Why Women Should Not Teach the Bible to Men

Why Women Should Not Teach the Bible to Men

The pulpit of a well known Bible teacher in recent history had a sign on the front of it that read, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” In our age of inclusiveness, should the sign read, “Preacher, we would see Jesus” in order to accommodate both men and women who would stand in the pulpit? The blessings of God on his Church is multifaceted and beyond comprehension. When we consider all of the blessings that God has given to us and those which are most clearly manifest in the context of the local church—the blessing of women should certainly be there near the top. How many godly men have served God’s Church through the years emerging from the incubator of a nurturing disciple-making home under the tutelage of faithful women like Lois and Eunice (1 Tim. 1:5)?

When we think of how women are used in the household of faith—we certainly see the value of faithful discipleship among the women who train the younger women and children (Titus 2:1-10). For nearly two millennia the Church understood their roles and responsibilities in regard to women teaching and exercising authority over men, and it wasn’t until the militant feminist movement of the 1960s that caused people to seriously question the boundaries of God—even among conservative evangelical circles. So, why should women refrain from teaching the Bible to men?

Lessons from the Garden

When God created the world, he did so with order and it was good. God is the divine designer, and he doesn’t operate from flippant disorganized positions. He created man and then from his side, he created woman. Adam and Eve were there in the Garden, brought together by God himself in what was essentially the first wedding where God officiated it and gave away his daughter to her husband. In this scene, God not only created the man first, he gave him authority over his wife which involved her care and instruction. When Adam was taught about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9), it was Adam who taught his wife Eve regarding the boundaries. From the very beginning, we see that God set in motion specific roles and responsibilities among his creation.

Satan is crafty and understands how to disrupt God’s good design. Notice how he questioned God’s plan in Genesis 3:1:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

It was Satan, in the Garden who approached Eve and, although Adam was present, it was Satan talking with Eve that led to this divisive decision of sin. In essence, it’s the first role reversal and it led to sin entering the world and bringing a curse of death upon God’s creation (Rom. 5:12). The egalitarian position was birthed in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, when Paul writes about roles in relation to teaching and authority in the life of the church at Ephesus, it wasn’t merely a contextual issue that was at play. As Paul writes his letter, we must remember the Holy Spirit is breathing out His Word for Timothy in Ephesus and our local churches in our present day as well. This is more than a contextual issue that was bound to the church at Ephesus because of the image of Artemis in their culture or women who were teaching false doctrine—he built his argument upon God’s design in creation. Elisabeth Elliot is quoted as saying the following:

Supreme authority in both church and home has been divinely vested in the male as the representative of Christ, who is Head of the church. It is in willing submission rather than grudging capitulation that the woman in the church (whether married or single) and the wife in the home find their fulfillment.

Boundaries for Teaching and Authority

Boundaries are always bad when it comes to the nature of human depravity. We are constantly asking “how far is too far” and laboring to see how close we can walk to the edge of the cliff without falling. This is a most dangerous approach to life in general—and within the world of theology. When you play with fire, you will eventually get burned. The natural man has a problem with authority, and often he seeks to avoid it or usurp authority that he doesn’t possess. Historically, the liberals have embraced women’s liberation theology as a means of elevating women to their rightful position among men in the church. Such theology does much damage to God’s design for the home and the church. John MacArthur writes:

Women may be highly gifted teachers and leaders, but those gifts are not to be exercised over men in the context of the church. That is true not because women are spiritually inferior to men but because God’s law commands it. He has ordained order in His creation—an order that reflects His own nature and therefore should be reflected in His church. Anyone ignoring or rejecting God’s order, then, weakens the church and dishonors Him. [1]

In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul articulates a clear prohibition related to women in the local church. He says, ” I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” There is a distinction between the teaching and exercise of authority that should be acknowledged. Paul was a bit of a revolutionary in his day, since women were often not permitted to learn, but Paul encourages them to be learners—studying out the faith and gaining greater knowledge of their God (1 Tim. 2:11). Although the Holy Spirit led Paul to stretch the boundaries of women in one cultural area, he revisited historic boundaries in the area of teaching that God had already put into place back in the Garden. Women, as Paul stated, were not to teach men. This is a reversal of roles.

The word teach, “διδάσκω,” according to Thomas Schreiner, has in mind the public teaching and involves authoritative transmission of tradition about Christ and the Scriptures (1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 3:16; James 3:1). [2] While women are permitted to discuss biblical theology in a mixed group setting such as a Sunday school class, women teaching children or other women (Titus 2), or in a private setting such as with Apollos’ instruction that was gleaned from meeting with Priscilla and Aquila—biblical teaching, when among the church as a whole or a mixed audience should be led by men. It seems clear that Paul was addressing an issue that was taking place in the life of the church and needed to be corrected.

When it comes to teaching men in our present day, we have the conference culture that often stretches these complementarian boundaries. This is a dangerous practice, since conferences are designed to strengthen the church and to in many ways model what the local church should be promoting in their local assemblies—ie., expository preaching, sound biblical theology, and other important, if not essential, practices. Therefore, to have women stand and open the Bible and teach a group of men in a conference setting is not beneficial to the Church represented in the conference from many different local churches. Such stretching of the boundaries is a common practice in our day and we should be cautious when we see women teachers invited to speak to a mixed audience.

Paul also points out that women should not have authority over men. This is most likely a reference to the office of elder in the local church. The office of elder is a teaching office and is connected with oversight authority, but the idea of teaching and authority can be distinct among themselves. For, one can teach the Bible with authority without being an elder in a local church, but he cannot be an elder without authority nor can he preach without authority. While there are overlapping connections, there are distinct qualities that must be acknowledged as well.

When referencing authority, Paul uses the word, “αὐθεντέω” as he addresses this boundary for women in the church. When Paul makes his statement, he goes on to explain by writing, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Tim. 2:13-14). This is not a curse on women because of the fall, but rather a design from the beginning instituted by God. This was God’s good design and pointed to the role distinction between men and women. To reverse the roles is dangerously irresponsible. This in no way means that Paul was a male chauvinist who degraded the value of women in the church. Thomas Schreiner rightly states, “It is a modern, democratic, Western notion that diverse functions suggest distinctions in worth between men and women. Paul believed that men and women were equal in personhood, dignity, and value but also taught that women had distinct roles from men.” [3]

Why Women Should Not Refrain from Teaching

The last thing that we should do in the local church is to discourage women who have the gift of teaching to suppress their gifts. They should labor to teach, explain, and expound the meaning of the Bible on an ongoing basis in the life of the church and in the context of religious conference settings—but there are still boundaries to observe in the process. The Church of Jesus Christ needs faithful women who bloom with the glory of God’s design for women and teach, instruct, and make disciples. Paul never suggested that women should not teach, but that they should merely refrain from teaching men and having authority over them. When asked if women should preach, John Piper responded by saying:

So I would conclude: No, that is inappropriate for churches to do that. God loves his Church. He loves men and women. He loves to see all of us flourish in the use of our gifts. No man or woman should sit on the sidelines of Christian ministry. Let that be plain. No woman, no man sits on the sidelines in Christian ministry. The question is not whether all men and women should be active in ministry. They should. The only question is how. [4]

Women are commanded by Paul to remain “quiet.” This word denotes an idea of submissiveness—especially in relation to male headship in the home and in the local church structure. In other words, women are not to be in authority in the church, but they are permitted to learn and to speak for that matter. The speech of women is not to be proclaimed in an official sense—from the pulpit or from the office of elder, but they are permitted to speak, teach, make disciples, and be involved in the life of the church. This is clearly seen in Jesus’ own treatment of women in his day as well as Paul’s high esteem for women such as Phoebe and the many others listed in Romans 16.

We must avoid legalism at this juncture, but we must not go the route of liberalism or antinomianism. The progressive attitude seeks freedom from authority, but God has never designed authority to be a burden to his people. William Varner, in his excellent book, To Preach or Not To Preach, writes:

The issue involved in 1 Timothy 2 is not an inherent inferiority of woman’s intellectual and spiritual capabilities, but her function in ministry. She is not subordinate in her capability, but she is to be subordinate in her role. Let it also be noted clearly that Paul does not ground his reasoning in the male-dominated culture of his day. He does not write: “Women should not teach because men will not accept them as teachers.” He grounds his teaching in the order of creation and fall. The mores of culture changes with time, while the order of creation is supra-cultural and is valid whatever the time and place. [5]

To capitulate on any area of headship in the family or leadership in the church is a grave mistake. The smallest sin can lead to the greatest catastrophe just as a small spark can set an entire forest on fire. Whatever God expects from us as clearly stated in the Scriptures, rather than working diligently to find loopholes—it would be for our joy and our good to submit. Beware of those who are constantly looking for ways around God’s commands.


  1. John MacArthur, “Can Women Exercise Authority in the Church?” [accessed 4-17-18]
  2. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. SchreinerWomen in the Church (Third Edition): An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016), 190.
  3. Ibid., 201-202.
  4. John Piper, “Ask Pastor John Podcast” Can a Woman Preach If Elders Affirm It? [accessed 4-17-18].
  5. William Varner, To Preach or Not To Preach, (California: 2018), 50.
2017 G3 Conference

2017 G3 Conference

This week, the 2017 G3 Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia.  As we pray, plan, and prepare for the attendees to arrive, we would ask that you pray with us for this conference.  If you aren’t able to attend the conference, you can join us through the livestream option on the website.  Thank you for your prayers.  May the Lord use the G3 to educate, encourage, and equip through sound biblical teaching.

Schedule

General Website

2018 G3 Conference Registration (watch the G3 website and social media for announcements this weekend).

*I will resume my normal blogging schedule next week.

Passion Without Knowledge Is Deadly

Passion Without Knowledge Is Deadly

This week, Passion 2017 was held in Atlanta.  The Passion Conferences are aimed at the 18-25 age bracket and have impacted many people over the years.  The present day Passion Conferences are connected to the One Day event held in Memphis, Tennessee in 2000 where I was confronted with my sin in a sermon by John Piper.  Over the years, the conference has stood against sex trafficking and sought to encourage young adults to find their ultimate passion and joy in Christ.

Although some really good things have come out of the Passion movement, there have been some questionable things emerge through the years as well.  This year, another strange thing happened at Passion that’s causing people to ask important questions.  No matter how passionate we are, if our passions are unbridled and not submissive to the Holy Spirit, it will lead to sin.  Passion without knowledge is deadly.

On Monday evening, a special guest appeared on the stage at Passion 2017.  Previously unannounced, Carrie Underwood, the extremely popular country music star emerged onto the platform and performed her song titled, “Something in the Water.”  She was invited by the Passion staff to sing a song that’s full of false doctrine to thousands of young impressionable college students.  What’s even more sad is the fact that the entire Georgia Dome erupted with applause.  They loved it.  Were they applauding the performance?  Were they applauding the doctrine of baptismal regeneration (a false gospel)?  What exactly were they applauding?

College Students Still Need Parents

If you have a college student, remember that it wasn’t so long ago that you were assisting your child in the basic functions of life such as putting on their shoes and brushing their teeth.  Just because your son has graduated from high school, that doesn’t mean it’s wise to let him navigate life all on his own.  He still needs you.  He is still under your care.  You still have a responsibility to disciple him in truth and lead him in the right direction theologically and biblically.  He still needs you to lead him to a sound church and to help him formulate sound biblical doctrine.

If your son or daughter was at Passion 2017 this week, it would be good to have an honest conversation about the music and the preaching.  Your college student needs to know that Carrie Underwood is not a good example to follow.  Regarding practical living, you don’t want your daughter to imitate her dress attire.  Regarding theology, Carrie Underwood has openly supported the agenda of homosexual marriage.  When asked about her position, she said:

“I’m in favor of acceptance…And I am a Christian person, and I do love the Lord, and I feel no matter who you are, what you believe, how you live your life, it’s not my place to judge.”

To hold the applause is not to be a killjoy as a parent.  It’s necessary at times.  Not everything is worthy of applause.  This decision by Passion is one that must be addressed by parents in order to help college students avoid disastrous mistakes in practical living and theological formation.

College Students Need Faithful Pastors

We must not fool ourselves into believing that the entire Georgia Dome was full of college students and their pastors had absolutely no idea that event was taking place.  The college students, in many ways, were organized and assisted by pastors in order to get to the event.  Not everything that happens at a conference would be advocated by every speaker at the conference or embraced in a worship service.  I get that.  I understand that conferences have their place, but they must not be left unchecked.

College students are forming their doctrine of God, their doctrine of salvation, and their doctrine of ecclesiology (the church) at a rapid pace while moving through their college years.  It’s essential for faithful pastors to shepherd them with care.  College students need to hear pastors teach and preach with a certain discerning eye to the culture and a faithful tongue that speaks truth.  The truth is, Carrie Underwood sang heresy to thousands of college students and the students let everyone know that it was acceptable.  College students need to know why it’s really not acceptable.  The lyrics to Carrie Underwood’s song, “Something in the Water” point to an age-old heresy—baptismal regeneration.  A repetitive line in the song states:

There must’ve been something in the water
Oh, there must’ve been something in the water

Many pastors may have supported their students in going to the Passion 2017 event, and all of this was a complete surprise.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see college students have a greater passion for God, but there is a need to make sure that passion is rooted and grounded in the pages of Scripture.  College students need to be taught the book of Galatians and learn that any additive to the pure unadulterated gospel is a damnable heresy (Gal. 1:8-9).  That’s exactly what Paul taught and it’s what we must teach and preach in our present day.

Passion for God is needed in our day, but passion without biblical truth will lead to disaster.  That’s exactly what Paul once said about Israel as he wrote Romans 10:1-4.  College students need diligent and faithful pastors to stand for truth and hold the applause at times, and this is one of those critical moments.  When a country music star sings to the tune of baptismal regeneration at a Christian conference, it’s proof that the Reformation isn’t over.

Reflections on the 2016 G3

Reflections on the 2016 G3

It’s hard to believe that the 2016 G3 Conference is now another page in the history books.  This year the focus of the G3 Conference was the doctrine of the Trinity.  People from around the nation and beyond gathered together on our church campus located just west of Atlanta for an intensive weekend of preaching and singing.  Thousands more, from 52 different countries, watched the G3 through our Livestream.  As always, the G3 is designed to be a theology conference rather than a Christian pep rally built upon a superficial foundation.

Preaching and Teaching

One of the foundational goals of the G3 each year is to educate people in sound biblical teaching and preaching.  This year, we had 13 different sessions packed into three days.  If you add the pre-conference session with Dr. James White on Wednesday evening and the post-conference sessions on the Lord’s Day by Dr. James White and Dr. Steven Lawson, that brings the numbers to 16 sessions over 5 days.

One of the main emphases of the G3 this year was to point out that the doctrine of the Trinity is not some esoteric teaching reserved for the seminary classroom or selective group of spiritual elites.  The doctrine of the Trinity matters because God matters.  How we view God will shape our worship and many other aspects of life and ministry.

I was joined by a lengthy number of preachers (Bruce Ware, Steven Lawson, James White, Tim Challies, David Miller, Anthony Mathenia, H.B. Charles Jr., and Todd Friel) in the conference, and it seemed like there was a great mix of different styles, focal points, and specialties among the men speaking in the conference.  From pastors to seminary professors (and Todd Friel), the mixture provided depth, knowledge, and wisdom.

I preached the first session of the 2016 conference by preaching from the Great Commission passage.  The goal was to exhort everyone and remind us that we as Christians are called to proclaim a triune God from a Trinitarian book.  Tim Challies followed with an overview of the Trinity.  From that point, the conference was propelled onward.

With the conference in full stride by this point, the Trinity in salvation, the dependence upon the Holy Spirit in preaching, roles among the Persons of the Trinity, sanctification, the resurrection of Christ, and beholding the Trinity in worship were all different subjects that followed throughout the next two days.  There was a richness to the preaching and teaching.

Memorable Quotations

  • All who go to hell go there because of their own free will. All who go to heaven go there because of God’s sovereign will. ~ Steven Lawson
  • Jesus had to be fully God in order to represent God to man & fully man to represent man to God. ~ Steven Lawson
  • It’s hard to be godly and popular at the same time. ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
  • God demands perfect righteousness and in Christ, God supplies what God demands. ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
  • The Bible is like Big Mama’s house where you eat what she serves or you don’t eat at all. Can’t pick and choose! ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
  • You don’t want your election to be on the basis of what God foresaw. ~ David Miller
  • We know the Trinity because we’ve been known by the Trinity. ~ Tim Challies
  • The hard work of exegesis is an act of worship and a service to others. ~ James White
  • The Qur’an is only 14% the length of the Bible and was written by a man with no understanding of the Trinity. ~ James White
  • The Trinitarian confusion would evaporate with great exegetical teaching. ~ Todd Friel
  • There are no loopholes in the command to be Christ-like. ~ Anthony Mathenia
  • The #1 most magnificent evidence that the Spirit controls a person is that they love and want to be like Jesus. ~ Bruce Ware

Encouragement

Good conferences have their place in the life of the church.  One of those purposes is to encourage one another.  That certainly happened during the G3 this year.  I was greatly encouraged by old and new friends in the faith.  However, we were never intended to remain in the huddle.  We must move forward and get back in the game of life and ministry.

One particular man was in attendance this year from California who was with us last year as well.  The difference between this year and last year is that his wife was not in attendance this year because she finished her course in this life within the past several months.  This gentleman came along with friends – a good way to be encouraged in the faith.  I met a sweet couple who told me that they had been dismissed from their church a few weeks ago.  He was looking for another church to serve as pastor.  I could see the tears in their eyes as I spoke to them after one of the sessions.  It’s good to join together and be encouraged in conferences.

God has not called us to remain in endless hours of theology conferences.  God expects us to learn, gain tools, and be encouraged among the saints, and then He sends us back out into the context of difficulties, trials, and problems.  Ministry is never easy.  There will always be real people with real problems, but we can rest assured that we have a real Savior who has real solutions.

My heart is full of joy, my mind is full of truth, and my body is tired after this past week.  As I reflect on the success of the G3, I’m freshly reminded of what a great church I serve.  I’m freshly reminded of what a good pastoral team I serve alongside.  I’m grateful and encouraged and tired, however, I’m already looking forward to the 2017 G3 Conference.  I hope to see you there.

If you’re interested in early registration for the 2017 G3 Conference, you can go ahead and register until 1-29 (save $80).

All of the sessions will be archived to the G3 Conference website over the next several days.

The Danger of Conferences

The Danger of Conferences

Did you ever leave for a conference with the mindset that you would be challenged and edified in the gospel?  Most of us think in that direction as we make our traveling arrangements.  How many of us have left with the thought that we would come back depressed and discouraged?  There is nothing like getting together with a group of Christians for a weekend conference.  For those of you who attend one or perhaps two conferences each year know that those times can be truly refreshing, exciting, inspiring, convicting, and yes – tiring.  Christian conferences provide a great time to rekindle old relationships and build new friendships with people that you meet for the first time.  Some conferences provide a “family reunion” feel as you return year after year to learn and worship together.  Have you considered the dangers of attending Christian conferences?

This past weekend was our first G3 Conference held in our church here in Georgia.  As the conference came to an end on Saturday, although I was completely drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually – I felt like a great vacation was coming to an abrupt ending.  As I reflected upon the weekend, I remember how I once felt leaving a similar Christian conference.  Rather than leaving this specific conference encouraged and edified in the gospel, I walked away discouraged and defeated.  The reason was centered on the fact that I had looked to the preachers in the conference as men who were successful in ministry and were walking the “easy” road back to their successful churches.  I had allowed myself to look at the men through a rose colored lens.  Instead of filling up my heart with the gospel, I was filling up my heart with discouragement.  I had allowed my mind to think that the conference speakers were somehow immune to trials and problems in pastoral ministry.  Rather than leaving the conference strengthened in the gospel, I returned home discouraged.

Below you will see a list of practical dangers to avoid as you leave a Christian conference.  We are all suseptable to these traps and much like a soldier suiting up and preparing to enter the battle field, we must have our minds prepared and ready for the work that the Lord has called us to.

May the Lord protect us from these common dangers:

  • The danger of viewing the conference speakers as immune to trials and very successful while you are somehow a “man of sorrows” and unsuccessful.
  • The danger of feeling that your worship within the context of your own church family is less exciting than the latest conference you just attended.
  • The danger of feeling lonely due to the reality that you just left your closest friends at the conference as you now head back home.  Instead, ask yourself this question, “Why do I not have close friends in my current ministry context?”  If you have become guilty of isolating yourself and refusing to pursue solid friendships, that is extremely unhealthy and very dangerous for any Christian – especially a pastor.  Have you forgotten that God is with us at all times and will never forsake us?
  • The danger of loving conferences more than the church of Jesus Christ.  Although conferences can be exciting and profitable to our souls, we must remember, Christ died for the church – not conferences.
  • The danger of covetousness.  It’s really easy to covet the platform of another preacher, the position of another pastor, or the notoriety of a specific conference speaker.  We must remember that this is a sin.  God has gifted each of us and called us to specific tasks for His glory, and the unknown missionary or pastor serving in obscurity is no less important to God than the conference preacher who stands before thousands.

If you find yourself leaving an exciting conference discouraged, remember that anyone can pastor a conference, but only those specific men selected by God to pastor His church can carry out that task under complete reliance on His power.  Remember that anyone can be a member of a conference, but only God’s children can be members of His church.  God often uses conferences, but it is His plan to drive His mission and accomplish His will through the ministries of the local church.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief. For if it were not for unbelief even the devil could do nothing. It is because we listen to the devil instead of listening to God that we go down before him and fall before his attacks” (Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and its Cures, 1965, p. 20).

May God spare us from such depression and discouragement which leads to an open door of sin.

For His glory,

Pastor Josh Buice