“So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” After the two days he departed for Galilee.”
John 4:5-30, 39-43
As I was listening to this passage, I was reminded of a recent conversation I had with someone. They asked me if I attended church, to which I responded “yes”. The person quickly followed up with “I hope it is not one of those false churches that let women preach.” I proceeded to let her know where I attended and ignored the comment. It was obvious she was passionate about her stance, and I didn’t have the time or patience to discuss it with her.
I admit, I’ve been there. I was raised in a denomination with all men pastors and preachers. Women were for Sunday school and choir. They stood slightly behind but beside their husbands when on the stage if both needed to be at the pulpit for something. Many did sit beside their spouse in a prominent place on the stage. They did not share a message from the pulpit or even a true thought. I don’t know if things have changed there, I left when I was about thirteen. Other than the pastor, three men from the congregation and my two bus captains, it is the women I remember despite attending the largest church in our area. (I don’t know attendance numbers, but we had 13 bus routes (with school size buses) that ran weekly in our area back in the 1980s.)
Over the years, I have listened to women preachers. Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Lisa Bevere, Beth Moore and Pricilla Shirer come to mind amongst the women I have listened to over the years. Their ministries were typically geared towards women; although men would come, I never gave it much thought.
I don’t exactly remember the first church I attended that women preached. I know I have been impacted by multiple women preachers since, and know it’s been at least 14 years. Most were married to the pastor or another leader in the church, so again I never gave it much thought. However, really thinking about it, some were not. What I know is the Word of God, and the ladies brought it.
There are passages like “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:12 used to explain the stance that women shouldn’t preach. So I admit, there have been times that I have questioned it. I know the argument on both sides. I get the controversy.
Then I read a book that challenged everything I thought I knew. It was a short book. It took me a little longer because I cross referenced and looked at original texts because I don’t blindly believe. Regardless of what you believe, it is worth the read. It may challenge or strengthen your belief. It might help you know how to better defend your stance one way or another. The book is called The Silent Queen by Paul Ellis.
The word teach in I Timothy 2:12, is the Greek Word Lexicon :: Strong’s G1321 – didaskō which means to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses.
Since I don’t use discourse or didactic often I looked those up too.
Mariam Webster defines discourse as : verbal interchange of ideas especially: CONVERSATION. a: formal and orderly and usually extended expression of thought on a subject. b: connected speech or writing. c: a linguistic unit (such as a conversation or a story) larger than a sentence: a mode of organizing knowledge, ideas, or experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts (such as history or institutions)critical discoursearchaic : the capacity of orderly thought or procedure : RATIONALITY Obsolete : social familiarity
Mariam Webster defines didactic as to teach Didaktikós is a Greek word that means “apt at teaching.” It comes from didáskein, meaning “to teach.” Something didactic does just that: it teaches or instructs.
Typically when I think of women preaching, my mind goes to Mary Magdalene. Even when I am confused about what I believe, I see her. I didn’t need to read anything except Scripture to see that Jesus, in addition to the angel, told Mary to go preach to men. I read this and think “someone forgot to tell Jesus women can’t preach to men.”
“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”” Matthew 28:1-10
The resurrection of Jesus is the gospel. She was the first to go share it. She was told to go have a conversation with the disciples (aka men). Mary was told to give instructions to the disciples (aka men). “Tell them to go to Galilee, they can see me there.” That meets the definition of the Greek word used. Jesus could have went to John, the disciple He loved. He could have went to Peter or James, or any of the other eight. He chose a woman.
So back to the passage today that made me think of all this. As I was listening to this passage today, it dawned on me that here is an example of not only a woman that are non-Jewish woman sharing the gospel. Again they forgot to tell Jesus women can’t preach.
The woman at the well, was the first person outside of John the Baptist and Jesus that brings a multitude to Him. John was pointing the way to Jesus. Jesus is, well Jesus He draws the crowd. It is always Jesus that saves, but she brought a city to Him. If she hadn’t shared the gospel, they might not have come to Him. They would not have heard Him and believed in Him.
Jesus knew what would happen. He would typically tell people he healed to stay silent. He didn’t offer her those words as she left him. He knew she would go and share the conversation. He didn’t tell her “don’t go preach to the men in your town.” He stayed silent. He let her go and share the good news.
I won’t pretend I am a Greek scholar or have some amazing revelation as to what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote the instructions to Timothy. I know the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, I know the misunderstanding is usually on the human side. I can see twice Jesus allowed women, women who were considered outcasts at that, to share the gospel. So all I can say is that if women aren’t suppose to preach, they forgot to tell Jesus.