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Featured Does the Bible forbid women from being preachers/pastors?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Kilk1, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Hello! Does the Bible forbid women from being preachers or pastors?

    1 Corinthians 14:34-35: "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church."

    1 Timothy 2:11-12: "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence."

    Thanks,
    Kilk
     
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  2. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It depends upon how one views the infallibility of Scripture and especially the words of Paul. Did Paul always speak with authority for God or did he sometimes just reflect the norms of his times?
     
  3. Chrystal-J

    Chrystal-J the one who stands firm to the end will be saved Supporter

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    I would go with scripture because it says:
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
    (2 Timothy 3:16)
     
  4. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In answer to the question posed, yes. The Bible expressly forbids women to teach or hold positions of Biblical authority over men.

    This means she can't pastor a church, but she can teach women and children. She can even discuss biblical questions/issues with men (much like we do online) she just can't be authoritative over him.

    For authority, a learned male Pastor should be referred to or consulted.
     
  5. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    These are not verses that men need to sort out (on behalf of their women), but rather verses that women need to work out between themselves and the Holy Spirit.

    I suspect that they are very context-sensitive, however, and cannot be extrapolated to prohibit ALL speaking, teaching, preaching, etc. by women.

    You neglect,
    I believe that the position put forward by the OP is an (all-too-common) over-simplification.
     
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  6. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    No, it does not forbid women as preachers. These scriptures must be interpreted in light of the rest of scripture, which mentions and even celebrates several women ministers... including Paul himself. When the full context is understood the scriptures you quoted do not forbid women preachers at all.

    However you will find many who narrowly view these scriptures and ignore or excuse examples of women preachers actually fulfill scripture themselves, but not in the good way.
     
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  7. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Hello! Right after giving the commands in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, doesn't Paul say that his teaching here is "the commandments of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:36-37)?
     
  8. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Amen!

    What would the two of you say about alternative interpretations of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35? For example, some say that this just means that women, who were uneducated at the time, shouldn't interrupt the service with questions and that the passage isn't necessarily forbidding them from speaking publicly (cf. 1 Corinthians 11). How would you each respond? Thanks!
     
  9. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    I agree that looking at the OP's verses in isolation is an oversimplification. I brought them up because they're the ones that tend to spark the discussions on this issue. The "women" of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 are spoken of in the third person, so while the subject is about women, the passage isn't talking only to them, implying that both men and women should know what this passage is saying.

    Since it's clear that women could prophecy and that Priscilla could teach the man Apollos with her husband, Aquila, therefore women can teach in some sense. However, only looking at these passages would also be an oversimplification. Could it be that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 applies only to speaking when "in church" (v. 35), and 1 Timothy 2:12 applies only when teaching "over a man"?
     
  10. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    However, "teaching" in the modern context--standing in front of a room reading from a lesson text--doesn't confer personal authority over anyone. That's very much different from Paul's day, in which "teaching" explicitly meant men were discipled to the teacher and completely under his personal authority the way Jesus' disciples were completely under His authority. We just don't do that anymore (at least not in the West).

    I made the distinction of "personal" authority for a reason. Let's say, for instance, that a woman is in charge of a church's children's class. If a man enters and hangs around for no reason (not having any children in the class), the woman most likely has delegated authority to direct him to leave. But that's as far as her authority over the man goes. Her authority is delegated from someone who has real authority to impose a penalty on the man (probably only an elder or the pastor). To do anything more than insist that he leave, she has to "escalate" the matter to someone with the delegated authority to use force (such as someone from the church security ministry) or the personal authority to levy penalties.

    And that would be just as true for a woman leading the adult Sunday School class. She does not have the authority to create her own doctrine--her lessons are those approved by the elders and pastors (or even higher levels). She doesn't have the personal authority to impose any kinds of penalties on anyone in her class--she can only report classroom behavior to those who do have that authority.

    In my last active duty military role, I supervised a training center. My instructors were all enlisted troops who where junior in rank to the officers who were their students. Technically, they had zero authority over their students in the military hierarchy. They could only report their students' activities to the commander over all of them. That's not what "teacher" meant to Paul.

    That's not a relationship Paul would have recognized as a teacher/disciple relationship. He might have called that "expounding" the doctrine of a teacher, such as Aquila and Priscilla did with Apollos. But Apollos was never their disciple, and they were never his teachers as Paul would have understood it.

    Paul did not allow men to be discipled to women because the concept inherently involved authority in his understanding...and he also directed that women were to be discipled to older women. He didn't have any co-ed discipling at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  11. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Thank you for the reply! While the Bible certainly allows women to teach, would 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 apply to women when "in church" (v. 35), and would 1 Timothy 2:12 apply when teaching "over a man"? If not, what do they mean? Thanks!
     
  12. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. -- Luke 2

    This was the way disciples learned under their doctrinal master, the Socratic-style questioning and answering. These women were actually insinuating themselves as disciples to the male elders, which Paul had disallowed in his congregations.

    Men were to be discipled to men, women were to be discipled to women. So if these women were unmarried or married to pagans, they should have been asking those questions (being under the discipline) of older Christian women, or if married, then to their (believing) husbands. Paul did not pemit co-ed discipling.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  13. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Those are details that women must sort out, not men on their behalf.
     
  14. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    When I publicly answer these questions it always turns into a nasty mess and a waste of my time. I've studied this in great detail and preached very detailed messages on it, and there is a very biblical answer that does not ignore or dismiss these scriptures, but embraces them and is consistent with God's heart and nature. I'll say this it is very different that what you've asked above and requires a much greater contextual view than people typically take.
     
  15. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    This is sooooo good, and soooooo true!
     
  16. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Would 1 Corinthians 14:34 suggest the problem is that women speaking in church would go against being "submissive, as the law also says"?
     
  17. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    While Paul is talking about women in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, is he only talking to women here? Notice that the women are spoken of in the third person, not the second person. Therefore, it seems Paul's talking to the entire congregation about the women. Therefore, while the instruction is pertains to the women, it's written for all to read, man or woman.
     
  18. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    I've spent most of my life understanding these passages to forbid women from preaching and holding positions of leadership in the church. This is how everyone I've known, man or woman, understood these passages. However, I don't want to believe something because it's how I'm raised; rather, I want to "Test all things" and only "hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21; cf. Proverbs 18:17). Therefore, I'm open to a different interpretation if such is not contrived. Were any of the messages you've preached recorded? If so, may I have access to them? Thanks!
     
  19. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    There have been sooo many discussions of this subject here on Christian Forums. I'm thinking that every argument, pro and con, that can be offered has been thoroughly explored on those threads, so you might save yourself a lot of time just by looking them up.

    By the way, the main reason for the leading denominations that do not have women pastors to take the stand that they do is NOT because of the verses that deal with women being silent in church or submissive. That idea has significance in some of the smaller fundamentalist churches, but it's a different scriptural issue that is really the key to the answer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  20. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Since Paul promoted women speaking in other contexts, it is overreaching to say that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 applies to women speaking in every context.
    [​IMG]
     
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