Should Women Teach in the Church?
NCW 6, November 1993
Q. Paul says: "I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent" (1 Tim.2:11, NIV). Evangelical churches obey this commandment. Why doesn't yours?
Certainly, the New Covenant Church does not obey the commandment in the version of the scriptures that you have quoted (the New International Version) because the translation, which is heavily influenced by preconceived evangelical Protestant doctrine, is not correct. The correct translation should be:
The word for "teach" in this passage is, in the Greek, didaskein, in the present tense which means "to teach continuously". Paul is therefore saying: "I don't want a woman to constantly teach because this will undermine her husband's position, giving the impression that she is the head of the husband, which is contrary to God's ordained order between husband and wife." Thus a wife should place limitations on her own liberty in Christ in both her dress, adornment and her speech. Paul does not want women to be drab or mute, but to be careful lest they go beyond the boundaries that God has established. "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God" (1 Tim.2:9-10, NIV).
"I do not permit a woman to teach continuously or usurp the authority of her husband; she must hold her peace" (author's translation).
The fact that God has placed husband over the wife in authority does not mean that a man is better, more intelligent, or more worthy than a woman. This is simply the order established by God. And why? Because where there are two or more personalities consitituting one Body -- whether a marriage or a Church -- one Body can only have one head. This is intrinsic in God's creation.
Nowhere does the New Testament teach that woman is inferior to man or that women should be in subjection to men generally. She is the recipient of the same graces in Christ as is the man (Gal.3:28; 1 Pet.3:7). However, the New Testament does teach that a wife should be in submission to her husband and respect his authority, for this is the created order, "for Adam was formed first, then Eve" (1 Tim.2:13, NIV).
Does this mean that the husband has an advantage over his wife? Not at all, for he is in the same female position to Christ and to his leaders in the Church as she is to him. Moreover, Paul teaches that Christians generally must be self-limiting for the sake of those weaker in the faith. Submissiveness is a requirement both of men and women in the faith.
New Covenant Christians find the teaching that women should not be allowed to teach in Church quite absurd in the light of Scripture, not to mention common sense. Women, because of their natural, empathic nature, can, and do, make excellent teachers. However, the New Covenant also ensures that this in no way compromises a husband's authority over his wife, and at home a believing husband is expected to instruct his wife and his family in such a way that his children can clearly see that he has the overall authority, as God ordained. Similarly, a congregation is always presided over by a married man, who understands God's created order (1 Tim.3:1ff).
The challenge, therefore, is for evangelical protestants to submit their congregational life in harmony with the plain teaching of the New Testament and not to rely overly on one Bible translation but to check everything thoroughly.
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