What does the Bible say about women in office?
The Bible says a lot of things about women. Women are honoured in the Scriptures. Christ interacted with women (Jn. 4:27; Mk. 5:34; Lk. 11:27-28; 13:12; 23:27). It is clear that to Jesus, women are to be treated with respect. It is noteworthy that while women were found among Christ’s followers from the beginning, only men were chosen to be apostles. Women continued to have a place in the church after Christ’s ascension; they were present in the circle of disciples as they prayerfully awaited the coming of the promised Spirit (Acts 1:11).
The gospel was preached also to women. Sometimes women were the first converts, for example, Lydia (Acts 16:15), and Damaris (Acts 17:34). They were recognized in the church, played a role in the church. For example women opened their homes to meetings of the church (Acts 12:12); they served the saints (1 Cor. 16:15), practiced hospitality (Acts 18:2; 1 Tim. 5:10), etc. They were also involved in spreading the gospel (Rom. 16:3; Acts 21:9). It is clear that while they are equal to men, and played an important role in the church in many ways, that does not mean that they have the same task in the home or in the church. Paul says it quite clearly (1 Tim. 2:11-12): “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (cf. also 1 Cor. 14:33b-35). This does not mean they are not allowed to speak with others at church, or sing in church (Ex. 15:20-21; Col. 3:16), but they are not given the role of official authority in the church (pastor, elder, deacon). Now, this is under attack today in the Western Church; and those who believe in opening up the office for women in the church usually explain that cultures have changed from Bible times. True, cultures do change, but what is declared by precept, taught by principle in the Scriptures is not up for alteration by the church, but seeks joyful submission of the church.
No doubt, most of us have been blessed by mothers, grandmothers, Sunday School teachers, and others who have taught us the word of God without being pastors, elders or deacons. Let us thank God for the many godly women in our lives, but follow the clear direction of scripture.