At our last Sunday night service, we had a couch Q & A session where you asked me and my wife Kim questions. Y’all asked some great questions, and some of those could have several whole messages to answer them, so here I’m going to expand on one which asked, “Can women preach and lead in the church?”
There are a lot of different points of view when it comes to women teaching in the church. The belief that women shouldn’t preach comes from a couple of verses, one in 1 Timothy and one in 1 Corinthians:
1 Timothy 2:12—I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly.
1 Corinthians 14:34—Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says.
When you’re building up your theology, your beliefs about God and what He says, it’s important to remember several things. One is that the Bible was not written in verses, so we shouldn’t base our entire theology off of one or two verses. And another thing we need to remember is to take verses in their contexts. For example, the context of the Church in the city of Corinth, who Paul was writing to when he wrote the letter 1 Corinthians, was that Corinth was really a wild and crazy place. The female believers in Corinth weren’t living in the redeemed nature that they had been given by Christ, but rather in their fallen nature—in other words, they weren’t living the way God intended for them to live.
Paul was addressing the women in Corinth because they weren’t operating in their God-given purpose. In other parts of Scripture, he commends the leadership of women in the Church—Philippians 4 and Romans 16 both have examples of this.
I encourage you to read John 4. In this passage of Scripture, Jesus talked with a woman—and not just any woman. She was a Samaritan, and the Jews considered Samaritans to be half-breeds because they were half Gentile and half Jewish. Jews would go out of their way to travel around Samaria instead of through it. But the woman in the story becomes someone who I would consider the first evangelist—clearly, Jesus believed that women are important to permeating the world with the Good News!
The Church can’t be a reflection of God without women. When God created Adam in Genesis 1, He said that it was not good for man to be alone. Men and women are complementary—women aren’t meant to rule over men, and men aren’t meant to domineer and lord over women. God uses both male and female in His plan. Men and women both were created to be image bearers of God in the earth.