Women as church leaders

Hi all,
In the recent past, I have come across some YouTube videos of some eminent name criticizing two women in ministry, as church leaders. He called them out to be false teachers of the law. As expected, he did quote 1 Cor 11:1-5 and 1 Tim 2:13-15. Now, I was reading the NIV study bible. In their notes, they have put forward 2 schools of thought, one saying that these verses arent meant to be universal and depends on the church situation, while some others say that it’s meant to be for all generations since its referring to creation order.
I have heard of many lectures and talks on women during Jesus’s times and how the first evangelists were women.
But my main question is where do you think the Bible stands with women leading the church?

P.S As much as I would love to follow the Bible and know certain Biblical truths, in the YouTube videos, I honestly didnt appreciate the approach that this person took against these women.


I would also cringe at the spirit from which these men were teaching. One may be correct in doctrine, but if words are not spoken in love, one becomes a “noisy cymbal” I Cor 13. As far as correct interpretation, that’s a heart matter. Am I willing to be challenged? Or am I just looking to verify what I already believe?


@RiniAndrews Below are two great responses from Michelle Teper and Mike Day. I agree it is not right to treat anyone with contempt. We are called to treat others with respect, even and especially when we disagree. My opinion is that these passages are very difficult to interpret and that there are likely culturally specific / situationally specific reasons for Paul’s commands. You will find lots more information in the threads below.

Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:


Thanks for posting these great examples, @SeanO. I hadn’t seen @Jo_Vitale 's talk on this subject. I loved it so much. I’ve been learning so much from the women on the RZIM teaching team- deep thanks to Amy @AmyOrrEwing Michelle @Michelle_Tepper and Jo (among others) for being such great voices in apologetics and difficult topics in theology.


@HeidiMitchell Glad they were helpful :slight_smile: Yes, so many wonderful, godly people to learn from!


thank you so much for the resources that you have shared with us. I still have to go through Mike Day’s response completely but it helps to understand the Bible verses that I have mentioned, in context.
I am from India, and I just saw a video showing women priests being ordained. So it was good to see that video in the light of this discussion.
Thanks again.


There are some very interesting explanations provided here.

I’d like to interject something here —
The scriptures are GOD INSPIRED, they are not merely Paul’s or Peter’s words. These men were inspired and lead by the Holy Spirit to write the NT – as was the OT.

And because the scriptures state that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever”, and the “Eternal Word of God”, useful for “correcting, reproving and rebuking,” etc…

Why do some think that the passages only apply to first century churches? Or just a particular cultural teaching, depending on the locality of the church?

Can women have roles in ministry? Absolutely. Jesus invited women into ministry with Him…

But, should women be Shepherds of the church?
Preaching to the congregations?
Having Authority over men in the churches?
They do not have authority over men in the homes, why would they have authority over men in the churches?

I refer to Titus:

**Titus 2:3-5
3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home , to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

In our present day we see women that are no longer doing these things…not even Christian Women are staying at home being busy caring for their husbands and children, instead they are pursuing careers, money, authority, positions, even in the churches…

Maybe we need to get back to “the word of God”… and obey it.


Hi, @Leigh_Coudriet! It’s good to have you weigh in here. :slight_smile: I am curious to hear about how you understand ‘authority’, esp. in the church and family context. How would you describe this ‘authority’ that Paul refers to in 1 Timothy?

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (1 Tim. 2:12)

What kind of authority is a man given that is not given to the woman? (Sidenote: I was just discussing this topic the other night with friends around dinner! We were speaking about it in light of the concept of priesthood.)

Because it seems that you take that concept of authority and come to the moral conclusion that women should only be caretakers of sorts (wives, mothers…is there any other role they can be? I’m not actually sure what the role is for single women? Is singleness an immoral state?) I ask this with greatest respect to you, and would like to simply offer to you that women who have careers aren’t necessarily disobeying God’s word.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. :slight_smile:


Actually, does either man or woman have actual authority?
No, all authority belongs to Jesus,
And he delegates to us.
If we paid any attention to the model of leadership He commands, we’d be washing feet as leaders, not accepting honor
Many find a woman as leader, in any capacity, offensive. But if our model was servant leader, maybe not?


Hi Kathleen,

What do you think the word -authority- means in this verse in 1 Timothy 2:12?
And what do you think the word -subject- means in Titus 2:5 ?

I’m just trying to connect dots from several passages of scripture to come to a better understanding of this entire topic.

Also, I asked several sincere questions in my original comment and there have been no answers to those questions. I hope someone can provide answers or thoughts that sheds light on this tough subject.

I don’t want to offend any one, especially not other women. But I do want to align my thoughts with God’s Word, Instruction and Will for my own self.

Leigh Ann


Hello again! Thanks so much for replying. I didn’t think you intended to offend, which is why I was curious where you were coming from. :slight_smile: I think these are all excellent questions, and answers don’t come easily, which is probably why there are some many different conversations on Connect about various aspects surrounding this topic. Have you had a chance to read through some of the links @SeanO provided above? The answer from Mike Day was probably one of the most thorough theological answers I’ve read in a while, but I know others views are out there as well! Mike specifically breaks down the 1 Tim. verse.

As for myself personally, I don’t quite know how I should understand ‘authority’ as Paul mentions. I just know that I greatly respect a number of men and women across the spectrum of this debate. I tend to be much more interested in people’s motivations for leaning one way more than another rather than where they fall along the theological lines. I believe men and women are equal and deeply valuable but different. I believe we need each other to promote the mutual flourishing of humanity. I am just as concerned with my own tendency (God help me!) to dismiss a man when he preaches to the women as I am with the man who refuses to listen to a qualified woman by virtue of being her being a woman and him being a man. We need to both listen to and challenge one another, not silence.

At the moment, I am very Western in my thinking and bristle at the thought that I am under authority. Right now, I know that I am answerable to God and, in a way, ‘Caesar’. I sign a contract with my employer and am answerable in certain respects to them. I willingly put myself under the authority of my church leaders, which gives them permission to hold me accountable. As a single woman, I haven’t had to personally wrestle with the reality of submitting to a husband, but I know that I am, in some way, still accountable to my parents.

But to your questions, there are a number of answers…

The appeal to cultural relevance is an interesting one in Biblical interpretation. The main point that some would argue is that Paul, in his letters, was applying the principles of Christ to a certain cultural moment. So people try to extract the principle behind the directive and apply the principle to the culture they inhabit. The first-century Greco-Roman world was patriarchal. The question then becomes: by speaking the Gospel into the world that was his reality, was Paul commending that social system as how it should be? Most, I think, would say no. That’s where debates come in as to where we should extract principles or directives from his writings.

Paul was interested in (among other things) reconciliation: Jew to Greek, slave to free, male to female. He didn’t seem to be interested in abolishing the slave market or campaigning for women’s suffrage. Those just didn’t really seem to be things at that time. (I would love for someone to correct me if I am mistaken!) But what he was concerned with communicating is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ (and our mutual headship under Him) changes our relationships.

Husbands (as ones who hold social power and authority), love your (more vulnerable) wives. (Do not dominate or abuse them. Honour them. Sacrifice yourself for them.)

Wives (as ones who are under authority in this system), submit to your (also vulnerable) husbands; be subject to them. (Do not undermine or manipulate them. Honour them. Love them.)

This is 1st century mutual flourishing! (Though, in a way, it could also illustrate 21st century mutual flourishing as well.) But, here’s the kicker in Galatians 5:

Above all, submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ. (That is, honour and glorify God in your marriages and social relationships, including in the church. Be atypical. Be counter-cultural.)

Is there anything that strikes you as good/bad/interesting/helpful/wrong there? I’d love to know how your own experience of life comes into play on this topic. :slight_smile:


Hi Kathleen,
I replied via messenger, but I do not know if you are receiving those messages.
though I copied myself on it - I am not finding it now…
Let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a great day!
Leigh Ann

1 Like