Women as Pastors Pt1: Women in Ministry Who Paul Praised

I stand in awe of God’s guidance. If you had asked me a year ago whether I would be in seminary this year, I would have dutifully ‘proved’ to you that women were not suppose to be pastors. I was just parroting dogma that I’d been fed without ever searching the scriptures myself. I never realized that Pricilla was Paul’s assistant, Juana was an apostle, and Pheobe was a deaconesses. The King James calls her a servant, but everywhere else in the New Testament this word is translated to mean deacon. IN fact Acts 21:8-9, Acts 2:17-18, 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 state that women Prophesied. Well, a Prophet speaks and teaches ‘God’s Word’ in the church.

Since studying the role of Women as Pastors at the seminary level, I’ve gone online and read a lot of articles written on the topics. It amazes me how many ordained pastors will blatantly leave out the above 3 women, but expound on places where women should raise children of faith, work in hospitality roles, pray, or support the ministries financially.

Juana was an Apostle

Then we reach one verse 1 Timothy 2:11 – 14. Paul and Timothy appears to claim that they don’t let ‘any’ woman teach or have authority over ‘any’ man, a strange contrast to the fact that Pricilla goes to Rome with Paul’s letters and reads them to the church there. Or that Paul instructed the church to support, and Paul praised, Juana. She was not only a gentile convert, and a woman, but she had been jailed with Paul. He called her ‘eminent among apostles. Paul placed Juana on the same spiritual level as himself.

Romans 16:7. “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding2 among the apostles3, and they were in Christ before I was.” NIV4

One professor taught me that “God Ordained women in the old testament. He also empowered women in the New Testament with the Holy Spirit. What is Good enough for God, is Good enough for me.”

Phoebe was a Deaconess

IN Romans 16:1-2 Pheobe was a deaconess. “diakonon” in Greek. In The King James she is called a servant, but in 22 other places this word was translated ‘minister.’ Consider Col 1:25 “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,” (NAS) Phoebe travelled 800 miles to Rome. The letter introduces her as a minister and a great help to Paul’s ministry. The word, “prostatis” (Strongs 4368) that is translated ‘helper’ in many bibles actually means ‘a woman set over others, a patroness, a female guardian.”

Nympha, Lydia, Chloe were Pastors

In fact, she is the only leader mentioned by name in her town. Lydia also hosted a church within her home. Chloe was a minister of such renowned that her members indicated as belonging to Chloe as a group. (Col 4:15, Acts 16:14, 15, 40, 1 Cor 1:11) We also see the mention of Marks’s mother hosting a church in her home (Acts 12:12) but it doesn’t mention clearly who the minister was.

Paul Praised Stephanas – a Pastor

In 1 Cor 16:15-16 we see where Paul praises Stephanas for not only being a pastor, but being the first pastor in her area. Not only that, Paul instructs the church to be in subjection to everyone who works for the church. (the word men is not in the Greek).

A Mis Translation into ‘My Elect’ of the Greek Eklektee Kuria ‘Chosen of God’

Thayer’s definition of the second word is the feminine version of Kuros, ‘one in supreme authority. 2 John. Paul is writing Her a letter telling her how to care for her converts. Her name is never given. But, this is not unusual as the greetings and the signatures are removed from many of the letters when the bible was written.

In 1 Peter 5:13 there is mention of a babalonian woman who might be the ‘woman’ Paul referred to in this letter? Or, was her name really Electra? Was her name Kuria? These are questions that will never be answered.
The one thing to focus on is that Paul never rebuked these women, or refused to work with them. He worked at their side and commanded the church to do likewise. In fact, some books of the bible you are reading were letters Paul wrote to these women.

Women as Prophets

There are many verses that talk about women prophets. In fact, one verse instructs women to cover their head, or have long hair, if they pray or prophesy publicly. The confusion of the word prophets and their role in the New Testament church has lead to this verse being ignored. However, the verse does mean to stand up in front of the church and give them ‘God’s Word’ and instruction, both to men and women.

Take a look at Acts 13:3-4; 16:6, 1 Cor 14:31, 1 Cor 14:3, 1 Cor 14:1. The last is important as Paul is stating that prophecy is the most desirable of the spiritual gifts.

Women as Evangelists

Evangelists are people who preached the gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Euodia and Syntyche were women who were warmly regarded as fellow-workers by Paul. They worked at his side (Php 4:2-3)

Women as Teachers

Priscilla’s ( also Prisca) name appears first in 4 of the 6 times her, and her husband, are mentioned. This was not a mistake, but a statement that she was first. Priscilla and Aquila were both active in ministry.

Women as Pastors PT1: Women Paul Praised

Women As Pastors Pt2:What Does Paul Teach in 1 Timothy 2:12

Women as Pastors PT3: Does Paul Exclude Women as Pastors? 1 Timothy

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