Does the Bible approve of woman ordination?

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The subject of woman ordination has become a controversial subject in the church. In the Bible, women led significant roles in the ministry. Several examples include Deborah, who was a judge of Israel (Judges 4:4); Huldah and Anna, who were prophetesses (2 Chronicles 34:22; Luke 2:36); Priscilla, who was active in evangelism (Acts 18:26); and Pheobe, who was a deaconess (Romans 16:1).

Also, in the ministry of Jesus, women played distinctive roles (Matthew 28:1–10; Luke 8:3; 23:49; John 11:1–46; 12:1–8).  Further, women were commanded to edify the body of Christ, which included teaching (Titus 2:3-5) and prophecy (Acts 2:17-18; 21:9).

Even though men and women may serve the Lord in significant ways, that does not mean that God has intended men and women to function in the same capacity. Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:12, clearly teaches that women should not serve in a position of authority over men. Nevertheless, women are free to teach in many other ways (Titus 2:3–5; Acts 21:8–11). Women may also be involved in supporting roles in the church and missionary work (Philippians 4:2-4).

Although the Lord has selected many women to serve as prophets through the ages, He never ordained women to the position of priests in the temple and its services (Exodus 28:1, 41, Exodus 30:30). In the New Testament, bishops and elders hold the positions of authority in the Church, much like priests in the Old Testament. These positions are also only to be held by men (1 Timothy 3:1-13).

Women have served a vital role in the church from the very beginning, but men were assigned the role of church leadership. While many priests were prophets, no women prophets were priests. Amram and Jochebed had three children—Miriam, Aaron, and Moses (Numbers 26: 59). All three children were prophets (Exodus 15:20; Exodus 7:1; Deuteronomy 34:10) but only the males served as priests or held authority in the temple  (Exodus 28:1; 40:1-16).

In the New Testament, we see that while Christ had many followers and offers salvation to all, He ordained 12 men as His apostles to be leaders of His Church (Acts 1:2, 25-26).

While the Bible teaches that women ought to submit to the authority of men, this does not mean inequality. Christ submitted to the Father, yet He is equal to the Father in worth and essence (Philippians 2:5-8). “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11: 3).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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