Why Women Can’t Teach Men

The other day when I was having breakfast with a friend he asked what I thought about women being pastors and if it was OK with scripture (he attends a church that has a female pastor). I stated that according to the scriptures I read and understand it is not OK for women to be pastors that teach men and are in charge of a congregation. I made a few comments and we left it at that. I wanted to be sure I was correct in my view of what Scripture states so an investigation into Scripture on the subject followed. This is what I found. 

Many people are talking and arguing about whether or not Scripture allows women to be pastors to men and run a church. The conversation is full of thoughts, feelings, I think, and I believe (which is not appropriate when discussing the meaning of Scripture). There are also comments on what Scripture states about the subject and they can be taken out of context according to both sides of the discussion. The verse that started all this controversy is 1 Timothy 2:12; “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man, she must be silent.”

First I think it is important to look at what the design God had for man and woman starting in the beginning.

God created man first then woman;

Genesis 2:7, And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:22; Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

1 Corinthians 11:9, Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. And; Genesis 3:16, Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

When we look at the overall general pattern of male headship and leadership in the Old and New Testament we will find;

First human created? A man.

The Patriarchs? As the word implies – all men.

Priests, Levites, Scribes? Men.

Heads of the twelve tribes of Israel? Men.

Major and minor prophets? Men.

All kings of Israel and Judah? Men.

Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic Covenants? All established between God and men.

Authors of Scripture? Men.

The forerunner of Christ? John the Baptist – a man. Messiah? A man.

All of the apostles? Men.

All of the pastors, elders, deacons of churches in the New Testament? Men.

Founder and head of the church? Christ – a man.

Leader and head of the family? Men. 

What I understand in the Old Testament is that God is the ultimate authority over man and everything. Then he made man to be the authority over the earth, the family, and woman.

When Jesus entered the picture as our Savior on earth there is an ushering in of a new direction for the faithful followers of Jesus and the direction, policies, covenant and authority structure of His church. Part of the New Covenant is for the new unique structure of the church and not for Israel or any other Old Testament traditions.   

The below excerpt is from an article posted on “Got Questions.org” (a respected source for Biblical research). To read the full article go to; https://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html.

“The Word of God proclaims, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). In the church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world (1 Timothy 2:13-14). God, through the apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors over men, which definitely includes preaching to them, teaching them publicly, and exercising spiritual authority over them.”

Let’s start the investigation with the background of what Paul writes to Timothy (in 1 Timothy 2) concerning what is happening in Ephesus e.g. actions by women and women teaching men in church. Ephesus was a prosperous city and one known for the devotion and worship of the goddess Artemis. People came from all over the world to worship her and purchase idols of Artemis’s temples and other trinkets made of silver from the silversmiths. While Paul was in Ephesus he went around telling people that gods made by human hands were worthless and of no value, this information caused some people to stop purchasing goods from the silversmiths and other related businesses which led to vendors to start losing money. The business owners became angry, created a mob which led to a riot in the city and they forced Paul to flee Ephesus (Acts 19). Many believe that the restriction Paul made on women not being able to teach men only refers to the city of Ephesus because of the goddess worship that was so prevalent in the community. However, we see in 1Timothy there is no mention of Artemis, nor does Paul mention the standard practice of Artemis worshipers as a reason for the restrictions in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, Basically 1Timothy is a guide to how to lead the church in Ephesus (which will be the same standard for all churches).   

Another objection to the refusal of allowing women to teach/preach to men is that many women held positions of leadership in the Bible, examples, Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah in the Old Testament. Yes, these women were chosen by God to serve Him in special ways and had special duties. They were models and examples of courage, faith and leadership. However, these qualifications do not mean they are qualified to teach men and have the leadership of a pastor in His church.

Other suggestions that women can be pastors over men are the comments about the importance of Phoebe. Scripture only mentions her once. It shows she was a trusted sister in Christ, a deacon (Romans 16:1), served the church faithfully, and a helper to many. She was not a pastor or teacher of men.

There is also Priscilla and Aquila who have prominence in Scripture. People say that Priscilla taught/preached to Apollos (Acts 18) when in reality she (and her husband Aquila) explained things to him in their home. As far as I have learned the Bible never states she was the leader of a church or was a spiritual leader.  

 Personally, with the above information from Scripture presented I must believe that women can’t hold the office of leadership over the church and preach to men. We are all gifted differently and have different (but all are important) duties and responsibilities; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit”)

Romans 12:3-8, tells us to use, appreciate, and share whatever gifts we have to bring praise and glory to our Lord. “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;”

2 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” This scripture references non-believers and believers that do not understand scripture and do not have the faith to “just believe in what it states.” 

 1 John 2:3-6, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” We have to believe and have faith even when we don’t understand or agree with something in scripture.


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