Women Shepherds, Pastors and Teachers:
A Biblical Perspective
Part 1

Click or Tap Icons to Share! Thank you!
Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
January 1, 2001

Last Updated :
January 18, 2024

No Scriptural Basis For Women Church Leaders, Christian Faith Is Solely Based On God's Word, Eternal Nature Of God's Word, Scriptural Warnings Regarding False Doctrines, Women Are To Keep Silent In The Church, Simeon And Anna, Circumcision And Purification, False Prophetess Jezebel's Ancient Sex Cult, Self-Appointed Or God-Appointed And Anointed?, Modern Plague Of False Prophets And Prophetesses, Offend: Warning Regarding Leading God's Children Astray, Woman's Role In Old Testament, Deborah Barak Jael's Nail And Sisera's Defeat, The Israelites Petition Gideon To Be Their King After He Defeats Midianites, Abimelech Conspires To Become The King Over Israel, God Sees All Of Man's Doings, Death Of Abimelech, We Reap What We Sow

A number of years ago I found myself counseling a Christian woman regarding a certain problem she was experiencing in her marriage relationship. The gist of the problem was that, for various reasons, the woman was not happy with the church she and her husband were attending, so she decided to not attend at all, leaving the husband to go alone. I originally addressed this problem in the article entitled "Churchianity or Christianity: Which Do You Practice?". Despite the advice that I offered to this woman at that time, it seems that the problem was not fully resolved. Thus, the need arose for me to exchange a few additional email messages with her. During the course of our email exchanges, she informed me that her church was temporarily being shepherded by a female pastor, being as the previous pastor had resigned, or moved on to another church. I don't recall the precise details at this current time.

While I have addressed this topic before, allow me to state again that, as far as I am aware, nowhere in the Bible are women instructed to lead the Lord's Church. As I have shared with my readers on previous occasions, our faith and beliefs as Christians are not based on what some people think or say, or on what is taught by popular preachers who like to preach the doctrines of men from the pulpits of their megachurches, or on anything else which some misguided individuals try to use to rationalize or justify their wayward actions. The fact of the matter is that our Christians beliefs and practices should be based solely on God's Word, and on what has been passed down to us in the pattern and practices of the First Century Church. Anything which is contrary to God's Word, or which attempts to override its authority, is misguided and wrong, and should be avoided. Consider the following verses which convey the eternal nature and importance of God's Word:

". . . For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."
Psalm 119:89, KJV

". . . Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
Psalm 119:105, KJV

"Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it."
Psalm 119:140, KJV

"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."
Psalm 119:160, KJV

". . . thy word is truth."
John 17:17b, KJV

"The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations."
Psalm 33:11, KJV

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
Psalm 138:2, KJV

"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"
Isaiah 46:9-10, KJV

"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
Numbers 23:19, KJV

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV

As I pointed out a moment ago, any teaching or practice that contradicts God's Word, or which attempts to override its Divine Authority, is both misguided and wrong, and should be avoided. Jesus and the Apostles of the First Century embraced this very same attitude. This becomes evident by verses such as the following which are found in the New Testament. Notice how the First Century Church leaders warn the Disciples to beware of false doctrines:

"Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
Matthew 16:12, KJV

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
Ephesians 4:14-15, KJV

"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
Hebrews 13:9, KJV

"As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do."
1 Timothy 1:3-4, KJV

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"
1 Timothy 4:1, KJV

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV

Returning to the subject of women, while we do find a few isolated examples where certain women were granted a degree of political and/or spiritual authority in the Old Testament -- the Prophetess and Judge Deborah and Queen Esther come to mind -- the Lord never granted this same degree of spiritual authority to women in the New Testament. To the contrary, the Apostle Paul informs his readers quite plainly that women are supposed to remain silent in the Church. This most certainly prevents them from accepting a leadership role, such as being a pastor, priest or minister. Consider the following verses:

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
1 Corinthians 14:34-35, KJV

While Paul was writing specifically regarding those women who desired to exercise the Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues, common sense dictates that his words apply even more when we speak of a woman spiritually leading an entire Church. Not only that, but the fact that Paul plainly states that women should learn from their husbands at home, further supports the view that women are not supposed to take on leadership positions -- or teaching positions -- in the Church.

Of course, there are certain liberal-minded people who seek to invalidate this understanding by pointing to the incident concerning the Prophetess Anna which is found in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. While it is indeed true that Anna was present in the Temple during Jesus' circumcision on the eighth day after His Birth, she was by no means usurping the authority of the priesthood of that era. She was an old woman of eighty-four years of age who appears to have been temporarily inspired by the Holy Spirit, as the text relates. The Gospel informs us that Anna spent her time there fasting and praying, and not being a leader in the Temple. The same thing seems to have occurred with the old man Simeon only a few minutes prior to that event. To reiterate, these two people were not recognized leaders in the Temple. Please consider the following verses:

"And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth."
Luke 2:25-39, KJV

For informational and historical purposes, allow me to also share with you the part of the Levitical Law where the rites of circumcision and purification are commanded by the Lord through Moses, which is exactly what Joseph and Mary were fulfilling:

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean."
Leviticus 12:1-8, KJV

Returning to the Prophetess Anna, to be temporarily inspired by the Holy Ghost -- as appears to have been her case -- is not the same thing as spiritually leading the entire Body of Christ in a regular capacity, and on a regular basis, as we see happening with so many women pastors and preachers today. In fact, I would dare say that this misguided phenomenon is more akin to the rebellious false prophetess Jezebel, who by the Word of the Lord, the Apostle John describes for us in the Book of Revelation. As you can see by the following set of verses, this proud, deceitful woman set herself up as a spiritual leader over what basically amounted to an ancient idol-worshipping sex cult:

"Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Revelation 2:20-23, KJV

Please notice in particular that the Lord says "which calleth herself a prophetess". In other words, God did not appoint or anoint Jezebel; she did this herself. Doesn't that sound very similar to what we see happening today with so many so-called "prophets" and "prophetesses"? They are found in a lot of the modern churches, as well as all over Facebook, and in many other online social communities and networks. As you can see, in the Book of Revelation the Lord strongly condemned Jezebel due to her heresies and fornication, which led His children astray. In the three synoptic Gospels -- Matthew, Mark and Luke -- Jesus issued a similar warning regarding those people who would cause His children to fall away from the faith, and abandon sound doctrine, when He stated the following:

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Matthew 18:6, KJV

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."
Mark 9:42, KJV

"It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."
Luke 17:2, KJV

As I explain in a few other articles, in the original Greek language, that word "offend" does not have the same meaning as it does today. It is derived from the ancient Greek word "skandalizo". When read in context with the Scriptures, it means to place an obstacle in one's way, so that they sin, stumble and fall away from the truth of the Gospel. Placing the sin of sexual perversion before a person, so that they yield themselves to temptation and forsake the true Gospel of Christ, will not go unpunished, according to the Lord's own words in the Gospels, and in the Book of Revelation. So be very careful that you are not found guilty of this sin.

Returning to our earlier discussion, throughout the Bible, women normally played a supportive role to their husbands and male leaders. As I noted earlier, in a few rare instances in the Old Testament, the Lord did raise up a woman in order to fulfill His Divine Purpose. However, it is important to note that in the two examples that I gave -- Deborah and Esther -- there was likewise a dominant male figure. In the case of the Prophetess Deborah, we find the military leader, Barak, who was of the tribe of Naphtali. Along with his brethren from the tribe of Zebulon, Barak pursued Kishon Sisera, who was the captain of Jabin's army. In the end, it was Jael -- who was the wife of Heber the Kenite -- who actually smote Sisera by driving a nail through his head, after his army had been destroyed by Barak and his brethren, as we can determine by the following set of verses:

"But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan."
Judges 4:16-24, KJV

Following the death of Sisera by the hand of Jael, in Judges chapter five we discover Deborah and Barak rejoicing together as they sing their song of praise and victory to the Lord. What is interesting to note here, is that even before Barak went to fight against Sisera and his army, Deborah told him that while he would be victorious in battle, Sisera would be defeated by a woman. Consider the following verses:

"And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh."
Judges 4:7-9, KJV

Why did the Lord do this? Was it to show that He had changed the rules regarding male/female relationships which had been laid down in Genesis chapter three, and to demonstrate that women were now equal to men? I do not believe so. This would contradict the bulk of Scriptural evidence which defines the proper roles of men and women in society -- as well as in personal relationships -- which we find throughout the Bible. I suspect that the Lord used this tactic merely to humble Jaban the Canaanite king and his army, and to demonstrate His great power through the act of defeating the enemies of the Israelites by the hands of women.

We find a similar example where God used a woman in order to fulfill His Will in the story of a very proud and ambitious man by the name of Abimelech. He was the son of Gideon, who is likewise known in the Bible as Jerubbaal. Following the defeat of the Midianite army by Gideon, the Israelites then wanted to make him their king. Even during that time, several hundred years prior to the appearance of the Prophet Samuel and King Saul, the Israelites were so backslidden in heart -- as I point out in the series "The Fruits of Disobedience" -- that they were not happy with just having the Lord as their Eternal King who ruled over them from the Heavens. Thus, they foolishly approached Gideon and asked him to accept the job of being their king. How did God-fearing Gideon reply to their misguided request? Consider the following verses:

"Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you."
Judges 8:22-23, KJV

Gideon simply did not want the job. He basically told them, "Why do you need an earthly king to rule over you, when you already have a Heavenly King who rules over you?". In fact, this conviction burned so deeply in Gideon's heart, that he also added that none of his sons would be their king either. Sadly, Gideon's proud son Abimelech, whom Gideon fathered by a concubine in Shechem, was of another persuasion. Thus, it seems that some time after Gideon had died, Abimelech put his misguided plan into action. In his mind, he figured that he would not be as "dumb" as his father had been. Instead, he would take advantage of the situation, build up a loyal following, and then have himself declared the king of Israel.

To keep my retelling of this story short -- you can read it in its entirety in Judges chapters eight and nine -- putting his plan into motion was not quite as simple as that. You see, Gideon had fathered a total of seventy sons by his wives and concubines. As was the cruel custom during that time with despotic rulers, the competition had to be killed off first. So this evil son -- Abimelech -- went to his mother's house in Shechem, undertook a bit of public relations work, and then he went to his father's house in Ophrah. Then, together with his mother's brethren, Abimelech had the seventy sons of Gideon killed, save for Jotham. In this fashion, he became king over Shechem. However, the Lord saw Abimelech's wicked deeds, as He always does. Consider the following verses:

". . . behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out."
Numbers 32:23b, KJV

"For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings."
Job 34:21, KJV

"O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee."
Psalm 69:5, KJV

"Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance."
Psalm 90:8, KJV

"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
Proverbs 15:3, KJV

"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 23:24, KJV

"He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him."
Daniel 2:22, KJV

". . . Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad."
Mark 4:21b-22, KJV

"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known."
Luke 12:2, KJV

"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
Hebrews 4:13, KJV

It should be evident to you then that God had Abimelech's number. As a result, after having ruled in Shechem for a period of three years, the people turned against wicked Abimelech. While he was eventually able to defeat them, it was another story when it came to the people of Thebez. As Abimelech's army drew near to the city, all of the people rushed to the top of a great tower, hoping that they would be safe. Abimelech's plan was to burn it down, just as he had down with the tower in Shechem. However, God had other plans. As had occurred with Sisera, the Lord was about to humble and destroy Abimelech through the hand of a single woman, as we discover through these verses:

"And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal."
Judges 9:52-57, KJV

Thus, once again the Biblical axiom came to pass, as we see by the following verses:

"Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same."
Job 4:8, KJV

"He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate."
Psalm 7:15-16, KJV

"They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah."
Psalm 57:6, KJV

"Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him."
Proverbs 26:27, KJV

"He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him."
Ecclesiastes 10:8, KJV

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:7-9, KJV

Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

Click or Tap Icons to Share! Thank you!

BBB Tools And Services

Please avail yourself of other areas of the Bill's Bible Basics website. There are many treasures for you to discover.