A discussion about the Bible, men and women, in this culture leaves the door wide open to impassioned and quite often false interpretations of Biblical Scripture, so I want to lay a foundation of how we can approach this issue in order to rightly divide the Word of God.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Tim. 3-16
“Study (Be diligent, Earnestly seek, Endeavor) to present yourself approved unto God, a workman that has nothing to be ashamed of, able to RIGHTLY (correctly) divide, handle or apply the Word of God” 2 Timothy 2.14 Rightly divide orthotomunta = cutting straight
“Knowing this FIRST, that NO PROPHECY of Scripture is of any PRIVATE interpretation” 2 Peter 1.20
So how can we interpret the WORD of God correctly?
We MUST allow the Bible to interpret itself, in its context, in previous use, in consistency, in overall balance. By whom it was written, to whom it was written, when it was written. Is it Old or New Testament, When does the New Testament become effective. Whose words are being quoted, Is it God? Is it man? Is it the devil?
The original texts did not have chapters, verses or titles. These have all been placed by men based on their interpretations and context of the scriptures.
You must consider that over 80% of the scriptures are written in PLURAL form, they are written to everyone, Some to God’s children through Abraham and HIS SEED (Israel and the Church) Some to the Church corporately some to Whosoever, some to the those who are called and sanctified (Jude), to those that have obtained like precious faith (2 Peter), to the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (1 Peter) To all who are in Rome called the saints. To the Church of God which is at Corinth, called to be saints, to Timothy, a true son in the faith, To Titus a true, etc. son
1 Corinthians 7.6 “But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment” (Paul speaking)
1 Corinthians 7.7 “For I wish that all men were even as myself” (Paul speaking) God speaking says “IT IS NOT GOOD for man to be alone”
1 Corinthians 7.8 But I say to the unmarried and the widows: It is good for them to remain even as I am” (Paul speaking).
1 Corinthians 1.10-11 “To the married I command not I but the Lord “A wife is not to depart from her husband, But even if she does, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled” yet in verse 15 he writes “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or sister is NOT UNDER bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace”
The two most commonly used texts that are used in opposition to women in ministry are:
“Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. 12 I permit no woman[b] to teach or to have authority over a man;[c] she is to keep silent.” NRSB. “I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else.” MSG Bible. 1 Timothy 2.11-12.
“Let a woman keep silent in the Church for it is not permitted for women to speak”
How do we interpret this? Can she lead worship? Can she pray? Can she sing a Solo? Can she prophecy? Can she share a testimony? Can she teach a lesson?
What about the manifestations of the Spirit? The Scripture does not differentiate whether male or female. It reads “BUT the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one (male or female) for the profit of ALL (male or female) To one is given the word of wisdom to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit for the profit of ALL (male or female)
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. 35 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” NKJV
Teaching, prophecy and tongues and the manifestations of the Spirit. Verses 26 and 27 explicitly reads that when you come together (Churches, Houses, Meetings?) each of you (male or female is NOT stipulated) asks: Each of you has a psalm, has a TEACHING, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation, LET ALL these things be done for edification”
Paul is NOT forbidding for women to speak or teach or use their spiritual gifts, NO, NO, NO. The context of the letter is rather to prohibit undisciplined arguments and discussions publicly disturbing the meetings.
The Message Bible has a better and more understandable significance of what Paul is saying:
34-36 Wives must not disrupt worship, talking when they should be listening, asking questions that could more appropriately be asked of their husbands at home. God’s Book of the law guides our manners and customs here. Wives have no license to use the time of worship for unwarranted speaking. Do you—both women and men—imagine that you’re a sacred oracle determining what’s right and wrong? Do you think everything revolves around you? MSG Bible
The debate is ongoing but in the context of the previous verses regarding these very difficult scriptures MUST be taken in a contextual, consistent and balanced interpretation.
1 Timothy 3.2 says that a Bishop MUST be the husband of ONE WIFE. Does that rule single men form serving in the Church? What about divorced men that were saved after their divorce?
1 Timothy 5. 3-16 would require churches to establish “orders for widows” for those 60 or older and would require that all widows (men and women) fifty nine and younger to GET MARRIED for reason of sensual desires and idleness.
Romans 16.16 commends us to “Greet one another with a holy Kiss” 1 Corinthians 16.20 “Greet one another with a holy kiss” 1 Thessalonians 5.26 “Greet ALL the brethren with a Holy Kiss”
What about foot washing? We are explicitly commanded to do it (John 13.14-15)
Obviously our inherited tradition, as well as our sense of cultural context, strongly influence our interpretations. What happens in other parts of the world with wine, beer, tobacco, bikinis, hair beards, mustaches, ETC, ETC, ETC.
We therefore must rethink traditional teachings and doctrines and reaffirm the Biblical basis for the participation of women in Church ministry. The underlying Biblical theology of being “a new creation in Christ”, partakers of a new and better covenant built on better promises. The fact that under this New Covenant there is neither Jew nor Greek Male nor Female, neither slave nor free, neither male or female we are all one in Christ Jesus, All sons of God through faith in Christ, Abrahams seed and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3.26-29.
There is a powerful affirmation and inclusion among the disciples of women in the ministry. Jesus’s inclusion of women among his disciples and witnesses; the coming of the Holy Spirit on sons and daughters to prophecy and dream dreams; Paul’s inclusion of women in his circle of coworkers in the ministry and the historical account of the early Church fathers that affirms equal participation of both men and women in all ministries of the gospel.
Women who served in Ministry in the early Church included Lydia, Chloe, Nympha, Apphia, Mary. Persis, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Priscilla, Euvodia, Syntyche, Phoebe, Junia and Mary Magdalene. The last two recognized by Paul and the Early church fathers as APOSTLES of the Lord.
My personal believe for all women in ministry and that goes for all men also is that EVERYONE needs a Spiritual COVERING and that it should be a MALE.