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Scripture Reading:  1 Timothy 2:8-12)


Bible Question Box

(September 2005)



#1 – Can a woman say “amen” during a lesson?

#2 – What are the Scriptural reasons that a woman is not usually allowed to teach the high school class if there are Christian boys in it?  (How could it be teaching over a man when they aren’t men?)


The overriding issue in both of these questions:  The role of women in the local church (one concerns an application in the assembly, and the other in Bible classes).


1.  We all understand and hopefully agree with these Bible patterns:

  a.  Women certainly have authority to participate in assembly:

      -Sing praises (Eph. 5:19); Teach through singing (Col. 3:16); silently pray during congregational prayer (Acts 2:42; 12:5, 12); eat the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7); Hear and learn God’s word (Acts 20:7); Confess faith and be baptized (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:38); Repent and ask for the prayers of fellow saints (Jas. 5:16).

  b.  God has established an order of headship (that we must respect), 1 Cor. 11:3.

  c.  Women are not the leaders (in/out of assembly), 1 Tim. 2:8, 11-12.

    1)   Position of learning, not leading, 2:11

       a)      Women are to learn in silence (quietness, Acts 22:2) with all submission (obedience, 1 Tim. 3:4; “to arrange under, subordinate”).

       b)   cf. Acts 18:26:  Priscilla did not speak out publicly to teach Apollos, but with her husband leading, she joined in teaching him privately.

    2)   Not permitted to teach or have authority (dominion) over a man, 2:12 (Acts 4:18, same grammatical construction).
       a)      Usurp authority:  To take to oneself authority, so as to govern or exercise dominion over another.

       b)   Any arrangement in which a women takes the lead and exercises a position of rule over men (classes, pulpit, song leading, etc. where men are present) is sinful.

  d.   Men are not authorized to “give” her positions of leadership.
    1)   A God-defined limitation2:13-14 (headship, 1 Cor. 11:3).

       a)  Woman is from man – 2:13 (1 Cor. 11:8-9).

       b)  Woman was deceived – 2:14.

    2)   She is not to “usurp” the authority for herself.

  e.  Women are to keep silent in the assemblies, 1 Cor. 14:34-35.

    1)   To not do so is disorderly, 14:33-34.

    2)   Not permitted (granted liberty, given permission) to speak, 14:34 {Qualified by other passages, see above, 1. a.}

    3)   Shows a submissive attitude toward God, God’s law & man, 14:34 (the law, Gen. 3:16).

    4)   Shameful (dishonorable) to speak in the church (assembly).

#1:  Can a woman say “amen” during a lesson?

1.  Amen:  “The word is directly related—in fact, almost identical—to the Hebrew word for “believe” (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly”, an expression of absolute trust and confidence.

2.  “Amen” during a sermon is an unsolicited statement of affirmation and agreement; of faith.

3.  Must meet Scriptural tests:

   a.  Decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40) {The “amen” is not the focal point/entertainment…}.

   b.  Men are commanded to lead in prayer, 1 Tim. 2:8.

   c.  Only reference to saying “amen” in the assembly is of men, 1 Cor. 14:15-16 (1 Tim. 2:8).

4.  Answer:  No.  Since it is not Scriptural for women to speak in the assembly [when “the whole church comes together in one place,” (1 Cor. 14:26) without specific Bible instruction granting permission to do so (i.e., sing, confess Christ, confess sin)], then it is not Scriptural for women to say “amen” during the assembly.


#2 – What are the Scriptural reasons that a woman is not usually allowed to teach the high school class if there are Christian boys in it?  (How could it be teaching over a man when they aren’t men?)

1.  Agree:  Bible teaches women to teach women (Tit. 2:3-4), and not to teach over men (1 Tim. 2:11-12).

2.  It is our practice, except when a class is exclusively female, that men teach all classes from junior high upward.

3.  True, a high school boy is not a man; however, this assumes the age of the student is the only reason that men teach these classes.

4.  Scriptural reasons include:

   a.  Reputation and propriety:  That there is no mistake and no question that the women here seek to be in submission instead of usurping authority (1 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Ths. 5:22).

   b.  Our children: So that they learn to respect God’s order of headship and the distinct roles God have given men and women, cf. Isa. 5:20 (Mal. 2:17).

   c.  Consciences: To avoid harming the consciences of some (some have different consciences concerning when a woman should no longer teach boys (Christian; others, age 12…13…14…15…??).  Rom. 14:13

   d.  Orderliness: Class arrangement is a tool to teach the gospel and must not be the source of confusion, fussing and fighting, 1 Cor. 14:33, 40; 1 Ths. 5:12-13 (Phil. 2:13; Eph. 5:21).



1. Principles for the assembly (1 Cor. 14):

   a. Speak clearly, to be understood, 14:9.

   b. Do all things for edification, 14:26.

   c. Peace, not confusion, is to exist (like women speaking in the assembly), 14:33-35.

   d. Do all things decently and in order (honorable arrangement), 14:40.

2. A principle for men at all times:  Be the leader (in worship, in your family) (1 Tim. 2:8; 1 Cor. 11:3).

3. A principle for women at all times:  Have a quiet spirit, with all submission (1 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 3:4; 1 Cor. 11:3).