A Biblical View of Women in the Ministry Part 4: The Ministry of Women in the Apostolic and Postapostolic Periods -- By: H. Wayne House

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 145:580 (Oct 1988)
Article: A Biblical View of Women in the Ministry Part 4: The Ministry of Women in the Apostolic and Postapostolic Periods
Author: H. Wayne House


A Biblical View of Women in the Ministry
Part 4:
The Ministry of Women in the Apostolic and Postapostolic Periods

H. Wayne House

Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology
Dallas Theological Seminary

The Role of Women in Paul’s Ministry

The attitude of Paul toward women was notedly different from that of others trained in rabbinic traditions, both in the social and religious realm. Socially Paul recognized the intrinsic worth of woman as equal to that of man. Arriving in Philippi and finding no synagogue there, he quite comfortably preached to a crowd of women (Acts 16:13). Lydia’s invitation for him to stay at her house was accepted by the apostle apparently without the slightest qualm (v. 15). Whereas in rabbinic usage a woman was mentioned only as the wife of a given man, Paul in Romans greeted women by name. Furthermore, Paul called Phoebe, who delivered the Epistle to the Romans, a sister (Rom 16:1).

In proclaiming the gospel and giving biblical admonitions, the apostle made no distinctions between men and women. The first gospel appeal in Europe, as stated, was made to the women by the river at Philippi. In his epistles he directed his teachings to both men and women, as in 1 Timothy 3:11, where he referred to the work and character of deacons and deaconesses (or the wives of the deacons). Men and women alike were urged to be sober, patient, and holy (Titus 2:2–3). Men and women were equally condemned for their

wickedness (Rom 1:26–32). And he wrote that husbands and wives have reciprocal conjugal rights in marriage (1 Cor 7:1–5), which was not the normal perspective in Paul’s day.1

Women are portrayed as being of considerable value to Paul in his ministry, supporting him and laboring with him. At Thessalonica many leading women in the city were attracted to Paul’s teaching (Acts 17:4), and if Holzner is correct, they became the chief support of the church founded there by Paul and Silas.2 The same may have been the case at Berea (v. 12). In addition to the financial work of high-born Greek women, there is the clear statement in Philippians 4:2–3 that two...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()