‘Authority’ in the Bible
Okay, answer me this: If women cannot have ‘authority’ over men, and the Bible never contradicts itself, then what in the world did Paul mean when he said that a woman could not have authority over a man?
He obviously did not mean that she could not lead a country. Deborah did, and Miriam (according to Micah) is listed as a ‘leader’ in Israel as well. (Mic 6:4) Junia is an apostle (church-planter) and Phoebe is a deacon, so church leadership is obviously not prohibited, unless the person who gets people saved, organizes the church, puts others they have taught into positions and then moves on to do it again is not really a ‘leader’ and has no ‘real’ authority.
‘Authority’ cannot be listening to God and instructing people (men) regarding what God says or Philip’s four unmarried daughters would not have been given prophecy, it would have been wrong for the men to seek Huldah when there were other male prophets at the time, Miriam would not have been given prophecy since Aaron and Moses were around, and Isaiah’s wife would not have been known as ‘the prophetess’ since Isaiah himself could have done the job. (Do you see where this is going?) So God talks to women, and He expects the men to do what He says through them. Hmm… and this is not authority?
Could it be that Paul was talking about authority in the home? Should women have no authority there? Was God wrong to tell Abraham to listen to his wife and do what she says regarding Ishmael (Gen. 21:12)? Was God wrong to give instructions to Samson’s mother instead of his father when his father was begging to be told as well (Judges 13:8-11)? Was God wrong to give the prophecy about Esau and Jacob to Rebekah rather than Isaac (Gen. 25:23)?
Or, could it be that the KJV actually got it right? That the correct translation of the word here is that women cannot ‘usurp authority’? Could it be that Paul was talking to people, some of whom grew up in a culture where the women ruled the pagan churches and the men were made into eunuchs and he did not want to see that happening in the church? Could it be that he told the women to be silent and ask their husbands because he wanted them to stop talking in church so they would shut up and actually learn- especially if they were to be ‘workers’ in the church? Could it be that the Jewish women, used to being segregated in the synagogues and Temple were used to gossiping and not paying attention and that this is what Paul was trying to change? God knows it would have been difficult for Phoebe to deliver the letter to the church at Rome if she was not to speak!
‘Silent’ can also not mean that women cannot spread the gospel or Jesus would have been in error sending that Samaritan woman away from the well without clear instruction about not telling anyone, and the women at the tomb should not have been entrusted with the first report about the risen Lord. John should also not have written that scandalous letter to the woman in 2 John- according to the ‘rules’ he should have written it to the man of the church who was over her. Unless she was the head of the church that met in her home…