Question:When and where can women teach today?
by Clem Thurman
via Gospel Minutes, Vol. 57, No. 21, May 23, 2008.
"Let the women keep silence in the churches: for
it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law." (I Corinthians 14:34). Earlier in this
same letter, the apostle had spoken of "coming together in the church" (I
Corinthians 11:18). And earlier in chapter 14, he speaks of the church "come together"
(I Corinthians 14:23). From
this it is evident that this has to do with the public services of the church.
While I Corinthians 14 regulates the use of miraculous gifts in public worship (which we do not have now), it would seem the principle would apply to any assembly of the church of a similar nature. The added phrase, "as also saith the law," supports this. The principle was there in the old law, it is there in the new. By referring to the old law, you'll find that the women were not allowed to "lead" the public worship of the Lord's people in any way, nor to speak out nor ever ask a question (I Corinthians 14:35).
I Timothy 2:11,12 does not deal with "worship services" of the church. The inspired apostle here makes the contrast between men and women in any public place (I Timothy 2:8). Men may "pray in every place," but women are restricted. For a woman to assume to pray or teach in the market-places of that time would shame both her and her husband. So, women are reminded that in public places and gatherings they are to conduct themselves as is fitting for Christian ladies.
None of the above, however, prohibits a woman from teaching or praying, if she does not violate the principles noted above. Scriptures reveal to us that women did teach (Acts 18:26; 21:9; I Corinthians 11:5). In fact, women are commanded to teach (Titus 2:4,5). While women may teach in many types of situations, she may not teach in any assembly or public place where such action is in violation of the Scriptures noted above. This would not prevent her from teaching a group of women or a group of children, or even privately teaching a man (as Priscilla did, (Acts18). But it will prevent her from being a "preacher" or otherwise "leading" in a public worship or in a public setting.