WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT WOMEN IN MINISTRY?

When Paul says, “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (2 Timothy 2:12), this statement is tied to the qualifications of bishops and deacons (listed in chapter 3) which clearly states they must be “the husband of one wife”.

If we remove the man-made added break in the chapters, we can see that what Paul says in chapter 2 is part of the flow of thought in chapter 3.

I think its important to remember that there is a difference in woman ministering, and women holding positions of authority over men within the church.

In scripture, we have examples of woman who ministered, such as Philip’s four daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). However, we have no example of any woman holding a position of authority over men within the structure of the church government, and we have instructions which forbid women from having such positions of authority.

According to the scriptures, the husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head of the church (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). It would be careless to think that God would contradict, within the church, the very structure he established for the family.

In fact, Paul appeals to the union of marriage between a man and his wife, to explain the relationship of Christ and the church.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 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. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. ~ Ephesians 5:22-33

Though Paul’s words (above) apply to the entirety of the church (the body of Christ), the governmental structure within the local church should be consistent and not contradictory.

Interestingly, Paul appeals to the disobedience of Adam, who listened to the voice of his wife rather than God’s command, as the basis for his belief that the woman is not to usrup authority over the man (1 Timothy 2:12-14). When we violate God’s ways we open the door to tempations and the snare of the devil.

While I certainly believe that woman can minister (being submitted to their own husbands in the Lord) the scriptures forbid woman from having “spiritual authority” over men within the church government.

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