Women Witnessing Without Teaching

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Hi C____,

Thank you for your encouraging words. I am very happy that you were able to read that paper and not take offense at the word. Christ is a stumbling block and a rock of offense for the whole world.

That paper was written in response to a couple of women who had been in our fellowship for several years before receiving a “revelation” from God that Paul’s and Peter’s words concerning wives and women were really spiritual statements which had no bearing on a woman’s conduct in the home or in the church.

I need not rewrite the paper here, but it is obvious that some things are both physical and spiritual. It is both spiritual and physical that we do not take God’s name in vain, bow down to idols, dishonor our parents, commit adultery, bear false witness, steal, kill or covet. And it is also both spiritual and physical that “the man is the head of the woman” just as God is the head of Christ.

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.

God’s headship of Christ is reflected in the family and the church. Paul goes to great lengths to show us the spiritual application of the admonitions he gives us concerning our marriages and how they are to reflect our relationship to Christ. If a woman is her husband’s head, then she is declaring to the whole world that she deems herself to be worthy to be Christ’s head. If on the other hand she submits to her husband, she is declaring her submission to Christ. Paul discusses all of this in Eph 5.

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Paul tells us what works to make for a happy marriage, and then he makes it clear that everything he has said is a reflection of Christ and the church. But now notice how he concludes this revelation that His words are actually spiritual in nature. Does he conclude by telling us that the spiritual negates any need for an outward reflection of the things of the spiritual, or does he not do the exact opposite? Here is the holy spirit’s conclusion of the fact that marriage reflects Christ and the church:

Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

So the outward should reflect the things of the spirit:

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

As far as you witnessing to the truth of God’s Word when your husband is not around, rest assured that when Christ told Mary to tell His disciples to meet Him at a given place, Mary was compelled to do so, just as the woman at the well was compelled to tell the men of that Samaritan town that she had met a man who told her all that she had ever done. Women can and should witness to Christ and His Word in any way that is not in contradiction to the command that they are not to be teachers and that they are to keep silence in the church. The whole point is that women are not to “usurp authority over the man”.

1Ti 2:12  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

This goal is attained by being quiet, both at home and in the church. Never, under any circumstance talk over your husband. That is the doctrine of Christ. That doctrine in no way dishonors women, any more than my letting Christ be true and every man a liar, would dishonor men.

Christ broke the sabbath by gathering grain on that day and failing to prepare his sabbath meals on the day before the sabbath as Moses commanded. He broke the law of Moses by failing to be at the feast at its beginning and instead going up to Jerusalem “in the midst of the feast”. Christ ate with publicans and sinners, and thought nothing of telling a man to pick up his bed on the sabbath day. Christ could easily have settled this whole question about women teaching and preaching by simply choosing a woman to be one of His disciples, or at least allowing a woman to write one of the books of the New Testament. Instead He inspired Paul to say “let your women keep quiet in the church, it is not permitted for them to speak, as also saith the law. If you consider yourself to be spiritual then acknowledge that these words are the commandment of the Lord.”

1Co 14:34  Let your women keep silence [Greek: quiet] 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.
1Co 14:35  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1Co 14:36  What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
1Co 14:37  If any man 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.

Time and again in scripture we see where women were given great honor when men were not available or worse, were unwilling to be men. The whole story of Deborah is an example of this sad truth. The story of Deborah is really the story of the unfaithfulness of Barak and the fact that Barak’s unfaithfulness resulted in “a woman taking Barak’s glory” because Barak would not trust God to deliver Israel through him without having Deborah by his side. It is a very sad day and an indictment of the whole nation, when a man will not go to war without a woman by his side.

Jdg 4:6  And she [Deborah] sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
Jdg 4:7  And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.
Jdg 4:8  And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.
Jdg 4:9  And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

That is how the story of Deborah begins. How does it end?

Jdg 5:24  Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
Jdg 5:25  He asked water, [and] she gave [him] milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
Jdg 5:26  She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.
Jdg 5:27  At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

Barak may be mentioned among the faithful in Heb 11, but Jael, the wife of Heber, will always be remembered as having done what should have been done by Barak. “The Lord sold Sisera into the hand of a woman, and Barak’s journey was not for his honor” just as the Lord had said.

So it is today. If a man is not there, then the Lord will use a woman, and His work and His will will be done. But be like Deborah, and encourage the men in your life to be the leaders. If a man is present to do anything that needs to be done, be quiet and encourage the men to be the leaders. If they deny the Lord with their silence, then bear witness to the truth.

Just never let it be said that you took the words “Junia was notable among the apostles” and twist those words into ‘Junia was a notable apostle’ as so many women are doing today in their desire to make God’s word fit into their doctrine instead of making their doctrine fit into God’s Word.

Rom 16:7  Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

All the women of the New Testament bore witness to the Truth that is Christ. They never once failed to do so. Yet there is not one account of a woman either teaching or preaching of being ordained as a bishop or an elder in all of the New Testament. There is a world of difference between being a witness and being a bishop. Only those who do not like the New Testament doctrine concerning the role of women in the church have any trouble making that distinction.

I hope this helps to put you at ease about being a fruitful witness for Christ in every circumstance. Never fail to answer a question asked by either a man or a woman, but do not begin a teaching ministry by letter or in the pulpit. There are many men who have not been given that calling, and just because many women are capable of being teachers does not mean that the New Testament doctrine concerning a woman’s role is now obsolete. Truth is not relevant to the times. Truth is always Truth, and it is “the same yesterday, today and forever.”

I really do look forward to seeing you someday, and I would love to hear from you and your husband at any time.

Your brother in Christ,


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