I don’t know of many more controversial issues in the church than issues regarding women in ministry. It is not controversial whether or not women can do ministry or be effective in ministry, but whether or not they can teach and preside in positions of authority over men. The most controversial issue aspect of this issue, of course, is whether or not women can hold the position of head pastor or elder in a local church.

There are two primary positions in this debate; those who believe that women can teach men and hold positions of authority over men in the church and those that do not. Those that do, normally go by the name “Egalitarians.” Those that do not, go by the name “Complementarians.” I am a complementarian but I understand and appreciate the egalitarian position. In fact, the church I serve at most often is an egalitarian church. (However, I don’t want you to think that my complementarianism is not important to me. There is much more to complementarianism than whether or not a woman can preach!)

There are a lot of passages of Scripture which contribute to the debate, but one stands out more than all the others. 1 Tim. 2:11-15:

“A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”

I don’t want to debate whether or not this passage teaches either position. I am simply going to assume the complementarian position and attempt to deal with the sting of “I don’t allow a woman to teach.” It does have quite a bit of sting.

I like to make the Scripture pragmatically understandable. In other words, I want to not only understand what it says, but to rationally understand why it says what it says. Why does God give this instruction or that? What practical rationale might be behind the instruction of God? I know that we cannot always find it and our obligation to obey transcends our understanding but, in my experience, more often than not, our understanding of the command can accompany our obedience so that we are not so blind.

“I do not allow a woman to teach.” We think of this as coming from God. God says, “I do not allow a woman to teach.” Teaching is something that requires _________ therefore, women are not qualified. You fill in the blank:

1. Intelligence

2. Wisdom

3. Love

4. Concern

5. Rational

6. Persuasiveness

While I think the sting of this passage assumes that Paul is speaking about one of these, I don’t choose any of them. I think Paul (and God) has something different in mind.

The other night, at 3am there was a sound in our living room. Kristie woke up, but I did not. She was looking out there and saw the lights go on. She got scared.

Pop quiz: What did she do next?

a. Got a bat and quietly tip toed out there to see who it was.

b. Got a gun and peeked around the corner.

c. Woke me up and had me go out there.

Those of you who choose “c” are both right and wise. You are right because that is what happened. (It was my 2 year old Zach who decided it was time to get up.) You are wise because that is what normally happens and is typically, for those of you who have a man in the house, the best move. Why? Because men are better equipped to deal with these sort of situations. There is an aggression that men have, both physical and mental, that is more able to handle situations that might become combative. That is the way we are made.

Now, let me give my short and sweet answer as to why Paul did not allow women to teach:

Paul did not let women teach due to the often aggressive and combative nature that teaching must entail concerning the confrontation of false doctrine. Men must be the teachers when combating false teaching. However, because the role of a teacher in the church is so often to combat false doctrine, and because false doctrine is always a problem, generally speaking, the principles are always applicable. The “exercising of authority” is inherently tied to teaching and its necessary condemnation of false doctrine.

The combative nature of teaching is particularly relevant to a broader understanding of the characteristics of men and women.

The best illustration in the real world that I could use to help you understand what I am saying is that of a military commander in charge of leading troops into battle. Of course there might be an exception here and there, but do a study and you will find that no matter what the time or culture, men are always leading here. Why? Because men are simply better equipped and more followed. There are certian areas where men and women have a unique stature. I believe, like in military, the position of head pastor is the same. Not only are they better equipped for the issues that will arise, but they are followed more readily.

Let me give you another example: Two years ago, my wife was confronted by another couple who did not believe that she was doing what was right. She used to do princess parties where she would dress up as a princess (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty) and go to little girls’ homes and entertain them for an hour or so. She was really good at this. After we moved from Frisco to Oklahoma, she still had one party on the schedule. She called her boss and let her know that she could not do it since we had already moved. Her boss became very angry and began to threaten her. She also said that she was going to bring in her husband (who was a lawyer) and sue Kristie. Kristie became very scared and did not know how to handle this situation, especially since her boss was now using her husband as part of the threat. She told me about this and I told her not to speak to her boss anymore, but to let me handle it. I did. I stepped in and confronted both her boss and her husband’s threats concerning the issue. In the end, they backed off.

I felt that it was my duty and obligation to step in and be strong on behalf of my wife as the situation became confrontational. Kristie is both tender, gentle, and, in those situations, frightened. She was going to give in and travel back to Texas to perform this last party even though she would lose money in the gas it took to go there and back. Her boss refused to pay her mileage.

My point is that men are conditioned to handle confrontation better than women. It is not that Kristie could not have done the same thing as me, it is just that this was not her bent. Women, generally speaking, are not bent to deal with confrontation the same way as men. Teaching in the church involves, more often than not, confronting false understanding.

Can women teach? Absolutely! Can women understand and think as well as men? Most certainly. But the bent of a man is better able to handle the type of teaching that is always necessary in the church.

Would I let a woman teach from the pulpit from time to time? Yes. Paul is not restricting women teachers over men in the absolute sense. The infinitive here, “to teach” is in the present tense which suggests the perpetual role of teaching which exercises authority (confrontation).

The role of head pastor, I believe requires confrontation. That is not all there is, but it is there and it is very important. It is because of this, I believe, Paul said that women cannot teach or exercise authority over men.

See follow-up posts here and here.

Comments are open again. Be safe. Read the rules.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    1,432 replies to "Why Women Cannot Be Head Pastors"

    • Kelley

      Regarding 1 Tim. 2:11-15: … was Timothy pragmatically responding to the state of civilization at that time? Was the Temple bound to break out in might makes right at the drop of a hat? Have we (majority) mastered a higher level of self discipline & structure by now?
      Regarding your familial arrangement… if your wife and children are to function in your absence, shouldn’t she be taught how to defend herself (and the children)? Sparing her from the sight of evil will not empower her to combat it while passively waiting for your return home. Additionally, psychological self defense. Please reconsider the loving thing to do and teach her as she teaches you to carry on the mission alone if necessary. In a word Trinity.
      Competing brands of parents: negative competition or hierarchy that habituates itself in supremacy/ self worship yields a failure to thrive. Equality has always existed in families, but why secretly? Why are girls/ women raised as veal? :think:

    • Ramona Cook

      Didn’t I do this once before? I was nice but the comments are not here. O. K. I’ll go for it again.

      To make it brief, in our society there are males and females. In marriage, it is all about male and female and the males have the most responsibility, if they take it, and the most authority, and they mostly do take that.

      In the Church, there is no male and female, there is not even Jew or Greek, nor bond nor free, we are all one and without gender designation.

      I am not married and I am not under the authority of all men just because they have the physical characteristics of the male of the human species.

      If my boss at work is a male, I am under that authority. If my boss is female, I am under that authority. At church if the Pastor is either male or female I am under the authority of the Pastor not the sexual identification of the Pastor. Whatever gender they may be has not one thing to do with our relationship. It is the position held, not the physical stuff.

    • David C.

      Judging from the comments, this argument seems to be controversial. It may be better left alone. I agree with you about what Paul teaches, and that it should be considered normative. Perhaps we better just make the rationale obedience to the Word of God, nothing more. Sometimes God’s commands cannot be rationally understood. God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son is the most famously shocking example of this in the Bible. There is not always an answer to our very natural question, “Why?”

    • vicky

      This post breaks my heart, I came across it while doing research for a class.

      If we believe in a God of grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation I would hope that we would partner with God as He resurrects ALL of creation.

      Grace and peace to you.

    • TL

      “God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son is the most famously shocking example of this in the Bible. There is not always an answer to our very natural question, “Why?””

      But God did not allow Abraham to go through with sacrificing his son. Instead God provided a sacrifice.

      AND what Paul was advising Timothy regarding, PAUL was advising, not God. As has probably already been said, Paul was not making a new universal rule, Paul was dealing with a current situation. If such a situation were to arise today in a church it would be reasonable to follow Paul’s advice to Timothy and not allow the woman in question to teach, but to allow her to learn.

    • edavis

      “13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. ”

      Why are these verses missing from the argument of so many? Many say Paul’s argument was based on the culture of his time. If that is the case, why does he make reference to Adam and Eve. If we are going to use the “C” word, then let’s look at the culture during Adam and Eve’s life in the garden. Would you say it was perfect? I think so. Paul is arguing -if you want to call it that – from scripture. How many of us have been commissioned by the Lord to speak like Paul? The Lord already knew there would be discussions like the ones on this blog, so He went on to explain thru Paul the reason for women not being allowed to teach or excercise authority over a man. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the woman being inferior to the man! Please put that argument to rest! True it is as scripture says “in Christ there is neither male nor female”, but that is because our new birth is spiritual, not natural, but that does not dismiss that fact that we are natural as well. God’s order as in the beginning is the same. We still function in the Church as male and female, otherwise there would not be a reference to men and women. Satan deceived Eve – not Adam. Something about Satan’s presentation of the forbidden fruit convinced Eve – sorry but that’s what happened. Woman do not lack Intelligence, Wisdom, Love,Concern, Rationale,or Persuasiveness. Of them all her power to persuade is her most effective quality. Her very presence enables her (along with these other qualities) to convince a man to act without thinking . More often than a man, she acts out of her heart and soul – which are not always reliable and Satan knows this. What better position than that of authority in the Church would Satan love to see her placed. This is in direct contradiction to God’s original order. No surprise, Satan has always opposed God wanted the high seat of authority! Many of you will not agree, but this is how I understand it from my study of scripture and life experience.

    • TL

      “Of them all her power to persuade is her most effective quality. Her very presence enables her (along with these other qualities) to convince a man to act without thinking . More often than a man, she acts out of her heart and soul – which are not always reliable and Satan knows this. What better position than that of authority in the Church would Satan love to see her placed. “

      I’m sorry, but cleverly saying that all women are seductresses for evil, doesn’t do anyone any good. And it is not truth.

    • edavis

      I knew some would misinterpret what I said, and that you did. I never said nor was I implying that “all women are seductresses for evil”. Men and women are different in so many ways – thank God! Adam experienced something that no other man will ever experience – what’s it’s like to be the only human. God saw that and said He would make a helper suitable for him. You know the story I’m sure and you know that it was not the animals that best suited Adam, it was this incredible creature (I mean creature in a good sense because women are incredible) whom God presented to the man that was best suited for him. We cannot imagine what it is like to see a human being for the first time. But it was not just another human being but one who appeared to be like himself yet different in a number of distinct ways which did not become apparent until after spending time getting to know her. Adam was fascinated with Eve. Eve must have likewise upon seeing Adam been very pleased. I think Eve really thought she was doing good by sharing what she experienced (tasting that fruit) with her husband – what wife wouldn’t. She was in fact deceived and didn’t know it – that’s why it’s called deception! Adam was not deceived, Eve gave him the fruit and he ate it – just like that.
      There are many examples in scripture where women persuaded powerful men to do what was right and pleasing in the eyes of God, but there are many also where the opposite is true. It was God’s idea to make man first – not Adam’s. It was God’s idea to make woman – not Adam’s. Authority originated with God – not Adam. The delegation of that authority was pronounced by God – not Adam. Eve knew her postion as a woman. She was there to help her husband – not lead him. Adam was following God’s lead. There is absolutely nothing in scripture (Old or New Testament) that convinces me that this order has changed, and that goes for the Church as well. While we submit to the spiritual laws of Christ, let us not forget we are yet subject to the natural laws, both of which were created and ordained by Christ. Considering the culture we live in today, it no surprise to me that many women feel (not know from scripture) they can be in a position like that of pastor or elder. What is a little surprising is the number of men who increasingly feel the same way. The qualifications of a Bishop or pastor are so defined in scripture that it honestly perplexes me how so many in the body of Christ cannot accept it. I don’t know of any other way to look at it. I hope this clarifies my position some.

    • TL

      1. There is nothing in the Genesis account about authority or leadership amongst humans. Both the man and the woman were given leadership over the creation.
      2. Eve gave Adam, who was with her, the fruit. She did not convince him to take it. He took it of his own accord.
      3. The ‘help’ that the woman was to give the man was clearly defined. The woman was to help the man in his aloneness. It was not good for the man to be alone. The creation of the woman as a partner took care of his aloneness.
      4. It is not at all surprising that many men and women accept God’s choice of women in various areas of leadership. God has chosen women in leadership throughout history. Though not as many women as men are used in leadership, they are called and equipped by God. If God can use a woman in the highest callings of Prophet and Judge, God can certainly use a women in the lessor positions of elder, pastor and teacher.
      5. The position of overseer in 1 Tim. 3, is a commendable work for anyone who desires it. There is no true limitation on gender, but rather the idiom ‘one woman man’ is a cultural statement of faithfulness in marriage that should be applied to both men and women, as is done in 1 tim. 3:2 & 12.

    • edavis

      Your issue is with authority of one human over another. I do not know to what depth you have issues in this area, but authority is good and necessary, was ordained by God, and does not make one person better, or wiser than another. I know authority is abused by many, but imagine the police not having the authority to apprehend a serial killer, or rapist or stopping a drunk driver! Most people are not as obedient and cooperative as you probably are.

      In response to your 5 points:
      1. As the old saying goes “anything with 2 heads is a freak”. Adam and Eve could not both be the head. Scripture even says that the “husband is the head of his wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church”.
      2.While I see nothing in the text that says Eve convinced Adam, it is worth noting I think that Satan deceived Eve and not Adam. How did she get Adam to do what Satan could not do? From the text it appears to me that the serpent was there with Eve when she gave Adam the fruit – interesting. One’s mind could easily wonder at this point ….
      3.If the only thing Eve provided for Adam was companionship to satify his “aloneness” why didn’t God just make another man? I rather believe Eve’s purpose was more than companionship, it was about intimacy between these two. And not just intimacy, but the deepest type of intimacy (namely marriage) which is only a man and woman can really know. I could say more about this but I don’t have time right now.
      4.I know you are referring to Deborah the judge, but even she tried to defer the honor to her male here subordinate. And I would not call the office of pastor/teacher a lesser position either. The pator/teacher is a prohet when he is declaring the Word of God, as he must lead the way in judging along with others those in the congregation who would try to hurt the flock. I do not consider it a lesser postion at all.
      5.While anyone may desire the office of overseer/pastor, that does not mean they qualify. All men do not even qualify the position. Some who were once qualified are now no longer qualified. I see you are using the “c” word again. One things seems apparent to me is that the current culture has been very effective in shaping and reshaping the minds of many Christians, and it appears you have been affected it as well. We do not reshape the word of God fit our culture, we reshape our culture fit the word of God. Great dialouge!

    • Victorious

      “I know authority is abused by many, but imagine the police not having the authority to apprehend a serial killer, or rapist or stopping a drunk driver!”

      God did establish entities for the matters of civil justice for the well being and protection of citizens. These decide necessary and appropriate punishment according to the nature of the offense and the testimony of witnesses. Our judicial/jury system serves in a like manner.

      This is not true in relationships between believers. A study of the words “one another” reflects the intended interaction Christ admonishes between them. He set the example by washing the feet of His disciples. We are to humbly regard one another as more important. Phil. 2:3

    • TL

      Anyone wanting to limit all authority in the body of Christ and in the home to only males has an issue either with authority or with females. This concept is built upon huge misinformation gleaned from improper eisigesis of Scripture.

      Regarding your 5 points.
      1. Neither Adam or Eve were ‘the head’. They were a unified unit. God was ‘the head’ that created them both. Scripture says that the wife is to be toward her husband as Paul just admonished us all in verses 18-21. There is no verb in vs. 22. The verb is carried over with its context. She is to honor, support, and attach herself to her husband as he is kephale OF (not OVER). When something is said to be OF something, it is part of. Those statements are part of a larger metaphor that needs to be understood in context. The rest of the context is found in the admonition to the husband to honor his wife as his own body, giving her the same nurturing and devoted attention. So the full metaphor is that the wife is to treat her husband as if he were a vital part of her life just as the Lord is or should be in a believer’s life. And the husband is to do the same thing toward the wife. He is to treat his wife as if she were a vital part of his life. Note that Paul is not telling the wife to be a body to her husband, nor is he telling the husband to be a head to his wife.
      2. Eve did not ‘get’ Adam to do anything. What we see in the text is that Adam, who was with her, decided on his own to take the fruit and eat.
      3. God paraded animals by the twos in front of Adam to show him his need of an ‘other’. All the animals were male and female. The fullest companionship between humans happens between males and females, not same gender humans. The physical intimacy is the icing on the cake to be shared between covenanted pairs, not the ‘cake’ itself. Thinking otherwise reveals a deep seated disregard for the contributions of women.

    • TL

      4. A. Prophet and Judge Deborah sent for Barak on direction of God, in order to encourage Barak to fulfill the calling of God upon his life. She never deferred her calling as Prophet and Judge to Barak. That would have dishonored God who called her to serve her people.
      4. B. A pastor or a teacher called of God is a different calling than apostle or prophet or evangelist. All of them preach and teach. All of them have different spheres of giftedness and influence. Just as in the OT the Prophet of the nation and the Judge of the nation had the most influence and responsibility, so in the NT it is the apostle and prophet who have the most influence and responsibility. The pastor or the teacher do not have the same range of influence and responsibility. Again, if God can use women in the larger areas of responsibility, and He has, then there is no reason to assume that he won’t use them in the areas of lessor responsibility and influence.
      5. I certainly agree that not every man or woman has the proper qualifications to serve in a congregation as an overseer. . Those qualifications of godly character are clearly spelled out…. Blameless, faithful in marriage, temperate, sober minded, well behaved, hospitable, able to teach, not a drinker, not violent, not greedy for money, gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy, one who manages their own home well, having any children behaving respectfully, not a new believer. Also, they must have a good reputation among non-believers.

    • KR Wordgazer

      Edavis said:

      “We do not reshape the word of God fit our culture, we reshape our culture fit the word of God.”

      And yet every time we read the Bible as if it was written to us, yesterday, instead of taking into account how it woud have been understood by its original audience, we are, without meaning to, reshaping the word of God to fit our own cultural understandings. Specifically, when we fail to take into account that male authority over females was a given in the original culture, we can fail to see that Paul was not setting up some kind of “divine right” of males to have authority over females, any more than he was setting up a “divine right” of masters to own slaves. Instead, he was teaching a new way that Christians were to relate according to the New Creation. This is why he told husbands to imitate Christ in laying down their power and privilege in order to raise their wives up to be glorious. Only the husbands had any power to change husband-wife relations; wives were subordinate and powerless, so Paul told them only to “submit” as a voluntary act of free agents, rather than under coercion– while husbands were told, not to lead or rule their wives, but to love and serve them. To say that husbands and wives today must go back to the authority-subordination pattern of the first century, is to go in the opposite direction to the direction the Spirit, through Paul, wanted to move marriage.

      It is when we respect the Bible enough to try to understand what its original audience would have understood it to be saying, that we stop reshaping it (by accident) according to our own cultural understandings. It is then that we really have the power to reshape our own cultures according to the original, author-intended message– and we start moving in the same direction the Spirit was moving then and is moving still: towards more mutuality in service and humility, not towards more “divine right” of males to rule.

    • Pinklight

      “Satan deceived Eve – not Adam.”

      Yes, Adam was not decieved. Since he wasn’t deceived but rather disobeyed with eyes wide open, he therefore BECAME unlike God – God says that he became unlike Him right there in Genesis after he disobeyed.
      Eve though did not become unlike God because she didn’t rebel like Adam.
      Seems Adam was a true rebel and it wouldn’t make sense for Paul to use him as an example for other men to have authority. But Paul was speaking of a specific woman and man, rather than women and men in general, a woman who like Eve was deceived.

    • Verity3

      “It has nothing whatsoever to do with the woman being inferior to the man! Please put that argument to rest!”

      It is not that complementarianism actively promotes misogyny. In that area, it differentiates itself from traditional patriarchy by declaring that men and women are ontologically equal. The problem is that by inventing doctrine regarding gender “roles” and reading it back into the Bible, complementarianism inadvertently creates gender castes.

      It is not a problem of malice. It is a problem of doublethink. In the same way, many complementarian teachers explicitly instruct wives *not* to be doormats on the one hand, and then on the other hand provide further instructions that render a wife a doormat.

      Women can never satisfy the false teachers under this unbiblical system. If they successfully apply part of the teachings, they fail the rest. Complementarianism, I believe, was originally well-intended to counter the excesses of both patriarchy and liberalism. But it is just another human doctrine, and it is tearing the church — and women — apart.

    • edavis

      How is it that Adam “BECAME unlike God”, but not Eve, even though she was not only deceived, but gave the fruit to her husband? I am not trying to draw unnecessary attention to Eve’s transdression, but when you say one “BECAME unlike God” but the other didn’t and they both did the same thing, I have a problem with that – please clarify what you mean.

      KR Wordgazer,
      “And yet every time we read the Bible as if it was written to us, yesterday, instead of taking into account how it woud have been understood by its original audience”. The culture does change, but the human heart does not. The writers of scripture are speaking to us by inspiraation of the Holy Spirit. If “male authority over females was a given” as you say, how did it come about? Is it denounced in the NT writings? Does Jesus denouce it? What about the apostles? Did the apostles have authority in the church? I believe that if you read the scripture carfully, you will discover that what Jesus and the apostles are addressing is the abuse of authority – not authority in marriage and the church. You don’t abuse those you love. When Paul writes “wives sumit to your husbands in everything”- that’s not cultural. In fact it is out of obedience to the Lord that she does it. She is submtting to their husbands as if she is submitting to the Lord. A husband and wife walk yoked together, but how can 2 walk together if they are not in agreement – that’s hard to do, someone must give. The husband is to be the spiritual leader of his home. That’s a tall order to fill! We must submit 1st to Christ before we can love our wife to the point of giving up our life for her. We must love her more than we love our own bodies! A wise and loving husband will listen to his wife, especially if she is wiser than he in a matter. If they cannot come to an agreement over a matter, she should submit to her husband without disrespecting him, and likewise he must not disrespect his wife. Except in 1Cor 7 where the husband is told that his “body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife “, I see no other command in scripture that supports the idea of mutual submission between a husband and wife. Many will use Eph 5:21 but that verse occurs prior to the command to the wife and I think is for the Church body, not husband-wife.
      I have no problem with authority at all, and I have no problem with females. If you read my comments, it would be apparent. I’ve been married to the same incredible woman now for 28 years. I do have problem with abuse of authority. I also have a problem with this new thinking going around in a effort to redefine the church and family structure, because that’s exactly how I see it.

    • Victorious

      “Many will use Eph 5:21 but that verse occurs prior to the command to the wife and I think is for the Church body, not husband-wife.”

      Isn’t the “Church body” comprised of husbands and wives?

    • pinklight

      “How is it that Adam “BECAME unlike God”, but not Eve,”
      In Gen 3:22-24 the Hebrew grammer is singular and with definate article, saying that only “the” human became unlike God and was kicked out of the garden. The Hebrew grammar doesn’t say that Eve became unlike God, but rather only “the human”.
      Eve wasn’t kicked out of the garden, and neither did she become unlike God as Adam had due to his rebellious sin nature. Eve did not have a rebellious sin nature because she did NOT SIN out of rebellion like Adam. Rather she was deceived.
      If you look at Gen 3:22-24 you’ll notice that the only one kicked out of the garden was the one who was taken from the ground – which could only be Adam, and he was sent out of the garden to work the ground from which he was taken. Eve though was taken from the man not the ground. Also in those same verses you’ll notice that only Adam is a threat to reach out and also take from the tree of life and live forever in his fallen state. And why was only he the threat to disobey again? BECAUSE he was the REBEL with a rebellious sin nature. Adam acted out of treachery – Hosea 6:7 Adam was one serious bad boy!! The rebellious one literally had to be “Driven” out of the garden, for crying out loud – he had to be forced out by God!
      “How is it that Adam “BECAME unlike God”, but not Eve, even though she was not only deceived, but gave the fruit to her husband?”
      There’s a big, big difference between how each sinned. What does the actions of a deceived woman have to do with being unlike God? Eve giving the fruit to Adam didn’t make her a rebel. We are talking about a deceived woman’s actions here, one who was lost, not rebelling. How is it that she became unlike God just like Adam, without a shred of biblical evidence or proof within the hebrew grammar? Don’t think it would be right to add to what the Hebrew does say.
      “I am not trying to draw unnecessary attention to Eve’s transdression, but when you say one “BECAME unlike God” but the other didn’t and they both did the same thing, I have a problem with that – please clarify what you mean.”
      I understand. Yes, they both did the same thing which was eat from the tree, but they did NOT do the same thing for the same reasons. Internaly, Adam was a rebel, that is what made him become unlike God. A deceived Eve gave an non-deceived Adam, fruit. And since he wasn’t deceived he knew that she was deceived because there she was giving him some of the fruit, yet he still ate.
      I hope I’ve clarified myself some.

    • pinklight

      “Isn’t the “Church body” comprised of husbands and wives?”

      The church body certainly CANNOT exclude husbands and wives. Ridiculous notion that it could.

    • pinklight

      Let me sum up the points to my lengthy comment:
      1) Only Adam became unlike God, not Eve as seen within the Hebrew grammer.
      2) Only the one taken from the ground, Adam was kicked out of the garden, not Eve.
      3) Following eating from the TOKOGAE only the rebel was a threat to the tree of life.
      4) The rebel had to be forced or driven out of the garden by God.

    • pinklight

      After looking at Gen 3:22-24, the hebrew grammar and the context which supports the singular throughout how could it ever be rationalized that Paul is using Adam in 1 Tim 2, as an example for other men to have authority? That’s my question.

    • KR Wordgazer

      edavis said:

      If “male authority over females was a given” as you say, how did it come about?

      It came about because the male domination of the female which began at the Fall, became male-dominated societies. When God said “he shall rule over you,” He wasn’t giving a command to the man; He was speaking to the woman and warning her about what sin was going to do in her relationship with the man. That sin then became part of the way men have treated women ever since. By Paul’s day, households consisting of wife, children and slaves were ruled by the “pater familias,” the ruling patriarch of each household. That’s where it came from: institutionalized sin.

      Is it denounced in the NT writings? Does Jesus denouce it? What about the apostles?

      Absolutely. “The rulers of the Gentiles exercise authority over them, but it is not to be so with you. The greatest among you must become the servant.” (notice: not “servant-leader,” but “servant.”) The “rulers of the Gentiles” included the pater familias of each home. Jesus spoke directly against this when He said, “Call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father who is in heaven.” Further, He said, “if anyone would enter the kingdom of heaven, he must become like a little child.” Children had no authority or status in that culture. Jesus is saying all are to lay down their authority in the kingdom.

      Paul supports this by calling his fellow Christians not “my children,” as one in authority would have, but “brothers and sisters.” In the kingdom, the authority lies in Jesus and in His word. Jesus said all authority had been given to Him. It is in His authority, and not their own, that the apostles led. When Paul told Titus to “teach with all authority,” he used a word that meant not one’s own authority, but that of Another.

      Paul also said that in Christ “there is not male and female. . . for you have all received adoption of sons.” “Adoption of sons” was a specific legal term referring to the adoption of a person to the full status of a freeborn male Roman citizen. And all Christians, male and female, slave and free, Jew and Greek, have this same status, rights and privileges. There are no poor cousins in God’s household, and no human “pater familias.” There are only “sons,” male and female, all brothers and sisters (which denoted equality as understood at that time).

      The kingdom is simply not about people getting authority over one another based on the flesh (their male or female physical equipment). Any reading of the Scriptures that contradicts the nature of the New Creation Kingdom, must be an incorrect reading.

      Finally, though the human heart does not change, human understanding certainly does. Among the things the inspired writers wrote were words like, “Paul, to all who are in Rome.” Clearly, the writings were not meant to be understood a-historically. We can’t understand what it means to us, until we know what it meant to them.

    • Victorious

      James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.

      James 2:9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

    • edavis

      For those of you who argue (it seems) against authority in the home or church, tell whether or not you believe in leadership. If you do (I pray) then you undersand there has to be some one (not ones) to lead. Others may assist, but only one can lead ultimately. The one who leads is ultimately responsible for the direction he takes those who are following, even if he is taking the advice of others. He must be viewed as one with authority, otherwise he has no right to lead. The pastor along with his associates have the duty and authority to watch over the flock and protect it from false teachers, just as a husband has the duty and authority to watch over and protect his family from those who harm them. Leadership has and always will be primarily the responsibilty of the man. If many men think like some of the comments on this blog, this explains why the Church and home are so weak today! Men are leaders and there is no reason to be apologetic about it – I certainly am not! Christ was called the second Adam – not the second Eve. Women use to take pride in men being the leader, but now that is changing significantly as many believe that they can do as a good a job if not better than the man. In some instances that is probably true and only proves to me that a woman is not inferior to a man, but the position of leadership over men is not God’s ideal order. If men will be men according to Christ’s example in the Church and in the home, I think women will then be women. To those who argue “in Christ there is neither male nor female” I say AMEN, but in the Church (His body of followers here on this Earth in the flesh) there is indeed male and female. Positionally we are indeed seated with Christ in heaven, but naturally we are seated in the pew at the right and left hand of our brother and sisters – who are male and female. There is spiritual law and natural law, and Christ is the author of them both. Both are important and neither nullifies the others. We have a seat reserved in heaven while we live here on this Earth. Men’s roles have not changed since Christ came, He has shown us how it is really supposed to be done by commanding us to love our wives to the death! Women’s role has not changed except that they have more freedom in Christ , and we do see more mention of prophetesses and women missionaries in the NT. Why don’t older women teach the younger women like the scripture says – that’s a full time calling? If we all do what we are instructed to do in the Church, we won’t have time to be trying to do what someone else has been instructed to do.

    • Don Johnson


      You should take off your blue (masculinist) lenses so you could see more clearly.

      A church congregation is led by a plurality of elders in the NT.

      A family has co-leaders of the husband and wife.

      Jesus is the model for every believer, male and female.

    • TL

      Don is correct eadavis. Leadership in the home is to be husband and wife: mother and father. Children need to be supervised and led. Wives are not children or even similar to children. In the congregations, leadership is to be the plurality of the five fold ministries and appointed elders and deacons. Pastors and teachers should be working side by side. Both teach and both lead with similar goals, to bring all believers into the maturity of Jesus Christ. It really isn’t about authority although they do carry authority as the anointed and called of God. The authority they carry is the anointing, the continual anointing of the Holy Spirit. What is done from the mind and direction of the human mind holds no authority in the economy of God. It is what is done by the unction and direction of the Holy Spirit that holds spiritual authority.

      ”He has shown us how it is really supposed to be done by commanding us to love our wives to the death!”

      Interesting statement but I believe it is shortsighted. Husbands are to love their wives in such a manner as to promote life. This is the way that we all love our bodies. It’s not just about being willing to die. That choice doesn’t happen often. But the choices to choose to do things that promote life for our spouses, that happens daily, all day.

    • edavis

      Don J and TL,
      For once I agree with you both. I wrote those comments in a hurry, and I should have waited until I had more time to think through what I was trying to say. I agree with you both that the Church is lead by a plurality, and the home as well. I was not trying to exclude the other elders, deacons, etc, or the wife. I was trying to make a point about leadership, but I realize I was not clear – please forgive me. I will somewhat take issue with you TL about your statement “Husbands are to love their wives in such a manner as to promote life”. When I love my wife to the death, I am promoting life – hers over mine. I think the apostle Paul would be considered masculinist, because he made much stronger statements than I did. Truth is, neither Paul nor I think men are superior to women. If you go back and read all of my comments, you will not find any evidence of me stating or even alluding to the idea that men are superiior to women. Now if you try to read something into what i said, then you can make what I said mean whatever you want. I do not believe in my heart that women are inferior to men – they are just different by design and thank God for it! We do not lose our masculinity nor do women lose their femininity when we become Christians. There is no debate about whether men should be pastors/elders in the church. There is much debate (as in this blog) about women’s role as pastor/elder in the church and it is a non-essential to the Christian faith. What is interesting to me is scripture gives clear instruction to women regarding teaching, prayer, the home, and yet women want to be pastors and elders – I guess the other issues are not as important or appealing. How the Church suffers when we do not abide in our calling! I know I’ll get in trouble no matter what I say, so I may as well say it! Thanks for bringing this to my attention – I really mean it.


    • Don Johnson

      Paul was no masculinist, he was egalitarian, but some ever since can read him and misunderstand him. He wrote some of the most egal things of the time, far beyond others.

      The reason women complain about comp doctrine is the same reason slaves complained about slave doctrine when the SBC was formed. It is no fun to be put in a permanent position of being under another sinner and that is what comp doctrine claims is true for women, just like slave holders claimed it was true for slaves.

    • KR Wordgazer

      I keep asking myself this question: why do complementarians have to keep insisting that they do not believe men are superior and women are inferior? Is it not because everything they practice contradicts this idea? Men are not superior– but they are leaders and in authority by divine right. Women are not inferior– but they are to be subordinate to men without exception and without escape. Where is the equality, then? In name only.

      Did Paul really mean that in Christ there is not male and female, but in the church male authority and female subordination is to be carefully observed? So does that mean the church is in Christ? Or not? Does being in Christ only happen when we get to heaven?

      And if this idea applies to male and female, does it not also apply to Jew and Greek and to slave and free? Paul mentions them all in the same passage. Was Paul saying, “In Christ there are no racial distinctions, but in the church we’d better make sure the races stay properly separated”? Was Paul saying, “In Christ there is neither slave nor free, but in the church we’d better keep class distinctions intact and make sure everyone knows their proper place”? If this is what Paul really meant, then why did he rebuke Peter for not eating with the Gentiles? Peter was only observing the distinctions he had learned, in a gathering of the church.

      But if this is not what Paul meant, then how could he have meant the opposite when it comes to race and economic status, from what he meant when it comes to gender? No racial distinctions in the church, and no economic distinctions either– but we must keep the gender distinctions as long as we live on earth!

      Does that make any sense?

    • Steve Grove

      Wow – over 1300 comments. I have to agree with most of the ones I read on the first page – you struck out on this one for at least 2 reasons: You missed the historical context entirely (using a 21st century instead, which is offensive to my wife on so many levels and wouldn’t be caught dead as a Disney princess), and the ability of Paul to use creation as an illustration rather than a doctrinal argument.

    • Scott O

      Coming in late to this discussion as I am, I only wish to offer a perspective on the Timothean passage I gleaned from Gordon Fee (I think; I am away from my library and operating on my sometimes defective memory). Fee asserts Paul’s admonition to Timothy was situational for the problems in the Ephesian church to which Timothy had been sent as a leader. If that is the case, then the admonition is not of a complementarian v. egalitarian issue but one of contextual considerations for a specific situation. I realize Fee is Arminian and egalitarian in his immediate theology, and some might say that colors his interpretation. In rejoinder I would point to Fee’s reputation for careful handling of his exegesis, even when it puts him, as it has, in direct conflict with the Assemblies of God, of which he is an ordained minister (he has written about his issues with some of the A/G’s teachings on glossolalia). There is so much noise made in evangelical circles these days about context and contextual interpretation; if Paul’s caution to Timothy is indeed seen as specific to the situation in Ephesus (just as his advice to take no longer water but a little wine is situationally specific to Timothy) then much of this debate loses its immediate impetus.

    • DeWayne

      I believe Paul dealing with a specific situation within one church concerned women members quite apparently out of proper spirit concerning need, for this reason chastized, however as purpose not a condemnation of (all) women in the ministry of Christ.

      Perhaps a direction already established is found in the Old Testament were prophitess describing women include: Rachel (Gen. 30:24), Hannah (1 Sam. 2:1-10), Abigail (1 Samuel 25:29-31), Elisabeth (Luke 1:41-45), and Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:46-55).

      Within the New Testament and the Way of believers was also mentioned Priscilla and Aquila (3-times mentioning Priscilla first and 4th-time Aquilla), giving strong impression the spiritual leader in Pauls understanding was Priscilla.

      Much like mysteries mentioned in the bible, these do not go unanswered, instead all are fulfilled in time. Perhaps it is as having heard worry by church leader’s before, of fear that a woman might displace the works of a man. Other than this I doubt women were to be excluded from the ministry of the Lord concerning all gifts available, and in this doubt that the Lord excludes women from any of the administrive or service gifts within the church.

    • Jeff Ayers

      Comment 1,390 – but who is counting?

      The Bible (Paul) is clear that the REASON that women are not to teach men is NOT cultural, NOT their ability to handle conflict but AUTHORITY!!!

      FOR (because of, as a result of, assigning a reason) 1 Timothy 2:13-14 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

      Why is a woman to 1. To learn in silence and all subjection 2. Not to teach a man 3. Not to usurp authority 4. but be in silence with all subjection

      FOR (Because)

      1. Adam was created first
      2. The woman being deceived and transgressed

      This aligns with what happened at the fall and as a result of the fall:

      Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall RULE OVER THEE.


      1 Corinthians 11:8-9 For the man is NOT of the woman; but the woman OF the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the WOMAN (was created) FOR THE MAN

      In the CHURCH there is not a single female leader (Bishop, Deacon, Apostle etc. ) in the entire NT!!!! 1 TIM 3 AND Tit 1 the bishop and deacon are to be the HUSBAND of one wife (how can any Bible believer miss it)

      In the body of Christ (i.e. being “in Christ”) there is neither male nor female —HUGE DIFFERENCE!!

      The corollary passage for 1 Tim 2 is equally unequivocal.
      1 Corinthians 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.

      Why must you kick against the pricks?

    • TL

      ”The Bible (Paul) is clear that the REASON that women are not to teach men is NOT cultural, NOT their ability to handle conflict but AUTHORITY!!!”

      Jeff Ayers, if the Bible were clear, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. As far as exercising authority over others, Jesus quite clearly said that is something that Christians are not to do. Life does not revolve around who has authority to direct others and who doesn’t. And women were not created to be directed and controlled by men for men’s pleasure.

      Matt. 20: 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

      There was a purpose for the man to be created first, but it was not to give him something special that was not to be given to the woman. It was to teach all humans that we need one another, that being alone is not good.

      18And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.

      ”In the CHURCH there is not a single female leader (Bishop, Deacon, Apostle etc. ) in the entire NT!!!! 1 TIM 3 AND Tit 1 the bishop and deacon are to be the HUSBAND of one wife (how can any Bible believer miss it)”

      Actually, there were a few. Lydia, Phoebe, Junia, Priscilla, Syntyche, Euodia and more.

      1 Tim. 3:1-2 1 This saying is reliable: if anyone has a goal to be a supervisor in the church, they want a good thing. 2 So the church’s supervisor must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. (Common English Bible)

      1 Tim. 3:1-2 was a list of character traits necessary for good leadership. There is nothing about being married or a man that guarantees the kind of character traits necessary for a godly leader.

      ”In the body of Christ (i.e. being “in Christ”) there is neither male nor female —HUGE DIFFERENCE!!”

      Being IN Christ is what we all are daily, every minute of the day. Every minute of every day, there should be no social preference given to some over others. IN Christ we are one body and we share life for common goals. We are to be spiritual people, all of us.

      1 Cor. 14:34-35 is difficult because if read alone, it violates Paul’s attitude about women in all the other letters and it violates 1 Cor. 11 just a few paragraphs before.

      Scripture needs to be read in context in order to be understood properly.

    • Don Johnson


      You need to read some egalitarian scholars that show you are making a big hash of the texts in question.

      In summary, the words sometimes translated as “husband of one wife” mean “faithful spouse” when translated in cultural context, as they were used for both husbands and wives.

      1 Cor 14 is Paul in v. 36 is repudiating the restrictions of the Pharisees found in v. 34-35 with the use of eta, the expletive of repudiation that he uses many times in 1 Cor as if he was speaking to them.

      If you are using a Bible that does not show these things, get a better translation!

    • Jeff Ayers

      Why is there a lack of anyone dealing with the text as Paul wrote it?

      He told you the reason women are to keep silence and not to teach and not to usurp authority over the man:

      NAMELY: The man was formed first and the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

      What the Bible is clear about is the reason (“FOR”) that women are to keep silence and not teach nor usurp authority. Paul gave it to you—NOT ME.

      You said “Actually, there were a few. Lydia, Phoebe, Junia, Priscilla, Syntyche, Euodia and more”

      What would be the motive for assuming that because a female is mentioned in the Bible that the mention of them would make them a BISHOP, PASTOR or A DEACON?

      BTW Eudoia and syntyche were rebuked by Paul for their spats…. maybe that does qualify them to be a deacon… but the Bible does not EVER state that a female ever held the position or office bishop, pastor, elder, deacon etc.

      Don: your argumentation is more of a theological wax nose that is shaped to whatever you want it to say (i.e. eisegesis)

    • Don Johnson

      As I suggested, get a better Bible translation.

      There is no office of elder or pastor, rather there are ministries that are gifts of the Spirit and recognized by a congregation. Junia was an apostle which means she was an elder. Phoebe was a deacon of a congregation.

      Open you eyes and repent of your masculinist bias! There is a wax nose involved and it is poor translations.

    • Colby E. Kinser

      “Apostle” means sent. “Elder” means shepherd. Being sent does not mean one is an elder or holds the office. Furthermore, “apostle” is used in two different ways in the NT – one for the rather exclusive office of those appointed by Christ and who had seen the resurrected Christ, and the more generic sense of those who have been sent.

      The “if you don’t agree with me you need a better translation” argument is moot, since we need to deal with the original languages and proper cultural understanding.

      The passages in question are picked at by both sides, but it boils down to this: Does the NT distinguish between genders for spiritual responsibilities? And the answer is clearly, “yes.” But note that by 1 Cor 11.3, “submission” by no means equates to “inferiority,” since Jesus submits to the Father, but is never inferior to the Father. Eve as “ezer” (helper, indispensable companion) is not inferior by this term, because God is our “ezer” in the Psalms. Egalitarians have a tough time concluding that submission is not a role of inferiority, and because of that, the reject the concept entirely.

      It’s a long path to establish this, but in short, I see man as covenant head has a very sacrificial role, whose headship has more to do with representing the covenant group’s interests (family) to the covenant partner (God) and representing the covenant partner’s interests to the covenant group and less to do with pure exercise of authority. The wife’s submission is not subjection to his person or presumed authority, but her commitment to his success as the covenant head in particular. This “submission” is a strong, independent, creative responsibility, but distinguishable by gender. Both partners submit the self to serve the same common purpose of successful covenant relationship between the family and God.

      This position is in contrast to both egalitarianism and authoritarianism, and it is distinguishable from classic complementarianism on the primary definition of “head” (“representative” vs. “authority”; cf. egalitarianism’s indefensible “source” definition).

      The relationships in the church, especially with the elders, emulates this family relationship – elders as covenant heads and the church as ezer, with both partners submitting the self to serve the same common purpose of a successful covenant relationship between the “family” and God.

      Developing and defending this position is literally a dissertation, but the nut of it is I see gender-specific responsibilities without authoritarianism or superior/inferior relationships.

      The exegetical gymnastics to strip the text of gender-specific responsibilities in the home and in the church are thin and speculative, inserting modern ideas into the text.

    • Jeff Ayers

      Junia is not female.. the text is not explicit…so to use this as argumentation in support of your “position” is spurious at best.

      Phoebe is a servant just like all of us are called to be servants.

      Romans 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

      we are all ministers 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament ; not of the letter , but of the spirit : for the letter killeth , but the spirit giveth life .

      but you appear to have taken that wax nose you keep reshaping to make the bible fit your opinions and have inserted the wax into your ears

    • Don Johnson

      The text on Junia is conclusive that Junia was an apostle, except for those that CHOOSE to deny this as being possible. They are the one flexing a wax nose in their desire to suppress women.

      Phoebe was a deacon at the congregation at Cencharae, near Corinth.

      It is only flawed translations that give those that would restrict women support. Get a better translation!

    • Don Johnson

      Read Eldon Epp’s book on Junia is you want to see the history of suppression of her as an apostle.

      You really need to improve your scholarship if you want to discuss this.

    • Don Johnson

      On submission, egals point out that submission is a attribute of every believer, per Eph 5:21. A wife’s submission to her husband is simply an example of that and we can KNOW that is the case, since Eph 5:22 has no verb in the Greek, so it inherits it from v. 21, so it MUST mean the same thing.

      The point is that male supremacists make a hash of the text in cultural context and should repent.

    • TL

      ““Apostle” means sent. “Elder” means shepherd. Being sent does not mean one is an elder or holds the office. Furthermore, “apostle” is used in two different ways in the NT – one for the rather exclusive office of those appointed by Christ and who had seen the resurrected Christ, and the more generic sense of those who have been sent.”

      Colby, your eisigesis would make Paul not an apostle but just someone “sent”. In which case, we really shouldn’t be reading any of Paul’s letters as authoritative.

    • Colby E. Kinser

      TL, not in the least. As the rest of my original paragraph noted, the word “apostle” is used in two different ways. In the sense of the office, one of the requirements was to have seen the risen Christ.

      The difference in the words is simple lexical work – they are not equivalent terms.

      Not all elders are apostles, clearly enough. Just being “sent” doesn’t make one an elder, either. One could, however, make a case that the exclusive office of Apostle would automatically infer eldership, but even that’s not necessitated by the text.

      There are even “false apostles” (2 Cor 11.13).

      What makes Paul authoritative as an inspired author is not that he was sent, but that he held the office of Apostle. Not all apostles (sent ones) were qualified inscripturators, wouldn’t you agree?

    • TL

      ”In the sense of the office, one of the requirements was to have seen the risen Christ. ……… What makes Paul authoritative as an inspired author is not that he was sent, but that he held the office of Apostle.”

      With your definition, Paul could not have held the ‘office’ of an apostle since he did not see the risen Lord. Christ only spoke to him. Acts 9:1-9

      In which case, we really shouldn’t be reading any of Paul’s letters as authoritative.

    • Colby E. Kinser

      1 Cor 9.1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

    • TL

      I agree with Paul. I do not agree with your definition of an apostle.

    • Colby E. Kinser

      Apart from the insinuation that I’m disagreeing with Paul, this definition of “apostle” is not mine to agree or disagree with. You can have that discussion with any number of respected systematic theologians.

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