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Question:
I am a woman whose soul “sings” when I hear/read the truth taught – I am passionate about it. However, I believe it is not
Biblical for me to take any pastoral/elder roles.

My situation is this: My husband and I lead a Bible study group of couples and some single women in our home – as a ministry of our church. But I am the main “teacher” of our group. And I feel torn about that. The men in our group are not teachers, and some are not leaders at all. Sometimes I just “take the bull by the horns” and teach.
Other times I step back and ask one of the men to do a series (but then I often regret it, because there is no obvious gift of teaching among any of them at this point). The other (less obvious) issue in this, is that I sometimes sense that my husband feels demeaned because I take that role
(which also bothers me a great deal).

Can a woman teach a man? If I should not, please tell me how to resolve this situation that feels so impossible to me.

Answer:

There are two very distinct ways this question could be interpreted. I took it one way, but one of my readers, “Bill”, pointed out another valid interpretation. With his permission, I’m putting his response after mine.

We have no way of knowing the original motivation and heart of the reader who asked the question. She’ll have to decide that for herself. The point of including both responses here is to TEACH the whole audience so that they may apply the wisdom in the appropriate situation in the future.

Brent’s original answer:

I’m glad that you have sensitive heart towards this issue.

Many today think this is an old fashioned topic that is SILLY. We have become so “feminized” in both society AND the church, that to even consider that there MIGHT be an issue with a female teacher is snickered at.

You are correct that it is not Biblically permitted for you to take the role of Elder/Shepherd/Pastor in the assembly (all the same thing Scripturally). That is a role of spiritual leadership that God has given men the responsibility for.

In the setting of a Bible study, or at home, or in some group of Christians gathered to talk about God and study the Bible, it is an issue of having a humble, servant heart. Submission applies only to your marriage relationship, not to other men. So that could be an issue to consider when you say your husband feels “demeaned”.

However, I would ask your husband to contemplate “why?” If God has gifted you as a teacher but not him, what is there to feel belittled about? If he COULD be a teacher but neglects it, then he SHOULD feel uncomfortable because you having to step up to teach exposes that neglect.

In an group of Christians meeting for fellowship and study, the gifts of God will rise up… teachers will teach, encouragers will encourage, givers will give, empathizers will empathize, prayers will pray.

If all present are humbly serving, showing deference to one another, and seeking to edify, this is not an issue of “usurping authority”, “being unsubmissive” or self aggrandizement.

If you are not “bullying” your way into teaching but rather, are simply the naturally gifted teacher who is humbly using your gift, ready to defer to others, not thinking too highly of yourself, and your motivation is only to glorify God through teaching… then you do WELL to exercise your gift.

I am FULLY committed to God’s roles for male/female, and the role of submission in marriage… but we have wrongly drug those ideas over into situations that have produced false guilt and legalism in settings where it simply does not apply.

I lead and teach groups all the time where women interject comment and opinion which is every bit as much “teaching” as what I am saying. It is a respectful, humble, patient, loving interaction of Christians expressing what God has taught them. Some are more gifted and dedicated in this area BUT they also have a higher responsibility to not “lord it” over others, not forcefully dominate, and not think too highly of their own thoughts and ideas.

Can a woman teach a man????? Ask my wife. There’s not a day that goes by that she hasn’t taught me something. In classes or groups I lead, there is NEVER a time that a female doesn’t contribute solid teaching.

Now I know this question primarily rises about women preaching or teaching at “church” but that is not the setting here, so I’m not going to go through that issue in detail. You are asking about being the “teacher” in a Bible study group that has men.

As for being the primary teacher/leader, again, in your situation where you describe a true absence of another teacher, YOU can teach without elevating yourself; submission is only an issue related to your marriage; and “leadership” positions are an issue in the Believers Assembly, not a Bible study.

Like most opinions I have, I might well be completely wrong. Readers, what do you think?

– – – – – – –

Bill’s response to my answer and his take on the question:

Brent,

OK, you don’t really deal with the subject of a woman teaching. This woman has stated her opinion about teaching. What she said between the lines is, “Nobody can teach like I can.” She isn’t satisfied with what anybody else does. She also said it was a Bible Study of her and her husband. She said that he feels “demeaned” and she feels “bothered” by that.[TIPJAR]

This woman is guilty of what is said in Timothy. 1 Tim 2:12, But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
Here Paul is instructing Timothy and it is not in the same context as I Cor. 14 of the church. This is a life teaching.

You patted her on the back and let her go so she could continue in her own path. No one will grow in that Bible Study. Eventually it will fall apart or she will create her private following. Do we have another Kathryn Kulhman on our hands. I doubt it. What we do have is someone who feels spiritually superior to all the others and this will destroy any good that could come out of it.

I have no idea who she is, but she has no incentive to change. She isn’t growing anybody, because she is making them dependent on her. While she should be encouraging her husband to do more, she continues to undermine him. True, this is reading between the lines, but I’m convinced your reply simply feeds her ego.

Bill

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