Must Women Keep Silent in the Church?

(Ver 1.2)  Some of you may have noticed that I do not avoid controversy, I take on difficult Bible subjects that many like to ignore.  The Bible has some very difficult things written in it and a woman teaching in the church is certainly one example of those.  Vast numbers of ignorant men have long proclaimed dominance over women, placing them in subservient roles that are clearly biased to what they like or feel is the proper order of things.  What these type of men do is jump on a very, very small number of scriptures that they whole hardly embrace and proclaim as the truth.  This of course forces them to ignore vast numbers of other scriptures that do not fit their desired outcome.  The Bible is a book of more than one scripture and you must balance every verse on the subject before you can say what is the truth.  Have you ever studied the Bible on every scripture reference to women in the Bible?  I say there is no way that you have done this.  The Bible is way too complicated for anyone to say they know it all.  So how is it that a man can get up and claim that women can’t preach or teach in the church based upon their limited knowledge?  I mean who died and made them God?  These men need to learn the lesson of Job.   God told Job, who is this that darkens my counsel with words with no knowledge?   When people teach that a woman is incapable of teaching or preaching in a church, I believe that this implies that women do not have the brains or mental capacity to know the truth.  It also means that women can’t hear from God and shouldn’t be praying to God because they should only go directly through their husbands or the men in the church.  People are so stupid when it comes to discussions like this that I find it baffling that those kinds of men are in charge of anything.  What we are going to do is go through some Bible verses and examine what they say in regard to references to women in the Bible and their roles.  I can personally speak for me and I will tell you that if it were not for Christian women in the church I would not be here today.  It was only because of their direct involvement and leading of God in the ministry that I am even here today to write this blog.  So I appreciate whoever God uses and I refuse to put limitations on what God can do through anyone.

1Ti 2:11  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

So here we go with the classic, shut up and just learn speech.  However, I’m going to apply this verse to everyone today and not just women.  If you are distracted, talking to others while the Word of God is being taught, are you learning anything?  No, of course you are not!  This was the situation in this letter.  Paul was addressing a very specific problem in a very specific church and he was not establishing a law that women can’t talk.  If the problem was that the males were talking in church, then Paul would have said, men keep quiet and learn.  Humans both male and female were designed by God with a mouth and the ability to talk and communicate intelligently, so to say a woman can’t talk, is very stupid.  So now this verse ends in the word “subjection” and this is not a bad word.  It means you are “not in control” and you are “not the head”.  Everyone on this planet is in subjection to someone or something.  This word applies to men equally as strong as to women.  If you have ever been in the military you understand “subjection”.  You follow orders from the day you join to the day you leave.  You are not there to do anything but to follow orders.  The corporate business world is very similar but some people do get paid to be creative and come up with new ideas.  However, this does not mean they can do whatever they want, whenever they want to whoever they want.  They still have to be submissive to those that they are working for.  To be submissive is a normal way of life; it promotes order and chain of command and designates responsibility as well as accountability.  Even the CEO of large company is accountable to the stock holders.  There is really no one on the earth that is in complete control of anything.  Submission is not a negative thing and it should never be used to force anyone to do anything that they do not want to do.  Learn from God’s example, the utmost highest Spiritual Being came to the earth and washed the feet of His disciples.  Don’t make yourself better than God.  If you are not serving someone else, you have become deceived.

1Ti 2:12  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

So here we go with another “Thus saith the Lord”!  Oh yea, it doesn’t say God says this, it says I say this and that is certainly different, isn’t it?   Did you know that Paul could have an opinion that could be potentially wrong?  Was Paul God?  Did Paul know everything?  Were Paul’s views and words shaped by his life’s experiences and his surrounding world influences?  I have no doubt that these words were inspired by God to be written down, but that does not mean God said them.  Were women ever in charge of anything back then when Paul wrote this?  You can find a few instances of women like Jezebel, Cleopatra who seemed to have some power and authority, but for the most part, it was a total man’s world.  There are many religions in the world that still hold to this philosophy and I like to watch what the devil does and learn from how he wants to pervert things.  Satan wants to either keep women totally ignorant or exalt them to the top of the food chain and make them run everything independently of men.  It is either total submission like in countries like Afghanistan or total women’s liberation and independence like in Europe and parts of America.  Both are perverted wrongs.   Only a few Christian churches seem to have the correct perspective of a balanced approach of the truth being somewhere in the middle.  So here is another problem, I have with this interpretation that a woman should not teach and to keep silent.  According to correct Bible interpretation rules I need another witness that says this and so far I have not found it.  The Bible says in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses let every word be established and here we read one verse and people want to make it the rule of their doctrine and force everyone to adhere to it.   I searched through every N.T. verse that had any form of the word “teach” and this is the only verse that I found with the word woman used in this regard.  I find that to be a major problem with your interpretation.  You are trying to take one verse out of context and make it a rule that does not apply to every situation.  So let’s look at some other verses in the Bible and see what they say about women and see if we can come up with a balanced approach to the subject:

Act 2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

In this verse in Acts, Peter is quoting the Word of God from the Prophet Joel.  Right there we know that means we possess two direct witnesses to what this verse says; so we are clearly on much safer ground for our interpretation of it.  Do you understand that concept?  It is so very important.  According to this verse, God will in the last days pour out His Spirit upon “ALL FLESH”!  This verse would certainly include both women as well as men as you can clearly see.  This verse continues to say that both your sons and your daughters would “prophesy”.  So let’s stop right there and ask the question what does it mean to “prophesy”?  Can you or I prophesy in silence?  What is the difference between teaching with words in a church and prophesying with words in a church?  Can you think of any differences?   Isn’t prophesying the act of speaking words out loud to someone else so that they can hear them?  Then what is the definition of teaching?  Isn’t teaching speaking out loud words for other people to hear?  It would be useless for a woman to prophesy without someone to hear her.  Uh oh?   You can automatically and quickly see that this verse directly conflicts with Paul’s command to keep silent.  You also have to remember that Paul did not really tell women to keep silent, he said to “learn in silence” and that is completely different than to never say anything.

Act 21:9  And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

These 4 daughters were the children of Phillip the evangelist.  We are clearly told that they were able to prophesy to others.  This clearly means speaking out loud in an audible voice that can be heard and even directed at the men that were there in the house.  Did you know that the early church met in houses?  They did not have any synagogues, temples or church buildings to meet at, so they met in houses.  If the daughters of Phillip prophesied in the house they were probably doing it during a church service, so we have a huge issue with should a woman keep silent in the church.   So what is the technical difference between teaching and prophesying?   Is there a difference?  Are not both spoken words directed at listeners?  I will say this, if you do not have women prophesying in your church services, you do not have a complete New Testament church.  You have deviated from God’s plan observed in the book of Acts in favor of your ideas of order.

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

According to the Bible, God says that we are all His children.  So does God play favorites?  Are the male children preferred above the female children?  If you think that they are you are clearly ignorant.

Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

We can continue down this chapter and see that every Christian has been baptized into Christ and that makes us one with Him equally.  This is an all-inclusive statement that includes both males and females.

Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

So here we go with another paradox and puzzle being presented.  In Christ males and females are not different, but in the world we clearly see that we are quite different.   This is the difference between naturally thinking and spiritually thinking.  We know in the world there are both males and females, but in Christ we are all just one and no different from each other.  Men who teach male dominance usually are just very carnally minded individuals who look at external things and do not try to see things spiritually as God sees things.   If these ignorant men would just read and study their Bible’s they would discover that the church is called the “Bride of the Lamb” and that means we are all one woman in the eyes of God.  So we are all in covenant and in subjection to our Head who is the Lord Jesus Christ.

So how can Paul write that women should not teach in one place in the Bible and then write there is no difference between men and women in Christ in another place?  If you do not understand the conflict between these two contrasting statements you have a major problem.  Here is my opinion and I usually do not give you my opinion so you do not have to take anything to heart that I say next.  I think from a natural perspective that men counseling women or women counseling men should never be done under any circumstance.  Here is the problem, men generally speaking like women too much.  I have seen the best married pastors get into physical affairs with women because of this natural attraction that God created us with.  Women should counsel women, and men should counsel men.  This just makes the most sense to me.  So I believe that counseling between opposite sexed individuals in the privacy of an office type setting should never be done under any circumstances.  By avoiding the appearance of evil, men and women will not fall into these types of traps that Satan can use against them.   However, what people do in a public church service is not limited by these natural types of rules. That was my opinion and there is no extra charge for that.  So let’s see what else the Bible says about women:

Tit 2:3  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

This verse is directed at mature women, but I was shocked at how it ended.  To be a teacher of “good” things implies that women can teach.  In fact it clearly implies these women should be teachers.  Obviously we have another verse that goes against the “keep silent” verse that some men like to see.  So we have another conflict of whether women should teach or women should never teach.

Tit 2:4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Here we have the follow up to the previous verse and it clearly says that it is OK for women to teach other women.  Now it is interesting that this verse directly contradicts again that women should keep silent that some men try to teach as the gospel.  If a woman has the ability to teach another woman, then she has the ability to teach (PERIOD)!  I want you to go back and read chapter 1, because in this chapter it is talking about Bishops in the church.  God and Paul are clearly talking about women teaching in a church setting and not in a private setting.  So instead of denying women who are called of God the right to preach and teach, you should be smart enough to recognize when God is doing something.  If God is not behind it, it will not matter who it is that is teaching or preaching because there will be no anointing from the Spirit of God and it will eventually fail.  My Bible says that unless the Lord builds the house, those that build labor in vain.  So if God wants to use a woman, you better bow to the wisdom of God and keep your mouth closed while you learn.  Learn the lesson that people try to only apply to women, learn in silence and you might be amazed at what God says through a woman.  Let’s review our key verse that causes many to stumble again in the light of what we have just read in other parts of the Bible:

1Ti 2:12  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Let me ask you how can a woman keep silent and still prophesy?  She can’t!  How can a woman teach other women in the church and still keep silent?  She can’t!  Did you know the word translated as “usurp authority over” is only in the entire Bible this one time in this verse and no other places?  According to Strong’s it means “a worker” who acts of themselves.  Do you know this is wrong for anyone to do regardless of gender?  To act of yourself means to be self-appointed.  To promote yourself and raise your ability to a level above where you should be.  Men are guilty of this more than women are guilty of it.  So I do not know of any verse in the Bible that says that a woman cannot be called by God, appointed by God, promoted by God and made to be a blessing to the church?  God has already promoted several women in the church with large ministries that are way beyond many men on the earth.  So be smart and recognize God and do not look at the gender of the person delivering the message.  Learn to see people as God sees people and you will be far ahead of others who want to remain in their ignorance.  I’ll end this lesson with an instruction that God gave to one man and you see if it is something that applies to you also:

1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on  the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh  on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on September 12, 2010, in The Church and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Thank you for this!, also, this reminds me to Deborah, who certainly teached to men, she was temporarily a leader of Israel, can you make a post about her?

  2. What I can understand here is the issue of being the teacher and being the leader of the church of the living God. As far as I can remember Ephesians chapter 4 is telling us to be in unity, not to be divided on the issue of who will do the job of teaching. That is why Paul is so very specific of those roles he said ‘some’ (Eph 4:11) not all. If everybody would like to be on someone’s shoe then the church is most likely to be divided. We can agree that the role of leadership is given to men not to women (agree?). Women can teach other women, young people and children but to lead the whole congregation that is usurping the authority of leadership of a man. ”Let your women keep silence in the churches (not only their church also ours): for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but (here is the but) they are commanded to be under (note the word) OBEDIENCE, as also saith the law. So you see, they are under obedience to their pastor and their husband. ‘It is a shame for women to speak (that is to make herself a leader) in the church. God is a God of order and He would not let His church to be in a mess situation (1 Cor. 14:34-40). I don’t recall in the N.T. that there is a particular woman who lead the church of the living and true God. I salute women who teach God’s word but I despised women who will usurp authority in leadership over a man. Thank you all for a healthy discussion over this issue. God bless us all!

  3. I have prayed about this over and over again having been raise with the doctrine of keep silent, when clearly God is not respecter of persons. I love your position and teaching. May I offer what God has revealed to me.1Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. It goes on to say 2:13 For Adam was first formed and then Eve and 2:14 And Adam was not deceived but the Woman being deceived was in the transgression, then in 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in Child bearing, if they continue in Faith and charity(love) and holiness with sobriety. For the first Adam was not deceived but his wife was and then he willingly gave up his authority to satan .The second Adam (Jesus Christ) redeemed mankind but His wife the church can be deceived unless we allow Man/ Husband/Head of the Church (Jesus Christ) full authority and we listen in silence to Him,and speak only what He puts in our mouths to speak and never speak of our own authority. In other words we should be silent if we do not speak the Word of God for if we teach another gospel it is cursed of God. This is the way we bear children for the Kingdom, and yes we must remain in the faith, in love and be holy as He is holy. This assures our salvation as the Bride/Body/Church of God. We must be lead by the Spirit of God to be His children…we can not lead Him or usurp authority over Him, so if He has not anointed you to preach or teach or give a message then keep silent.

  4. Im about to make a sexist statement. I believe that men are priests and that is a gender related thing. As a woman, I don’t feel that’s very insulting to me. Quite the opposite, men are in great need of extra help in the area of being nurturing and creatures that care for others. They are given extra guidances to help them become more the natural nurturers that women are supposed to be. That’s not to say that there aren’t men and women that fall out of the natural inclinations but I don’t really feel like it matters if I teach right now because that is the best way to learn. I believe priests need to do that. It isn’t shut up. It’s let them (men) teach. The bible says things about men too like John 3:19 “men loved darkness rather than light”. NIV apparently says people but I would leave that men because we don’t pluralize humankind like “menkind” it’s a gender reference that is beautiful because it is in harmony with Adam and Eve because he did follow Eve into darkness. Or Cain or David or take your pick but those are men stories. I’m not catholic but I like that their priesthood are narrowed in their worship by being forced to follow specific divine ordinances…very important because obviously by the media hype they are in dire need to follow a strict regimen of worship that if they followed it, they would be better nurturers and not fallen into abuse. Many people read Adam and eve as a story of the nasty of women but it’s the greatest love story ever told. It’s also our greatest role in this life as women to be natural nurturers in our families and communities and society even if we are not mothers on our own. God placed a baby in my arms and as intimately as to my breast because I am loving and capable of great patience and gentleness. What greater thing than to be able to stand the pains of birth and still be able to love the little person the cause of it? We are naturally forgiving and loving and I’m glad for my role in eternity. I’m hope other people will quit diminishing it. Being a woman is a great thing.

  5. Gud teaching, may gud God will Bless u, in jesus name.

  6. I think you err in assuming that people (men) think women should not teach because they are incapable. Jesus did not keep silent before His accusers because he was incapable of wise speech, but because he was fulfilling scripture; and this type of silence is very different- it is a tranquility of purpose which women often lack because they do not appreciate their role. Gal. 3:28 is not a contradiction that God made us male and female. It is not about our roles in the church. It is about worth. We are all worth exactly the same; we are not the same. I still think that the ‘picture’ of the bride not being equal in authority to the husband but created to be a partner perfectly suited is what we are after, because God has ordained the church to be His Son’s bride, and he created male/female husband/wife roles to paint a picture of this. We (the church) do not hold authority the same as Christ, but work beside Him and beautifully obey. Like a dance- there must be a lead and a follower, but a well done dance does not see the lead dragging the follower around by the neck! It looks like a total joint effort and it is often indistinguishable to the observer that there even is a leader. In my studies of this subject, I agree that women are to teach, and prophesy; but I also think there are problems in the ‘picture’ with women grasping for ‘equality’ (sameness of role) in church leadership. It seems in some denominations where this is embraced, men tend to become rather lazy or ‘just let them do it then.’ and women leaders become lesbians. (To be frank). Something happens to that male/female picture that is not of God. But my main point would be that the reason for women to remain tranquil, non-grasping for a ‘bigger role’, or that they step back and let men lead, would be that it would be an honour to share in what our Lord did as described in Phil. Christ did not view equality with God as something to be grasped at, but took on the role of a servant. If, in allowing men to lead, we can be a living picture of that, that is not something to chaff at.

  7. 1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence…………I believe if you do a study on the word “man” in this scripture, it can be traced back to being the woman’s husband. I LOVE this place!!

    • You are correct based upon the Greek Word definition in the Strong’s and the content of the subject context being between a husband and his wife in the verse immediately following. 1 Tim 2:13 clearly references Adam and Eve a distinct family unit. The wife is not to teach her husband and that is all we should take away from 1 Tim 2:12. If we try to apply it to a church setting that would be taking it clearly out of context. Thanks for your comments and God Bless!

  8. By God’s grace I came across your site when searching for articles on faith and read from The Genesis of Faith! Part 1 to Part 14. I thank God for you, sir. I will go over it again and again with His grace. I found your teaching to be rooted on the Word. With this message I am a bit unsettled. How differently we should treat a statement in the Bible when “it doesn’t say God says this, it says I say this”?.
    How much of words shaped by his or her “life’s experiences and his/her surrounding world influences” should be taken into consideration when studying and practicing the Word. Should sociology, psychology and other “…ologies” be consulted before accepting what is written in the Bible? Can the most popular and ‘successful’ female ministers proved something different from what we read in 1Ti 2:11, “ Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection”. Please let us know.
    One more thing -What about “…..God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” of Ephesians 2:20?
    I am asking with genuine desire to learn on this subject. I personally do not go with the idea of oppression of women. Please help.

    • I do not see that as an insult to women at all. All through scripture, women helped and taught others. Women even taught women in public places, but not with men present.

      Perhaps in this U.S. culture, a woman gets intimidated anytime she feels that she is not on the same level as a man (or even higher), and I can understand that since many men have abused their role given by God towards a woman.

      Recall Adam and Eve, Adam was the one that God addressed because of the sin brought on by Eve. God did not treat them on the same level. In the beginning, woman was created to be a helper for the man. I did NOT, nor did God, say slave, or that they were lower. That’s been man’s doing, or shall I say Satan’s? Rather God places more responsibility on the man. The man is to love and care for his wife as she is the weaker vessel (something that is fragile).

      God decides how His worship will be done, not man. Further, the smallest role is vital, even if it is teaching a 3 and 4 year old class as I do. Women should not feel like they get the bad jobs. And we should all understand how much power we have. But at the same time, remember, God has placed a lot of responsibility on the man. Respect God, Respect man, and for crying out loud….respect yourself and you won’t need to feel some type of equality.

      Ephesians 2:20 does in fact teach that the apostles and prophets teaching is the foundation of the church. Jesus is the chief cornerstone. To say that Paul’s word’s are not important conflicts with this scripture. I am a woman, and I can respect this passage. I do not see it as a put down to women at all. If we are to respect the Word of God, we must be careful to not justify why we can do something that makes us feel better if the Bible has not justified it

      • I appreciate your time reading and for making a comment. People are allowed to see whatever they want in the Bible to be the truth by God’s design. However many times what we believe is in error and contradiction with other scriptures. In your commnet you said women never taught men in the Bible and you must have ignored my references to the women who prophesied to the men in Acts. You can further see that when Jesus was raised from the dead there was another example of women teching men. The angel appeared to the women present at the tomb and tells them to go and tell the disciples (men). Clearly women preached the ressurection before any man did and they dit it directly to the males that followed Jesus. There are other examples, but that is two witnesses to the truth. Now you are still free to believe whatever you would like. Just go back and reread the Bible with an open mind and see if you can see things from God’s perspective instead of man’s. He said in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, and neither is there male or female. God further says for us to look not on the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen for the seen things are temporary and the unseen things are eternal. Christians ignore both of these verse and continue to want to remain focused on the temporary external flesh and ignore the internal spiritual realm. God Bless you!

  9. I read “Must women keep silent in the church”. By God’s grace I came across your site when searching for articles on faith and read from The Genesis of Faith! Part 1 to Part 14. I thank God for you, sir. I will go over it again and again with His grace. I found your teaching to be rooted on the Word. With this message I am a bit unsettled. How differently we should treat a statement in the Bible when “it doesn’t say God says this, it says I say this”?.
    How much of words shaped by his or her “life’s experiences and his/her surrounding world influences” should be taken into consideration when studying and practicing the Word. Should sociology, psychology and other “…ologies” be consulted before accepting what is written in the Bible? Can the most popular and ‘successful’ female ministers proved something different from what we read in 1Ti 2:11, “ Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection”. Please let us know.
    One more thing -What about “…..God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” of Ephesians 2:20?
    I am asking with genuine desire to learn on this subject. I personally do not go with the idea of oppression of women. Please help.

  10. dear friend, it is what God says that matters, not even what agape geek says. i have respect for you from your previous posts. but, let me tell this, when paul told women to teach women, it is for older women to teach younger women, not in church but in family, maintaining god’s order of women to be submissive to their husbands. i dont talk much now. but, a little later, i will. again, not my opinion, not yours sir, but the commandment of THE MOST HIGH. AMEN. :-)GMAW.

  11. Our God is so wise….I just want to thank you for being so bold in Christ addressing this issue. So many women are broken at spirit because of this teaching. I know I was and God is still in the process of healing me. I am a 32 year old Christian woman of God, which had this very similar revelation, persay five years or more ago. If more people would open their hearts to God for instruction, they would be deceived less. Learn the Word, know the Word, and listen to God for instruction with the Word. Thank God for his Holy Spirit because he is truly the Ultimate teacher. Please ladies recognize that men are placed in our lives to be reverenced, but find truth for your self through Christ Jesus. I pray that you continue to lead and encouraged by Our One and True LIVING GOD.

    • Thank You! For taking the time to read my blog and then to make such a blessed comment. You are an example of that which I was trying to teach about and you hear from God the same as I do. In Christ we are no different! We all know Him who is True, even us from the least to the greatest.

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