We left our last lesson talking about women in 5-fold ministry, so let’s pick back up there.
Eph. 4:6-7, 11- God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift… 11And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers
The 5 types of ministry are:
1.apostles, 2.prophets, 3.evangelists, 4.pastors, 5.teachers
As you see in our scripture reference, all are called to one of the ministries; man or woman, child or elder, according to the measure God has given us. The more we are faithful with, the more we receive. And some of these women are working with a great measure. In our last lesson we saw Miriam, the prophetess, in the Old Testament, leading all of Israel. Now let’s look at some more examples of women working in the 5-fold ministry:
– Rom. 16:1-7 (NIV) – I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me… 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
Paul has just greeted: 1. Phoebe, a woman deacon, 2. Priscilla, one of his women co-workers, and 3. Junia, a female apostle! He commended them; he did not rebuke them.
– Acts 18:26 – And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Luke shows us here that it is okay for women to teach a man the ways of Christ. These women lovingly took this man aside to teach him the ways of God more accurately.
– Proverbs 31:26 – She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Solomon shows us that there is wisdom in the teaching of women. Later, Solomon shows us what a person, who wouldn’t listen, would be called:
Prov. 1:7 – fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Prov. 31:1 – The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
Here we see that one of the most recited chapters in the Bible came from a woman. Lemuel was another name for King Solomon, who was the wisest man on earth; and he got his wisdom from God, through his mother Bathseba.
– Judges 4:4-5 – Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.
Here we see a woman as the judge over all of Israel! We might as well call her the queen, since she was the one ruling. Deborah prophesied over a man, calling him out to be the next person to rescue Israel. This man was too scared to go to battle! He practically said, hold my hand mommy; so she went and God gave the honor of the victory to Deborah. If a woman can judge, or pastor, all of Israel, why can’t a woman be the pastor of a church of 50 people?
– Judges 4:8-9 – Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” 9“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”
Thank God for letting a woman step up to lead; if He hadn’t, and He instead said, ‘women submit to men, no matter how bad their decisions are’, then Israel wouldn’t have been free from their enemies.
– 2 Kings 22:11-20 – 11When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest… saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah… 14 So Hilkiah the priest… went to Huldah the prophetess… And she said to them… “Thus says the Lord,… because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord,… your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king.
Once again, we see a man, the king of Judah, go to a woman to seek God’s advise and instruction. This woman, a prophetess, advised the nation and the king. If this woman had not been in the ministry the Lord had appointed her to, would Israel have been saved from God’s punishment?
– Acts 21:8-9 – On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.
A daddy, in ministry, understood the word of God, and did not keep his daughters from working in the ministry.
– Luke 2:36 – And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
– Joel 2:28-29 (ESV) – And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
John 4:39-41 – Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony… 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
According to Jewish law, Jesus wasn’t supposed to speak to a Samaritan. He not only spoke to one, he spoke to a woman. This woman became an evangelist who made many believe, and they believed even more once they saw Jesus for themselves.
So in these verses we see women as apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists and pastors. Plus, you remember Mary, the first evangelist of the risen Christ from Part 1. You also see examples of women being deacons, leaders, and warriors; they spoke and ministered to women, children, men, kings, and nations.
Q: So what are women called to today?
Heb. 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
A: If Christ doesn’t change, and Christ approved of women working in ministry in the Old and New Testaments, then He still approves today. You also saw multiple instances where women were instructing men, and submitting to Christ over their husbands, so lets look at that a little closer:
In 1 Samuel 25, Abigail’s husband was a fool. He, his family, and everything he had, was about to be destroyed because of his foolishness. Abigail, his wife, left without telling him, and said yes to what her husband had said no to. She went, and set the matter straight, and it saved the lives of many. David, the king, gave praise to God for her actions and called her blessed, even though she had not submitted to her husband. Later when Abigail’s husband died, David took her as his wife.
If submitting to everything your husband tells you is the right way, then 1. everyone would have been dead, and 2. David, the man after God’s heart, wouldn’t have wanted her as his wife.
1 Sam. 25:32-34 – David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”
As long as submitting to our husbands does not lead us into sin, then we should respectfully follow them. However, we cannot submit to a husband who is in sin; we cannot put our husbands above our submission to God. If we do, it’ll lead us to death. Likewise, we cannot hold up Christ’s blessing of leadership without respect for men either. Lot’s wife was a good example of a woman that should have respected her husband. Instead of listening to his wise words, she turned back to her sin and turned into a pillar of salt. This way, a man who is following God can save his wife, and a woman following God can save her husband.
Back to respecting women in leadership, Mary asked Jesus to make wine. Jesus said it wasn’t his time yet; but then, Jesus obeyed His mother and made the wine.
John 2:3-4, 7, 11 – When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”… Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”… 7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”… 11What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory
Since we know Christ never sinned, then what his mother asked was not sinful. Even though Christ had not yet performed any miracles, God used his mother to spur him into God’s timing, to start revealing himself. She did not ask in order to honor herself. She asked in order to protect the bride and groom from the shame of running out of wine. This example shows us that we can all respect each other, no matter what status, age, sex, or level of gifting we hold; even Christ respected his mother. We just can’t follow others into sin.
Gal. 3:28 (NLT) – There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
I’ll take this a step further since I was telling you about my girlfriend who was traveling and teaching, from the pulpit, from age 12. There is no young or old in Christ, for we are all one. If we are all one, then there is nothing that separates us in Christ. Christ gave the gift of His Holy Spirit to everyone who believes; and it is the Spirit that guides us into truth, not our age. No one should be leading if they don’t have respect for the other members of the body. If a man has no respect for women, they shouldn’t be leading. If a child has no respect for elders, they shouldn’t be leading. Otherwise, everyone should be working in their God given calling.
1 Tim. 4:12 – Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Ps. 8:2 – You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
Matt. 21:15-16 – But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “ ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
That needs to be a whole separate study, so just chew on it for now and lets move back to the topic at hand.
Remember the language barrier from part 1? Let’s look at more of that:
– 1 Tim. 2:11-15 – A woman (wife) should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man (husband); she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women (wives) will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with self-restraint.
This is not saying that the act of having children brings a woman salvation from her sins. That would be a weird doctrine…
This was written to the Greek city of Ephesus; the head of polytheism. Women, from all around, came to this city to give birth, saying Artemis the goddess of the city would protect them during childbirth. Many of these women wouldn’t convert to Christianity for fear of dying during childbirth.
Paul is teaching the women that they don’t need Artemis to protect them during childbirth; that those who continue in the Christian faith will be ‘saved’, or not die, during childbirth.
– 1 Tim. 2:12 – I do not permit a woman (wife) to teach or to assume authority over a man (husband); she must be quiet.
There are over 40 words used for ‘authority’ in the bible, and this one is only used here. In this one instance, ‘authority’, means to murder with ones own hand. It meant, to slap with the back of the hand, or assume all power. If Paul had wanted to say women shouldn’t take any authority over a man, he would’ve used a different word that meant good and bad authority. Since he instead uses a word for castrating authority, then we have to see that women are still allowed to lead with good authority.
– 1 Tim. 2:13 – For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
Paul mentions that Adam was made before Eve, because this was a Greek city where they believed woman, the greek goddess Gaia, was created before man. Paul was trying to correct a specific issue where women were dominating over men. And yes, it is wrong for anyone to dominate over anyone; women over men, men over women – its wrong. Love and respect are what we are called to. Equal dominion, just like at creation. Both leading; both teaching. The whole bible empowers women, but this one writer, in 3 restrictive verses catered to specific locations and situations, we have taken out of context and formed a culture on for 2,000 years… infuriating. But we can already see our minds starting to align with Christ; and we can openly, and lovingly, share our views, inciting change in the minds of those around us.
Back to Genesis, we see how God made us in the beginning:
– Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
God gave both, man and woman, the right to rule. He didn’t put one over the other.
– Gen. 2:20 – The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
I don’t think the word ‘helper’ is supposed to mean Adam’s pin-up girl. Adam needed help with his work load; he needed a ‘helper’ to help him maintain Eden, and name all the animals.
1 Cor. 6:13 – The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
Granted, within marriage, Adam and Eve’s sexual union would not have been sexually immoral, but this verse still says the body was made for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. We are the body of Christ, and He calls the WHOLE body to action. Men can’t carry the gospel on their own. The church needs women and their unique ability to bring life, comfort, and emotion. Maybe there are so many people who hate Christians right now, because there are a lack of women leading, showing the softness of God instead of the sternness that men bring by nature. Women are fashioned to share in dominion. Yes, there was a curse put over women, but remember part 1 and how that curse was broken? Moving on then…
1 Cor. 11:2-16 – … I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head
We’ll cover what this passage is talking about with 3 bullets:
1. Ancient sources indicate that women, in the Greek religion, commonly participated in religious ceremonies without headcoverings, while male priests, in the Roman religion, normally covered their heads for ceremonies. Paul was telling them to come out from under those cultures, and make themselves separate and set apart to God. He told them to just go ahead and do the opposite so that people could see they were different and ask why. The covering was then symbolic of where your authority lay. If I’m a woman who came from the Greek religion, where women spoke without covering their head, I will now cover my head to show that I am under the authority of Christ. If I am a man coming from the Roman religion, where men spoke with covered heads, I will now speak with my head uncovered to show that I am under the authority of Christ.
Ps. 91:4 – He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
2. Furthermore, this verse from Psalms helps us see what a covering is for. A covering is for protection. A woman should cover her head, her husband, and protect him while she speaks. She can speak, but she should not do so in a way that is unloving toward her husband. A man should not cover, or hide, or protect Christ, his head. How can a person protect Christ? They can’t. Especially since the only way they could ‘protect’ Him would be through arguments, which Christ said not to do. Win people over in love. Show people what you believe and why, but do not argue with them. If they do not agree or want to hear you, then pray for them. Divisions, dissensions, and rivalries come from the flesh, not from the Spirit of God. So, we cannot protect Christ, and we certainly should not try to hide Him or His truth; That’s what 1 Corinthians 11 is about.
3. The people who do think this passage is about anti-women teaching, do not enforce their women to wear traditional Jewish head coverings, which is evidence that they are viewing scripture with a context as well. Everyone views scripture in the context of their own lives and cultures. The goal is to take our experiences, and our culture out of our minds, and renew our minds with the Word of God. We need to see the full story, not a pet scripture that is out of context with the rest of the Bible.
Ps. 68:11-13 – The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host: 12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!” The women at home divide the spoil—13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds
These women heard the Lord, proclaimed His message, and received His reward, while the men stayed at home tending their own business. Let’s all make the Lords business our focus. Let’s all respect and empower each other. Let’s build the body up.