I had heard the argument that women should NOT have authority over men and preach inside a church because of 1 Timothy 2:11-14 however, if it’s outside a church setting, it’s ok.
The belief is that women are not to speaking or have authority over men because of this verse, 1 Timothy 2:11-14~ “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 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.”
Then following that up with 1 Tim 3:14-15~ “I tell you this so you know how to conduct yourself in the house of God.”
Then saying it’s referring to how we are to be inside a church….not outside the church. So, inside a church, women and men are told how to conduct themselves but outside a church it’s different. To my understanding, this verse is supposed to prove as long as it’s NOT in a church setting women should be okay to preach to men because Priscilla did with her husband outside the church.
So the question is, why women couldn’t do the same as Priscilla today with others as long as it’s outside the church like at conferences or other buildings. Women that preach to crowds that are not associated with a church is no different than Priscilla preaching in their tiny group of three. Can’t it be any number of people? Why is a small group okay in the Bible but more than that it’s not?
I made the statement that it was in their home privately not publicly and just because Priscilla was helping explain things to Apollos isn’t a reason for women to preach outside a church. To use this weak argument regarding Pricilla can’t possibly be an example of preaching to groups with men because she didn’t preach to groups of men. She privately counseled one-man alongside another man. She was helping to explain Christ with her husband, under her husband’s authority, that’s all. There was no position of authority in that situation for Priscilla. She has no leadership over Apollos. God made it clear that a lady is not to preach the Word and act as a leader of the body of Christ.
To prove further that this is not just my understanding of these verses I’ll point out some web sites and individuals that I believe are sound and biblical and teach the same things.
Michelle Lesley: In this link, she says: “When people try to use her (Priscilla) as an argument for female preachers, teachers, and authority, they usually go to Acts 18:26 which says that she and her husband took Apollos aside and fully explained the gospel to him. This was a private meeting among the three of them, likely in their home over a meal or other casual circumstances, not preaching or teaching in the church. Additionally, the Bible makes absolutely no mention of how much, if any, of the actual “explaining” Priscilla did. It’s quite possible she just sat by as Aquila did the majority of the explaining and contributed only here and there or when Aquila forgot something.”
(We cannot assume women can preach to an assembly of men just because Priscilla helped alongside her husband with one individual man understand the Gospel better. If so, that would mean Priscilla could’ve then got up onto a platform somewhere and started preaching God’s Word to a group of men and women. Her preaching to a mixed audience as the authority of God’s Word is not the same as her going alongside her husband and helping another man understand God’s Word.)
Also from Michelle Lesley: “Would the Holy Spirit have led Paul in Romans 16 to praise women who were rebelling against His word in 1 Timothy 2? Have you ever known God, anywhere in Scripture, to praise people who unrepentantly break His word?”
“Would it make any sense, logically, for Paul to praise in Romans 16 women who were habitually and rebelliously disobeying his instructions in 1 Timothy 2?”
“The “church” is the gathered body of believers for “worship” and “biblical instruction”.
“So whenever believers are gathered for those purposes – whether we call it Sunday School or worship service or a Christian conference, and whether it’s in a sanctuary, Sunday School classroom, or conference center – that’s the church, and the Scriptural mandate for women not to teach or hold authority over men applies.”
(This tells me that it’s not the building that’s the focus here. Michelle points out that It’s what’s taking place with the person preaching. The Bible isn’t saying that only in the church building we can’t allow women to preach or have authority over a man, but outside the church building as well. It’s the preaching of a sermon to the congregation anywhere, it’s being the leader over the body of believers, and it’s the leading of worship and giving biblical teachings to a mixed group. That is what is forbidden for women to do whether in a church building or a religious conference in a hotel. If they are Christian in the family of God then they are to behave as such 24/7 no matter where they are.
When we are in a mixed Bible study group women can speak up to give a thought, ask a question, or read a scriptures verse that’s ok because they are not leading the study. They are not the authority but instead, a man leads the study. The Bible doesn’t say women can’t share inside a Bible study but we are not to publicly hold spiritual authority over a man in the church as a leader. We can share the gospel to the lost and are called to share the gospel but that’s ministering to them that are lost, not holding authority over them as their leader. Everyone is called to share the gospel.)
Got Questions: “In this case, Paul seems to be saying that the ekklesia—the body of believers, “the church”—is the structure that holds up and holds forth the gospel to the world. For that reason, the conduct of the body and its selection of leaders is critically important.”
“So, in 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul is NOT referring to “the church” as the source of truth or the creator of truth. He’s saying “the church” is what holds up and holds firm the truth in the world.”
“The church,” that is, the entire population of Christian believers, bears the earthly responsibility of holding up the truth of the gospel. The ultimate basis of that truth is Christ, not the proclamations or infallibility of members of that body. Paul is calling on believers to care for the structure that “supports” or “props up” our message to the world. First Timothy 3:15 cannot be taken to mean that the church itself is the source or standard for truth.”
(So, I learn here that we as Christians in the family of God are to keep truth no matter where we are and what we are doing. We hold to the truth, “prop up” the truth to the world.
Our Christian conduct is to be consistent with who we are and whose name we bare no matter if we are in church service in our church or a conference an hour away or if we are at a family reunion or grocery shopping we are to demonstrate the pillars and foundation of truth. We are the family of God at all times not just “in” church.)
Click on the link below for the meaning of the verse.
*”‘The household of God‘ refers to all who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ”
*”The household of God are the believers who make up the Body of Christ”
*”The household of God is the men and women who are positioned in Christ”
John MacArthur: He is talking on 1 Timothy 3:15~ “if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”
“The word “house,” look at that in verse 15, is Oikos. It could be translated “house,” because it can refer to the building itself. But here it is best to understand it as “household.” It is not speaking of a building; it is speaking of a family. We take it that way because it’s used three other times in the chapter; and in each case, it’s used that way.”
“In verse 4, “one that rules well his own house” doesn’t mean he rules the mud and the brick and whatever it was that made the house, it doesn’t mean that. It means he rules the people in the house in the substance of the family. Verse 5, the same word is used again, “rule his own house,” and it refers to his household, his people, his possessions. In verse 12, it is used again of the deacon who rules their children – who rule their children and their own houses. And again, it’s the idea of the house as a household, as a family, as a group of people. Second Timothy 1:16, Titus 1:11 uses the same word in the same way.”
“So, we can assume then, basically, pretty safely, that Paul uses Oikos, not in the metaphor of a building here, but the metaphor of a family. And what he is saying is, “You need to know how to behave yourself as a member of the household of God. You belong to the divine family, and that places upon you a tremendous responsibility for conduct when you look at yourself as belonging to God.” These things are for Timothy, but not just for Timothy. That’s why chapter 4:11 says, “These things, Timothy, you are to command and to teach.”
“So the whole epistle then is instruction on how to behave as the family of God: proper Christian behavior in the family. And order starts with the leadership, that’s why he specifically identifies Timothy. Verses 14 to 16 are written like a personal note to Timothy, just like verses 18 to 20 in chapter 1 were. He ended the first section, chapter 1 discussion of the false teaching, with a personal word to Timothy. He ends the second section, chapters 2 and 3, with another personal word to Timothy, calling Timothy to accountability to follow through on what he has just instructed. And first of all, he says, “You have to know how to conduct yourself so that everyone else can know how to conduct themselves in the matter of living in the family of God.”
“Now that puts Christian conduct and Christian behavior at a high level, doesn’t it? We are called to this kind of behavior to be consistent with who we are. You remember Ephesians 5:1 says, “Walk in love as dear children of God.” We are dear children of God, and so we are to walk as Christ who is God walked, and He walked in love. We are to behave in a way consistent with our family identification.”
“The second thing he says, and this is so interesting, verse 15, we are told how it is necessary to behave oneself in the household of God, and then it says, “which is” – and I want to give you the proper Greek translation – “the living God’s church,” – and I translate it that way for a better emphasis consistent with the text – “the living God’s church.” There is not a definite article with the church, so “the church of the living God” adds a word. But it is the living God’s church. And any time the article is not there, we look for stress on the character or nature of something. And so, it is a church which by nature is the living God’s church. We are then, note this, not only the household of God, but we are the living God’s church. We are His family. We are His assembly. Ekklēsia means His group of called-out ones.”
(We are His assembly! This teaches us that women are not to have “spiritual authority” over men in church publicly or anywhere in the gathering body of believers. Not just in your church are women not to have spiritual authority over a man but also in other settings of religious worship and teachings as well.
A public religious conference with a mixed audience holds the same rules because we are “in the family of the living God” all the days of our lives everywhere we go.
If a woman is advertising to the public that she is holding a Bible study or religious assembly in a park or large hotel. The people that attend go to study her book or learn the Word of God from her then she has placed herself as an authority to the gathering body of believers)
Also, from MacArthur:
“And somebody else says, “Well, what about missions? What about missions? We need missionaries, what would we do without women missionaries?” God bless women missionaries, but I don’t think women being on the mission field necessarily have the right to violate the Word of God. Paul was a missionary. He had a lot of missionaries traveling with him. And if ever there was a great need for the expanding church to have leadership, it was then, and the pragmatic argument, if it ever was valid would have been valid there, and Paul would have thought, “Well, we don’t have many men but a great host of women keep coming to faith, so maybe we’ll just kind of stick those women in there till we get some men. Wouldn’t be bad to have a few women teachers and preachers and elders.” But no, I mean, look at it this way, God wrote on a wall a message to Belshazzar, but it isn’t His pattern to use walls. God doesn’t do that. God doesn’t violate His principles for expediency’s sake. People say, “What about the shortage of men?” Well if there’s a shortage of men, Jesus gave us the answer, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth,” what? “Laborers into His harvest.”
“Elisabeth Elliot, who most of us know as a marvelous instrument of God in the expansion of the Kingdom, the wonderful wife of the martyred Jim Elliot. After the massacre of her husband and the several other missionaries in Ecuador, she was the only biblically trained person left who could speak the Auca language, the only one left. But so convinced was Elizabeth Elliot in her heart that she could not violate the Word of God that she took one of the Auca men and weekly taught that man a sermon so that he could preach it in the church on the Lord ’s Day. Much like Aquila and Priscilla, she would not step up to the preaching but she did not mind instructing the preacher.”
“The word ‘teach’, “διδάσκω,” according to Thomas Schreiner, has in mind the public teaching and involves the authoritative transmission of tradition about Christ and the Scriptures (1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 3:16; James 3:1). “
“While women are permitted to discuss biblical theology in a mixed group setting such as a Sunday school class, women teaching children or other women (Titus 2), or in a private setting such as with Apollos’ instruction that was gleaned from meeting with Priscilla and Aquila—biblical teaching, when among the church as a whole or a mixed audience should be led by men. It seems clear that Paul was addressing an issue that was taking place in the life of the church and needed to be corrected.”
“When it comes to teaching men in our present day, we have the conference culture that often stretches these complementarian boundaries. This is a dangerous practice since conferences are designed to strengthen the church and to in many ways model what the local church should be promoting in their local assemblies—ie., expository preaching, sound biblical theology, and other important, if not essential, practices. Therefore, to have women stand and open the Bible and teach a group of men in a conference setting is not beneficial to the Church represented in the conference from many different local churches. Such stretching of the boundaries is a common practice in our day and we should be cautious when we see women teachers invited to speak to a mixed audience.”
“The last thing that we should do in the local church is to discourage women who have the gift of teaching to suppress their gifts. They should labor to teach, explain, and expound the meaning of the Bible on an ongoing basis in the life of the church and the context of religious conference settings—but there are still boundaries to observe in the process. The Church of Jesus Christ needs faithful women who bloom with the glory of God’s design for women and teach, instruct, and make disciples. Paul never suggested that women should not teach, but that they should merely refrain from teaching men and having authority over them.”
(This discusses the practice of women teaching scriptures in conferences. Known today as the conference culture women think it’s completely fine to preach the message to a mixed audience because they are officially not in a church building. Again it’s not the building that’s the church, it’s the people.
But as was pointed out in the write-up and worth repeating is that in Christian conferences it should be understood that the conferences are done to strengthen the church and should display what that local church encourages in the gathering of believers. No matter where we are, we need to behave as believers and stand on the truth in and outside the church. We don’t stop being Christian the minute we leave the church building.
My children don’t stop being my children when they leave our house. They are always my children no matter where they are. We are family always and they should behave in ways that represent who they are in our family. Believers are the family of God at all times. )
Bible study tools:
“Church” is the translation of the Greek term ekklesia, and is used in the New Testament to identify the community of believers in Jesus Christ. It means “assembly,” “congregation,” or “meeting.” A similar term was used in the Old Testament referring to experiences such as “the day of the assembly,” “the Lord’s congregation,” or “meeting before the Lord.”
“Thus, when Jesus declares: “I will build my church” (Mt 16:18), it did not come as something unfamiliar to the common listener. Shortly after, in the New Testament, the word is confined strictly to refer to the congregation of believers in Jesus Christ.”
“It is worth mentioning that in the New Testament, no synagogue, temple, chapel, tabernacle, building, or any other meeting place was ever called a “church.” The term always referred to the Christian assembly and, in the New Testament, it was used for both the local community of believers and the overall collection of Christians.”
(So, from the link above if we use the words they give as a church in a sentence we will understand what God is meaning. “Church” literally means “assembly,” “congregation,” or “meeting.”
Women are not to preach or teach in the “church”…women are not to preach or teach in “assemblies”…women are not to preach or teach in “congregations”…women are not to preach or teach in “meetings”. It wasn’t talking about a building or a location but the group of people that was being preached to. Women cannot preach as the authority of a conference or of an assembly of people or a meeting of believing people. Women shouldn’t even be included as a lineup of a group of preachers advertised for a Christian seminar to give a message from the Word of God. They will still be standing in authority over men but in this case, it’s just standing in authority with other men. They are still violating God’s Word.)
Susan Heck says: “It has nothing to do with culture but with the order of creation.”, “There is nothing wrong with a man learning from a woman but not in the local assembly.”
1 Timothy 2:8-15~ Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 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. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety.
1 Corinthians 11:3~ But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 11:7-9~ For a man ought not to cover his head since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
2 Corinthians 11:3~ But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
(These verses make it very, very clear in why women are not to preach in public assemblies to a mixed audience. Susan Heck points out so many verses in her woman’s study that helps us women understand why a woman is not the head, she is not the authority, and she is not the master of men when it comes to preaching inside or outside the church.)
“From the very beginning, women fulfilled a vital role in the Christian church (Acts 1:12–14; 9:36–42; 16:13–15; 17:1–4, 10–12; 18:1–2, 18, 24–28; Rom. 16; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 1:5; 4:19), but not one of leadership. The apostles were all men; the chief missionary activity was done by men; the writing of the New Testament was the work of men, and leadership in the churches was entrusted to men.”
“Although the Apostle Paul respected women and worked side by side with them for the furtherance of the gospel (Rom. 16; Phil. 4:3), he appointed no female elders or pastors. In his letters, he urged that men were to be the leaders in the church and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12). Therefore, although women are spiritual equals with men and the ministry of women is essential to the body of Christ, women are excluded from leadership over men in the church.”
(It’s not hard to understand that in the Bible men are to be the leaders in the church, but also the leaders of their household at all times no matter where they were and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12). )
May this give women great peace about their role and allow them to learn what God has designed us to do. It’s a great responsibility to be the leader of the body of believers and we as women can be thankful, we are not carrying that huge responsibility.