"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY" Fleeing In Full Pursuit (6:3-11)


 Fleeing In Full Pursuit (6:3-11)


1. In 1Ti 6:11, we find an interesting contrast concerning the 
   "man of God"...
   a. He is told to "flee" (Grk., pheugo)
   b. He is told to "pursue" (Grk., dioko)
   c. In the Grk. NT, these two words are next to each other,
      highlighting the contrast between them

2. So while one is fleeing from some things, he should be 
    pursing other things...
   a. Are we fleeing those things from which we ought to flee?
   b. Are we pursing those things we need to pursue?

[Ask yourself these questions as we consider 
"Fleeing In Full Pursuit". First, there are...]


      1. Contrary to the words of our Lord and the doctrine 
         according to godliness - 1Ti 6:3
      2. Especially any error related to:
         a. The practice of fornication ("flee sexual immorality")
            - 1Co 6:18
         b. The practice of idolatry ("flee from idolatry") - 1Co 10:14
      3. This implies that we must learn the truth - how can we flee
         from an unknown enemy?

      1. What might be described as "word battles" - 1Ti 6:4-5
         a. Some people become obsessed with such things
         b. They love to argue religion, just for the sake of arguing!
      2. The outcome of such discussions are often:
         a. envy - the ill will one has when bested by an opponent
         b. strife - the condition that exists while argument is being
            discussed and people refuse to admit defeat
         c. reviling - abusive language (e.g., slander, scorn) regarding
            the opposition
         d. evil suspicions - mistrust, suspecting and impugning
            another's motives
      3. Where discussions become "useless wranglings"
         a. By men "of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth"
            1) They can't think straight
            2) They don't even know what is really true
         b. By men who think "godliness is a means of gain"
            1) Some think such arguing will make them famous
            2) Others think it will give them power, position, even
      4. Timothy was told to stay away from such "wranglers"! 
          - 1 Ti 6:5; 2Ti 2:14-16,23

      1. Godliness with contentment is the great gain - 1Ti 6:6-8
         a. "You can't take it with you"
         b. Food and shelter are the only true "necessities"
         c. Contentment is a grace to be learned - cf. Php 4:11-13
      2. Those who "desire to be rich" endanger themselves 
          - 1Ti 6:9
         a. They fall into temptation and a snare
         b. They fall into foolish and harmful lusts which drown them in
            destruction and perdition
      3. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil - 1Ti 6:10
         a. Some have strayed from the faith in their greediness
         b. They found not happiness, but much sorrow!

[Such things we are to "flee" (1Ti 6:11).  Are we fleeing from them, or
flirting with them?  It helps to flee when we are in full pursuit of
certain things...]


      1. The quality of being right, and doing right, in the sight of
      2. The righteousness we seek is that found in Christ, and Paul
         illustrates the "pursuit" one should have for it - cf. Php 3:

      1. This can be defined as "devotion to God which results 
         in a life that pleases Him"
      2. I.e., one who is godly displays a truly pious conduct
      3. This godliness requires effort or exercise on our part 
          - cf. 1Ti 4:7
      4. The pursuit of godliness is well worth it, according to Paul
         - 1Ti 4:8

   C. FAITH...
      1. Faith in its subjective sense, "active reliance on God and His
         promises" - Hendriksen
      2. Such reliance comes from the Word of God - Ro 10:17
      3. At times, we must battle to maintain this reliance - 1Ti 6:12
      4. There is the danger of developing a heart of unbelief, which is
         why we must always be in pursuit of faith - cf. He 3:12-15

   D. LOVE...
      1. We are to love God, brethren, even enemies 
         - Mt 22:36-40; 5:44
         a. This love is from the Grk. agape, "active good will"
         b. It involves a decision of the will, not the heart
      2. Such love does not come naturally, we must be taught it
         - e.g., 1Th 4:9; 3:12
      3. Thus it is something we must pursue, or we will not have it!

      1. Steadfastness, "the grace to bear up under adversities"
         - Hendriksen
      2. Especially in times of persecution, discouragement, 
         hard times
      3. "Endurance" would be another word 
           - e.g., Jesus, He 12:1-4

      1. This word is akin to "patience", but with respect to people
         rather than circumstances
      2. It affects how we treat others, even those with whom 
         we differ - cf. 2Ti 2:24-25
      3. Where the virtues of righteousness, godliness, faith, 
          love and patience are present, the virtue of 
          gentleness naturally follows


1. These things to flee and things to pursue were important 
   to Paul...
   a. He not only warned Timothy in this passage
   b. He warned Timothy again in another epistle - 2Ti 2:22-23

2. Perhaps because there is something in human nature...
   a. To pursue things we ought to be fleeing
   b. To flee things we ought to be pursuing

3. Hopefully these words of the apostle will serve us well...
   a. To keep us on the right track
   b. To motivate us to be more diligent about moving in the right

Are we "Fleeing In Full Pursuit", fleeing that which is wrong, 
pursuing that which is right...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Is Jesus Really Michael the Archangel? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Is Jesus Really Michael the Archangel?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, “Jesus is not God and never claimed to be” (“Should You Believe…?,” 2000). Rather, Jesus can be understood “from the scriptures to be Michael the Archangel” (The Watchtower, 1979, p. 29). “Michael the great prince is none other than Jesus Christ himself,” they allege (The Watchtower, 1984, p. 29). The May 15, 1969 issue of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower magazine suggested: “There is Scriptural evidence for concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return” (p. 307). Where is the “scriptural evidence” for such a doctrine? In an article titled “The Truth About Angels” that appears on the official web site of Jehovah’s Witnesses (www.watchtower.org), 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 9 were the only two passages listed as proof that “the foremost angel, both in power and authority, is the archangel, Jesus Christ, also called Michael” (2001).
Michael the archangel is mentioned only five times in the Bible (Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7), and yet never do these passages indicate that he is to be equated with the preincarnate Christ, nor with the ascended Jesus. First Thessalonians 4:16 also alludes to “an archangel,” and, although the name Michael is not mentioned, this is the passage Jehovah’s Witnesses frequently cite as proof of Jesus being the archangel. Concerning the Second Coming of Christ, Paul wrote: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,   with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (emp. added). Supposedly, since Jesus is described as descending from heaven “with the voice of an archangel,” then He must be the archangel Michael. However, this verse does not teach that Jesus is an archangel, but that at His Second Coming He will be accompanied “with the voice of an archangel.” Just as He will be attended “with a shout” and “with the trumpet of God,” so will He be accompanied “with the voice of an archangel.” Question: If Jesus’ descension from heaven “with the voice    of an archangel” makes Him (as Jehovah’s Witnesses claim) the archangel Michael, then does His descent “with the trumpet   of God” not also make Him God? Jehovah’s Witnesses reject this latter conclusion, yet they accept the first. Such inconsistency is one proof of their erroneous teachings about Jesus.
One of the strongest arguments against Jesus being an angel is found in the book of Hebrews. In chapter one, the writer of Hebrews showed the superiority of Jesus over the angelic beings, and contrasted Him with them.
For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.” But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? (1:5-13).
Jesus’ superiority over the angels is seen in the fact that the Father spoke to Jesus as His special begotten Son to Whom He gave the seat of honor at His right hand (1:5,13). Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews indicated that God commanded all angels to worship Jesus (1:6; cf. Revelation 5:11-13; Philippians 2:10). Yet, if Jesus were an angel, how could He accept the worship of other “lesser” angels when, according to Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9, angels do not accept worship, but rather preach the worship of   God, and no other? Hebrews chapter one is a death knell to the idea of Jesus, the Son of God, being Michael, the archangel. [NOTE: Interestingly, John H. Paton, the most frequently used contributing writer in 1879 of Charles Taze Russel (the founder of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society), admitted such when he stated in The Watchtower magazine near the end of its inaugural year: “Hence it is said, ‘let all the angels of God worship him’: (that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence    Michael is not the Son of God)…” (1879, p. 4, emp. added). Sadly, even though Paton rejected the idea of Jesus being Michael the archangel, and even though Russell, The Watchtower's    founder and first editor and publisher, allowed such a teaching in the magazine's first year of publication, Jehovah’s Witnesses today hold firmly to the doctrine that Jesus is Michael, the archangel.]
The writer of Hebrews returned to the subject of Jesus’ superiority over angels in chapter two, saying, “He [God] has   not  put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels” (2:5). To whom will the world be in subjection? Scripture indicates that it would be Jesus, “the appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). “All authority” has been given, not to any angel, but to Jesus (Matthew 28:18). All angels, authorities, and powers “have been made subject to Him” (1 Peter 3:22). “In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him” (Hebrews 2:8, NIV, emp. added). Jesus, therefore, is not Michael, the archangel, “for it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5, RSV).
One final proof that Jesus is not Michael the archangel actually comes from one of the five passages in which Michael’s name is found in Scripture—Jude 9. According to Jude: “Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ ” Whereas Michael would not dare pronounce a railing judgment against the devil (cf. 2 Peter 2:11), Jesus once declared about Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). Jesus did not approach the subject of rebuking Satan with the same hesitation as godly angels like Michael. Jesus, as Lord of heaven and Earth (Matthew 28:18), boldly called the devil a murderer and liar, and even went so far as to declare that “there is no truth in him.” The Son of God obviously is not Michael the archangel.
I find it extremely puzzling how Jehovah’s Witnesses can conclude that there is no biblical proof of Jesus being deity, and yet at the same time allege that “[t]here is Scriptural evidence    for concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return” (Watchtower, 1969, p. 307, emp. added). Where is the evidence? There is none. Jesus is not Michael the archangel; rather, He is exactly Who the apostle John said He was (John 1:1,14), Who Thomas said He was (John 20:28), and even Who His enemies accused Him of making Himself (John 5:18; 10:33). Jesus is God!


“Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (2000), [On-line], URL: http://www.watchtower.org/library/ti/index.htm.
The Truth About Angels (2001), [On-line], URL: http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/1995/11/1/the_truth_about_angels.htm, originally appeared in The Watchtower, November 1, 1995.
The Watchtower, 1879, November.
The Watchtower, 1969, May 15.
The Watchtower, 1979, February 15.
The Watchtower, 1984, December 15.

Is It Wrong to Eat Pork? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Is It Wrong to Eat Pork?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

A myriad of different views have been adopted to ascertain the rightness or wrongness of specific actions. Some have adopted the philosophy that if something feels good to them, then that thing is right for them. Others suggest that if animals engage in a certain activity, then such must be right for humans as well. In truth, however, there is only one way to know if an action or idea is right or wrong, and that is to compare it to the ultimate standard. If it can be proven that the Bible is God’s Word (and it can, see Thompson, 2003), then the Bible reveals the perfect mind of God and is the sole source of authority on which assessments of right and wrong should be based.
What, then, does the Bible say about eating pork? Is it wrong? This question naturally arises from reading the Old Testament, because it was wrong for Jews under the Law of Moses to eat pork. In Leviticus 11, God gave the Israelites a list of animals that were permissible to eat, but the text specifically labels swine (pork) as unclean and forbidden (vs. 7). Throughout the Old Testament, the act of eating swine’s flesh was viewed as an abomination to the Israelites—wrong and sinful (see Isaiah 66:17). One primary reason for this prohibition in the Old Testament against eating the meat of unclean animals, including pork, was to protect the Israelites from diseases, infections, and bacteria that were more commonly carried in scavenger animals such as vultures, catfish, and pigs (see Thompson, pp. 52-53).
The question does arise, however, if it was wrong for those under the Old Law of Moses, is it still wrong for those who are following God under the New Law of Christ? The straightforward answer to this question is a simple, “no.” It is not wrong to eat pork.
When Jesus Christ died, He nailed the Old Law to the cross (Colossians 2:14). The book of Hebrews explains that Christ made the Law of Moses obsolete and replaced it with the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:13). Paul explained to Christians in Galatia that the Old Law was cast out and replaced by Christ’s New Law (Galatians 4:21-31). As a result, the regulations about clean and unclean foods were jettisoned, along with rules for animal sacrifice, ritual washings, annual feast days, Sabbath observance, and a host of other ceremonial trappings.
As evidence that the food regulations were abolished, the book of Acts includes an account in which the apostle Peter saw a heavenly vision of unclean animals being lowered from heaven. A voice from heaven said to Peter, “Rise, Peter, kill, and eat” (Acts 10:13). Peter responded that he did not eat unclean animals. The heavenly voice countered by saying, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (10:15). In the immediate context, the vision was designed for Peter to understand that God was arranging for the Gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. But the interchange also manifests the fact that the regulations for clean and unclean animals had been altered so that animals that once were unclean to the Jew were now fit to eat.
In a passage that has a direct application to the eating of pork, Paul wrote to Timothy:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding   to abstain from foods  which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and   know the truth. For   every creature    of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:1-5, emp. added).
Under the New Law of Christ, it is no longer wrong to eat animals such as pigs or catfish, since such regulations have been removed. Those who want to be accepted by God no longer have to offer up physical animal sacrifices, since Christ offered Himself on the cross as the ultimate, permanent sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 9:28).
When Christ died on the cross, His New Law went into effect (Hebrews 9:16-22). While it is true that some of the things in the Old Law, such as the prohibition to murder or lie, are repeated in the New Law, many regulations were not carried over. The only way to know what God expects of individuals under the New Law is to study the 27 books in the New Testament that contain this law. Ultimately, all people who have lived   after    Christ’s death on the cross until His Second Coming will be judged by this New Law (see John 12:48).


Thompson, Bert (2003), In Defense of the Bible’s Inspiration (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), [On-line]: URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/idobi.pdf.

Is God Talking to Me? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Is God Talking to Me?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Among those who profess to believe that the Bible is God’s Word, it has become a common practice to avoid following certain biblical commands. They do this based on the idea that such commands were specifically for the individuals at the time of the writing, and do not have broader application to those of us who are reading the text in a modern-day setting. For instance, one religious group formed a committee in 1992 to research the biblical passages dealing with homosexuality. One of the four tenets upon which the committee was able to reach a consensus was the following statement: “The 7 references to homosexuality in the Bible represent ancient culture and not the will of God. They cannot be taken as definitive” (Robinson, 2005). The idea, then, is that God is not really talking to us, but was talking only to “those” people “back then.”
Jesus had something to say about this very idea. On one memorable occasion, the Sadducees came to Jesus, testing Him with questions pertaining to the resurrection. In their minds, they had concocted an unanswerable scenario. If a woman had seven husbands in this life, they questioned, whose wife would she be in the resurrection? Jesus, knowing their wickedness and their ignorance of the Scripture, explained that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matthew 22:30). He then said to the Sadducees, “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32, emp. added).
Notice that Jesus was quoting to the Sadducees a segment of Scripture that was taken from the Pentateuch (Exodus 3:6). The text was written almost 1,500 years before this group of Sadducees even existed. In the text, God was speaking directly to Moses, who had a much different culture than those of the first century Jews. And yet, even with such a lengthy time span and major cultural differences involved, Jesus stated clearly that God was talking to His first-century audience.
Several lessons can be learned from Jesus’ statement. First, we must realize that God speaks to us today through His inspired Word, just as He spoke to the Sadducees almost 2,000 years ago. Second, while it is true that some things in Scripture must be analyzed in their cultural setting, and the division between the Old Testament and New Testament must be recognized, it is extremely dangerous to jettison applicable commands and divine principles based on the idea that they no longer apply to us. Even though our culture may drift far from many of the biblical teachings, those teachings have not changed, and will not change due to ever-waffling cultural trends. Regardless of cultural shifts, it will never be right to jettison God commands regarding homosexuality, or any other sins, based on the idea that such commands were solely for someone else in some other time. As the psalmist wrote about God in the long ago, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). If you want to listen to God speak to you today, open your Bible.


Robinson, B.A. (2005), “The United Methodist Church and Homosexuality: Conference Decisions,” [On-line], URL: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_umc6.htm.

Is God Male? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Is God Male?

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, whenever reference is made to God (or, for that matter, to the other two members of the Godhead) a   male  pronoun (He, Him, His, etc.) is employed. Why is this the case? Does God indeed possess gender comparable to that of humans? Is God male?
God’s “gender” has been a hot topic for approximately the last two decades, owing in large part to the impact of the women’s liberation movement and the sexual revolution. Books with titles like When God was a WomanThe Feminine Face of GodWomanspirit Rising, and Beyond God the Father are leaping off bookstore shelves. Religious writers have capitulated to the “signs of the times” in attempts to make God “gender neutral.” For example, the well-known writer on science and religion (and herself a believer in God), Kitty Ferguson, placed the following disclaimer in the frontispiece to her best-selling book, The Fire in the Equations, produced and distributed by the W.B. Eerdmans company (a religious publisher).
The author of a book on the topic of science and religion needs a pronoun for God. Regardless of whether I choose to call God “he” or “she,” I find myself making a statement which I don’t wish to make. Using them interchangeably seems contrived and gets confusing. “She/he” or “he/she” is cumbersome...and one still has the problem of which gender comes first in the pairing. “It” will not do. Lacking a better solution, I have chosen to use “he,” which makes the weaker statement and is more easily interpreted as inclusive (1994, ellipses in orig.).
Major religious groups even have begun altering their views on God and the language they use to express those views. In the Inclusive Language Lectionary produced by the U.S.Council of Churches, Christ’s word for God, Abba, has been changed from “Father” to “Father and Mother,” and the word for His relationship to God has been altered from “son” to “child” (see Reuther, 1988, p. 144). At its annual conference in 1992, the Methodist Church in Great Britain concluded that “the use of female imagery is compatible with faithfulness to Scripture—indeed Scripture itself points in this direction and also gives us examples of that imagery.” The Methodist Faith and Order Commission thus recommended that, in order to avoid distortion of our image of God, both female and male images should be used to refer to Him/Her (Inclusive Language and Imagery about God, 1992). And, as British writer Hugh Montefiore noted:
Even the Church of England, while not going so far as this, has made some suggestions for inclusive language. No doubt such measures are as yet in their infancy. Teaching will in future focus on the filial relationship of Jesus to God rather than on his sonship, and on our dependence on God and on his love and care for us, rather than on his fatherhood (1993, p. 131).
What should be the Christian’s response to these kinds of innovations and the changes that stem from them? Is it scriptural to speak of God as “Mother”? Is it permissible to refer to Jehovah as “Her”?
To answer these kinds of questions, one first must know something of the nature of deity. And the only source of that kind of information is God’s Word, the Bible. While it is correct that something may be known of God through a study of the created Universe—namely “his everlasting power and divinity” (Romans 1:20)—there nevertheless are specific traits of Deity that can be explained to mankind only via supernatural revelation. Fortunately, such a revelation has been provided in the Bible. The question then becomes: “What has God revealed concerning His nature and gender?”
It is true that the Bible often uses masculine terms to describe God or His activities. Male names/terms are applied to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture. The names for God—Yahweh, ElohimShaddaiSebbaothAdonaiKurios, and Theos—are all masculine gender. Furthermore, male metaphors frequently are applied to God. The psalmist cried, “The Lord is king for ever and ever” (10:16) and wrote that “like as a father pitieth his children, so Jehovah pitieth them that fear him” (Psalm 103:13). Nehemiah represented God as a warrior when he wrote: “Our God will fight for us” (4: 20). Jeremiah portrayed God as a spurned husband (3:1-2). Jesus likened God to a loving Father (Luke 15:11-32). The names for Christ—Iesus    and    Christos—are masculine. And Jesus is presented in the male roles of a shepherd (Matthew 25:32; John 10:11-18), a prophet (Luke 13:33), a priest (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 7:24-28), a bridegroom (Matthew 22:1-4), and a son (Mark 1:11; John 3:16 [John mentions the father-son relationship more than 60 times in his Gospel]; Hebrews 1:2-3).
It also is true, however, that on certain occasions God is portrayed via female images and metaphors. Isaiah 42:14 has God saying, “I cry out like a travailing woman,” and Isaiah 46:3 records God’s words as “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, that have been borne by me from their birth, that have been carried from the womb.” In Isaiah 49:15, God inquired: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, these may forget, yet will not I forget thee.” The psalmist used a female attribute in speaking of God when he said, “Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother” In Isaiah 66:13, Jehovah promised: “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” In one of His parables, Jesus portrayed God as a woman diligently sweeping her house in search of a single lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). And in Matthew 23:37, Jesus employed a female figure to refer to Himself in His lament over the city of David: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets and stoneth them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
However, there are other important factors to be considered as well. In an article titled, “Is God Female?,” Steve Singleton mentioned three of them:
1. God is referred to hundreds of times with masculine names and with masculine pronouns such as “he,” “him,” and “his.”
2. God is never given a feminine name, or referred to with feminine pronouns such as “she,” her,” and “hers.”
3. This does not mean that God is male. The masculine pronouns have always had the second, generic sense, referring to both male and female, just as “Man” has been used for centuries to refer to both men and women (1978, 120[10]:154).
These are critical points that must not be overlooked in responding to those who question the “gender” of God. I began this article by asking: “Does God indeed posses gender comparable to that of humans? Is God male?” In his book, Credible Christianity, Hugh Montefiore asked and answered those same questions. “Does this mean that God is male? The very question verges on the absurd.... God exists eternally, and in the eternal sphere there is no sexual differentiation. God has no gender. He is neither male nor female” (1993, pp. 130-131, emp. in orig.). As Singleton concluded: “God is not male or female. God is God. Do you hear the answer which God gave to Moses on the mountain when Moses asked, ‘Who are you?’ God said, ‘I am that I am!’ ” (1978, 120[10]:154, emp. added).
But why is it that God has no gender? Hopefully, the answer to this question will become obvious as we study the Scriptures. God is an eternal Spirit (Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 102:27; John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 1: 8) and, as Jesus pointed out, “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). In 1 Samuel 15:29, God Himself announced: “The Strength of Israel...is not a man.” Moses wrote in Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man...neither the son of man.” Hosea repeated that affirmation: “I am God, and not man” (11:9). Time and again the Scriptures address the fact that, as a Spirit, God is invisible. John commented that “no man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18). Paul spoke of “God...whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1 Timothy 6:13,16) and of Christ as “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). He reminded the young evangelist Timothy that to the “immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:17).
Spirits—because they are non-corporeal beings—have no physical body, and thus, by definition, are incapable of possessing gender. In speaking of the humans who one day will inhabit the heavenly realm, Jesus remarked that they “neither marry nor are given in marriage, but   are as angels” (Matthew 22:30). His point was that we shall not take up our earthly gender roles in heaven, just as the angels, as spirit beings, have played no gender roles throughout their existence. Similarly, God, as a Spirit Being Who inhabits the heavenly realm, has no gender. Why, then, if God has no gender, do the Scriptures refer to Him via masculine names and metaphors? And must we refer to Him via masculine names and metaphors?
The answer to the first question has to do with both history and authority. From a historical standpoint, the fact is that every known ancient religion—except one—posited both gods and goddesses as beings worthy of worship. The lone exception was Judaism. Kreeft and Tacelli, in their   Handbook of Christian Apologetics, addressed this matter when they wrote:
The Jewish revelation was distinctive in its exclusively masculine pronoun because it was distinctive in its theology of the divine transcendence. That seems to be the main point of the masculine imagery. As a man comes into a woman from without to make her pregnant, so God creates the universe from without rather than birthing it from within and impregnates our souls with grace or supernatural life from without. As a woman cannot impregnate herself, so the universe cannot create itself, nor can the soul redeem itself. Surely there is an inherent connection between these two radically distinctive features of the...biblical religions...: their unique view of a transcendent God creating nature out of nothing and their refusal to call God “she” despite the fact that Scripture ascribes to him feminine   attributes   like compassionate nursing (Is. 49:15), motherly comfort (Is. 66:13) and carrying an infant (Is. 46:3). The masculine pronoun safeguards (1) the transcendence of God against the illusion that nature is born from God as a mother rather than created and (2) the grace of God against the illusion that we can somehow save ourselves—two illusions ubiquitous and inevitable in the history of religion (1994, p. 98, emp. in orig.).
From an authoritative standpoint, as Singleton pointed out earlier, God is referred to hundreds of times throughout Scripture by masculine names and masculine pronouns—but   never    is given a feminine name or referred to by feminine pronouns. Thomas Rees, writing in the   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, addressed the matter of God as the ultimate authority figure when he wrote that “the essential nature of God, and His relation to men, is best expressed by the attitude and relation of a father to his children; but God is Father in an infinitely higher and more perfect degree than any man” (1955, 2:1261). K.C. Moser, in his book, Attributes of God, stated emphatically that “this manner of referring to God is significant” (1964, p. 12). Indeed it is. While those who were involved in the false religions that surrounded the Jews worshipped a myriad of non-existent gods and goddesses, the Israelites worshipped “Jehovah the true God, the living God, an everlasting King” (Jeremiah 10:10; cf. “the true and living God,” 1 Thessalonians 1:9, NLB; “the only God,” John 5:44). Or, as Spencer, et al. put it in their book, The Goddess Revival: “The Judeo-Christian God, unlike the gods and goddesses of pagans new and old, exists above the limitations of gender” (1995, p. 48). It is an “authority” matter—not a “gender” matter.
But   must  we refer to God via masculine terms? The question has nothing to do with what   we would like to do, but rather with what    God tells us to do. C.S. Lewis addressed this point in his book, God in the Dock:
Goddesses have, of course, been worshipped: many religions have had priestesses. But they are religions quite different in character from Christianity.... Since God is in fact not a biological being and has no sex, what can it matter whether we say    He   or    She,   Father or    Mother,   Son  or   Daughter?
Christians think that God Himself has taught us how to speak of Him. To say that it does not matter is to say either that all the masculine imagery is not inspired, is merely human in origin, or else that, though inspired, it is quite arbitrary and unessential. And this is surely intolerable (1970, p. 237, emp. in orig.).
Scripture makes it clear: “O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.... Shall the potter be esteemed as clay; that the thing made should say of him that made it, ‘He made me not’; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, ‘He hath no understanding’?” (Isaiah 64:8; 29:16). Since when does the clay have the right to dictate to the potter or override his decisions? As a believer in God and His inspired Word, and yet as one speaking from an inherently masculine viewpoint, Lewis went on to say:
We have no authority to take the living and semitive figures which God has painted on the canvas of our nature and shift them about as if they were mere geometrical figures.... It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege which Christianity lays upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware how inadequate most of us are, in our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us. But it is an old saying in the army that you salute the uniform not the wearer.... A given man may make a very bad husband;   you cannot mend matters by trying to reverse the roles... (1970, pp. 237-238, emp. added).
It is not man’s (or woman’s!) place to question God’s sovereign authority or divine will; neither falls under mankind’s jurisdiction. As Kreeft and Tacelli noted: “One issue is whether we have the authority to change the names of God used by Christ, the Bible and the church. The traditional defense of masculine imagery for God rests on the premise that the Bible is divine revelation, not culturally relative, negotiable and changeable” (1994, p. 98). Christ Himself left us the perfect example (as He always did) when He said: “Our    Father   Who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name” (Matthew 6:9, emp. added). The fact that biblical designations of God are placed within the specific framework of the masculine settles the matter once and for all. It simply is not a matter up for discussion.


Ferguson, Kitty (1994), The Fire in the Equations (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Inclusive Language and Imagery about God (1992), (Peterborough, England: Methodist Faith and Order Commission).
Kreeft, Peter and Ronald K. Tacelli (1994), Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Lewis, C.S. (1970), God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Montefiore, Hugh (1993), Credible Christianity: The Gospel in Contemporary Society (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Moser K.C. (1964), Attributes of God (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Rees, Thomas (1955), “God,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr, et al. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 2:1250-1264.
Reuther, R.R. (1988), “Feminism and Jewish-Christian Dialogue,” The Myth of Christian Uniqueness, ed. J. Hick and P. Knitter (London: SCM Press).
Singleton, Steve (1978), “Is God Female?,” Gospel Advocate, 120[10]:145,154, March 9.
Spencer, Aida B., et al. (1995), The Goddess Revival (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Women Preachers, Elders, and Deacons? by Trevor Bowen

Women Preachers, Elders, and Deacons?

For hundreds and hundreds of years, only men served the Lord’s church as evangelistselders, and deacons. Today, more and more churches are appointing women to these public roles, where they teach over women and men. Is this new practice acceptable to God? Has God expressed His will on this matter, or are churches free to use men and women however they see fit? This article addresses several questions that are commonly raised regarding the role of women in church leadership, which are:
The answers provided here are by no means exhaustive. Only the most commonly raised objections are examined here. After reading this article, if an adequate response has not been provided to your concern, please see the closing Feedback and Comments section, where links to related discussions are provided, as well as means to directly contact the author, who would appreciate nothing more than the opportunity to study God’s Word in light of any feedback or concern.
Please open your Bible and read the verses for yourself, as we examine God’s instruction for the role of women in the New Testament church.

Women Preachers?

Question: “Can women teach other men, or speak to a general assembly as an evangelist, preacher, or minister?”
Regarding women teaching men publicly as evangelists, please note that this is strictly forbidden in Scripture:
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silenceFor Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)
Not only are women not “to teach or to have authority over a man, but they are to “learn in silence with all submission. This passage clearly prohibits women teaching mixed-crowds, as would an evangelist, preacher, or teacher over mixed gatherings.
Some may contend that this passage is not applicable today, arguing that Paul was writing to a specific church in a specific culture in a specific time. First, this is an unwarranted assertion that must be justified from the text. Second, please notice that this command was not rooted in the culture of Paul’s time, rather the inspired reason sprang from the order established by two universal facts: the creation and the fall of man (For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”). The God-provided roles of men and women are therefore as universal as the descendents of Adam and Eve exist and as far as the consequences of Adam’s and Eve’s sin spread (Genesis 3:1620).
Furthermore, Paul gave similar instruction to the Corinthian women to not speak out during the assembly:
Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. (I Corinthians 14:34-37)
Again, Paul equates these statements to the commandments of God”, which all spiritual people are to “acknowledge” (I Corinthians 14:37). They are not Paul’s opinion, judgment, or advice. They are commandments of God! How can they be dismissed without questioning Paul’s apostleship, doubting the inerrancy of Scripture, or rebelling against God, since they proceeded by inspiration from Him and are preserved by Him (I Peter 1:23-35)?
Others may insist that Christians should hold to Jesus Christ’s example of love, overlook the apostle Paul’s command, and permit women to preach to their joy and the joy of those who hear them. Although Jesus certainly holds authority over Paul, it was Jesus who commissioned Paul and authorized him as His ambassador:
“So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. (Acts 26:15-16)
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. (II Corinthians 5:20)
If we reject those whom Jesus sent, are we not rejecting Him and the One Who sent Him?
“He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16)
Although the above was spoken to the 70 sent by Jesus, would it not apply to all that Jesus sent, including His own apostles? In both cases the authority of those sent proceeds from Jesus from the Father, and that is common between the 70 and the apostles, since both groups were chosen, commissioned, and sent by Jesus. To reject these divinely inspired commands from Paul and the other apostles is to reject Jesus and the Father (Ephesians 2:203:3-5)! There is no difference, because Jesus established it that way.

Women Elders or Deacons?

Question: “Can women meet the qualifications for the office of elders or deacons?”
Regarding women serving as elders and deacons, it is essential to observe the mandatory qualifications for these offices:
“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, ... Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, .... Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” (I Timothy 3:1-12, see also Titus 1:5-9)
Please note that a “bishop must be”. These are not “nice to have” virtues, but mandatory qualifications for a “bishop”, also known as an elder, overseer, pastor, and presbyter in the New Testament. One of these essential prerequisites is that an elder must be the husband of one wife. Not only does this rule out adulterers and polygamists from serving as elders, but it also eliminates women! How can a woman be the husband of one wife, since such homosexuality is condemned elsewhere (Romans 1:21-32)?
Regarding women serving as deacons, it is true that the phrase “must be” is formatted in italics in most versions. This indicates that the words are not explicitly present in the original, but the translators thought they were implied, and so they supplied the words, “must be”, for readability. In this particular case, the words are necessarily implied, since Paul says likewise deacons - reverent, ...”. The word “likewise” necessitates that the qualifications for deacons are similar to those for elders, but in what way? The qualifications themselves are different. The works and offices are different. The similarity lies in the necessary demonstration of both sets of qualifications. Just as elders “must be” certain things, deacons “likewise must be” certain things, although those things themselves differ. The translators did well in this case by noting the common necessity for candidates to satisfy their respective qualifications.
Therefore, the argument against women serving as elders also applies for deacons, because Paul says, “Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” This is a mandate. Therefore, how can a woman meet this qualification?
Now, some may argue that verse 11 gives parallel qualifications for female deacons, or “deaconesses”, as they may be called. Let us examine this verse in the full context of the qualifications for deacons:
Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 3:8-13NKJV)
The seeming potential for this argument arises from the ambiguity of the Greek word for “wives”. In fact, there was no unique word for “wives” in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was originally written. Moreover, the word translated as “wives” in the KJVNKJVESV, and RSV is literally the word for “women”. In Greek, one must look at the context to determine, whether “women generally” or “wives specifically” was the intended meaning.
Examining the context in this particular case, if Paul intended to give parallel qualifications specific for female deacons versus male deacons, why does he not refer to women deacons and then to men deacons, or to women and then to men? Why does he consistently, only refer to women and deacons masculine, if they both are deacons? Nowhere in this passage does Paul refer to deacons feminine. Only deacons masculine and separately women are discussed. He does not treat the subjects as parallel with one set of qualifications specific to women and the other set specific to men. Instead, he gives qualifications to the “deacons”, then “women”, and finally he gives more to the “deacons” again. The lack of parallel treatment in the context indicates that the subjects were not parallel. Instead these are to be understood as requirements for the “women” of deacons, that is their wives.
Admittedly, Phoebe is called a “deaconess” in Romans 16:1, as is translated by the NIVRSV, and NRS; however, this does not necessarily mean she filled a special female office of “deacon”. This becomes clearer when one understands a little about the Greek word for “deacon”, which is “diakonos”. Our word “deacon” is an almost letter-for-letter exchange of their Greek word, a transliteration. Most of the time “diakonos” is translated as “servant” or “minister”. It was a common word that was used to refer to someone who serves or takes care of another. On some occasions, it refers to a special office or position within the church, whose primary purpose is to serve the church in some special way. Only the context reveals which meaning was intended. (For example, notice how elders and deacons are recognized separately from the other saints at the church in Philippi, even though all saints are to be servants, “diakonos”Philippians 1:1-2.)
Furthermore, we must ask ourselves if the context of the entire Bible supports Phoebe being a female deacon, or a female servant of the church. In other words, in accordance with the remainder of the New Testament, could she have been a special servant serving an office, or was she an ordinary servant as all Christians are to be? This is the only other passage to suggest such a special role. Since it stands alone without backing, and since it could be translated either way, why would one translate it in this special way, unless they had a preconceived notion to do so? In fact, many other translations indeed translate the word here as “servant”, instead of “deaconess” (KJVNKJVASVNASBESVNETBBECSB). Therefore, not only do women not satisfy the mandatory requirements for the offices of elder and deacon, the possible proof-texts supporting this claim cannot withstand scrutiny.

The Essential Role of Women!

Question: “What can women to do for the church?”
Even though women do not take public leadership roles within the church, this in no way diminishes the service they provide the Lord, neither does it reduce the impact they may have on His people. In fact, both genders are interdependent upon each other:
For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. ... Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. (I Corinthians 11:8-12)
Beyond biological interdependency, mothers are generally the ones who spend so much time with young ones, forming their world-view, guiding their personalities, and molding their priorities. When children are hurt, whose name do they cry, seeking help and comfort? Although women may not stand in front of the current generation, publicly calling for reform or leading the way, they do shape the next generation, preparing them to lead and be led in God’s way. For example, Timothy was a well-known evangelist of the first century, chosen and mentored by the apostle Paul. Why did Paul select Timothy to help him in spreading the gospel?
Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. (Acts 16:1-2)
Even before Paul found Timothy, he had already developed a reputation as a fine, young, Christian man among the churches of his area. How did Timothy grow into such a young man? How did Paul remember Timothy?
... when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. (II Timothy 1:5)
Every sermon that Timothy preached, every life he touched, every soul he saved, his mother and grandmother played some part in equipping him — influencing him — to be such an influential servant for the Lord! And, so it is for every mother, who raises godly children and teaches them to sincerely seek the Lord.
But, it is not just their own children that women may influence. Please notice the instructions given to older women and the qualifications that Paul gives for widows, who are to be taken into the permanent care of the church:
... the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5)
“Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. But refuse the younger widows; ... Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” (I Timothy 5:9-14)
Raising children and running a house is an essential critical work, which produces the next generation of faithful saints, who will go forward and influence people we may never know or meet. This profound work requires skill and virtue, which is to be passed down from one generation to the next — not just mother to daughter, but “older women ... to ... young women”. Many women may not have enjoyed the blessing of a godly home. Others may have started building a new family miles away from their first family. Regardless of the occasion, whenever older women have an opportunity to “admonish the young women”, they are blessed and honored to pass the torch!
Christians have a spiritual enemy, who is constantly seeking opportunity to devour them (I Peter 5:8). Women’s work is so critical, whether in their home or in service to another, this enemy is known to use any failings there to blaspheme our God and His people, casting dim light on those who have come out of darkness. Let us not think so lightly of the woman’s role in God’s plan that we provide “opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully”, avoiding “that the word of God may not be blasphemed”. There are those always watching us. If we turn away from the pattern of God’s will, because it does not suit us or make sense to us, how can we expect others watching to do what we are unwilling to do — walk by faith?
Furthermore, Christian women can accomplish great things in service toward others! Look at the tremendous impact that just one woman had on the early church:
At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. ... Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. (Acts 9:36-41)
Not only were all the widows in this one church devastated by the passing of this one woman, some if not the entire church had come to mourn her passing at her home!
Time would fail me to remind of Ruth, Rahab, Deborah, Sarah, the mother of Jesus, Mary, Martha, the Shunammite woman, and so many other women, who influenced history and nations. Please do not despise the great gift and honor God has bestowed upon women, jealously eye what was tasked to men, and forsake one’s rightful place to seize the place of another. (Remember the example of the angels, who “left their place”Jude 1:6-7.) Consider all of the people dependent upon the following virtuous woman, whose lives were touched, uplifted, and enhanced by her:
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
(Proverbs 31:10-30)
The work of women is essential, valuable, and beautiful. The warmth, kindness, hospitality, generosity, and tenderness of a home often proceeds from the woman. Loving, happy homes generally consist of humble, content, and meek women, who understand their place in God’s great scheme and maximize it. Likewise, if you find a church filled with friendly, inviting, gracious, sacrificial, humble Christians, you will generally find a congregation influenced strongly by knowledgeable, godly women. Furthermore, please consider: Why else would deacons’ wives have qualifications too? Why else must elders and deacons even have wives? Wives provide something special to these men — their wives make them whole and complete in some way (Genesis 2:1821-24), such that the men are unfit to serve otherwise. Even my own wife and mother have each provided me untold wisdom, perspective, and counsel through the years, which has sustained our families in times of difficulty and question. I dare not imagine our families without them.

Are Women Inferior?

Question: “Since men and women have different God-given roles, is either gender inferior or less valuable?” “Does this make them inferior in any way?”
Absolutely not! No religion has done more for women of the world than Christianity, but that’s no reason. ... Unless you consider Jesus inferior to the Father, there is no inferiority in the role of women compared to that of men:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7)
Jesus was in the same form as the Father, and Jesus being equal to the Father was not something to be taken - He already had it! Instead, He submitted Himself to the Father and became as a man in form and submission. Was He inferior to God? Paul says not, even though Jesus was and remains in submission to God (I Corinthians 11:3).
Moreover, Jesus submitted Himself to His apostles, when He picked up a towel and washed their feet at the last supper (John 13:1-17). By doing so, He left us a clear example of true greatness. Greatness is not found in human recognition of carnal superiority or extent of rule. True greatness is a spiritual quality, exhibited by humility, love, mercy, and willingness to serve others in need. Christ left the most profound example of true greatness, when He gave His life for us on the cross.
If we see men as being superior to women, just because men are given the responsibility of public leadership, then we are still thinking as carnal, immature, pagan Gentiles:
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.’” (Luke 22:24-27)
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:1-4)
As long as we strive for greatness in the eyes of men, we will fail to grasp the true nature of Christ’s kingdom, and we will by no means find entrance.
Lastly, please recall that these roles are temporary:
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
There is no prejudice according to race, gender, or class in Jesus. All are one in Jesus. Moreover, we know that men and women lose their gender identity in the resurrection. As strange as it sounds, Jesus said we will be like angels, neither male (“marry”) nor female (“given in marriage”Matthew 22:23-33), because of our new incorruptible, spiritual bodies (I Corinthians 15:35-58)! How can there be any real inferiority when there is no essential, transcendent difference?

Feedback and Comments

This article has generated several comments and questions over the years. The following posts in our forums capture some of the more common questions, feelings, and arguments:
Do you have additional comments, questions, or feedback? Please feel free to send the author of this article any thoughts or concerns that you may have.
Trevor Bowen