Women in Leadership

John White, a member of the CHC community, recently had the privilege to speak with Felicity Dale of www.SimplyChurch.com on women in leadership of the church.  Below are the three videos that John published for their use.

Video 1 - Understanding the nature of church, who leaders were, and how to interpret scripture to see the leadership role of women in the church.

Video 2 - Using the “one-end-of-the-telephone” approach to understanding scriptural commands for the behavior of women in the church.

Video 3 - Women leaders of the early church, women as apostolic church leaders, and the excitement seeing women and men joined together in ministry.

For more information on the SimplyChurch ”Kingdom Women” series, visit http://www.simplychurch.com/kingdom-women/


Women in Leadership — 13 Comments

  1. Sorry,
    You can not base a doctrine on an analogy of a family. There is no way that you can get women church leaders from I Timothy 2. In I Tim. 2, it has nothing to do with culture or questions that anyone was asking, like possibly 1 Cor 14. Two reasons are clearly given in the context. The reasons are historical not cultural: 1. Order of creation – Adam was first formed and then Eve. 2. Because the woman was the one who was decieved.
    Never can you have women elders, or in authority over a man. There are many ministris for women in the church, but leadership over men is clearly not one of them, no matter what any author says.
    If you want to go back to Biblical Historical Christianity, by doing home churches, that is fine, but then do it biblically, not according to some analogy or man’s thinking. That is what you are trying to get away from, right, non-biblical ideas?

  2. Thank you for your comments, Richard. Let me see if I can answer your objections.

    1. We must start with the fact that 1 Tim. 2:11-15 is a difficult passage. Scholars have argued over exactly what Paul meant for centuries. So, I would suggest that we all need to be a bit tentative about our conclusions. It’s possible that you are correct that Paul would not have women in any leadership in the church. However, there may other conclusions that are possible.

    2. I’m sure you would agree that good hermeneutics are always our starting place. That is, we must seek to understand any passage in its original historical context. From 1 Tim. 5:3-16 and 2 Tim. 3:5-9, we know that there was a specific problem with women in Ephesus that was of great concern to Paul. False teachers were “gaining control over weak-willed women” (2 Tim. 3:6). And, it’s likely these same women who are going from “house to house” (house church to house church?) spreading “gossip” and “saying things they ought not to” (1 Tim. 5:13. Some had even “turned away to follow Satan”. (v. 14). Further, these women were “overcome by sensual desires” (1 Tim. 5:11) and dressing in an immodest manner (1 Tim. 2:9). In short, some of the women in Ephesus were causing a real mess and this is what Paul was thinking about when he penned these words.

    3. So, it is at least possible that here, as in 1 Cor. 11, Paul is addressing a specific situation and is not intending universal applications. This would be the position of NT scholar, Gordon Fee, who writes: “By saying, “I am not permitting a woman to teach or have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12), Paul focuses particularly on the situation in Ephesus. Such language as this, as well as the “I want” in v. 8, lacks any sense of universal imperative for all situations.” New International Biblical Commentary. 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus. p. 77.

    4. Finally, I would argue that the analogy of the family should still bear on our understanding. A healthy marriage is not a “command and control” relationship where the husband is continually “exercising his authority” over the wife. Rather, the husband and wife are working together as a team to give leadership to the family. See 1 Pet 3:8. I believe both Paul and Peter would desire to see this same dynamic in the house churches.

    Seen in this light, a proper understanding of 1 Tim. 2 does not require that we exclude women from leadership in the church. Hope that helps.

  3. Richard Kalk is right. If you say Paul’s instructions were for a particular church or situation, then you make void the Scripture that says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2Tim.3:16) Because some would be just for the Corinthians or the Ephesian, etc.

    The relationship between man and woman is compaired to Christ and the church. Christ is the head and the church, which is the body, can never exercise authority over Christ. Nor is the woman allowed to exercise authority over her head.

    God made man in His image and he is the image and glory of God. Woman is not the glory of God!! She is a weaker vessel(1Pet.3:7) and is the glory of man. (1Cor.11:7)

    This is God’s order: God is the head of Christ; Christ is the head of Man; and man is the head of the woman.(1Cor.11:3) No one has the authority to change God’s order by twisting the word or through their own interpretation.

    The qualifications given for a elder, in all cases, was, they were to be the HUSBAND of one wife. (1Tim.3:2;Ti.1:6)

    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:35, that it is “improper” or “disgraceful” for a woman to speak in church. He didn’t say just your women or just in your church. And what he wrote to them was the “Lord’s commanment.” (Vs.37)

    Finally, “If anyone advocates a diferent doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”(1Tim.6:3-5)

    Instead of explaining away the plain word of God give specific Scriptures that give woman the authority to preach or exercise authority over men.

    Ron Garber

  4. Hey Richard,
    I happened to notice “Richard Kalk” and couldn’t help but check it out to see that it was you. Great to see your name on the CHC site. It has been a long time since the Foundry days, Jackson, and our summer in the Panama. Love to connect sometime in person back your way or even via phone.

    I remember looking at the topic of women in leadership in those earlier Bible School days together. It is still an issue of disagreement and various views. I still think of Sophie Muller who worked in the jungle of Columbia and started dozens of NT churches, one source say 200 in her first 20 years and as much as 500 in her 50 years of service there. We personally know several husband wife teams in Africa some who started at least 10 churches a year (Sophie’s average). One of our teachers at Jackson said if you don’t know what the Bible teaches on a subject take a year and read thru the Bible and ask God what his thoughts are on the subject. 4 years later, my last year of College I read thru the Bible and asked “What is your view of women and in particular of women in ministry/leadership?”. In the Old Testament I noted things like women in the roles of judges, prophets. The command for man and women to rule together in Genesis 1. Not sure what to do with that but went on to the NT.

    If I am correct in the NT there were not only husband/wife church planting teams in the Bible but women starting house churches, women prophets, women apostles. I too have noted for years that I Timothy 2: can be a difficult passage to reconcile with women in roles of leadership (all this not to mention our understanding of Biblical leadership). For right or wrong I have not been able to let this one passage cancel out what other passages seem to be telling us. When I was teaching and dialoging in my work as a pastor and college teacher I would often say I am not satisfied with my answer (or others) to I Timothy 2, but I have a number of other passages that make me question how we fit it all together. I have found myself confirming and even pray for the great ministries women are doing. Since those days of traditional ministry I have read and listen to more than what may be a healthy share of the answers on both sides and new sides I didn’t know existed. I light of which I too want to submit there is more to said in what feels like a really important subject.
    Jan Cowles

  5. As I read Jan’s reply I failed to find one Scripture to back up her claims. She said there were women starting house churches, women prophets and women apostles in the NT. Again NO SCRIPTURE to back up such statements.

    As far the woman who started 500 churches, are we to base our belief on what someone does or on the word of God. Jehovah Witnesses and Mormon’s start thousands of churches, but that doesn’t make them right for they are started on FALSE TEACHING. Likewise no matter how many churches a woman starts, they are starting on the false teaching that it is okay for women to teach and exercise authority over a man. -Ron Garber

  6. This is an issue that has divided christians for centuries. Women in Leadership. When we look at this issue, we base a lot of beliefs on our perception of what we know church to be. Since 370 ad, we have had pastors and lay people as seperate functions. Whenever you look at leadership in the NT, you see male leadership. Elders, pastors, evangelists etc. Yet, when it comes to the function of ministering, is the bible clear that it is men doing the leading? Percilla and Aquilla both had a church and even had a ministry to Paul. They did this together. Scripture does not say that Percilla sat there while Aquilla taught. So, we know God is using men and women all throughout the world to do His work. In most passages that deal with women being silent, it was because there was a different way women were treated back then. Women were not allowed in the synagoge. Women we not valued the way they are today. So, we need to let God teach us the proper role of women in the church today and go with that instead of allowing a non-issue subject to divide us and make us argue with eachother. God uses both men and women to bring people into the kingdom through salvation. In our house church, women have just as much right to teach and have input as men. We are all in the priesthood of the believers because of Christ. Blessings!

    P.S. Jan is a man!!

  7. Ron….you wanted scripture to back up what Jan said. I noticed he hasn’t gotten back to you yet, so I thought I’d join this conversation and provide that for you. You said he had no scriptural proof that there were women apostles, prophets, and leaders of churches, in the Old or New Testaments….so here you go:


    Deborah, a prophetess and Judge, leading all of Israel: Judg 4:4-5 “Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.” NIV

    Huldah, prophetess: 2 Kings 22:14 + 2 Chr 34:22

    Miriam, prophetess, co-leader of Israel with Moses & Aaron: Exodus (e.g. Ex 15:20) & Numbers, and God said himself that he sent Miriam as a leader: Mic 6:4 “I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.”

    Sarai’s name was changed by God, to Sarah—this was a highly significant name-change—it has the same meaning as Prince/Ruler of the People—both she and Abraham were given this charge at the same time—together they were to be “the father of many nations” (as the two are ONE, as God stated from the beginning—and the term “Father” includes the term “mother”—same concept as you men being the “Bride of Christ” every bit as much as us women being “Sons of God” ;-) ). Later, God even commanded Abraham to OBEY Sarah—only most translations water the word down to say “listen to” her…if you’re an honest scholar, however, you can get out your concordance and see that the word is translated “hearken” or “obey” (much stronger than just “listen to”) everywhere else:
    Gen 21:12-13 “But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.” NKJV


    Junia was a woman, noted as an apostle (and an outstanding one at that), by Paul: Rom 16:7: “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” KJV

    Acts 18:24-26…Priscilla and Aquilla take Apollos aside to “explain the word of God more adequately to him…” It is a well-known fact that at the time of this writing, whenever a couple was mentioned, the more prominent one (in the line of work or subject matter) was listed first—Priscilla is here listed ahead of Aquilla, which shows she was the more notable teacher. Furthermore, if women weren’t ever to teach men, she would have never been praised here as having done so, or there would have been a disclaimer as to why she did (if it wasn’t generally “allowed”).

    Acts 2:17 “…..your sons AND DAUGHTERS will prophesy…”

    1 Cor 4:31 “…for you can ALL prophesy….” (not just the men….)

    And what is prophecy? SPEAKING to the CHURCH in order that the CHURCH can be edified! (1 Cor 14:5; 14:31; 14:39; etc.) You CANNOT prophesy unless you SPEAK to the church! The Bible does not contradict itself—it cannot be telling women forevermore to “BE SILENT” in church and not teach, etc., when in other places it encourages women to do so.
    You cannot take one scripture and create a doctrine if it doesn’t also line up with the rest of scripture!

    But wait, there’s more!! …Phoebe in Romans 16:1 is listed as a “servant of the church in Cenchrea…” The word for “servant” there is diakonos and everywhere else in the N.T. it is translated as “minister” or “deacon” – that is, everywhere else where it refers to a MAN! Funny how they translated this as “servant” in the case of a woman. It’s like the translators must have thought, “this just cannot be…this is a woman, and women cannot be ministers, leaders, deacons in the church….we must make this say something else…..”

    You know Ron, there is much more proof I could provide for you, but I suspect that in this case you are a man to whom the following applies:

    “Give men what proof you will, but seldom do they find more than what it suits them to find. If what is said agrees with their preconceived notions, well; if not, they reject it.”

  8. Deb

    First let me say I have heard all these arguments before. I am only going to deal with the ones in the New Testiment so not to make this too long.

    You said that …”both she (Sarah) and Abraham were given this charge at the same time—together they were to be ‘the father of many nations.’” That is twisting the Scripture to said what you want it to say because the word does not say that. God says He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He never includes their wives.

    God has an order: “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ. (1 Cor.11:3) Christ did not exercise authority over the Father and man cannot exercise authority over Christ. And Paul rightly says a woman can not exercise authority over the man. (1Tim.2:12)

    You also state, “God even commanded Abraham to OBEY Sarah—only most translations water the word down to say “listen to” her…if you’re an honest scholar, however, you can get out your concordance and see that the word is translated “hearken” or “obey” (much stronger than just “listen to”) everywhere else.” Well, I did get out my concordance as an honest scholar and the word is “shama,” which is the prime root “to hear.” But lets translate it your way. God said to Adam, “Because you have OBEYED your wife,” look at the curse it brought. (Gen.3:17-19) And again, Sarah told Abram to take her handmaid and have children. “And Abram OBEYED to the voice of Sarai.” (Gen.16:2) The results was because he OBEYED his wife, the child born became a nation that still persecutes the child born of the promise even to this day. When God told Abraham to listen to his wife, Abraham was obeying God not his wife.

    You quote, “Junia was a woman, noted as an apostle (and an outstanding one at that),” is really a misquote for it does not say she was noted as an apostle. It says, “…My fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles.” (Rom.16:7) It is only saying she was outstanding “in the opinion” of the apostles.

    I agree with you that “Priscilla and Aquilla took Apollos aside to “explain the word of God more adequately to him…” the key word here is “aside.” This was done in private not in the church.

    You quote, Acts 2:17 “…..your sons AND DAUGHTERS will prophesy…” 1 Cor 4:31 “…for you can ALL prophesy….” (not just the men….) This is correct but there is a difference between prophesying and a prophet. Prophesy is a spiritual gift and both men and women can have that gift. A prophet is a gifted man. Having a gift of prophesy does not make you a prophet. The Greek word for prophesying indicates the mind is not employed, meaning what is said is coming from the spirit. And the Greek word that says the prophets can SPEAK (1 Cor.14:29), indicates they must think about what is being said. When it says a women is to keep silent in the churches (plural) and are not not allowed to speak, he is talking about teaching and preaching because you have to use the mind. But concerning prophesy, “all may prophesy.” (This includes women if they have a covering on their head. (1Cor.11:5,6) They can all speak with tongues because again what is being said is by the spirit and not what someone is thinking. If it was speaking of the same thing, how could Paul said “all can prophesy” then turn around in the same letter tell the women to keep silent. Otherwise we would have to say he, (or actually God) was contradicting himself. You yourself said, “The Bible does not contradict itself—it cannot be telling women forevermore to “BE SILENT” in church and not teach, etc., when in other places it encourages women to do so.”

    Finally you say, “Phoebe in Romans 16:1 is listed as a “servant of the church in Cenchrea…” The word for “servant” there is diakonos and everywhere else in the N.T. it is translated as “minister” or “deacon” – that is, everywhere else where it refers to a MAN!” Well, a servant or minister does not necessarily mean preaching. And yes, it can mean a deaconess. Deacons were appointed to wait on tables and serve the members of the body so that preachers would not neglect the word. (Ac.6:2)

    If Paul was wrong when he instructed the church that “women were not allowed to teach or exercise authority over a man,” (1Cor.14:34; 1Tim.2:12) then we cannot believe any of the epistles he wrote were inspired by God, for he would be a false apostle.

    Deb, trying to insult me does not change what the word of God says. When someone cannot prove beyond the shadow of a doubt their point of view they often resort to that type of behavior.


  9. Ron, wasn’t your last comment toward me an insult? (e.g. saying I have to resort to certain behavior because I “can’t prove my point” ? )

    My original comment was the recognition that you most likely approach this subject with your mind already made up—believing the traditionalist view that has been taught for years–and are so convinced of its veracity that whatever anyone says is not likely to sway you one bit. Is that not true? If not—if you are legitimately seeking Truth on this subject—then please, forgive me and let’s look at this further.

    I, too, once thoroughly believed the Traditional View—it was absolutely “clear” in Scripture. I used to argue against liberal feminists on this very topic. And when pushed to examine “egalitarian” viewpoints, I set out to prove them wrong. I read EVERYONE I could find–from the heavy-hitters in Complementarianism (Grudem, et. al), to those from the Egalitarian side. Both sides had many weak arguments, and both sides had some good things to say (I was holding to what I read in the Bible). In the end, when looking at the meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek, and the WHOLE counsel of God’s Word, I realized that indeed, the Word had been twisted and translated in ways to support bias against women, but the Lord never intended them to be continually subjugated (as the heathen/pagan nations continue to practice). As for which “side” I’m on now: neither. There IS a plumbline.

    As for your counter-arguments here, my gut says to just walk away, because I don’t think anything I say will influence you (if not merely for the fact that you would never be “taught” by a woman…). But my passion for, and belief in, the Truth compels me to respond. :-) So here we go…

    >On Junia—are you not adding to the scriptures when you say it means “in the opinion of” the apostles? That’s not what the original text says! She was “outstanding ‘among’ the apostles” …as one of them.

    >On Priscilla & Aquilla and it not being “in church” – they had a church that met in their home (1 Cor 16:19), and if you are arguing that this is OK, but it’s not OK for women to teach in an “institutional church,” I am not sure what you are doing on a house church forum to begin with! We *ARE* the “church”—the “called out ones to establish His Kingdom government” (meaning of original word)—wherever Priscilla taught was *in* “church”!

    >The prophecy stuff I do not have time to go into, and especially not the “head covered” issue…although if you insist, I can address this later :-) …prophecy and prophesying is one of the biggest area I have studied and taught on (yes, taught in the church)….but just for a tidbit: in the original language the last verse of that passage actually says the woman “ought to have power (aka authority) over her OWN head”!

    >On Phoebe…I can see how you deduce what you did…but I also realized I left out another very critical point that will help define the original (that she was a minister/leader). The verse continues to say, “for she has been a GREAT HELP to many…including me” OR, “a PATRON of many…” or a “SUCCORER…” ….all of these translations on the kind of “HELP” Phoebe was are way off the mark. The word in the original is “prostatis,” which is the feminine form of PROSTEIMI, which means: “to stand before in rank, to be over, or to rule.” It is the same word describing how elders of the church are to function. Phoebe was clearly a prominent leader/elder in the church.

    >Regarding 1 Cor 14:34: “they are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.” Which Law exactly says that? It’s not in the Mosaic Law. Go ahead and do a thorough search. You won’t find it, it’s not there…. Hmmmmm, something’s up! So we see that there are seeming “contradictions” again–but the Bible doesn’t contradict itself when properly interpreted, so what could the real interpretation be?

    Most scholars of the New Testament who are familiar with the technicalities of the Greek language insist that parts of this letter to the Corinthians are actually quotes taken from another source–a letter written to Paul by the leaders of the church in Corinth (referred to by Paul in Chapter 7:1 when he mentions, “the things about which you wrote.”) Most of the specific issues that Paul addresses in 1 Cor, in fact, are topics that were included in that letter.
    Paul’s seemingly restrictive words about women in chapter 14 take on a different light when we consider that he was very likely quoting a letter from church leaders who were imposing on the young congregation a harsh, anti-woman position that was rooted in their rabbinical Jewish traditions.

    There are several reasons why scholars believe that verses 34 + 35 are quotes from their letter. The most important clue is that the Greek symbol n(with a grave accent) is used at the beginning of verse 36 to signal to the reader that the preceding statement is quoted. Because Greek does not have what we know as quotation marks, this device is used instead. This would explain why these verses SEEM TO contradict everything that Paul has said up to this point about the full participation of all believers in New Testament worship. The apostle has spent several chapters telling the Corinthians that all can prophesy “one by one.” He even stated in 1 cor 11:5 that women can pray and prophesy publicly. So why would he contradict himself here by saying that women can’t speak in church??

    Back to vs 34 where it says women aren’t allowed to speak: “just as the Law also says…” What law is this verse referring to? There is no law in the Old Testament that says women cannot speak. There is no reference to a scripture given here. That’s because it is not referring to an Old Testament law but to a Jewish Rabbinical tradition that the Corinthian church had adopted.

    The harshness of the language in verse 35 gives us another clue that this “Law” is actually a man-made rule invented by the same type of legalistic Judaizers that Paul publicly opposed in the churches of Galatia and Colossae. The phrase, “It is improper for a woman to speak in church,” can actually be translated, “It is shameful for a woman to speak.”

    Do we honestly believe this verse reflects the heart of God? It cannot be. Paul is quoting those who held to a degrading view of women–and who actually described women in Jewish writings as vile and disgraceful… Examples:

    From the Jewish Talmud: “Out of respect to the congregation, a woman should not herself read in the law. It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men. The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness.”

    “Men should not sit and listen to a woman…even if she says admirable things, or even saintly things, that is of little consequence, since they came from the mouth of a woman.” –Origen

    But because Paul opposed this degrading view of women, he responds to the Corinthians in verse 36 with a sharp answer (a very sarcastic answer, similar to Jesus’ response to the Pharisees): “WHAT?! Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only?”
    This strange response makes no sense if we believe that Paul penned verses 34 and 35. But if he is contradicting the statements made by the Judaizers of Corinth, then we can understand the defiant tone of verse 36. To paraphrase him: “What??!!! (or “what the heck??!!!”) …You are going to silence women when the gospel of Jesus was first preached by women after they saw Him at the tomb on Easter morning? Do you really think preaching the gospel is only for men??!!”

    This passage is one of the most misunderstood parts of the Bible. I believe the only way it can logically be interpreted is to accept the fact that Paul is responding to a quoted statement. This view was repeated by theologian Kenneth S. Kantzer in Christianity Today: “In 1 Cor 14 we are caught in an intricate interplay between quotations from a missing letter from the Corinthians and Paul’s solutions to problems the letter had raised. The verse is clearly not repeating a law of Scripture and cannot be taken as a universal command for women to be silent in church. That interpretation would flatly contradict what the apostle had just said three chapters earlier.”

    >Regarding the 1 Tim 2 verses: There are a couple schools of thought on why Paul would say this at this time. But either way, we know he was not against women teaching merely because of gender—but because of other aspects peculiar to the issue or times at hand.

    One proposition is that in this letter to Timothy, up to this point, Paul is addressing men and women (plural), and just in these verses (11-15) switches to singular–he is addressing a SINGLE person–one individual woman–a woman who was teaching heresy; Paul was commanding her to learn and not to teach–and to learn in the attitude that all men were accustomed already to learning–in silence and submission to God & the teacher–she was to abstain from teaching for a while to spend the time instead learning. She was silenced not because she was a woman, but because she was teaching false doctrine, a heresy that was causing serious problems for the church (as the entire letter addresses in various manners). It wasn’t a matter of gender, because Paul had also addressed other false teachers throughout this epistle–both men and women–and the men he was particularly harsh to: Hymaneus & Alexander were “handed over to Satan to teach them not to blaspheme”; in other words, to stop them from speaking untruths about God. Paul silenced them, too.

    It’s in Present tense: “I am not permitting a [certain] woman to teach….” Or “I am not permitting women at this time to teach…”

    Not: imperative: “I will never permit women to teach….”

    Paul showed elsewhere that he wanted reliable women (persons) to teach: “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable PERSONS who will also be qualified to teach others”…he could have used the word “aner” here, which would mean just the males/men; but instead chose “anthropos” = mankind/persons.

    Titus 1:10-11 Paul used the same solution to men there who were spreading false teachings. He said “For there are many rebellious MEN…who must be silenced.” Yet, we would never generalize these instructions to say that because male false teachers were spreading heresies, then all male teachers must be silenced!

    As for the rest of the verse: “…or to have authority over a man” ….the original word that is here translated as “authority” is authentein. This is the ONLY place in the Bible this word is used. It is not the normal word for “authority”—Paul was a smart man—he could have easily used exousia or another word if that is what he meant. Authentein has extremely negative connotations—meaning to domineer, usurp authority in a hostile manner, etc. The whole of the verse, rightly translated, says: “I do not permit a woman to teach as in a way to domineer or gain authority over a man” … it probably had to do with the prominent feminist teaching of their culture—believing women were superior—Paul is correcting a teaching that women are not superior to men (but nor are men superior to women, as seen in other passages). If you look honestly at the whole of scripture, there really is a mutual submission teaching: wives are to submit to husbands, but only as the husbands “lay down their lives for” their wives (a much stricter command than submit!); wives have authority over their husband’s body, as husband’s have authority over their wives (the only place any “authority over” is mentioned—and it’s MUTUAL); the wife is the only “master of the house” mentioned in the N.T. (oikodespote in 1 Tim 5:14, wrongly translated as “guide the house”)…but again, it doesn’t mean that women are to have “authority over” men…it is just showing that there really is a mutuality—God intended husbands and wives to be ONE and equal in the home—and the family should be the basis for the church. It is, as Jesus taught: “Do not call anyone Lord or Master…” (and this applies to wives/women).

    Luke 22:24-27
    24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
    Jesus clearly taught his disciples NOT to be “like the Gentiles” (to us that translates: unbelievers/pagans), and He never added anything like, “Oh, except for husbands—it’s OK for husbands to rule their wives….” He would have had to qualify that if he meant for it to ever be an exception to the rule He taught, but he didn’t!! The Luke 22 verses speak to the issue particularly well if we apply it to unbelieving husbands (my paraphrase): “The male ‘kings of their castles’ lord it over their wives; those husbands who exercise authority over their wives even call themselves “servant leaders” (benefactors), trying to make it look like they’re actually doing good for their wives by being the one to lead and make all the final decisions… But you are not to be like that!!”

    Another theory on the 1 Timothy verses is that Paul was forbidding women at that time ONLY (because again, not in the imperative…) because of social conditions that were dangerous to women’s virtue—he was protecting them.

    Either way, this is an isolated scripture, and pertains to a peculiar set of circumstances. Just a few verses earlier, Paul commands MEN (not “mankind,” but the MALES of the species) to “lift up holy hands in prayers” (v8) …is this something you personally do every time you pray, Ron? Or how about, “I would that all men were as me (celibate)” …which Paul states in 1 Cor 7:7…does this mean that you, and ALL MEN, must be celibate forever? If not, then why not? Why not apply these scriptures to the men when you apply obscure scriptures to women that contradict other clear teaching? We must consider the WHOLE counsel of God.

    But wait, there’s MORE! (although I am not sure it will all fit on one post here…so maybe I will submit this now, and post the rest to follow….and THE BEST is yet to come! God’s original intent—what He wanted from The Beginning…as Jesus Himself pointed to when questioned on men/women relationships… one of the things Jesus came to restore!!!)

    …to be continued…

  10. (cont’d response to Ron)

    As for saying I twisted the Scripture on Abraham & Sarah when I said God called her at the same time as Abraham.

    Isa 51:1-2 says: “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD : Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.”

    The point is that when God changed Abram’s name, he changed Sarai’s at same time…it’s a calling and commissioning to them both. God points to them as a couple here in Isaiah (“look to Abraham, AND to Sarah…”). Abraham could not have been the Father without the Mother. When God says he blessed him and made him many, he is looking at the two AS ONE, as He declared marriages should be from the beginning. Just because Abraham is mentioned most often just by his own name, doesn’t mean he still wasn’t “ONE” with Sarah—the two are “ONE.” It is the same as when God created man:

    Gen 1:26-28
    26 Then God said, “Let us make man (“adam” = “humankind,” not the male of the species) in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
    27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.
    28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number…rule and have dominion, etc.”

    This is the account of the creation of MAN (both male & female as ONE). He creates “man” as both male & female and commands THEM (together) to rule & reign—not just Adam the male. Later He formed Adam’s physical body out of the dust, then pulled the female part out of Adam and says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined (cleave) to his wife.” What is the reason? Because they were just previously ONE mankind, now they’ve been separated into male & female, and the male is to leave his home/parents, etc. to cleave to the female. It doesn’t say the female is to leave her life & protection (parents) and be joined to the male, but vice versa—and that’s for a reason: The male could forever then use that as his “God-ordained” reason for the woman to be subjugated to him. But nor does this mean that the woman is to have “authority over” the man—the two are to be ONE. Remember, in Gen 1 they were created in God’s image, male and female—it was as if the substance of God’s image was all just in Adam until the female part was removed (remember, God is Spirit, not flesh). When Eve was made, the image of God was not added to or subtracted from. It was divided into male and female. Yet they were one. Think of it as God’s image being purple, and Adam and Eve then divide to become blue and pink. It is only by their coming together, uniting “as one” that they then reflect His full image again (blue + pink = purple).

    Let’s back up to WHY Eve was made to see this more clearly:

    Gen 2:18: “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

    The first thing to note is what God said was “not good”—man being alone. He didn’t say, “it’s not good that Adam has all this work to do by himself, he needs someone to assist him with this, someone to delegate to…” or anything like that (remember He had commissioned both male & female to rule/reign in Gen 1). It was Adam’s aloneness—his lack of fellowship with someone like himself that God called “not good,” so God said He’d make a “helper suitable” or a “helper comparable.”
    There are several Hebrew words used in the O.T. that translate in English as “helper.” The one used here is “ezer”— ezer is a very strong word used 21 times in scripture, 20 of which refer to God’s own help in our lives. The one time it is used to refer to human help, it’s in the context of having help in times of trouble, especially when needing deliverance from one’s enemies—in other words, this “help” is coming from someone stronger and more able to help us than ourselves—are we to assume God is in subjection to us because He’s described as our Helper? How about the Holy Spirit, who is The Helper, the Comforter…is He “under” us in authority??

    One often overlooked method of Bible study that gives better understanding to what the text is saying is to look up which words were not used. For example, there are several other words translated “help” in the Old Testament that are more close to the meaning of “helper” as in a personal assistant, to just “help” with whatever needs done under the guidance of another. If God had meant for the wife to be a “helper” in this sense, the writer of Genesis would have used one of those words, but He did not.

    The “helper” God was making was also described as “suitable” which is the Hebrew word neged and also translated “comparable.” Neged means “to stand boldly out opposite; eye to eye; nose to nose; chest to chest; knee to knee; etc.” This balances out the “eger” help she was to be (help that comes from someone stronger than you) and shows specifically they were on equal standing–woman wasn’t to be man’s mother and dominate him, but neither was she to be his child to be dominated by him–she was to be his wife, and one with him. There was never a hierarchy from the beginning. If any argument for hierarchy could be made, we could say that God created things in ascending order of complexity in design and intelligence: water then plants then fish/birds then animals then Adam and finally, the crown of creation, the best He could do: EVE!! But we all know that’s a ridiculous argument! They were EQUAL under God as far as authority, but differently created as to function. There is no indication otherwise, except where people have presumed something that is not there.

    When God commanded Adam not to eat from the tree, Eve had not yet been formed. When God said, “because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree…” he was not reprimanding Adam for “listening to his wife,” because He never commanded Adam not to listen to his wife (and that would be adding to the Word and twisting it to make it say what one presumes). The sin was in eating of the tree he was commanded not to, not in listening to his wife. (Incidentally, my point on God telling Abraham to hearken to Sarah was simply this: God would never have said this if He expected the husband to be the ultimate leader on everything.)

    Next we see in Genesis 3 the temptation and fall. The temptation was to be “like God” (Gen 3:5). Eve was deceived by the serpent and when confronted by God she acknowledged this, repenting of the sin: “the serpent deceived me” (vs 13)—she spoke the truth of what happened. Adam, however, willfully indulged in this sin, deliberately disobeying the command God gave him not to eat of the tree. When confronted by God, he didn’t repent as Eve did—instead, he shifted the blame to both Eve and God: “the woman YOU gave me…she gave me some fruit and I ate it” (vs 12). Adam never repents of his desire to be “as God.” So what must have been the inevitable result of continuing to indulge that desire? Adam & Eve were already both given equal dominion over all the earth; so Adam, in his desire to be “as God,” had no one else to be “as God” to, but to Eve. Therefore, he would desire to extend his dominion by subjugating Eve to his rule. And this is what God addresses when he is pronouncing the curse and what will now happen to them as a result of their disobedience in Gen 3:16:

    “To the woman he said,”I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    This is not a command from God as to how He wants the marriage relationship to be! This is part of the curse Jesus redeems us from!!! It is a PROPHECY of what’s going to happen now and not how He originally intended the relationship to be. It is Him saying to the woman, “because you and Adam sinned, now one of the bad things that will happen is you will be turning to*/desiring your husband instead of Me, and as a result, he will take advantage of that in you and he will rule over you.” (Note: “he will rule over you” instead of “he shall rule over you” … “Shall” was the O.T. terminology for commands from God; e.g. “Thou shall not steal…”)

    *The word “desire” as used here is wrongly translated in the English versions. The Hebrew word teshuqa is is best translated as “turning”. Because of how the word is translated in other passages, the verse should read: “Thou art turning away to thy husband, and he will rule over thee.” Eve is “turning” from God, and He warns her that if she does that, she will bring herself under the dominion of Adam.

    Even if it could be translated as “desire” in the sense of affectionate desire, one Bible scholar states this: “There is therefore ground for the opinion that the author in this passage [gen 3:16] intended to make Jehovah say that the very tenderness of the woman for the husband would enable him to make and keep her his inferior.”

    Eve’s subordination to man did not occur at her creation–it occurred here; it was a consequence of their sin. God’s original plan was not that women be oppressed and “ruled over.” Oftentimes the church has taught that Eve’s curse was actually God’s will for her: like, “Because of Eve’s deception, women must now and forever be ruled by men.” But that was never God’s plan–it is simply the consequence of disobedience APART FROM redemption! It’s actually an affront to the atonement Jesus gave to believe this—as if He gave His life to redeem us all from all sin, but somehow that didn’t cover Eve’s sin??? Somehow women everywhere are destined to be ruled by their husbands or men in the church because that part just wasn’t covered in the atonement??!! It’s a ridiculous assumption. How long will we continue to blame Eve for being deceived, when Adam was the one who deliberately disobeyed and was the one God made responsible for the fall?

    One more note on this passage. Gen 3:17 says: “To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you…” Some people try to imply from this verse that Adam’s sin was in “listening to his wife,” (as I pointed out earlier) because he was supposed to be the leader and make the decisions. This cannot be true. If the serpent would have spoken directly to Adam instead of Eve, the verse would read, “because you listened to the serpent and ate from the tree…” The issue is not the listening, it is the eating of the fruit that God had directly forbidden him to do! He never forbade Adam from listening to his wife, but He DID forbid him from eating from that tree.

    The bottom line is: From the beginning, God never intended men to have “authority over” women….whether in families or in church. There is not one place in the N.T. that commands wives to “obey” their husbands…nor, if rightly translated, that women in the church be subject to the men. Jesus ascended and gave gifts unto “SOME” (he, she, it, etc…but NOT just MALES!!!!) …those gifts to the church include apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, pastor…any of which a woman could be, should God so ordain.

    As for the verses on the husband being the “head of” the wife….again, Paul was a smart dude…he could have used several words that meant “authority over” here, but he didn’t. The word for head is kephale…it is a distinct word and is best translated “source of life” …which also fits with God being the source of life of Christ, and Christ being the source of life of man…and Christ being the source of life to the church. When marriage is compared to Christ and the church in Eph 4, it is in the context of Christ & the church being as ONE, and as Christ being the nurturing, provisional, support of the church–the bridegroom who says, “come up here” and the One who wishes that she attain her very best (without spot or wrinkle)…not of one who wants to subjugate her to his rule! They are to rule and reign together and subjugate the enemy and evil!!


    It is great to see such good discussion happening under this post – as was mentioned, there has been lots of controversy around this topic for centuries. Although we love & encourage hearty discussion on Colorado House Church(.com), it must be done in a spirit of kindness and respect.

    We have deleted the last two posts under this topic. If further unkind and disrespectful posts are made, we will delete them as well. Thanks for your understanding.

    ~The volunteers behind CHC.com

  12. Wow, I haven’t been back to this thread in a long time. I sensed the Lord telling me not to reply. Perhaps in part (not by my knowing) this was so Deb could begin to give the other side to this dialogue.

  13. Wow, I haven’t been back to this thread in a long time. I sensed the Lord telling me not to reply. Perhaps in part (not by my knowing) this was so Deb could begin to give the other side to this dialogue.

    PS – What ever happened to my friend Richard?