Roles Women in the Church Can Take

What are the Roles that the Bible allows and commands for women to have in the church?

In 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, does it mean that women should not be pastors or leaders in a church? Or assume roles of teaching the Gospel? Let’s everybody turn to that passage. 1 Corinthians 14. is where I want to pick up reading. I want you to see something very interesting here. “If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or three, or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.” And listen to this: this is critical, verse 28, “But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church, and speak to himself and to God.” Now, here’s the first thing I want you to see. Women are not the only ones told to keep silent here. You have those that speak in tongues. If there is no interpreter, they are told the exact same thing. “Keep silent in church.” Ok, let me ask you this: Does Paul mean that if you have a gift of tongues, let’s say you’re a man, let’s say you’re a pastor in the church. Let’s say you’re not only a pastor, you’re a prophet. You have prophetic gifts, you have pastoral gifts, and you have tongue gifts. Which all of those were gifts that are identified in the Scriptures. Let’s say you had all of those. And you show up at church one day, and it happens that the guy with the gift of interpretation was sick that day. He’s not there. And God doesn’t supernaturally give it to somebody else. Does Paul mean that because there’s no interpreter there, and you are the guy that has tongues gifts, that you’re to be absolutely silent, can’t sing, can’t use your pastoral gifts, can’t use your prophetic gifts? Do you believe that’s what he means? He says, “keep silent in church.” Is that a blanket statement that you need to just shut your mouth the whole time? It has context. What’s the context? The context has to do specifically with speaking in tongues. When he says be silent, you look at the context and you realize, oh, he doesn’t mean totally. It’s not like, hey, why isn’t James talking today? Well, he’s been silent in church because he has the gift of tongues and the interpreter’s not here today. No, you’re all laughing – that’s ridiculous. Well, let’s move forward now, Verse 29, let two or three prophets, now notice, Paul’s shifted from speaking about tongues and interpretation, now he’s moving to prophecy. Verse 29, “let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.” Now notice this: he’s not only speaking about prophecy, he’s speaking about weighing those prophecies. Biblically examining the prophecies. “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.” Now notice what’s happening: they’re weighing prophecies, the prophets are being subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace as in all the churches of the saints.” Now, look: when he says the women should keep silent, it’s in the immediate context of weighing the prophecies, and the prophets being subject to the prophets. In other words, if the women have some question about the prophecy, they are not to be in a place where they are putting the men in check. They are not in a place where they are to be weighing these out and to be taking an authoritative role in that. Now look: all you have to do is turn back to 1 Corinthians 11, go back there. And verse 5, do you see what’s said there? “Every wife who prays or prophesies…” Guess what? Paul is allowing women to pray and prophesy. They can even prophesy. What they can’t do and where they need to keep their mouths shut concerning, is when a prophecy comes up for examination, they’re not to be in that position. Just like 1 Timothy 2 says, a woman is not to be in the place of teaching or exerting authority over men. Now that’s key. And as Michelle in this question asks, “does this have to do with women being in pastoral roles or leaders in the church?” Absolutely. They’re forbidden from that. “We find in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, ‘let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man. Rather she is to remain quiet.'” And the whole thing is, Can women have prophetic gifts? Yes. Can they have gifts of discernment? Yes. Can they have gifts that lend themselves to leadership? Yes. Can they have speaking gifts? Yes. But women in the Scriptures are told that there are certain roles that are suitable only for men. The pastor. The elder. The overseer role, is one role that is exclusively for men. That doesn’t mean that some of the gifts that men in that position have, that women can’t also have those gifts. They just have to use them in the context and in the roles that God allows for women. Men must use their gifts in the context and in the roles that God has designated for men; women use those gifts in the context of roles that God has designated for women. Everybody follow that?