Women Teaching

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Homer
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:54 pm

For those who enjoy arguing the subject from reason, here is an excerpt from a letter by "Sister" Silena Moore Holman from long ago:

And last, but not all, nor least, comes the brother who has withdrawn from the church because the sisters are allowed to go to Sunday-school and take part in the reading of the Scriptures, teach and ask questions in the Sunday-school! I sometimes think the brothers and sisters know that passage from Paul, "Let your women keep silence in the churches," better than any other passage in the whole Bible, so often is it quoted to those women who like the women of the early church, desire only to "labor in the gospel, like those who labored with Paul in the gospel. Phil. iv: 3. But never before have I heard of the doctrine being carried to the extreme of objecting to women teaching in Sunday-school, or to their sitting in a class and asking questions.

The trouble with such people is that they base their ideas on some one passage of Scripture, when it is necessary in order to understand the teachings of the Word or take the Bible as a whole, and not in detached parts; always interpreting every passage of Scripture so as to harmonize with every other passage. In no other way is it possible to read the message of God to his children aright.

Brother Lipscomb answered this last brother in the ADVOCATE of March 14. But as I am a woman, and look at this question from a woman's standpoint, if he will permit, I too would like to say a few words on the subject.

For many years I have been striving to find out exactly what Paul means to teach in this passage. Detached from the balance of the Bible, it would certainly seem to teach that a woman should neither sing nor pray nor preach, nor open her mouth on any subject while at church, or to teach in Sunday-school or ask questions in the Bible class. Looking at the passage more clearly, we find that a literal interpretation of the verse would keep women at home altogether, NOT ALLOWING THEM TO GO TO CHURCH AT ALL, for it says if they will learn anything let them ask their husbands at home. Now, in these days, when two-thirds of the membership of the churches are women, we find that some women would be in a sore strait for information if they depended on their husbands. A gentleman once said to me while discussing this passage, "When I want to know any thing about the Bible I GO TO MY WIFE. She would have but a poor dependence, if she had to come to me for information." There are many passages in the Bible that we are compelled to interpret by the light of other passages, or by the general teaching of the Bible. Paul in 1 Cor. i: 17, says, "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." The denominations quote that passage to show that baptism is not of so much importance, as we believe it to be. And yet interpreted in the light of the numerous other passages in the Bible on the subject of baptism, we are compelled to believe that, whatever be said, Paul had no intention of depreciating the importance of baptism.

So, although, the Bible says "children obey your parents," "wives obey your husbands," does any person living believe that passage is ALWAYS to be interpreted literally, or that children should obey their parents or wives their husbands, when commanded or asked to do any thing sinful? The general teaching of this [sic]. So to come to an understanding of what Paul meant to teach in the passage indicated, we must take into consideration the entire teaching of the New Testament [on] the subject. In one place Paul says in Christ there is neither bond nor free, NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE. Does not that passage seem to indicate a perfect equality before the Lord[?]"

When Christ came into the world, woman was little better than a slave. "Under the old Roman law, the husband had the power of life and death over his wife. He was her sole tribunal, and she could invoke no law against him. As a mother she had no power over her children. Such a thing was not known as the rights of a woman's individual conscience." The general belief was that she had no soul." Christ came, and woman's emancipation began. Never a philosopher, or teacher or rabbi, or reformer on earth, had such a following of women as the Savior. And he had no word of rebuke for their love of, or work for him.

To a woman at the well of Samaria the Savior made the first disclosure of Himself as the Messiah. "I that speak unto thee, am He." And the woman of Samaria went through the streets of the town telling to others the glad tidings that she had received from the Savior's own lips. His most devoted disciples, while here on earth, were women. Men reviled and persecuted him, and crucified him, but no woman was found among his enemies. The wife of Pilate pleaded for his life. A mad crowd of Jews surged around the Roman Tribunal, howling like wild beasts for his blood and the cry ascended to heaven again and again, crucify him! crucify him!

But "a great company of women," followed him to the place of crucifixion weeping and lamenting him. Women were "last at the cross and first at the tomb" on the morning of the resurrection, and to a woman did our risen Lord first appear, while a woman received the first commission to tell the glad news of the resurrection.

Centuries before the Savior's birth the prophecy went forth, "In the last days saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your DAUGHTERS shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams, and on my servants and on my HANDMAIDENS I will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy." After the Savior's ascension we read Acts i: 14, that they all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication "with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." While there together "there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind that filled all the house where they were sitting," and one and all, men and women were then and there baptized with the Holy Ghost. And Peter explained that this was the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Philip the evangelist had four daughters who did prophesy. Acts xxi: 9. In 1 Cor. xiv: 3, Paul tells us what prophesying is. "He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation, and comfort." So we find that Philip's four daughters did publicly expound the scriptures, and in the presence of some men at least, including Luke, and Paul himself. How many more were present, we have no means of knowing. Priscilla and Aquila instructed Apollo in the very things he was preaching about. And does our good brother notice that Priscilla's name comes first, as if she were the more important personage of the two? In Phil. iv: 3, Paul entreats help for those women who labored with him in the gospel. In Rom. xvi: 1 (ff) Paul commends Phoebe a servant of the church at Cenchrea, and many other women "who labor in the Lord." In 1 Cor. xi: 5 he speaks of women praying and prophesying ("speaking unto men to edification,") and quite as if it were a matter of course.

There are many other passages in Scripture bearing on the same line of thought, but I have no room for more. In the morn of the resurrection a woman was counted worthy to bear to the disciples the glad tidings of a risen Lord. But in the nineteenth century she is counted by some brother unworthy to tell the same tidings to the little children in the Sunday-school. In those days Philip's daughters prophesied in the presence of Luke and of Paul. But the modern woman is deemed unworthy to read or even to ask questions about the Bible in the presence of a nineteenth century man. Priscilla was wise enough, and in no wise considered unworthy to instruct Apollo, one of the most learned and eloquent of the early teachers in the doctrine of the new religion. But the modern woman must not venture to express an opinion on any religious subject in the presence of the vast amount of dignity and learning and wisdom and goodness embodied in the presence of some of our brethren of the present day.

Verily, we have grown better than could have been expected, when we have grown too wise and too good to permit what the disciples permitted as a matter of course.
Fayetteville, Tenn., March 17, 1888.

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glow
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by glow » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:39 pm

thank you Homer ,

and the good kind woman for filling in my blanks with scripture that agrees with the ways of Gods word on this, that I have learned over the years.Peace to all!

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Michelle
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Michelle » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:29 pm

Sister Holman gave a great response, Homer. What do you think of it?

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steve
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by steve » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:30 pm

I think I have never, in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries ever encountered the repression of women in the church that this sister testifies to in the nineteenth century. Most of what she points out from scripture has been happily acknowledged by everyone I know (and, I believe, by everyone at this forum).

One thing that she has not produced is an example in the early church of a woman holding a leadership position over a congregation. She seems to attempt it in the following:
Philip the evangelist had four daughters who did prophesy. Acts xxi: 9. In 1 Cor. xiv: 3, Paul tells us what prophesying is. "He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation, and comfort." So we find that Philip's four daughters did publicly expound the scriptures, and in the presence of some men at least, including Luke, and Paul himself.
The case of Philip's daughters is one that I have always brought up to affirm the importance of various women's ministries. However, notice that the sister who wrote this a) is assuming that Philip's daughters actually prophesied in the presence of the apostles and other men (which they may have, but there is not the slightest indication in the passage that they did so); and b) she equates prophesying with "publicly expound[ing] the scriptures" (which she seeks to support by citing 1 Corinthians 14:3—a passage that in no sense provides any support for the assumption).

It should be clear that a prophet and an expositor are not the same thing. Paul distinguishes prophets from teachers, and places the former above the latter in status (1 Cor.12:28). In the Old Testament, there were both male and female prophets. However, we do not read of the prophets expounding scripture. The teaching of scripture was assigned to the priests (Lev.10:8-11/ Neh.8:7-8/ Mal.2:7)—all of whom were male. I don't bring this up to exclude women from teaching today, but only to point out that prophesying and teaching are entirely different functions in the worshiping community. The permitting of one activity might or might not imply permission to do the other.

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Homer
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:43 pm

Hello Everyone,

Michelle wrote:
Sister Holman gave a great response, Homer. What do you think of it?
Well, after I posted Sister Silena's letter, which I had read years ago, I went over to our neighbor's house to visit Dave and Tammy, wonderful Christian people. Dave has inoperable cancer and they have two teen boys at home. He is still working but had major surgery last year and is now doing the chemo treatment and still working full time. Their spirits are good but it is so hard. Please say a prayer for them.

To answer Michelle, I agree with Steve, and was gratified to find his response when I got home.

If you go to the link Danny posted earlier, you will find a rather lengthy discussion in which Steve took part. It was a good discussion, but did not address what I am seeking. In 1 Timothy Paul made an unambiguous statement, at least in appearance, regarding women teaching in the church. Most all arguments against the complementarian understanding of Paul rely on human reason and on texts in the scriptures that make no assertion that women are to teach. They are simply making assumptions such as Junia being an apostle just like Peter and Paul, when Paul's reference to her (or him) might mean no more than Junia was well known by the apostles.

And let us consider the case of Prisicilla, which is often cited. It is not at all clear what the meaning is of the Greek verb ektithemi (#1620), translated "expounded", KJV, and "explained" NASB, in Acts 18:26. Did Priscilla and Acquila admonish and exhort Apollos or only share information or testimony with him? The verb is only used four times in the NT, all in Acts by Luke. In 7:71 it is used to tell of the baby Moses being "exposed" in the Nile where he was found. In Acts 11:4 it is used to tell of Peter relating the story of his vision, and in Acts 28:23 it is used of Paul "explaining" by testimony. So we do not know whether Priscilla and Aquila did any more than explain what they knew of the meaning of Baptism, this being the only shortcoming mentioned regarding Apollos' knowledge. He knew only of John's baptism, which had the meaning of repentance. Perhaps they explained the practice proclaimed by Peter in Acts 2:38. But you see I am only speculating, as those do who wish to place some other meaning on Paul's words to Timothy than the apparent meaning.

The other problem with the Priscilla argument is that Priscilla's activity with Apollos was done in private, not the public meeting of the church. While this may seem an artificial distinction, the scriptures seem to recognize a difference between some Christians getting together and their getting together as a church, else why would Paul say "when you come together as a church" (1 Corinth. 11:18)?

I say this while acknowledging the wise words uttered by a Baptist writer long ago: "it is not what the bible says that is important, but what it means". I am only interested in the truth. Have I been wrong in my past belief that women teaching men is acceptable? And if so, in what circumstances? My past position has been that women are not to be elders or pastors. If I have been wrong in this I want to know.

I know of no statement in the NT advocating women as teachers of men. This is what I am wanting to see. All I have read from the egalitarian side are ambiguous scriptures used in an attempt to undermine what Paul said, or appears to have said. Where is there an affirmative case from scripture, rather than human reasoning? I am not saying there is no value in human reasoning, but God has acted many times in ways that do not seem reasonable to us, but "His ways are not our ways".

In practice, I have seen no problem with women instructing men in several areas in church ministry, such as Sunday school classes on church history, basic Bible facts (with a minimum of interpretation), and the like. But when it comes to teaching the Word to men in a manner that involves admonishing, exhortation, and interpretation, this seems to be a violation of the prohibition in 1 Tim 2:12.

Thanks for your responses and God bless all!

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Homer
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:01 am

Hi Steve,

You wrote:
In the Old Testament, there were both male and female prophets. However, we do not read of the prophets expounding scripture. The teaching of scripture was assigned to the priests (Lev.10:8-11/ Neh.8:7-8/ Mal.2:7)—all of whom were male.
Do you see this as being what Paul was concerned with when he made reference to the law?

1 Corinthians 14:34 (New King James Version)
34. 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.


God bless, Homer

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Danny
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Danny » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:55 pm

That is interesting. Where else in scripture does Paul appeal to "the law" to support his argument?

Hi Steve. You wrote:
One thing that she has not produced is an example in the early church of a woman holding a leadership position over a congregation.
The examples are there if one chooses to accept them as such. The challenge is that one's presuppositions (pro or con) regarding women will color how one interprets the role of women such as Phoebe, Priscilla, Junia, Euodia, Syntyche, Chloe, Lydia, et al. We've debated this in the past.

Hi Homer,

This is the first chance I've had to respond at any length to your last couple of posts. I thought Sister Holman did a fairly good job of arguing "from reason", as you say. There are, of course, many more arguments that could be made and have been made by others--from reason and from scripture--in support of women teaching.

Actually, there is not necessarily a dichotomy between reason and scripture. You apply all kinds of reasoning in your study and interpretation of scripture. You read a translated Bible which required a great deal of interpretation, reasoning and decision-making on the part of the translators. If you're like most of us, you learned various aspects of your theology from people who used reason to develop and explain doctrines. There is such a thing as Godly reason based on discernment, wisdom and the Holy Spirit's leading. I think perhaps what you are looking for are answers that come out of a specific form of reasoning that conforms to your expectations.

So, when you say, "I am only interested in the truth", what that really appears to mean is that you are only interested in information that can be given using the very specific methodology which you accept. That specific methodology appears to be this: "I know of no statement in the NT advocating women as teachers of men. This is what I am wanting to see." In other words, you seem to want to see an exact statement in the New Testament which can be applied universally without regard to historical and cultural context.

This way of using the Bible is closely akin to the way a prosecuting attorney uses the Criminal Code or the way a banker uses the Federal Reserve Banking Regulations or the way an IRS auditor uses the Tax Code. One looks for the specific statute that addresses a given situation.

Here in Seattle, I can access the Washington Administrative Code and find every enforceable law and regulation enacted by state legislatures past and present. It will tell me if I can keep chickens (and how many) in my suburban backyard, what the default speed limit is on a two lane road if one isn't posted, whether or not I can carry a concealed firearm in a state park, how loud I can play my stereo at night, etc. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of rules, regulations, laws and statutes. It's all there in black and white. I may even find an apparent contradiction, such as a newer law that conflicts with an older law.

The reason why we may never come to agreement on certain theological points, such as the role of women in the church, is that I don't approach the Bible in that way. My starting point is that we have a living guide in the Holy Spirit. We can therefore drink from the same fountain that gave forth the scriptures. I recognize the scriptures as authoritative but not all-inclusive or uncoupled from their original context.

Here's an example of what I'm getting at: The NT doesn't specifically address the evil of slavery beyond admonishments for owners to treat their slaves well and slaves to be loyal and hard-working. Prior to the American Civil War, slave owning Christians used the same methodology you are using regarding women to defend their practice. They quoted Eph. 6:5-8, Titus 2:9-10 and Col. 3:22-24. They claimed "I know of no statement in the NT advocating the abolition of slavery." They were right; there was no specific statement in the NT advocating the abolition of slavery. But of course the entire spirit of the NT pointed towards equality and treating others as you would be treated. Still, it wasn't to be found in a prooftext. One had to apply some reasoning to see the bigger picture.

The final word is what the Word says. The catch is that if by "the Word" we mean simply the written scriptures, then we are consigned to a regulatory approach ("where is it written?"). If by the Word, however, we mean the Living Word; Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Savior then there is a much bigger world of possibilities and ramifications which He can lead us into. It is also a scarier place because the answers aren't always in simple prooftexts.

In Paul's day it was hard to imagine a world without slavery. The best advice he could give was how to cope within that system. Likewise, in Paul's day it would have been hard to imagine women with equal roles, opportunities and education to men. But over the last two millenia, as the Kingdom of God has slowly permeated throughout civilization (and continues to do so, for there is a long way to go) things have slowly changed. I think this is what Martin Luther King meant when he said "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

The idea that a woman can lead a nation, perform brain surgery, write a book on quantum physics, run a corporation, arrest felons or drive a race car but can't teach the Bible to men "in a manner that involves admonishing, exhortation, and interpretation" is ludicrous.

But then, I am arguing from reason.

Please don't read this as accusatory, because that's not the way I intend it. I'm trying to point out a fundamental difference in approaches, which will yield fundamentally different results.
My blog: http://dannycoleman.blogspot.com

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.”
-- William Blake

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Homer
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:56 pm

Hi Danny,

Thanks for your reply. Your avatar isn't Jonathan Edwards is it? :lol: In your reply you made my point (or one of them at least). More on that later.

You wrote:
That is interesting. Where else in scripture does Paul appeal to "the law" to support his argument?
Well, actually right in the same epistle, a few verses earlier:

1 Corinthians 9:9
For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned?

1 Corinthians 14:21
In the Law it is written: "Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me," says the Lord.


When you refer to "the Law" I am not sure what you mean. Do you mean the Law of Moses or the entire OT? Steve referred to the LOM once and two other OT passages not in the LOM. It was not uncommon for the entire OT to be referred to as "the Law". Jesus referred to the Psalms and said "is it not written in your law, I said you are Gods". I am not sure what you meant, but perhaps the distinction does not matter.

You wrote:
Actually, there is not necessarily a dichotomy between reason and scripture. You apply all kinds of reasoning in your study and interpretation of scripture. You read a translated Bible which required a great deal of interpretation, reasoning and decision-making on the part of the translators. If you're like most of us, you learned various aspects of your theology from people who used reason to develop and explain doctrines. There is such a thing as Godly reason based on discernment, wisdom and the Holy Spirit's leading.
You misunderstand me here which is my fault. I agree with most of what you said. What I mean is that people often read something in the scriptures and it seems unreasonable to them, so they try to explain it away, often going to great lengths to do so. A good example is the biblical condemnation of homosexual acts. A most famous example from the Old Testament is the story of Naaman. His spirit is alive and well today.

And here you reached the wrong conclusion:
I think perhaps what you are looking for are answers that come out of a specific form of reasoning that conforms to your expectations.
You also wrote:
The reason why we may never come to agreement on certain theological points, such as the role of women in the church, is that I don't approach the Bible in that way.
And neither do I. I believe when specific commands are given we are to obey them. And I believe Jesus and the Apostles taught principles of broad application. When Jesus said to make disciples, baptizing and teaching them, I believe we must do as He said, and in the order He said if at all possible. We are not to be guided by the same spirit that animated Naaman. And when Jesus said to go the extra mile, I do not say "well this doesn't apply, there are no longer any Roman soldiers around". I take it as a broad principle, instructing me that when someone requests or needs help that I am not to try and get by with doing as little as I can.

Your example of the practice of slavery prior to the Civil War is a strawman and irrelevant to the question of the role of women in the church. You can not see that men and women can be equal while fulfilling different roles. I am reminded of the wedding I attended years ago. My best friend at work, a Christian, married a Christian lady. A co-worker, who was an unbeliever, also attended the wedding. Back at work, I asked the unbeliever how he liked the wedding. He said he did not like the part of the ceremony where the wife vowed submission to her husband. I asked him if he understood the part about the husband loving his wife as Christ loved the church, His bride. He didn't get it until I explained that Christ gave up His life for His bride. Rather complementarian, I think.

And you wrote:
The final word is what the Word says. The catch is that if by "the Word" we mean simply the written scriptures, then we are consigned to a regulatory approach ("where is it written?"). If by the Word, however, we mean the Living Word; Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Savior then there is a much bigger world of possibilities and ramifications which He can lead us into. It is also a scarier place because the answers aren't always in simple prooftexts.
You hit the nail on the head here. When we depart from The Word and go by our mental impressions all kinds of bad things can happen. Who is to say their mental impression is the correct one? Is it sure because the group agrees? Jim Jones and his followers agreed, and we know how that turned out. I think the Bereans had a better idea.

And you wrote:
The idea that a woman can lead a nation, perform brain surgery, write a book on quantum physics, run a corporation, arrest felons or drive a race car but can't teach the Bible to men "in a manner that involves admonishing, exhortation, and interpretation" is ludicrous.

But then, I am arguing from reason.

And here you make my point as I mentioned earlier. I think the word "ludicrous", or its equivalent, was in Naaman's mind.

And you closed:
Please don't read this as accusatory, because that's not the way I intend it. I'm trying to point out a fundamental difference in approaches, which will yield fundamentally different results.
No problem. I did not take offense nor am I easily offended. And I hope you know I intend no offense. I want to challenge you to think as you always do me. Sometimes we need to be plain-spoken to do so.

God bless you Danny; I am sure your heart is in the right spot!

Homer

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Michelle
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Michelle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:22 am

Homer wrote:Hello Everyone,

Michelle wrote:
Sister Holman gave a great response, Homer. What do you think of it?
Well, after I posted Sister Silena's letter, which I had read years ago, I went over to our neighbor's house to visit Dave and Tammy, wonderful Christian people. Dave has inoperable cancer and they have two teen boys at home. He is still working but had major surgery last year and is now doing the chemo treatment and still working full time. Their spirits are good but it is so hard. Please say a prayer for them.

To answer Michelle, I agree with Steve, and was gratified to find his response when I got home.

If you go to the link Danny posted earlier, you will find a rather lengthy discussion in which Steve took part. It was a good discussion, but did not address what I am seeking. In 1 Timothy Paul made an unambiguous statement, at least in appearance, regarding women teaching in the church. Most all arguments against the complementarian understanding of Paul rely on human reason and on texts in the scriptures that make no assertion that women are to teach. They are simply making assumptions such as Junia being an apostle just like Peter and Paul, when Paul's reference to her (or him) might mean no more than Junia was well known by the apostles.

And let us consider the case of Prisicilla, which is often cited. It is not at all clear what the meaning is of the Greek verb ektithemi (#1620), translated "expounded", KJV, and "explained" NASB, in Acts 18:26. Did Priscilla and Acquila admonish and exhort Apollos or only share information or testimony with him? The verb is only used four times in the NT, all in Acts by Luke. In 7:71 it is used to tell of the baby Moses being "exposed" in the Nile where he was found. In Acts 11:4 it is used to tell of Peter relating the story of his vision, and in Acts 28:23 it is used of Paul "explaining" by testimony. So we do not know whether Priscilla and Aquila did any more than explain what they knew of the meaning of Baptism, this being the only shortcoming mentioned regarding Apollos' knowledge. He knew only of John's baptism, which had the meaning of repentance. Perhaps they explained the practice proclaimed by Peter in Acts 2:38. But you see I am only speculating, as those do who wish to place some other meaning on Paul's words to Timothy than the apparent meaning.

The other problem with the Priscilla argument is that Priscilla's activity with Apollos was done in private, not the public meeting of the church. While this may seem an artificial distinction, the scriptures seem to recognize a difference between some Christians getting together and their getting together as a church, else why would Paul say "when you come together as a church" (1 Corinth. 11:18)?

I say this while acknowledging the wise words uttered by a Baptist writer long ago: "it is not what the bible says that is important, but what it means". I am only interested in the truth. Have I been wrong in my past belief that women teaching men is acceptable? And if so, in what circumstances? My past position has been that women are not to be elders or pastors. If I have been wrong in this I want to know.

I know of no statement in the NT advocating women as teachers of men. This is what I am wanting to see. All I have read from the egalitarian side are ambiguous scriptures used in an attempt to undermine what Paul said, or appears to have said. Where is there an affirmative case from scripture, rather than human reasoning? I am not saying there is no value in human reasoning, but God has acted many times in ways that do not seem reasonable to us, but "His ways are not our ways".

In practice, I have seen no problem with women instructing men in several areas in church ministry, such as Sunday school classes on church history, basic Bible facts (with a minimum of interpretation), and the like. But when it comes to teaching the Word to men in a manner that involves admonishing, exhortation, and interpretation, this seems to be a violation of the prohibition in 1 Tim 2:12.

Thanks for your responses and God bless all!
Hi Homer,

I agree with what you've outlined here. I am a complementarian without apology. Perhaps that might be due to my own personality; I have no desire to lead, teach, or be in authority over anyone. When I was married, I found it really easy to be submissive because I didn't marry a jerk, but married someone who was smart and at the same time willing to listen to my reasoning about matters that were important to me.

Your OP, however, asked the question about whether a woman is allowed to teach AT ALL, even to teach other women as mentioned in Titus 2:
  • Titus 2:3-5 (King James Version)

    3. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

    4. That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

    5. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
You seemed to be implying there that perhaps women could only teach by example, and are excluded in all circumstances from expository teaching of the scriptures in public. I immediately thought of Priscilla, but dropped the idea of mentioning her because she, along with Aquila, taught Apollos in private, so it didn't seem to apply to your question.

If I take your implications to their logical conclusion, women are allowed to expound on scripture only in private. The problem there is that their teaching is not open to examination and false doctrine could flourish, I believe. Also, if older women are teaching younger women to be good wives and godly women in a public setting, but aren't allowed to explain scriptures on the matter, isn't that, in effect, hobbling their teaching? You seem to decry the use of reasoning when it replaces scripture (I agree!) but here you seem to be saying that women cannot use scripture to teach or admonish each other. We women would seem to be only left with using our reasoning or sharing testimonies.

Perhaps women are only left with teaching by example, then. That is a powerful way to lead, but it only works when you are living in close community, and is twice as powerful when your words match your actions. Removing our words, or, more precisely reducing them to 'good sense' or 'my testimony', lessens the impact, as does are modern proclivity to live private lives except a few hours a week when we gather at church.

You said you "know of no statement in the NT advocating women as teachers of men. This is what I am wanting to see," and I'm in agreement with you there, I'd like to see it as well. However, you also asked in your opening post, "Are there any New Testament texts which support public expository teaching by women, even of other women?" and I'd like to ask where you see instruction that women are restricted from ever using, explaining, or expounding on scripture, even to each other? Are modern women, based on your interpretation of scripture and due to our society's reclusive nature, restricted from all forms of teaching?

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Homer
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:51 am

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for your reply!

You wrote:
However, you also asked in your opening post, "Are there any New Testament texts which support public expository teaching by women, even of other women?" and I'd like to ask where you see instruction that women are restricted from ever using, explaining, or expounding on scripture, even to each other? Are modern women, based on your interpretation of scripture and due to our society's reclusive nature, restricted from all forms of teaching?
Actually I am seeking to ensure the position I have held on this matter is the correct one. I have long thought that women should teach other women and that it was OK for women to teach mixed classes as long as they were under the authority of the elders. Then I was reading a long article about the various roles in the church and the author pointed out that Paul had used different Greek words regarding the teaching in 1 Timothy and Titus, as mentioned in my OP, so I thought that I might have been misapplying the text in Titus.

The other problem I have with the egalitarian position is that they seem to have little positive scriptural support for their position that is not ambiguous, but make their case by attacks on traditional interpretations, with nothing of an affirmative nature to add.

Not long before I read the aforementioned article I had disagreed with a teacher who took the position, during a class discussion, that in 1 Timothy in regard to women teachers Paul had only given his personal opinion, and the teacher based this on Paul's use of the personal "I" in his instructions to Timothy. Later I emailed the teacher as follows:
The question that came up in class Sunday morning regarding the role of women in the Church is a vexing one. My own view is by no means completely fixed, but I am convinced at a minimum that the position of elder in the church is reserved for men. Women teaching classes is of no great concern to me but I am uncomfortable with a woman in the pulpit......

As I understood you, you expressed the view that Paul was speaking his own personal opinion regarding the instructions about women in 1 Timothy 2:9-15, based upon his use of the first person "I". This view is new to me. It seems to me when Paul gave instructions of this kind (i.e., not instructing Timothy on his diet, but instructions regarding the church) he was bound , as an apostle, to speak the will of Christ as revealed to him. As you are probably aware, the word "apostle" refers to one who is commissioned and sent out as a representative of another, and it always has the general sense of a messenger. Paul had received special revelation from the Lord, 1 Corinthians 4:1, Ephesians 3:1-6.

In class I was struggling (my memory is not what it once was) to recall Paul's statement regarding his commands being those of Christ and after we got home I located it, in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-37, which is almost a parallel to the passage in first Timothy regarding women. To the Corinthians Paul wrote "..what I am writing you is the Lord's command".

The statement of Jesus in John 16:12-15 that I mentioned Sunday is one that gives me great confidence that the apostles truly spoke for our Lord and His will after He had ascended.

I thought it best to email my thoughts to you rather than in the class which might get us off on a rabbit trail (how did we get off on this subject anyway?).

Thank you for all your work as a teacher. It takes a lot of time to put together lessons of your own rather than using "canned" stuff.
So my concern is that I might have been wrong for a long time, and wrong in my reply to this teacher, as I have no confidence in the egalitarian arguments. I was interested in whatever "affirmative" case could be made from scripture.

I hope this explains a bit better where I am at, which is what I describe as "liberal complementarian", if that makes any sense.

Blessings, Homer

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