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Women as Pastors Pt3: Does Paul’s Qualifications for Church Leaders Exclude Women? 1 Timothy

When Paul wrote the qualifications for leaders did he write to men only? One phrase that many refer to is 1 Tim 3:2; and Titus 1:6. Many claim that these verses claim that only a man who is not widowed and remarried, or divorced and remarried can be a pastor. Because polygamy is not a part of today’s culture, they assume that it wasn’t rampant in Paul’s day. This line of thinking has many problems. It can also be used to claim that only a married man can be a church leader, which excludes Paul himself. In another verse Paul preaches that celibate workers in the church can serve God better (1 Cor 7:32-35).

However, many theologians agree that this term refers to marital faithfulness.

Another problem is that many translations state that a pastor ‘manages his own household well, keeping his children under control’ 1 Timothy 3:4. Despite the fact that the Greek language does not have any gender related pronouns. This means that if Paul had of wanted to refer to a man only, he would have needed to use the word for ‘man’ – not the pronoun that could mean male or female.

To eliminate women from any leadership at home or in the church would also need to state that Paul made another grammatical mistake when he said that younger widows should marry, bear children, ‘rule’ the household – 1 Tim 5:14

There is one blatant translation of 1 Timothy 3:2, which states in many bibles that a ‘elder must be a man. This statement does not appear anywhere in any of the Greek manuscripts. This is a biased opinion of man ‘interpreting’ the word of God and changing it to meet doctrine.

The opening sentence of 1 Timothy chapter 3 literally says ‘If someone aspires to overseeship, he/she desires a noble task. There is no gender bias here at all. To make changes to one part of the scripture, and not another, is wrong.

For example, if we were to claim that the masculine words in Greek referred to men only, not to the group being spoken to, then we must also state that women are excluded from the free gift of salvation. You cannot have it both ways. Either a word means one thing throughout the New Testament, or it means another. It is wrong to change the translation depending on the subject.

Philip B. Payne writes: “Two of the most prominent complementarians acknowledge this phrase does not clearly exclude women. Douglas Moo acknowledges that this phrase need not exclude “unmarried men or females from the office . . . it would be going too far to argue that the phrase clearly excludes women. . . .” Douglas J. Moo, “The Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11–15: A Rejoinder,” TJ 2 NS (1981): 198–222, 211. Thomas Schreiner acknowledges, “The requirements for elders in 1 Tim 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9, including the statement that they are to be one-woman men, does not necessarily in and of itself preclude women from serving as elders. . . .” Thomas R. Schreiner’s “Philip Payne on Familiar Ground: A Review of Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters.” JBMW (Spring 2010): 33–46, 35.”

Doctrine in Practice

Let’s put our doctrine into practice. A church that excludes a woman from being a pastor, must also agree with the following: No allow women to enter the church without her head covered, to sing hymns, to teach any male over 12 years old, everyone must work six days of the week, nothing must be done on the Sabbath at all, men who do not tithe properly cannot have a leadership position, men whose families are not all happy and following God cannot be in leadership, men who lie – look at a woman lustfully – does not pray without ceasing – etc cannot be in leadership.

As you see, a ‘pick and choose’ theology doesn’t work. You cannot have it both ways. You must accept God’s truth as the truth.

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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