The sort of interpretation of Paul's statements about the role of women
in the church proposed below - basically, that Paul is citing the arguments of
others with whom he does not agree - has been made before. The Greek has no
quotation marks and it is sometimes hard to tell when one person is quoting
another. But the argument seems to me nevertheless rather contrived.
Not everything that Paul (or any other biblical writer) says should be
seen as a regulation valid for all times and places. Some are regulations for
the good order of the church in particular situations. This is, e.g., the way
virtually all churches understand the ststements of Paul in I Cor.11 about the
veiling of women at worship: Virtually no church today demands that women have
their head covered when they "pray or prophesy" in a public gathering of the
church. (Or, for that matter,
throw out men who have long hair!)
& that brings out an important feature of this passage that
ignored - that Paul is giving a rule about how women are to be
dressed when they
speak publically in the church! That in itself suggests that the statement in
chapter 14 that women are to "remain silent" is intended to apply only to
particular situations. Other wise Paul wouldn't give detailed arguments in
chapter 11 for the proper dress of women when they _do_ speak.
It also should be remembered that Paul isn't the whole of scripture.
Arguments that woman are not to teach men must ignore, among others, Deborah
(Jdg.4:4-10), Huldah (II Kg.22:14-20), Mary Magdalene (Jn.20:17-18) and the
daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9).
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
> Recently a question has been raised here concerning the science of genetics
> and homosexuality. Some have asked, "If God was opposed to homosexuality why
> would He have made some people with what appears to be a genetic
> predisposition to homosexuality?" That "science related" question has not
> interested me much. For it seems to me that we all have our own personal
> "genetic predisposition" toward one form or another of unhealthy behavior
> which God expects us to do our best to overcome.
> However, this "science related" question has encouraged me to ask another
> similar "science related" question. This one: Why did God give women brains
> which are just as capable of teaching the Bible to others as men's brains
> are, if He did not want women to teach the Bible?
> Several of the sciences now tell us something which most of us do not need
> any "science" to tell us. Women are just as smart as men and are just as
> capable as men of teaching any subject matter. Today in major universities
> all over the world female Professors instruct their students in extremely
> complex subject matters, ranging alphabetically from Archaeology to Zoology,
> and every subject in between including many which involve religion,
> spirituality and the Bible. And, as most of us know, women do just as good a
> job teaching all of these subject matters as men do. Yet on Sunday mornings
> these same highly qualified teachers are not allowed to lead a discussion of
> the Lord's prayer in most Christian Churches.
> Those who forbid them to do so say that it is God's will that women never
> teach in Church. In fact, some say that it is God's will that women never
> even speak in Church. They often point to some of the words written by the
> apostle Paul to support their position. But since their understanding of
> scripture seems to clearly conflict with how science tells us God created
> women, I believe we have good reason to believe that those who understand
> some of Paul's words in this way misunderstand them.
> My recent study of the scriptures has convinced me that the words written by
> the apostle Paul which are most often criticized as being "sexist" and
> "chauvinistic" did not actually reflect the apostle Paul's own beliefs about
> how women should be treated in the Christian Church. The words written by
> Paul which I was referring to are those recorded in 1 Cor. 11:3-10, 1Cor.
> 14:34,35 and in 1 Tim. 2:8-15.
> These words in the New International Version of the Bible read as follows:
> "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head
> of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or
> prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who
> prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as
> though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should
> have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair
> cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his
> head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of
> man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man
> created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the
> angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head." (1 Cor.
> "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak,
> but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about
> something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful
> for a woman to speak in the church." (1 Cor. 14:34,35)
> "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or
> disputing. I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,
> not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good
> deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn
> in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have
> authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then
> Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and
> became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing--if they
> continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." (1Tim. 2:8-15)
> Many Christians have long had a very hard time understanding how the apostle
> Paul could have written words such as these. Why? Because Paul encouraged
> Christians to, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (1
> Cor. 11:1) And the Bible reveals that Jesus always treated women with respect
> and gladly discussed spiritual things with them. ( Luke 10:36-42; John
> 4:7-27) And because Paul was the same man who said that, "There is neither
> Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ
> Jesus." (Gal. 3:28) And because we know that Paul accepted both women
> prophets and women deacons. (Acts 18:26; 21:9 Romans 16:1) And, we can't help
> but ask, how did Paul expect women to serve as prophets if he did not allow
> them to teach or even speak in church, as 1 Cor. 14:34 and 1 Tim. 2:12 would
> seem to indicate?
> With these things in mind, I will here discuss what I believe is strong
> evidence which clearly indicates that Paul was, in these passages, actually
> citing false teachings then being promoted by others for the purpose of
> correcting those false teachings.
> I believe that Paul's words in 1 Cor.11:3-10 described a teaching promoted by
> some in Corinth which the Corinthians sent to Paul for his critique. Paul's
> words in verse 2 serve as an obvious tip-off that Paul was about to directly
> quote and then comment upon a false teaching that was then circulating in the
> Church. For in that verse Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "I praise you for
> remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings just as I
> passed them on to you."
> I believe the next words he wrote, recorded in verses 3-10, were those in
> which Paul then quoted the false teaching which the Corinthians had sent to
> Paul for him to comment on. That teaching was this: "Now I want you to
> realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is
> man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with
> his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies
> with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as though her head
> were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut
> off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off,
> she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the
> image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not
> come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but
> woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to
> have a sign of authority on her head."
> The contents of the next several verses, 11-16, clearly show them to be
> Paul's rebuttal to the false teaching he had just referenced. For the words
> in these verses clearly rebut the arguments advanced in verses 3-10. Thus
> they can only be understood as being Paul's own explanation of the true
> Christian position on this issue, the position which Paul was really
> promoting. That position was this: "In the Lord, however, woman is not
> independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from
> man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Judge for
> yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?
> Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair it
> is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair it is her glory? For
> long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious
> about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God."
> After quoting those who demanded that women wear head coverings to show their
> submission to men Paul said, "Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman
> to pray to God with her head uncovered? ... LONG HAIR is given to her AS a
> covering." So, Paul was saying women do not need head coverings as some false
> teachers were demanding. Furthermore, Paul clearly pointed out that men and
> women were equal in the faith. "For as woman was made from man, so man is now
> born of woman. And all things are from God." (verse 12). This argument by
> Paul clearly refuted the false teachers' statement made in verses 3 and 8
> that, "The head of woman is man," because "man did not come from woman, but
> woman from man."
> I am convinced that the now common "male chauvinistic" understanding of
> Paul's words developed in large part due to the way in which Paul wrote.
> Paul's use of sharp contrasts in place of clear transitional phrases is
> largely responsible for causing some of what he wrote to be widely
> misunderstood. However, Paul's words would have been perfectly understandable
> by those to whom he originally addressed his letters. For they knew what Paul
> had previously taught on such matters. And they knew the teachings of others
> which they had asked Paul to comment on. However, when a third party, such as
> ourselves, reads the letters which Paul wrote they do not have such "inside"
> knowledge. And without it, it is sometimes difficult to recognize when
> exactly Paul was quoting false teachers and when he was actually setting
> forth true Christian teachings. Because of such difficulties in understanding
> Paul's letters many of the words Paul actually wrote for the purpose of
> refuting false doctrine later became widely used to promote false doctrine.
> And in the process Paul, God and the New Testament have acquired very
> undeserved reputations as being "anti-woman."
> I'll now comment on 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 35. Though I normally use the
> NIV, I'll use the KJV here because in this passage the NIV is missing an
> important element. (The Revised Standard Version and others may also be used
> here. For they contain the same important element.) There we read: "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.
> And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it
> is a shame for women to speak in the Church."
> Here again, like 1 Cor. 11:3-10, we can see that Paul was quoting the words
> of false teachers for the purpose of rebuking them. How can we see this? By
> simply reading the three following verses, 36-38. There Paul wrote: "What?
> Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only? If any man think
> himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things
> that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be
> ignorant, let him be ignorant."
> Paul identifies false teaching with either strong rebuke or by clearly
> pointing out the error and correcting it. Or by doing both. But he does so,
> as I mentioned earlier, while using minimal transitional phraseology. Here
> that transitional phraseology is extremely minimal. In fact, it consists of
> only a single word. But for Paul it only took one word to identify a false
> teaching. That word was one very strong word of rebuke. In case you missed
> it, that word was, "What?"
> Though missing from the NIV, this "particle of distinction between two
> connected terms," as Strong's Greek dictionary defines the Greek word used at
> the beginning of verse 36, is translated as "What?" in the KJV and the
> Amplified Bibles and as "What!" in other translations of the Bible. By Paul's
> use of that Greek word to begin his thoughts recorded in verse 36 it
> certainly appears that Paul was expressing both shock and outrage at the
> blatant sexism which some false teachers were then promoting as Christian
> doctrine. For those who question if that is truly the sentiment which Paul
> meant to convey by the first word he used in verse 36, the many words of
> rebuke which followed Paul's "What?" show beyond a doubt that he was
> disgusted that such chauvinistic teachings were being promoted in Christian
> congregations. And he reminded the Corinthians that, unlike the false
> teachers who were demeaning Christian women, "The things that I write unto
> you are the commandments of the Lord." (verse 37) One of the things to which
> he obviously here referred was his consistent teaching that in Christ, "There
> is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, MALE NOR FEMALE, for you are all
> one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:28)
> It is also worth noting that the content of this passage (1 Cor. 14:34,35)
> itself clearly indicates that the sentiments expressed therein could not have
> been those of Paul. For verse 34 says that women "are commanded to be under
> obedience as also saith the law." But, as I am sure you know, Paul was the
> apostle who continually preached Christian freedom and how Christians were
> not under either the Mosaic law or the pharisaic oral law, to which Paul must
> have here referred since the Mosaic law contains no such commands. Thus the
> idea that Paul would have used the authority of Jewish law to support his
> teachings seems, to put it mildly, most unlikely. So it seems quite clear,
> that when discussing here and elsewhere the idea that women should be treated
> differently than men within the Christian Church, Paul was citing the false
> teaching of some legalistic Jewish Christians. He was not presenting his own
> beliefs and teachings.
> This also raises an interesting question. How was the text in Paul's letters
> originally formatted? I do not believe the actual text of any of Paul's
> letters has been corrupted over the years, I do believe it is entirely
> possible that Paul may have formatted, italicized or bolded his original
> written words. (As I understand it, the Greek language in Paul's day did not
> use punctuation marks.) I believe he may well have done so in a way that made
> it perfectly clear to any who read his original letters, when exactly he was
> writing his own words and when he was quoting the false teachings of others.
> Imagine, for instance, if Paul had written:
> let your women keep silence in the churches
> for it is not permitted unto them to speak .......
> WHAT was it from YOU that the word of God first went forth or has it come
> to YOU ONLY
> Though the words have not changed, it is much harder now for us to miss what
> Paul was clearly saying to such false teachers. And I tend to believe Paul's
> original letters employed a similar means of making his meaning quite clear,
> a means which was lost, not in translation but in transcription.
> The evidence also indicates that 1 Timothy 2:8-15, like 1 Cor. 11:3-10 and
> 14:34 and 35, were words written by Paul quoting false teachers. In the last
> verse of 1 Timothy chapter 1 the apostle Paul was explaining to Timothy about
> Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom he "handed over to Satan to be taught not to
> blaspheme." Thus we have reason to believe that in the early part of 1
> Timothy chapter 2 Paul was actually refuting some of the teachings of these
> men. Then in verse 7 Paul pointed out forcefully that, "I am telling the
> truth, I am not lying - and am a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles."
> These words of his in verse 7 indicate that he was there contrasting his
> position as a teacher of truth with the false teachers he had just been
> discussing and whom he would now quote.
> With this in mind, Paul's words in 1 Tim. 2:8 through the end of Chapter 2
> can be seen to be a false teaching he was quoting for the purpose of exposing
> it as such. There Paul wrote, "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in
> prayer, without anger or disputing. I also want women to dress modestly, with
> decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive
> clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship
> God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a
> woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam
> was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the
> woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through
> childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."
> In the very next verse (1 Tim 3:1), in referring to what he was next to
> write, Paul wrote, "Here is the trustworthy saying." With these words, "Here
> is the trustworthy saying," Paul clearly indicated, as he did elsewhere when
> using that same phrase (1 Tim. 1:15; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:11), that he had
> previously been referring to either people or ways of thinking which were not
> As mentioned earlier, Paul's scant use of transitional phrases, clearly
> distinguishing his own teachings from the false teachings he sometimes cited
> for comment, is largely to blame for the problems we now have in
> understanding the passages we are here discussing. And Paul's use of such
> transitional phrases is certainly quite scant in this passage of scripture.
> Fortunately, however, we here have additional reason to understand that Paul
> must have here been citing the doctrine of false teachers. What reason is
> that? We know that Paul could not have here been presenting his own beliefs
> because he had already shown in 1 Cor. 11:12 that the argument, "Adam was
> formed first, then Eve," (1 Tim. 2:13) in no way proves that man is superior
> to woman. For, as Paul there pointed out, "As woman came from man, so also
> man is born of woman." So, why would Paul present an argument which he
> himself had previously shown to be flawed? ( 1 Timothy was written after 1
> Corinthians ) The evidence shows that he would not and that he did not.
> Thus we must conclude that 1 Timothy chapter 2:8-15 contain the false
> teachings of Hymenaeus and Alexander, and that Paul there quoted their
> teachings for the purpose of indicating to Timothy that he considered them to
> be neither "true" nor "trustworthy."
> Something which also helps us to identify the teachings recorded in 1 Tim.
> 2:8-15 as being those of false teachers is the fact that they are full of
> regulations and restrictions typical of legalistic Jewish-Christian sects
> which were already beginning to spring up in the first century. Such sects
> promoted a form of prayer, during which the men only raised their hands,
> common to the first century Jewish religion. They also promoted a dress code
> for women but not for men and in effect dictated a women's lifestyle,
> (leaving more money for the men or contributions for the leaders by
> eliminating expensive jewelry) all on the pretense that God was being served
> by such.
> As I read the words of 1 Tim. 2:11,12, "A woman should learn in quietness and
> full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a
> man; she must be silent," I remember the movie "Yentyl" with Barbra
> Streisand. Anyone who saw that film can appreciate the effect such doctrine
> had and has on women and why Paul would condemn those who promoted it.
> But why would Paul have quoted false teachers by writing, "I desire" and "I
> do not permit"? Isn't it reasonable for Bible readers to assume that with
> each use of the pronoun "I" Paul was speaking of himself, that these were
> things HE taught or felt proper? No, it is not. For the Greek from which
> Paul's words have been translated into English contains no such pronoun.
> Translators have merely inserted the pronoun "I" into this passage, either
> two or three times depending on the translation you are reading, in order to
> create proper English sentences. However, I believe that they should have
> inserted the pronoun "We" in those places instead of "I." For, as I have
> said, the context of Paul's words clearly shows that he was quoting the words
> of more than one false teacher ( Hymenaeus and Alexander ) which he had been
> asked to critique.
> These are the passages in the New Testament which are most often criticized
> for allegedly containing "sexist" thinking. Other passages which are
> sometimes attacked as being sexist are, I believe, very unfairly criticized.
> In such passages women are encouraged to be good wives and mothers and are
> instructed to willingly submit to their husbands at home and in their own
> personal lives. By doing so it is said Christian wives might be able to help
> win over their unbelieving husbands and be a good example of Christian
> humility to all. However, women are never told that they must submit
> themselves to men within the Church. Wives willingly submitting themselves to
> their husbands within their homes and women submitting themselves to men in
> general are two very different things. It should be remembered that Christian
> slaves were also encouraged to continue willingly submitting themselves to
> their masters. (Eph.6:5, 1 Pet.2:18) This did not mean that Paul and Peter
> considered slave masters to be superior to their slaves in any way. For
> within the Christian Church Paul said there was "Neither slave nor free."
> (Gal. 3:28)
> Paul's intent in instructing Christian wives to continue submitting
> themselves to their husbands and Christian slaves to continue submitting
> themselves to their masters was to cause Christians and Christianity to
> become well spoken of among the nations. Paul asked Christian wives and
> Christian slaves to willingly surrender outside of the Church what they were
> given inside of the Church, full equality with their husbands and their
> masters. He asked them to do so in order to help spread the good news of
> Jesus Christ who he and the other apostles reminded them also suffered
> unjustly for them. (See 1 Pet. 2:18-21)
> The scriptures reveal that in the early Church men usually took the lead in
> most matters, as they still tend to do today. And Paul's letters were written
> with that fact of life in mind. But this does not mean that women were then
> or should be today excluded from being appointed as servants in their
> Churches. This can be seen by reading 1 Tim. 3:8,11. There Paul wrote,
> "Deacons are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine
> .... In the same way, their wives (or "deaconesses" as in some manuscripts-
> see footnote in some Bibles) are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious
> talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything." This, of course,
> reminds us of what Paul wrote to the Romans: "I commend to you our sister
> Phoebe, who is a servant (or "deaconess") of the Church which is at
> Cenchrea." (Romans 16:1)
> Some use Paul's words in 1 Tim. 3:2, where he said that "an overseer must be
> ... a husband of but one wife," to support their teaching that, though Paul
> may have permitted women to serve as "deacons" in their congregations, he did
> not permit them to serve as "elders." To this I say, Bunk! Why? Because it is
> obvious from their context that Paul's words in 1 Tim. 3:2 did not exclude
> women from serving as "elders." How is this fact obvious from that verse's
> context? Because the context of 1 Tim. 3:2, namely verses 1-7, clearly shows
> that Paul's words in 1 Tim. 3:2 were meant to be understood only in a very
> general way.
> We can see this by the fact that he said, "An elder must be ... the husband
> of one wife." Thus those who say that this verse proves that an "elder" must
> be a man must also say that an "elder" must be married. However, very few of
> those who say that this verse proves Paul only permitted men to serve as
> elders say that it proves that Paul only permitted married men to do so. For
> those who say that would also have to believe that Paul did not permit
> widowers to serve as elders. For a widower is not "the husband of one wife."
> Also to be considered is the fact that Paul said that an elder must have
> "children who obey him." (verse 4) So, according to the "an elder must be a
> man, because Paul said they must be husbands" logic, all elders must also
> have children, but not just any children, children who still live at home.
> For only such children are required to "obey" their parents. But is it really
> reasonable to believe that in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 Paul was saying that all elders
> had to be married men with young children? No, it is not. For to believe this
> we would also have to believe that Paul required that elders give up their
> positions in their congregations when and if their wives ever died and when
> and if their children ever died or grew up and moved out on their own. For
> then those elders would no longer be "husbands of one wife" and then they
> would no longer have "children who obey them."
> These things show that the only reasonable way to understand 1 Timothy 3:2 is
> to understand that in that verse Paul was simply indicating that the majority
> of the time elders were going to be men. Why? Because at the time Paul wrote
> his letter to Timothy few women had enough education to be "able to teach,"
> which is what elders largely did. (verse2) Also in the first century, before
> the advent of birth control, disposable diapers, clothes washers and dryers,
> dishwashers and TV dinners, the vast majority of women were far too busy at
> home to be able to take on the responsibilities of teaching and shepherding a
> congregation. Because of such things Paul knew that few women in the first
> century would be able to serve as "elders." However, as I have here shown,
> Paul's words in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 no more disqualify women from serving as elders
> than they disqualify widowers and men without small children from serving as
> With these things in mind we have no reason to believe that women were
> prohibited by Paul from serving as elders in early Christian Churches. And,
> that being the case, we have no reason to believe that they did not do so.
> The fact is we have some pretty good reasons to believe that they did, in
> fact, do so. For the fact that women did at times serve as "elders" (aka
> "Bishops" or "overseers") in the early Church is supported by strong
> historical evidence.
> Consider the following: An early mosaic in a Roman basilica portrays a female
> figure titled "Bishop Theodora." A Christian inscription from 2nd or 3rd
> century Egypt reads: "Artemidoras...fell asleep in the Lord, her mother
> Paniskianes being an elder (presbytera)." The bishop Diogenes in the 3rd
> century set up a memorial for Ammion the elder (presbytera, feminine form). A
> 4th or 5th century epitaph in Sicily refers to Kale the elder (presbytis,
> also feminine.)
> Other passages which are sometimes said to brand Paul as a sexist are Titus
> 2:3-5 and 1 Tim. 5:11-14.
> Titus 2:3-5: "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they
> live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is
> good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and
> children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and
> to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."
> These do not appear to me to be sexist remarks. Though I can see that there
> here exists an opportunity to take offense, if one is looking for such an
> 1 Tim. 5:11-14: "As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For
> when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to
> marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their
> first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about
> from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and
> busybodies, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to
> marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no
> opportunity for slander."
> The early Church had the custom of financially supporting widows. Here Paul
> was advising Timothy to no longer put young women who had lost their husbands
> on the list of widows who would be supported by the congregation. Why did he
> so advise Timothy? For one thing, when this was done it gave younger widows
> who were fully capable of supporting themselves too much time on their hands,
> time which often ended up being used in nonproductive ways. For another
> thing, Paul felt that many of the younger widows who were unable to support
> themselves were capable of finding new husbands who would support them, and
> by so doing they would no longer pose a financial burden to the congregation.
> Paul could have, and probably would have, made similar comments about young
> widowers, if young widowers were being supported by their congregations. But
> they were not. So he did not. With these things in mind, I do not feel it is
> fair to label these comments by Paul as "sexist."
> The fact is that, despite the efforts of false teachers to the contrary, we
> know for a fact that women did serve as teachers in first century Christian
> Churches. For Jesus instructed His apostle John to write to the Church in
> Thyatira for tolerating the false teachings of a woman named "Jezebel."
> Though Jesus said that He was displeased with what that woman was teaching,
> He did not say that He was displeased with the fact that a woman was
> teaching. That the Church in Thyatira had allowed a woman to hold a teaching
> position for what was apparently a long time clearly shows that women were
> almost certainly often allowed to teach in first century Christian Churches.
> (Rev. 2:18-25)
> Some have asked, if this understanding of Paul's words is correct, why do the
> writings of many of the early "Church Fathers" indicate that they treated
> women as second class citizens of the Church? The answer to this question is
> that even during Paul's lifetime false teachers were busy trying to corrupt
> what Paul taught concerning full equality of the sexes within the body of
> Christ. By the time the early "Church Fathers" wrote on this subject the
> thinking of the false teachers who had been so busy promoting sexism in
> Paul's day had infiltrated most Christian Churches. This should not come as a
> great surprise. For the fact that a corruption of Christianity would take
> place after Christ and His apostles left the earth was predicted by both
> Jesus and Paul. (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43; Acts 20:29,30; 1 Tim. 4:1,2)
> I now firmly believe that the man God used to write much of the New Testament
> did not, as is often alleged, promote sexism. Rather, I am convinced that the
> apostle Paul was actually a very strong promoter and defender of full
> equality of the sexes within the Christian Church.
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