Women And Preaching

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Hi M____,

You asked about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Here is that scripture:

2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace [ Grace chastens-Tit 2:10-12] is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Verse ten explains verse seven. Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was both “in my flesh… infirmities” and also “reproaches and persecutions.” It was not just one or the other. Paul was given a “messenger of Satan to buffet him.” That messenger, just as Satan did with Job, used both persecutions from false brothers and physical ailments to “buffet me lest I should become exalted above measure.” All that Satan does ends up producing the good that God is in the process of accomplishing.

Gen 50:20 But as for you [ Joseph’s brothers who were used by God to sell Joseph into slavery], ye thought evil against me; but God meant it [ that very evil you thought was your idea] unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

That right there is the reason for all evil in this world, including Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh,’ which produced both ‘infirmities’ and ‘reproaches’ and ‘persecutions.’

You also asked about ‘lady ministers.’

I learned long ago to simply agree with Paul. Paul spoke under inspiration of God’s spirit. It is written for us.

The book of Acts mentions the fact that Phillip the evangelist had four virgin daughters “which did prophesy.”

Act 21:9 And the same man [ Phillip] had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

In 1 Co 11, Paul also agrees that women do prophesy:

1Co 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

While the outward subject of these verses is the proper length of the hair on the heads of men and of women, the underlying message and the real point is that just as men are to show their submission to Christ by their obedience to Him, even so are women to ‘submit themselves unto their husbands as unto Christ.’

Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

The ‘as’ and the ‘so’ of this verse will never be politically correct, but it is scripturally correct. This message is the very subject of 1Co 11, as revealed in the first seven verses:

1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
1Co 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1Co 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1Co 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1Co 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
1Co 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

The reason given for the man not covering his head is that “he is the image and glory of God.” The reason given for why the woman is to cover her head with longer hair is “the woman is the glory of the man.”

So women can prophesy, but they cannot teach men. To whom then do they ‘prophesy?’

Paul, under inspiration of God’s spirit, has given these Corinthians written ordinances (The Greek for ‘ordinances’ carries with it the thought of being written down) regarding what is necessary to maintain order in the house and temple of God, ‘Whose Temple we all are.’

I hope this helps you to see the mind of God in these matters.

Mike

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