Women in Worship: God’s Special People
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.” – 1 Corinthians 14:34
Hey, dear readers! A big thanks to you for your continued show of love and support. As always, I appreciate you!
We’ve been discussing Christ’s church and restoring New Testament Christianity. I want us to delve further into the makeup of the church. A defining characteristic of the church that Jesus built (Matt. 16:18) and purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28) is that the body of believers – the church – strives to live and serve God the way that He’s prescribed in His Word.
We seek to follow His commands and not traditions of men. So during worship, women learn in silence.
This is a direct result of the command given in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 which states: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” We also find a related direct command in 1 Corinthians 14:34.
So, in the Lord’s church, there are no women elders (or pastors, as many people refer to them as). There are no women who preach to a group where men are present.
In order to follow the teachings of Christ, it’s not possible to have women pastors (Titus 1:5-9) or women who preach to men in a show of authority over them (1 Tim. 2:12) and still live in accordance with God’s will. It’s not scriptural to do otherwise.
In the feministic society in which we live, I know some people cringe to hear that and often argue that it’s oppressive to women. Others argue that the teachings are outdated and that those commands were specific to the culture and the times of that era.
But, I submit that the Word of God does not change, it is fixed and settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). If we make the argument that those versus were only for back then for that culture, then we could apply that same logic to any command. And if we did, we’d be in violation of God’s Word.
“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” – Psalm 119:89
While cultures change often, the Lord does not. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 15:8).
The command to remain silent in no way diminishes the value of the Christian woman. If we see church as Sunday morning and Wednesday night worship only, then that’s where the problem arises.
However, church is not limited to a few hours of worship on two days of the week (Acts 2:42-47). The church is a group of people – not the building and not two days of worship. Women have an important role in the Lord’s church and are not inferior to men.
In the New Testament, Jesus often honored women – and at times, above others (Matt. 9:22; 15:28; 26:12-13). Women ministered to the needs of Jesus (Matt. 27:55; Luke 8:3). It was women who found the empty tomb and proclaimed the good news to the other disciples (Luke 24:10).
And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar.” – Matthew 27:55
“[A]nd Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.” – Luke 8:3
After the church began on Pentecost, women still played a prominent role in the advancing of the message of God. Recall Dorcas and how heartbroken everyone was at her death because of the great example that she was and the good works that she did for others (Acts 9:36-42).
“At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.” – Acts 9:36
Also, note Priscilla who, with her husband, opened up her home to support the work of the ministry by letting Paul reside there and had bible studies with others who had not obeyed the gospel (Acts 18:2-4, 24-28).
Then there was Lydia who was a praying woman. She was also a business woman, and she opened up her heart to the Lord and her home to the disciples of Christ (Acts 16:13-15.40).
So women in the church of the New Testament were not seen as second-class citizens. They were actively serving and working to advance the kingdom message of Christ.
The same is true in the Lord’s church today. Women are busy serving, ministering, helping, loving, and giving of their means and themselves to bring Christ to others.
I know of many Christian women who have home bible studies to teach others the gospel, who preach to groups of women, who teach Bible classes, who are actively involved in prison ministries, who write Christian books, who hand-make teddy bears for sick children and deliver them to hospitals, who visit the elderly in nursing homes, who make meals for the sick-and-shut-in, and who fervently pray for others.
Christian women are in no way inferior to men or kept from serving. Though we remain silent in worship by not teaching men or leading in worship, we are ambassadors for Christ, a royal priesthood, a holy nation set aside for His purposes, and we are God’s own special people (2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Pet. 2:9). Our Christianity is not bound by four walls or a pulpit.
Even more, when we view the relationship that God tells us a marriage is supposed to be like, we see how elevated the woman is in the New Testament. Notice the following:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Eph. 5:25-30).
That’s pretty special. That’s the kind of husband I want – a hero. That’s the kind of husband that I have. Just as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it, husbands are to show that same kind of love for their wives. It’s not hard to submit to someone like that and to respect and honor him (Eph. 5:33; 1 John 5:3).
We follow the command to remain silent because God commanded it. The reasoning He gave is simple: “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:12-14). God created Adam first and then the woman. We just follow the natural order of creation.
It doesn’t mean women are treated unfairly or disrespected. In no way is that the case. Some who would argue that are the very ones who unreservedly disrespect and abuse other people themselves.
Everyone is special to Christ. He extends His love, His kindness, and His forgiveness to all who will obey Him. If you have not obeyed the gospel, do it now: believe that Jesus is the Christ, confess that to others, repent of your sins, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you can live a faithful life in service to Him, just like beloved Christian women.
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