Prepared by Pastor Rolf Preus
First Evanger Lutheran Church
October 28, 2010
A generation ago there were very few women preachers. Nowadays most Protestant denominations ordain women as pastors. What does the Bible say about this?
Women in the Bible who Prophesy
Anna was a Prophetess Luke 2:36-39. Women prophesy on Pentecost in fulfillment of prophecy Acts 2:16-18. Philip the Evangelist had four virgin daughters who prophesied Acts 21:9. Women should cover their heads when they prophesy 1 Corinthians 11:5. Jezebel was a false prophetess Revelation 2:20.
The fact that women prophesied shows that the Holy Spirit belongs equally to both men and women. May the Church call women to be pastors? Women’s ordination is not a question of what God may or may not do. It is a question of what his Church may nor may not do.
Jesus included women as his disciples. John 4, 27; Luke 7, 36-40. Women were witnesses of the resurrection. Yet Jesus sent only men to preach.
No Women Pastors in the Bible
- Jesus Chose Only Men to Preach – He sent out the Apostles as the first preachers after he rose from the dead as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, and John 20:21-23. This was the foundation of the pastoral office.
- The pastors in the New Testament were men. 1 Timothy 3:2
- St. Paul forbids women to teach or to have authority over a man. 1 Timothy 2:11-12
- St. Paul teaches that it is shameful for women to speak in Church. 1 Corinthians 14:34-38
- The Old Testament Church had female judges and prophetesses (Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14) but no female priestesses.
Notes on “speak” in 1 Corinthians 14:34 and “teach” in 1 Timothy 2:12
1 Corinthians 14:34-37, To speak (lalein) = to preach/teach. See Matthew 9:18; 12:46; Mark 2: 2; Luke 9:11; John 8:12; Acts 4:1; 8:25; 13:43; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 12:19, Ephesians 6:20. Does not refer to any and all speaking; only the authoritative preaching/teaching.
1 Timothy 2:11-15, The word for teach is the word for the teaching that pastors/preachers do. See 1 Timothy 2:12; 4:11; 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:l. It is authoritative and public. The whole Church is being taught. This word is not used to describe the teaching of children. Women may teach God’s word to children in Christian schools, in the home, to neighbors who are willing to listen, but not publicly in the church.
Summary and Conclusion
The Bible has women who prophesy. It does not have women preachers. There are no women pastors in the Bible or in the Church until the most recent times. God reserves the right to call prophetesses to prophesy. He has not given this to the church to do.