Ask Your Preacher
MEN & WOMEN
Why does the Bible seem to think either women are completely useless, women don't know anything, or women can't be good preachers or teachers for anyone (including men)?
Dear Woman Woes,
Any religious groups that treat women as inferior aren’t reading their Bibles. The Bible clearly states that women are equal heirs of life with men (1 Pet 3:7). Men and women are different, but different doesn’t mean one is better than the other. The Bible is the only great religious document to treat women with such esteem. Two books of the Bible are named after women (Ruth and Esther). An entire chapter of Proverbs is dedicated to the worth and wonder of godly women (Proverbs 31). While the Koran, Dharma, and Veda all treat women as inferior… the Bible protects your rights and esteems your value.
The Bible is clear that men and women have different roles within the church… but lots of things are different but equally wonderful. Men are to lead the congregation as elders and deacons (1 Tim 3:2, 1 Tim 3:12). Women are to teach in more private settings and by their godly demeanors (Tit 2:3, 1 Tim 2:9-10). Husbands are to lead their families in sacrificial Christ-like love (Eph 5:25), and wives are to bind together their families by their respect for their husbands and love for their children (Tit 2:4, Eph 5:24). Yet, in all these differences, God makes it clear that neither male nor female is greater than the other (1 Cor 11:11-12).
This might seem like a stupid question, but I have always wondered when I get to heaven, will I still be a man? Is there still a gender difference in heaven? Or is everyone just spiritual with no gender distinction?
Both men’s and women’s spirits are equally made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), which leans toward an understanding that we are neither male nor female in heaven once we shed our physical bodies. Also, Jesus’ statement that there is no marriage in heaven seems to point out that there is no gender difference in heaven (Mk 12:25). Lastly, Gal 3:28 states that we are neither male nor female in Christ. Overall, the Bible paints a picture that gender probably isn’t a part of our life in heaven.
[This question is in response to “Feminine Ways”]
How do you view Deborah in the Bible? How do you explain why God mentions her at all? She judged both men and women in Israel. I'm not convinced that God will be boxed in to whom He can use at any given time. God Bless.
Thinking Outside the Box
Dear Thinking Outside the Box,
The only rules God is “boxed in” by are His own. The Bible is full of women that taught and shared God’s wisdom… Deborah is just one example of them. Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s sister, was a prophetess (Ex 15:20), and so were Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:8-9). The problem is not with women teaching; it is the venue in which they do it.
We didn’t make 1 Cor 14:34 and 1 Tim 2:12 – those are God’s laws, not ours. We also didn’t make the qualifications that an elder be a man – the Lord authored Tit 1:5-9 and 1 Tim 3:1-7. The qualifications for an elder restrict women from being pastors, but it also forbids young men, unmarried men, and those without children. It isn’t a matter of the value of people; it is a matter of what God’s law says.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35: I do not understand what this means.
Paul says that women are to keep silent in the church assembly … it is the public teaching done in the church assembly that is being dealt with in 1 Cor 14:34-35. Women are not supposed to serve as public teachers in the worship service because men have the responsibility to lead the church in public teaching. Elders (Tit 1:5-6), deacons (1 Tim 3:12), and preachers (2 Tim 2:2) are all required to be men. 1 Tim 2:12 specifically prohibits Christian women from teaching Christian men in a congregational forum.
However, just because women don’t lead in the public assembly, that doesn’t mean they just take up pew space! The Bible is chock-full of examples of active and vibrant godly women. Lydia was a Christian who took Paul and gave him lodging, food, and financial support (Acts 16:14-15). Priscilla and Aquila were a married couple that taught the gospel to Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). That same Apollos went on to become a mighty preacher… something that would have never happened without Priscilla. John Mark’s mother opened her home for a prayer meeting that saved Peter’s life (Acts 12:11-12). Older women are supposed to be teachers and train the younger women to be faithful wives and mothers (Tit 2:3-5). Younger women have the immensely important task of raising godly children… the next generation of Christians (Tit 2:4). Women have children’s classes to teach, women’s classes to teach, hospitality to provide, others to encourage, and evangelism to do. On top of all those very important and pivotal duties within the church, during the worship services, women have the task of singing and praising God (just like the men – Col 3:16) and joining in the public prayer… just because one man leads the prayer doesn’t mean we aren’t all praying together. When the church assembles, we all are worshipping God, edifying each other, and studying His Word (Heb 10:24-25).
"She shall be saved in childbearing” – does this mean a woman needs to deliver every child God will give to her?
Dear Maternity Ward,
The verse you are referring to is 1 Tim 2:15 and it has to do with the role of women in the home, not the amount of kids a family chooses to have. Paul is addressing that women are not to be the leaders in the church (1 Tim 2:11), but the public teaching and leadership is to be done by faithful men (1 Tim 2:12). The reason for this is the same reason that the husband is to lead in the home – it is how God designed us. Eve was made to be Adam’s helper (Gen 2:18). Eve’s glory was that she was the mother of all living (Gen 3:20).
A man’s glory is to lead and provide for his family – even to the point of sacrificing his life to protect them. A woman’s glory is to raise godly children and transform a house into a home (Pr 14:1). God designed women to be the glory and heart of the home (Tit 2:4-5). When Paul talks about her being saved in childbearing, in this context, it is addressing all the things involved with rearing children and the domestic existence.