We believe there are a number of church members who fail to understand the principle taught by Paul in I Timothy 2:11, 12 and I Corinthians 14:34, 35. As a result some are unable to see the dangers involved in women either teaching the Bible or Bible related subjects and perhaps asking questions in some public situation other than the public assembly of the church.
Paul said, “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” I Timothy 2:11, 12. The word “teach” is from the Greek Didasko meaning, “. ..to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses;… I Tim 2:12.” (Thayer page 144)
Why is the woman placed under this prohibition? Look at verses 13 and 14: “For Adam was firmed formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” It appears, then, that the reason women are not be public teachers of the Word of God goes all the way back to Eden. She woman was led astray and then led her husband away also. She will not be allowed the position whereby she may do so again. Paul didn’t teach this because he disliked women. To charge him with such is foolishness. These are simply the facts and we must accept them as facts.
The Lord has, however, created a place for women to teach His word and all good things: The home. Paul said the woman is to “…guide the house…” (I Timothy 5:14). That is her realm and she is required to teach there. This is obviously how Timothy received his early training and knowledge as Paul indicated in 2 Timothy 1:5 where he gave the credit for Timothy’s faith to his mother and grandmother. (Timothy’s father was a Greek, Acts 16:1). But the woman is forbidden to teach as one might in a church service nor is she even allowed to ask questions if the situation be public. She must ask her question at home. So says Paul in I Corinthians 14:35.
The problem arises when brethren, failing to understand these principles, create a situation where the public is gathered together, called to order and Bible subjects or related topics are either being taught or discussed. They reason since this is not a church service per se, the women can teach or ask questions and no harm done. Paul would not allow women to each period in a public way, and they had to wait until they got home to ask their questions. It matters not whether it be in a camp setting or any other place. If it is public and in a public setting the woman must not be involved in teaching the Bible or asking questions of the one who is teaching while the setting is still in public. No amount of explaining can do away with the prohibition of the Apostle Paul.
A Christian woman has a tremendous responsibility at home. There, in that sacred setting, she will undoubtedly be the greatest influence for good her children will ever realize. No one can ever take her place there. She can literally mold those little ones into the way they will likely be for the rest of their lives. They will never forget her guidance. That is the Lord’s way of providing for the teaching of little ones. If the home fails, it is wrong for us to organize an unscriptural setting or place for women to teach children or anyone else. What is needed then is teaching about the home rather than supplanting the means God has provided. His way is always best.
Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. Where in the Scriptures are we furnished with any place for a woman to teach except in a private and informal manner? If it be a good work it must be furnished by scripture, where is it? Peter said, “According as his divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. 2 Peter 1:3. According to Peter we are given everything we need for eternal life and godliness by the divine power of God. If so, it is the scripture. It is in that which is written. Where are we given the plan to organize any thing or place for the Word of God to be taught except either in the church (public) or home (private).
Brethren, that not only excludes Sunday Schools and/or Bible classes, but everything else you care to trot out. If you want to go camping go ahead. If you want to go fishing, fine. But don’t try to create an atmosphere where women can teach and ask questions in a public situation. It‘s wrong and God’s principles which Paul taught in I Timothy 2:11, 12 and I Corinthians 14:34, 35 are trampled underfoot and no doubt about it.
Published in the September 1, 1997 issue of the OPA.