Can a woman assist her husband and teach in a Bible study?

by Matt Slick

From an email:  I have a question to add to the many I am sure you get daily.  My Husband would hold to the views that you hold on women in ministry . . . I do also.  The question I have for you is this.  We are conducting a Bible study . . . My husband would like for me to co-teach with him.  He feels this is OK because He would be the leader and I would be assisting him.  Since there would be men attending this study I am not sure if this would be OK.  I think that teaching the subject of history regarding these doctrines would be OK for me (the class is the Doctrines of Grace)  My husband feels that I have much insight to add to this subject ( I have been studying the Doctrines of Grace, for many years) and wants me to have input.  I love to teach . . . it is my passion in life.  However, I do not want to be out of line, or set a bad example for the women who will be attending this study.  Would you give me your thoughts on this.

Response: Women are not to be elders and pastors as the Scriptures teach since those positions automatically have authority in the church, and elders are to be male, the husbands of one wife.  I do not see how assisting your husband in a Bible study is exercising any authority over people who might be present.  So, I would think that you would be free to expound on Scripture the same as anyone else would be in a Bible study.

When I have taught Bible studies and my wife has been present, she has often added excellent insight into the Scriptures--as have other women.  Her female perspective is often helpful, and I enjoy hearing what she has to say.  But she is not exercising authority and/or teaching men (authoritatively) when explaining what she thinks a scripture means.  She is not acting as an elder or pastor.

Now, I believe that in 1 Tim. 2:12 when Paul says, "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet," Paul is referring to the church context in the church office of elder.  After all, 1 Tim. 3:15 says to Timothy, " . . . I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." Paul is teaching us how the church is to be run, and the teaching issue deals with the authority structure in the church.  Therefore, I see them related as does Paul:  teach or exercise authority.

Of course, if we were to take the phrase "not allow a woman to teach or excise authority over a man" and remove it from the context of elder and pastor, we would then need to require that all women never even express an opinion about Scripture whenever men are present.  This would be, of course, ridiculous.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.