Women in Ministry; March 18, 2019

Acts 18:26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

On this trip I was talking with someone about the issue of women in ministry, and this very passage came to mind. Some people reference such passages as 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 and insist that women are never to teach men, or even a mixed group. However, we also have this passage. What came to me as I was sharing with my friend (a woman, by the way) is that when this couple is referenced, the wife is always given priority. It’s not “Aquilla and Priscilla,” but “Priscilla and Aquilla.” (In Acts 18:2 Aquilla is mentioned first, but that is a result of the narrative. In verse 18 of the same chapter, and from then on, Priscilla comes first, including in Romans 16:3. The one exception is in the greetings conveyed in 1 Corinthians 16:19.) This isn’t a minor thing, because they were given the task by God of teaching Apollos, who became a major Bible teacher and someone Paul referenced in 1 Corinthians 3. If women are never to teach men, that would be entirely out of line. It is my personal conviction that men are indeed to have the headship in the home, as Paul discusses in Ephesians 5, and by extension it is very natural for them to be in leadership otherwise, but that excluding women is putting God into a box He hasn’t chosen. Our focus is to be on God and listening obediently to Him, whatever vessel He chooses to use.

This is very close to my family, because my grandfather, W. O. Carver, was a champion of women, building a training school for them at a time when they were not allowed to enroll in theological seminaries. It has since been absorbed into the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, but for a considerable period of time over half of the Southern Baptist foreign missionaries were graduates of that school, either as single missionaries or as missionary wives. With recent swings in church politics, my grandfather’s name and portrait were removed from the school, but I leave that in God’s hands. The point is, God will use any submitted, committed vessel, and we are to let Him be Lord.

Father, this isn’t an issue I worry about most of the time, but I thank You for bringing this passage to mind the other day. Thank You for all those who are committed to You, and for Your grace in using us. May men and women alike revere Your name as holy and serve as agents of Your kingdom by doing Your will fully, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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