Should women be silent? Someone once told me their church taught women were to be silent and not heard. They said only the man was to speak. He even said this was the case at home and if she spoke then she was to be disciplined. He even justified hitting her for speaking by misquoting the bible. So what does the bible really say about women?
Notice this scripture says women professing devotion to God. If they did not speak how could they profess that?
(1 Timothy 2:8-10) 8So I desire that in every place the men carry on prayer, lifting up loyal hands, without anger and debates. 9Likewise, the women should adorn themselves in appropriate dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive clothing, 10but in the way that is proper for women professing devotion to God, namely, through good works.
Many use this scripture to justify women not speaking . If you read this chapter closely many things that disrupt the meetings are mentioned so it becomes clear that it is referring to authority and the order of things in the congregation. Also it may be referring to questionings on their beliefs because they are instructed to ask their husbands. God set authority in a way it can not be questioned so there is organization and not chaos. They are clearly talking about meetings and how the authority and instruction should be.
(1 Timothy 2:11-14) 11Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 1Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor
God created Eve to be a helper not a slave. She is to be submissive but not oppressed. We are all one through God.
(Genesis 2:18) 18Then Jehovah God said: “It is not good for the man to continue to be alone. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.
(1 Corinthians 11:7-13) 7For a man should not have his head covered, as he is God’s image and glory, but the woman is man’s glory. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man. 9 And what is more, man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man. 10That is why the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11Besides, in connection with the Lord, neither is woman separate from man nor is man separate from woman. 12For just as the woman is from the man, so also the man is through the woman; but all things are from God. 13Judge for yourselves: Is it fitting for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?
We have to remember they have also been covered by the ransom sacrifice. If we do not treat them respectfully and with honor our prayers could be hindered. We are to be one in Christ in other words all are to be treated with respect who are in unity of mind with Christ.
(1 Peter 3:7) 7You husbands, in the same way, continue dwelling with them according to knowledge. Assign them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one, since they are also heirs with you of the undeserved favor of life, in order for your prayers not to be hindered.
(Galatians 3:26-29) 26You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. 27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. 29Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s offspring, heirs with reference to a promise..
Women were also blessed with holy spirit and given gifts in Pentecost. If they were given the same gifts and were to remain silent how could they share those gifts?
(Acts 2:1-12) 2 Now while the day of the Festival of Pentecost was in progress, they were all together at the same place. 2Suddenly there was a noise from heaven, just like that of a rushing, stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And tongues as if of fire became visible to them and were distributed, and one came to rest on each one of them, 4and they all became filled with holy spirit and started to speak in different languages, just as the spirit enabled them to speak. 5At that time devout Jews from every nation under heaven were staying in Jerusalem. 6So when this sound occurred, a crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7Indeed, they were utterly amazed and said: “See here, all these who are speaking are Gal·i·le′ans, are they not? 8How is it, then, that each one of us is hearing his own native language? 9Par′thi·ans, Medes, and E′lam·ites; the inhabitants of Mes·o·po·ta′mi·a, Ju·de′a and Cap·pa·do′ci·a, Pon′tus and the province of Asia, 10Phryg′i·a and Pam·phyl′i·a, Egypt and the regions of Lib′y·a near Cy·re′ne; sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; 11Cre′tans; and Arabians—we hear them speaking in our languages about the magnificent things of God.” 12Yes, they were all astonished and perplexed, saying to one another: “What does this mean?”
(Acts 2:13-18) 13However, others mocked them and said: “They are full of sweet wine.” 14But Peter stood up with the Eleven and spoke to them in a loud voice: “Men of Ju·de′a and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem, let this be known to you and listen carefully to my words. 15These people are, in fact, not drunk, as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day. 16On the contrary, this is what was said through the prophet Joel: 17‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I will pour out some of my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams, 18and even on my male slaves and on my female slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
Jehovah is a God of organization so he does make clear arrangements for authority but he does not permit abuse of it. We are to treat women with the same humility that Jesus treated the congregation with. He set an example by washing the apostles feet. So we are not to lord our authority over the women. If we do so and it is tolerated in the congregation it could cause divisions in the congregation and smear the congregations reputation.
(Ephesians 5:24-27) 25Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and gave himself up for it, 26in order that he might sanctify it, cleansing it with the bath of water by means of the word, 27so that he might present the congregation to himself in its splendor, without a spot or a wrinkle or any of such things, but holy and without blemish..
If women were not to teach how could they instruct their children?
(Proverbs 1:8) 8Listen, my son, to the discipline of your father, And do not forsake the instruction of your mother..
(Proverbs 31:26) 26 Her mouth she has opened in wisdom, and the law of loving-kindness is upon her tongue. . .
If women were to remain silent how would they proclaim the good news of the kingdom?
(Psalm 68:11) 11Jehovah gives the command; The women proclaiming the good news are a large army.
(Matthew 24:14) 14And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come..
The high priest in Israel consulted a prophetess when they needed to learn what Jehovah would require. They followed her instructions and he blessed them with peace. If women were to remain silent how could the priest consult her?
(2 Kings 22:14-20) 14So Hil·ki′ah the priest, A·hi′kam, Ach′bor, Sha′phan, and A·sai′ah went to Hul′dah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shal′lum son of Tik′vah son of Har′has, the caretaker of the wardrobe, and she was dwelling in the Second Quarter of Jerusalem; and they spoke to her there. 15She said to them: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel says, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me: 16“This is what Jehovah says, ‘I will bring calamity on this place and its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. 17Because they have abandoned me and are making sacrifices smoke to other gods in order to offend me with all the work of their hands, my rage will be set ablaze against this place and it will not be extinguished.’” 18But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of Jehovah, this is what you should say to him, “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel says: ‘Regarding the words that you have heard, 19because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before Jehovah on hearing what I have spoken against this place and its inhabitants—that they would become an object of horror and a curse—and you ripped your garments apart and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares Jehovah. 20That is why I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be laid in your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the calamity that I will bring on this place.’”’” Then they brought the reply to the king.
Are women to have no authority in life? This scripture clearly shows that women have authority or they could perform the task described in this scripture. Of course the mans authority would be over the womens.
(Proverbs 31:10-20) 10Who can find a capable wife? Her value is far more than that of corals. ב [Beth] 11Her husband trusts her from his heart, And he lacks nothing of value. ג [Gimel] 12She rewards him with good, not bad, All the days of her life. ד [Daleth] 13She obtains wool and linen; She delights to work with her hands. ה [He] 14She is like the ships of a merchant, Bringing her food in from afar. ו [Waw] 15She also rises while it is still night, Providing food for her household And portions for her female servants. ז [Zayin] 16She sets her mind on a field and buys it; She plants a vineyard from her own labors. ח [Heth] 17She prepares herself for hard work, And she strengthens her arms. ט [Teth] 18She sees that her trading is profitable; Her lamp does not go out at night. י [Yod] 19Her hands seize the distaff, And her hands take hold of the spindle. כ [Kaph] 20She extends her palm to the lowly one, And she opens her hands to the poor.
Women who ministered to Jesus, so it is obvious that their role in the congregation was not sitting learning like a lump and being silent. So they play a role in helping with things. Their role is not passive and to sit and let the men do all spiritual matters.
(Mark 15:40, 41) 40There were also women watching from a distance, among them Mary Mag′da·lene as well as Mary the mother of James the Less and of Jo′ses, and Sa·lo′me, 41who used to accompany him and minister to him.
So it is clear the scriptures are explaining the order of authority.
(1 Corinthians 11:2, 3) 3But I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God.
So now we will discuss women who have had many roles in the bible that required them to speak and deliver messages.
If you read Judges chapters 4 and 5 you will learn about the prophetess Deborah. She was not only a prophetess but a leader in Israel. Many decisions she made showed Jehovah blessed her work.
In 2 Samuel chapter 20 A women took the initiative to speak for Israel. Her actions helped save many lives.
(2 Samuel 20:15-22) 15 And they proceeded to come and lay siege against him in Abel of Beth-ma′a·cah and cast up a siege rampart against the city, as it was standing within a rampart. And all the people that were with Jo′ab were undermining the wall, to throw it down. 16 And a wise woman began to call from the city: “Listen, men, listen! Say, please, to Jo′ab, ‘Come near as far as here, and let me speak to you.’” 17 So he went near to her, and the woman then said: “Are you Jo′ab?” to which he said: “I am.” At this she said to him: “Listen to the words of your slave girl.” In turn he said: “I am listening.” 18 And she went on to say: “Without exception they used to speak in former times, saying, ‘Let them but inquire in Abel, and thus they will certainly end the matter.’ 19 I represent the peaceable and faithful ones of Israel. You are seeking to put to death a city and a mother in Israel. Why should you swallow up the inheritance of Jehovah?” 20 To this Jo′ab answered and said: “It is altogether unthinkable on my part that I should swallow up and that I should bring to ruin. 21 The matter is not that way, but a man from the mountainous region of E′phra·im, whose name is She′ba the son of Bich′ri, has lifted up his hand against King David. YOU people, give him over by himself, and I will withdraw from the city.” Then the woman said to Jo′ab: “Look! His head [will be] pitched to you over the wall!” 22 At once the woman went in her wisdom to all the people, and they proceeded to cut off the head of She′ba the son of Bich′ri and pitch it to Jo′ab. Upon that he blew the horn, and so they were scattered from the city, each one to his home; and Jo′ab himself returned to Jerusalem to the king.
In 2Chronicles chapter 34 King Josiah wanted to learn more about Jehovah. He sent a delegation to a women named Huldah. They heeded her counsel and made many religious reforms that had a positive impact on Israel.
(2 Chronicles 34:22-28) 22 Accordingly Hil·ki′ah along with those whom the king [had said] went to Hul′dah the prophetess, the wife of Shal′lum the son of Tik′vah the son of Har′has the caretaker of the garments, as she was dwelling in Jerusalem in the second quarter; and they proceeded to speak to her like this. 23 In turn she said to them: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said, ‘SAY to the man that sent YOU to me: 24 “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘Here I am bringing calamity upon this place and its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that they read before the king of Judah, 25 due to the fact that they have left me and gone making sacrificial smoke to other gods, in order to offend me with all the doings of their hands and that my rage may pour forth upon this place and not be extinguished.’” 26 And to the king of Judah, who is sending YOU to inquire of Jehovah, this is what YOU should say to him: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said, ‘As regards the words that you have heard, 27 for the reason that your heart was soft so that you humbled yourself because of God at your hearing his words concerning this place and its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before me and ripped your garments apart and wept before me, I, even I, have heard, is the utterance of Jehovah. 28 Here I am gathering you to your forefathers, and you will certainly be gathered to your graveyard in peace, and your eyes will not look upon all the calamity that I am bringing upon this place and its inhabitants.’”’”. . .
In John chapter 20 Jesus entrusted Mary Magdalene with certain messages to deliver.
(John 20:15-18) . . .” 16 Jesus said to her: “Mary!” Upon turning around, she said to him, in Hebrew: “Rab·bo′ni!” (which means “Teacher!”) 17 Jesus said to her: “Stop clinging to me. For I have not yet ascended to the Father. But be on your way to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and YOUR Father and to my God and YOUR God.’” 18 Mary Mag′da·lene came and brought the news to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord!” and that he said these things to her.
In Romans chapter 16 Priscilla is mentioned as a fellow worker. Paul entrusted a woman to deliver his letter to the Romans.
(Romans 16:1-7) 16 I recommend to YOU Phoe′be our sister, who is a minister of the congregation that is in Cen′chre·ae, 2 that YOU may welcome her in [the] Lord in a way worthy of the holy ones, and that YOU may assist her in any matter where she may need YOU, for she herself also proved to be a defender of many, yes, of me myself. 3 Give my greetings to Pris′ca and Aq′ui·la my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who have risked their own necks for my soul, to whom not only I but also all the congregations of the nations render thanks; 5 and [greet] the congregation that is in their house. Greet my beloved E·pae′ne·tus, who is a firstfruits of Asia for Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who has performed many labors for YOU. 7 Greet An·dron′i·cus and Ju′ni·as my relatives and my fellow captives, who are men of note among the apostles and who have been in union with Christ longer than I have.
So it is clear that woman are not to have a passive role in the work but are to respect the arrangements of authority.
There are many examples of women in various positions of authority in the bible. For example in Judges chapter 13 God entrusted his plans for Samson to a woman. He had so much confidence in her that when her husband inquired Jehovah about it he reaffirmed the woman would do as he told her to. In Judges chapter 4 Deborah was a leader in Israel who made very decisive military decisions. We know Jehovah approved because there was peace in the land for forty years. In 2Kings 2:8-20 and 23:1-25 Huldah was a woman who gave spiritual council to the king. He heeded her council and things went well. This shows we are to obey leaders. It doesn’t say male leaders but leaders. So male or female we must submit to them. Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Many take this scripture and a few others out of context and oppress women. This and other scriptures are clearly speaking of womens role in the congregation. It does not say they should always be submissive. 1Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
Galatians 3:28 Shows we are all one in Christ.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Mark 16:17, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils…
If we are going to take scripture out of context we could assume that since Paul is a man only men have authority over demons. We know this is not true because the bible says we are all one in Christ. It also stated all in Pentecost received the holy spirit.
Acts 2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
God is a God of organization so he has made the man head over the wife. But does that means he should be in complete control over her. Of course not, we are to follow Jesus example and treat them in a way that honors God. Jesus even set the example of the type of humility we should display.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
John 13:2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. 1John 3:16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
We are to treat women as equals.
1Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
Women have authority within the household. In Proverbs it mentions the many abilities a women could have. Many of the task require authority, though the man is head of the woman it is clear she is granted authority that should be respected.
Proverbs 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
Now we established that women can have authority and often does have it. So whether the authority is male or female if we go against that authority we are going against God.
Romans 15:13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
Since we are all one in Christ and even women were considered Abraham’s seed it would be wise to treat them with honor, respect, compassion and humility because woman will be among the 144,000 who will rule as priest and kings judging the earth. So if you treat a women in a way that does not honor God you could be dishonoring one of our future rulers with Christ.
Galatians 3:26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Revelations 14 Then I saw, and look! the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who have his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. 2 I heard a sound coming out of heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; and the sound that I heard was like singers who accompany themselves by playing on their harps. 3 And they are singing what seems to be a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, and no one was able to master that song except the 144,000, who have been bought from the earth. 4 These are the ones who did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. These are the ones who keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, 5 and no deceit was found in their mouths; they are without blemish.
Revelations 20:4 And I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. Yes, I saw the souls* of those executed for the witness they gave about Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had not worshiped the wild beast or its image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for 1,000 years.