What does the Bible say about women pastors or preachers?

Someone asked what the Bible says about whether women could be preachers.

The truth of the matter is that anyone can preach or teach. BUT if you want to be aligned with what the BIble teaches, then there are limitations on what people can do. Women are not allowed to teach or have authority over a man. Women ARE allowed to teach children and other women.

1 Timothy 2:12-14 (NASB)

12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam whowas deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Titus 2:3-5  (NASB)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips norenslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Its obvious some women were used by God in the Old Testament.

Deborah was a prophetess and a judge in Israel. She was used by God to speak to someone. Instead of obeying, doing asa man should have done, Barak said he would not go to war unless she went with him. When a man doesnt do what He is supposed to do – sometimes women have to step up.

Judges 4:4-10

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, theLord, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his manytroops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.’” Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him.Some people say that

But even though Deborah went to war, it was NOT what God had said. God spoke through her. God used her to judge. But this was before Christ, and not in the context of the church.

Someone asked why God would use a woman as a prophet in both the old and new testaments, but not allow a woman to teach men in the New Testament. God speaking through a person does not mean that person has spiritual authority over someone. God spoke through a donkey, and I seriously doubt anyone would consider that to be an authority over man.

Numbers 22:28 (NASB)

28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

 Someone else presented Huldah as a person being consulted by people sent by a king. Huldah was a prophetess. Hilkiah consulted her. Then he took that back to his king, who then made his decision. That does not put her in authority over men. 

The daughters of Philip were prophetesses as well. 

Acts 21:8-10 (NASB)

On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip theevangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.

But again – this is different than being in a place of spiritual authority over men.

Some point to what Samaritan woman as evidence women should preach. But did she? She actually testified to those she knew about what Christ had done and the men went and listened to Jesus – not quite the same thing as preaching nor being in a position of leadership in the church, in fact it is not even in the context of a church.

John 4:39-42

39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Some claim that they are given spiritual gifts and so should be free to exercise them as they feel.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting ofmiracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to anothervarious kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

But there is still no contradiction in God’s word. While the gifts are given, there are regulations on their use in the assembly. Paul laid out how people who speak in tongues and people who prophecy, recognizing they are to be in control of themselves.

1 Corinthians 14:26-33

26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, andeach in turn, and one must interpret; 28 but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

In the same way that Paul laid out instructions for the exercise of their spiritual gifts, Paul laid out instruction for women in the church. Paul said women are to keep silent in the church. More than that, in response to the idea that this is a cultural instruction, we can point to the the fact that Paul said it is the Lord’s commandment.

1 Corinthians 14:34-38

34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.36 Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?

37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. 38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

We have the example of Apollos being taught by Priscilla and Aquila. Notice that Pricilla did not teach him on her own, nor did she do so in a church setting or a church hierarchy. But she taught with her husband – not under his authority away from him, and not in a church.

Act 18:24-26

24 Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; 26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Some one pointed out Jesus said to go and preach the word. But His audience was the eleven apostles, who were all men. If this had been meant to say that everyone should preach to everyone everywhere in the world, then Paul would not have made sure to say it was the Lord’s command that  women were to be silent in the church (as we have seen earlier in 1 Corinthians 13:34-38).

14 Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Some people remark that women have the ability, or the education, or the skill, or what have you. 

Yes, women are perfectly able to do such things. Women can be good leaders. Women can be good teachers. Does this mean it is what should be done in church? Not according to scripture. Paul said they are not to teach men.

The requirements for being a church leader are given and show that they should be the husband of one wife. This precludes women from taking the role of overseer or elder or pastor.

1 Timothy 3:2-7

 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation withthose outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Titus 1:5-9

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appointelders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Paul wrote of at least one woman who was a deaconess in Romans 16:1. We can see in 1 Timothy 3:8- there were regulations for male deacons, and what appears to be female deacons as well.

Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wineor fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers oftheir children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Paul said in 1 Timothy 3 that no, women should not lead men – this includes teaching and anything that might give a woman authority over man, because Eve was deceived. Adam was spineless, which apparently is not as bad as being deceived. *shrug* I didn’t write it. But it is what GOD had written through Paul.


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