Tommy Thornhill


Check previous issues for continuity. The last issue closed stating that women have the right to teach the Bible, but her role in doing so is limited. God has limited the woman from teaching that usurps man’s authority over her. That is why she cannot be a preacher or elder in the church, as we learn from the scriptures. One such scripture showing her limitation is 1.Tim.2:12-15“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. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with self-control.”

Let’s examine this passage more in depth. First, notice that the prohibition in vs.12 is not saying a woman cannot teach the word of God, but it does place a limitation on who the woman can teach. We have already seen from the last issue that women can teach other women Tit.2:3-5. She can teach children 2.Tim.1:5. 3:14-15. She can lead a prayer meeting with other women Acts 16:13-14. She can even assist others in teaching (Priscilla helping her husband Aquila) Acts 18:26. But, she is not permitted to teach in a way that usurps (takes away) the authority of man. In the presence of men in the assemblies of the Lord’s church she is to be in “silence” (Gk, “hesuchia”). This word does not mean absolute silence, making no sound at all. It carries the idea of acting with quietness that will cause no disturbance, staying home and minding one’s own affairs, not officially meddling in the affairs of others. If it meant absolute silence then a woman could not sing in the assembly Eph.5:19 or confess the Lord, or her sins in the assembly.   

The prohibition is not her lack of ability that restricts a woman from being a preacher, an elder or teacher over a class of men in the Lord’s church, for there are a lot of women who have great ability to do these things. The reason for the prohibition is because God decreed it. In vs.13-14 Paul gives two reasons why woman is not to teach and have authority over man. God created man first which placed him in the primary role of being the leader. Paul then gives the second reason. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.” For these two reasons a woman is not permitted to teach and have authority over man.

She is forbidden to be a preacher, for a preacher/evangelist must speak “with all authority” Tit.2:15. Remember her authority over man is limited. She cannot be an elder, for one of the basic qualifications for an elder is “to be the husband of one wife” 1.Tim.3:2; Tit.1:6. And a woman cannot meet that qualification. Nor can she teach and “have authority over man” 1.Tim.2:12God decreed it this way. From the beginning this is the way God commanded it Gen.3:16; 1.Cor.11:2-3, 8-9. We must respect what He says about it.  


Also notice 1.Tim.2:8 and make an observation that people often miss. “Therefore I desire that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” I believe Paul is here referring to the assemblies of the church and even though it is not seen in English, the word “man” in this verse is the Gk. word “aner” which is never used of the female sex. It stands very distinct from woman. Paul is restricting the praying here to the male members of the congregation. The scripture teaches that only men are to lead prayers publically in the assemblies. This doesn’t mean a woman can’t also pray. They just do not do it audibly. They listen to the man praying and follow his prayer carefully in their hearts. In this way they make the prayer their own saying a silent “amen” in their hearts.

But what God teaches seems to be ignored by our modern society. They pay little or no attention to what God has to say. They don’t care. They seem to think that restricting a woman in teaching the Bible to men makes the woman inferior to man. This is not so. God created both man and woman in “His own image,” so in creation there is no superiority of one over the other. Both are worthwhile to God and to one another. God created the woman to be man’s helpmate, a complement to him, thus both are necessary and important. As far as Christianity is concerned Paul made it clear that there is no respect of persons, “neither Jew or Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Gal.3:28. Yet, God made man and woman distinctly different from one another and assigned each different roles. Both man and woman find their most satisfactory fulfillment in life as each serves God functioning in the roles God has assigned each. (to be continued next issue).


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