Kingdom Women

Guest post by Jon Zens: selecting Scriptures to silence the sisters (part 2)

Jon Zens continues his list of examples that reveal the role of women throughout the New Testament. Women should not be silenced by the two “challenging texts”–1 Corinthians 14:34-34 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15. The weight of Scripture demonstrates that women do not have to “tape their mouths.” The first post in the series can be seen here. Jon writes:

  • Jesus applauded the evangelistic efforts of the Samaritan woman (John 4:35-38).  After experiencing a revelation of Jesus, she left her jar at the well and went to her city telling men, women and children about the Messiah (John 4:28-29).  Everyone in Sychar knew about her history of broken relationships, yet she boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah – a Redeemer even for those outside of Judaism!
  • In the context of Jesus’ crucifixion the male disciples fled, yet the women were present and they helped in his burial (Matt.27:55-56,61; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:55-56; John 19:25-27).
  • A woman’s testimony was disallowed as evidence in first century courts.  Yet the Lord chose females to be the first witnesses and proclaimers of his resurrection (John 20:1-2, 11-18; Luke 24:1-11, 22-24; Mark 16:1-8; Matt.28:1-11).
  • After Christ’s ascension, 120 men and women prayed together and chose a replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:14-15).
  • The Spirit came upon the 120 disciples and they spoke the wonderful works of God in many foreign languages (Acts 2:1-4).
  • Some thought that what was occurring on the Day of Pentecost was evidence of too much wine, but Peter insisted that it was a fulfillment of what Joel prophesied would come to pass – “your sons and daughters will prophesy….I will pour out my Spirit on my male and female slaves and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).  There is no suggestion that males may prophesy freely, but that females are restricted in some ways.
  • Philip the evangelist had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9).  We would not be wrong in assuming that there were many other sisters who had this gift, not just Philip’s offspring.
  • Paul entrusted his letter to the Romans to Phoebe, and she delivered it.  She was a deacon in the assembly at Cenchrea and Paul had the highest regard for her (Rom.16:1-2).  Paul recognized her as a prostatis, which carried with it the idea of leadership (cf. 1 Thess.5:12).
  • Paul designated Priscilla and Aquila as his “co-workers” (Rom.16:3).  The same word is used with reference to people like Timothy and Titus.

To be continued:

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9 replies on “Guest post by Jon Zens: selecting Scriptures to silence the sisters (part 2)”

I always enjoy reading Jon’s writing, especially on this topic. He is thorough, careful and gentle – a great combination. Thanks for writing this, Jon. And thanks, Felicity, for publishing it.

You seem to have it all wrong. Scripture doesn’t silence women against evangelizing or praying, in fact it doesn’t silence us from anything. We are to be submissive to Christ, our husbands and our elders. Scripture clearly states women are not to be heads over men or to teach. I am a Christian woman that has no problem with this command, in fact I love it because its from The Lord and Romans 8:28 tells me that He knows what is best for me. I could easily round up hundreds of women that would feel the same.
Could it be possible that Christian immaturity could play a part in the negative responses to these passages that are Gods word?

Hi Colleen,
While I respect the traditional opinion that you represent on this, I happen to disagree that immaturity is part of the response to the negative passages. The main problem is that if it is a principle that women are not allowed to teach or to have authority over men, then it’s one that God himself seems quite prepared to break both in the Scriptures–think Deborah, Junia, Priscilla, Phoebe– and in what he is doing around the world–think places like China, India, Korea and women of God like Heidi Baker, Michele Perry etc. So either we take the general trend and examples of Scripture as being the norm or we take two passages, that can easily be challenged, over the general trend of Scripture and what the Holy Spirit is doing.

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