Women Who Served in the Church
A. There are two extremes on the work of women in the church:
1. Many today are not content with the role God has set forth in the Bible. They believe that women can do anything men can do - be an elder, preacher, teach any class a man can.
2. Others believe that she cannot do what the Bible authorizes her to do.
a. Some say she cannot teach a man. (One woman repented of having taught her husband the gospel. I suggested she needed to repent of having repented!)
b. One brother condemned an editor for publishing articles written by women. I asked him if he had noticed how many songs he sings were written by women. Later, he said he was opposed to singing songs written by women. He assumed that any teaching by women would be usurping authority over a man!
c. Some believe and teach that woman cannot sing in the assembly - because that is teaching in the assembly.
d. Both of these errors spring from the same basic problem - misunderstanding Bible authority and binding opinions as the law of God.
B. Without godly woman:
1. There would be no elders (1 Tim. 3:2,11 “the husband of one wife,” nor deacons (1 Tim. 3:12 “Let the deacons be husbands of one wife,”) and “wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.”) In my opinion - not many good preachers either! (“Behind every good man there is a good woman pushing!”)
2. The sick and needy would not be properly cared for (Gal. 6:10). If the sick had to eat what I cooked they would likely stay sick, or die! Peter raised Dorcas from the dead - the “widows stood by him, weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them” (Acts 9:39 Nothing said about her husband).
3. What would happen to hospitality? (Rom. 12:13) Most congregations would be in pickle if it were not for the women’s friendliness and hospitality. They shape the atmosphere of a congregation.
4. “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also” (Rom. 16:1,2). (Do not know in what ways she served or helped, but will suggest some things women may do in the church.)
A. Women are taught to teach:
1. The great commission - those who are taught are to teach (Mt. 28:18-20).
2. Faithful men (anthropos) are to teach others (2 Tim. 2:2; same word in 1 Tim. 2:4 God “desires all men to be saved,” v. 5 “one Mediator between God and men;” Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”)
3. Joel prophesied “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Joel 2:28). Acts 21:9 Philip had “four virgin daughters who prophesied.” (A problem arose in Corinth over whether women should continue to wear the sign of subjection to men when they prayed or prophesied (1 Cor. 11:4-6 “let her be covered” - (present middle imperative “let her continue to be covered” - “one and the same as if her head were shaved” (v. 5 - a shameful display, v. 6; v. 13 - “judge in yourselves”; v. 16 “we have no such custom” - they were to dress and act as ladies - neither long hair nor veils were strange in Corinth - else could not have said “a shame.”)
4. Aquilla and Priscilla “team taught” a men (Acts 18:24-26). (She maintained her proper place - but she plainly had a part in the teaching.)
5. Women teach men in the assembly (Col. 3:16). The “you” is the same as the “you” in verse 17 “And whatever YOU do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Several years ago, received a bulletin from out West - sounded like women could not sing; but no name on it. I wrote back and said “I wouldn’t want my name on that either” - then he gave his name. I had not misunderstood.
6. If not for the limitations of two passages, she could teach anywhere a man can teach.
B. Restrictions in 1 Tim. 2:11,12:
1. First, notice the “not...but” idiom (words put together that have a different meaning than the literal).
a. 1 Tim. 2:9,10 “not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but...” (“Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on (fine) apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” 1 Pet. 3:3,4).
b. Jn. 6:27 “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
c. Jn. 7:16 “Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”
d. 1 Cor. 1:17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.”
e. NONE of these are wrong within themselves, BUT the proper emphasis is important.
2. It does not say “I suffer not a woman to teach a man.” That would contradict Acts 18:26 “So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him they took him aside and expounded to him the way of God more accurately.” Furthermore, it would forbid her to sing in the presence of men!
3. The “silence” is quietness (characterizes the spirit or disposition). 2 Thess. 3:12 “Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.”
4. It is any teaching which would be “with authority” (Tit. 2:15 “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority...”) instead of “with all submission” (under authority, cp.1 Tim. 3:4, “having his children in submission” - under authority; doesn’t mean they can’t speak.)
C. Restrictions in 1 Cor. 14:34,35:
1. Notice the “not...but” (v. 34) - Not all speaking (would exclude singing with others), but when it would violate her place of submission (based upon the principle in 1 Tim. 2).
2. In the churches - refers to the assembly (for congregational work - not everybody together for a picnic, or a ball game!) Note verses: 4,5,18,19,23,27,28. (Some may have thought that spiritual gifts exempted them from general regulations.) This was a command of God (v. 37).
3. Speaking that violates her relationship to men is involved — just as the tongue speaker in verse 28. (It is not all speaking that is forbidden - but when no interpreter was present.)
4. This has no reference to woman teaching other women, nor children.
a. Women are to teach children (2 Tim. 1:3-5 taught by grandmother - Lois and mother - Eunice).
b. Tit. 2:3,4 “the older woman likewise be...teachers of good things - that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
c. PROBLEM? God said to do it, and we teach them to do it - then when we arrange a ladies class to teach ladies and some CRITICIZE! When they arrange a place for “ladies day,” and no church involved - still CRITICIZE. (“The next thing is they will be in the pulpit before the whole church!” Same spirit as “if she answers a question - she will become the teacher!” - So, no classes, lest woman should speak! God’s regulations need to be taught, but human regulations are different.
Women are disciples and are to follow Christ by obeying Him - “rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Two restrictions need to be understood, but human regulations are as wrong as ignoring God’s regulations.