The Role of Women in the Bible
Last week, we were PREACHING THE GOSPEL AT THE PARK in downtown, Spokane …
… and I saw a group of young men & women singing what sounded like Jesus songs …
… so I went to investigate.
And we end up getting into a debate about ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED, because …
As it turns out they were a group of Pentecostals with NO ASSURANCE OF SALVATION.
And so I get out my King James Bible & we start debating … and as Bible verses are flying back & forth …
Another man seeing the commotion comes up & joins the debate.
& he seemed to have a working knowledge of the Scriptures, and held himself with an air of authority, so I ask him if he’s the PASTOR of the group.
& the Pentecostals standing next to him answer, “No, no, he’s not the pastor! He’s the PASTOR’S HUSBAND!”
& I’m thinking, “THE PASTOR’S HUSBAND? Is this guy GAY or something?
Because you never know today, with today’s apostate churches.
But as it turns out their pastor was a WOMAN.
& I was debating THE PASTOR’S HUSBAND.
& this is increasingly becoming accepted by some of today’s churches.
For example, in 1977, a GALLUP POLL surveyed religious Americans as to whether they favored or opposed having women as pastors, priests, ministers, or rabbis.
42% said yes, they favored the idea.
Flashforward 23 years to the year 2000, GALLUPED re-asked the same question.
This time, 73% of Americans agreed w/ having women pastors and clergy.
So it jumped from 42% to 73%!
& that was in 2000, 16 years ago! How do you think that number looks today?
So I asked the PENTECOSTAL MEN standing around me: “DOES IT BOTHER YOU TO HAVE A WOMAN LEADING YOU?”
… not because women are not valuable … not because women are not intelligent or equal in the sight of God …
… but because the Bible clearly – & in numerous passages – speaks profoundly against women leading the church.
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.”
& I asked the PENTECOSTAL MEN: “How do you explain such a clear passage of Scripture?”
Because in my mind, there’s no way around it.
It’s a plain statement. It’s from the NT. It’s literal. & it’s coming from the mouth of Paul the apostle.
So to me, it’s just a clear-cut passage.
• Now, normally, the answer that people give is that this was SUBJECT TO THE CULTURE OF THE TIMES ….
• & That DIFFERENT cultural norms applied back then …
And what I say to people like that, is: “If our culture dictates Biblical truth, then we should also be OK with HOMOSEXUALITY & TRANSGENDERISM & FORNICATION …
… And just throw out every Bible verse that goes against our culture!
And sadly, that’s where modern apostate Christianity is headed.
But I was actually surprised by the PENTECOSTAL CHURCH’S PASTOR’S HUSBAND …
… because he had an entirely brand-new argument for me that I had never heard before …
He said that when it says, “Let YOUR women keep silence in the churches:” that Paul wasn’t speaking about ALL WOMEN …
He was speaking of YOUR WOMEN …
As in the women in the church … the laity … the “regular” women vs. the “leadership”.
… he said, “SHOW ME WHERE IT’S TALKING ABOUT ALL WOMEN”.
• I’m thinking, WHAT ELSE COULD IT MEAN?
I mean just TWIST the Bible to have it say what you want!
But the Biblical Role of Women goes all the way back to 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 of the consequences of The Fall is that the man is the HEAD of the woman, just as Christ is the head of the man.
It’s a part of God’s natural order.
1 Cor 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
So there is a hierarchy in place even within the Godhead …
You have the The Father, the Son, & The Holy Ghost (the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Person of the Godhead).
There’s an order there, even though they are all God and all co-equal.
1 Corinthians 15:27-28:
27 For he [speaking of God the Father] hath put all things under his feet [speaking of Jesus the Son]. But when he saith all things are put under him [Jesus], it is manifest that he [The Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
And so there is a natural order there. And, likewise, with mankind.
Even before the Fall, there was a natural order.
LOOK @ 1 Timothy 2:11-15:
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
But women have a very important role to play.
Pay attention to that last verse.
“Notwithstanding she shall be SAVED in childbearing”.
• What does that mean?
This isn’t referring to spiritual salvation here …
… otherwise every woman, simply by the merit of giving birth & becoming a mother would go to heaven, even if she didn’t believe in Jesus.
And that’s obviously not the case.
What this verse is saying is that women will be saved in this life through the blessings of motherhood.
As in she will have her reward & recompense by begetting & raising children.
What an opposite message we are getting from the world today!
The Bible teaches that women have a very important role to play.
WOMEN RAISE THE MEN that become the leaders of our churches & our families & our society.
And this is explained in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12, which says: “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God”.
Isn’t that a beautiful, beautiful verse?
Woman comes from man, because she was taken from man in the beginning, God took Adam’s rib and fashioned him a woman.
But now, man comes from the woman through childbearing.
One cannot exist with the other.
And so when we look at the ROLE OF WOMEN in the Bible,
… it’s important to understand that MEN ARE NOT MORE INTRINSICALLY VALUABLE THAN WOMEN!
We just have different roles to play.
So a good mother will raise her sons to be good leaders.
1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; [women ought to be good teachers, but who do they teach?]
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [so women are to be good teachers, but teachers of what? Teaching women to love their husbands and to love their children and to be sober-minded] …
[… when the Bible talks about being sober, it’s not only talking about the abuse of alcohol, which is sin, but about being SOBER-MINDED.
People get drunk on hate, on railing, on gossip, on living lasciviously, people become drunk on pride!
But the Bible says to be SOBER, speaking of the sobriety of the mind.]
In verse 5 To be discreet …
What does it mean to be discreet?
The first time discreet appears in the Bible, it’s associated with WISDOM in Genesis: 41:33: “Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.”
• TO BE DISCREET is to have discretion.
It speaks of being a little bit reserved, to hold back a little and proceed wisely, to be discerning or prudent.
It takes wisdom to have discretion. So women are to be wise.
Let’s keep reading:
5 To be discreet, chaste [this is speaking of marital purity], keepers at home …
[Women are to rule their homes & tend to the responsibilities of family life.]
Let’s continue …
… good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed …
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works [women are to have good works]: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness [and so not only good works, but correct doctrine. That means women must study their Bibles consistently & to be learned in the Scriptures …
… Set aside DAILY TIME to read your Bibles.
… in doctrine shewing uncorruptness gravity, sincerity,
VERSE 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
There’s instruction here for us men too … not to let vulgarities & filthy communication come out of your mouth.
Colossians 3:8 says: “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”
Why does the Bible want us to put away filthy language out of our mouths? This goes for both men & women.
Because not only does it corrupt good manners like 1 Corinthians 15:33 says: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
… but so as TITUS 2: 8 SAID to have: “Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
That means those who oppose us, who oppose our teaching and our doctrine will have no excuse to malign our characters.
Some people will disagree with my teaching, but my character must be above reproach as a man of God.
& that’s a testimony to the world.
1 Timothy 5:14: “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
In other words, give NO REASON for our enemies to speak negatively about us.
The Bible also teaches that women are created to be an helpmeet for their husbands.
We are to work as a team, w/ the men leading, and the women supporting, & working towards the same Godly endeavors.
Genesis 2:18: “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
So men are to lead, women are to follow.
Are there any exceptions to following the leading of your husband? Of course.
If your husband is leading your family down the path to destruction, then by all means speak up & convince your husband of the error of his ways.
But ultimately know, that unless he’s outright asking you to sin, that the final decision lay in his hands.
To men, I want to say, you have a storehouse of wisdom and practical knowledge in your wife …
Treat her as a pearl of great price & consider her Godly counsel.
But, again, ultimately, the final decision is yours.
Ephesians 5:21-25 says to submit yourselves one to one another:
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
We need to be in subjection to one another within God’s given order, with Christ as our Head.
1 Peter 3:1-7:
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
[This is saying that when a man is living contrary to God’s Word & being rebellious …
… the Godly conversation of His wife who has the WORD DWELLING RICHLY IN HER, will win over her disobedient husband to the truth of God’s Word].
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord [it says Sara called Abraham lord; that’s not like saying the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a title & salutation of honor & respect]: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
When we are in rebellion to this natural God-given order, even our prayers can be hindered!
18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Subjection to one another extends to all members of a family, to the praise & glory of God.
And you girls, you should seek to become Godly women, and young men, you should seek to obtain a Godly wife.
Let the Godly men & women of the Bible be your example in picking your husbands and your wives.
An example of a Godly wife is one who is modest.
& That’s the opposite of what we often see in today’s world.
Rebekah is an example of modesty in the Bible.
When Jacob’s servant came seeking a wife for Isaac, Genesis 24:65 says of Rebekah: “For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.”
Unlike today’s promiscuous women who expose themselves, Rebekah covered herself with a vail when a man approached.
But then Christians also often have this Puritan mind-set of Godliness that isn’t always Biblical.
And that can make Christians really uptight, especially among the more Conservative Baptists who are among our fellowship.
But we have examples of women singing & dancing before God in the Bible.
Miriam worshiped God with song and dance in Exodus 15:20-21:
20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
• And we see examples of WOMEN SINGING TO GOD as musicians in the temple of God.
1 Chronicles 25:5-6:
5 All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.
6 All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king’s order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.
Ezra 2:64-65 also numbers the return of God’s people after the Babylonian captivity:
64 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,
65 Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.
Nehemiah 7:67 also says: “Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.”
So the Bible endorses women singers during worship services, in the choir, standing up in front of the church to worship in the house of God.
But it should be done with modesty.
& a man should LEAD the worship, but women singers are Biblical.
Women were also present during the reading of the Law in the temple …
… but it was always men who read & preached the Word.
11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
Notice that men, and women, and CHILDREN were gathered together to hear God’s Word.
That’s why we have a family service & the children are always present with the parents.
That’s something that will NEVER change in this church.
We don’t do “children’s ministry” or “youth ministry”, which just attracts pedophiles.
We want the children with us, one congregation, one house of God, worshiping the Lord together as families.
Joshua 8:35 also says: “There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.”
• And we see the same pattern in the New Testament, as women prayed alongside men.
Speaking of the Apostles, Acts 1:14 says:
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
• We also see believers worshipping together at the house of the mother of one of the apostles.
Acts 12:12: “And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.”
So we see that believers were meeting in houses in the early church & women were offering their houses up to the church.
There are also the domestic roles of women in the Bible.
Genesis 18:6: “And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.”
Sarah is pictured preparing meals.
Proverbs 31:15 says of the PROVERBS WIFE: “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”
My wife must prepare close to a 1,000 meals a year!
The Bible also pictures women weaving garments with their hands.
When women of Israel were bringing an offering to build God’s house, Exodus 35:25 says:
“And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.”
The Bible associates being wise with spinning, embroidery, knitting, & sewing …
Sadly, today, this is a rare & lost art among women.
Women have traded in their wisdom & abandoned their families in order to go out into the workforce to be like men.
Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, made him a coat in 1 Samuel 2:19: “Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.”
The Bible says in Proverbs 31:
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Other women in the Bible did field work, planted gardens & were farmers.
RUTH gleaned earns of corn to provide for Naomi.
Rachel, Jacob’s wife, was a keeper of sheep: “And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them” (Genesis 29:9).
So we see that women were greatly industrious, but they were industrious for the families …
… doing work which they could do at home.
• The Bible has a lot to say about the characteristics of a Godly woman.
And by contrast, the Bible also has a lot to say about the characteristics of an ungodly woman.
• I mentioned briefly the Proverbial wife.
Proverbs 31:12 says: “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
So if a Godly woman will do her husband good and not evil all her life …
… you can infer that an unGodly woman will do her husband evil all the days of her life.
• And that’s a major theme in the BOOK OF PROVERBS.
Some of the verses in Proverbs regarding unGodly women are downright scathing! & they’re kind of comical too.
Proverbs 21:19: “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
Proverbs 21:9: “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”
Proverbs 27:15: “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”
Proverbs 19:13 also says: “A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”
Proverbs 12:4: “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”
Proverbs 14:1: “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”
Proverbs 11:22: “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.”
Ecclesiastes 7-26-28, also written by Solomon, says:
26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart [is] snares and nets, [and] her hands [as] bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, [counting] one by one, to find out the account:
28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
IN CONCLUSION, the Bible is full of good women & full of bad women.
When you study some of the bad women of the Bible … they were really some wicked women!
You have Delilah, who deceived & seduced Samson into giving away the secret of his Godly power.
The Bible says that Delilah pressed Samson “daily with her words, and urged him, [so] that his soul was vexed unto death;”
And she used his love for her against him & ultimately destroyed him by leading him to his capture & death.
There’s Potipher’s Wife who tried to seduce the Joseph and through her lies & deceit was the cause of Joseph’s imprisonment.
You have Salome, who used her body to seduce King Herod into giving her the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
You have the most wicked woman in the Bible, JEZEBEL.
The Bible says that Ahab was the most wicked king in all of Israel & Queen Jezebel was the woman behind the man.
1 Kings 21:25 says: “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.”
& There are many other sinful women in the Bible, like Lot’s daughters and even Lot’s wife who disobeyed God and was turned into a pillar of salt.
But we also have many great & enduring examples of Godly women in the Bible …
… like Deborah, who stood in the gap when no man was able.
You have Mary the Mother of Jesus who submitted herself to God’s will & became God’s chosen vessel to bear His only begotten Son.
You have Ruth who proved herself faithful to both God and to family.
You have HANNAH, who trusted God when she was barren and was rewarded with the prophet Samuel.
There’s also Esther, who through courage and faith, saved all her people from utter destruction.
There’s the redemptive story of Mary Magdalene, who was the first to see Jesus after His resurrection.
In the New Testament there’s Priscilla, a pillar of the early church who was an indispensable to Paul the apostle.
But there’s no passage in Scripture that exemplifies the Godly woman like Proverbs 31.
I’ve given you bits & pices of Proverbs 31 today; let’s close with a reading of Proverbs 31.
READ PROVERBS 31:10-31