Women Speaking and Teaching

Richard Thetford

I have been asked from time to time what I think about women “speaking in church.” I guess it really doesn’t matter what I think about the subject but rather, what does the Bible teach on the subject. There are basically two scriptures in the Bible which deal with the woman’s role. These are 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12. I have found that some readers only want a quick answer to a question, basically summarizing what the passages are teaching. In this space I will do just that.

At this time I want to summarize what the Bible teaches concerning women speaking and teaching. First, we all need to understand the lesson that Paul wants everyone to learn in Ephesians 5:22-33. When we become a Christian, we marry Christ. We are in subjection to Him. He is our authority, our ruler, our king. We need to cherish and honor Him, being loyal to Him in all aspects of our daily life. I want to encourage you to read those verses and then continue with this article.

Just as Christ is head of the church, man is head of the woman. There is really one issue present in the two scriptures mentioned above. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is teaching for a woman to remain silent in the church (the assembly), for the same reason as stated in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 which is teaching for a woman not to usurp authority over a man. We are all commanded to “sing” (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16), and women, in keeping with that command sing in church. These scriptures are simply teaching that a woman is NOT to teach over a man, to be authoritative over a man. Just like Christians are subject to Christ and would never dream of teaching over Him, or being in authority over Him, the women are to be likewise in their submissive roles to men. Paul tells us why in 1 Timothy 2:13-14; “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”