Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 21, 1954
NUMBER 36, PAGE 8-9a

Texts In Context: Women Teachers -- No. 2

W. O.Flatt, Fort Worth, Texas

In a previous article we advanced the theme that it is God's order that every institution of God (whether family, state, or church) should have a head. We continue our study of the subject of "women teachers" by calling attention to this fundamental principle as set forth in certain passages: 1 Timothy 2:11-14 "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection."

Verse 12 states, "but I suffer not a woman (wife) to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man (husband) but to be in silence."

Verse 11, Paul didn't say a woman (wife) must always "learn in silence," but if breaking her silence would show that she was not under subjection to her husband, then let her keep silent. In verse 12, he did not say a woman (wife) was never to do any teaching, but she must not teach if her teaching "usurps authority over the man" (her husband). We know these conclusions are true, for we remember that Priscilla helped her husband (Aquila) teach Apollos. (Acts 18:26) In Verses 13 and 14, Paul goes back to the very beginning of time to show this has always been God's law concerning a man and his wife. Take notice to what he says (verse 13) "For Adam was first formed then Eve, and (verse 14) Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." Let us look at Genesis 3:16, "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

This is God's universal law, and has prevailed from the beginning of time, it is for all nations, people, and tongues, and is the only law of God honored by all people. It would be well for you to read Genesis, chapters 2 and 3. Some would have you believe that the above scriptures (1 Tim. 2:11-14) are bound only on the church or in the church. This is not true, Paul is giving the law concerning a man and his wife, and he goes back to the beginning, as we have already shown, to show that a wife has always been under subjection to her husband and will always be, until the end of time. For a home to be a home as God would have it, it must have a head, so God made man to be the head of the woman (wife, home). For this reason alone, the woman is not allowed to preach, serve as elder, deacon, or to do anything, anywhere, anytime in the church or out of the church where by so doing she would usurp authority over men. Let us look at other scriptures that substantiate the teaching that the wife is to be under subjection to her husband. It is very necessary that we fully understand this. I would like for us to look at several passages before I put up any argument.

First Peter 3:1-6. Turn to your Bible and read this. Peter is teaching the same thing on this subjects that Paul taught, that a woman must be in subjection to her own husband, and he gives the fruits of a Christian woman doing this.

First Corinthians 11:3-5. Verse 3, "but I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman (wife) is man (husband) and the head of Christ is God. Verse 4, "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head(Christ)." Verse 5, "but every woman (wife) that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head (husband); for that is even all one as if she were shaven."

Ephesians 5:22-24 Verse 22, "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord."

Verse 23, "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body."

Verse 24, "Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."

In Ephesians 5:22-24, we learn that Paul had under consideration a man and his wife. First Corinthians 11:3-5 and other scriptures we have used prove the same. Now we would like to see if we can learn something about women teachers from 1 Corinthians 11:3-5. In this scripture Paul lays down the law, that both the man and the woman may pray and teach. We know man is not limited to where, how or when he shall pray and teach. We also know that woman is only limited to where, how and when her praying and teaching is to be done by the fact that it is not to be done in such a way as to usurp authority over man. Her prayers (leading in prayers) is just as public as her teaching, we are forced to this conclusion by the above scriptures. We know that it is an absolute impossibility for a woman to dishonor her head (husband) in secret prayer, or when she says a silent, amen, at the close of the prayer led by some brother at the Sunday morning service. So we conclude that she may lead in prayer anywhere that she may scripturally teach.

1 Corinthians 14:23, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34, 35, 40 Verse 23, "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad?"

Verse 26, "How is it brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."

Verse 27, "If any man speak in any unknown tongue let it be by two or at the most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret."

Verse 28, "But if there be no interpreter, let him speak to himself and to God."

Verse 33, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."

Verse 34, "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."

Verse 35, "And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

Verse 40, "Let all things be done decently and in order."

In this fourteenth chapter Paul is dealing with spiritual gifts, but primarily with the gifts of tongues, it was the way that they were using this gift that was causing the confusion, and women were violating the command of God by not "honoring her head," and by 'usurping authority over man."

Verse 32, "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." In this verse, and verses 27, 28, Paul tells them how to eliminate the confusion.

I have used these verses in the fourteenth chapter for two reasons: first, because Paul has commanded in verse 34, "Let your women keep silence in the churches"; second, because some in trying to justify Bible classes and women teachers have made this argument — that since Paul was dealing with spiritual gifts and the women were involved in causing the confusion, his command for them to "keep silence" applied only to these things that caused the confusion. This argument will not stand for Paul says "Let your women keep silence in the churches." Churches, not just the church at Corinth. (I teach in the Northside Church here in Fort Worth and it is one of the churches.) Besides, I have already shown that women cannot pray and teach anywhere, anyway, anytime, usurping authority over man. I have also proven that she did, can and may pray and teach anywhere, anytime, anyway so long as she does not usurp authority over man.

Teaching In The Church

Some people seem to think that the only time one can teach in the church is when "the whole church is come together into one place," (all together in one building). This is not true, all Christians are in the church, at all times, wherever they are, and all are commanded to teach, both men and women. (Matt. 28:20; Acts 8:1,4; Jude 3) For doing this individual teaching we get our authority from Christ the Son of God, and not from the elders of the church, but when the elders in feeding the church, and with the church decide to use classes with both men and women teaching, they have authority from the Son of God to do so. By the authority vested in them as the overseers of the church.

Luke 20:34,35, "And Jesus answering said unto them, the children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage.

Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

In Luke Jesus teaches in heaven there will be no more homes as we have them here on earth with husband and wife, with man the head of the home, no flesh and blood. (1 Cor. 15:50)

In Galatians 3:28 Paul says, "There is neither male nor female" in Christ (in the church). If that is true in the church then why is it that women are not equal to men in the church? Well, spiritually speaking there is neither male nor female, but as long as we are in the church here on earth we are flesh and blood. There is "marriage and giving in marriage," there is husband and wife and the home. As long as we have the institution called home, it must have a head and God has ordained that man is the head of the woman, and she must not usurp authority over him, and as long as woman does not usurp authority over man, she may pray and teach, — anywhere, anyway, anytime she has the opportunity.

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)