Women in the Church


I.         Through the ages, it has always been the men who lead the worship of God

            A.        In the patriarchal age, it was the fathers (hence patriarch) who performed the sacrifices to God.

            B.        Under the Old Law, the priests were restricted to males from the tribe of Levi.

            C.        The question is what role can women participate in the church today.

II.        Women as teachers

            A.        A woman cannot teach men - I Tim 2:11-12

            B.        They can help in the instruction of a man (Acts 18:26), but this verse is clear that they cannot be the teacher.

                        1.         Best example was told to me by a preacher (Bob Buchanan?). When he first began preaching, he was nervous and jittery. A woman in the congregation helped set up Bible studies and then went along “to take notes.” She would sit next to the preacher, such that he could see her notepad, but not those they were studying with. Whenever he got stuck or could remember a verse, she would be writing down verses for him or points he needed to remember.

                        2.         Without usurping authority, without a word of instruction, she taught him how to be an effective teacher of God’s word.

            C.        Women are to teach other women - Tit 2:3-5

            D.        Did not the early church have prophetesses? Acts 2:17

                        1.         Philip’s daughters spoke God’s Word - Acts 21:9, but it doesn’t state who they taught.

                        2.         Those looking for an excuse for women teachers and preachers are assuming they taught men, but it is not mention and if they did it would violate other clear passages.

            E.        There is no record of any woman preacher or teacher of men in the New Testament.

III.       Women as servants

            A.        Dorcas aided the poor by making coats - Acts 9:36-39

            B.        The woman preparing Jesus - Matt 26:7-13

            C.        Phoebe - Rom 16:1-2

                        1.         She is called a servant of the church, but this does not imply by itself that she had authority in the church.

                        2.         The saints were told to assist her, but assistance does not mean being placed under her authority. Similar Greek work is used in 2 Tim 4:17 indicating Jesus assisting Paul, but it does not mean Paul had authority over Christ.

            D.        Euodia and Syntycha - Phil 4:2-3

                        1.         These women had struggled in the cause of the Gospel and are called Paul’s fellow workers.

                        2.         Again, nothing in context indicates they taught men.

                        3.         Being a fellow worker does not imply having the same authority as Paul.

                                    a.         If so, we are fellow workers of God (1 Cor. 3:9) and we don’t have God’s authority.

                        4.         One preacher I heard talked of a wonderful woman, widowed, who wanted to help the cause of Christ in Eastern Europe. She traveled with two preachers and ran their home so they could concentrate on spreading the Gospel. She cleaned, cooked, stood in long lines to purchase food — she served the cause of Christ.

IV.      Women as leaders

            A.        In the offices of the church, both elders and deacons are specifically described as male duties - I Tim 3:2,8.

            B.        We discussed at length earlier that a woman in the role of leadership over men would violate the order God set for this world - I Cor. 11:3-4

            C.        Some point to Old Testament examples, such as Deborah - Judges 4:4-9

                        1.         Even if this was a proper example, an example cannot violate a direct commandment from God given in the New Testament.

                        2.         Unlike other Judges, Deborah did not rule over Israel, but the people came to her for judgment because she was a prophetess.

                        3.         Unlike the other Judges, Deborah did not lead the army over their enemies, Barak did that.

            D.        It is interesting to note that only six women are mentioned as prophetesses under the Old Law. They seem to be exception instead of the rule.

V.        Women do have roles to play and functions to perform. However, there are limits on the tasks they may take up.

            A.        Sometimes people go overboard. They read I Cor 14:34-35 and decide that a woman cannot make any noise.

                        1.         This ignores the command to the whole church to sing - Eph 5:19, Col 3:16

                        2.         There is precedent. Women sang in the choirs under the Old Law, even though they could not lead worship - Ezra 2:65

            B.        Our society has attempted to change the bounds God has placed. As Christians, we must stand for the Truth, even if it is unpopular