Men-istry: What are the roles and responsibilities of women in The Church? (PART ONE)

A few weeks ago, I listened to a four part sermon/podcast series called God’s High Calling For Women preached by John MacArthur, senior “preacher-teacher” at Grace Community Church located in Sun Valley, California and Grace to You, MacArthur’s one-stop shop for his sermons and commentaries.

MacArthur’s trademark, as seen on the website and heard before every sermon, is “Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time”. In this aforementioned sermon series, MacArthur unleashes the truth of 1 Timothy 2:8-15, a go-to verses used by those that disagree with women pastors and leaders within The Church.

1 Timothy 2:8-15 (ESV) reads:

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 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.15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 

MacArthur does a great job at giving a detailed contextual history and grammar analysis for all seven verses, which I, as a person who advocates for looking at the historical context of scripture, enjoyed quite a bit and frankly, it made a lot of sense to me. If you’re interested, I encourage you to listen to the series (each part is about a hour long, just as a heads up).

MacArthur makes it very clear: All of these regulations are specifically for corporate worship. Basically, whenever church is happening (Sunday morning, Wednesday night, Saturday evening) women should “adorn themselves in respectable apparel” (v. 9) and “learn quietly with submissiveness” (v. 11) . He advocates that within bible studies, fellowship, and anything outside the corporate worship women should be asking questions and being active in the learning process. He only mentions teaching and having authority over a man outside the corporate worship when teaching children (Sunday school, home-training, etc)

MacArthur states that the reason why men need to be at the head is because of what happened in The Garden: Eve was deceived and then deceived  Adam (v. 13). MacArthur argues that Eve was so easily deceived because she is a women (absolutely no scripture to support this claim) and when Eve made the decision to share the fruit with Adam (Genesis 3:6b), she was an example of why women should not have authority over a man.

MacArthur says that women will be redeemed through childbearing (v 15) because in the pain for bearing children, women are reminded of their role in sin (Genesis 3:16) but having the child reminds the woman of God’s grace and gives the woman a second chance by having her teach and rear her children.

He mentions that there are women who do not feel called to be a mother but, just like singleness, this is done for the glory of the Lord. The same goes for being a mother: Raising children in godliness is the woman’s primary way of worshiping and loving the Lord.

If your blood is boiling and your head is cocked to the side, I strongly suggest you listen to the sermon series I linked to above. Also, I suggest you come back next week for my own analysis of this passage.

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