These are some notes in response to a comment about women and authority in the church.
In 1 Timothy 2, Paul was probably having a problem with the women there themselves. Verse 11-15 can seem to be a bit “harsh” but in verse 10 Paul shows that he wants women to live a godly life. And at the beginning of the chapter, he is encouraging everyone to live quietly. Perhaps there were women trying to gain dominance over men and forgot that they are to be submissive. And yes, for women submission in marriage is truth “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Eph 5:24).
Why Paul is telling these particular women to keep silent, I don’t know. Maybe they were just too rebellious and needed disclipine? Back to 1 Cor 11, in verse 5 Paul mentions that women do pray and can prohpesy, so clearly it is not a universal rule for all women always to be followed, it was probably only just a temporary rule until these women calmed down.
The debate about women teaching “over” men is interesting. To my understanding a “bishop” (1 Tim 3) is different to a “pastor” (Eph 4:11). These days a lot of people automatically associate the word pastor for the head of a congregation/s however, it seems that this is what a bishop is. A pastor is just someone who leads and helps nurture Christ’s flock. This doesn’t HAVE to be the head of the congregation/bishop. 1 Tim 2 mentions that their bishops are men, not given any mention to women bishops. Even though Pauls need to explain what a Bishop must be probably because of men having multiple wives and not treating the congregation right, we can learn from his example of “For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim 3:5)
He’s given us a clear indication that a church congregation must be run similar to a family. And as we know from the previous chapter, men are in authority as husbands and fathers, so therefore men are to be the heads of congregations. Men are bishops… But can women be pastors?
From what I’ve read and talked about with others, there doesn’t seem to be much indication what genders are appropriate for apostles(missionaries), prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. We do know women can be teachers, and we know that they can be prophets. In Judges, Deborah was a prophet, judge and ALSO a counsellor for many men. Also in Romans (16:1-2) Paul mentions that he is sending a friend Phoebe (a woman) to help them. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.”
Paul has noted that to some degree she has authority over them if she needs something. Maybe this is just about simple hospitality, but he goes on and mentions various other women after this, but not with the same introduction. So that fact that he talks so highly of her and mentions her first, can give us an indication that she is of high leadership, maybe what some might call a deaconess, or she could be a pastor or apostle or teacher (to men and women).
So then, if these women existed and were encouraged and blessed for their work, then why ridicule women in leadership now?