What Does the Bible Actually Say About Women Being Pastors?

A group of young women bow their heads and pray with bibles.

Quite a lot, actually, and it’s very affirming. Take for example, the Apostle Paul’s words to the early church in Rome:

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8)

The call of God is connected to gifts that are received from the Holy Spirit. Nothing in this passage connects the gifts and calling of God to a specific gender.

When Paul tells leaders to “lead” diligently, he uses the Greek word “proistamenos” (Romans 12:8). The noun form of this word is “prostatis.” In Romans 16:2, Paul refers to Phoebe as a “prostatis.” When Paul refers to himself as a “minister of the gospel,” he uses the Greek word “diakonos” (Colossians 1:23). Similarly, Phoebe is described by Paul as a “diakonon” in the church of Cenchrea (Romans 16:1).

Priscilla taught a man “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). The Greek word is “exethento”; this is the same activity Paul engaged in when he explained from the Law and the Prophets that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 28:23).

Some misinterpret 1 Timothy 2:12 to be saying that women cannot teach men. 1st Timothy was a letter written to the church in Ephesus. Priscilla taught a man “the way of God more accurately” in Ephesus. From chapter 1 through chapter 6 of 1st Timothy, Paul is addressing people who were engaged in “false” teaching. It appears that at least one of these false teachers was “a woman.” In 1 Timothy 1:20, however, we see that some of these false teachers were men.

Some also misinterpret 1 Timothy 2:12, to be saying that women may not “exercise authority” over men in the church. However, the word translated “exercise authority” in Latin and English versions of the Bible was repeatedly used in 1st century Greek to refer to someone who was responsible for someone’s death. In the writing of Philo of Alexandria, for example, being an “authentes” was connected to causing death by embracing a false knowledge (“gnosis”) of God (see Philo’s “The Worse Attacks the Better”).

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Bob Edwards