Baptists/Women and ministry
I recently began to study for a Bachelor of Theology degree. I began to study because I really just wante dto draw closer to God and have a deeper understanding of the Word. I love the Word of God and believe it's important that we don't just read but also apply the Word to our lives. I also love to teach and share with others. In one of my modules, we studied Biblical Worldview and the importance of Christians having a Biblical Worldview and not a worldly one. God's Word is absolute. I have a question about female teachers in the church as there are so many interpretations of 1 Timothy 2 vs 11, it does become quite confusing. As mentioned, I love the Word and enjoy teaching the Word, if women are exempt from teaching/preaching, what role can we play and still be of service in the church? Are women "called" as some teach today. Does this not go against God's Word which means that people are mistaken when they say "God has called me (a woman) to preach/teach/minister".I do not want to disobey God's commands which is what I believe I have been doing by preaching/teaching from the pulpit. I would really appreciate your insight.
First, I wish applaud you for your desire to serve the Lord. There is never anything wrong with that. Finding a place of service can be challenging as well as ascertaining your gift and its proper application. Secondly, I applaud you for your open heart to seek His will even after starting an education towards a goal you felt was of Him when presented with new information that might countermand that goal. Most would have just blown it off and pressed on in personal desire and confidence. Your attitude is highly commendable.
As you can imagine, I have been asked this type of question many times in my career. I wrote a book about women after doing a Sunday night series after getting note from a lady asking why God had such a low opinion of women. I told the lady that I did see the Bible having that perspective. At the end of the study she was still taking to me so I must have done well. ;-)
You will get confusing interpretations because we tend to read the Bible through our culture’s glasses rather than reading the culture through the Bible’s glasses. When that happens things can fluctuate greatly as cultures change every twenty years or so and at times every couple of years as fads come and go. Indeed, as the World gets further and further away from the Truth the Church seems to stay a respectable distance from it without realizing that we are following it not staying where we were and should. Hence, the Word enjoining us to seek the old paths when seeking revival since it is usually that which we thought was progress that separated us from the power of God.
I do not believe that the Bible teaches that a woman should be a teacher of the Word in any official capacity as a pastor/chaplain or any other name you might give to a biblical pastor/teacher. A chaplain was once the pastor of a chapel or small church versus the pastor of a large church. Often rural churches were called chapel and now only wedding industry buildings are usually called chapels. A jail or nursing home/hospital chaplain is the pastor of that group. 1 Tim clearly states a woman cannot be a pastor. It is hard for her to be the husband of one wife even if she can meet the other qualifications.
I Tim 2 used the exact same word for teach as is used in 1 Tim 3 for the pastor being required to be apt/able to teach. Paul led into 1 Tim 3 by saying a woman is not to teach in the capacity for which he was about to describe the requirements. In fact, the only woman teacher we see in the NT is the one called Jezebel in Revelation. I would say we have many of those today as well some well-meaning sincere ladies in a position they should not be in. God would not lay down such specific directions and condition to later ignore them and call women into such a role.
An older woman is called to teach in Titus, but the word for teach is different. Indeed, the subject manner is clearly delineated. It is in the realm of relationships with her husband and children and how to be a guardian/keeper of the home, not a pastor or a professor of theology.
Paul also said that a woman should be silent in Church. Hard to do that when you are the pastor-teacher. There was no Sunday School back then so the only official teacher was the pastor-teacher. We have made up a lot of things and positions that do pastoral/teacher things and then say that the Word only says she cannot be a pastor to justify woman in a pastoral position. That concept is Shakespeare’s a rose by any other name is still a rose. The Word keeps things simple. We make it difficult.
Timothy’s mother and grandmother most likely did not do Timothy’s training. It was the responsibility of the father to do the training or get a tutor for his son. His dad being a Gentile did not care about the Law so they would have gotten him a tutor to train him. They took the responsibility of the father, but they could not have taken on the role.
Women were light years ahead of the culture be they Hebrew or Christian. Some think a women should be locked in the house to be a proper keeper at home, but the Proverbs 31 woman shows that there are many things a woman can do and still be a proper keeper/guardian of her home. Many of those things would not have been allowed in the Gentile culture of the time. It was the same in the NT. The Greeks would have stumbled over the one man, one woman issue as they normally had a legal wife, and maybe several paramours. So, God had taken care of women throughout history, but that does not mean there are not separate roles for males and females.
Indeed, look at the first verse of 1 Cor 11. The roles between God and angels, God and Man and Man and Woman are tied together. The roles between God and angels and God and man are eternal and not interchangeable or equal. Nothing changed between man and woman either. Eve fell because she added to the Word of God by saying she could not touch it, not just eat the fruit. Why was she not clear on that? Did Adam fail to explain it correctly or did she think of that as an added padding or security wall and later attribute it to God?
If Adam taught her correctly then he never checked up to see if she still had it right so her being deceived partly falls on him. Indeed, the headship and leadership role was his and he failed so it could be construed that the headship and leadership role is part of the curse, but really it is just making man do what Adam was to do from the beginning. Hence, if any woman desire to know something let her ask her husband at home rather than disrupting the teaching by asking him during the training session or in some other way disrupting the session. This would enhance communication between husband and wife, which is what most women say they do not get from their husbands. God knows what He is doing and we do well when we believe that and roll with it.
We can discuss prophetesses if you like, but that is not a pastor/teacher role. If a woman was married to a prophet she was called a prophetess in the OT. The word is also used of someone like a poet or singer and we read that both Deborah and the Virgin Mary both had a song. Deborah was a judge possibly because she was the widow of a judge and prophet so men came to her because in that day everyone did that which was right in their own eyes. Note that Barak is in the Hebrews 11 hall of fame, but not Deborah? Rahab is there. That is a topic for long hours of debate and speculation. Much of what people use to justify a woman pastor comes from silence or speculation like Priscila and Aquila or Timothy’s mother and grandmother.
Nonetheless, a prophetess and a judge is still not a priest so she cannot be viewed as an example of a woman pastor/teacher. By the way, the pastor-teacher is based upon the word Kai in Ephesians 4 where the list says pastors and teachers. Because kai can be translated and or even when between two nouns it is a fair conclusion that it could be pastors, even teachers since the pastor is the teacher in the Church as it had been the priests in the OT and even during the Synagogue years in NT times. There were no women priests.
If you really want to be blessing to the Church then find a younger woman and be a Titus 2 woman. As always, there are plenty of women who need to know the topics listed or if they know about them they need to know how to implement them. Be a big sister to a motherless child. Become a prayer warrior for your pastor and pray for revival that is so desperately needed. Be a servant. There are plenty of people who want to be Chief, but few want to be servants.
Again, I thank you for your heart serve and desire to be right with God even if it goes against your desire and the cultural norms. May God richly bless you and guide you into the place of service that will glorify Him.