In 1 Peter, we are told to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Pet. 3:15 NASB)”. The only way to do this is to study continuously, always testing what you have been told with what is actually in the Bible. Today, I asked my friends if they would provide some questions for me about the Bible, God, and the Christian faith so that I may test my knowledge of the Bible and know where I should study. I wanted to share these questions here because I thought they might be beneficial to others. Feel free to comment with any questions you also might have.
Why do you believe women can’t pray out loud in church or take more if a leadership role in the church? Don’t you think that was more custom than God’s command?
The short answer is simply what the Bible says:
“The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church” (1 Cor. 14:34-35 NASB).
The trouble comes when deciding which verses in the Bible to take literally and which verses we should deem “cultural” or “figurative”. Almost all of us will say that Jesus spoke figuratively when He said
“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell” (Matt. 18:8,9 NASB).
However, when it comes to gender roles, people seem to want to read more into it. Mainly, because the Bible often does not mesh well with our politically-correct society.
When it comes to women’s role within the church, the conclusion I have currently come to (though please understand this is my opinion in so far as I have studied) is that the reason why certain woman have leadership gifts but aren’t allowed to express them over men is connected to the curse placed on us at the Fall. Women were to desire to rule over their husbands, but their husbands would rule over them. It’s a submission thing that carries over all aspects of our lives. It isn’t just a “cultural” thing, it’s a God mandated thing.
That being said, there are many things that women can do (and will do), even in submission to men. We can’t allow our position to make us envy or even resent others (or ourselves), but use our gifts right where we are to glorify God in the best way that we can. He has wisely given us our gifts and position in life, it is up to us to figure out how to use that in the manner He intended us to.