I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
Romans 16:1-7 ESV
This entire passage is an awkward one for Christians who do not permit women to have positions of authority in the church. It is not surprising that this translation, the English Standard Version, obscures the controversy. One of the original reasons the ESV translation project was begun was to create a contemporary translation that emphasized traditional gender roles to compete against the trend toward gender neutrality in other contemporary translations.
Of the first seven persons that Paul mentions by name at the end of his book for commendation or special greeting, four are women.
The first person, Phoebe, a woman, is called “a servant of the church”. This may seem to suggest a menial or unimportant role, until we remember that Paul frequently uses the word “servant” to describe himself in his letters, even right beside the word “apostle”. She is mentioned first, and given a lot of ink compared to many others in the list. Without an application of the belief that her gender would not allow the position, one could easily interpret this commendation and description as a pastoral or preaching role.
“Prisca” and Aquila are named “Priscilla” and Aquila in Acts. In Acts 18:2 (and elsewhere) they are described as married, and Priscilla is called the wife. Whether they pastored the church in their house together, or only hosted, we cannot be sure. However, we do know Priscilla and Aquila are an important couple to Paul in the account of Paul’s ministry in Acts. In Acts 18:26 the two of them together take Apollos* aside and teach him correct doctrine, giving a clear example of a woman in scripture teaching theology to a man, and even a man who would later become a respected minister along with Paul. In that same verse, as here in Romans, Priscilla, the wife, is mentioned first. Paul calls them “fellow workers in Christ”. We know that they, like Paul, made tents, but we also know from Acts 18:26 that they taught scripture together as well. Paul likely regarded them as fellow workers on both accounts, and in so doing called a woman a peer.
The final two sentences are some of the most problematic of any New Testament passage to Christians who deny women authority in the church. The ESV’s bias is most obvious in this verse. Compare the ESV’s translation to the NIV, and also to the RSV, the original source that was revised to create the ESV:
“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.”
- Romans 16:7 ESV
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.
- Romans 16:7 NIV
Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners; they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
- Romans 16:7 RSV
Both the NIV and RSV differ significantly from the ESV with their use of the word “among”. In both of these translations, these partners are clearly apostles, not just “well known to the apostles". Notice how the much older RSV solves the problem of gender by simply reinterpreting Junia’s name as masculine, and then inserting the wholly unnecessary “men”, just in case we might have missed it. This was once a common way to solve the controversy of this woman clearly being called an apostle, which would demonstrate a position and responsibility of authority and teaching to a woman in the early church. Modern scholarship has largely abandoned this idea, and most newer translations and Greek scholars recognize Junia as a female name.
The NIV, with no agenda to promote, has no problem using Junia’s female name, and has no need to insert a gender as does the RSV. I am glad to see the team behind the ESV at least have the integrity to drop that old argument. However the ESV, with its explicit mission to promote an all-male view of church authority, has to aim its reinterpretation of the passage elsewhere, so Junia and Andronicus (by association) are both demoted for the sake of the teaching.
Even upon reading the ESV’s interpretation, one is still left to wonder why this couple has been jailed together, along with Paul, if not for preaching about Jesus? It seems unlikely he’d describe them this way if it were another reason, and unlikely that Junia would have also been arrested unless she was also involved.
I don’t expect any of these arguments to end this controversy. I haven’t said anything new here. I offer it especially for those who have been raised in churches where these damaging “male only” teachings are just assumed, who have hoped there is another side of the story, but have not yet been exposed to it.
ps. All of the scholars involved in the translating of the RSV and ESV were men. The 1984 translation of the NIV had only men on the translation committee. The translation committee for NIV’s 2011 update had one woman among them, and a female secretary. Progress!
*An earlier version of this post mistakenly named the teacher of Acts 18:26 Barnabas instead of Apollos.
I’ve been seeing so many Christians sharing their testimonies on here and despite the often liberal, anti-Christian environment on this website, they’ve received positive feedback and it’s been encouraging to so many people.
I think people want authenticity from Christians, who aren’t afraid to share their struggles, regardless of how it may be received. That said, I won’t be intimidated any longer. I think God is calling me to share this with you, and I hope my story encourages you.
I was born a premature twin baby at 23 weeks, weighing 1 pound and six ounces. My twin brother, Jesse, unfortunately didn’t survive, and for the first few months of my life, no one was sure that I would, either. But God saved me. He allowed me to live for a reason, and has a plan for me. Despite having mild cerebral palsy and a non-verbal learning disorder, I am still capable of accomplishing things, as I am a college graduate and a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon-do.
I was saved at an early age. Born in a Christian home, I accepted Christ in my life around age four. We always went to church growing up, and I still go to this day. I’ve sought to honor Christ all my life, but it hasn’t been easy.
As I entered high school, I started developing feelings towards the same-sex. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but I soon began to realize that I was attracted towards other guys (as well as girls, but more-so guys). Here’s the thing though. These feelings? They’re NOT who I am. I am a Child of God. I am a new creation. I am dead to sin, and alive in Christ. Yes, I believe homosexuality to be sin because it’s against God’s design for our lives. I didn’t make it up and don’t get to argue about it. Truthfully, I have no real desire for a relationship sexual-or-otherwise with anyone of the same sex. I hope to one day being with the woman God has planned for me. For me, the attraction is more that I see a man who I think looks more attractive than me, more muscular, better hair etc, and I start to lust after him, it’s not that I’m seeking a relationship.
Now, I imagine some of you reading this will call me homophobic or self-hating. It may seem that way to you, but that’s not the case. I’m self-denying, and that’s not the same as self-hating. In order to follow Christ, Christians are called to “deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Christ” (Matthew 6:24). If you aren’t willing to do that, you’re not a believer. If you’re a homosexual who has chosen to embrace their feelings and let them define you, I don’t hate you. I love you because God loved you, so much that He gave His Son to die for you.
Homosexuality is a choice because while you can’t control the feelings, you can most certainly control how you choose to respond to them. Embracing them as part of you is not your only choice. You may think I’m miserable because I’m denying myself of these feelings, but I’m not because of the hope that I have in Christ. I’ve heard such amazing stories of people who were living openly gay and God got hold of them and completely transformed their lives. There is freedom.
I want to next address my admiration of Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Yes, at one point, I did lust and fantasize over them, but no longer. God has transformed how I see them. I think it was Dylan’s nudes that brought me to tumblr, and I admit I lusted after that, but now I don’t want any part of it anymore. What I intended for evil, God used for good. Praise Him!
I can’t say with 100% certainty that once in a while I won’t think they look attractive in a photo, but I don’t let it go to a place of lust. I don’t try to gratify myself by dehumanizing them because I care about them too much as people. I recognize and care about their humanity, and most importantly, I care about their souls. God has brought so many wonderful people into my life through the Sprouse Twin fanbase, and I’m so incredibly grateful how I’ve gotten to minister to them, and I’m praying that Dylan and Cole will come to know Christ as well. For them in particular, I think I identify with them because I admire how close they are with each other, and I kind of wish I had that. I see in them perhaps what I could’ve had with my twin brother Jesse, had he survived, but it wasn’t God’s will and I will see him in Heaven.
I’m not perfect, I still mess up, I still struggle with looking at pornographic images and give in to worry, but I’m learning to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. Call me a hypocrite if you wish, but I’m grateful for how God is working in my life, and I am confident He will heal me of everything I struggle with the more I seek Him.
I hope this encourages you. But it’s not about me, it’s about Him and His glory. Thank You, Jesus.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:16-17 KJV
Who has never wondered why is it that such bad things happen
to good people, and good things happen to such bad people?
First, we need to rethink our definitions of “good” and
“bad.” According to the Bible, there are no truly “good” people. Remember that
“good” does not refer to the nice guy who walks his dog daily, helps old ladies
across the street, and serves at the local homeless shelter. When we are
talking about “good” in this context, we are referring to righteousness. To be
righteous means that you are blameless before God. Strictly speaking, instead
of saying, “that person is good,” it actually would be more accurate to say, “that person is
The Bible is incredibly clear in that there is no one who is
righteous before God because we are all tainted by sin from birth. We are
completely unable to rid ourselves of that sin without accepting Christ as our
Savior. Sin is what He is saving us from:
“There is none righteous not even one; there is none who understands, there
is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside together they have become
useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an
open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under
their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift
to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace
they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
You can also look up Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans
3:23, and 1 John 1:8 to see more passages that clearly
express how there is no one who is naturally righteous or good. That includes
you and me.
All of this boils down to one terrifying truth: we deserve
Hell. That is the harsh truth of life. There is no sin, no fib, and no bad
attitude so small that does not sentence you to that fate. God is a righteous,
holy God who cannot tolerate even what we feel is the smallest sin. And this is
why the gospel is called the Good News. Christ was the only One who could pay
the price for our sin. And He did. And then freely offers us our salvation from
what we deserve. All we have to do is receive Him as our Lord and Savior (John
3:16, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9, Romans 5:8) and follow Him.
Now, let’s go back to the original question and tweak it
slightly: “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” In the same way that
“good” isn’t the same to us as it is to God, what seems “bad” to us is not
necessarily what is “bad” to God. His perspective is so much bigger than
ours, and He knows a lot more about the big picture than we do.
We cannot know everything that is inside the mind of God,
but what we do know is that God is good (in the definition established above)
though our minds cannot fully grasp Him. We live in a fallen world, all of
which is touched by sin. But we can rest assured that nothing is outside of
God’s control. And He knows the whole story from beginning to end and what will
happen after the smoke has cleared. We do not know
how the Lord will use certain events to shape the future.
Follow the instructions in Proverbs 3:5-6, which
says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths
Being angry (and staying angry) with God will get us nowhere
fast. So we must trust in the Lord, know He is in control, and know that no
matter how bleak things may seem, nothing can change His goodness, or tear His
children away from His gift of salvation and eternal life.
We live in a fallen world ever since Adam and Eve sinned in
the garden. The word fallen is used in the Bible to describe someone or
something spiritually and morally degraded. Israel is described as “fallen” (Amos
5:2), as are angels (Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 12:4) and
the glory of mankind (1 Peter 1:24). Each of these has fallen away from
the heights of God’s good will for them, fallen into sin, and therefore fallen
under the just wrath of God. Those in a fallen state suffer the degrading and
deadly spiritual, moral, and social consequences of sinfulness.
Several Bible passages speak of this kind of downfall: 1
Corinthians 10:12 warns Christ’s followers, “Be careful that you do
not fall.” Falling into sin is the opposite of growing up in righteousness.
In Revelation 2:5, Jesus speaks to the church of Ephesus, which had
left its first love: “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent,
and do the works you did at first.”
The whole world of mankind has fallen:
from friendship with God into proud estrangement from Him and enmity with Him; this leaves us diseased and dying in every part of our personalities and bodies (Genesis 2:16; 3:2–9; Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 30:15–20)
from our full reflection of His likeness into shattered, distorted images, suffering the results of our brokenness (Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:19; Romans 1:14-2:16; Romans 3:9–20)
from joyful obedience to God’s rules so as to fulfill His superlative design for our lives into lawless rebellion and constant frustration and warfare at every level of society (Genesis 3:14–16; James 4:1–10)
from the beauty, tranquility, and vitality of godly family life into a cesspool of sexual-identity confusion, domestic strife, and aimlessness (Genesis 3:16; Romans 1:14-2:16; Galatians 5:19–21)
from dominion as trustees of God’s world into a selfish exploitation of the land and the resulting ecological disaster (Genesis 3:17–19; Ecclesiastes 5:8–17; Haggai 1:6)
from knowledge of God’s enlightening truth into the darkness of ignorance and the confusion of depraved minds (Genesis 2:17; Proverbs 1-31; Judges 1-21; Romans 1:28)
To live in a fallen world means we struggle with sin on a
daily basis. We experience heartache and pain. We witness natural disasters and
staggering loss. Injustice, inhumanity, and falsehood seem to hold sway.
Discord and trouble are commonplace. None of this was God’s original plan for
humanity. We fell from our original position in the Garden of Eden. We now live
in a fallen world, and all creation “groans” under the consequences of our sin
The good news is that God does not intend His world to
forever groan. Through Jesus Christ, God is repairing His creation:
restoring friendship with Himself in Jesus Christ, giving us eternal life (John 10:10; 15:15; Romans 3:21–31; 5:1–11; 6:1–14; 8:1–4; 8:22–23; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Ephesians 1:3-2:22; Colossians 1:15-22)
restoring the reflection of God’s likeness in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28–32; 1 Corinthians 6:11)
restoring His rules for a fulfilling life in Jesus Christ, resulting in true peace and prosperity (Matthew 5-7; Ephesians 5:15–21; James 2:8)
restoring His design for the family through Jesus Christ (Luke 1:17; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:21-6:4; Colossians 3:18–21)
restoring man’s proper dominion in caring for God’s world (Romans 8:18–21)
Jesus Christ has promised to return, and when He comes back,
He will finish setting everything right forever (Isaiah 2:2–4; 25:6–9; 65:17–25; Revelation
20-22). Don’t miss God’s final invitation to all fallen people: “Come!”
(Revelation 22:17). All who come to God by faith in Jesus Christ will be
As a pastor once said: “Why do bad things happen to good
people? That only happened once, and He volunteered.” The only good person to
have ever lived was Christ. None of us are “good”, yet God so loves us, His
creation, that He allowed Christ to die for us so we can be saved if we choose
Also, please read Psalm
73 and see the futility of being successful and having all these “good” things happen to us without faith. See how the
author expresses his doubts and discontentment only to come figure out that
success in this life means absolutely nothing without God. Be like him who can
proudly say to God: “I desire nothing on earth
And He said to them (Simon and Andrew), “Follow me, and I
will make you fishers of men.”
taken from the fishing manual:
following things are important to take with you before you go fishing.)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power
of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then
to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)
Understanding the power in the blood of Jesus Christ and
the finished work of the cross is the first step to bold and successful fishing.
You cannot be ashamed or timid of something so powerful that is able to change
the hearts and minds of men. So when your comprehension of the saving power of
the gospel is full and complete, then you will walk in boldness, and preach the
gospel to everyone that God brings in your path.
With no understanding of its power, we tend to think that
our words, efforts or actions are what can change people. Let your confidence
rest in the power of the gospel alone.
Now that you’ve understood that saving people has nothing
to do with you, humility will follow. The entire Kingdom of God runs on the
principle of humility. Humility has nothing to do with having a low self-esteem
or an inferiority complex. Humility has everything to do with knowing and
understanding what we deserved before God saved us, and then with that
knowledge, living a life of grace and forgiveness towards others, knowing that
we ourselves have been forgiven.
For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called
an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. (1 Corinthians 15:9)
Paul didn’t forget where he came from.
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this
grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
He reminds is that even the very act of preaching to
unbelievers is a great honor that none of us deserves, but is given to us by
God because of His amazing grace.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I discipline my body
and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be
When you are serving the Lord, the enemy is going to come
after you, because he is losing ground. He will try to ruin your testimony, so
that the truth that you speak about the Lord Jesus Christ will be tainted by
your misdeeds caused by living an undisciplined life due to a lack of
self-control. So people will not take the message of the cross seriously,
because we have not shown them, through our actions, the kind of life that God
offers to those who come to Him.
So what are the ways that we can discipline our bodies?
Paul elaborates in Colossians 3:5-10
“Put to death therefore what is earthly
in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil
desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.7 In
these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath,
malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its
practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being
renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
The dictionary definition for the word tact is: skill and sensitivity in dealing
with others or with difficult issues.
Paul uses a lot of tact in as is demonstrated in 1
He says, “For though I am free
from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more
of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order
to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not
being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those
outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law
of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the
law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win
the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I
might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the
gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
The law of
Christ speaking of Galatians 5:14, “For the whole law is
fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
A good teacher, goes down to the level of understanding of
her students and from their level, brings them up to her level of understanding
by laying out all the facts that caused her to come to the full understanding
of the subject on which she is teaching.
So even when we approach unbelievers we have to remember
that they don’t have the full knowledge of the gospel that we possess, so before
we ask them to commit to believing everything we tell them to, we first have to
lay down the basic foundations of our faith in their minds and gradually build
on it till they come to full understanding as well.
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:24-26, “That the Lord’s servantmust not be quarrelsome but kind to
everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness.
God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a
knowledge of the truth, 26 and
they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the
devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
So in all our evangelistic zeal, we must not forget to be
gentle, the way God was gentle with us, when we first came to know of His
saving grace. It’s easy to win an argument with an unbeliever, but if the cost
of the argument was the loss of his soul (for example he gets so annoyed with
Christians that he wants nothing more to do with Christianity) , then we’ve
Last but not least, all our efforts must be carried out with
prayer. Prayer is the lifeblood of the fishing process. There is great power in
1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that
petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live
peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a
knowledge of the truth.”
We need to stand in the gap for the unbelievers. It says
that these prayers should be made for ALL people. So don’t leave anyone out in
your prayers, you never know who the Lord will choose to be an instrument to
Him. After all Saul, who was considered a terrorist by the early Church, became
Paul, one of the greatest Apostles of the Christian Faith.
Keep everyone you come into contact with in prayer, one
day, they will take the bait that God places before them, their eyes will be
opened, and they will be saved from destruction.
1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
It’s hard to talk to an Atheist, a feminist or with someone that hates Christianity in general and not hear them quote this verse as they think Paul is completely prohibiting women from being able to do anything or have any kind of say in the Church.
Many people see this verse as inequality of the sexes in the Church and Christian life. Many think women are therefore completely forbidden to take any part of the spreading of the Gospel, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Paul’s meaning is clear: women are not to have the role of teaching authority in the church. To be under authority is the principle; not teaching is the application.
Paul is saying that the church should not recognize women as those having authority in the church regarding matters of doctrine and Scriptural interpretation.
Not all speaking or teaching by a woman is necessarily a violation of God’s order of authority in the church. Whatever speaking or teaching is done by a woman must be done in submission to the men God has appointed to lead the church.
1 Corinthians 11:1-12 emphasizes the same principle. Women are to always act under authority in the congregation, demonstrated in Corinthian culture by the wearing of a head covering. Therefore a woman in the Corinthian church could only pray or prophesy if she demonstrated that she was under the leadership of the church, and she demonstrated this by wearing a head covering and by acting consistently with that principle.
1 Corinthians 14:33-35 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.
Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.
The context of this passage, and much of 1 Corinthians, is the order and structure of the church. The Corinthian church was noted for the chaos and lack of order that was rampant in that assembly. It is interesting that no elders or pastors are mentioned, and the prophets were not even exercising control. Everyone was participating with whatever expression they desired “whenever” they desired. This included tongues and prophesying by women who were taking the lead in the services instead of being submissive, as God’s Word makes clear (1 Timothy 2:11-15). Apparently, certain women in the Corinthian church were out of order in disruptively asking questions publicly in the chaotic services. Women may be gifted teachers, but they are not permitted by God “to speak” in such a manner in His churches. In fact, for them to do so is “improper” or “shameful” as 1 Corinthians 11:35 tells us.
The strength of Paul’s wording here makes it challenging to obey this command in today’s society. Since the 1970’s, our culture has rejected the idea that there may be different roles for men and women in the home, in the professional world, or in the church. In this text (among others), the Holy Spirit clearly says there is a difference in roles.
But the cultural challenge must be seen in its true context - not just a struggle between men and women, but as a struggle with the issue of authority in general. Since the 1960’s, there has been a massive change in the way we see and accept authority.
Citizens do not have the same respect for government’s authority.
Students do not have the same respect for teacher’s authority.
Women do not have the same respect for men’s authority.
Children do not have the same respect for parental authority.
Employees do not have the same respect for their employer’s authority.
People do not have the same respect for the police’s authority.
Christians no longer have the same respect for church authority.
There are not many who would say that these changes have been good. Generally, people do not feel safer and there is less confidence in the culture. Television and other entertainment get worse and worse. In fact, our society is presently in, and rushing towards, complete anarchy - the state where no authority is accepted, and the only thing that matters is what one wants to do.
It is fair to describe our present moral state as one of anarchy. There is no moral authority in our culture. When it comes to morality, the only thing that matters is what one wants to do. And in a civil sense, many neighborhoods in our nation are given over to anarchy. The government’s authority is not accepted in gang-infested portions of our cities. The only thing that matters is what one wants to do.
We must see the broader attack on authority as a direct Satanic strategy to destroy our society and millions of individual lives. He is accomplishing this with two main attacks. First, the corruption of authority; second, the rejection of authority.
This idea of authority and submission to authority are so important to God that they are part of His very being. The First Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Father; the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Son. Inherent in those titles is a relationship of authority and submission to authority. The Father exercises authority over the Son, and the Son submits to the Father’s authority - and this is in the very nature and being of God. Our failure to exercise Biblical authority, and our failure to submit to Biblical authority, isn’t just wrong and sad - it sins against the very nature of God.
Paul’s focus here is the public worship of the church. God has established a clear chain of authority in both the home and in the church, and in those spheres, God has ordained that men are the “head” - that is, that they have the place of authority and responsibility.
Our culture, having rejected the idea in a difference in role between men and women, now rejects the idea of any difference between men and women. The driving trends in our culture point towards men who are more like women, and women who are more like men. Styles, clothes, perfumes, and all the rest promote this thought.
The Bible is just as specific that there is no general submission of women unto men commanded in society; only in the spheres of the home and in the church. God has not commanded in His word that men have exclusive authority in the areas of politics, business, education, and so on.
It also does not mean that every woman in the church is under the authority of every man in the church. Instead it means that those who lead the church - pastors and ruling elders - must be men, and the women (and others) must respect their authority.
The failure of men to lead in the home and in the church, and to lead in the way Jesus would lead, has been a chief cause of the rejection of male authority - and is inexcusable.
Some feel this recognition and submission to authority is an unbearable burden. They feel that it means, “I have to say that I am inferior, that I am nothing, and I have to recognize this other person as being superior.” Yet inferiority or superiority has nothing to do with this. We remember the relationship between God the Father and God the Son - they are completely equal in their being, but have different roles when it comes to authority.
Some may say that the church cannot work (or cannot work well) unless we go along with the times and put women into positions of spiritual and doctrinal authority in the church. From the standpoint of what works in our culture, they may be right. Yet from the standpoint of pleasing God by doing what He says in His word, they are wrong.
Women can evangelize, talk to people about Christ, be a very crucial part of the Church, they simply cannot be pastors or be in a position of power within the church as commanded in His Word.
Another frequent objection to this interpretation of women in ministry is in relation to women who held positions of leadership in the Bible, specifically Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah in the Old Testament. This objection fails to note some significant factors. First, Deborah was the only female judge among 13 male judges. Huldah was the only female prophet among dozens of male prophets mentioned in the Bible. Miriam’s only connection to leadership was being the sister of Moses and Aaron. The two most prominent women in the times of the Kings were Athaliah and Jezebel—hardly examples of godly female leadership. Most significantly, though, the authority of women in the Old Testament is not relevant to the issue. The book of 1 Timothy and the other Pastoral Epistles present a new paradigm for the church—the body of Christ—and that paradigm involves the authority structure for the church, not for the nation of Israel or any other Old Testament entity.
Similar arguments are made using Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament. In Acts 18, Priscilla and Aquila are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla’s name is mentioned first, perhaps indicating that she was more “prominent” in ministry than her husband. However, Priscilla is nowhere described as participating in a ministry activity that is in contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Priscilla and Aquila brought Apollos into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately (Acts 18:26).
In Romans 16:1, even if Phoebe is considered a “deaconess” instead of a “servant,” that does not indicate that Phoebe was a teacher in the church. “Able to teach” is given as a qualification for elders, but not deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). Elders/bishops/deacons are described as the “husband of one wife,” “a man whose children believe,” and “men worthy of respect.” Clearly the indication is that these qualifications refer to men. In addition, in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9, masculine pronouns are used exclusively to refer to elders/bishops/deacons.
The structure of 1 Timothy 2:11-14 makes the “reason” perfectly clear. Verse 13 begins with “for” and gives the “cause” of Paul’s statement in verses 11-12. Why should women not teach or have authority over men? Because “Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived.” God created Adam first and then created Eve to be a “helper” for Adam. This order of creation has universal application in the family (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the church. The fact that Eve was deceived is also given as a reason for women not serving as pastors or having spiritual authority over men. This leads some to believe that women should not teach because they are more easily deceived. That concept is debatable, but if women are more easily deceived, why should they be allowed to teach children (who are easily deceived) and other women (who are supposedly more easily deceived)? That is not what the text says. Women are not to teach men or have spiritual authority over men because Eve was deceived. As a result, God has given men the primary teaching authority in the church.
Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, evangelism, and so much more. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).
Women can be evangelists, that’s never been an issue. They can be evangelists and speak at churches and out in the world spreading the Good News, they simply cannot teach men or be Pastors/Ministers. Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter) is a perfect example of a woman as an evangelist.
God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of Pastors in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over adult men. This logically would preclude women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them.
The Lord is not now nor has He ever claimed to be “Politically Correct” He is God. The bible tells us in Job 40:2, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who argues with God give an answer.”
We either respect God’s authority or we follow our hearts and go do what we think it’s right. Just remember that the Bible tells us not to lean on our understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and that our hearts are wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Do not go picking and choosing which parts of the Bible you want to respect and live by.