A Small Bible Study on Women in the Ministry

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In Support of Women in Ministry and the Ordination of Women

[First, a bit of background. I am a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), firstly, because it best fits my beliefs. The ELCA uses the Historical-Critical Method (HCM) of interpreting the Bible. This allows me to agree with such things as there being “contradictions” in the Bible and yet saying that they’re not really contradictions, but that things in the Bible were written to certain audiences and that the Bible was written in a time when people were highly prejudiced against women being leaders, even when there happened to be some great women leaders.]

*All emphases added are my own*

The mistake most people make is that those in support of women in ministry base this off of only one verse in the Bible: Galatians 3:28. This is not true.

A three-fold prejudice had kept women from being ordained in churches. First, women were considered inferior by nature and by law. This was Greek philosophy adopted by Christians. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 shows this prejudice.

Second, women were considered ritually unclean because of their menstrual cycles. However, any discharge at any time made males ritually unclean and this was ignored.

Third, women were held responsible and in a constant state of punishment for the first sin. This prejudice is even found in the Bible. 1 Timothy 2:13-14 says, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

While woman was deceived, so was man. Genesis 3:6 says, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.” Woman was not alone with the serpent. Man was with woman when she ate the “forbidden fruit.” Man did nothing to stop woman from eating, nor did he refuse to eat. When the man answers God in Genesis 3:12, he blames the woman, but also admits that he ate the fruit.

According to 1 Timothy 2:15, woman is not saved solely by Grace through faith, but by childbearing. This is certainly not the message of the Gospel. It would also open the questions to things such as “What about women who decide they don’t want to have children?” and “What about women who
can’t have children?”

While it is true that God made woman from man, He did not make women lower than men. Many try to use 1 Corinthians 11:7-9 to argue against this point because it says, “For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.”

Yet, an often ignored passage is just a few verses down in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12. It says, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God.” The most important part of this passage is that all things come through God.

Even in Genesis, it is stated that woman is the image of God and not the image of man. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them; male and female He created them.” Then Genesis 5:1-2 states, “This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind, He made them in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them, and He blessed them and named them ‘Humankind’ when they were created.” It does not matter if a person prefers a translation of the Bible that says “man” or “Adam” rather than “humankind” because the passages still say that God made males and females in His image.

Even in the Old Testament it says that God will pour out His spirit on women. Joel 2:28-29 states, “Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.”

This is repeated in the New Testament in Acts 2:18, “Even upon slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”

If God did not want women to spread the Gospel, He would not have had women be the ones to let the discipled know that Jesus had risen.

In all four Gospels, women are the people who first spread the news of Jesus’ resurrection. This can be found in the following passages: Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:7; Luke 24:8; and John 20:17-18. No matter exactly who was told to tell the disciples the good news, they were always women.

Hebrews 7:16 says, “one who has become a priest not througha legal requirement concerning physical decent, but through the power of an indestructible life.” Even with this, we must remember that Christ was and is not a priest according to the line of Aaron, but a priest according to the
line of Melchizadek. We know very little about the lineage and the rules of the lineage of Melchizadek.

So, while the support of women in ministry goes beyond the single verse of Galatians 3:28, the verse is still very important when it comes to supporting this view.

“There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.


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