13.7.15

Are women allowed to speak in church and play active roles in ministry?

Speaker- jurek d.


I have to admit I have been wrestling with this for a really long time. I grew up in a very rigid church with a very old fashioned mentality and there have been ideas and views pressed into my heart, that I've noticed over the time I've spent establishing my own views on God and His truths, don't really match up. I struggled through the role of women in society and in the home and have pulled through with a whole new and freeing perspective on where I stand in this confusing world.

So what do I believe about the role of women in the church and most importantly where does the God I follow stand on this controversial topic?

After reading a blog post by Sarah Bessey and hearing for the first time in church, a female pastor preach a weekend message, I was thrown into a whirlwind of confusion and a battle between what my heart was telling me about this and what I thought the bible was telling me. I have seen two main verses on this subject 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:12 and up until today I have either taken them and used them to support the things I was taught in my youth in a very surface level way or I've just passed right over them in frustration and confusion.

I no longer want to look at my bible that way. I want to take it all in and understand it and allow the holy spirit to transform it in my heart, my life, and in the ways I disciple and love on other people. So that means facing the hard stuff and sitting with it chisel in hand and picking, scraping, and tearing away every faucet of what it means and here is what I found after all the dust settled.

1 Timothy 2:12
"I do not permit women to teach or to exercise authority over man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

1 Corinthians 14:34
"As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission as the law also says."

This is a hard text to read and it has the power to turn so many women away from our faith and our God when it is misunderstood or taken away from the context of the bible as a whole. We are playing with fire when we are taking verses out of the bible and interpreting them to prove our point instead of shining the light of Christ and his purpose for His word. But this also goes for taking verses out of the bible that don't match up with the progression and view of the world and misinterpreting them to fit into the comfort of our fears.

I wanted to pick this apart because I didn't want to walk away believing the old fashioned views I grew up with, that women aren't to play significant and pastoral roles in the church, and I didn't want to glide along believing that women are to take these roles because we live in a feminist society now. I want to simply know the truth and what God's design is for us as women.


The greek translation of 1 Corinthians 14:34 is:
"the women in the churches let them be silent. Not indeed it is allowed to them to speak; but to be in submission, as also the law says."

So let's pick this apart because I'm not satisfied walking away with what I think that means and I truly believe that God wants us to wrestle with him and his word to take away the truth.

The word Submission in greek in this context is "hypotassesthosan" which means: "to be in submission, to speak but are subject to themselves, to speak but to be in submission."
This text isn't telling us not to speak but to speak and to be subject to ourselves. To be accountable and to be submissive.
Another word for submissive is subjection ("hypotage") and this means to submit to God's control. So putting these things together I take from this text that as women we are to speak but we are to submit to God's control and we are held accountable to that.

When we break down 1 Timothy 2:12 in Greek this is what we find:
"a woman in quietness let learn in all submissiveness to teach however, a woman not do I permit nor to use authority over a man but to be in quietness."

To use or usurp authority in greek is "authentoe" which means "self appointed, to domineer over, without submission".

We are not to teach in a way that is self-appointed, it needs to be a call from God and under his authority and direction. We are not to dominate men. I feel very good about that and that is a constant trend throughout the bible in general. We are called to be servants to each other as Christ was for us.

So does the bible say we can be pastors and can we prophesy and teach?
I believe it does. 

pray- stanley yuu

1 Corinthians 11:5 
"but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head was shaven."

"but every wife who..." This verse is in the language of when this happens. It is a statement that says every wife (woman) "who" prays or prophesies. It is being done.

In Romans 16 many women are mentioned here as "fellow workers in Christ" and women with positions in the church. Phoebe who was first mentioned was a "servant" of the church.
The greek word for "servant" in this context is "diakonon" which means "administrator, deacon, or minister."


Another example in Act 18:24-26
"Now a jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately."

Pricilla along with her husband pulled Apollos aside to teach him and update him on God's word. While she is with her husband, Priscilla is still acting in a way that may seem on the surface to go against the earlier scriptures we read. As if she is taking some authority over Apollos but its quite the opposite. By the authority of God she is telling the truth of Christ and uplifting God's word so Apollos can pass on the truth of Christ and further his knowledge beyond what he knew from John the Baptist.

We are not told to withhold God's truth and rebuke from men but again we are called to be submissive and under the authority of God first. But this pertains to any area of our lives. We are all able to fall into the trap of being a false prophet and we can all fall victim to our pride and self promotion and I feel that this is what these verses are warning us of and saving us from. By being submissive to God's authority we can glorify him instead of dangerously glorifying ourselves.


In Luke 8 women walked with Jesus and his disciples. It says Jesus, "went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God and the twelve were with him and also some women"(Luke 8:1-2)

Luke 8:3 is especially interesting. It says, "and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means."

When this is translated into greek it says "who were ministering to him of the means to them"

"diakoneo" is the greek word for provided in this context which means "providing for them, ministering to, to serve"

so when we put it together in its original translation it is "who were ministering to him of the means to them."

The women ministered and provided for Jesus whatever he needed. The same goes for our role in ministry and the church. I definitely believe we are allowed and even called by God to minster and preach in the church and each of our calls are different but it has to be just in the image of Jesus. We are called to walk like Christ and that especially goes for our roles in ministry. We are to be submissive to the Father and to be servants. We are to speak the good word of Christ and uplift and rebuke but all under the authority and direction of God. We are not to dominate or govern over men and are to allow them to be the leaders in our homes and churches in the way God designed and we are to allow them and to support them in the unique and vital role God has called them to but this is not and should have never been at the stake of equality and love. We are all under the authority of God no matter what our gender is and we all have different roles to play in this journey to the cross.

This topic can be debated and picked apart but I believe the root of all of this is simply to obey and submit to the call to be like Jesus. Jesus walked and taught with conviction and boldness to give the truth and word of God to all people but he did it with a submissive heart to God and a servant heart to everyone he encountered. We just need to make sure we are clinging tight to who we are doing this for and allow God to chisel away the parts of us that aren't pointing directly to Him.
The Journey- John-Paul Verkamp

Listen to God, let him call us, lead us, and speak through us.