Can a Woman Teach or Lead a Congregation?

 

 

Let’s first start off by taking a look at three portions of Scripture.

DEUTERONOMY
CHAPTER 17
8 ¶ If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment,
between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and
between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy
within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into
the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;
9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto
the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they
shall shew thee the sentence of judgment:
10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they
of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee;
and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they
inform thee:
11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall
teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall
tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the
sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor
to the left.
12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not
hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before
the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall
die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more
presumptuously.

 

 

DEUTERONOMY
CHAPTER 18
15 ¶ The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet
from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto
him ye shall hearken;
16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God
in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not
hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me
see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that
which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their
brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his
mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall
command him.
19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not
hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I
will require it of him.
20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in
my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or
that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet
shall die.
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the
word which the LORD hath not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the
thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which
the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it
presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

 

 

JUDGES
CHAPTER 2
11 ¶ And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the
LORD, and served Baalim:
12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which
brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other
gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them,
and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD
to anger.
13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and
Ashtaroth.
14 ¶ And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and
he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled
them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies
round about, so that they could not any longer stand before
their enemies.
15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was
against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the
LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly
distressed.
16 ¶ Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which
delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but
they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed
themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way
which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments
of the LORD; but they did not so.
18 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the
LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the
hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it
repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of
them that oppressed them and vexed them.
19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they
returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers,
in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down
unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from
their stubborn way.

 

 

Now read this:

JUDGES
CHAPTER 4
AND the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the
LORD, when Ehud was dead.
2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of
Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host
was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had
nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily
oppressed the children of Israel.
4 ¶ And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she
judged Israel at that time.
5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between
Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim: and the children of
Israel came up to her for judgment.
6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of
Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD
God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward
mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the
children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the
captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude;
and I will deliver him into thine hand.
8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I
will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.
9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding
the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour;
for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.
And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

 

Deborah was a prophetess (a prophet) and a judge, “and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment”. Think about that.

This is not to say that she taught, but it does show you that the idea that woman didn’t have power or authority, and can’t have power or authority, is false. She didn’t choose to be a prophetess. She didn’t choose to be a judge. Who is it that chose her (raised her up) and put her in those positions, with that power and authority? Being a prophetess, Israel – the congregation – sought the Word of Yah/God from her mouth.  Being a judge, Israel – the congregation – sought resolutions and guidance from her, and those resolutions, and that guidance, was based on the Law; and by the Law they had to do what she prescribed/uttered.  A woman can’t lead a congregation?  That belief is clearly false.

 

Take a look at this also:

MICAH
CHAPTER 6
HEAR ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou
before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.
2 Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’s controversy, and ye
strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a
controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.
3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein
have I wearied thee? testify against me.
4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and
redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent
before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

 

… a man, another man, and a woman.

 


 

In this portion of his letter to the Corinthians Paul had to clarify a statement he made in a previous letter.

 

1 CORINTHIANS
CHAPTER 5
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with
fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or
with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for
then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if
any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous,
or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner;
with such an one no not to eat.


This should be enough to convince you that all of these New Testament letters must be scrutinized on an even higher level than scripture.  This should also convince you that what Paul states is not just “cut and dry”.

 

 

1 CORINTHIANS
CHAPTER 14
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is
not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded
to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their
husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in
the church.

“keep silence”: sigatōsan
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
4601. sigaó
hold peace, be silent
From sige; to keep silent (transitively or intransitively) — keep close (secret, silence), hold peace.
see GREEK sige
http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_corinthians/14-34.htm

 

Verse 34: obedience = submission

 

Verse 34: The law said that? Where? Could that be a civil law, a man-made law, he’s referring to? There are some who say he’s referring to Genesis 3:16. If this is the case, it would mean that only the statement about being in submission is of the law, not the one about being silent.

 

Here’s another issue: The word translated to “woman” is the exact same word translated to “wife” in other places in the New Testament. And in the case of Paul’s letters, when it is translated to “wife,” this exact word is always accompanied by references to submission, just as it is in these verses (where it is translated to “women”).

Here is every instance of the exact word (γυναῖκες) used in 1 Corinthian 14:34, 35
http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_corinthians/14-34.htm
http://biblehub.com/greek/gunaikes_1135.htm

Here is every word that uses that root word – every instance of Strong’s number 1135
https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/1co/14/1/t_conc_1076034
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1135&t=KJV

 

Now read verses 34 and 35 and replace “woman” with “wife”. Not only does it fit, but it makes more sense, especially when you consider the part where he states that they should ask their husbands at home.

 

 

Read the following passage and take note of how there exists a difference between what Paul said/says, and what was commanded by the Father or Son.

1 CORINTHIANS
CHAPTER 7
NOW concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is
good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his
own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence:
and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the
husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of
his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for
a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer;
and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your
incontinency.
6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

 

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord,
Let not the wife depart from her husband:

 

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath
a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with
him, let him not put her away.

 

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord
hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in
all churches.

 

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the
Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained
mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

 

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast
a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye
may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

 

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment:
and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

 

1 TIMOTHY
CHAPTER 5
9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under
threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up
children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed
the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have
diligently followed every good work.
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have
begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first
faith.
13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from
house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and
busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear
children, guide the house, give none occasion to the
adversary to speak reproachfully.

 

Clearly, there is a such thing as, and a difference between, Paul’s personal beliefs, and that which was commanded by Yah and the Messiah.  This will come into play later.

 

 

1 TIMOTHY
CHAPTER 1
PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of
God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy,
and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

1 TIMOTHY
CHAPTER 2
I EXHORT therefore, that, first of all, supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all
men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may
lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our
Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the
knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and
men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due
time.
7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I
speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the
Gentiles in faith and verity.
8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy
hands, without wrath and doubting.
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in
modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with
broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with
good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

“silence”: hēsychia
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
2271. hésuchia
quietness, silence.
Feminine of hesuchios; (as noun) stillness, i.e. Desistance from bustle or language — quietness, silence.
see GREEK hesuchios
http://biblehub.com/greek/2271.htm
http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_timothy/2-11.htm

hesuchios:
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
2272. hésuchios
peaceable, quiet.
A prolonged form of a compound probably of a derivative of the base of hedraios and perhaps echo; properly, keeping one’s seat (sedentary), i.e. (by implication) still (undisturbed, undisturbing) — peaceable, quiet.
see GREEK hedraios
see GREEK echo
http://biblehub.com/greek/2272.htm

 

Let the woman learn in hésuchia … with all subjection – in submissiveness.

It’s not even the same word! And yet, people are connecting it with 1 Corinthians 14:34 (when it doesn’t even connect). And to show you further that he’s speaking of something different: 1 Corinthians is a letter to the believers in Corinth; 1 Timothy is a letter to Timothy.

Some people say that Paul was addressing an issue in a particular church. This may be possible, but there’s no way to prove it conclusively.

So, he said that the women were to learn in stillness and submissiveness.

 

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority
over the man, but to be in silence.

“to usurp authority”: authentein
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
831. authenteó
govern, exercise authority
From a compound of autos and an obsolete hentes (a worker); to act of oneself, i.e. (figuratively) dominate — usurp authority over.
see GREEK autos
http://biblehub.com/greek/831.htm

 

“silence”: hēsychia – Strong’s number 2271 – stillness, quietness.

 

And notice what he said: “But I ….” This shows you that it was his personal way of running a congregation, not a law.  In this letter to Timothy, Saul/Paul was giving him instructions on running a congregation, as seen in 1 Timothy 5:9-14 (above).  Now read 1 Timothy 5:9-14 again, then read 1 Timothy 2:9-12 (above) again.

 

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being
deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if
they continue in faith and charity and holiness with
sobriety.

 

In this letter to Timothy, Saul/Paul says that he, himself, didn’t let a woman teach (verse 12), nor to have authority over a man. He didn’t do it – it was his personal preference. And this reflects his culture during his day (culture is not law). He supports his statement by what’s stated in verses 13 and 14. That’s not really a strong argument, especially when you consider Deborah. And notice how he doesn’t support his statement with a law.

 

 

Check this out:

ACTS
CHAPTER 18
AFTER these things Paul departed from Athens, and came
to Corinth;
2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus,
lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that
Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:)
and came unto them.

24 ¶ And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria,
an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to
Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and
being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the
things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom
when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto
them, and expounded unto him the way of God more
perfectly.
27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the
brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who,
when he was come, helped them much which had believed
through grace:
28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly,
shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

“the things of the Lord” (verse 25) = the things about/concerning Yahusha/Jesus

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/acts/18-25.htm

 

“ … an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures …. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord ….” And when Aquila and Priscilla heard him, “they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly”.

Although not from a position of authority, or in front of a crowd, a women, Priscilla, taught this learned man who was a teacher.

 

 


 

 

These “Israelite” camps and their followers at home also use Isaiah 3:12 to justify their false doctrine which states that women shouldn’t, or can’t, lead or teach. 

 

 

ISAIAH
CHAPTER 3
12 ¶ As for my people, children are their oppressors, and
women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee
cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

 

 

First, let’s put it in historical context.

ISAIAH
CHAPTER 1
THE vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw
concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah,
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

 

This time period is the time period of 2 Kings 15:32, 19:6 and 2 Chronicles chapter 26.

 

 

 

Most people don’t realize that almost all that the prophets wrote was for this time period.

 

AMOS
CHAPTER 1
THE words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of
Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of
Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son
of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

 

 

AMOS
CHAPTER 2
4 ¶ Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah,
and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof;
because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have
not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to
err, after the which their fathers have walked:
5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the
palaces of Jerusalem.
6 ¶ Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof;
because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a
pair of shoes;
7 That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the
poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his
father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy
name:
8 And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge
by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in
the house of their god.

 

 

ISAIAH
CHAPTER 39
AT that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king
of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he
had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered.
2 And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the
house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and
the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of
his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there
was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that
Hezekiah shewed them not.

 

6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and
that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day,
shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the
LORD.
7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou
shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs
in the palace of the king of Babylon.
8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the
LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there
shall be peace and truth in my days.

See: 2 Kings chapter 20.

 

 

Now, back to Isaiah 3:12

 

ISAIAH
CHAPTER 3
9 ¶ The shew of their countenance doth witness against
them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.
Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto
themselves.
10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for
they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the
reward of his hands shall be given him.
12 ¶ As for my people, children are their oppressors, and
women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee
cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.
13 The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge
the people.
14 The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of
his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the
vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and
grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

 

This is describing the state of the kingdom of Judah at that time – wicked.  This is why the Babylonians were brought against them.

Now, take a close look at verse 12.  “They which lead thee” is in a separate sentence.  How can you say that this is referring to the women in the previous sentence?  Couldn’t it be referring to the leaders, kings, and/or the priests, the ones who always caused the people to err?

Isn’t that verse a description of our plight today?  And who leads our people and causes them to err today?  The leaders and the pastors.  

 

Isaiah 3:4 states that children were to be their princes/chiefs/rulers.  You can see this in 2 Kings 15:2; 21:1; and 22:1.  This may be the object of the verse.  But what about women ruling over them?  There’s no biblical or historical evidence that suggests that women reigned over the house of Judah for a time.  Even these people who did the following Bible commentaries don’t understand that statement (they can’t agree): http://biblehub.com/commentaries/isaiah/3-12.htm  And those commentaries reveal other issues with this verse.  But there was a point when a woman did rule.  See: 2 Kings 11:1-20.  This is probably what Isaiah 3:12 is referring to.  This was not the downfall of Israel.  And if you study you’ll clearly see that males were ruling during Israel’s downfall.

 

If you believe “they which lead thee” to be the women that ruled over them, or just women in general, and believe this to be a reason why a woman shouldn’t, or can’t, lead or teach, please consider the many years men ruled over Israel and led Israel, and caused the people to err.  It’s the entire history, right?  So, based on your own judgment, men definitely shouldn’t be able to lead or teach.  In fact, they shouldn’t even be thinking about it (based on your own judgment).  You can research for yourself and see that men ruled for almost the entire time.

 

Is they which rule the same as they which lead, and that’s the same as they which teach?  If you believe so, it must be saying that women were ruling from the priesthood because that’s who taught.  What, the women were the Levitical priests?  They must have been based on that logic.  But when was that ever the case in Israel? 

 

And what about the children who were their oppressors?  Isn’t the act of oppressing someone just as ruling over them?  So, if the women ruled over them, and as a result were their leaders, and somehow their teachers; the argument can also be made that it’s the children who were the leaders, and therefore, the teachers.

 

 

In the end, using this verse as proof that a woman shouldn’t, or can’t, lead or teach is error and causing the people to err.

 

 

 


 

 

Conclusion

There isn’t a law that restricts women from leading a flock/leading a congregation or teaching. There just isn’t. And I’m not going to be the one to hamper the work of the Spirit by restricting a woman from doing something there is no law against.

And whether male or female, you have to be called to such a position anyway, so let the Spirit work it out.

 

 

Additional Information

Should Women Teach the Bible?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmA06P2zEFo

Women’s Role in the Gospel
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDF9FF837D17B6B69