The topic of whether women should be pastors in a church is a continuing debate among numerous denominations. Throughout time, theologians have contemplated this issue and concluded that pastoral duties are for men. However, despite this, there are still some arguments being raised that women can be pastors, too. Still, what does the Bible say about this topic?

What does the Bible say about female pastors?

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, specifically in 1 Timothy 2:12, he says that he doesn’t allow a woman to teach or practice authority over a man, and she should remain quiet. Paul’s communication was direct in saying women can’t have authority over men, teach, and should stay quiet, but that doesn’t mean a woman can’t serve God and His Church. Paul further elaborates in his letter to the Philippians, asking them to help these women since they’ve remained at his side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and his other co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life, as detailed in Philippians 4:3.

Since Paul explicitly stated that women can’t preach and be pastors in the church, then what can they do? The answer to this question is that the Bible highlights that women can teach about spiritual matters. Another example of this is Priscilla, as we read in Acts 18:26. In this verse, we read about how someone started speaking boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they invited him to their home and explained God’s way to him in a more profound way. This verse actually discusses Apollos as he was preaching.

We’re introduced to Apollos in Acts 18:24-25. He’s a Jew and native of Alexandria who came to Ephesus. He was an educated man with knowledge of the Bible and was instructed in the way of the Lord. He spoke with great passion and taught accurately about Jesus, though he only knew of John’s baptism. The situation is that Apollos was preaching but wasn’t evident in his knowledge about the gospel, which is why Aquila and Priscilla invited him to their home to explain the gospel further. The verse initially mentions Priscilla, then her husband, Aquila. Notably, Priscilla also had a vast knowledge of the gospel, like her husband did.

Women in ministry.

In his letter to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:5-12, Paul said that women can prophesize and pray in church meetings. However, every woman who prophesies and prays with her head uncovered dishonors her head, comparing it to a woman having her head shaved. He added that if a woman doesn’t cover her head, she might as well cut her hair, but it’s a disgrace for a woman to have her head shaved or cut her hair. Therefore, she should cover her head. However, a man shouldn’t cover his head because he’s the glory and image of God, but a woman is the glory of man. Man didn’t come from woman, but woman came from man. Man wasn’t created for woman, but woman was created for man.

Therefore, it’s for this reason that a woman should have authority over her head because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman isn’t independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. As woman came from man, also man is born of woman, but ultimately, everything comes from God. This means that a woman is significant in ministry and church meetings, but, according to Paul to Timothy, not in a pastoral role or preaching in front of the denomination. Instead, women should support the calling of being a preacher and pastor. Paul’s instruction in his letter to Timothy is supported in his writing in 1 Timothy 2:13, which says that Adam was created first, then Eve.

The passage means that there’s a difference in the roles of the church between women and men, just as God created men and women. God made Adam to have the responsibility to take care of Eden, while Even was created to help with the shared responsibility. Women have a significant responsibility in the church. Women are in charge of ensuring that the preachers, pastors, and leaders in the church are good stewards. Here, support means being loving servants of God and His church and ensuring that the leaders do their job honorably.

God’s children and His church.

In Ephesians 5:22-25, we’re reminded that wives should submit themselves to their husbands as they submit to the Lord because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the leader of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Meanwhile, husbands should love their wives, as Jesus Christ loves the church and sacrificed Himself for her. This passage highlights how vital the role of women in the church is while also implying how men should do their roles similarly to how Jesus loved the church. The roles aren’t a walk in the park. It’s different, but both play a significant part in making the church a success.

To further affirm this, let’s look at Lydia, a helper in the ministry. We meet Lydia in Acts 16:13-15, where she’s introduced as a dealer and a worshiper of God. The Lord opened His heart and responded to Paul’s note. When Lydia and the members of her household were baptized, she invited them to her home, saying that anyone who was a believer in the Lord could stay in her home.

Here, we see Lydia as a helper for Paul’s advocacy and his ministry to Christ as she opens her home for the ministry. We should also remember Joanna, Mary Magdalen, Chuza’s wife, and Susanna. These women were helping Jesus and were given the gift of expelling demons, as we read in Luke 8:1-3. God ordained that only men should serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. However, this doesn’t imply that men are better teachers or that women are less intelligent or inferior to men. It’s just the way that God designed the church to function. Women should also set an example in their lives, but differently.

In Titus 2:3-5, we read that women are encouraged to teach other women, and the Bible also doesn’t restrict women from teaching children. The only activity that women are restricted from is having authority or teaching men, barring women from serving as pastors to men. However, this doesn’t make women less critical. Instead, it gives them a ministry focus that is more in line with God’s design.

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