Are women who pastor churches sinning against God?

Lyn, from the blog  Saved By Grace, asks the question, “Are women who pastor churches sinning against God?” in her article of the same name.

“This is a subject that isn’t very popular within the realm of Christianity, it is hotly debated with more and more women taking what they believe is their rightful place in the pulpit. I believe it goes back to one of the five solas, sola scriptura. Do we really believe God’s word is the sole authority and are we submissive to it? If you believe women have a right to preach, you do not adhere to sola scriptura.”

Continue reading here.

43 thoughts on “Are women who pastor churches sinning against God?

  1. Amen. It does boil down to whether or not you hold to Sola Scriptura.
    There was a big Twitter debate going on about this very thing yesterday, and the lady who was defending women pastors kept pointing to the teachings of women pastors and a dvd about women in ministry (done by a woman, of course). Every time someone tried to point her back to Scripture, she evaded the question or referred back to the DVD. Clearly, what these women pastors were teaching held more authority in her view than what the Bible actually says about it.


  2. How “unloving.” Next you’ll be telling us that wives are supposed to submit to their husbands, that intimate physical relations are supposed to be only for husbands and wives, and that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Can’t we all just make our own rules? Because we all can see how well that is working in society around us….

    Pretty much all the problems in churches (and in society at large) boil down to Sola Scriptura. Sometimes Scriptural authority is denied (as in this case), sometimes it is given lip-service but not really followed. The value of articles like this one is it doesn’t really get bogged down with the symptom, it gets to the foundational question. Women “pastors” are only a symptom of a much bigger problem.


  3. As Jim McClardy states so well in one of his writings referring to women pastors and what God’s word unambiguously says about women and order in Church~

    Speaking of 1 Tim.2:12-“It is a fact. “So, the question becomes, “On what authority can we rightfully state that this is indeed a fact?” I mean, if the subject of women preaching is based on a genuine fact, then it’s no longer up for debate.
    We get this authority(final authority) from the Bible.
    “the very fact that God Himself is “the truth,” then anything He says is axiomatically true. And, if God lays down a standard, a law, a precept, it is axiomatically factual, because the One from whom all revelation of truth flows has established that fact.
    In this case, God’s word plainly states that there is an order to be followed within the structure of the Church. That order is such that women are not to teach in the church nor usurp authority over men, but to remain silent (1 Tim 2:12). No one can deny that the Bible says exactly that. So, if a woman does establish a ministry or take on a pastorate over a church body, is that in direct contradiction to what Paul said? The answer, of course, is “yes.”
    where does the woman preacher get her authority to act in conflict with God’s word?” -end quotes

    They choose to act in opposition to the clear dictates of the Word in order to satisfy their desire. They choose to be their own authority.

    God does not Change “I the Lord do not change”-Mal.3:6 and he is a God of order. This is what he has ordained and anyone who goes against God’s word is living in rebellion.


  4. How long before someone, who wants to win an argument, because of their rebellion, points out that there are women missionaries? And unmarried at that? So be it.

    Fact is, God’s word says what it says, and women pastors is as wrong as any sin.


  5. I would submit that women who are “pastors” are, indeed, sinning against the Lord and His church. I would also submit to our readership that a primary reason women ascribe to leadership in churches is because men in churches are passive, complacent, lazy, largely emasulated, and are, therefore, not qualified to lead. Churches must have leadership (on a human level) to succeed, and if there’s a vacuum of male leadership, the women will certainly step-up, step-in, and eventually take-over.

    I highly recommend the book “Manly Dominion” by Pastor Mark Chanski. He addresses several subjects, one of which is having dominion in the realm of “churchmanship.”



  6. Are you taking questions? Because I have a couple questions about your article. I generally agree with you, but there are a couple things that make me say, “Hmm, I don’t know the answer.” Since you care enough about this topic to blog about it, I assume that you have given these some thought, so would like to hear your thoughts.

    1) Is it appropriate for a woman to teach over a man in a nonchurch setting, such as a seminar or a college course-like event? Why or why not?

    2) How does the Biblical prohibition of women teaching over men apply to a video series (assuming not a sermon here)? If the series itself is of a woman teaching, does the prohibition apply to that as well, would it apply to the facilitator, both, or neither?

    3) How should this principle be best used in regards to women going into the missionary field?


  7. lyn: I re-checked your post, and I did not see anything that could give insight into my questions. I suppose the big question that might help with answering those three is this: would those three fall within the purview of teaching within the church? And does it matter where and under what circumstances the teaching is taking place? Is it referring to a church service, or is it referring to the Church as the Bride of Christ?


  8. My post was concerning women pastoring churches, which the bible forbids. My post was not on women in a non-church setting. As for video teachings, again, the same principle applies within the church. The missionary question would be better directed at J.M.


  9. I’m willing to take a shot at those questions.
    1. Chapter 3 of I Timothy tells us that Paul is writing about behaviour in the church. I see the teaching of chapter 2 (as well as the qualifications of chapter 3) as specifically prohibiting women teaching men in the church. However, the reasons given in chapter two for the prohibition extend beyond the church environment. So while I do not think I Timothy 2 directly prohibits teaching outside of the church, it provides a principle that should make us very cautious about any circumstance even outside the church in which a woman is teaching in a way that exercises authority.

    Priscilla and Aquila taught Timothy, and I see nothing in Scripture that indicates any problem with that. It is interesting that her name is mentioned first, and some suggest that she was the primary teacher. I see no reason to assume that she could not have had greater knowledge and skill than her husband. It happens all the time. However, in light of I Timothy 2, I believe that her teaching was under her husband’s authority. Undoubtedly, he would have been present.

    2. A video series is roughly equivalent to a book. Would we have a problem with a pastor saying, “This woman has written a book, it is excellent, and I’ve bought copies for everyone in the church to read”? I don’t think there’s an issue there. The pastor, in this case, is bringing educational material before the people in the church. He has evaluated it, and is responsible for it. He is the one exercising authority, and responsible for correcting any error in the video. He can and should watch the whole thing first. He is therefore the one presenting the words to the congregation, not the woman. He just happens to be using her voice to do it, but the action of bringing it is his. He is responsible for every word. Biblically, I see no problem with it. This is far different from allowing a woman to speak without knowing word for word what she is going to say.

    Practically, I would be hesitant to use a video series by a woman because it can give the impression that one is endorsing women in inappropriate roles in ministry. Just because something is not forbidden by Scripture (and I don’t think a video series would be) does not mean it is wise. In general, I don’t think it is.

    3. As far as women on the mission field, women should only teach men in some kind of team-teaching role where they are clearly under the authority of a man. There is no “except in missions” clause in I Timothy 2. Many women missionaries have violated this teaching, and God may have greatly used their ministries anyway, but the fact that God worked doesn’t mean everything they have done was right in His eyes. There is nothing, however, that says a woman can’t witness to a man. In many cultures (but not all) this would be unwise.

    Broad comments on women’s rolec: Few, even those who make “silence” an absolute, practice silence, because just about everyone believes women should be able to take part in congregational singing. Furthermore, I Cor. 11 appears to endorse women prophesying in the church, which is also problematic for the “absolute silence” view. Therefore, I view the focus of I Timothy 2 as being on authority, which is implicit in teaching.

    There is no inherent authority in prophesying (even a donkey could do it), so for a woman to have prophesied would not violate the proper authority roles. In prophesying, the authority lies in the God-given words. Teaching is explaining God-given words, and implicitly authoritative.

    Any role which violates the God-ordained authority structures of the church is wrong. Anything that fits within proper authority is permissible, and it is the responsibility of pastors/elders to determine whether it is wise.

    Forgive me if this is too long….


  10. Wasn’t it Apollos that Aquila Priscilla took aside and explained to him more accurately the way of God {Acts 18:24-26}? It is essential from these verses we take note they took Apollos aside, they did not approach him in the synagogue.
    Commentary from Gill says ….

    ‘whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard’; they attending at the synagogue, and having observed what he delivered, that there was some deficiency in it, though they took no notice of it publicly; partly on their own account, it not being proper, especially for Priscilla, to speak in public, nor was it allowed in the Jewish synagogues for a woman to speak there; and partly on his account, that they might not put him to the blush, and discourage him; and chiefly on account of the Gospel, that they might not lay any stumblingblocks in the way of that, and of young converts, and give an occasion to the adversary to make advantages: wherefore ‘they took him unto them’; they took him aside when he came out of the synagogue, and privately conversed with him; they had him “to their own house”; as the Syriac version renders it; and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly; these two doubtless had received a considerable measure of evangelical light and knowledge from the Apostle Paul, during the time of their conversation with him; and as they freely received from him, they freely imparted it to Apollos, with a good design to spread the truth of the Gospel, and to promote it and the interest of Christ in the world: and as on the one hand it was a good office, and a kind part in them, to communicate knowledge to him, so it was an instance of a good spirit, and of condescension in him, to be taught and instructed by them; especially since one of them was a woman, and both mechanics, and made but a mean figure: and from hence it may be observed, that women of grace, knowledge, and experience, though they are not allowed to teach in public, yet they may, and ought to communicate in private, what they know of divine things, for the use of others.’


  11. Uh, duh. Yes, Apollos, sorry about that, and thank you for the correction. In the multitude of words there is error, I guess :).

    And yes, it was in their home — I brought that up in the context of teaching outside the church. For a Scriptural reference to a woman teaching in the church, we need to look to Revelation 2 in the letter to the church at Thyatira — hardly a commendation for the practice.


  12. The exegesis of this text is a bit too easy.
    It neglects to take the scripture as a whole, and does not incorporate persons like Hulda/Chulda or Deborah

    For deborah it is written that she was brought into this position by the Lord
    (judges 2: 16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. )
    (Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. )

    A position of authority if there ever is one. And brought there by the Lord…

    Hulda is asked for advise by the reigning King and the reigning High Priest. And she answers with an “thus spoke the Lord” establishing scripture.
    Now one might be able to say that new testament prophecy does not denote authority, to claim the same for this situation would be claiming that establishing scripture does not denote authority. Something, i suspect, most here would not wish to claim.

    In short the exegesis of the text is inclomplete as it causes (apparent) contradictions in Gods Word.


    Reaction to post from Lyn, starting “Wasn’t it Apollos that Aquila..”

    The commentary quoted claims that this text shows that “…. though they are not allowed to teach in public, yet they may, and ought to communicate in private, what they know of divine things, for the use of others.”

    Actually this text does teach nothing of the sort, after all, if that were to message of the text, then why would Aquilla remain silent also? If from the silence of Priscilla in the synagogue we are to derive that women “…are not allow to teach in public…”, then what must we derive from the fact that Aquilla doesn’t speak up?
    Shouldn’t the message of this text be two fold (at least) ?
    First that Appollos was thaught.
    Second that it was done in a tactful manner? (see the open letter to a certain Rosie in the articles above)

    The text does not disclose whether or not women can teach publically. It may be disclosed elsewhere, but not here.


  13. As to Deborah, it is 100% correct that she was in a position of authority, and put there by the Lord.

    I will note the following:

    1. As I said in a previous comment, to prophesy does not grant any authority to the individual. The authority resides entirely in the revealed words of God. A prophet or prophetess is just a mouthpiece, not an interpreter of Scripture. The authority is greater, but it does not reside in the person. Women certainly were prophets (note I Cor. 11 that I cited above as well as the daughters of Philip the evangelist).

    2. Huldah did not establish Scripture. There were many prophecies that did not establish Scripture. I do not wish to dispute the absolute authority of the words of God spoken by Huldah, but this is a very, very poor Bibliology being proposed here. Huldah spoke God-given words which were later accurately recorded in the inspired text. Any God-given prophecy, OT or NT, bore the entire authority of Almighty God, but that alone did not make them Scripture. God established Scripture by choosing which of the words He had given would be inscripturated. Perhaps one would think I am splitting hairs, but “thus spoke the Lord” spoken truly does not make Scripture, and it can lead to multiple errors to assert that it does.

    3. Deborah was in a position of civil authority, but she was not charged with authority over the worship of the people. She was not a priest.

    4. I would note also that leadership of national Israel and leadership of the church are not the same thing, whatever one’s theological views. It is true that there is divine interest in both roles, but they are different roles.

    It is entirely accurate to state that God used women in ways that were beyond the cultural norms of the day. It is erroneous to suggest that God cannot use women in various ways today. However, the role of teaching in the church is expressly forbidden, and you cannot rule out the plain sense of a clear command with Old Testament examples unless you can prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the OT examples are God-approved (these were) and identical to the circumstances the NT is discussing (these are not actually even close).


  14. JPvB,

    You missed the main point of the post, the command for women not to teach is within the setting of believers who gather to worship. Deborah did not teach believers, so this comparison fails to make your point. Her position of authority was outside the church, which the Bible does not forbid. Women are not to be in authority, i.e., preach within the church, they cannot hold positions of elder, overseer, preacher, pastor.

    Apollos was corrected, which the Bible tells us to do {2 Timothy 3:16} as I have already pointed out in a previous comment. It was done outside the place of worship, I believe Gill’s commentary is accurate in explaining the text.


  15. “The commentary quoted claims that this text shows that ‘…. though they are not allowed to teach in public, yet they may, and ought to communicate in private, what they know of divine things, for the use of others.’

    Actually this text does teach nothing of the sort….”

    Perhaps you should read Gill’s comments again. He is not saying that this text teaches that women are not allowed to teach in public. That is assumed in his discussion based on other texts. Rather, he is saying that, despite the prohibition on teaching in the church, this text shows that women CAN teach in private.

    In other words, Gill would, I suspect, agree with your final sentence, as do I. This passage fits very, very well with the understanding that women teaching in the church is forbidden, but it does not prove it. It only hints at it. In any event, this was a synagogue, not a meeting of the church.

    We look to other texts for proof — texts that are actually quite clear, and have been thus understood for two thousand years.


  16. As for why Aquilla remained silent, do you think every time an elder/overseer/pastor preaches incomplete truth the congregation should stand up and correct him?
    This would lead to disorderly worship, which is unbiblical. Worship must be done in an orderly fashion {1 Cor. 14:40}. As Pastor Jon has already pointed out, we look to other texts for proof, which I in fact did in the original post. I do not believe Gill was insinuating the text from Acts forbid women to teach, in my opinion he was assuming the reader already knows from 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Timothy 3 women are banned from this position of authority within the church.
    I hope this clarifies any confusion concerning this matter.


  17. Lyn, we are agreed on Gill’s statement. I have a longer comment on Deborah and Huldah which is awaiting moderation (probably because it is long, as is my horrible tendency) but you got the essence of it in your first reply. Deborah was a civil leader of national Israel, not the pastor of a church.


  18. Thank you Pastor Jon: it seems some want to use Deborah and other women of the Bible such as prophetesses to shore up their argument about women in positions of authority as proof. Again, I am not talking about ‘outside the church’, my original post was strictly concerning within the church where women are forbidden to be in positions of authority over men. Yes, we can teach children and other women, but we cannot stand in the pulpit and expound the word of God. It isn’t that hard to understand if you read the verses in context…women cannot preach.

    I appreciate your wisdom, thank you.

    I understand long comments. I have one waiting moderation concerning another post here!


  19. Replies on the position of both Deborah and Chulda seem to focus on their position “outside the church”
    That position is not as clear as initial thought may seem. It may seem easy to equate the priesthood with the church and teaching positions.
    However that goes against gods intention with Israel.

    Everyone (?) knows 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”.
    And most agree that this speaks about the church.

    What not all know is that is a quote/paraphrase of the Lords word about his intention with Israel: (Ex 19:6) “5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

    So if we would wish to equate something with the new testament church that would be, in my opinion, that part of israel that obeys His voice and keeps His convenant.

    Now considering that Deborah did obey His voice, kept His covenant, and was appointed leader and judge over Israel by the Lord, there clearly is a discontinuity between “Women are not allowed” and earlier examples.
    Some may say that “teaching believers” is the crux. Then consider this. She was a judge. A judge interprets the law, renders verdict, and through that process teaches all involved. The law Deborah interpreted was the law of God. (Thora). So here we have someone teaching believers having a gender God appearantly forbids from that position, but is appointed by God.

    Of course the weak point in this link is the equation of “OT Israel”(as intended by God) and “NT Church”(as intended by God). One may discount this link and prefer a diferent equation, however it should be “proven” and debatable (i.e. possible to have a reasoned debate on the position).

    John Gleason,
    Considering that Chuldas words were “inscripturated” i would thing she established scripture (though not in her own power off course). Unless i do misunderstand your use of, or the meaning of “inscripturated”.
    And no, the King is not the High priest, but if you take care to read the part you will find that the high priest is personally going to Chulda to get advise.
    (2 kings 22: 14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her. )
    This Hilkiah was identified in verse 4 as the HIGH priest. So the highest “religious” official authority appointed by God.
    In the next 3 verses Hulda first prophesies about the future for Juda/Israel, and only after that she addresses the questions posed.

    Most of these questions boil down to two related questions
    1) what position of authority does a preacher have
    2) what position of authority is biblically allowed for women
    An easy derived question for 1) could be: Is the position of a preacher equal to or even higher than that of a High Priest?


  20. I agree with Lyn and John above. The subject of this original post is really quite simeple. So is the answer:

    I Tim 2 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

    I Cor 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If 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.

    Pretty simple, huh? These are words from God folks….not mine.

    Women “pastors” are NOT overseers, shepherds, Elders, Bishops. They are sinners (some likely saved), who are either usurping the God-ordained order of HIS church, or stepping-into a vacuum left by weak men.



  21. JPvB, this isn’t really that hard. A prophet and an elder/pastor are two different things. I trust we are agreed. If not, please clarify. The Scriptures are all true. I trust we are agreed. If not, please clarify.

    The New Testament specifically mentions prophetesses. It also forbids women to teach at least in some context, or I Timothy 2 is meaningless. Therefore, there is no disagreement between a female prophet and the restriction on women teaching in I Timothy 2. Therefore, the OT prophetesses are irrelevant, since I Timothy 2 is consistent with prophecy by a woman. I trust we are agreed on that, at least.

    The pastor / elder / bishop has authority to rule over his home and over the church, from I Timothy 3, with proper rule partly defined in I Peter 5. A woman does not rule in the home, her husband does (Ephesians 5, etc). Thus, the qualifications of I Timothy 3 preclude a woman.

    As to the high priest seeking counsel from Huldah. “Seeking advice” is not forbidden, and pastors definitely should at times. But this was not seeking advice, but seeking the word of the Lord. If a pastor doesn’t have his Bible, and needs an answer, he can phone his wife and say, “Please read Colossians 3. I need to know it says.” The authority is in God’s words, not in the person. The wife has no authority — God’s words do.

    Does a prophet have more authority than a person reading the Scriptures? If so, why? They are both just repeating the words of the Lord.

    If I Timothy 2 and 3 do not preclude a woman pastor, what does the text mean? God gave us those words, and they mean something. Perhaps you could provide an alternative explanation.


  22. It would seem JPvB is looking for ‘loopholes’ to justify women as pastors, citing verses that do not pertain to the office of elder/pastor/overseer of Christ’s church. Why were there prophets/esses in the O.T.? Isn’t that how God spoke to His people? How does that even compare to a woman in a pulpit attempting to expound God’s word? I do not know what part of the original post is not clear, therefore, the argument that is being made seems pointless.

    When I tell sinners the judgment of God is coming, am I not prophesying? Sure, that doesn’t mean I am in authority over them, I am warning them of what’s to come. Am I teaching or am I warning of a specific truth?

    We have women who are judges within our court system, does that mean they are spiritual authorities? Not at all, they are supposed to judge according to the law, but they are not speaking or judging pertaining to spiritual matters. JPvB seems to be implying the word of God somehow is upheld and understood by dead in sin sinners, which is not true. Yes, we get moral and civil laws derived from the word of God to keep society somewhat ‘civil’, but the spiritual meat of the Bible is not for the unbelieving; it is food for the saved.

    This should not be this complicated, women are forbidden to, within a gathering of believers who gather to worship God and hear His word expounded {what we call ‘going to church’} be in authority over men in this type of gathering, which means they are not to lead the service in any way or teach the word of God to men. Why? It goes out of God’s created order, and because woman fell into sin.

    Deborah and other prophetesses that are being brought up here do NOT fit the category of gathering to worship and be in authority over that gathering, so this is irrelevant to the original post and its topic.


  23. Appearently this discussion is at an end, as already motives and intentions are being attributed to me.

    As for as the motives are concerned, i will say this:
    If one wishes to interpret scripture, one should use the whole scripture and not just cherry pick.
    If one finds a dichotomy between two texts that dichotomy should not be ignored because one of the text closely aligns to our opinions, while the other doesn’t.

    Hulda may be answered by saying advise doesn’t connote authority, (even though that ignores inscripturation). The rebuttal about modern times judges in the USA not being spiritual authority is just absurd.
    As that situation does not relate in any way of the situation in Israel at the time of Judges/Deborah.
    More relevant are the stipulations in Deuteronomy (like 17.8)
    Oh, and Deborah lead a worship service (Judges 5). Of course that can be reasoned away, but do realise that this situation may not be as black and white as some wish to see it.

    This will be my last post on this subject as, as said before, people are already divining for my motivations, and Bulverism is a looming threat on the horizon.


  24. It is true that Deuteronomy 17:8 is relevant, since Deborah was a judge — she had authority in civil matters, just as described there. It is true that Deborah was a prophetess. Since both OT & NT prophetesses have been stipulated on this thread, this still does not negate I Timothy 2 and the qualifications of I Timothy 3.

    Deborah and Barak apparently composed together and sang a song of praise, one which God inscripturated. Praise the Lord! There is no exegetical basis for calling it “leading a worship service.”

    None of these are the same as pastoring a church. We await and apparently will not be receiving an alternate explanation. Are we just to discard the passage entirely because of Deborah and Huldah?

    To simply point out potential difficulties with an interpretation, but provide no alternative that better fits the Biblical data, does run the risk of causing others to question motives. People who are interested in truth don’t just throw stones, they help build houses.


  25. JPvB,

    There was no cherry picking in my post; there was an attempt by you to pull Deborah and Hulda out of the O.T. and place them as pastors/elders/overseers over a body of born again believers . As for your insistence that Deborah was a pastor, then you in essence are saying/teaching the Bible contradicts. Women are forbidden to be pastors as Paul clearly states, he goes on to lay out guidelines for the office of overseer, ‘the husband of one wife’… Yet you insist Deborah, a judge over the nation Israel, was a pastor. Bear in mind the nation Israel was a people that were continually rebellious. Is that the character of born again believers? In essence, Deborah was not leader over a nation of born again believers was she? You also insist Judges 5 proves Deborah was a pastor; as I read this chapter along with commentary by Gill, Barnes, M. Henry, I saw no evidence of Deborah going against what Paul commanded in the N.T. It simply is not there.

    As for the song of praise sung by Deborah, Judges 5:1, “Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,” -Deborah is first mentioned, because she was, as Kimchi says, the root or foundation of the work, the chief person in it, both in the direction of the war, and in the composition of this song; and indeed, as Ben Gersom observes, she alone composed it, see Jdg_5:7; and the verb is singular: “then sang Deborah”; and after her, and in her words, sung also Barak; he joined with her, not in making the song, but in singing it; and so likewise the
    people of Israel joined with her in singing it, as they did with Moses at the Red sea; and this song was sung on that day; not on the precise day on which the victory was obtained over Sisera and his army, but on occasion of that memorable day, and what followed upon it: saying; the following divine hymn or song, penned by Deborah, under divine inspiration, as the sublimity of the style, the fine and noble thoughts and sentiments that are in it, the beautiful and elegant phrases in which they are expressed, abundantly show; no Sappho, or any Grecian poetess, nor indeed any poet whatever, uninspired, being equal to the writer of this poem. _J. Gill Commentary

    This was a celebration, not a worship service, for victory. There is no indication people were gathered in a setting of worship. An example of people gathering to worship is found in Nehemiah 8; nothing like this took place in Judges 5.


  26. Amen Jon and lyn… You cannot pit verses in God’s holy word against each other that impugns God’s wisdom and it denigrates the sufficiency of Scripture.

    “My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge”-Proverbs 8:7-9


  27. JPvB,

    Let’s apply “The Deborah Principle” to some other rulers over Israel.

    David–since David was king, and an adulterer/murderer, then it is OK for adulterers/murders to pastor a church
    Ahab, Omri (and countless others)–since Ahab and Omri (and countless others) were idolaters, then it is OK for idolaters to pastor churches.
    Solomon–since Solomon had many foreign (i.e., pagan) wives, then it is OK for a man with many pagan wives to pastor a church.
    Josiah–since Josiah was 8 years old when he became king, then it is OK for children to pastor a church.
    The Sanhedrin–since the Sanhedrin did not believe that Jesus was Messiah, then it is OK for men who do not believe Jesus is Messiah to pastor a church.

    Consider also the sacrifice of Saul. There he was, thinking that Samuel was not coming back, so what did he do? He did what he felt was right. And God accepted that sacrifice, because Saul meant well.

    Or, maybe not.

    1st Samuel 13:11-13–And Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and [that] you did not come within the days appointed, and [that] the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you.”

    Oh, and one last thing–suppose a Reubenite had tried to enter the Most Holy Place. God would have surely forgiven him because he meant well…right?


  28. Even though it makes a liar of myself (as i said i would not post anymore), this last post unfortunately does require some comment.

    Seriously, Fourpointer, are you serious with this comparison?

    For most of your example there is an explicit condemnation in the same bible. Please be honest, and read back your examples, then read the story about Deborah, and tell me where is Deborah’s Natan, Elia, Elisa, “man of God” and many others.
    Then tell me whether your examples are honest comparison or careless use of the texts.

    Then there is the confusion in your exemples between description and prescription, even though in most instances the bible is clear in the difference between the two.
    In your text the description “since” changes into the the “prescription” therefore.
    I think you do so because you suspect/accuse me of doing so. Therefore you set up straw men.

    I ask of you, is this honest behaviour befitting a christian?
    If you really wish to make these comparisons stick, you should show how, as the behaviour of your examples (exception Josia) is condemned, by the bible, similarly the behaviour of Deborah is condenmed.
    I don’t think you can make that stick, but perhaps i am wrong, if so, show the condemnation, show the link.

    If you cannot, then i remain at the position that the exegesis of the text was too simple.


  29. And we remain at the position that no alternative exegesis has been provided, and that the example of Deborah provides no compelling reason for discarding I Timothy 2 & 3. Therefore, you must reconcile them, and we at least have tried to do so.


  30. JPvB,

    Well, you obviously missed the point I was trying to make, which was this: it is not up to us to decide what’s “fair” about who is and who isn’t allowed to be pastor of a church. God is sovereign, is He not? Is He not entitled, as God, to make rules and distinctions about who He wants to stand in His pulpit? What part of the following statement is confusing to you–“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” If we simply read what Paul has written, it is quite clear, actually: God commanded Paul to write to the church that women are not to be in a position of authority, in the church. And then he tells us why: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” This is not simply Paul giving his opinion on a matter; he is not simply saying, “Well, ya know, i would rather have a man teach me. Don’t know why; it’s just a thing I have.” He says, basically, “Women are not to have authority over a man in the church. Why? Because Man was formed first.” Period. Paragraph. But, by conveniently ignoring the words of Paul, who was vested with apostolic authority to speak and write in the name of our Lord Jesus, you can then set up your own rules about putting people in the pulpit.

    Again, is God allowed to command who can serve Him, and in what capacity? Could the Reubenite enter the sanctuary? Could a Levite other than the high priest enter the Most Holy Place? Could that high priest enter that Most Holy Place on the day before or after Yom Kippur? Well, according to some, that’s not “fair”. What makes the tribe of Levi so special that they can serve in the tabernacle, but the tribe of Dan couldn’t? What made the family of Aaron so special that any other line but Aaron’s could not be priest? Fact of the matter is, there was nothing “special” about Levi, or Aaron. It all boiled down to one simple fact: God commanded it to be that way. Period. Paragraph. And does there really need to be any other reason? If you think there needs be more reason than that, then you make God less than what He is.

    So then, what do we make of Deborah? After all, it does indeed say that “all of Israel went up to her for judgment.” I would, in turn, ask you this: how many other judges over Israel were women? How many Kings over Israel were women? How many queens of Israel existed? I think we both know the answer to that question. There were no other female judges; there were no female kings; there were no queens of Israel (and no, Athaliah doesn’t count: she exercised authority that she never possessed. But that’s for another day). So then, while God may have raised Deborah to the position of judge, this was the lone exception.

    John MacArthur–

    “What he means by the silence of a woman is that he does not permit a woman to take the role of teacher. What he means by her subjection is he does not permit her to rise to usurp authority over men in the life of the church. He doesn’t mean that the woman can’t sing a song. He doesn’t mean that in an appropriate place the woman cannot pray a prayer. He does not mean that she cannot offer praise to God at an appropriate time. It does not mean that she cannot participate in worship, it doesn’t mean that she can’t even ask a question when a question is called for in a proper spirit and a proper way. What it means is she is not to be the teacher and she is not to rebel against the role of submission which God has designed for her in the life of the church. So, silence then is in relation to teaching. And it means she’s not to be the teacher.”


  31. If you check the word silence, you’ll find it also means peaceful. When translating the men’s, indeed peaceful was used instead of silence. The bible has been tweaked a lot when it comes to women.


  32. Linda, you are partly correct about the Greek word in question. It might be translated “quietness” rather than “silence”. In even the strictest churches, the entire congregation sings, which means women are not “silent.”

    Any suggestion of bias in translation is not well-founded. It means silence, quiet, or peaceable. Looking at the KJV (which I use), it applies to men in Acts 22:2 (“silence”) and II Thess. 3:12 (“quietness”). The adjective form applies to all in II Tim. 2:2. Here it is “peaceable” because it is preceded by a synonym which is translated “quiet”, and “quiet and quiet” would be silly. The KJV translators understood the word to mean “silence” or “quietness”, though not in the sense of absolute silence necessarily, so using “silence” here is just their usual practice with the word.

    All of which has nothing to do with the fact that women are not to teach, or take authority over the men, in the church. There is nothing debateable about the Greek words used in the prohibition.


  33. Would women teaching and giving correction through a blog post apply to the teachings of scripture? How do you see it?


  34. It isn’t based on how I see it, it is based on what the text says. the text is in reference to a body of believers in a worship setting, i.e., church.

    I will borrow from Fourpointer’s comment where he quotes John MacArthur, ““What he means by the silence of a woman is that he does not permit a woman to take the role of teacher. What he means by her subjection is he does not permit her to rise to usurp authority over men in the life of the church. He doesn’t mean that the woman can’t sing a song. He doesn’t mean that in an appropriate place the woman cannot pray a prayer. He does not mean that she cannot offer praise to God at an appropriate time. It does not mean that she cannot participate in worship, it doesn’t mean that she can’t even ask a question when a question is called for in a proper spirit and a proper way. What it means is she is not to be the teacher and she is not to rebel against the role of submission which God has designed for her in the life of the church. So, silence then is in relation to teaching. And it means she’s not to be the teacher.”

    Here is commentary from John Gill, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, They may teach in private, in their own houses and families; they are to be teachers of good things, Tit_2:3. They are to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; nor is the law or doctrine of a mother to be forsaken, any more than the instruction of a father; see Pro_1:8. Timothy, no doubt, received much advantage, from the private teachings and instructions of his mother Eunice, and grandmother Lois; but then women are not to teach in the church; for that is an act of power and authority, and supposes the persons that teach to be of a superior degree, and in a superior office, and to have superior abilities to those who are taught by them.”

    And here is commentary from Matthew Henry “According to Paul, women must be learners, and are not allowed to be public teachers in the church; for teaching is an office of authority, and the woman must not usurp authority over the man, but is to be in silence.”

    It is apparent this text applies to a church setting.

    It isn’t how I see it, it’s what does the text say? The text refers to a church setting, if you read the post and my comments, you will clearly see the reference is a church setting. I also recommend this from Ken Silva…


  35. I believe women have calling in their lives as much as men. In God’s sight, men and women are equal in Christ. But the crunch comes when women try to take the authority over man, especially in the Church. That is the Jezebel spirit coming into the church. Can women preach gospel? Yes, they have to! It’s a commandment to all! But can they be pastors? No, the Word of God warns us that way because it could give way to Jezebel spirit and even with good intentions, they could be used by the enemy before they know it. That’s why God set order and authority in the church, not to mistreat women but to protect them all……


  36. I think if we look at in context of the what was happening in Corinth
    That will glean us good insight
    Not to far from Corinth pagen women priests were teaching men and women that eve was created first and other heresies that Paul corrected that were creeping into the church in Corinth

    Also the church at that time was still meeting for the most part in homes not buildings yet

    The lady at the well would have had to tell people on public about Jesus and many came to know him through her

    As long as she did not usurp Jesus authority she was free to preach to men and women


  37. Doug,

    There are a few problems with your understanding of the account in John 4. The woman at the well was not preaching and, if she had, would not have been accepted as a preacher in any public place in the early 1st century.

    Second, having a different standard for meeting in homes versus a “building” is a fallacy that has been perpetrated upon Christendom at large. The church is made up only of true blood-bought believers, and is never a building. Therefore, the standard God has set for who can preach or teach does not change based on location. This also includes street preaching.

    Finally, they did not come to know Jesus because of anything but the fact that they listened to her testimony that simply acknowledged she was a sinner and they could hear a redeeming message if they but went to hear Him.


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