“Dear brother Clem: Is it scriptural to have women preachers in the church? Some of them have very good Bible knowledge. – L.H., OH”
The Bible says, very plainly, “Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law” (1 Corinthians 14:34). Another passage that deals with this is 1 Timothy 2:8, 11-12, “I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing … Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.” In context, these two passages prohibit women from being preachers in the Lord’s church.
In 1 Corinthians 14, God is speaking of the assembly of the church, and says that women are to “keep silence.” In the previous verses, He has given instructions about how men are to speak in the church assembly, but He gives no such teaching about women speaking. He simply says that they are not to speak. In 1 Timothy 2, in a public setting, men pray or teach. But God has placed some restrictions on women in a public setting (vs. 11-12). Theses restrictions are not upon men, but only upon women.
Notice the wording: “I permit not a woman to teach.” The Greek word for “to teach” in this passage is from “didasko,” which means a lecture or a sermon or discourse. It is the word from which we get “didactic” which applies specifically to a sermon – in which the speaker has control of the material in the assembly. Thus, in a public setting, a woman is not allowed to teach, or preach. That many women in the Lord’s church have a great knowledge of the Scriptures is certainly true. But more than that is necessary for a good sermon. A good sermon begins with God’s stamp of approval, and He has not approved women for the pulpit in the Lord’s church.
I know many people will argue this, for the denominational world has seen many women preachers. But if we are to be governed by what God has said, we just cannot do it. It is not a question of a woman’s ability nor her knowledge. The question hinges only on God’s authority. And He does not authorize women preachers. – Clem Thurman
Excerpted from Volume 61, Number 30 of Gospel Minutes. Gospel Minutes is a publication originating from Forth Worth, Texas; Clem Thurman, Editor, David Thurman, Associate Editor.