Masculine and Feminine Roles in Ministry

It is our conviction that God has unique callings upon His people based on their age, sex, and station in life. In Scripture, men are given specific admonitions regarding their duties as boys, singles, husbands, fathers, and older men. Women are also given specific admonitions regarding their duties as singles, wives, mothers, widows, and older women. However, God also addresses women in an area He never addresses men -- He speaks to them about pursuing traits associated with their sex -- He tells them to be feminine. Men are never told to be masculine -- they are given the obligations of their duties, but never a word is said about masculinity. This reveals that it is very important to God that women distinguish themselves from men by their femininity. This also explains why God reveals differing roles for men and women in ministry.

The key text upon which we base our understanding of a woman's role in ministry is found in the second chapter of 1 Timothy. There God communicates through the apostle Paul that women are to make themselves feminine in the areas of "modesty," "decency," and "propriety" -- more specifically, in appearance, attitude, and conduct. That conduct, God goes on to say, includes how they are to receive ministry and what form their ministry is to take. The following outline is taken from tape #7 of Reb's series "Godly Femininity" and presents our understanding of God's plan for women in ministry.

______________________________________________________________________

1 Tim 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

 

I. What does this text reveal about women in relationship to ministry? 1 Tim 2:11-12

A. We know God desires a woman to be characterized by distinctly feminine behavior -- vs 9-10

B. In regards to ministry she is to continue manifesting a gentle and quiet spirit -- vs 11

C. She is to learn at church in a quiet, humble, submissive spirit before her husband -- vs 11
     Eph 5:22-23; Col 3:18; 1 Cor 14:34; 1 Pet 3:1, 5

1 Cor 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

II. Can a woman be a teacher or exercise authority over the men of the church? -- vs 12

What does the New Testament reveal?

A. She may team up with her husband and instruct a younger believer privately

Acts 18:26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

Rom 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
(Acts 18:2,18; 18:19; 1 Cor 16:19; 2 Tim 4:19)

B. She may present to the congregation prophetic messages from God

Acts 21:9 He [Philip] had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

Luke 2:36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

1 Cor 11:5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as though her head were shaved.

For three reasons we know this praying and prophesying were before the general body of Christ, including the men:

1. The subject of the passage is women veiling their heads to show others that they were not speaking on their own, but were under their husband's authority. (Obviously a public event.)

2. The context of the passage is church meetings.

3. Scripture is clear that a word of prophecy is for the common good of the body, not for private or personal use (1 Cor 12:7; 14:3-4).

Paul's prohibition against women speaking in church meetings (1 Cor 14:33-40), obviously didn't mean that they were not to pray, give testimony, or use their gifts publicly. It appears from the context that Paul was giving guidelines to restore order to meetings which were being interrupted by chatting women.

1 Cor 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

C. She may teach women, but must not be a teacher of men

Titus 2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to 4 teach the younger women to love their husbands and children,

D. She must not be put in a role in which men receive leadership from her

1 Tim 2:11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

Literally, the Greek text communicates: "I do not permit a woman to be a teacher or to exercise authority over a man; During times of instruction she must make no effort to instruct the body. She should concern herself with learning."

The reason WHY a woman is not to teach or exercise authority over a man is revealed in verses 13-15 and will be discussed in section IV.

 

III. Why do so many modern Christians allow women to be teachers and pastors?

A. They are intimidated by political correctness or aggressive women

B. They do not always look to the Scriptures as a guide for life and ministry

C. They allow experience to determine Truth.

1. If men are blessed by a woman's ministry, they conclude she must be gifted and called by God to teach them. For them experience validates Truth.

(The fruit born by a teaching does not validate a teacher's calling. Good fruit is born by Truth -- not people. Truth spoken by anyone will bear good fruit. Phil 1:18)

D. They have never questioned their denomination's modern tradition

E. They believe it is a translation issue. They interpret the Greek text of verse 12 to mean:

1. A woman should avoid violent debates

2. A wife is not to teach her husband. (Must he leave the audience when she speaks?)

3. A woman is able to teach if her husband or an elder is present, or has OK'd all that she teaches

4. A woman does not usurp authority if given it by those in leadership

5. A woman is able to teach if she is not behind the pulpit

6. A woman may not instruct men in spiritual matters, but all other areas are permissible.

7. The command is not mandatory, but is only a precept or principle to be considered.

F. They offer cultural objections:

1. Women were uneducated, so the prohibition does not apply to today's educated women.

2. Women teachers would have been rejected by that culture, but they wouldn't be by ours.

G. They believe other passages give permission

1. Paul called Junias a female apostle.

Rom 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

-- The name "Junias" can be either feminine or masculine, so it may have been referring to either a man or a woman.

-- The word "apostle" in the New Testament (apostolos) means "one sent as a representative." It is used to refer to either Christ's Apostles or to those in the church who were sent out by the Apostles as special messengers.

-- Whether Junias was a man or a woman, he or she was a special messenger for the churches, but not one of the Apostles.

-- It is unreasonable to think that one of Christ's Apostles was a woman, since that would contradict the guidelines God set up for the selection of church leaders; ie: 

- In 1 Tim 2:11 women are prohibited from the duties of such a position. 
- In 1 Tim 3:4-5 church leaders are to prove their qualifications to lead by the way they "rule" (proistemi) as heads of their homes.
- It is assumed leaders will be men, hence it says they are to be the husband of one wife and not the wife of one husband (1 Tim 3:12). 

2. Men and women are now equal in Christ, so neither one should be granted a position or responsibility not available to the others.

Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Just as Christian slaves and their Christian owners were equal in salvation, yet different in positions of authority (Eph 6:9), so also men and women are equal in Christ yet granted different positions of authority and responsibility. (Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Cor 11:8-9; 1 Pet 3:1-6)

Women in positions of church leadership is a recent phenomena in history. It wasn't until the last 150 years that such a practice has been permitted. Those who now accept this new idea must conclude that they are enlightened regarding God's real plan for His people and the saints in the early church and throughout history were in error and blind to the Truth. 

IV. Why does God forbid women to teach or lead men in the Church? vs 13,14,15

A. vs 13 Men were created and equipped to be the leaders

1 Tim 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it ... 18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

1 Cor 11:8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

Adam was created and given a calling to tend the garden. God determined that Adam should not be alone in his life and duties, so created a woman to come along side Adam and help him in his calling. Man was created for duty and woman was created for him. It is therefore God's intent that a woman come under her husband's authority and learn from him.

B. vs 14 Women are more easily deceived

1 Tim 2:14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

1 Pet 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

The strength of a woman is her emotional, nurturing nature, but is it is also her weakness.

C. vs 15 God wants women protected and kept safe

1 Tim 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Eph 5:28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

 

V. How is a woman kept safe through childbearing?

1 Tim 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
       saved sozo, sode'-zo;  to save, to keep safe, to protect, to preserve 

A. The young married woman is kept safe by preoccupying herself with bearing and raising children

God is saying here in verse 15 that a woman of childbearing age should preoccupy herself with raising her family, and in doing so will be safe from the stress and troubles that would come from trying to assume leadership responsibilities in the church.

1 Tim 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

Here in chapter 5 he tells us that if she preoccupies herself with caring for her family, she shall also be kept safe from deception, gossip, adultery, etc,  (1 Tim 5:13).

B. Older women with no children or single women should preoccupy themselves with serving

1 Tim 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

1 Tim 5:10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. 

Acts 9:36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Titus 2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

C. vs 15 All women are protected by pursuing:

1. faith

2. love

3. holiness with propriety

____________________________________________________________

At Hope Chapel we are thankful for the ministry of our sisters in Christ and their desire to serve Him in the various capacities He has outlined in Scripture, both in their homes and within the fellowship. Although we offer no pulpit time for them, their prayers, testimonies, and praise reports we do welcome when we gather for fellowship, not to mention their exhortations to one another during those times as well.