What Does The Bible Say About Female Pastors

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What Does The Bible Say About Female Pastors, Does the Bible say that women should not teach in the Church, can a woman preach in the pulpit. The questions about women pastors go on and on., continue reading to discover more below.

One of the most common questions we get—and one of the most used arguments against Christianity—is about women in the church. The arguments are based on the verses found in 1 Timothy 2:8-14.

What do these verses tell us? Are they a conclusive case against women in the church?

Below is a study on women pastors with bible verses supporting female pastors

16 Bible verses with advice for young people

The Value of Women

Closer inspection reveals that the Bible, as a whole, presents an image of women that rates their value as equal to that of men. While it is true that, in a general sense, the Bible offers different roles for men and women, it is not true that the Bible values men above women.

In other words, it is important to understand that the Bible does not underestimate or devalue women, nor does it make men above women. With this in mind, let’s look at the text in question.

1 Timothy 2:8-14

First Timothy is a letter from Paul to his disciple Timothy, who is ministering in Ephesus. Paul’s primary concern is some false doctrines that are creeping through the believers and threatening some of the churches in the area. While discussing the subject, Paul begins the second chapter by offering instructions on the conduct of the Christian community. He talks about the discipline of prayer before touching on some instructions related to gender:

So I want men to pray everywhere, raising holy hands, without anger or strife.  Also that women dress in decorous clothes, with modesty and modesty; not with ostentatious hairstyle, nor gold, nor pearls, nor costly clothes,  but with good deeds, as befits women who profess piety. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. Because I do not allow the woman to teach, nor to exercise dominion over the man, but to be silent.  Because Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, fell into transgression.

“Aha!” many would argue. They would say, “A natural reading of 1 Timothy 2 is absolutely clear: women are not allowed to teach men or have authority over them!”

Let’s analyze the text

While it is true that easy reading is our standard approach to the Bible, sometimes doing so leads to misunderstanding. It can be very simplistic, causing us to ignore clues to the linguistics, literature, history, or culture involved. For example, a simple and “natural” reading of Psalm 104:5 caused a lot of trouble for Galileo Galilei, who said that the Sun did not move around the Earth, but rather the Earth revolved around the Sun.

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In putting the text of 1 Timothy under analysis, we must ask if Paul’s instructions are specific to the Christian community in Ephesus during the time Timothy was leading, or if all Christians of all times and places are supposed to see these instructions as norms of the Christian life.

In other words: Were there unique conditions in Timothy’s community that made Paul’s prohibitions necessary for the health and growth of that specific community, or are these prohibitions of women in the Christian community forever (necessary everywhere)? and at all times)?

To be able to answer adequately, one must analyze the logical realities of following the instructions as they read in a “natural and simple” way.


The consistent inconsistencies

Interestingly, many people who read “naturally and simply” tend to be inconsistent in applying what they read.

For example, when we read verse 8 of 1 Timothy 2, a question comes to mind: why is it never preached that a man must always raise his hands to pray? Where are the teachings that demand that men pray everywhere? A “natural and simple” reading of verse 8 tells us that it must be so!

Furthermore, if we are going to apply the teaching prohibitions of verses 11 and 12 to all Christian women today, we cannot be selective about the situations in which we should apply them, or in which situations they are relevant. 

Therefore, if the texts are to be taken in a “natural” and “simple” way, then the passage points to life within the Christian community being spoken to. In other words: since Paul never specified that the verses apply only while the woman is in church, then these verses should not apply only to when she is in church, but to the whole life of the woman. As in verse 8, that men are supposed to raise their hands when they pray “in every place.”

The problem with this becomes present: if all Christian women at all times and in all places are prohibited from teaching men, then what do we do with Christian female professors in universities? Or with female teachers in high schools teaching teenage boys? Or Christian women running the Bible study group in their college apartment or home? Or with missionaries who minister to diverse groups in other countries, etc, etc, etc? 

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What about single mothers teaching their sons about biblical subjects? Furthermore, it could be argued that women cannot teach Bible school, or write theological articles or books – because some men might read and learn from it! Nor should they write and sing songs, or appear on the radio,

And when silence is mentioned, where would be what Paul himself says about women who prophesy and pray aloud in church (1 Corinthians 11:4-5)? Could Paul have contradicted himself?

In the end, people who take the 1 Timothy 2 passage at its “natural and plain” reading are not consistent about which parts to apply to women (and men) today. 

There is simply no uniformity when it comes to where teaching restrictions and silence are required. Should we be consistent in clothing, raising hands, as well as teaching restraints? Or should we see this almost impossible task as an indication that something different is going on with the text, and that it needs to be approached with something more than a “simple and natural” reading?

All of this is apart from the fact that a “simple and natural” reading tells us that these restrictions on women are practical suggestions from Paul (verse 8 begins with the word “will”), and not necessarily moral commands from God.

In addition to the problem presented by the natural and simple interpretation, it is important to mention that additional points of view have been considered to explain this passage from 1 Timothy. For example:

• Some try to argue that the word that Paul uses for “woman” (guné) is in reference to the wife since the literary context is that the spiritual leader of the house is the man, so he would not be talking about the congregation. They affirm this option by coming to verse 1 Timothy 2:15, where he speaks of having children.

• Another point of view that theologians have presented as a possibility is that this church in Ephesus had women who talked so much in the meetings, that they interrupted the teaching and therefore command them to learn in silence and submission (1 Timothy 2:11).

• Finally, others appeal to the historical context to explain the culture in which this church that Timothy pastored was submerged, that is, in a polytheistic culture that worshiped the gods through even priestesses with whom one had to have sexual relations as part of the worship those gods. This may have caused Paul to seek to avoid confusion of this kind in this local congregation, which is why he forbade women to be pastors.

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Final Points About Women in Ministry

• There is no Biblical evidence that the gifts of the Spirit are distributed on the basis of gender. Clearly, it was not even something that crossed the minds of the inspired authors. 

And if it had occurred to them, wouldn’t it be strange that they didn’t communicate it properly? At least not as those who oppose women in leadership think. The facts are simple: gender is never mentioned when it comes to distributing spiritual gifts, including teaching (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:1-12).

• Establishing and teaching the bases to serve God and others is an obligation of any ministerial position. This obligation stems from human abilities undertaken by spiritual gifts – not from the gender of the person serving in the position.

In short, the exclusion of women from “official” church ministries often leaves them with the impression that there is something wrong with them. It may be a wrong inference on their part, and some can dodge the issue without being deeply hurt, but if God truly excluded women from church leadership, there must be a reason for doing so.

Furthermore, if leadership, preaching, etc. is good work – and work that needs good workers – what, exactly, does the woman have that God looks at her and says, “it’s not enough”? Could she have flipped a coin and the men won? Obviously, this questioning affects all women, not just those aspiring to ministerial positions.

It is worth mentioning how difficult it is for those who oppose women in leadership to answer what it is about women that excludes them from such positions – adding weight to a weak hermeneutic, without roots in ecclesiastical history.