Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Feminine Ways”

Categories: MEN & WOMEN, RELATIONSHIPS, THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
I wanted to know if when you read I Timothy on the qualifications for a bishop, you read "...must be the husband of one wife" as excluding women from the office of a bishop.  I always understood that particular verse to address having more than one wife since Israel had practiced that in their history.  Also, the Scripture in I Corinthians as pertaining to women teaching was based on the Corinthian church at that time, etc.  I would love to hear your expanded thoughts on this.

Sincerely,
Ladies’ Lib

Dear Ladies’ Lib,

Pastors (Eph 4:11) – also known as elders or bishops (Tit 1:5-7) – are always men.  The qualifications for pastors are given in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9.  As you said, one of those qualifications is that he must be “a husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2, Tit 1:6) – that clearly rules out females from becoming bishops.  People have tried to say that these verses are just cultural or that they only pertained to those particular churches, but there is nothing in the Bible that says that.  If we just take the Bible for what it says – elders must be men.

Everyone agrees that women can be servants in the church – the question isn’t whether women can serve; it is how they can serve.  Phoebe was a servant of the church (Rom 16:1) and was praised for her service.  Priscilla was also commended for her labor on behalf of the church (Rom 16:3).  The Bible clearly shows women working in the church and in a very positive way.  Women are seen serving in many capacities in the church, but they are never seen in positions of authority.  Women are forbidden from having authority over men in the church… they are also forbidden from publicly teaching men (1 Tim 2:12).  Women cannot be preachers or have positions within the church that allow them to have dominion (the word ‘dominion’ means ‘to have authority over’).  Women are encouraged to teach other women (Tit 2:3-5) but to take a less authoritative role than men within the church and family.  Paul explains the reason for this structure in 1 Tim 2:13.  Adam was created first, and Eve was created as his helper.   In both the family (Col 3:18-19) and the church (1 Cor 14:34), this principle is carried out.  Eve was no less valuable than Adam, but she was designed for a different role.