Question:

Hello,

I was wondering, do you think it would be okay for me, a female, to talk about God on Facebook since there are men reading what I am saying and sometimes even asking me questions? I never answer a question without a Bible verse though, and if it's something I can't answer, I direct them to your web site. Most of what I write in my status are just Bible verses, or I'll talk about how I'm growing, and what I have learned in church or Bible study. I asked our Bible study teacher at our church, and he seems to think it's okay but is not 100% sure. They have even thanked me for the things I'll post on my Facebook since everyone I know in my life outside of church is lost. But it has recently came across my mind that a women should not teach a man in public, but I feel that this is kind of what I am doing on Facebook. My Facebook page is private, of course, and it's kind of private but then again it's kind of not. I just don't want to do anything that God would not want me to do, and I am more than happy to obey Him, but I really enjoy posting Bible verses and talking about the Bible and God because I feel and have seen that I have sparked peoples curiosity about wanting to learn more about God. But I am so afraid now that I might be doing something wrong.

Thanks so much for your time. God bless you.


Answer:

There is a strong tendency in people to go to extremes. It makes easier for us to grasp if it is all or nothing. Yet extremes rarely work. For example, we have schools with zero tolerance policies regarding knives. At first this sounds like a great idea. Knives are dangerous and we don't want knives around our children. Then someone gets expelled because mom sent a plastic butter knife in their lunch box. Suddenly what sounded like a great rule is seen to be off track.

Paul stated, "A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet" (I Timothy 2:11-12). The core of this command is that a woman is not to take a leadership role, which teaching is one way a person can lead. For a woman to get up in front of class to direct the course of conversation would place her in a leadership role. But this doesn't mean a woman can't answer questions in a Bible class or make a comment. It can become wrong if she tells others they are wrong and that they have to listen to her because again, she is taking on a leadership role.

It can feel like a balancing act. I've used this illustration before that was given to me by an older preacher. When he first started preaching, he wasn't very good. He had not held many Bible classes nor taught many about the gospel. His first work was in a small congregation where there weren't many men, but there was an older sister in Christ who was the strength of the congregation. She would set up Bible studies for the young preacher and then go with him. She wouldn't say much, but she "took notes" during the class. She sat so the young preacher could see what she wrote while he taught the Bible class. The notes were verses for him to consider using or answers to objections the person they were teaching was making. The old preacher told me that this woman taught him more about preaching than anyone he knew -- and she did it without exercising any authority over him.

What you are doing is no different than someone making a comment in class. You aren't demanding that people follow your teaching, you are merely making them aware of ideas they might not have heard before. You aren't forcing anyone to read your writings. You aren't telling people what they must believe. Yet, people know where you stand and that is why they ask for more information. This is how the Gospel is spread. Let the men tackle the debates. You're there to lay foundations and to encourage people to think.

One of the better articles on La Vista's site is written by a woman who related the approach she and her husband used in teaching some Mormons who came to their door (Mormonism and Marketing). It gives a lot of sound advice on how to teach another person without ever taking the approach of saying this is how it must be done. It lays out an example, explains why they made their choices and thereby helps the reader learn ideas they probably never considered before.

Paul isn't forbidding all teaching. He is limiting the teaching that women may do to those that don't place them above men.