Understanding the truth concerning women in the body of Christ is needed in these last days, but traditions run deep in this area even among some of the most devoted followers of Christ. It comes as a result of the original sin and the fall in the "Garden of Eden". The attitudes, beliefs and teaching that came about concerning the "women's place" are not the way God created Adam and Eve to be from the beginning and has never been His plan for the body of Christ.
God told Eve this would happen; it was the "natural" course of things that would come. Their "spiritual life" had died the day they ate of the "Human Opinion Tree" (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) and both Adam and Eve begin to live for their own will rather than the will of God. Before "the fall" they had "lived" for God and received "Life" from Him, God filled all their desires and satisfied their souls, but the day they choose to live for "self" their "Life" from God died. They would then be driven to fill that void and get "Life" or "fulfillment" elsewhere, including from each other. The women would seek "Life" from the man and her desires would be to please him (instead of God) and the man, being the physically stronger one, would just as "naturally" seek to get "Life" from the women and he would rule over her (instead of God).
Today, 6,000 years later with so many preconceived ideas and traditions of men, it is hard to see through the deception that has resulted. It has denied multitudes of women the opportunity to serve God with the gifts He has given them. The whole body of Christ has suffers because of this. But I might add, many times, the willingness of women to work within the "state" they find themselves in, will help bring them to a closer walk with Christ as they pick up their cross and follow Him. While the Lord is able to change the circumstances, and may, it is not necessarily for Him to do so, as He is able to give His Rivers of Living Waters to all who seek only His will, where there is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost in ALL situations. Because of Christ, the "Life" that was lost in the Garden can be found and enjoyed today regardless of the circumstances around us.
The Holy Spirit calls ALL members of the body of Christ to submit to one another, both male and female; we are called to be servants. But the world cannot receive that, they do not have the Holy Spirit guiding them. They have a natural tendency to rule over others, or to be the "best" at whatever they do, competition is everywhere, the need to be "on top", it is the "food" of the world and its system, it is how it operates. But that is opposite of the way the Kingdom of God is run. Jesus said "that shall not be so among you". (Matthew 20:26) The false practices and teachings of any kind of hierarchy systems that puts anyone "over" other grown members of the body Christ, to be their "head", and say it is of Christ and claim it is scriptural, is not the truth and is NOT the true gospel of the Kingdom of God.
I believe the Lord has laid it on my heart to share about my own experiences with this subject and how He has led me through many of these things.
When the Lord was calling me into a deeper walk with him, he began to teach me. Probably for my own good because of what He was able to show me in the process; He led me to write about the things He was teaching me and post them on a blog. Mostly, I learned as I wrote and I was amazed at this and what He was doing. Primarily He was teaching me the truths of the cross and what it means to die to the world, to our self life and self sufficiency. And above all, an unwavering trust in Him to lead, guide and care for my every need, to place no confidence in the flesh and my own abilities.
He was teaching me to love the truth no matter the cost to my self. To hold things "lightly" even things that might seem in the natural to be real needs and be willing to give them up if He directed. For I had been bought with a price, I was no longer my own, therefore I was His to do with as He chose and He would provide for everything that was needed to follow His will in my life. I can testify to His faithfulness, He makes it real that you are His responsibility if our trust is in Him alone. He brings us through many trials and tribulations. And as we submit to His dealings in the midst of these trials, He is SO faithful to bring us through to the other side with less of "self" and more of Him manifesting His life in us.
During all the time the Lord was teaching me, I never saw a different "gospel" or "roles" in them for me as a woman. I had never really given much thought to this subject until a minister started speaking about it on an online fellowship.
It was several years ago when this minister, whom I respected at the time, preached a message about the role of women. He began to stress very strongly that a woman was not allowed to teach a man. He also spoke about a head covering that she would be required to wear at times and how she was not allowed to speak in a fellowship. He brought up many scriptures that made it look like there was definitely a difference spiritually between a man and a woman and what a woman was allowed to do. He taught that a woman could only teach other women and children, but if they had a son reach a certain age, the woman could no longer have authority over the child because he was becoming a man and since the man was the head of a woman, she was not allowed to have authority over him, she would have to defer to the father instead. Somehow he equated teaching with authority.
Because I knew the Lord had taught me some truths through this minister, I was not quick to discard what he said...and all those scriptures sure seemed to agree with him. But it didn't seem to match what the Spirit was showing me as I prayed about it. But then I wondered if I had an idol in my heart and I didn't want to believe this "truth". Was it possible the Lord was giving me over to an idol of my heart and was turning me over to believe a lie? (Ezekiel 14:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11) I was still young in the Lord and I didn't want to be deceived by my own desires.
This minister spoke twice weekly in an online fellowship on Paltalk and we often joined in, this is where I had heard him preach this message. This ministry had known about my blog, in fact they had linked to it on their website. I had been in contact with one of the "Elders" of this ministry and during a discussion with him, the blog was brought up. He said they believed it might be ok to have it as long as a man did not read it.
Later I wondered how this could be. How could I control who found the blog and who would read it? Was I really out of God's will by even having it? I struggled with this for days and asked the Lord for help, but I didn't seem to come to any clear answers. I didn't really feel I had done anything wrong in my spirit...but those scriptures! How could I get around that? I must be wrong, I thought it better to believe the scriptures than to believe what I thought I was sensing in my spirit. So...to be on the "safe" side, I decided to delete the blog. I expected a great relief when I did that...a peace and a witness in my spirit that I had followed the Lord in this, but there was none. In fact, I was more unsettled in my spirit than ever before. I continued in prayer about it for some time and studied the scriptures.
The more I read in the Bible, the more I began to wonder...if what this man said was true, what scriptures were for me and what scriptures were just for men. What scriptures and promises could I trust in for myself, they all seemed to go together and in most cases no distinction was made between male and female. I could see the same topic being discussed in several different passages in the Bible, with only one of them being interpreted as for men only (as some of Paul's letters seem to say). But the other passages made no distinction at all between male and female. If I didn't study all the references on the subject, it seemed that I wouldn't know if it was for me or not, or if I was restricted in some way because I was a woman. Why didn't the other references make it clear on how it related to a male or female?
I had always believed that as I read the scriptures they would apply to me if I was part of the "whosoever will". It had never occurred to me that I needed to study it out to see if a woman would be included or not. Again, if what this man said was true, there had to be two different gospels for this to be so, one for the man and one for the woman. Christ was the head of man, but the head of a woman is not Christ, but a man? Isn't that two different gospels?
I know this might be some difficult reading. Human nature sometimes doesn't see or want to see both sides of the "coin" so to speak, if the other side doesn't effect them. But if this teaching and all the scriptures are interpreted literally as doctrine for all women, and you carry that out to its conclusion, there would definitely be two different gospels, one for the man and one for the woman...no way around it. But it would also go against the very nature of Jesus Christ that He showed us in His walk.
Back then I wonder if there were two different gospels, why didn't Jesus make this clear to us if that was the way it was suppose to be? Why did He allow Mary to sit at His feet along with the men to learn of Him while Martha was "busy with many things" and Martha was rebuked for not doing the same as Mary? Why did He send a woman, Mary, to tell the disciples that He had risen from the dead? Jesus didn't seem to treat women any differently than He treated men. Remember how He talked to the woman at the well and how He revealed things to her that had never been shown to anyone else up until that time? So many things going through my mind...I only wanted the Lord's will!
Can there really be two spiritual heads, one for the man and one for the woman, isn't Christ the head of a woman too and if so, why would she need another head? Could it be that Paul was only using a traditional family order in their culture as a metaphor of the spiritual body that Christ alone is the head...would that not include all that are his, both male and female? As Peter said, we live for God and not man: "so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the will of men, but for the will of God." (1 Peter 4:2) Can that be true for a woman if man is her head?
A beautiful picture of the body of Christ that I have always loved can be found in Paul's description of it in Ephesians. It explains how "every one of us" is to grow up into a "perfect man" with Christ as the head. Are these scriptures now in question too?
This minister had stressed that man was the head of a woman and Christ was the head of the man. So how does that apply to the above scripture? What parts of it, if any, are for women?
He also read the following scripture and stressed "every man" and said it was not for a woman!
Then later in the chapter you read:
Is this scripture not for women too? Are women not part of this body of Christ or could it be that they are just a little lesser member of it and not part of the "some" that would have these gifts mentioned simply because they are women...could this be true? Maybe they would be just limited in these gifts and how they would be used...? But who would do the limiting? The Holy Spirit?...or was it the man's job since he is suppose to be the "head" over the woman? Or is it possible that some gifts were for men only and other gifts were for women, but if so, you would think he would have said so...and of course the Holy Spirit would not give them to the woman in the first place if they weren't suppose to have them.
How about other scriptures which talk about our salvation...about ruling and reigning with Him over sin? Where do women fit in there? It seemed the Bible was being stripped away from me; it began to feel like it was possible that, because I was a woman, it was not written to me in the same sense it was written to men. Was I not one of those that Jesus prayed for in John the 17th chapter, "(20) Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;" "Their word" is much of what we have today in the New Testament Gospels.
Talk about trying to shipwreck ones faith, this was doing a job on me!
I began to do a Greek word study and found that the same Greek word (hymeis) was used in both the above passages in 1Corinthians 12. In verse 7 it was translated "every man" but in verse 27 it was translated "ye". The Greek word "hymeis" means "you", it is not gender specific, it has nothing to do with male or female in either of these scriptures! More studying showed this was the case through out the scriptures. In many places the word "man" was used instead of a non gender specific word. As in 1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" The Greek word for "men" in this passage is "anthropos" meaning a human being, whether male or female, to include all human individuals. Yet, I suppose because of grammar, the King James Version translated this word "man" 552 times in the New Testament.
My mind began to race and to think, "That minister must have known that"! He was a Bible teacher, he studied the word, how could he have NOT known that it didn't really mean "every man" (as in "man" only) as he had stressed SO much! And what about Gal 3:28 where it says: "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".
More study showed that when Paul was writing 1 Corinthians he was responding to a letter he had received about some problems that had arisen in Corinthian fellowship and he was addressing some of these particular problems they were having. Is it not reasonable to believe he was talking about certain women that had been causing a problem and it was for them to be silent, and it was not intending for a doctrine to be made of it for all women? This seems to be more likely the case since Paul spoke of women "deacons" and at least of one "apostle" in other letters and he called some women his "fellow workers", women that were working along side of him, doing the same things. One example is Phebe.
I am not sure if it was the same day, but soon after, the next Paltalk fellowship was coming up. In the mean time I did some more studying and I believed the Lord was leading me. I was beginning to get a better picture of the truth as I was being led by His spirit and saw that the original text was also giving witness to what He had been showing me.
This minister continued on the same subject matter that evening in his teaching. He started off by reading a question that he said was given to him since the last meeting.
The question was from a woman whose farther-in-law was on his death bed. She didn't believe the man was saved and since there were no men in the family that knew the Lord, she wanted to know if it would it be OK for her to share the gospel with him and give him a chance to make it right with the Lord before he passed. The minister started his answer with affirming that it was a legitimate question and a good one at that. And if the woman had done everything she could do to find a man that could minister to him to no avail, then under these extreme circumstances, it would probably be alright...
That "did it" for me. When it gets so bad that one is not even free to share that hope that dwells within because of gender, (especially to a dying man) something is terribly wrong. (I learned later that the question was made up and no one really asked it). I asked the Lord to forgive me for doubting His Spirit's leading. He soon comforted me with His Spirit and His peace began to fill my heart once more. I also asked Him to forgive me for throwing away the things he had given me on the blog and disregarding them so carelessly. Many of the things that had been on the blog were permanently lost as there were no backup copies for them other than what He had worked into my heart because of them. I learned not to take so lightly the things He gives us.
While all my questions had not been completely answered in my mind yet, my heart was settled, even though there were still scriptures that could be confusing, I had the witness of the Holy Spirit leading me and giving me peace about it. This has never been an "issue" for me again. If we are dying to the flesh and walking in the Spirit, it is the Lord that works through us and it is His decision what we do or don't do, this burden no longer rests on us.
Several years later I heard a series of teachings on the subject of Women. These teachings were instrumental in my understanding of some truths that surround many of the scriptures that had once been so confusing to me, the Lord has used these to further confirm His Spirit's leading. God is so good to show us the truth, if we want the truth no matter the cost to us. You can access these teachings in PDF form in the below link.
5 Part Series