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Summary: A look at the Scriptural commands concerning the Roles of Men and Women in the Church

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The only way to study the Bible, as it has been throughout church history, is using the rules of Hermeneutics, a process used for thousands of years to determine such things as contracts, legal matters, authorship and specifically, in order to correctly translate and exegete (interpret) the Scriptures. Without using the rules of Hermeneutics, the Bible is open to personal suppositional interpretation (i.e., heresy) using narcigesis, eisegesis, or psychogesis, which are various ways to make it mean what a person wants it to say rather than what it actually says. A text taken out of context is a pretext for a proof text.

The New Testament teaches a difference between the roles of men and women. These roles are not essential, primary, first, second, or even third tier doctrines of the church. However, when there is an abuse of these roles and the Scriptural mandates concerning them, they fall into the category of sin.

The differences between roles are based on God’s choice of creation and have nothing to do with one’s spiritual gifts. The Scriptural directives concerning these roles don’t fall into the category of things ‘we can agree to disagree’ on. God chose to make men and women different, and they have different responsibilities as they work together to serve Him. Even though it was Eve who was deceived by the devil, she was not held responsible. As the head of mankind, Adam was held responsible for sin entering the DNA of the human race, and as a result, everyone dies (1 Cor. 15:22).

Under the Old Covenant, only a Jew received an inheritance in Israel. Gentiles and slaves did not receive any inheritance. Under the New Covenant, slaves, as well as both men and women in Christ, equally receive an inheritance (Gal 3:28-29). Both men and women are co-equal members of the household of God and joint heirs of the blessings in Christ. All Born-Again Christians are meant to be subject to each other (1 Pet 5:5).

The New Testament church is patterned after the Old Testament synagogue (Neh 8:4, 8). Preaching and teaching from the pulpit in a church is an authoritative act. The New Covenant presents an authority structure unique to the church, the body of Christ.

The book of Timothy discusses this structure as it addresses a plurality of groups in general (women, overseers, and deacons). Prayer is discussed for a tranquil life, and that is it God's desire to save everyone (1 Tim 2:1-6). Men (Gk: ‘andras’) are implored to pray (1 Tim 2:6-8). Instructions are given to women, and not just an individual “woman" (Gk: gune") as the word refers to a woman of any age whether a virgin, or married, or a widow about adornment, submission, teaching, and leadership authority (1 Tim 2:12). Women and childbearing are also discussed (1 Tim 2:15). More instructions are then given about the requirements for men to be overseers and deacons (1 Tim 3:1-13).

Women are to learn in entire submissiveness because of the created order and that Eve was deceived first (1 Tim 2:9-14). The Greek word for "teach" is ‘didasko’ which means teach for learning (1 Tim 4:11, 6:2; 2 Tim 2:2). In context, it refers to teaching sound doctrine. The Greek word ‘heterodidaskaleo’ is used twice in the New Testament when referring to the teaching of heretical doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3, 6:3).

It is important to note that throughout the first three chapters the plural is used when describing those who teach error (heresy) and not the singular, except for two named individuals, Hymenaeus and Alexander. The discussion is exclusively about teaching men.

The word "quiet" is the Greek word “hesuchia” and is used only four times in the New Testament. It means to be still in serene and quiet peaceful meekness, not causing a disturbance. It does not mean absolute silence (Gk: ‘Sigao’) (1 Tim 2:12).

The best way to examine a Bible verse is in its context and to look for a statement in the book that declares the purpose of what is written. The issue of authority regarding the role of men and women is meant to be in the context of “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15 ESV). The question of whether a woman can be a teaching Pastor/Shepherd is not a culturally based opinion of the first century or misogynistic chauvinism of the 21st, but rather of church doctrine.

In the church, God assigned different roles to men and women that are not geographic or time specific. As previously stated, this is a result of how mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world. It has nothing to do with a person’s intellect or educational status. If that was true the majority of Jesus’ disciples would be disqualified (1 Tim 2:13–14).

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