THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH: Seek the Old Paths
More and more we hear of women assuming positions of leadership in the religious world. There is a place for women in the work of the church, but they cannot usurp authority over a man. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Timothy 2:12) This passage eliminates women preaching publicly when men are present. This eliminates women serving as elders and deacons. This passage forbids women praying in the presence of men.
There is work women can do for the Lord. (Mark 14:8) Some of the Lord’s most faithful companions were women. However, we must respect the limitations placed upon them in the church. It is the purpose of this blog series to pinpoint the role of women in the overall development of the church in the first century. Special attention will be directed to their place in the growth of the church as seen through the pen of Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles.
Luke not only wrote the book of Acts, he also wrote the Gospel of Luke. In Luke’s writing in the gospel there is demonstrated the change that Jesus wrought in the status of women. During Jesus’ ministry there were many women who followed Him. Brother Mac Layton wrote, “The Book of Luke has been called ‘The Gospel of Women’ because he calls so many to mind. They ministered with their hands to the needs of Jesus; their feet followed him where he went. Out of the gate and up the hill to Golgotha they bewailed His coming death. The women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. The ears of a woman were the first to hear the sweetest message of the ages: “He is not here; He is risen” (How To Build A Great Church 184)!
One truth is magnified when you study the development of the church of the first century. Women are extremely valuable and important to the growth of the church. Granted, there are restrictions placed on women by divine instruction. Their prohibition by no means relegates Christian women to a second-last role in the church. “The ground is level at the foot of the cross. All are one” (Malachi 3:28). However, there is a difference in their function in the church. The Lord has given to each their role or function. Be it noted that in spite of the limitations placed on women, God’s Will wrought liberation to women! While she is not permitted to preach, serve an as elder or usurp authority over the man, she nevertheless has opportunities for service that cannot be found elsewhere (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 14:35).
A godly woman recently remarked, “Women in the church want to know that they can make a difference.” No book in the Bible describes what women can do for the Lord more than the book of Acts. Let's keep studying it!
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
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