Women Preachers

pulpitBy Paul Smithson

More and more we see women in the role of preaching and teaching not only in the assemblies of the denominations, but also now among some who claim to be the Lord’s church. Only a couple of months ago a congregation in Franklin, TN introduced a young woman as their new preaching intern who would be sharing the pulpit with their other minister.

A while back a woman wrote me and asked, “In your opinion and based on the Bible, what is the place of a woman and preaching or expounding on the word of God in the pulpit?”

Here is my response:
I will be glad to give, not opinion, but an answer based on the Bible.

1Cor. 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. 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.”

1Tim. 2:12-14 “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

1Cor. 11:3 “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

These passages give the answer to your question, and the answer is: A woman has no place “preaching or expounding on the word of God in the pulpit.”

There are many important responsibilities that women must fulfill (cf. 1Tim. 5:9-10; Phil. 4:2-3; Acts 9:36-9; Rom. 16:1; Tit. 2:4-5). Some women’s responsibilities involve teaching (cf. 1Tim. 5:2; Tit. 2:1-4). However, the woman’s teaching is not to be in the public assembly as the above passages clearly teach. The word translated “teach” in 1Tim. 2:12 means “to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses” (Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T.).

Because of the demands of Women’s Liberation in our society many denominations have installed women in positions for which there is no biblical authority. Men and women are equal in the sight of God and His promise of eternal inheritance is the same for both (Gal. 3:28; 1Pet. 3:8). However, equality does not negate the fact that God has set forth different roles that must be fulfilled by each. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal in power, purpose, and deity, yet each has a different role to fulfill (cf. 1Cor. 11:3). Likewise, men and women are equal in the sight of God, yet He has set forth different roles for each. This is God prerogative. He is Lord and we must submit to His will (Col. 3:17). Whether a man or a woman, each has plenty to do in simply fulfilling the responsibilities of the role that God has set forth for each. For one to try to fulfill the role of the other is not only futile, it is sinful.

About the Author
Paul Smithson is the evangelist for the Westwood church of Christ in Tullahoma, TN