The Role of Women in the Church - A Bible Based View

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SUNDAY BIBLE STUDY 9:40AM | SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE 10:30AM | COMMUNION EVERY 1ST SUNDAY

by: Pastor Grace Ogbomo

08/08/2022

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Introduction

In the creation account of Genesis 1, God’s first word on the subject of men and women is that they were equally created in the image of God (v. 27). Neither received more of the image of God than the other. So the Bible begins with the equality of the sexes. As persons, as spiritual beings standing before God, men and women are absolutely equal.

Despite this equality, there is in Genesis 2 a more detailed account of the creation of the two human beings that reveals differences in their God-given functions and responsibilities. God did not create the man and the woman at the same time, but rather He created Adam first and Eve later for the specific purpose of being Adam’s helper. Eve was equal to Adam, but she was given the role and duty of submitting to him. Although the word “helper” carries very positive connotations—even being used of God Himself as the helper of Israel (Deut. 33:7; Ps. 33:20)—it still describes someone in a relationship of service to another. The responsibility of wives to submit to their husbands, then, was part of the plan from creation, even before the curse. The first books of the Bible establish both the equality of men and women and also the support role of the wife (see Exod. 21:15, 17, 28–31; Num. 5:19–20, 29; 6:2; 30:1–16).

Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command resulted in certain consequences (Gen. 3:16–19). For the woman, God pronounced a curse that included multiplied pain in childbirth and tension in the authority-submission relationship of husband and wife. Genesis 3:16 says the woman’s “desire” will be for her husband but he shall “rule” over her. In Genesis 4:7 the author uses the same word “desire” to mean “excessive control over.” Thus, the curse in Genesis 3:16 refers to a new desire on the part of the woman to exercise control over her husband—but he will in fact oppressively rule and exert authority over her. The result of the Fall on marriage through history has been an ongoing struggle between the sexes, with women seeking control and men seeking dominance.
When a man and a woman are ruled by the spirit of God (evident by the fruit of the spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23), they are best able to honor the distinct roles they were created to fulfil (before the curse) in their marriage, community and the body of Christ at large.


Our Belief

The Bible teaches that men and women were created by God and equally bear His image. God’s intention was for the man and woman to be one with each other in His image, thereby reflecting the intimacy and love that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three spirits of the Godhead (Gen. 1:27). 

Man and woman each had a direct relationship with God and they shared equally in having dominion over the created order (Gen. 1:26-28). However, this perfect union disappeared when Adam and Eve sinned. The struggle for power and the desire to “rule over” another is a result of human sin. We read Genesis 3:16 as a prediction of the effects of sin’s entrance into the world and not as a prescription of God’s ideal order.

However, through Christ, God has brought redemption to human beings, male and female alike (Gal. 3:26-28), and has made a way for people to once again be one with him in a community of believers, the church. 

The Apostle Paul exhorts Christian husbands and wives to submit to one another, to love and respect each other that they might be one with each other. In this way, they model God’s ideal, intimate unity among members of the body of Christ as well as the unity between the church and Christ, its head (Eph. 5:21-33). Jesus prayed that the church would model oneness (John 17:11, 20-23). This means we are all sons of God, we are one with each other, and we are “one in Christ Jesus”.

In his life on earth, Jesus accepted women as disciples and supporters of his ministry (Luke 8:2-3, 10:38-42). He interacted with women in a way which was drastically counter to the culture in which he lived (John 4:9). We interpret his behavior as a message from God about his acceptance of women.

When the church was established at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on women and men alike, as had been predicted long before the coming of Christ (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:18). In the New Testament, women as well as men prayed and prophesied in the church (Acts 2:17-18, 1 Cor. 11:4-5, and 1 Pet. 2:9-10). Further, the Spirit bestows gifts on all those in the community of believers, without giving preferential treatment based on gender (Acts 2:1-21, 1 Cor. 12:7, 11). Every believer is to offer his or her gifts for the benefit of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:4-8, 1 Pet. 4:10-11).

We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and sole authority for the study of gender issues and all other issues in the church. However, we find that the prevailing ways of interpreting the Bible often fail us in studying a complex issue such as this. The few texts that appear to restrict participation of women in the church (such as 1 Cor. 14:33 and 1 Tim. 2:11-12) were written in letters to particular churches with specific problems. We believe these verses must be interpreted in relation to the broader teaching of scripture beginning in Gen. 1-3. Also, the cultural and situational contexts in which they were written and the contemporary cultural context in which we are compelled to apply them must be taken into account. This requires that we seek, from the context, the purpose of an instruction written to an early church. Although the process of studying such issues is a challenge, we found it within the abilities of ordinary Bible students.

At Rockpoint church, we create opportunities for all women to encourage one another weekly in biblical community, encounter God daily through spiritual practices, and express love daily through serving others. Our prayer is for every woman to be embraced by God's grace, established in God's Word, engaged in joyful community and service, and empowered to share faith, hope, and love with others. 


Conclusion

We believe that the Bible teaches full equality of men and women in status, giftedness, and opportunity for ministry and that the church is best served when men and women share responsibilities and serve together as complementary partners.


Reference:

A study of the role of women in the church by the doctrinal advisory group, Oak Hills Church, Study Published: November, 2011, Website:

https://oakhillschurch.com/Content/ExternalSite/A-Study-of-the-Role-of-Women-in-the-Church.pdf

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Introduction

In the creation account of Genesis 1, God’s first word on the subject of men and women is that they were equally created in the image of God (v. 27). Neither received more of the image of God than the other. So the Bible begins with the equality of the sexes. As persons, as spiritual beings standing before God, men and women are absolutely equal.

Despite this equality, there is in Genesis 2 a more detailed account of the creation of the two human beings that reveals differences in their God-given functions and responsibilities. God did not create the man and the woman at the same time, but rather He created Adam first and Eve later for the specific purpose of being Adam’s helper. Eve was equal to Adam, but she was given the role and duty of submitting to him. Although the word “helper” carries very positive connotations—even being used of God Himself as the helper of Israel (Deut. 33:7; Ps. 33:20)—it still describes someone in a relationship of service to another. The responsibility of wives to submit to their husbands, then, was part of the plan from creation, even before the curse. The first books of the Bible establish both the equality of men and women and also the support role of the wife (see Exod. 21:15, 17, 28–31; Num. 5:19–20, 29; 6:2; 30:1–16).

Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command resulted in certain consequences (Gen. 3:16–19). For the woman, God pronounced a curse that included multiplied pain in childbirth and tension in the authority-submission relationship of husband and wife. Genesis 3:16 says the woman’s “desire” will be for her husband but he shall “rule” over her. In Genesis 4:7 the author uses the same word “desire” to mean “excessive control over.” Thus, the curse in Genesis 3:16 refers to a new desire on the part of the woman to exercise control over her husband—but he will in fact oppressively rule and exert authority over her. The result of the Fall on marriage through history has been an ongoing struggle between the sexes, with women seeking control and men seeking dominance.
When a man and a woman are ruled by the spirit of God (evident by the fruit of the spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23), they are best able to honor the distinct roles they were created to fulfil (before the curse) in their marriage, community and the body of Christ at large.


Our Belief

The Bible teaches that men and women were created by God and equally bear His image. God’s intention was for the man and woman to be one with each other in His image, thereby reflecting the intimacy and love that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three spirits of the Godhead (Gen. 1:27). 

Man and woman each had a direct relationship with God and they shared equally in having dominion over the created order (Gen. 1:26-28). However, this perfect union disappeared when Adam and Eve sinned. The struggle for power and the desire to “rule over” another is a result of human sin. We read Genesis 3:16 as a prediction of the effects of sin’s entrance into the world and not as a prescription of God’s ideal order.

However, through Christ, God has brought redemption to human beings, male and female alike (Gal. 3:26-28), and has made a way for people to once again be one with him in a community of believers, the church. 

The Apostle Paul exhorts Christian husbands and wives to submit to one another, to love and respect each other that they might be one with each other. In this way, they model God’s ideal, intimate unity among members of the body of Christ as well as the unity between the church and Christ, its head (Eph. 5:21-33). Jesus prayed that the church would model oneness (John 17:11, 20-23). This means we are all sons of God, we are one with each other, and we are “one in Christ Jesus”.

In his life on earth, Jesus accepted women as disciples and supporters of his ministry (Luke 8:2-3, 10:38-42). He interacted with women in a way which was drastically counter to the culture in which he lived (John 4:9). We interpret his behavior as a message from God about his acceptance of women.

When the church was established at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on women and men alike, as had been predicted long before the coming of Christ (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:18). In the New Testament, women as well as men prayed and prophesied in the church (Acts 2:17-18, 1 Cor. 11:4-5, and 1 Pet. 2:9-10). Further, the Spirit bestows gifts on all those in the community of believers, without giving preferential treatment based on gender (Acts 2:1-21, 1 Cor. 12:7, 11). Every believer is to offer his or her gifts for the benefit of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:4-8, 1 Pet. 4:10-11).

We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and sole authority for the study of gender issues and all other issues in the church. However, we find that the prevailing ways of interpreting the Bible often fail us in studying a complex issue such as this. The few texts that appear to restrict participation of women in the church (such as 1 Cor. 14:33 and 1 Tim. 2:11-12) were written in letters to particular churches with specific problems. We believe these verses must be interpreted in relation to the broader teaching of scripture beginning in Gen. 1-3. Also, the cultural and situational contexts in which they were written and the contemporary cultural context in which we are compelled to apply them must be taken into account. This requires that we seek, from the context, the purpose of an instruction written to an early church. Although the process of studying such issues is a challenge, we found it within the abilities of ordinary Bible students.

At Rockpoint church, we create opportunities for all women to encourage one another weekly in biblical community, encounter God daily through spiritual practices, and express love daily through serving others. Our prayer is for every woman to be embraced by God's grace, established in God's Word, engaged in joyful community and service, and empowered to share faith, hope, and love with others. 


Conclusion

We believe that the Bible teaches full equality of men and women in status, giftedness, and opportunity for ministry and that the church is best served when men and women share responsibilities and serve together as complementary partners.


Reference:

A study of the role of women in the church by the doctrinal advisory group, Oak Hills Church, Study Published: November, 2011, Website:

https://oakhillschurch.com/Content/ExternalSite/A-Study-of-the-Role-of-Women-in-the-Church.pdf

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