What Does the Bible Say About Women Pastors?

Should Women Hold Authority Over Men?

The Bible is very clear in giving the position of pastor to men only. The Bible teaches that women are not to hold authority over men. In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, the Bible says:

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

If a woman were to be a pastor, she would clearly be in a position of more authority than the men in the church. This is against God’s teachings. In 1 Corinthians 11:3, the Bible states:

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

A Divine Order of Submission

God gives His divine order of the submission of woman to man, man to Christ, and Christ to God. In the matter of preaching and teaching then, the man should have the leadership role in bringing people into a better relationship and knowledge of God. This does not diminish the work of women in witnessing, teaching, counseling, and giving testimonies; but in the leadership role, the man should be first.

Another indication of God’s intention to have only men as pastors is found in the verses which say a minister (elder, bishop) should be the husband of only one wife (Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2). Nothing is said about a minister having one husband. In 1 Timothy 3:5, Paul says a man should rule his house well in order to also rule the church; this supports the man as both head of home and the church.

These verses clearly show God does not want to have women serve Him in the capacity of pastor. We should note, however, that God honors and uses godly women in very significant ways. Philip’s four virgin daughters had the God-given gift to prophesy in Acts 21:9. Deborah also was a prophetess (Judges 4:4) and so was Hulda (2 Kings 22:14), as was Moses’ sister, Miriam (Exodus 15:20).

In 2 Kings 4:8, there is mention of a nameless “great woman” who helped the prophet of God, and who, with her husband, was blessed with a child after years of childlessness. Later, she had faith to believe God would use His servant to raise her child from the dead.

Great Women in the Bible

Sarah, Ruth, Esther and other great women of God were greatly honored and blessed by God and given much mention in His Word for generations to come. The Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, not some preacher or prophet or apostle, was chosen by Jesus as the first person to be allowed to see Him alive after His resurrection from the dead.

Good women do not need to be pastors. God honors and blesses and uses them greatly in many ways. Let those of us who are men honor and respect them and earnestly help them express the yearning in their hearts to serve God in every possible way that is Scriptural, and there are any such ways.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

The following two tabs change content below.
Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

Latest posts by Dr. Elmer Towns (see all)