Women at the Pulpit
Women, you are free indeed!
In a world of gender discrimination, it has been the battle of the sexes for centuries.
In this world, we have the division between the sexes in sports and in the Labor force. The competition between the sexes in these areas are very common and has been for centuries. Opposition in the all-male or female sports, and even in their personal relationships division still exists even in marriages. One day, I guess we will be recognized as an equal as God initially intended us to be… a partner, a helpmate to our male counterparts.
At this point, in my Christian walk, I am seeing that many men do not like women preachers. This is a debatable topic. Some people are more compassionate about this in comparison to another subject. Some people don’t even blink an eye about abortion but talk about women preaching and you got yourself a debate. I have seen many videos on YouTube and have briefly read Blogs as to why women are not to preach, but yet, they have failed to give a strong supportive explanation that is a satisfactory answer to me.
Therefore, I decided to study and understand why women are not allowed to preach in the church as stated in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and among other scriptures used to discourage women, preachers. It is written in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 ” Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
Is this discrimination against women in the pulpit?
This is not about discrimination nor control or who is in charge.
This is about God’s written word and how was the Word been taught in and after the times of Jesus. Also, we have to consider the Hebrew culture influence and their belief system, which affected their lifestyle, and their way of thinking. Therefore, let us review this controversial Biblical topic – as many people are standing by 1 Timothy just because it is written and commented in the bible. But, really, is it just as simple as it is read by many? Let’s starts our journey… ready?
I want to start with the Old Testament and get some foundational background in who we are in God, YHWH.
Old Testament Era…
In the beginning, it is the written, that God made us in His image: Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Let’s define the word “image, man, and female.”
The word, “Image” means according to the Hebrew Strong’s number H6754, it is the word, Tselem. It is defined as meaning; likeness or resemblance.
Man: Strong’s number H120 is defined as a man, human being, mankind. Mankind is the most preferred usage for man. To define humanity as a whole.
Female: Strong’s number H5347 is simply defined as women or female.
It is stated here in Genesis 1:26 “and God said, Let us make man (mankind) in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl off the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” It didn’t say just “man” as male gender,” it said, “them.” Them means both…which is male and female.
Therefore, we are mankind, and we are to have dominion over the earth together.
Okay, let see what the word “man” means, it is “Mankind or Human Being” in the Hebrew, which is also referred to as “Adam.” The Hebrew Strongs number is H120. Let’s move on to the word, “dominion.” The definition of dominion in biblical terms is the KJV Hebrew translates Strong’s H7287, the transliteration is Radah, which means to rule, prevail, reign and to take. In other words, we, as mankind are to dominate the world… to prevail and rule.
In Genesis 2:18 and the Lord said, it is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helpmate. In the Easton dictionary it means; help as his counterpart. The Hebrew Strongs number is H5828, which transliteration is Ezer and it means, a helper, one who helps. Nowhere does it say we are servants or slaves, but a helper to our counterpart. Again, he didn’t say a man is to have dominion over women, but to the animals and everything else that is on the earth.
The women’s submission to man came after the fall of Adam and Eve.
Now, since the fall of Adam and Eve as we all know it – caused the fall of mankind. You can read this story in Genesis 3. This brought some changes in our role as the “helper.” Genesis 3:16 is used to tell women that we are to submit to the male counterpart (spouse) – it states, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children and thy desire to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. The word “rule” over thee… in the Hebrew Strongs number H4910 means to “Rule, governor, to exercise dominion” over women – his counterpart. What we have to understand in Genesis 3:14, is that God cursed the snake. In Genesis 3:16, God punishes Eve… He did not curse the women. It is very important that you understand this. We were not cursed, instead, we were punished.
This punishment was done away under the new covenant – we were released from bondage!
We also recognize that in Ephesians 5:22, the wife is to submit to the husband. Yet, in Ephesians 5:21 it states, “submitting one to another.” We do not object to our spousal submission, we want to respect them as unto Christ and we also desire to be respected, honored and loved by them as stated in 1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We are a team – we are to honor each other. Ephesians 5:21, “submitting one to another.” This is the relationship we had in the beginning.
Understanding the Jewish culture
Now, we must understand that as we read the Word of God, that we are to take their culture into consideration. Culture influences everything we believe in and the law of the people are also affected by culture. For example, in the Palestinian Hebrew women were the poorest in the world during Jesus time. Women did not own property. If they were the firstborn or they were to inherit land the husband had every right to use it and enjoy its fruit. They were not allowed to divorce their husbands, yet, the man could divorce her for any reason. In the church, the man and women were segregated in the synagogue. Separation from the men was created by the Rabbis and it was for the reasoning behind the Halacha(the collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from the written and oral Torah) was that women and her body would distract men and give them impure thoughts during prayer. Due to this rabbinical interpretation, scholars have seen women’s role in the synagogue as limited and sometimes even non-existent. Women were not expected to commit to religious practices as the men are due to household responsibilities and tending to the children and to the welfare of the husband. However, they are expected to learn the Torah as it affects home purity and kosher requirements. Also, women could teach and correct their husbands while at home to avoid them from error in the presence of other men.
The OT and NT have men as the ones doing all ministry, and their roles in positions as the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Teachers, and Pastors. This is because of the Jewish culture and customs. As I mentioned before, women were not expected to do anything religious. A common unity among men in the bible is the pivotal (of crucial importance in relation to the development or success of something else) role that women take in subverting (undermine the power and authority of) man-made power structures. It was never God’s plan for women to be subverted to man-made power structures to a point of bondage and slavery to man. Man under the Jewish customs are the ones to tend to prayer and lead the ceremonies in the synagogue. The ancient synagogues would not allow women to lead because a women’s voice was viewed as seductive and a distraction to the men trying to focus on worship. The community prayer leader was to be a man since the voice of women would lead to sexually indecent behavior. (The Encyclopaedia of Judaism, Neusner, Vol 2, pages 910, 2000 AD)
Remember, man and women are equal, we just have different roles appropriate to our gender. Therefore, 1 Timothy 2:11-15, is an injunction, which was a carryover from ancient Jewish tradition that has its origin in the Garden of Eden. When the Apostle Paul spoke that women are to be silent – he spoke this due to their Jewish customs and laws. It was their cultural customs.
It was NOT an ordained law instituted by God or Jesus. He never made us be subservient to man it was Eve’s sin.
Also, remember that the New Testament kicked in after Jesus was resurrected. Yet, I’m sure they were still following the customs and Jewish laws until they finally got the message that Jesus was teaching them for the last 3 – 3 1/2 years before he was crucified. Once Christians really begin to understand that we are free indeed – all chains were broken and now we are renewing our minds to think like Christ, created to be like God in righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:23-24 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
The New Testament era…
As a Christian woman, my concern is on the Biblical side
In the OT, there were female prophets, and one scripture to plainly state its continuation into the NT is unavoidable. It is stated in Joel 2:28-29, “And afterward, I will pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” This has certainly come into action on the Day of Pentecost.
From the Old Testament (OT) merging into the New Testament (NT), we have many situations to consider. While people were under the Law (OT), they were been taught and prepared to enter the New Testament era… John the Baptize was preaching the coming of the Lord – preparing the way. Then, Jesus came and began to teach of the Kingdom of God – repentance, salvation, Baptism of water and the Baptism of Fire, and His death, and resurrection plus much more…
Our Identity in Christ – The new covenant
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, “know the Lord. for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:6-13. This is why we are no longer under the punishment as women for Eve’s sin. The new covenant breaks the generational curse of all original sin.
Therefore, we who are Gentiles were grafted into the vine. For those who believe John 3:16, and call upon His name are saved – and are baptized. Therefore, we are now a new creation, our sins are forgiven, and we have all been called to be witnesses in all the earth…
It is stated in Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
Ephesians 2:10 for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season…
We are able to preach the word of God from the pulpit as it is stated in Galatians 3:28, for all of you who were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
The spreading of the Gospel through preaching is our assignment as well as to the men – God, YHWH does not see us as a sexual being, but as His heirs to His Kingdom and we are to dominate here on earth to build His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Therefore, I know that we all want what God has for us… the curse has been broken. We are one in the Spirit – for we are the temple of the living God, 2 Corinthians 6:16. We are the bearers of the great commission – “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” Matthew 28:18-20. We as women can be Prophets, Teacher, and Pastors – we can also be Apostles and Evangelist.
I pray, that this Blog titled “Women on the Pulpit” has brought some answers to your questions. I would love to hear from you, so, please send me an email at “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Gracie Renteria, Pastor Kingdom Faith Church