Does The Bible Permit Women To Serve As Pastors, Bishops Or Elders In The Church?

By Victor Ochieng

One of the most controversial topics in the church is whether or not the Bible allows women to serve as pastors, bishops or elders. There is a group that’s of the opinion that every person, man or woman, is equal before the eyes of God and, therefore, can serve in any capacity.

On the other hand, there’s a group that says the Bible categorically warns against letting women take up these roles. They cite 1 Timothy 2:11-13, which says, “11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” – NIV.

Reading from the Bible, there is no doubt that every person, regardless of gender, is equal in the eyes of God. The same Bible makes it clear that men and women play complementary roles. And it’s the reason why the Bible specifically assigns some roles to men and others to women. For example, the Bible says in the letter of 1 Corinthians 11:3 that the head of every woman is her husband, the head of every man is Christ and the head of Christ is Jehovah, God the Father.

Spiritual leadership was pre-arranged by God and He made it categorically clear that women shouldn’t exercise spiritual leadership over men. Churches cannot purport to following the Bible yet only select what to adhere to and what not to. When the Bible says that women should learn in silence, there is no need of using humanly justifications to disobey the counsel.

As mentioned above, these roles shouldn’t make anyone feel superior or inferior to the other. In fact, that’s why every service someone renders in church is considered of great importance. Whether your role is cleaning toilets, ushering in guests, serving in hospitality or welfare, as long as you do it wholeheartedly, God, Who’s not blind to the affairs of the heart, will reward you greatly.

In many cases, women are abundantly gifted with hospitality, evangelism, teaching and mercy. Without a twinge of doubt, local churches substantially depend on services rendered by women.

Even though the Bible requires that women should learn in silence, the Holy book allows them to pray publicly and prophesy (1 Corinthians 11:5). What should be underscored is that women shouldn’t exercise any spiritual authority over men.