and unrealistic images of women, numerous girls and women have bought into the lie that their worth is connected to their appearance.

    This has not been helped by many men, who sexually harass women with rude and vulgar comments about womens bodies. Even in the church, people are often more likely to notice a womans outward appearance than her inward beauty, intelligence, or growing Christ-like character.

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    An Exhortation For Women

    Likewise indicates a correspondence between Pauls exhortation to men in verse 8 and his exhortation to women in verse 9. George Knight explains the connection this way: Just as Christian men needed to be warned that their interest in vigor and discussion should not produce strife and dissension , so Christian women needed to be warned that their interest in beauty and adornment should not produce immodesty and indiscretion.1

    There is nothing new under the sun. Women in Pauls day were concerned about their appearance just as some women in our day are. There is evidence from antiquity that these particular adornmentselaborate braiding of hair, gold, pearls, expensive clothingwhile not evil in themselves, could be marks of sinful motives: It is the excess and sensuality that the items connote that Paul forbids , not braids, gold, pearls, or even costly garments in and of themselves.2 It is not that all braids and gold and pearls and clothing were wrong. It is only those that express seduction or ostentation .

    Learning was not generally encouraged for women by Jewish men in the first century, yet, in spite of that patriarchal norm, Paul tells the believers in Ephesus that he desires women to learn . This command for women to learn is the only imperative in this entire text. However, the accent is not on the command itself but on the manner in which women are to do so: literally, they are to learn quietly and with all submissiveness.

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    What Does The Bible Say About Women In Ministry?

    The biblical intent and standard is clearly male leadership in the church. We recognize that there are exceptional cases, both in Scripture and in church history . But exceptions are exceptions, not the rule. Gods plan is for male leadership in the church and home. This includes the role of teaching Scripture when men are present.

    In the NT, most of the church meetings took place in homes. Thus there wasnt a distinction between Sunday morning worship and Sunday School, Sunday evening, mid-week, home fellowships, etc. Thus, as we would apply the NT emphasis on women not being permitted to teach men , it would seem to apply to these situations as well. Can a woman, in a home fellowship or adult S.S. class, share an insight from Scripture the Lord has given her? We dont see any problem with this. But formally teaching Scripture or doctrine to a class that includes men would seem to violate this text.

    Teaching various methods , seems to be a gray area, since often there are pertinent doctrinal issues related to such methods. Also, we should derive our methods from the Bible, so to teach any method properly its necessary to teach the Bible, which women are prohibited from doing with men. We would be comfortable with a couple team-teaching some of these things, with the husband taking the lead in explaining doctrinal issues, and the wife contributing her insights into methods or people-skills.

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    Jesus Treatment Of Women

    The ultimate example of a person who treated women with value and dignity was the Lord Jesus Christ. He treated women radically different than those in the culture at the time He walked on earth.

    Jesus openly spoke to women, even when it was deemed inappropriate to do so, such as in the case of the Samaritan woman . Significantly, the conversation with the Samaritan woman led many people to trust in Jesus as the Messiah .

    In addition, Christ also allowed and welcomed women to listen to His teachings, which again was radical at the time. Normally, Rabbis would not teach women as disciples. However, Jesus taught Mary, who sat at the Lords feet .

    Martha also received teaching from Christ, who revealed to her that He is the Resurrection and the Life . Furthermore, many women followed Jesus as disciples .

    Significantly, Jesus also sent Mary Magdalene as the first witness of His resurrection . This honor could have been given to the male disciples, but Jesus instead chose a woman who was despised in her culture to be the first person to spread the good news that He had risen.

    Everything about Jesus interactions with women shows that He saw them as equal to men, of great value, and as people who had a special purpose in His Kingdom. Christ, the Lord of all Creation, even called the woman with the bleeding problem His daughter, a term which showed that women are children of God too .

    Kelly Edmiston And Women In The Churches Of Christ

    My recent article on biblical criticism and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 has generated some helpful conversations regarding the contemporary issue of women in leadership. The issue of how Christians interpret the bible, or the hermeneutical process, is one that has caused debates, church splits and heated disagreements since the first century. In the coming weeks, I will narrow my focus to one group of Christians, Churches of Christ, and examine their historical and contemporary hermeneutic as I continue to engage the topic of women in leadership in the church. See the recent Christian Chronicle articles as an example of the dialogue most Churches of Christ are engaging in right now.

    First, you should know, I grew up Church of Christ. I currently serve as a Pastor in the Vineyard Church but I am still Church of Christ. For those of us born into it, we are always Church of Christers.

    What do I mean by this?

    Hermeneutics is a fancy word for the process by which we interpret the bible. The issue of women in leadership in Churches of Christ is primarily a hermeneutical issue.

    What do I mean by women in leadership in Churches of Christ? The vast majority of Churches of Christ today prohibit women from:

    Churches of Christ have arrived at these prohibitions because of their biblical hermeneutic. Let me explain by first beginning with a little Church of Christ history.

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    The Principle Behind The Practice

    No one, save the rankest liberal, would disagree with the fact that it was the practice of the Apostle Paul that women could not take a leadership role in the church meeting. Most, however, would be inclined to say that the reasons for this practice were purely cultural, and therefore inapplicable to the church today. With this we must disagree, for Paul does not base his instructions on culture, but upon principles which are related to the purpose of the church and to the teachings of the Old Testament. In 1 Corinthians Pauls teaching is consistent with the law . In 1 Timothy the silence of women is established upon the teachings of the early chapters of Genesis . We will only understand the necessity of women not leading or being in authority in the church when we understand the principle which underlies this practice. That principle is that God has assigned man the responsibility of reflecting or demonstrating the headship of Jesus Christ in marriage and in the church.

    It is fundamental that we understand that the church is Gods showplace. God is using the church to demonstrate truth, both to the angelic hosts as well as to the world. In Ephesians we read: in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places .

    Now let me make a few general comments about this matter of headship and submission on the basis of what I have already said:

    Are Women Allowed To Preach In The Church Conclusion

    What does the bible say about a woman in the role of senior pastor at a church? Pastors’ Perspective

    So according to Gods will, women in the church are not allowed to preach or teach. I hope that the women who read these passages will give a serious thought to this issue instead of shooting through the roof. I didnt write the Bible and tell people what to do and what not. We are only confirming what is written in the Bible. Whoever truly loves God will gladly conform to his will. Are women allowed to preach? The bible says no! For all others, Pauls perfect conclusion applies. But if someone wants to disobey it, he may disobey it. In the end, every woman who defies this commandment and goes on preaching, has to face God on her own.

    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. 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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

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    The Old Testament And Women

    In the creation account of Genesis 1, Gods first word on the subject of men and women is that they were equally created in the image of God . 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 Adams 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 connotationseven being used of God Himself as the helper of Israel 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 .

    How God Has Used Women

    One way to answer our question is to see how God has used women in the past, and we will see that God has not required women to be silent, even in a religious setting, and that he has sometimes allowed even appointed women to have authority over men.

    An illustration of that is Deborah. Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment . She had political authority, and the people respected her decisions.

    Deborah had religious authority, too in verses 6-9 she gave the Israelite general an authoritative message from God. Chapter 5 is her victory song her words have become part of the Bible, and men have been learning from Deborah ever since .

    Some have suggested that God used Deborah because all the men were incompetent or unwilling. The Bible does not say that it just says that God was working through Deborah as a civil judge, as a spokesperson for God, and as a worship leader for his people.

    Most leaders of Israel were men, but it takes only one example to show that it is not a universal principle. The Bible never says that Deborah is an exception to what would otherwise be a rule it just says that God worked through her. He is willing to put women in positions of authority.

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    The New Testament Churchthe Role Of Women

    1 Corinthians 11:3-10 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. 4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his head. 5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying, disgraces her head for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man 9 for indeed man was not created for the womans sake, but woman for the mans sake. 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

    1 Corinthians 14:33-35 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 34 Let the women keep silent in the churches for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 And 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.

    See also 1 Timothy 2:9-15, Romans 16:1-6 and Luke 8:1-3.

    What Ministry Can A Woman Have In The Church

    Women Behind the Pulpit: What Does the Bible Say ...

    So much has been said in the past about what a woman cannot do that I have not spent a great deal of time reiterating those things. What really matters is what a woman can do in order to minister in the church. Let me make several suggestions.

    First, a married woman can find fulfillment in the church by doing what she was designed to do. We have already said that it is not permitted for a woman to rule or have authority in the church, since this role has been assigned by God to men. I want you to notice a rather significant passage in the book of Genesis: Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth .

    Here we come upon one of the great problems of the liberation movement, for it seems to me that both men and women are facing an identity crisis in which they want to know who they are. The difficulty is that men and women today refuse to marry and thereby to become one flesh. Men and women want to marry without losing their identity, but as I view the two becoming one flesh both the husband and the wife find their identity now as one flesh. Too many couples want the advantages of married life without any sacrifice so far as their individual rights are concerned.

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