A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
Application: The context of this section is very important. As we have already observed Paul emphasizes that women should focus on the inside – not outward appearance. A story comes to mind. An old man is entering a building and he sees a young woman following him in. He holds the door for her. She, looks at him with disdain and states, “You don’t have to hold the door for me because I am a woman!”. He smiles and states, “I am not holding this door for you because you are a woman, I am holding this door for you because I am a gentleman!”. What we are should flow from the inside. We do need to see the difference though between “essence” and “position”. They are very different in reality and if we can grasp that, the offense that comes with passages like this dissipates quickly. Again, it also depends on the culture you are raised in, but for the most part, those that have come from western societies, this issue is used to claim that the Scriptures are prejudiced against women and that God is a chauvinist. Nothing is further from the truth. The woman in Proverbs 31 is a very capable, intelligent individual. What cultures do should not be blamed on God. By the time this was written the Jewish culture forbid women to study, you will not find that thinking by God anywhere in scripture. What we do find is God’s design for how certain things should run. This is where the difference between “essence” and “position” must be understood. Paul states elsewhere that there is no difference to God between male and female. He is making it clear that both are equal in His eyes in essence.
However, just as with the Godhead, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are equal to the Father in essence – all are God – in position they have submitted themselves to the Father. So it is with the family, the husband is held accountable to be the leader and lead his family toward God. So it is in the Body of Christ. Men are chosen by God to lead the Church as Pastors. This does not mean that a woman cannot teach the Bible. I have heard great lessons by gifted women teachers of the Word, but they did not hold the position of overseer of the local Body. God holds men accountable to do that and men will be judged on their willingness to follow God in this matter. This does not have to do with ability; it has to do with God’s ordained leadership He desires. God is expecting our sisters to submit to our leadership in the local Body. We better step up and lead in a godly fashion or we will owe our sisters and our Lord an apology. Again, this is where we also need to understand the difference of having our own standard, versus trying to get everyone to agree with us. I have women Pastors, I do not think it is my responsibility to go to them and challenge their call. They answer to the Lord like I do. I will teach that I believe the Bible demands that Elders be male, if a woman Pastor came to me and challenged me I would remain where I am at and make it clear that I believe the Word is clear, and that she does not need to clear it with me – she needs to deal with the Lord on this. I would still love my sister in the Lord, but I would not Shepherd a church with her. If she thinks I am narrow I accept that and would appeal to her that I alone answer to God for my conscience, she will not stand in my place, so she can continue to do what she believes she should, for I will not stand in place for her either. Thanks Lord that in the end we really need to only be concerned with what You will think, not everyone else!