Mary Audrey Raycroft is an exhorter/teacher whose main
desire is to see Christians realize their potential in the Lord, and step out in
faith to find their place in the body of Christ.
Gifted in encouraging believers, Mary Audrey teaches both large and small
groups in homes, church seminars, retreat settings and conferences. She
ministers to a wide variety of denominations with a heart that is for unity in the body
Since 1984, she has been associated with Christian Services Association, a
trans-denominational teaching/equipping ministry, working with churches, bible
schools, and pastors in North America, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Since 1994, Mary Audrey has been pastor of Equipping Ministries and Women in
Ministry at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship and has ministered God's
heart of renewal internationally. She is the founder of Releasers of Life,
a cross-denominational group called to awaken, equip and release women into
their full potential in the body of Christ through conferences, retreats, and
teaching seminars. Releasers of Life links women internationally who model
godly characteristics as well as edifying, exhorting and manifesting the life of
the Spirit through words and action.
She has authored a number of teaching manuals, and her book, Releasers of
Life - Discover The River Within, has been translated into several different
To Contact Mary Audrey click here
Releaser's of Life--Discovering the River Within, Chapter 6, pages
80-98, Mary Audrey Raycroft, Destiny Image Publishers copyright 1998. Used
by permission of Destiny Image Publishers, 167 Walnut Bottom Road, Shippensburg,
RELEASING THE LIFE OF THE WORD
by Mary Audrey Raycroft
We are called to be releasers of life or, to put it another way, releasers of
the Word. It doesn't matter whether we are men or women, the call is the
same. That will come as a great surprise to many women in the Church: "You
mean I am called to release the Word of God, right alongside the men?"
Absolutely. Look at Psalm 68:11 from the Amplified Bible: "The Lord gives
the word [of power]; the women who bear and publish [the news] are a great
host." If you check different translations, you will find the words company or
army instead of women in many of them. The Hebrew word used here, tsaba,
It is time to get back to some real basics. We're going to take a fresh
look at some Scriptures that relate to the role of women in God's divine order,
in the Church, and in ministry leadership in general. There may be many of
you who have never viewed these Scriptures in this way before, so get ready to
be challenged with a whole new perspective. As we begin to understand from
the Word things we have never understood before, we will move in God's grace,
mercy, and compassion to begin releasing that river of life within us.
God's Divine Order
God has a divine order in creation that He established from the very beginning.
It was in His plan and in place be- fore the first human beings walked on the
earth. The fall of man and the corruption of creation due to sin distorted
man's understanding of God's divine order. Much of the theology and
practice of the Churc h toward women over the centuries has been based on this
distorted view of God's original purpose. However, as Dr. Fuchsia Pickett
has stated, "The doctrines of fallen man do not supersede God's divine order."
The Old Testament has much to say regarding the status of women. Almost at
the very beginning God made this divine pronouncement:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule
over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all
the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. "So God
created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and
female He created them (Genesis 1:26-27).
The Hebrew word translated "man" here is adam, a generic term referring to man
as a species, humankind as a whole, with no gender distinction. The words used
in verse 27 for "male" and "female" are different words entirely and are gender
specific. God said, "Let Us make man in Our image ... and let them rule
... He created them male and female. God created male and female and
committed to them joint dominion and joint responsibility.
Genesis 2:18 gives a little more detail, "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for
the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." It is
interesting that this was the one thing in creation that was not good. The
word helper translates a Hebrew word that means to aid or succor, to surround
and protect. Suitable means a counterpart, one who stands boldly opposite.
The New King James Version uses the word comparable.
Misunderstandings of these terms and their implications have caused centuries of
tyranny, injustice, subjection, and servitude toward women, as well as a concept
of female inferiority that has slipped into many areas of the Church. God
created woman to be a help and counterpart for man; not secondary to him, but
equal in nature, in life, and in commission; having a vital part and
responsibility with man in the purposes of God. Physically, mentally, and
spiritually, man and woman complement each other.
Matthew Henry, in his commentary written more than 250 years ago, said:
"The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his
head to rule over him; nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him; but
out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and
near his heart to be beloved. " 2
L.E. Maxwell, in his book Women in Ministry, says:
"Woman was thus of the same nature as man, of the same flesh and blood,
and of the same constitution in all respects. Consequently as woman
she had equal powers, faculties, and rights. The very nature of her
creation was meant to ensure man's affection and stimulate his esteem.
Eve was indeed no mere helpmate. Rather, in her person and
constitution, she was suitable to be his companion both socially and
intellectually. Eve was not an appendage to Adam but his complement.
As Adam's complement, Eve would find her freedom and joy in glad submission
to the divine order--a submission as far from servility as heaven is from
Bruce Milne, in his book, Know the Truth, sees in Genesis 2:18, “woman’s full
equality with man. ‘A helper fit for him’ has the force of ‘equal and
adequate to.’ There is no hint of inferiority; woman is not man’s slave or
subordinate, but stands in her integrity by his side before god. "4
Male and female oneness is clearly set forth in the creation account of Genesis.
Therefore, any demeaning of woman, enslaving her, subjecting her, or treating
her as inferior or as a second-class citizen goes contrary to God's original
purpose and plan. Man and woman were created equal in all essential
respects: nature, dignity, and commission. 5
You remember what happened next. Eve was deceived by the serpent and Adam
made a deliberate choice to sin. What you may not be aware of is that Eve
did not have to hunt for Adam to give him the fruit. He was with her the
whole time. Genesis 3:6 says that when Eve saw that the fruit was
appealing, "she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband,
who was with her, and he ate it." Adam was right there with her and did nothing
to protect her, or to exercise the authority and dominion he had been given over
every living thing, including the serpent.
As a result of their sin, Adam and Eve died spiritually, and the wonderful
relationship they had enjoyed with each other and with God was broken. God
pronounced a judgment on the serpent: There would be enmity between his
offspring and Eve's, and one of her offspring would crush the serpent's head.
This was a prophecy concerning Jesus. Even while judging the serpent, God
gave a word of blessing and grace to the woman--out of her would come a life
that would absolutely destroy the enemy.
Then God said to Eve, “... I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your
husband, and he will rule over you" (Gen. 3:16). Many religious groups
have placed such a strong sensual and sexual connotation to that word desire as
if from then on women would be "hot" after their husbands all the time.
The Hebrew word (teshuga) means "a turning back and forth," "a turning
to." The inference here is, "Your turning will be to your husband rather than to
your Lord, and in so doing he will take subjection and dominion and rule over
Ever since that time, men's domination of women has been treated as a law given
and a curse imposed on women. In reality, it is not a commandment handed
down, but a prophecy, a warning of what the relationship would be between
husbands and wives. Male domination with female subjection is not part of
God's divine order in creation, but a consequence of the fall. Romans 8:2
tells us that Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. That
includes everyone, male and female. Because of Jesus Christ, women are not
under some curse spoken to Eve. We are free.
Distortion of God's Divine Order
The Lord promised in Genesis that life to restore mankind's relationship with
God would come forth from a woman. From that day to this the enemy has
done everything he could do to cut off that life, to squelch it, to suppress in
women any expression that has anything to do with the life of God. There
have been centuries of slander, hatred, and abuse leveled at females that I
believe are not cultural or ethnic, but spiritual and demonic in nature.
They are devised in the heart of the enemy himself, which, by deception, have
kept the concept alive that all women are forever cursed along with Eve.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to Eve. He is the great and
perfect liberator who came to give us abundant life (see Jn. 10:10). He
set us free from sin and death (see Rom. 8:2). He became a curse for us to
redeem us from the curse of the law (see Gal. 3:13). He is the Word of God
and His words are life: "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (Jn. 6:63).
Being the same yesterday, today, and forever (see Heb. 13:8), He is still the
Word of 6od, and words He speaks (i.e., anointed words from the mouths of
Spirit-filled women and men) are full of Spirit and life. Everywhere Jesus
went, the enemy harassed Him and tried to silence, thwart, or distort the words
of life that came from His mouth. First it was opposition from the
Pharisees, then betrayal by one of His own, and finally, the cross. Jesus
defeated all those attempts when He rose from the dead. His Word continued
on. During the early days of the Church, enemy continued his efforts
through persecution, harassment, and hardship against Paul, Peter, the other
apostles, and the Church as a whole, This has always been one of satan’s prime
In the same way he has tried to thwart life from being released through women.
He has tried to stifle the words of life that should he coming from us to bring
God's wholeness, hope, healing, and restoration. For centuries, satan has
done his utmost to muzzle women, not just in religion and ministry, but in
everyday life where their words are considered of little value. This is
especially true in many Third World nations.
Unfortunately, this mind-set has also strongly influenced the Church. The
issue has to do with speaking, with releasing the life and the spoken word.
Jesus said that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (see Mt.
12:34), and there is an attempt of the enemy to keep vital words of life from
coming forth out of women. In many Christian circles, women can do many
jobs, just not ones that involve speaking or teaching. A man may preach
the Word, but a woman can only bring a blessing. Although a "blessing" can
be spoken, it cannot be considered "preaching." Isn't that ridiculous! A woman
may speak during the week at any particular service, but not in the Sunday
services. What's the difference?
In the Old Testament, there was tremendous liberty for women who were prophets
(i.e., spokesmen). The prophetic ministry was considered the highest form
of teaching. Many women took prophetic leadership: Miriam, Huldah,
Isaiah's wife, and many others, including Deborah. Deborah was not only a
prophet, but also a prime minister during the period of the judges. I
understand that, lately, there is a large body of evidence being gathered that
may indicate women had priestly duties in the tabernacle worship.
Something came along to reverse this. The oral tradition, or Talmud, grew
up alongside the Mosaic Law as a commentary and supplement to it. Some of
the Talmud expressed extreme disdain, subjection, and ugly degradation of women.
By New Testament times, the Talmud was considered equal in authority to the
Torah, the Law. In addition, many aspects of Judaism had become
Hellenized, or greatly influenced by Greek philosophy and culture.
Aristotle, for example, put a badge of inferiority and servility upon women.
Such pagan philosophy influenced the Christian Church as Hellenistic ideas were
mingled with Christian theology, producing a whole host of beliefs that were
pagan at their source and that, unfortunately, still influence aspects of the
In the early Christian Church there was tremendous liberty where women, along
with men, preached the good news of the Kingdom. They realized that they
were equal in Christ-called, filled, and anointed by Him equally. In her
book Beyond the Curse, Aida Spencer writes:
"The New Testament records many women leaders, women of significant
authoritative positions, to mention only a few: Junia is called an apostle; Anna
is called a prophet; Philip's four daughters prophesied, as did women at
Corinth; Priscilla and the women at Crete were teachers: The women at Crete were
elders, Priscilla was as well a co-worker and a church overseer. The Elect
Lady and the Elect Sister were overseers. Phoebe was a church overseer and
Stephana, possibly a woman, was clearly an authority, and a co-worker.
Lydia and Chloe were church overseers, and perhaps as well were the mother of
Mark, Nympha, and Apphia, Euodia [What names! Where is Mary, Sally, Helen?],
Syntyche, Tryphosa, and possibly, Mary, and Persis were Paul’s colleagues, each
having their own position of authority. Even the Jezebel of Revelation 2
was recognized as a teacher, the problem was in what she taught.
“Why have Bible scholars not highlighted these women for us? Have some
translators and commentators refused to allow, or never even consider the
possibility that women could be in a place of leadership? The reasoning
goes something like this: Phoebe could not be a minister, because she was a
woman. Junia could not be a woman, because she was an apostle The Elect
Lady must be a church, because she could not be a lady. Stephana could not
be a woman because people were subjected to her.
Possibly the lack of recognizing the extent of women's ministries in the
scriptures, is that we, as women, have not taken the opportunity to study the
Bible in an in depth manner, and see that as our Biblical sisters were called,
God still calls women to minister His Word of Life today." 6
Three passages from Paul's Epistles are the primary sources of the Church
teachings that have suppressed and silenced women through the centuries: First
Corinthians 14:34-35, First Timothy 2:11-14, and Ephesians 5:21-32. Paul
is not the villain, though. Poor Paul has been slandered for generations.
Much recent biblical scholarship has brought to light the ways Paul has been
misunderstood and misinterpreted in these verses. Since the second and
third centuries these Scriptures, especially the Corinthian and Timothy
portions, have been used to put women into bondage, fear, and condemnation.
That is not the action of a loving heavenly Father. Notice that I said the
second and third centuries, not the early Church.
The scope of this book will allow only the discussion of the first two of these
Scriptures. The Corinthian portion has to do with a worship service; the
Timothy portion, with study. Concerning the third Scripture, Ephesians
5:21-32, it will have to suffice to say that Paul's discussion of husbands and
wives, and submission, marital love, and respect is given in connection with
Christ's love for His Bride, His Church. Submission in marriage is a
mutual act between husband and wife. If the wife is to be in submission to
her husband, the husband is to regard his wife as someone he would lay down his
life for as Christ did for the Church. That is hardly the attitude one
would take toward a suppressed, subjected, and subservient person.
The Pauline Teaching: I Corinthians 14:34-35
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak,
but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about
some- thing, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful
for a woman to speak in the church (I Corinthians 14:34-35).
Proper Bible study should always follow what's called historical, grammatical,
and critical method, or "HGC." Consider the historical setting, the grammatical
structure, and the critical evaluation of the portion of Scripture you are
studying in light of all the rest of Scripture. Otherwise, you can make
any passage of Scripture mean anything you want it to mean.
This passage in First Corinthians is in the context of orderliness in public
worship. Paul has just given instructions for the orderly expression in
worship of hymns, words of knowledge, words of prophecy, and tongues, and
concludes with his statement about women being silent in church. The very
presence of women in worship with the men went against both Jewish and pagan
practice. In the synagogues, women were separated from the men, relegated
to a side room or balcony as silent observers only. Pagan practice
excluded them from worship entirely.
Paul's encouragement of Christian men and women worshiping, praying, and
prophesying together was a shockingly radical concept for his pagan and Jewish
contemporaries. First century Jewish women participated very little in
public life because of the fear of being viewed as promiscuous. Considered
inferior to men and very limited in their capabilities, they were not expected
to be educated. The condition of Greek wives was even worse. They
were kept secluded, their only function to produce legitimate offspring.
They took no part in public affairs and never appeared at meals or social
Public women in this culture--the educated and the well-dressed. adorned
with cosmetics and jewelry--were the courtesans, the upper-class prostitutes.
In Corinth, most of these women were priestesses at the temple of Aphrodite, the
Greek goddess of love. Sexual intercourse was a part of their religious
With women coming into the Church from these restrictive, isolated backgrounds,
it is easy to imagine the scene when they became Christians, set free by Jesus.
All of a sudden they were one in Him with men, able to participate in public
worship and interact freely with other men and women. It was a whole new
world for them. When they came together there was a lot of noise and
disorder, especially on the part of the women, because they were not accustomed
to listening to public speakers or to participating in public worship.
G.H. Lang gives insight regarding the background and setting of this
"The persons who mostly formed the churches as at Corinth, were not
educated, disciplined westerners, to whom routine and decorum (not to say
deadness), especially in public worship, have become second nature and seem
wholly proper. On the contrary, they were ... nervous, restless,
emotional ... impulsive, vivacious, talkative; to whom routine was irksome
and dullness intolerable ... Nor had those first believers been trained to a
deadly propriety in public services. Their heathen temples had little
semblance of order or sense of stillness. 7
The Corinthians were boastful, arrogant, and quarrelsome, and had begun to
use their knowledge and rights as license, speaking in tongues and prophesying
in a disorderly manner. The women were boisterous, flaunting their freedom
in Christ. To such women Paul said, "Hush, be quiet. " He was not
commanding them not to prophesy, but instructing them how to behave when others
Aida Spencer reminds us that, actually, three groups of people were "silenced"
or "brought into submission" in Chapter 14: speakers in tongues when there was
no interpreter (14:27-28), one prophet when a revelation was made to another
prophet (14:30-31), and women learning in a shameful manner (14:33-35), because
God is a God of peace and not of disorder. 8
The Greek word for "silent" here means to be quiet, to hush, and to give
attention to the speaker. The type of talking that the women were doing is
described by the same Greek word that means gossip, prattle, or inattentive
talking and babble. These women had never been taught to listen; they were
uneducated and disruptive, and Paul is simply dealing here with excesses.
It appears that self-control is the issue, rather than silence as we think of
it. He would say the same thing today if it were necessary--to men as well
as to women.
The obvious thing is that these verses have nothing to do with prohibiting women
from preaching, prophesying, praying, or taking leadership in the church.
That's not what Paul is talking about. In fact, earlier in the same letter
he clearly implies that women did pray and prophesy in the church (see I
As far as being "in submission, as the Law says," the Greek, word for
"submission" here means "a voluntary attitude of being responsive to the needs
of others." What "Law" Paul, refers to here is debatable. There is no such
command for women in the Old Testament. Some scholars think Paul has in
mind local civil laws designed to curb religious and cultic excesses of women.
Others believe he refers to the Talmud, the Jewish oral tradition, and others
believe he could be referring to agape, the law of love. Regarding the
latter, Paul says in Romans 13:10 that love is the fulfillment of the law.
At any rate, it was important to the early Church that the behavior of their
women should be above reproach, in sharp contrast to the pagan temple
prostitutes, and within the bounds of the law.
It should be noted here that these verses in First Corinthians 14 refer
primarily to married women; hence the reference to them asking their husbands at
home. These people lived in a culture where home life and marital
relations between husband and wife were quite barren. Typically, there was
little interaction between them. One writer suggests that Paul wanted to
encourage loving communication between spouses, especially when the wives were
eager to learn about Jesus.
Eugene H. Peterson, in his marvelous contemporary language translation of the
New Testament, The Message, captures the true flavor of these verses
Wives must not disrupt worship, talking when they should be listening, asking
questions that could more appropriately be asked of their husbands at home.
Wives have no license to use the time of worship for unwarranted speaking (I
The Pauline Teaching: I Timothy 2:11-14
"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a
woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For
Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived.
It was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." (I Timothy 2:11-14).
Did you know that the Church has built an entire doctrine and practice of
refusing women verbal ministry and leadership based on this one text? No
other aspect of church life has been formed on such a narrow basis. Most
theologians agree that a principle has to be found in at least three places.
Also remember the HGC method of study. There is now a large body of
evidence strongly suggesting that this text has been misunderstood from the
original Greek, and therefore mistranslated.
The culprit is the Greek word authentein, translated in the King James
Version as "usurp authority," and found nowhere else in the Scriptures and only
rarely in other Greek literature. Part of the problem is that this word,
like so many words in virtually every language, has changed meaning through the
centuries. In classic Greek, 400 years before Jesus, authentein
meant to initiate, to be responsible for a murder, with also some inference to
suicide. Around the second or third century after Christ, it began to mean
to rule, or to have authority over. By A.D. 600 it meant to have ownership
of property, either rightfully, or wrongfully through fraud. At the same
time it came to mean usurping of authority, or being domineering. In the
day when Paul was writing, authentein was a rare verb with a very vulgar
connotation, meaning to involve someone in soliciting sexual liaisons.
Authentein also meant to be the author of or claim to be the originator of
Why would Paul use such a vulgar, uncommon term when writing to Timothy about
the Ephesian church? An understanding of this will also shed light on
Paul's puzzling reference to Adam and Eve in verses 13 and 14.
Timothy was a young man who served as overseer for the church in Ephesus.
The believers in the church had been converted from a pagan background steeped
in the occult and loaded with myths and genealogies, doctrines of demons, and
every weird thing under the sun. Ephesus was a center for the worship of
the Greek goddess Diana, which involved such teachings as female superiority and
domination over men, female procreation without male involvement, and all kinds
of sexual perversions and fertility rites. On top of everything else, the
heretical Gnostic cult began to infiltrate the Church. This
quasi-Christian group made a complete distinction between the spiritual (which
was pure) and the material (which was evil). This led to immorality
because they claimed that nothing the body did could "tarnish" the purity of the
spirit. They actually denied Christ's humanity, declaring that He, being
spirit, could not have died.
It is easy to see the challenge Paul and young Timothy faced--new, ignorant
converts mingling their old, pagan, demonic doctrines with Gnosticism and Old
Testament teaching. Someone has said that Gnosticism was the first century
equivalent of the New Age movement. Now we can understand some of what
Paul's instructions were to Timothy: "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia,
stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false
doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless
genealogies..." (I Tim. 1: 3-4). Also, "Oppose false teaching." "Warn
people about doctrines of demons." "Stop stupid, senseless controversies." "Use
the Scriptures--rightly divide the Word---train yourself to be godly."
Gnostics taught that there were levels of secret, higher, superior knowledge
revealed only to those who were specially initiated--mediators between God and
man. Many of these supposed mediators were women, promising godliness if
their hearers would follow their "teaching." Now you can see why Paul emphasized
to Timothy in First Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one mediator between
God and men, the man Christ Jesus." These women were deluded, deceived, and
untaught. No wonder Paul says, "Let your women learn" (see I Tim. 2:11)!
That confusing verse about Adam being formed before Eve seems out of place in
the context of teachings about prayer and learning. Now it is going to
make more sense as we see the heretical teaching that Paul was addressing as it
was filtering into the Church. One major Gnostic teaching declared that
the creator was the serpent--the revealer of truth, the illuminator. Eve
was exalted as the one who brought life to Adam. She ate of the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil; she received special knowledge from God, which
had been hidden from them, and taught this new revelation to Adam. Rather
than calling this act sin, the Gnostics regarded it as a sign of superiority.
They taught that Eve was the mother, the forerunner of all (authentein,
originator), that she came first and that Adam was born from her. Not so,
said Paul. He was simply bringing correction to erroneous, cultic teaching
that had come into the Church.
Catherine Kroeger, Hebrew and Greek researcher, puts forth the theory that since
authentein had a sexual connotation as well, Paul was exhorting the women not to
involve a man in the heretical kind of Christianity that taught licentious
behavior as one of its doctrines. Such a female did indeed "teach to
fornicate" in the Thyatiran church, mentioned in Revelation 2:20 (KJV). 9
Paul's instructions concerning women in First Timothy 2 come at the end of
guidelines regarding worship, and particularly prayer. In verse 8 he
exhorts the men to pray "without anger or disputing" among themselves. The
women's behavior was to be in like manner. Also, they were to dress
modestly, in sharp contrast to the pagan women around them. Paul wanted
the women to be taught, a concept that was unthinkable and radical, yet here he
is writing, "a woman should learn"--a principle that came in with the Christian
Church. Women were not accustomed to listening to teachers or spending
time in study. His instructions were for them to do so in silence, with
all subjection, or submission. The word for "subjection" here is the same
one found in the Corinthian passage as well as in Ephesians 5. It means
the voluntary willingness to be responsive to the needs of another; in this
case, their own needs to listen and hear, and the needs of the teachers to
communicate without noisy competition. The word for "silence" here does
not mean refraining from talking. It means harmony, peace, conformity,
agreement, and restful quietness, in meditation or study. It was an
attitude of the heart while learning. It has nothing to do with speaking.
In First Corinthians 14:34, the word sigao means to be quiet while
someone else is speaking; in First Timothy 2:11, hesuchia means to be
quiet within oneself, in order to listen attentively. This attitude of
silence was one that students gave to rabbinical instruction; it was a posture
That confusing verse about Adam being formed before Eve seems out of place in
the context of teachings about prayer and learning. Perhaps some of the
mystery has been cleared up; unorthodox teaching was a prominent problem in the
Ephesian church. Obviously, orthodox teaching was needed for correction.
The women were being deceived--not only being led away by false doctrines, but
probably propagating these teachings as well. No wonder Paul commanded
them to learn while not allowing them to teach, especially with the particular
"Diana/Gnostic" methods of teaching men. He was dealing with a current
crisis within the Church.
According to the Greek grammatical structure and verb tenses, Paul is saying, "I
am not presently allowing a woman to teach." In fact, the strong command here is
"let her learn" (and while she is learning she is not allowed to teach).
Another researcher adds this: "I am not permitting a woman to teach
authentein" (to proclaim woman to be the originator of man). Remember
the phrase "usurp authority" was not used in this era. This is precisely
the reason Paul prohibited them from teaching; not because they were women, but
because they were ignorant of the truth. They were still too young in the
Christian faith and too close to their pagan past to teach Christian truth with
knowledge and authority.
It should be clear by now that these Scriptures have absolutely nothing to do
with Christian women being prohibited from the verbal ministry of releasing the
spoken word. No matter what social, ethnic, or structural expression of
the Body of Christ they come from, the daughters of God are chosen, called,
anointed, and appointed by Him to do the works of the Kingdom, including
releasing His life and releasing the spoken, audible Word.
1. Jeremy Sinnott, "Releasers of Life," 1997, Rejoice Publishing and
Productions. Used by permission.
2. Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, New One Volume Edition,
Rev. Leslie F. Church, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House,
3. L.E. Maxwell, Women in Ministry (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, Scripture
Press Publications, Inc., 1987), 33.
4. Bruce Milne, Know The Truth (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press,
5. Maxwell, Women in Ministry.
6. Aida Spencer, Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry, (Peabody,
MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1985), 120.
7. G.H. Lang, The Churches of God (London: C.J. Thynne & Jarvis, 1928),
as noted in L.E. Maxwell, Women in Ministry, 87.
8. Spencer, Beyond the Curse, 104.
9. Catherine C. Kroeger, "Ancient Heresies and a Strange Greek Verb,"
Reformed Journal, 29 (March 1979), 14.