Can women be pastors? | Are Women Ordained As Bishops

A woman pastor in a black suit  prayering in the church

Can women be pastors, can they even serve in any other capacity in the church, what does the Bible have to say about women pastors, can women serve as church elders, are women ordained as bishops? These are just but a few queries to mention. They are among the most asked questions in the church of Christ. Today I am going to break it down for you by providing you with a balanced biblical approach to this matter.

Women are often blamed for the fall of humanity. However, this is not the case. I do not dispute the fact that it was Eve who was tempted and mislead Adam to sin. However, it is not the sin of Eve that grieved God to the extent that He regretted having created man. God didn’t judge humanity based on Eve’s sin. It was the sin of Adam that was catastrophic.

Adam knew that Eve had eaten from the forbidden tree. He also knew that he was not supposed to eat the fruit that Eve offered him. Despite this, he still despised the word of God for the sake of his love for Eve. Adam was so attached to Eve that he didn’t want to see her burnished out of the garden alone. For this reason, he ate from the forbidden tree.

Adam was the head and therefore it was expected of him to lead his wife to repentance instead of joining her to rebel against God. In most men, there is always the fear of losing their wives especially if they are too attached to them. For this reason, in the attempt to please their wives most men find themselves sinning.

Men who are intimately attached to their wives are always willing to sacrifice anything to be with the one they love. If the man is not careful, the enemy may use this intimacy through the woman to mislead the man. I am not saying that men should not be intimately involved with their wives. However, they should realize that their duty is first to their God then their wife, and not vise versa.

Can women be pastors, what does the Bible teach?

The apostle Paul taught that women were not supposed to teach (preach) in the church. They were expected to remain silent in all the churches. They were also expected to be subordinates. (1 Corinthians 14:34). You can also refer to 1 Timothy 2:12-15. We all understand that in the Old Testament God did use women to deliver his people and to prophecy. A good example is Deborah who was a prophetess. Then does Paul contradict himself or introduce a new law? The answer is NO.

I believe Paul was addressing this matter based on priorities. He was not denying women the opportunity to exercise leadership, rather he was motivating them to make their priorities right. In verse 15 of 1 Timothy 2, Paul puts it clear that “women will be saved (not by ministering on the pulpit), rather by bearing children.” Also, by living a righteous life from which their children will emulate.

The statement that a woman will be delivered by childbearing may also have another meaning. It might probably mean that the woman will be delivered by the birth of a divine child (The Messiah). I am basing my argument on Genesis 3:14-15 where God told the serpent that “the seed of the woman will crush its head.” By doing so, the woman and her household would be delivered.

Based on the context of I Corinthian 14:34, we should consider the fact that Paul was addressing a gentile community of believers. Temple prostitution and the worship of the goddess of sex Aphrodite was a common practice in Corinth. The culture itself was perverted. Women from these idol worship practices were allowed to lead in worship. They were also ordained as the supreme authorities (in terms of leadership) in those Idol temples.

This was a natural practice in most gentile nations. It was naturally assumed that since women in these cultures took leadership roles in their temples, the same principles would also naturally apply in the church of Christ. This is what Paul was opposing as endorsing such practices would limit and distort the true worship of God. Imposing such principles on the church of Christ is catastrophic.

The source of true fulfillment for every woman.

What do I mean by priorities?

God created a woman to be a homemaker. The woman finds her greatest fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction by raising holy off-springs. Spending time with these children is more fulfilling to her than anything else. Seeing her kids grow and maturing them brings true satisfaction. This should be every woman’s priority.

This is where they can serve the LORD the most. Therefore, every woman’s priority should always be her house. Of cause, God comes first then family.

When a woman succeeds in this particular area, she can now serve the Lord in other capacities including being a pastor. She can still serve in other capacities as she still natures her children since the whole process of parenting is not a one-day event. Am I contradicting myself? Of cause no. what I mean is that as long as she knows her place, her first duty, then is qualified to still serve the LORD at any stage.

She must make sure she makes her priority right to be on the safe side. Of what need should she become a pastor while her house is falling apart? There is no need. That is what Paul meant by his statement. A woman should always work on herself and her house first before she ever thinks of serving in the church.

The Bible does not prohibit women from serving in church leadership. We know of women who have been used of the LORD in the past and even presently. Women like Kathryn Kuhlman, Ida B. Robinson, Darlene Zschech, Joyce Meyer, and many others.

In the old testament, God used women to minister in different capacities. In the government, the church, and other dimensions of the society. Women like Deborah and Esther.

It is the joy of every woman to see their children prospering. For that reason, every woman should devote herself fully to this duty. The Bible doesn’t say that a woman will be delivered by her career. NO, not even her wisdom or skills. It is the fruit of her womb that will save her. That is what brings the greatest joy and fulfillment in her life. Marry never knew that her child will deliver her until Jesus did it.

a female pastor reading the Bible

Were women permitted to serve in the office of the pastor or any capacity in the Old and New Testament?

There is no mention of any woman ordained in the office of the high priest in the old testament. Certainly, there is also no mention of any woman ordained in the office of the pastor in the New Testament. However, they were and are by no means excluded from serving in any church function or every office. Paul’s statement does not forbid women from witnessing to Christ, as that is the duty of every Christian.

Women can perform as better as men can. The bible acknowledges their potential. Below are some examples of women who were used by God in the Old Testament period.

1. Deborah (Judges 4:1-)

God raised Deborah to judge Israel when they were under the oppressive rule of Jabin king of Canaan. Deborah was a prophetess. The LORD spoke to her to command Barack to go and deliver the Israelites. However, Barack was not willing to obey the word of God. He succumbed to fear. Because of this, the glory attained through the victory of the war was given to a woman.

This was true as Sisera was killed by Jael, a woman who lived in the tents. She killed him by delivering a tent peg through his stomach. From this example, it is with no dispute that God can use women. Even in our current dispensation, we have women who are prophetess anointed of God. As the spirit was promised to be “poured among all flesh”.

2. Esther.

We all know the beautiful story of Esther. How she was used by the Lord to deliver the Jewish people from the hand of Haman. She was used in an administrative position as a queen to serve justice. From her story, we learn that women always serve with the interest of the people at heart. May God empower women to do exploits.

3. The woman described in II Samuel 20: 16-22.

This woman delivered a whole city from the wrath of Joab, David’s chief command. Sheba son of Bicri had tried to overthrow David. However, he could not succeed. This woman plotted for his murder, and by doing so she delivered the entire city from the wrath of Joab. You can refer to II Samuel 20: 16-22 for full details. In her wisdom, she saved the lives of many that day. By wisdom, she became mightier than the mighty men of that city.

Women pastors serving under the authority of men in the church.

A woman should lead under the authority of a man (not any man, refer to 1 Timothy 3 to see the qualifications of a pastor or bishop). The reason being that naturally, women are more susceptible to temptation than men. They can easily be misled without their conscience. I am not representing a woman as a weak figure. However, due to their greater need for spiritual enlightenment and the yearning for spirituality in general, the enemy may use this need to work against them.

If a woman is tricked in this manner, will not the whole church collapse with her? That is if she was the leader of that church. I don’t mean that men cannot be templated in the same manner, however, it is easier for women to be tricked of the enemy as they are vulnerable.

Paul puts it clear that “it was Eve who was tempted and not Adam.” For this reason, it is wise and advisable for them to remain subordinate (i.e. for the sake of function and welfare) in the church. It’s not because they are not able to lead, rather, it is for the greater benefit of the Church of Christ. God is not discriminative; He Had a good reason for that to be so.

If God commanded so, then why should we oppose His Will for His church? (That is what religion teaches). But do you think it’s God’s Will for women to be denied the opportunity to serve Him as pastors or priests? Below are my thoughts and convictions about this matter.

My reservations about women pastors position

But also, we should realize that God made them, female and male equal. God’s original purpose for man was not to rule over his wife, however, He created them “to submit to each other in reverence to God and love.” 

Ephesians 5:21. And for this reason, I believe women who have submitted themselves to our Lord Jesus Christ are very qualified for the office of the pastor and even the priest. In the prophecy of Joel 2:28, the LORD of host declared that in the last days there shall be a dispensation of the Holy Spirit and His giftings on all gender and age brackets.

There is no discrimination in the dispensation of God’s gift of His Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit of God apportions spiritual gifts according to what He Wills, I believe that God also chooses whoever He Wills to serve Him in any capacity, despite their gender. He declares in Exodus 33:19 “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (NIV)

Therefore if he chooses to have mercy on a woman who is a man to resist His perfect Will? The question of whether women should be pastors should not be viewed based on gender as God made them (male and female) equal, and that is a weak foundation to build your argument on.

A good example from Billy Graham’s family.

Billy Graham was one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century. One of the reasons he was so successful was the support his wife (Ruth Graham) offered him. She chose to stay at home and nature their five children while Billy was at the mission ground. This offered Billy enough time in the mission field as he knew his family was safe in his wife’s hands. She was one of the key factors for the success of such missions, even though she wasn’t involved in them physically. By doing so she served the Lord in the same capacity as her husband in the family.

To be sincere, she was everything that a man could ever desire from a woman. It doesn’t mean that she never served God in other capacities. She did as she was a renounced Christian author. However, she made her priorities right. Her duty was first to her God, husband, and family. All other responsibilities were always subsidiary. She found her greatest fulfillment in being a mother of five.

The conclusion of this matter.

From these biblical examples, we now know that the Bible is not ignorant of women neither of their potential as they are also created in the image of God. It does not prohibit them from serving in any capacity. However, it should be noted that a woman’s greatest responsibility is to her house. That should always be her priority. That is where she can serve the LORD best.

I hope you found this article helpful and that it has answered your question. Can women be pastor? What are your thoughts? Please let me know what you think. write your opinion on the comments section bellow. I would love to hear from you. don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and share this article with friends.

Joshua Mwangangi

Chemist, B.Sc Chemistry. Content writer. Interested in family, marriage, and relationships.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Josh

    This is an amazing insight. I love it for real. God bless you for the great work. Indeed God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are wilder, no one can phantom them. God chooses who ever He desires, whether a woman or man. However, it’s true to say that the woman’s priority should be her house not the church. There is where she finds the greatest fulfilment. Love this article, it answer the question perfectly.

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