What About Women Preachers?
By John Nash
I have read the bible and it says that women should not preach. But, what about Nancy Grandquist and Nona Freeman? Are they preachers or speakers? I have an interest in preaching but God said a women shouldn’t preach. So, I’m a little confused about that. I know Nancy blesses people so much, and God works through her. But, is she preaching or speaking?
Now, before you run too far too fast, I am not telling you to be proud or rude or elbow your way about. I am not telling you to compete against any man for a pastorate. What I will show you is that within scriptural order, there are many, many women in leadership roles throughout the Bible, but they do not push aside a man to get their way — they fill a need that is not yet met. If you feel that you have a calling of God on your life then you should have told your Pastor by now and been working with him/her to develope your spiritual gifts and ministry. If you feel that you are called to preach, for example, can you tell me precisely to whom you are called to preach?
You do not tell me what verse you find in the Bible that you believe says that a woman shall not preach: the closest that I can find is 1 Tim 3:11-12. This verse does not say that a woman should not preach but it is commonly misused for that purpose. Read the chapter for context, then read the verse carefully. Where does it say that a woman cannot preach? It doesn’t.
Test your common sense from other examples in the Bible, such as the judge/prophetess Deborah (Judges 4:4-7). Note that Deborah is a wife and also the Judge of Israel. She gives orders to the man serving as Israel’s supreme military commander, Barak. If God can’t find a man He will send a woman. But women use a different style in their ministry than men. “Mother Eve’s garden Club” by LaJoyce Martin might be helpful to you.
We know that the Bible clearly commands that women *are* to teach (Titus 2:1-6) and the apostle Paul had women helping him teach the Gospel (Phil 4:3). He took Priscilla and her husband with him to Syria and left them to minister together in Ephesus. It is my feeling that husband/wife teams are extremely powerful in ministry — like twin tigers hunting together.
In 1 Tim 3:11-12, Paul writes that in a church service a woman should learn in silence and that his personal practice is that women not teach or USURP authority over a man. To usurp authority over a man, you must take a preaching position away from the man, not fill a vacant calling. I have been told that 1 Tim 3:11-12 deals with an issue of wives and husbands being seated apart in church, such that if a wife did not understand what was said, she would shout across the room to her husband to ask him. The shouting disrupted service. This explaination does make sense as the topic of chapter 3 is behaviour in church, and it is supported by 1 Cor 14:34-35.
Another common myth is that all women are to submit to all men: that any man can boss around any woman and she must simply take it. They refer to Eph 5:22 and Col 3:18 as justification, but these verses say that a woman shall submit to *her own husband* (not just any man) and even then it is limited by righteous propriety (“as is fitting in the Lord”or “as to the Lord”). This is strengthened by 1 Pet 3:5. The Lord will never order someone to do something that is wrong, so the compulsion upon the wife is also limited by propriety. The verse deals with order in the home, not vocational calling or personal worth, but it is used to manipulate and denegate women who don’t know any better, contrary to God’s Word and Divine purpose for them.
It is a dangerous practice to build a doctrine upon one verse: that was the technique used by the devil to beguile Eve: her lack of detailed scriptural knowledge told Satan exactly how to deceive her (Gen 3:3) — she added the words “neither shall ye touch it,” to God’s command, which telegraphed her vulnerability. Always find two or preferably three verses that quote the doctrine exactly (Deu 17:6, 19:15). In this case (1) there was no prohibition of women preaching any where in the verse, (2) at most it is a statement of Paul’s personal practice in assigning teachers, and (3) the section deals with conduct in church, not a calling from God, so using the verse to deny a woman her calling, at least when it does not conflict with someone else’s, is taking the verse out of context.
Of course, I would like to hear an opinion from Joy Haney or Kathy Miller or any other anointed woman who is also a minister of the Gospel. Being themselves women, perhaps they could explain and balance it better for you.
I hope that this helps!
Bro. John Nash