Looking back at my childhood, I see how the people around me distinctly shaped my worldview. As I grew up, one of the things that I continued to see was women and their roles in my life. I always looked up to women like my mom, my grandma, my aunts and women leaders in my church. I wouldn’t be who I am today without their wisdom and guidance. This is my normal, and I didn’t think anything of it until I came to college, where I found another perspective on women being in church leadership. I have two aunts and many friends who are pastors of churches, and I never thought to question their leadership. It wasn’t until I got to college that I started to dive deeper into what the Bible says about women in church leadership.
I believe that the Bible is the Living Word of God. Even though it was written over 2,000 years ago, it still speaks truth and is the authority of God. When reading the Bible, we also must acknowledge that it was written over 2,000 years ago to a particular group of people for a specific purpose. We must read the Bible with an understanding of the culture of the time and what the people were facing. A couple of Bible verses talk about women and how they should not have authority over men in the church, like 1 Timothy 2:1-15 and 1 Corinthians 11 and 14.
I think it is also crucial to look over the whole Bible to see the characteristics of God and His plan for His people. Looking at the Bible, I see how God uses everyone regardless of class, status or gender. We see Deborah in the Book of Judges as an influential judge. The Bible calls her a prophet and judge that helped lead the nation of Israel to a time of peace. God used Esther to save all the Jewish people from being murdered. In the New Testament, we see Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, leading a church in one of the most corrupt cities of its time. Priscilla helped correct the errors of Apollos, a fellow Jew, and led him in his own faith journey. It was not just men discipling the people, both inside and outside the church, but also women.
We see Phoebe, a strong leader in the church, whom Paul entrusted to deliver his letter, Romans, to the church. This is huge because if Phoebe was the one who delivered the letter, that means she would have likely been the one to read it to the church and answer any questions the people might have. What an honor and privilege Paul gave to a woman. These are just a few great examples of God using women to further the kingdom of God in significant ways. The Bible shows both men and women taking ownership of the church, which is needed because of our differences. The church would fully benefit from having both men and women utilize their leadership strengths to further God’s plan in the church. Looking at the Bible in its entirety, I ask, “Why not women?”