This is a series about women in ministry. I have found that in most evangelical circles, women who are in ministry do not have the same opportunities as men. Why is this? It comes from a deep seeded belief that core leadership of a biblical church is found in men alone. Women are equal in worth to God, but are limited in their function within the body of Christ. Here is the kicker, I think that Scripture might tell a different story. This series will be and exploration on this important topic. Here is part one.
Central Question: Can women serve in any role within the church? If so, how does this compare to most modern evangelical churches? If not, what are the boundaries for women in ministry? How does the New Testament serve as a guide on this issue?
11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. 1 Timothy 2.11-15
In the ancient world, this was written during the emergence of what some historians call: “the new Roman Women.” In the major cities of the empire there was a movement of women who were choosing immodesty, sexual indiscretion, elaborate dress, and even taking the podium from men to speak. This movement was bent on subverting the defined gender roles of the day. In addition to this, Ephesus was the home of the famous Artemis/Diana fertility cult, which was female-dominated and had similar tendencies to raise women over-against men. The Temple of Artemis was the most massive structure in the area. This female dominated attitude seems to have crept into the community that Timothy was leading. In this context the point of the passage seems to be that women should be permitted to learn in submission to God (not men), and that men and women ought to be given the space to develop gifts and then employ them. This is not a “given” just because they are women and can exercise authority over men, but must be done in love with the principle being that all who teach must first choose to learn. NT Wright brings out the intended meaning of verses 11-12 in the following way: “They must be allowed to study undisturbed, in full submission to God. I’m not saying that women should teach men, or try to dictate to them; they should be left undisturbed.” The example of Adam and Eve serves to inverse the supposed view that women ought to dominate over men, climaxing in Eve’s fallibility as an example to balance female superiority complex.
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3.28
Although this passage is not directly about ministry roles, it demonstrates that all labels that separate people, whether those of status, gender, race, or tradition; can no longer do so for the baptized renewed family of Abraham. The cross and resurrection relativized all things that separate and brings together an egalitarian community of mutual love and service.
We have now dealt with of the passages that seem to silence women from speaking in the church, the next step will be to look at the what the whole of the bible says about women in leadership roles…
ANY THOUGHTS ON THESE PROPOSED INTERPRETATIONS?
 Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 198-199.
 N. T. Wright, Women’s Service in the Church, 11-12.