What’s a Woman to Do in Public Worship? -- By: William E. Arp

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 12:1 (Spring 2008)
Article: What’s a Woman to Do in Public Worship?
Author: William E. Arp


What’s a Woman to Do in Public Worship?

William E. Arp

Professor of New Testament and Greek

Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

The Bible teaches that God gave the church (and therefore churches) pastor-teachers (Eph 4:11). This teaching is therefore not debatable. Many people also believe that the Bible teaches that a “pastor-teacher” must be a man. These people think that this teaching is therefore also not debatable. However, there are other people who think that this latter teaching is debatable. They think that the Bible teaches that a “pastor-teacher” may be a man or a woman. Consequently, they believe that a woman may be a pastor.

Both of these groups support their position from the Bible. But both groups cannot be correct. Whom does the Bible allow to hold the office of pastor-teacher? Does it permit just men to hold the office, or both men and women? As it relates to women: to be or not to be a pastor–that is the question!

One passage that helps to answer this question is 1 Timothy 2:9–15. This passage is important in answering the above question since Paul instructs women concerning their behavior in public worship services.1 This paper will look briefly at 2:9–10 and then concentrate on 11–15 since it pertains to this question.

Because this passage is so crucial in answering concerning the eligibility for the office of “pastor-teacher,” both complementarians and egalitarians say much on the meaning and significance of this passage. It seems that there is not much more to be written about this passage and this question. Since this is the situation, why this paper? What can it contribute to the meaning and significance of this passage? What help can it offer to answer the eligibility question?

Purpose

This paper purposes to look briefly at the first part of this section (2:9–10) and then to look carefully at the second part of this section (2:11–15) with some insights from discourse2 analysis3 to see what they might contribute to the understanding of this section. It will focus on the structure of the discourse in order to understand Paul’s argument. Therefore, it ...

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