In a world becoming obsessed with equal opportunities for men and
women, the role of women in the church is being questioned.
The Bible is the only source of authority which deals with religious
matters and although some religious teachers have used the Bible to
support their views of women's role in the church, very few rest solely
In fact, it is commonly believed that the church has the authority
to make new rules not necessarily consistent with Scripture. The church
does not have such authority, as we are told in 2 Timothy:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:16, NIV
In other words, the Bible is able to guide God's people today as it
was when it was first written. The message is simple, clear, logical.
In Paul's first epistle to Timothy, chapter 2, verses 8-15, he
presents his instruction to women. Let us consider verses 11-14:
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
1 Timothy 2:11-14, NIV
Other scriptures speak of circumstances in which women may speak
and teach, such as Titus 2:3-5, but here in Timothy she is forbidden.
So what is it that Paul is insisting upon? The answer is that here,
as in 1Cor 14:34-35, the Apostle is speaking of the regular meeting
of the assembly when they are gathered together to worship God in
At that time, the man, as Scripture instructs us, is to stand before
the people as the representative of the Lord Himself, who chooses to
speak in that way through his servant -- whereas the woman represents the
church, itself in subjection to Christ, receiving her instruction from
him. She is not to take a public place as teacher, nor to have authority
The Apostle Paul who penned these works was no woman-hating bachelor.
He was an inspired apostle of God, moved by the Holy Spirit and there are
many references in his writings of women whom he held in high respect.
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.
Romans 16:1-2, NIV
It seems that Phoebe was probably a rich woman who was going to Rome
on business and it was to her that Paul trusted the responsible duty of
delivering his "Epistle to Rome" to them.
In 1 Cor 11:3, the Apostle Paul lays down a general principle on this
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 11:3, NIV
There are three relationships to note:
- 1. The relationship between men and women -- particularly husband and wife.
- 2. The relationship between man and Christ,
- 3. The relationship between Christ and God.
Let us consider these relationships in order of importance:
3. The relationship between Christ and God.
What do we know about Christ and God?
God was with him at all times (John 16:32), co-operating with him,
helping him in all of his mighty works -- and in John 14:28 he states
"my Father is greater than I"
God was the head or authority of Jesus. His was the final authority
over the Son.
This represents the meaning of headship or final authority -- not a
dictatorial authority but rather an authority of the closest, most
intimate co-operation in being and in services.
2. The relationship between man and Christ
Examples of this relationship can be found in Ephesians 1:22,
5:3, Colossians 1:18 and in Colossians 2:19.
1. The relationship between men and women
God created Adam from "the dust of the ground" and breathed unto his
nostrils the "breath of life" and when he requested a suitable helper,
some one with whom he could speak to an equal terms, God created woman
in a different way. He caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and took
from him a rib and upon this rib built up the woman. Consequently Adam
was able to say that she was "bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh"
They had everything in common -- they thought and felt alike, they had
the same joys and hopes, and were full of love and sympathy for each
other. But the woman was made for the man -- not the other way around.
Each has their place in nature, and just as the one cannot change
places with the other in nature, so we must not attempt to change places
in the order which God has established from the very beginning
in his order of worship.