foundation truth

Lesson 35 - Women's ministry

We are living in what the Bible describes as the “last days.” In the book of Joel 2:28-29, it is prophesied that in the last days God would pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh. Both sons and daughters, menservants, and maidservants are to be the recipients of this outpouring.

It is most unfortunate that over one-half of the world’s population has been treated as inferior. Men of the world have definitely developed an attitude of superiority over women, and many times even the church has followed into this error.

The Scriptures teach that sexuality is only a part of our present world and that in heaven we will be like the angels who never marry. Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-36

WHAT ARE THE EXAMPLES OF WOMEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

Ruler

  • Eve was a coregent ruler with her husband. Genesis 1:26-28 Prophetess
  • Miriam was called a prophetess. Exodus 15:20 Huldah was called a prophetess. II Kings 22:14; II Chronicles 34:22
  • Isaiah’s wife was called a prophetess. Isaiah 8:3 Judge
  • Deborah was both prophetess and judge. Judges 4:4, 5 Queen
  • Esther was the queen who saved her people. Esther 7:3

Throughout the Old Testament, we have many examples of godly women who were a tremendous blessing to their people. It is interesting that the word “company” in Psalm 68:11 is in the feminine tense in the Hebrew language.

WHAT WAS JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD WOMEN?

  • Jesus amazed even His own twelve disciples with His open attitude toward women. John 4:27
  • Jesus’ dedication as a baby was crowned by a prophetess. Luke 2:36-38
  • Jesus encouraged women to learn the Word of God along with the men. Luke 10:38-42
  • Jesus allowed women ostracized by society to touch Him. Luke 7:36-39
  • Jesus received ministry (diakoneo in the Greek) from women. Luke 8:1-3
  • Jesus used a woman to illustrate His message on giving. Luke 21:1-4
  • Jesus commissioned a woman to be the first to tell of His resurrection. Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18

WHAT ARE THE EXAMPLES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS?

  • Mary, the mother of Jesus, was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:14
  • Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, became a co-worker with the Apostle Paul. Acts 18:1-3, 18, 26; Romans 16:3
  • The evangelist Phillip had four daughters who prophesied. Acts 21:9
  • Dorcas is called a disciple. Acts 9:36

WERE THERE NEW TESTAMENT WOMEN DEACONS?

  • The women ministered to Jesus. Luke 8:3
  • Phebe is called a deacon (diakonos in the Greek) in Romans 16:1.
  • I Timothy 3:11 seems to be referring to women deacons.

The word deaconess is not found in the New Testament. The women who served the church were called “diakonos” in the same way as the men.

WERE THERE NEW TESTAMENT WOMEN WITH GIFTED MINISTRY?

Yes. Obviously, the New Testament gives examples of women who were recognized by the church as ministry gifts.

  • Anna the prophetess. Luke 2:36

Note : A woman by the name of Jezebel is called a false prophetess. Revelation 2:20

  • Priscilla is recognized as a teacher. Acts 18:26 Her name is listed before her husband, implying she was the leading minister in this husband and wife team. Romans 16:3
  • Some believe that the “elect lady” was a pastor. II John 1, 5

WHAT WERE THE APOSTLE PAUL’S COMMENTS ON WOMEN?

Paul recognized and expressed deep appreciation for the women who labored with him in the Gospel. Romans 16:3, 12 The Scriptures that have brought the most confusion on this subject are listed in order below:

  • I Corinthians 11:3 Paul is here speaking of leadership in the home and church with the accompanying traditions. Verses 11 and 12 are the balance for this doctrine.
  • I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 The context of I Corinthians 14 is an emphasis of order. Not only were men abusing spiritual gifts (Verses
    6, 20, 23, 26, 29-33), but the women were also involved in this confusion, and Paul was saying that everything should be done
    orderly. I Corinthians 14:40.
  • I Timothy 2:11-15 Again Paul is speaking of leadership in the home. This does not mean a woman has nothing to teach. Titus 2:3-5 It means that a woman should be submissive to her husband.
  • Ephesians 5:22-24 Paul is speaking of submitting to leadership in the home. The balance for this passage is verses 21 and 25.

WHAT WERE THE APOSTLE PETER’S COMMENTS ON WOMEN?

Peter also taught that a wife was to be submissive. I Peter 3:1-6

Peter says that a woman’s greatest beauty is a meek and quiet spirit. Verse 7 is the balance for his teaching. “We are heirs together of the grace of life.”

WHAT IS THE BIBLE SAYING CONCERNING THIS TRUTH?

It is obvious God intended men to be leaders. However, men are not complete within themselves, and God said it was not good for man to
be alone. Men, being imperfect, fail. But just because men fail does not mean that the work of God should fail. When men refuse to do the
work, God raises up women with anointing and special gifts to do His work. Why should we attempt to hinder the work of God? Let us, rather,
recognize God’s anointing on gifted women and allow them their rightful place of ministry in the church. Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:17-18

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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton

Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry. 

He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.

Dale Yerton