There have been two previous entries in this series:
Despite the promise of continuing this series I find myself needing to simply stop here. The fact of the matter is that I can go on and on with entries into this but the goal of the original post was to answer the question “Should women be teaching scripture, at all” and personally I feel like the previous two entries were merely taking me away from the main point. So, to cut to the chase:
Simply put, the answer to the question is: No.
Scripture does not support women teaching scripture, not to other women, not to children and certainly not to men. The apostle Paul makes it clear that women are not to teach the scriptures, without caveat or exception:
1 Timothy 2:
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Verse 12 does not have any type of exception within it, its is clear: “I do not suffer a woman to teach”. This is its own statement, with two other statements attached: “nor to usurp authority over the man” and “but to be in silence”.
Again Paul specifically gives the reasoning behind this commandment: “Man was formed first, not woman, and the woman was deceived by the serpent, not the man.”.
Woman was more easily deceived, and thus should not be teaching. Why? Because its easier for women to be lead astray by false or goofy doctrines that make one feel better rather than adhere to the word of God.
Older women are commanded to teach younger women, but not the scripture! They are to teach them how to be good keepers of the home, their children and their husbands.
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.
These things may require the learning of biblical principles, but the exposition of scripture is certainly not needed. “Why should we be obedient to our husbands in everything?”, “Because the word of God says so, in this book, in these verses.”. Done.
- None of the disciples were women.
- Despite what some might think, Paul does not speak of any women preachers or teachers in his epistles, though he does reference women as helpers.
- None of the women featured in the bible (Ruth, Esther, etc.) are shown to be teachers of the word. Ruth, in fact, is a great study in how to land a husband by being a kind and submissive woman.
There is just too much evidence that, scripturally speaking, women are not allowed to teach others. This doesn’t bar them from sharing the gospel, which we are all called to do, but sharing the gospel of Christ’s sacrifice is not the same as teaching the scriptures.
Now this might be too much for some ladies to handle, particularly those who “feel” God has called them to teach, but one thing we learn from reading the bible is that those things we feel at from God should be tested against the Word of God. Nothing from God will conflict with His word! Now, if you feel you are called to teach or interpret scripture ask yourself if this feeling goes against scripture. According to what I have presented here it does, and thus you may want to reconsider your “feeling”, no matter how strong it is.
We as Christians have a choice: We can believe what the bible says, or we can believe what we believe the bible says. I read through the words and I don’t see women teachers supported, but I definitely see women teachers restricted. This has a profound effect on my family, particularly my wife, who enjoys going to bible studies and weekend women’s retreats, but the bible is clear that a wife’s questions regarding the word should be directed towards her husband.
That concludes my ‘series’ on this subject, though I hate that I even started a series when it really should have just been a single post.
UPDATE: It appears that I need to clarify some of what I have posted here, as there appears to be some confusion of what I am saying.
- Paul’s restriction on women teaching is specific to women teaching in the capacity of a pastor or rabbi, a position of authority. Certainly sharing scripture with another would require some explanation, particularly for those who are not believers but have questions regarding what they are hearing. That being said women should not be teaching as an authority within the church, neither other women nor children. This includes the every popular bible study group. Indeed ‘church’ is wherever there are those gathered in His name, not just in a building on Sunday mornings, and thus women should not be assembling for church in which one is leading other women in the exposition of scripture. Also, it is of my opinion that the various books and guides that women typically use in their study groups, unless carefully monitored, can be points at which unsound doctrine can be introduced. Given the propensity for even some of the most respected ‘bible’ groups (Focus on the Family, etc.) to cater to the feminist imperative, even those things which seem at face value to be God focused can lead women astray.
- Paul explains that the reason for this restriction on women teaching is twofold. First he explains that order of creation gives man authority over woman, and because of this women should not be teaching or having authority over men. TEACHING IMBUES AUTHORITY, ALWAYS. The teacher always has authority over the one being taught! Secondly he explains that Adam was not deceived, but Eve was, indicating that women are more susceptible to being mislead. Now we have to ask ourselves what we believe here. Is God (via Paul) saying that women are susceptible to being mislead and that restricts them from teaching men, but doesn’t matter if they are teaching other women or children? Or is He telling us that this susceptibility restricts them from teaching, period? The first suggestion simply makes no sense.
I may add more clarification as time passes and my thoughts are sorted out and challenged. I think I have made it pretty clear that, though women, like men, are tasked with sharing the gospel with all, and that some scripture require explanation. This, however, does not permit women to teach scripture in the same manner as a pastor or rabbi. Not to men, not to women and not to children. I have plainly stated that the bible is clear on what women should be teaching other women, and it is also clear on where women should be getting their questions answered regarding scripture .
UPDATE: A discussion with some people resulted in said people pointing out that “women should be silent in the church” and “women should not be teaching in the church”, but that they are fine to teach outside of the church, say at a home bible study or other function.
This begs the question, “What is church”?
- The disciples, upon Jesus’s death, are not recorded as having found a specific place for gathering for worship, nor building a structure that we in the West would commonly refer to as a “church”. In fact, it states that they went from house to house, meeting, praising, eating and praying. Indeed the very bible says “wherever two or more are gathered in His name”. We meet at Sunday church, but throughout the week people attend various “home churches”, sometimes called bible studies. This being said, it would be safe to say that any gathering of believers with the intent to worship, pray and study would be called church, and I think most Christians would agree! What how are women supposed to act in the church, according to Paul? Where should they be asking questions for clarification on scripture? Nearly everyone I talk to, even those who disagree with me, agree that women should not have the authority of teaching in the church, but in truth they are referencing the church as a building, saying that women shouldn’t be in front of the congregation on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights teaching. This, to me, reinforces the scripture that prohibits women from leading by teaching, neither Sunday school nor “bible study group”, both of which are still considered church!
- Indeed the church in the bible doesn’t reference a building for worship either, but references the body of believers in Christ! If this is the case then reading the scriptures that instruct women to be “silent in the church” takes on an even stronger meaning! It also makes a much different meaning for those who believe and agree that women should not be teaching “in the church”.