by Theodore Wright
When it comes to the testimony of the New Testament regarding the role of women in the church the Scripture is clear. However, a careful examination of the meaning of the original greek language is insightful on this topic. This subject often becomes a political hot-spot with many churches and with many people whether of Christian faith or not.
A study on this topic provides much insight. The greek word for “woman” is the same word for “wife”, which is the word γυνή (gune) or γυναικός (gunaikos). The word for man/husband is ανήρ (aner) or ανδρός (andros).
In many passages, the Scriptual role of women in the church speaks specifically about wives and not women in general. Wives are not to be put in a position that may be unsubmissive to their own husbands. Women may perhaps have authority over men, but wives are not to have authority nor positions of authority over their husbands. Wives, by the example of their godly conduct of submission to their husbands, should teach their husbands submission to God.
In the presentation of Bible passages below certain words, which have been italicized, are those which have been re-translated from the ancient greek language in order to give a clearer and more full context of what the Holy Scripture communicates. The retranslation is not aimed to be gender-exclusive. However, if gender has been already excluded from a passage in greek manuscripts it will be reflected in the text below.
The purpose here is not to cause debate, spread division or argue polity but rather to promote godly edifying through clearly revealed Bible knowledge.
1 Timothy chapters 2 & 3,
1 Peter chapter 3,
1 Corinthians chapter 14 (vs.20-40) & chapter 11
from the Holy Bible, King James Version
(re-translated words in italics)
1 Timothy 2
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all people;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all people to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and people, the person Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
8 I will therefore that husbands pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
9 In like manner also, that wives adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh wives professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the wife learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a wife to teach, nor to usurp authority over the husband, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the wife being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
1 Timothy 3
1 This is a true saying, If anyone desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if anyone know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
1 Peter 3
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden person of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy wives also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Corinthians 14 (vs.20-40)
20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be mature.
21 In the law it is written, With others of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
27 If anyone speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34 Let your wives keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for wives to speak in the church.
36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
37 If anyone think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
38 But if anyone be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
1 Corinthians 11
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every husband is Christ; and the head of the wife is the husband; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every husband praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every wife that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the wife be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a wife to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a husband indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the wife is the glory of the husband.
8 For the husband is not of the wife; but the wife of the husband.
9 Neither was the husband created for the wife; but the wife for the husband.
10 For this cause ought the wife to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the husband without the wife, neither the wife without the husband, in the Lord.
12 For as the wife is of the husband, even so is the husband also by the wife; but all things of God.
13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a wife pray unto God uncovered?
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a husband have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a wife have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16 But if anyone seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a person examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
34 And if anyone hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.