Woman’s Role – Spiritual Leaders?

Every day, I pray over our girl’s athletics class at the end of the seventh period. It’s something I really look forward to after the completion of a hard workout. However, when it’s our swim team and it’s a group with both girls and guys, I always decline when asked to lead a prayer. Why is this? It’s something that confuses a lot of people. It has to do with what the bible says about a woman’s role in a mixed gender setting, and it is the same reason I don’t go to chapel at school when a female is leading it.

Obviously, I don’t avoid these things like the plague without reason. In 1 Timothy chapter 2, Paul writes to Timothy about proper order in worship. Within these verses, he says, “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing… A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”

Ok, so I know that I threw a lot at you right there, but stay with me. I’m going to unpack it one bit at a time and explain what it means for us today.

The first part of this verse is talking about Paul wanting “men everywhere to pray.”  Notice, first of all, that it says men, not women. This verse is specific to the guys, not just to Christians as a whole. The second part of the passage backs this up, too. In verse 11 of the passage, Paul instructs the woman of the church to learn in “quietness and full submission.” He doesn’t permit a woman having spiritual authority over a man – a position that wouldn’t be very popular amidst today’s feminist movement.

A lot of people argue that these verses should be disregarded as a cultural tradition of the time. However, the mention of the roles having to do with Adam and Eve’s time in the garden points to the positions having to do with something greater than cultural tradition. It has to do with Eve’s mistakes and it cost us, as women, to the right to be spiritual leaders, just as it caused us to be stained by sin. Today, we still deal with those repercussions and have to deal with the consequences, even though society has changed quite a bit since that time.

So, women aren’t given the Biblical authority to lead in the church. What does that have to do with me praying over my swim team? Well, when going back to those same verses, we’ll see that men are to pray everywhere. Now, this is where the controversy comes in, even within the church. I interpret this “everywhere” as, when/where there’s a guy present, he should be the one in spiritual authority. Whether that’s by him being the one to pray or to speak in chapel, I believe it is God’s will for him to be the one in charge of it.

Is this view ultra-conservative? Absolutely. But as for me, I rather err on the side of caution than to be turned away at the gates of Heaven for taking the scriptures into my own hands. We figure, often, that if we do what we think is right, God will accept it and be pleased with our efforts. The truth of the matter is, this isn’t the case, and not everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved (Matt. 7:21-23). He tells us, through His word, what He wants from us, and expects us to obey. If we don’t…well, I’m in no place to say what happens next. He’s the judge, and I’m simply trying to obey His will like everyone else. I just know that I don’t want to be on the other end of God’s wrath and I’d rather be safe than walk the line.

6 thoughts on “Woman’s Role – Spiritual Leaders?

  1. Savannah – I saw your article in Christian Chronicle on women’s & thought it to be one of the best in many years. I’m glad you are ultra-conservative in a world that needs women to be strong. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for you in leading young women to Christ.
    I am a long-time friend of Dave & Lynne Laton. Blessings, Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Savannah: I just read your article in the Christian Chronicle (and I see it above). Kudos to you for your stand on this. Though this is not popular among some, I believe you are right, and you have based your case on clear Scripture, and you have reasoned courageously and faithfully about its application. God bless you. You are an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m going to join the others, Savannah, thanking you for having the courage to stand up for what the Bible clearly teaches. You reminded me of the great men and women of faith in the Bible; people who stood with God no matter what. Rather than become another ‘ear tickler,’ you decided to stay with the Word even if it is ‘out of season.’ God bless, stay strong, and if you’re ever in Denver, stop by the Bible Institute. We’d love to take you out for lunch!


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