Summary: This is a scholarly study of women in ministry. I realize all will not hold to my conclusions. This research resulted in three sermons. 1. Women In Creation. 2. Women’s Leadership Throughout the Bible. 3. Dealing with problem texts.
[This is a scholarly study of women in ministry. From this came three sermons on the Role Of Women in Ministry. I realize all will not hold to my conclusions. The sermons I preached were: 1. Women In Creation. 2. Women’s Leadership Throughout the Bible. 3. Dealing with problem texts.]
Women’s Role In The Church
“Let there be real harmony among you so there won’t be any split in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
1 Corinthians 1:10 (LB)
The question has been raised about the position of women within the church. Do women have a place of ministry within the church? Can they hold a place in church leadership? Are women only to teach other women and children or are they allowed to teach men also? What does the Bible say about these issues?
Currently in our society women are taking leadership positions in all aspects of life including the church. Within the church there are now female youth leaders, deacons, elders and pastors. If the church is to allow women to take positions of leadership it should do so, not because of the changing view of women in society, but because the Bible clearly states that they have every right to serve in these positions within the church.
It is true however; that culture has changed since Biblical times and our view toward scripture has changed as well. An example of this is found with the issue of slavery. It is quit easy to find scriptures which would advocate the institution of slavery in the New Testament. In fact there are over fifty scriptures that that deal with the issue of slavery and several of them seem to promote the idea. (Eph 6:5-6, Col. 3:22, Col. 4:1, 1 Tim. 6:1) But, how many of us would insist that the institution of slavery should be reinstalled? The culture in which the Bible was written not only included slavery but also included polygamy. It would seem that the practice of polygamy was not only present in the time of the Old Testament but continued into New Testament times as well. (1 Tim. 3:2, 1 Tim. 3:12, Titus 1:6) Therefore, in all matters, the entire Bible must examined and proper interpretation and exegesis must take place.
It is the purpose of this paper to answer this question: Does the Bible support women holding positions of leadership within the church? Even though I am sure that the debate about women’s role in the church will not end at the conclusion of this study – this study will allow me to clarify my own position on this matter.
A STUDY INTO GOD’S WORD
Usually when people speak of a Biblical view on the ministry of women in the church, they refer to only two passages of scripture - both are found in the New Testament and both from the writings of Paul. These texts appear to oppose the idea of women in of leadership positions within the church. The passages of scripture are found in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. Both of these texts will be treated justly later in this paper. However, since a Biblical view of the position of women in the church is what is sought; I will strive to give a complete Biblical view of the subject. Therefore we start this study in the most important scriptures of the Old Testament.
A LOOK AT GOD’S CREATION BEFORE THE FALL OF MAN
“Then God said, ‘Let Us made man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
“Then God blessed them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
BOTH THE MAN AND THE WOMAN WERE MADE MADE INTO THE IMAGE OF GOD
At this point both the man and the woman are co-equal. Both are created in the image of God. Both are to have dominion over all the earth. Both are called “man” in this passage. It is obvious from the physical make up of man and women that they have different roles, i.e. the woman is to be the mother and the man is to be the father. This however does not exclude that fact that both are equal in God’s sight. In fact their differences were not a source of discord or inequality, but a beautiful compliment to each other. Together, God gave them the task of overseeing and ruling His creation. At the conclusion of His creation God proclaims, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Genesis 1:31