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Women Preachers? (Part II)

This is the third part of the short series prompted by the vague controversy of John MacArthur’s comments regarding Beth Moore.  If you haven’t heard the first two do so or this one will not make a lot of sense.

We so far showed that as much as there is a lot of supposed outrage and hurt over John’s comments, the reality is that there is little substance to it all.  Unless being offended is a legitimate complaint.

We showed that Beth Moore is not quietly doing her own thing and suddenly being attacked or singled out.  Rather she chose to make public comments that are intentionally problematic - the types of comments that require a response, which did happen in many SBC circles.

We then showed how this whole thing is being cast in a false narrative that is often missed by people watching.  

The discussion is too often whether a woman can ever preach, or if she can’t pastor a church or preach on a Sunday morning service. But that is not how the bible discusses and instructs us on this topic.  It is far more broad than mere preaching.

Finally, last episode on this subject we took the listener through the key passage of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 to show the context and logic of the bible’s prohibition to teach and to have authority over men. 

Two distinct actions that are not allowed to exist for women in the context of the church.

This is so important for each person listening.  Pay attention to how the narrative is portrayed in the various blogs and memes and such regarding this whole thing.  Ask yourself what is the starting point, the foundation, of what the person is saying?

Too often it is not with the clear statements of commands and instructions.  Rather, it is with passing comments in a narrative, such as Deborah being an OT judge, or Miriam having a song in the bible, or Priscilla helping clarify the gospel with her husband to Apollos.

This is never the right way to go about developing theology or practice but it is incredibly common.

Behind it all is a bigger question that we can do an episode on at a different time.  How are we to interpret and apply narrative passages?  

Example, if Gideon puts out a fleece to help him determine the will of God, should we?  Can we? 

Or to ask it a different way, what authority for the Christian does a narrative passage have?  If there is no explicit command how are we to treat that passage?  

To give a simple but solid answer: it is always the passages that are actual instructions that carry the weight of how we live and believe.

Now, take that and apply it to the issue of women and teaching or being in authority over men in the church, and the problem becomes quite a bit simpler.  

Your beginning point is, they don’t teach nor have authority.  And you move and adjust outward from there.

This is radically different than seeing that Deborah was a judge, or Priscilla helped to explain the gospel to Apollos, and determine that the prohibition of teaching or having authority over men somehow can’t mean what it says.

Really, the only big issue you must deal with is your reaction to it.  And that is an integrity issue, not a biblical/textual issue.

So with this as our introduction, the question before us is what all is involved in these two prohibitions? And are there exceptions or caveats attached to them?

The prohibitions:

---- In general anything that is teaching doctrine/theology/bible to men.

---- And in general, anything that is placing her in a position of authority over a man in the church.

Start there and you will likely be fine.  Start fighting and resisting there and you will likely be found in a bad place.

Exceptions?  Yes.

First, there is a general type of teaching that simply occurs by her presence.  She instructs others in her dress and demeanor. Her life shouts forth her faith or unbelief.  And this is more powerful than many realize.

Second, there is a type of teaching that comes in the shared worship of the Church.

In Colossians 3:16 it speaks of the relationship of being under the written Word of God, and so an outflow of that is “teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” There is a shared instruction in corporate singing.  Which tells us that our songs should be theologically rich and true so that they can instruct us rightly.

A man or woman mumbling through a song instructs those around them in a very poor manner.  But those who embrace it as they ought, teach much as they are actually affirming the truth of the song.

Third, there is a type of teaching that in home-centered.

Paul talks of how Timothy was raised by a believing mother and grandmother in 2 Timothy 1.  Then in chapter 3 he builds on that. He states that by the words of these women, he learned the sacred writings.

This is far more precious than having some big teaching ministry that has you traveling around the world.  It’s dealing in your young adult years with the precious souls granted to you.

My (MH) children grew up watching their mother pray and read the Word. Everything they did was framed by her through the Word.  Whether it was the oft repeated phrase “fast and first,” or sang a song on being patient because God is patient too, or verses like, “do all things without grumbling” and “sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.  This was never off-loaded onto someone else, she owned it with all her heart.

And this all prepares the woman for her older years.  “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:3-5)

Again notice here how the role of the older woman is not to finally throw off her restrictions and explore her so-called freedoms.  Rather she is to take all that she applied and learned in her younger years, and now turn it toward the young women of the church.

This means they are to be godly in their lives, their speech is controlled, their drinking is not excessive and they are to be teachers of “good.”

This speaks of teaching right behavior.

Very important to note that.  She doesn’t now become the theologian, but rather she becomes the person who instructs on how that theology looks

Why? Paul gives a result statement marked out by “so that.”

So that they can encourage the younger women to love their husbands.  This is emphasizing an affection for the husband, because young husbands can be idiots.

But also so that she can have affection for her children, because they are…..well, children.

But it goes on.  So that they can learn from her not the doctrine of the hypostatic union or how to overcome strongholds, but how to be pure and keepers of their homes and to be in submission to their own husbands.

For what purpose?

So that God’s word would not be dishonored.  And this is key to see.

Somehow a Christian woman who is not in submission to her own husband brings dishonor to the bible. Somehow not taking care of her household is dishonoring.

In other words, a woman is able to instruct all who watch about how she views God and His Word by her relationship toward her children, her husband and the state of her home and life.

This helps us see that there is a place to instruct women and children in the church.  But these are to be done with care and under the oversight of the elders.

At our church we move the young people into the main teaching service at about 12 years of age.  We want them learning from the men from that point on.

We also do not encourage women’s bible studies.  Not that they are sinful as much as we want the instruction to come from the men.  Preferably from their husbands, fathers and the pastors of the church.

The needs of the woman are no different from the men when it comes to theology.  Application toward good works are where the differences come in.

This also helps even explain the role of Priscilla with her husband Aquila in Acts 18.

They were apparently in the habit of hosting traveling preachers/teachers during the early beginning of the church.  In fact, they opened their home to Paul in that passage.

Now nowhere is it mentioned of them being teachers. Rather they were tent-makers.  And so it’s Paul who’s described, specifically, as one who then went out to teach.

Later, as Paul moved on in his travels they came with him.  And in 18:19 he separated from them and they stayed in Ephesus.  It was there that they met Apollos who was preaching. Likely they had opened their home to him, but then realized he was not yet a believer.  And so together, they explained or declared to him the clarity of the gospel.


First, it is worth noting that the primary description of the role of a woman is to be a doer of good works and ministry.  That is what she shall be judged by in her later years. Not the size of her teaching ministry or her books and such.

Second, we would not encourage anyone make a woman be their primary teacher or influence on biblical truth as an adult.

What we mean by this is that there should be no reason to use Kay Arthur’s studies or Beth Moore or anyone else for your time in study.

Rather we would say, arrange yourself both in life and attitude under the spiritual care of your husband, father and pastors. And if these men are faithful you have more than enough to keep you busy each week.

And if you aren’t too busy, perhaps it is because you are not busy doing the very things the Scripture instructs you to be doing.

We hope this is helpful.  We understand this is not culturally good but that is the essence of our podcast --- Faith & Fable.


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