These Women in the Bible Were NOT Preachers in the Churches

These Women in the Bible Were NOT Preachers in the Churches

Without fail, whenever I teach that women are not to be preachers/teachers of the Word of God, women will bring up a laundry list of women who were supposedly preachers/teachers in the churches. They ignore the clear commands that women are not to teach nor be in authority over men but to be silent in the churches. Instead, they search the Scriptures to try and negate God’s commands on this issue. Here is one such comment I received on my video called Women are NOT Called to Be Preachers.

“I will ask one thing if you believe all the Bible is true, which I do believe you do even if I completely disagree with your hermeneutics. I ask if you know who Phoebe is in Romans 16:1-2, and was she not a leader and teacher in the early church? Who is Lydia in Acts 16:11-15, and the church which was started in her home, was she not a leader in the early church? What was Priscilla but not a worker in Christ in Romans 16:3 (Paul called her his fellow worker). I know that you are pulling from 1 Corinthians 11, but that chapter honestly says women are to be prophecy and praying in public, even if they have some restrictions. There are many female leaders in the Bible and teachers: Debra, Easter, Ruth (she went up to Boaz), Mary, Martha and the list of women who lead and serve goes on. I ask you if you believe all scripture is God-breathed, are these women, you would look down on or not listen to them preach.”

Let’s take Phoebe first. “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also” (Romans 16:1, 2). She is listed as a “servant” in the church who helped many. There is not one word about her being a preacher/teacher/leader in the church.

What about Lydia? “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us” (Acts 16:14, 15). She sold purple fabric, believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, was baptized and invited Paul into her home. There’s nothing said about her being a preacher/teacher/leader in a church.

How about Priscilla? “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3). One time, she, along with her husband, took one man aside to explain the truth of God more accurately (Acts 18:26). There was a church in their home (1 Corinthians 16:19) but there is nothing written that she was a preacher/teacher/leader in any church.

Are women allowed to pray and prophesy in the churches according to 1 Corinthians 11? There’s nothing in this chapter that tells us that the practice of women being covered when they pray and prophesy is related to praying or prophesying out loud in a church gathering since a few short chapters later, we are told this by Paul: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35). The Bible doesn’t contradict itself. 

Deborah, Esther, and Ruth are in the Old Testament are used mightily by God but they didn’t live during the Church age and thus, were not preachers/teachers/leaders in the churches. There isn’t one single verse that tells us that Mary or Martha or any other woman was a preacher/teacher/leader in a church, no, not one.

One more person that people will use to say that women can preach and teach in the churches is Junia. “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me” (Romans 16:7). No, Junia wasn’t an apostle. He was “of note among the apostles.” We know who the apostles were and Junia wasn’t one of them. He was most likely not a she at all; for he was called “my kinsMEN.”

There were not even any women written about in the Bible who stood up before groups of women and preached or taught the Word of God to them. I firmly believe the teaching of God’s Word has been given to men. God’s clear what older women should be teaching younger women in Titus 2:3-5. Instead of trying to find ways to negate God’s clear commands, let’s just simply obey them! Either you decide to obey God at His Word or you don’t.

…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15

35 thoughts on “These Women in the Bible Were NOT Preachers in the Churches

  1. Totally agree praying and prophesying wasn’t talking about doing it in the church publically/out loud. And Junia wasn’t an apostle she was “known” to the apostles but wasn’t one of them. Not sure why people are always looking for an exception clause to scripture.

  2. Amen. Let us be silent. Let the men lead and thereby give glory to God. The irony is that the woman who made that comment on your video is suggesting the Bible contradicts itself!

  3. My worship pastor says we are all worship leaders on the platform and off the platform. He is the pastor and he allows worship with freedom. The church I go to is Pentecostal, so some are very expressive in worship. I happen to be one of the main female vocalists, so am I in rebellion of God’s Word? Is lifting my hands wrong, or clapping?

  4. We’ve always attended churches where the men do all the teaching, preaching and leading. (Often there is also a ladies’ Bible class which to be honest is never good). But being at a church led by men is fine. I’ve never felt like a second class citizen and quite frankly, being quiet for a couple of hours a week is no big deal, especially compared to the gift of eternal life with Jesus.

    All these women asserting their “rights” to teach, makes me wonder if any of them have bothered to teach the one thing God did ask women to teach, how to love their husbands and children and be busy at home. I doubt it.

  5. No, lifting your hands and clapping isn’t wrong since it’s not speaking, teaching, or being in authority in a church. Most Pentecostal churches allow female preachers so I don’t agree with them here and other things that they allow and teach. Once there is compromise on one part of Scripture, there usually is more. I don’t believe women are to lead anywhere in the churches since the term “leader” means “in authority” which is clearly forbidden by God. Here is a good article on this topic:

  6. One way to judge this matter is by comparing it with what you see Satan trying to accomplish in the world.

    The worldly culture is at war with the Church and it’s saints (both men and women). And that warfare is an attempt to make women equal (if not superior) to men.

    But leading in the church isn’t a matter of equality of the sexes. In Christ, we are all equal. Church leadership is about roles that God has assigned for each sex.

    The contention arises when women are not content with the roles God has given them to fulfill, and decide they want the roles God has assigned to others. Men can, and do the same thing. I am called to serve my master (employer), not dictate to her. Yes, I said “her”. My boss is a woman, and I am perfectly happy with that.

    The roles that God has assigned to each sex are roles in the church, and in the family.

    And it is those roles that Satan is attacking. So, ask yourself, Who is more likely to be calling for women to preach the gospel in the churches?

    God? Or Satan?

    God is abundantly clear in scripture. And Satan is abundantly clear in our culture.

  7. These scriptures on the conduct of women in church are so clear and easy to understand if you have not imbibed deep from the polluted well that is feminism. It’s rarely ever a want of reading and comprehension skills. These scriptures are a sure fire litmus test for how much feministic dross remains in our lives as believers. Sanctification is a lifelong process and sadly if the Lord tarries, many Christian women will die in disobedience to these instructions because of the cultural scourge of feminism and selfishness. We need to pray for one another that God may enable us to lay aside our pride and embrace His good and perfect will for us as His daughters.

  8. This is not related to the article, however, I am hoping you will answer. I went to your contact information on your website and e-mailed you a question, twice. Is this not a way to contact you? If not, that’s fine. Would you mind telling me the best way to contact you? Thanks!!

  9. I agree with you M! I have attend church my entire life where men do all the teaching and preaching and leading and I LOVE it that way. I also went to a women’s bible study twice and discussed what was being taught with my husband and he did not allow me to return, and I am grateful for that. Every Sunday afternoon after lunch my husband takes time to sit with me and answer any questions I have about that day’s service and to makes sure I understand everything he decides I need to know. I enjoy learning from him as all I have ever known is staying home, having and raising babies, obeying my husband (which I love doing without question!), and serving him and our Lord. I have never understood what the big deal is about it, only that I feel that I am often criticized by other women (feminists I would say) because I am am very openly submissive and obedient to my husband and they wonder why my three children are adults now and I have still “never worked a day in my life, and never plan to.” Apparently taking care of your home and serving your husband isn’t enough!

  10. Hi Lori, I just wanted to ask if you believe in spiritual gifts? Also in a mixed bible study of couples, is it okay for a woman to have input or since there are men in the group should she keep quiet? Thanks in advance!

  11. A woman can use her spiritual gifts anywhere but in a church gathering. Most of the women in the Bible used their gifts of serving others, if you will notice. In a mixed Bible study group of believers, I believe it’s best for women to be silent and learn from the men. I have noticed that women will tend to dominate the discussion otherwise and God is clear that the teaching/preaching and being in authority has been given to men. If they have a question, they can ask their husband at home as the Bible commands.

  12. Hi Summer J,
    I was blessed by reading your comment; it is a lovely testimony to God’s ways and His goodness. It reminds me of I Corinthians 14:34-35: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” It’s good to see that there are husbands who take this Biblical responsibility seriously.

  13. What do the unmarried women do? When they don’t have a husband to talk to outside of gatherings?

  14. They can also go their fathers. I don’t think it would be unscriptual for an unmarried lady to talk to an elder(s) after service (not during the teaching) if there is a question. If she doesn’t have a spiritual authority in her life then yeah search scripture yourself with commentaries, look online, etc. The Holy Spirit can and will lead you to the answers you seek.

  15. Yes thanks for such a supportive reply. I guess this is a ministry to married women only.

    Of course I search the Scriptures. I was curious what YOUR thoughts were since I’ve not seen single women addressed.

  16. Yes, my main ministry is to married women and mothers but a lot of it can be for single women, too, since they may be married and have children one day. They are also to be good, discreet, sober, and chaste with meek and quiet spirits so yes, they need biblical womanhood as well.

  17. Jennifer,

    Regardless if you become a wife and/or a mother someday, your value in the eyes of God is not dependent on your marital status and you should not be made to feel alienated in a Biblical Womanhood venue!

    KB gave you wise counsel as it is always valuable to interact with others as we question and process our understanding of the Bible in an effort to become more Christlike. God created us to be social beings. In addition to my knowledgeable husband and father, through the years, I’ve been blessed by a slightly older woman chronologically, but more mature spiritually-I consider her a Titus 2 teacher, and although we’re both wives and mothers in a similar parenting stage, most of our discussions stem from a desire to grow spiritually in our individual faith. After all, we’ll all stand alone before God, our Father someday; so, while my role in life is primarily a wife to my husband and mother to my children, my relationship with Jesus Christ, my Savior is paramount to my daily walk as a Christian above all else. My dear Titus 2 friend would teach me whether I was single or married-pray for the Lord to send such a lady to you as you listen to Gospel-centered preaching and study the Scriptures.

    Blessings to you!

  18. Aren’t the spiritual gifts tongues, interpretation and prophecy in a church service?

  19. Thank you for your response Lori. I agree with your views and just trying to navigate where I fit in the Church where we are to serve with our gifts and also I struggle with being in womens groups or studies because the focus isn’t usually on biblical womanhood but on other topics. In the mixed bible studies I don’t want to take over but then get asked for my views so not sure about how to respond etc.

  20. I am confused about the comment that some gifts are not to be used by woman. My Pastor told me that I have the gift of exhortation and Prophesy and I’ve heard this before from other Christians who know me however I have not known how to use them other to write or share in bible study group that is why I was asking. I’d happily do other service at Church but I am limited due to a permanent injury. Why would God give me a spiritual gift that I’m unable to use? I’ve been told that a homemaker can still use her gift to help others in the body of Christ. I understand that teaching and preaching to men is not biblical though.

  21. I went to a church service where women went up on stage and gave their testimony on how God has changed their life in front of the whole congregation. Is this an ok thing do happen?

  22. I would rather err on the side of taking the Bible too literally than too liberally. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (1 Cor. 14:34, 35). Keep silence in the churches, not permitted unto them to speak, shame for women to speak in the church. It all seems clear to me.

  23. As I wrote to someone else. (I didn’t make this up. This is biblical!) I would rather err on the side of taking the Bible too literally than too liberally. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (1 Cor. 14:34, 35). Keep silence in the churches, not permitted unto them to speak, shame for women to speak in the church. It all seems clear to me.

  24. Hi Lori, I completely agree with you that women are clearly not allowed to be speaking within the Church as in teaching, preaching, prophesying etc. I misunderstood your reply to someone else with some gifts such as prophesy being only for men. I was wondering how I’d use a gift outside of the Church but for the benefit of women believers. I came across something this morning by Michael Pearl where he was saying that woman can use their gifts such as prohpesy outside of Church for prayer and things like that. That makes sense to me.

  25. Yes, we can use our gift of prophecy outside of the church. Prophesy means to speak to others for edification, and exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:4).

  26. I’m grateful to be single, so that I may serve the Lord fully (as Paul advises for both unmarried men and women). And of course I could marry if I’d like to. But that will only happen if I’m led of God.

  27. Hi Lori,
    I’m currently getting my undergrad in Bible and Theology to become a pastor and I have a few thoughts on your article:

    1. When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, he wrote it for a specific audience: the people of Corinth who were giving a bad reputation to Christians. The women he urged not to speak in church were a specific group of women who were most likely disrupting a peaceful gathering or partaking in pagan worship (most Theologians would agree with the former).

    2. Lydia lead the church in her home.

    3. Junia’s name originates from a Greek feminine name, so we can gather that she was a woman.

    4. The God that we follow seems to really like when ALL of his children follow their giftings and step into their God-given identity, and he hates when his children are forced to go into hiding because someone misinterpreted his word.

    I recommend reading the book Man and Woman: One in Christ. It is much more eloquent than I am 🙂

  28. You are twisting Scripture to say things it doesn’t say at all.
    1. Paul was specific that he was writing to ALL of the churches of the saints (1 Cor. 14:33).
    2. There is zero mention of Lydia leading a church in her home. This is a made-up fallacy.
    3. Junia was of “note among the apostles” and there is no proof the he/she was a she and he/she wasn’t an apostle. We know who the apostles were – Jesus’ disciples and He didn’t pick a woman.
    4. The God we follow tells us that if we love Him, we will keep His commands not make up things because we want them.
    No, I won’t be reading that book. I will stick with the perfect Word of God!

  29. Hi Lori
    I was raised and grew up believing that women are not to preach in church services.. yet i used to teach children (little boys included) in sunday school classes… what are your thoughts on this?
    Also I have studied about some of the different women in the Bible, not to be controversial or anything, but because most of the people we fellowship believe its ok for women to preach, so I’ve dedicated time to studying this subject… there’s only one woman that leaves me with a ? Its Anna in the book of Matthew, who was present at the blessing of Jesus and spoke to all those present… could you please clear this up for me? Thank you in advance!
    Appreciate your blog very very much!

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