Women and Word, Part V

Over the past 2 months, I have looked at the teachings of Jesus, and the teachings of Paul  in regards to the role of women in ministry.  We have seen thus far that Jesus had women disciples, Paul worked with women leaders, and that the most famous scriptures used to ban women from leadership and ministry are often misinterpreted, taken out of context, or mistranslated. (See parts 2-4 of this blog series).

Often, Christians will cite the Old testament (Hebrew scriptures) as a justification of prohibition of women in leadership.  This is fair ground, as all scripture is inspired by God (II Tim 3:16).  What is clear, is that there is not a single command in the Mosiac law or the entire Hebrew scriptures that forbids women from being in leadership or teaching.  In fact, to the contrary, God used women in leadership despite the deeply entrenched  cultural view in ancient Palestine that women were inferior or incapable of leading.

Judges 4:4-7

Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.'" NIV

A couple things to note:
1. Deborah "was leading" all of Israel and she was clearly a woman.
2. Deborah was also a wife.  Her husband led her family, but She led Israel.  Leadership and submission work together.
3. Deborah held court, which suggests that she had authority to make decisions that invovled men and women.
4. Deborah was a prophetess.  One of the functions of the prophet was to share the Word of God, and she did this with men and women.
I have heard people argue that Deborah was chosen only because there were no other men, but that is not the context.  Deborah was chosen by God at his good pleasure.
In conclusion, the Word of God understands the freedom of women to serve in leadership in His body.  Despite cultural assumptions and bias, we need to empower all of the people of God to serve as God has called and designed them to be.
May God bless you all,
Pastor M Traylor
Dr. M Traylor1 Comment