There are some people out there, even women, who believe that women do not need to be teachers or workers in the church. I must say, I disagree. It makes me burn inside when I see women, especially older women, claiming that the woman’s role within the church is unnecessary and even UN-biblical!
Here’s the thing, for as long as I can remember some of the most influential people in my life were the women in my church, women in leadership at church camp, Godly women in my day-to-day life who wanted nothing more than to help guide me. My Preachers Wife from my home church not only taught us as teenage girls on Wednesday nights but she also became my Sunday School teacher when I was in my early 20’s and entered the “Young Adults” Sunday morning class. Not just women were there as students either, an entire classroom of 12-20 (it varied Sunday to Sunday) mixed of men and women ages 19-28ish, I believe it was. And she was an Amazing teacher to all of us. I do believe she is still teaching that class. I don’t live near enough to go there anymore, so I don’t know 100% for sure. But I do know that I would not be the person I am today if it were not for her and several other women in my church. If I ever had a question I could always turn to any of them and if they didn’t know either, they would always ask each other and/or turn me back to the Bible to find answers.
1 Timothy is often quoted in support of women not having a say or not being “allowed” to teach. However, it is very important to understand the context and history surrounding these words. Starting with the fact that these are Paul’s words and they are not meant to deny women their role in the ministry.
First of all.
Man was made first and God saw that he was not fully happy with the animals and such that surrounded him. He didn’t see himself in any of the other creations, so God made Woman. Someone who was like Adam to be his partner and helper taken from his side. Not his head to be above him, not his foot to be below him, but from his side to be his equal with him. The Bible declares that women, like men, were made in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27) Meaning that by nature, they are the same. There is no difference like that of human to animal, men and women are both human. Men and women are both equal by redemption. They have the same God and the same salvation. For Christ, “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28)
God chose to send Jesus to Mary via a virgin pregnancy and birth. He could have sent Jesus to the earth in any way shape or form, even could’ve dropped Jesus as a baby in a manger on Mary and Joseph’s doorstep after they married… but nope, He chose to send him as an infant born to a woman. God chose to bless Mary by giving her the experience of pregnancy with Jesus, the experience of birthing Jesus as well as the memories of watching him become who he was always mean to be while raising him.
Throughout the Bible, God blessed, gifted and used women in miraculous ways. There was also Miriam, the FIRST minister of music (Ex. 15:20), Deborah a prophetess and heroine, Anna, another prophetess (Luke 2:36). Priscilla and Aquila, the Bible teachers who Paul himself refers to as “my fellow workers in Christ Jesus”, and these two specifically taught a man who was preaching incorrectly in the synagogue (Acts 18:26). There was also Phoebe, a deaconess who Paul gave the role of delivering the great letter to the Romans to it’s destination. (Rom. 16:1). Along with many, many more examples throughout the Bible of women who were used in amazing ways, chosen by God.
As women, we are not to hide in the background and not spread the word of God. 1 Timothy or 1 Corinthians verses are not “get out of jail free” card passes to just study the word and sit at home with our little families, content that WE know the Bible and not attempt to share or teach anyone else. No, we are called to spread the good news and be active members in our community and LEAD the next generation.
In other passages of 1 Corinthians, men are also told to be “silent” in certain situations.
Also, Paul himself goes as far as instructing women on how they should pray and prophesy in the church. Paul is not saying here that women are to not have a say or they are somehow not allowed to hold a form of leadership within the church, otherwise he would be completely contradicting himself.
Wives are to submit to their husbands and husbands are to submit to the Lord. Husbands are the head of the family and the leaders in the home, leading in the ways of the Lord. But, right now, we aren’t talking about a marital relationship.
Women, hold your offices within the church, teach those who want to be taught and help direct those who come to you seeking guidance. We as women have a very different spirit about us, this is as God intended. We can offer advice or direction in some areas where men maybe can’t. Make sure you are doing all you can to strengthen and grow the fellowship of your church and/or community.