Can Christian woman teach other women the Bible?

Does God allow women to teach other women the Word of God or does he only allow men to expound on the Word of God? Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time will know that I believe that God has given different roles to men and women and he has given men headship over women in the home, the church and society.

Man’s headship over women in the Home

“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.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

Man’s headship over women in the Church

“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.”

I Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV)

“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. 35 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.”

I Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

“2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;”

I Timothy 3:2-4 (KJV)

Man’s headship over women in the Society

“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.”

I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

But what about women teaching other women the Word of God?

The Scriptures are clear that women are not to take authority over or teach men in the church. They are also clear that women are to ask their husband’s about spiritual things and to follow his spiritual guidance.

But while the Bible commands that women are to follow their husbands spiritual leadership, ask him questions about the Scriptures and they are not to teach men in the Church what about women teaching women? The Bible answers this question.

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

The Bible is clear that women may teach other women what it means to be holy, truthful, not drunkards and what it means to love their husbands, how to be discreet, pure, how to keep their home and how to be obedient to their husbands.  And what should be the source of what they teach? Christ told us what the source is:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

So when women are exhorted to teach other women how to live godly lives – they are exhorted to teach them the Word of God.

Some Christians teach against women teaching women

I have just shown from Titus 2:3-5 conclusive proof that women may and should teach other women how to be good, holy wives and mothers and they could only do this by expounding upon the Word of God on these subjects.  Yet surprisingly there are some Christians that use Scripture passages on male headship (which I deeply believe in) to attempt to deny the truths taught in Titus 2:3-5.  If they don’t completely deny it they try and limit it literally by women’s age groups.

I am often an ally of some of these fellow Christian bloggers in our fight against feminism and it’s poisoning of the home, the church and society. We often stand together in our defense of male headship.  So it saddens me when I have to sometimes take my fellow Biblical male headship brothers to task but if the Apostles who were inspired of God had disagreements(Galatians 2:11) then it would follow that those of us who do not write by direct inspiration of God would probably have many more disagreements.

It somewhat ironic that I find myself in the position of defending Christian women’s rights when I am so often accused of teaching women have no rights and must silently stay in their homes and do nothing else.

When it comes to intelligent women who are well read in the Scriptures and spiritually mature I have consistently taught on this blog that they should be encouraged to use their spiritual gifts by their husbands and fathers in ways that compliment rather than contradict God’s roles for men and women.

With that being said here is areas where I stand against these men on this subject of women teaching women.

Disagreements with Deep Strength over his post “Women teaching women in Church”

In a post entitled “Women teaching women in Church” Deep Strength writes:

“Dalrock rightly points out that exegesis of the preaching and of the Scripture is delegated to husbands in the 1 Corinthians 14 passage. When you combine this with the wording of the passage in Titus 2, it’s obvious that older women are to encourage wifely submission to their husbands. Therefore, it is the case that older women should not be “teaching” what the Scriptures mean to wives but rather encouraging wives to ask their husbands about how they would interpret it.”

Both Darlock and Deep Strength are wrong on this.  I constantly teach on this blog that we must take the Scriptures as a whole. We cannot take those passages that don’t fit what we think God was saying and simply dismiss them and this is exactly what Darlock and Deep Strength are doing.

Here is Darlock and Deep Strength’s logic in a nutshell:

Since women are to be silent in the church and ask their husbands at home about spiritual matters women are therefore forbidden from EVER expounding on the Word of God in any situation.  God only allows men to teach and expound upon his Word in Darlock and Deep Strength’s view.

Darlock and Deep Strength have errored because they have gone beyond “that which is written” (I Corinthians 4:6).

When the Scriptures tell us that women should follow their husband’s headship and ask their husband about spiritual matters at home it does not mean that the only source of spiritual teaching a woman can ever have is her husband.  It does not automatically mean women are forbidden from reading various books or blogs on line about the Bible or even marriage.  And it certainly does not mean women are forbidden from expounding on the Scriptures to other women especially as it relates to about to be good godly wives and mothers.  Titus 2:3-5 proves this to be the case beyond any doubt.

There are two references to women teaching in this passage from Titus.  The first is found in Titus 2:3.

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Titus 2:3 (KJV)

The phrase “teachers of good things” is a translation of the Greek word “Kalodidaskalos” which means:

“teaching that which is good, a teacher of goodness”

http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/kalodidaskalos.html

The NASB translates this phrase as “teaching what is good” and the NIV also translates this phrase as “to teach what is good”.  The consensus among commentator and translators is that this word literally means “to teach what is good”.  But the key concept is that women are in fact to be teachers.  This cannot be denied.

The second instance teaching is found in Titus 2:4:

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,”

Titus 2:4 (KJV)

The word that the KJV translates as “teach” in Titus 2:4 where it says “That they may teach the young women” is a translation of the Greek word “Sophronizo” which means:

“restore one to his senses

to moderate, control, curb, disciple

to hold one to his duty

to admonish, to exhort earnestly”

http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/sophronizo.html

This word is only used in this particular passage of Scripture.

The NASB translates this word as “encourage” but puts in the foot notes that another word for it could be “train”.  The NIV translates this word as “urge”.

Even if this word means encourage we still have the first instance of women being commanded teach in verse 3.  And this is all part of one thought by the Apostle Paul and women teaching other women.  So even if it means “encourage” Paul is telling women “Be teachers of good things by encouraging women to do these things…”

How can women both teach and encourage other women to be good, to be holy, to be discreet, to love their husbands, their children and be obedient to their husbands without teaching them the standard for all these things which is the Word of God?

So while Darlock and Deep Strength want to deny the meaning of this passage because the Greek word  Sophronizo could mean encourage they cannot deny that the Greek word “Kalodidaskalos” found in verse 3 of Titus chapter 2 clearly involves teaching, not just encouraging.

And even if Sophronizo was the only word used in this passage it would be absurd to think that women could exhort other women to Godly living, to be good wives and mothers without ever referencing the Scriptures.

What about proper authority to teach?

We have proven that God’s Word does command women to teach other women how to be good wives and mothers from the Word of God from Titus 2:3-5. But what about the authority to teach the Word of God?

Deep Strength writes:

“All of this stems from as couple of things. Generally, In the Scriptures “teaching” and “preaching” are validated by “authority.” Authority is given in the Scriptures to specific roles such as husbands, pastors and elders, governments, and the like in order to love, shepherd, or maintain order and law.”

I agree that God has established various spheres of authority such as the family (which is headed by the husband) churches that are headed by Pastors and elders and of course civil government.

There are two types of authorities in the Bible – worldly authorities and spiritual authorities.

Worldly authorities would include Presidents, Governors, mayors, employers and school and college teachers and any other authority outside the home or the church.

Spiritual authorities would include people like our pastors or elders of our local churches and then husbands and fathers.

The uniqueness of the father/husband authority role

The father/husband is the only human role to which God has given both worldly and spiritual authority.  The husband and father roles are actually very similar to one another but the husband role is the most powerful human authority because a husband has authority to have sex with his wife but he does not have authority to have sex with his children.

The husband and father have responsibility for both the worldly affairs and spiritual affairs of their family. This is why husbands and fathers must teach their wives and children as well as discipline both their wives and children.

Each sphere of authority has its responsibilities, rights and limits. So for instance while civil government has some authority over family it does not have complete authority over the family.  For instance my local police department has the right to enter my home if they get a 911 call from my wife stating that I am trying to kill her.  But my civil governments (whether they be local, state or Federal) have no business telling me how to operate my marriage or what I teach my wife and children.

The authority of the Church also has it responsibilities, rights and limits.  All of the ministries of my church fall under the authority of my Pastor.  So if I were to teach in my church I must teach things in accordance with my Pastor’s interpretation of the Scriptures while participating in any official church activity.   However in my home I have the full right to teach my children Scriptural interpretations that are contrary to those taught in our church.

Let me illustrate with some examples.

A mother teaching her children

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;” – Proverbs 1:8 (KJV)

If a mother teaches her children the Word of God, she does so under the authority of her husband and their father.  This means that whatever his interpretations and applications are of the Scriptures this is what she must teach the children.  It does not necessarily mean that she agrees with all of them herself, but she must submit to his Spiritual views in how she conducts her life and how she teaches her children.

A woman teaching a woman’s Sunday school class

In the case of a woman teaching a woman’s Sunday school class she would first be doing so under the authority of her husband (if she is married) or else her father if she were unmarried.  But since she is teaching within an official ministry of the church she also falls under the authority of the church. So when she teaches she must teach in accordance with her husband or father’s interpretations as well as her church’s interpretations.  If the church would require her to teach something that conflicts with her husband’s teaching then she would have to resign that position in deference to her husband’s authority.

A woman has a Christian blog

When a woman has a Christian blog she is operating that blog under the spiritual authority of her husband or father. This means even if she disagrees with her husband or father on some interpretations and applications she is to teach what is in accordance with her husband’s interpretations and applications of the Scriptures.

Deep Strength is wrong that the teaching women is ONLY under the jurisdiction of their fathers or husbands

Deep Strength writes:

“Thus, in no situation is a woman “free unto herself” and thus given a voice within the Church in a position of authority whether over men or over other women. Daughters and wives are under their fathers or husbands authority. Likewise, older women are encouraged to teach younger women to obey the authority they are under and act in a godly manner.

Women teaching other women

As of now it should be quite clear that [older] women do not have the authority to teach or preach the meaning(s) of Scriptures to [younger] women because it is under the jurisdiction of their fathers or husbands. The Bible does not contradict itself on this front.”

Again let me reiterate from his statement the absurdity of what he is saying. He is saying older women should teach younger women to obey authority but why? Just because? Or is it because God’s Word says so? Do we live by our opinions or by the Word of God? So she can say “Ladies obey your husbands but I can’t quote the Scriptures that tell you to do that – only your husband can.”  Do you not see the absurdity of such a view?

I proved from the Scriptures that women do in fact have the authority to teach both their children (Proverbs 1:8) as well as other women(Titus 2:3-5).  The authority they have to do this comes from their husband or fathers first and secondarily from their church authorities if their husband or father allows them to do so.

Spiritual authorities verses spiritual advisers

One of key problems that those who oppose women expounding on the Scriptures face is the failure to recognize the distinction between spiritual advisers and spiritual authority.

Here is a key truth that one must embrace:

All spiritual authorities are spiritual advisers but not all spiritual advisers are spiritual authorities.

Sometimes a person can be both a spiritual authority and a spiritual adviser. The roles of Pastor, Father and Husband all have the duel responsibilities of being spiritual authorities and advisers.

Pastor – the Pastor can command that certain things be taught in Sunday school, he commands what interpretations and applications of the Scriptures will be taught and he directs the church in how it will operate(all under the headship of Christ and his Word of course). But when the Pastor preaches – he then acts in an spiritual advisory role to the families within his church. He cannot literally command them what they will teach and what they will do in their homes.

Father or Husband – In his role as a father or husband to a woman a man can and should command her to do certain things or command her to not do certain things. He can and should also advise her as well. In this way he acts as both spiritual authority and spiritual adviser to his women.

Now I agree that even spiritual advisers operate under authority. When a man acts as spiritual adviser he does so under the direct authority of Christ.
“that the head of every man is Christ”(I Corinthians 11:3) but when a woman acts a spiritual adviser she does so under the authority of man “the head of the woman is the man” whether that is her father or her husband.

It is true as I said in this post that women should exercise their gifts under the authority and guidance of their fathers(if they are not married) or their husbands(if they are married). But that is the authority to DO something.

That does NOT mean these women teachers are spiritual authorities OVER these women – these women are simply acting as spiritual advisers TO these women.

Think of it this way. Do Kings and Presidents have advisers? Of course they do if they are wise. But is an adviser to a King or President acting as his authority simply because he gives him some advice? Of course not. In the same way just because a woman offers spiritual advice through a blog or other means to other women does no mean she is acting as a spiritual authority to those woman but rather she is acting as spiritual adviser.

The Bible even tells us this regarding advisers(or counselors):

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

Proverbs 11:14 (KJV)

Certainly there are good advisers and bad advisers. No question. As fathers and husbands we have the right to restrict our wives and children from listening to certain advisers whether they be friends, people on the radio or christian bloggers. But we ought not to throw out the baby with the bath water. We should not say that our wives can only hear spiritual advice and interpretation from us as their husband. But what a wife must accept is that her husband is her final authority. So if she hears some counsel and brings it to her husband and he disagrees then she needs to accept that.

But what many men do not realize is – wives actually many times will hear things from other Christian wives that their husbands were trying to explain to them and a light bulb goes on because the woman explained it in a way women understand – because she is a woman. This is an asset to us as husbands that other women can minister to our wives- it should not be seen as a hindrance.

Now on the other side of this I know and I have heard from men on hear whose wives follow false Christian female bloggers and teachers. But that is where husband’s must exercise their authority and discipline their wives accordingly to persuade her to submit to her husbands spiritual authority.

A Christian woman Sunday school teacher is only an authority over those women to the extent that she keeps basic order in the class room and that is the extent of her authority. She is not an authority over those women in the sense that she can tell them how they must act and live their lives. She can only advice, the cannot command.

Now a Pastor’s spiritual authority would be more powerful than that of a Sunday school teacher(whether male or female) because he has the authority to command how the basic operations of a local church works(within the parameters of the Scriptures of course). So he does act as more of a true authority and he is not just in an adviser role as a Sunday School teacher is.

Does God only allow older women to teach younger women?

Let’s look at Titus 2:3-5 again with the emphasis on ages of the women in question:

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that a Biblical literalist. I believe in interpreting the Bible as literally as possible unless it something like symbolism in prophecy or poetry.

But there are times when the Bible places an age restriction on something, and other times when it simply mentions age as an assumption.

We see an example of age restrictions when it comes to the church taking in widows that it would support and they would serve the church:

“A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man”

I Timothy 5:9 (NASB)

So a widow could not be brought in to be supported by the church and to serve the church full time until she was at least 60 years of age.  So here the age mentioned is not just an assumption, but a specific command.

But it is an error to connect this verse from I Timothy 5:9 with Titus 2:3.  They are talking about two different subjects.  One is talking about widows serving in the church and the other is talking about older woman teaching younger women how to be good wives and mothers.  Might some of these widows who were supported by the church does this very thing? Yes.  But Titus 2:3 does not restrict the ministry of women teaching other women to this group of women.

Paul’s command about aged women teaching younger women does NOT restrict teaching only to older women to younger women.  It was only an assumption that in most cases older women would be teaching younger women. The point of his statement was to allow women to teach other women how to be good wives and mothers according to the Word of God.

Yes God does restrict the exercise of the office of Pastor or elder to men who are not novices:

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

I Timothy 3:6 (KJV)

This is talking about the position of Pastor or elder – official positions in the church.  Also being a novice has nothing to do with age but rather spiritual maturity.  In either case this would not stop a young teenager whether they be a young man or young woman from sharing the Word of God with their friends.  In fact they ought to and we should encourage our young people to do so.

But God does not restrict his gifts or his callings by age as Paul states:

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

I Timothy 4:12 (KJV)

Are we to believe that while we are not allowed to despise the exercise of spiritual gifts by young men that we are allowed to despise the exercise of spiritual gifts by young women? I think not.

My 14 year old daughter expounds upon the Scriptures all the time at school to her fellow teenage girls.  She teaches them about the Gospel and how God wants women to live their lives. I would never dream of despising her for exercising her spiritual gifts.

Now as I have stated here and elsewhere throughout my blog men and women need to exercise their spiritual gifts within the bounds of God’s commands for each gender.  So that means women cannot teach or take authority positions over men in the church.  Women must exercise their spiritual gifts under the authority of their father or husband.

What about conflicts of authority?

The Bible never says we can only learn about the Bible from one source whether be men or women.  The Catholic Church taught this doctrine for centuries there was only once source for understanding the Bible and that was the Church.  They forbid anyone but the clergy from reading and interpreting the Bible for themselves.

I thank God every day for the brave men of the Protestant reformation that stood against the spiritual tyranny of the Catholic Church. If they had not we might not be having these discussions about the Bible – we would not even have Bibles unless we were clergy.

But what about when spiritual authorities conflict? Really it is very simple. If you are a wife or daughter and your father does not want you listening to a certain blogger, author, or Pastor  on a certain subject or if they do not want you listening to them or reading things from that all you obey your spiritual authority.

But what Darlock and Deep Strength are essentially arguing for is a spiritual “lock down” approach to how husbands and fathers teach their wives and children.

They are teaching that a father or husband must not just teach their wives and children the meaning the Word of God – but they are the ONLY people that can teach their wives and children the Word of God.  I have shown here in this article that their position is contrary to the Scriptures.

Think about it in practical terms and let’s take gender out of the equation. If my wife is sitting in a church service at my church and my Pastor teaches something that is contrary to what I teach her from the Bible (and he does from time to time) – should my wife and children have to stick their fingers in their ears or leave the room? Of course not. To do so would be utterly absurd.

Instead after the service when we get home I will take the Scriptures and explain to my wife and children where I disagree with the Pastor on the subject and why I do.  This is an exercise in maturity for my wife and children in learning that good Bible believing Christians will have disagreements on interpretations and this is the right way to handle it.

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