This is a question people often ask, especially since women
elders, deacons, preachers, and evangelists have become
Women Have an Important Role
Women have an important role in the church. A woman who
is fulfilling her God-given role in the church glorifies
God (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9-10; Tit. 2:3-5; 1 Pet. 3:1-6) and is
more precious than material wealth (Pr. 31:10-31).
Women are Permitted to Teach Women and Children, but
Women are not permitted to teach or have authority over
a man; they are commanded to remain quiet (1 Tim. 2:12;
cf. 1 Cor. 14:34-35). Women, therefore, may teach other
women (Tit. 2:3-5) and teach children.
In the church, women are not permitted to be preachers
except in the capacity of teaching women and children. They
are not permitted to have authority over a man; therefore,
they cannot be in leadership roles when men are present:
e.g., leading prayer, reading Scripture, speaking publicly
before the congregation (1 Cor. 14:34-35).
Women are not Qualified to Serve as Elders or Deacons,
But They are Important to the Work
Before serving as an elder or deacon, Bible qualifications
must be met. One of the qualifications is that elders and
deacons must be the husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2, 12).
Although a woman is not qualified to serve as an elder
or deacon, she is very important in her husband's qualification
and ability to serve in these capacities (1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5,
12; Tit. 1:6). It is important for a man who serves as an
elder or deacon to have a helpful wife (Gen. 2:18-24).
Does Joel 2:28 permit us to ordain women preachers?
Joel 2:28 is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:17. First century
miraculous gifts of prophesy and tongues were given to men
and women. But, God did not allow women to prophesy or speak
in tongues in the church; they were to remain silent (1
Women were permitted to prophesy outside the church, but
only with their heads covered (1 Cor. 11:4).
Were Philip's daughters preachers?
Philip's daughters prophesied (Acts 21:8-9), but women were
not allowed to prophesy in the church (1 Cor. 14:26-35).
The word preach means "to bring, or declare, good,
or glad, tidings" and "to proclaim," "to be a herald" (Vine's).
Philip was an evangelist (Acts 21:8), but his daughters
were not evangelists. The words preach, preacher, and evangelist
are never used of women in the New Testament. Rather, women
are commanded to learn in quietness (1 Tim. 2:11).
Was Phoebe a preacher?
Phoebe was not a preacher. She was a servant of the church
(Rom. 16:1) in the sense that all Christians should be ministering
and serving one another (Heb. 6:10; cf. Eph. 4:16; 5:21;
In some translations she is referred to as a deaconess
(RSV). The Greek work for servant is the same for deacon.
In the qualifications for the office of deacon, God requires
deacons to be married men (1 Tim. 3:8-13). Therefore, women
are not qualified to hold the office of deacon in the church.
Does Paul authorize women to be preachers in Galatians
In Galatians 3:28, Paul teaches us that God is not a respecter
of persons (cf. Gal. 2:6). Everyone who is baptized into
Christ, puts on Christ. Therefore he (or she) is a son of
God (Gal. 3:26-27). Our nationality or gender does not help
or hinder us in becoming a child of God.
Earlier, Paul told them that anyone (including himself)
who preached a different gospel was accursed (Gal. 1:6-10).
Paul did not teach one doctrine regarding women to Timothy
and the Corinthians (1 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 14:34), and
then teach a different doctrine to the Galatians. If he
did, he was accursed. Rather, Paul's message was consistent
in all the churches (cf. 1 Cor. 7:17). Women are not permitted
to teach or have authority over a man in any church (1 Tim.
Was Paul's command, forbidding women to teach or have
authority over a man, culturally applicable only to New
Testament Christians? Is it applicable to us?
Paul commands women to learn in silence (1 Tim. 2:11).
They are not permitted to teach or have authority over a
man (1 Tim. 2:12-13).
Paul cites God's creation of the human race when giving
this command: Adam was formed first, then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13).
Adam was not deceived, but the woman (1 Tim. 2:14).
Paul also cites creation while teaching about man's authority
over woman in 1 Corinthians 11:2- 9: man is the head of
woman because woman is from man and was created for the
man (1 Cor. 11:8-9).
Therefore, God ordained the social order of authority
between man and woman at creation. Paul's command that women
are not to teach or have authority over a man but to learn
in silence with all submission (1 Tim. 2:11), is applicable
to all Christians in every age.
Men are not doing the teaching! Women have to teach!
I understand that men, in many churches, are not teaching
and preaching. But this does not give a woman the authority
to transgress the will of God, and teach men -- two wrongs
don't make a right.
My experience is that godly churches, doing the will of
God revealed in the Bible, have godly men teaching God's
word. A church can't be godly unless the members are godly,
and diligently fulfilling their roles in the church.
I do not suggest that women transgress God's will, if
they are in churches where men are not teaching and preaching.
Rather, I suggest that they attend a church that is carefully
adhering to the teachings of Christ. In that church, the
men will be living up to their obligations to teach and
preach, to the best of their abilities.
If a woman can't teach, what can she do to help a man
become a Christian?
Many women know men whom they'd like to help become Christians.
A believing wife may have an unbelieving husband. A believing
woman may work with unbelievers or have unbelieving neighbors.
Fortunately, there are many things a woman can do to help
a man become a Christian, without having authority over
him or becoming his teacher.
Most importantly, she can be a godly woman. Peter tells
us that women can influence their husbands to become Christians
without saying a word, because of the message of a godly
life (1 Pet. 3:1-6); their chaste and respectful behavior
is an evangelistic message of godliness that leads others
Women can also be like Priscilla who traveled with her
husband (Aquila), helping him teach the gospel to others.
In Ephesus they heard Apollos, a mighty teacher of God's
word who incorrectly taught things concerning Jesus. Priscilla
and Aquila took him aside, and explained the way of God
more accurately (Acts 18:24-26).
Although a woman can't teach a man in a formal sense,
she can share her faith (with or without an open Bible).
And if there is interest in formal instruction, she can
introduce him to a male Bible teacher who can teach him
A woman's godly influence upon unbelieving men is very
important in the Lord's kingdom, and is instrumental in
leading men to Christ through God's word. Her "hidden person
of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle
and quiet spirit," that leads others to the Lord, "is precious
in the sight of God" (1 Pet. 3:4).