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We are living in a day when virtually everything said or done is questioned and often opposed, including Christian women verbally spreading the word of God. I remember, years ago, my wife and I were on a so-called internet Christian chat witnessing and a man scathingly rebuked a woman who barely spoke and got that scolding because she was to remain silent in the church, according to that man. We have been asked about women teaching over the years, so let’s look at the related Scriptures. First, here are the chief Scriptures cited in opposition to Christian women witnessing or teaching:
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church (1 Cor. 14:34,35).
Another passage similarly used is:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. (1 Tim. 2:12-14)
The historical context of the 1 Cor. 14 passage prohibits the female Christians from blurting out questions to their husbands, during a Christian teaching, who were seated across the aisle (as was the historical seating arrangement back then). For the wives to speak out like that would interfere with the teaching and was a disgraceful thing to do. There can be no doubt that Christian women did verbally speak during the Christian assemblies back then, as shown from other Scriptures. Notice what else Paul wrote just a few chapters earlier:
And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved (1 Cor. 11:5).
According to that Scripture, at least some Christian women did pray or prophesy, yet this would not violate them remaining silent in the churches. The context of the chapter was their religious meetings (11:17).
Similarly, we have the following Scripture:
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5)
Titus was to teach the older women, who in turn would teach the younger women the various things cited. Paul, who wouldn’t permit a woman to teach, (1 Tim. 2:12) wanted older women to teach younger women but remain silent in the church (as understood from the above).
The 1 Tim. 2:12-14 passage doesn’t prohibit the aforementioned but does prohibit a woman from having an authoritative teaching position in the church such as a pastor. Paul cited the reason and stated that Eve was the one deceived and not Adam. Consequently, women are more likely to be deceived. If they are in a teaching position declaring concepts that are false they could spiritually stumble their listeners. Hence, women were not allowed in that position or to have authority over a man including their own husbands. The context of that Scripture is a church setting.
There are several other Scriptures that relate to this issue and they show all Christians, including the females, are to verbally spread the gospel message. In Jude 3:4, we read:
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Jude wrote this general warning to urge all Christians, including the females, to contend for the faith against the grace changers. It is so vital to expose and refute these dangerous false teachers that everyone who is Christian is commanded to get involved and contend for the truth against their false version of grace. It is a sin not to! Jude exalted that message above writing about the salvation they shared! To hinder Christian women from contending against the eternal security teachers in our day will allow this evil to spread more, thereby jeopardizing more souls to hell besides hindering them from obeying that command.
In Hebrews, we read:
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (5:11,12)
The unnamed writer of Hebrews gave a rebuke to all the Hebrew Christians and said that they first came to the Lord long enough ago that by now they should all be teachers. But what kind of teachers were they all to be, since women are restricted from having authority over men and are to remain silent in the church?
The Lord Jesus commanded the Twelve,
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 (Mt. 28:19,20).
Jesus told the Twelve (all men) to go and make disciples and to teach those disciples (men and women) to obey everything the Twelve were commanded. That command would include making disciples and teaching them, and would have to be given to both males and females. A corroborating passage is found in Acts 8:
But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. (Acts 8:3,4)
Saul persecuted women just like he did the men. Apparently he saw them as a threat too. But the same passage also shows that all who were scattered, including men and women, preached the word wherever they went. In other words, they witnessed and obeyed the general command found in Mt. 28:19,20. (This little nugget reveals something about the early church that is very lacking in our dark hour—they were soul winners similar to street evangelists as we might say in our day.)
This evidence shows that male and female Christians are both commanded to spread the plan of salvation verbally as they did in first-century Christianity.
But what about our Christian confession? Though it is different from instruction it is still a type of teaching and it certainly is not remaining silent. Christians, in general, made their good confession in front of other witnesses back then. (All Christians, including females, have been called to be a witness to all people.)
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Tim. 6:12).
These are dark days. The Gospel doesn’t need opposition from within the so-called church at any time, especially when there is so much opposition from outside of the church. So, if you have been hindering Christian women from doing the very things they are commanded by God to do, repent and stop hindering the vital truth of God from going forth. Souls hang in the balance. GOD BLESS YOU.
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