What does it mean to be a redeemed woman? I never struggling with this question until recently. Here’s a little back story of my Christian history.
I grew up in a non-denominational, primarily African American church. Whatever church you grow up in shapes how you see Christianity. As a young adult, I left the church I grew up in, spread my wings, and I went to a different, non-denominational church. Both churches were pretty similar in their beliefs, just different in style and culture. These churches shaped how I saw Christianity. I’ve recently realized that my normal is not everyone’s normal. In case you were wondering, this is what’s normal for me:
- Believe in the active functioning of all gifts of the Spirit. Including the “sign” gifts (prophecy, miracles, healing, tongues).
- Women can preach.
- Fasting is a lifestyle that all believers should have and pursue.
- We can discern and hear God’s voice.
- Women can preach.
You many have noticed, one thing is on the list twice. Why? That is what I am going to emphasize (the other topics will came later). Many of you reading this have already decided I am a false teacher, heretic, or a witch, based off of that list. If that is you, this post is not for you. This post is for those who are seeking an understanding of a woman’s role in the Church and Body of Christ. This post is for those who don’t claim to know everything about the Bible, and are willing to learn and receive something they have never seen before. I am here to give a reason for the hope that I have (1 Peter 3:15).
Women can preach. This is the story of how God revealed this Biblical truth to me:
I’m currently doing a 10 month mission trip. I have a heart for the nations. I don’t know how God will use that quite yet, but during this trip, He’s been working in a way that I didn’t expect. I found myself at a place surrounded with 50+ Christians who grew up differently than me. Basically, everything in the list above is not a theology accepted by those around me. Some label my theology, “charismatic.” I never realized that “charismatic Christianity” was not equal to Christianity for all believers. How could I be so ignorant about this? I’m not sure. But I learned real quick the reality of the church in America.
One day, as I gathered together with my fellow believers, the topic about women sharing the word came up. Some woman mentioned that they wouldn’t be comfortable speaking with the men in the room because it goes against their theology. One of the male believers asked if everyone understood why this conversation was happening. Most nodded their heads. I stayed still and silent. I’ve lived with these believers for 2 months and didn’t know they were against women preaching. Oh, how ignorant I was.
Again, the idea that women can preach was my norm growing up. I didn’t even know this was an issue within the Church. Was I wrong? Is this not how God intended it? Have I been misled in my theology? I had to figure out why they believed this and who was right? So I went on a journey.
I found the famous passage that causes the source this belief. 1 Timothy 2:11-14:
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. (NIV)
Yes, I have read this verse before, but for some reason, I always disregarded it. In my Christian worldview, I trusted that because I’ve seen women preach, this was just a cultural statement for the time it was written (never think that way… ever). I didn’t know why. I didn’t ask questions. I trusted my leadership. But listen, this is why it is so so SO important for you to read the Word and understand it for. your. self. The reason for ANY division on the Bible is because people read and misinterpret the Bible through their flesh and not the Spirit. You can end up listening to deceiving spirits. Every person should test the spirits on their own and not just trust what other people say because they are a believer. *slight tangent*
I read 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and asked God, “How could this be? I’ve heard many women preach. I’ve seen the Word go forth from these women with power. People have come to know Christ under these women. Women preachers are going all over the world and ministering to both men and women! How could You be against this, God?” I read on to the next verse. 1 Timothy 2:15:
But woman will be saved through childbearing– if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety. (NIV)
WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES THAT MEAN? I did not understand that concept. Saved in what respect? I wrestled with this verse for a short while, but I could not grasp the meaning of this verse, so I decided to google it.
*inserts in google search bar* “meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15.”
I’m going to admit it. I was searching in favor of my own bias. I wanted woman to be able to preach! I needed someone to prove me right! However, my google search came up short. I got all this wishy-washy interpretations of the passage.
New search: *inserts in google search bar* “Why woman can preach.”
Surprisingly, there were not a lot of good articles. No one explained why 1 Timothy 2:11-15 does not apply to me as a woman today! I kept falling short. But for some reason, the lack of understanding for verse 15, the uncertainty of what that meant, was exactly where I put my hope in that God had something more in there. I prayed, “God, I don’t understand how woman can preach according to your word, but I also don’t understand this verse. I believe the answer is in this verse. I believe with my eyes and ears that women can preach, but I want you to reveal it to me in your Word.” I read many articles and blog posts regarding this topic. I continued to search, but nothing explained it in a way that connected with the Holy Spirit within me. So eventually, I dropped it. But only for a season.
I started a fast in January 2019. On the second day, the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart to revisit this topic. I had faith that it is God’s will for women to preach. But I was only going to stand confidently on it if I saw it in the Bible (a mindset we should have for everything). God waited for me to surrender my flesh in order to hear His Spirit clearly. He was ready to tell me His truth, and at that point, I was ready for it no matter how difficult.
Disclaimer: I am not going to twist the Word of God. I don’t need to go to the original Greek translation to understand the Word and neither do you. The Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). You do not need to be a scholar or theologian to understand the Bible. You don’t need to go to seminary or Bible college to understand the Bible. I don’t need to hypothesize what anything means. God’s word reveals God’s word and it is only revealed to us through the Holy Spirit. There are hidden secrets within His Word that are only understood by those who have the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 2:9-10). I believe the part of the Church that is allowing woman to speak are hearing clearly from the Spirit, but we lack a Biblical understanding of why that is the Spirit’s heart. It’s important to always stand on the authority of the Bible, always being ready to give a reason for the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15).
Here is God’s revealed Word on why woman can preach:
Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, nor is there male nor female, for you are all one in Christ.”
This passage is talking about how we are justified in Christ (read in context). Everything that God has given to His children, He has given it to all of His children regardless of their worldly position. (Clearly there is a physical/cultural difference between slave and free, Jew and Gentile, male and female. Paul is talking about a spiritual difference.) This means I receive the same inheritance, same blessing, same salvation, same grace, and same Spirit, as any other believer. Paul says this, but yet also says women can’t preach. Why?
In 2 Timothy, Paul referred to the fall and how Eve was the one who sinned first. So God led me back to Genesis 3. The curse of the fall for women was Genesis 3:16. It says, “To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” makes sense when we put it in context of Ephesians 5:22, when Paul tells women to submit to their husbands. But let’s look at that whole passage. Ephesians 5:21-33:
21. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husband as you do to the Lord. 23. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, of which He is the Savior. 24. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her 26. to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word 27. and to present her to himself as a radiant Church without stain, wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29. After all, no one has ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the Church– 30. for we are members of His body. 31. For this reason a man will leave his wife, and two will become one flesh. 32. This is a profound mystery– but I am talking about Christ and the Church. 33. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
WOW! What a deep passage. I’ll say that this passage in itself should, speak for the history of Christianity that abuse of women was NEVER okay and NEVER condoned by God. *slight tangent*
What is this passage talking about? Well Paul says it in verse 32! He is talking about Christ and the Church. Marriage has always been used to describe the relationship God has with Israel (look it up). And He continues to use marriage as the picture of His relationship with the Church today. So Paul here is using the marriage of Christ to His Church, to explain the marriage between a man and a woman. It is clear that Christ is returning to a purified and unified Church. Which means that the Church will continue to be redeemed here on earth. So if the Church is being redeemed, and women in this analogy is mirroring the Church, then clearly, women are being redeemed too! But from what?
Didn’t Jesus’ work on the cross break the curse of sin? Yes it did (read Romans 5). We know that those who confess with their mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in their heart that God raised [Jesus] from the dead, will be saved (Romans 10:9). So the work of the cross is finished. Salvation is finished. We are saved by grace and grace alone. All we do is have faith, and work out our salvation (meaning continuing to have faith in Jesus). We are made righteous in God’s eyes. There’s nothing that can change that. But we also know that in our flesh, we still sin. We know that in our relationship with God we are continuing to become more and more like Jesus as we walk with Him. Our spirits are pure because we have the Holy Spirit. But our soul (mind, will and emotions), is “not yet” pure. It won’t be completely pure until we are with Jesus. THAT is the part of us that is being redeemed. God’s plan is to redeem His body, the Church, throughout history. That is the same redemption plan He has given to woman.
Because Eve led Adam into sin, the curse was that Adam will be the leader. But God’s original plan was for Adam and Eve to be equal and to be each other’s helpmate. When Jesus became a curse for us, He broke that curse. However, sanctification and the redemption of our souls has always been a process. The curse has to reverse! God has been working throughout history to redeem women. I’m sure we can all admit that the way women have been denied rights in the past has been unjust. Things are different today. Is this not in line with God’s plan of redemption towards women? So let’s bring this back to the challenging passage of 1 Timothy 2:11-15:
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. But woman will be saved through childbearing– if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety. (NIV)
If we know that God has been progressively purifying His church throughout history, we know it had to start from somewhere. When Paul wrote this verse, the curse JUST got broken. Women were not in a position to lead. Women were nothing in the eyes of men. But Paul, through the Holy Spirit, foresaw the plan of redemption for women. And that plan is hidden in verse 14. The verse says, “BUT women will be saved.” Saved from what? He mentioned it right before that verse: the condition in which women at that time were currently in. If woman continue in their role, which was to have children, be a mother, and do it in faith, love, and propriety– then commandment that God gave woman during the time Paul wrote this will not always need to be in play because the curse is broken! God is redeeming woman here on earth like it is in heaven! The word “But” in verse 14 is a word of hope. It is a word that says, this is how it is, BUT there is something else that is going on! And praise God that He doesn’t leave us where we are no matter who we are! But God!
Woman, we have the same inheritance as any other believer! The gifts and the calling of God is not dependent on your sex! Are you walking in faith, love and propriety? Can He trust you to not lead men into sin? To not be deceived and a deceiver? If you love God and are obeying His commands, you can be anything that God says ANY of His children can be! You can be an elder, bishop, pastor, teacher, preacher, leader, prophet, ANYTHING! You are free! God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11)! We are all one in Christ Jesus! This brings us back to Galatians 5:26!
My prayer is that as you read this, whether you are male or female, that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to His truth. Go and test the Scriptures. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to you. Don’t let religion, traditions of men, keep you from the freedom of the Gospel. Don’t let your denomination dictate your belief. Don’t let disagreeing with my “charismatic theology” stop you from receiving what God may have for you.
If you are reading this, and you are at a church that doesn’t support women preaching, prayerfully consider if God wants you to leave, or if God wants you to stay, fast and pray for a revival and for people’s eyes to be opened. God can use you as a catalyst for change!
I leave this with you. Women, you are redeemed. Whether you see it or not, you are redeemed. There is no male or female in Christ. You can receive all that God has to offer His children. We are getting closer to the end of time. The Lord said He will pour out His spirit on all people. Sons and daughters will prophecy (Acts 2). Women, I charge you with this:
Rise up! You deserve respect! You deserve love! You deserve to walk in the fullness of your inheritance as a child of God! Get out from under a curse that has already been broken!