Women preach in our church and in many, many churches around the world.
"But doesn't the Bible say...?"
There are some theological views that interpret certain passages in the Bible to mean that women shouldn't preach or teach. On this page are some resources to help explain why we and many other churches permit, encourage and celebrate women preaching. Most of these resources are also about women in leadership generally.
This page isn't a comprehensive coverage of 'all sides' of this issue. It is for people who want to know why we and others do encourage women to preach, not an explanation of why others don't. There are plenty of other resources out there to support an alternative view to our own, and if you want to do more research on the counter-arguments we can point you in that direction.
Nor is this page a homogenous wall of opinion - some of these authors and speakers will differ in their opinions on various matters, and we don't necessarily agree with everyone listed on everything they say! But this list is a helpful starting point as you engage with this topic, asking the Spirit to guide you along the way.
- Introductory resources: Easy-reading, easy-listening or easy-watching teaching about women teaching and preaching (and women in leadership more broadly). Includes some unpacking of Bible passages, panel discussions and personal stories.
- Going deeper: More in-depth theological teaching and detailed analysis.
Podcast episode: 'Women in Leadership' by Ali Martin at Soul Survivor Sydney 2017 (46 mins)
Ali Martin is on the leadership for Soul Survivor ministries and is one of the pastors of Soul Survivor Watford. In this seminar (targeted at youth and young adults), Ali explains why Soul Survivor supports women in leadership (and in preaching), looking in particular at some women mentioned in the new testament.
Video: 'Women and Ministry, Part 2' by Dr Ben Witherington for Seven Minute Seminary (7 minutes). Also available on podcast here.
Dr Witherington is Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. In this succinct lesson he provides an overview of 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2. Available on both YouTube and podcast.
Brochure: Fuller Seminary Statement on Women in Ministry (12 page brochure)
Fuller is a prominent theological college in the US. This is their brochure on their stance regarding women in ministry, including in the areas of teaching and leadership. Includes brief study on creation, Jesus' ministry, the ministry of Paul, 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2.
Article: 'But What About Timothy 2:12? 10 Talking Points' by Gail Wallace for the Junia Project (1500 words)
Gail Wallace, PhD, is co-founder of the Junia Project, an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University, and an adult education consultant. This post suggests ten questions to throw into the conversation when discussing the passage in 1 Timothy 2 “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet....", to help us think through issues of context, translation and application. Includes links to other resources throughout.
Video: Soul Survivor Equal Conference 2013 - Q&A panel (33 minutes)
Mike Pilavachi, Beth Croft, Ali Martin (all from Soul Survivor) and Jo Herbert (Tearfund) share personal anecdotes and answer questions on the theme of women teaching and women in leadership.
Podcast episode: 'Theology of Empowering Women' by Kris Vallotton (52 minutes)
Kris Vallotton is one of the leaders of Bethel Church in Redding, California and this talk was given at one of their Sunday morning gatherings. Kris gives an overview of the historical and cultural context of some of the Bible's references to women and specifically unpacks 1 Corinthians 14. Similar to the content in his book 'Fashioned to Reign'.
Book: 'Gifted to Lead - the art of leading as a woman in the church' by Nancy Beach - ebook via Koorong or paperback
Nancy Beach served at Willow Creek Community Church for over 20 years in various roles including on the leadership team and as one of the teaching pastors. In this book she offers practical guidance to women with God-given gifts in leadership and teaching, and encourages church leaders to wrestle with the topic of women in leadership.
Book: 'Jesus Feminist' by Sarah Bessey - Kindle or paperback
Sarah Bessey is a Canadian author and speaker. This book is an invitation to revisit the bible's view of women, exploring God's radical notion that women are people, too! Chapter 4 provides an overview of the passages in Paul's letters relating to women in ministry.
Book: 'Powerful and Free: Confronting the Glass Ceiling for Women in the Church' by Danny Silk - Kindle or paperback
Danny Silk is part of the leadership of Bethel Church and Jesus Culture, and is the president and co-founder of 'Loving on Purpose' ministries. This book doesn't purport to be theological treatise on the biblical case for female leaders, but is an appeal and challenge for men and women to embrace female and male leadership in the church.
Book: 'Two Views on Women in Ministry' edited by Zondervan - Kindle or paperback
This book provides two primary views on women in ministry so you can better understand each one’s strengths, weaknesses, and complexities. Each view—egalitarian (equal ministry opportunity for both genders) and complementarian (ministry roles differentiated by gender)—is represented by two contributors. Each author states his or her case and is then critiqued by the other contributors. With Stanley N. Gundry, James R. Beck, Linda L. Belleville, Craig L. Blomberg, Craig S. Keener and Thomas R. Schreiner.
Article: 'Women, Preaching, the Bible and 1 Timothy 2' by Rev. Dr Melinda Cousins via Fixing Her Eyes (6,000 words).
Dr Cousins is an ordained Baptist pastor, preacher, theologian, lecturer and works for Baptist Churches of SA overseeing training and accrediting of pastors. She unpacks 1 Timothy 2, with reference to the new kingdom, new creation, women in the scriptures and the calling and gifting of the Holy Spirit.
Video: Soul Survivor UK Equal Conference 2013 with Jane Williams (two sessions)
Jane Williams is an English theologian and writer. She is assistant dean and lecturer in systematic theology at St Mellitus College London. In these sessions she looks at Jesus' relationship with women, women in the early church, women mentioned in Paul's letters (in particularly Phoebe and Junia) and what Paul teaches us about women in ministry and in the home. Session 2 is a Q&A session.
Session 1 - Theology of Women in Leadership (1 hr 18 mins)
Session 2 - Q & A with Jane Williams (22 mins)
Article: 'Was Paul For or Against Women in Ministry?' by Craig Keener via Seedbed (3,184 words)
Craig Keener is Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and an author. He gives an overview of the passages in Paul's letters that relate to women in ministry, including his affirmations of women, restrictions on women, head coverings and silence. Includes footnotes with links to other resources.
Book: 'Paul, Women and Wives' by Craig Keener - Kindle or paperback
Craig Keener is Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. This book looks at the historical, lexical, cultural, and exegetical details behind Paul's words about women in the home and ministry. Originally published 1992 - the ebook has an additional extensive preface written in 2004.
Book: 'Fashioned to Reign' by Kris Vallotton - Kindle or paperback
Kris Vallotton is one of the leaders of Bethel Church in Redding, California. This book explores the intended mutuality of women and men from Genesis until now, with some exploration of the historical and cultural context of the Bible's references to women. Chapter 6 is particularly relevant for women preaching.
Conference paper: 'Women's Service in the Church: The Biblical Basis' by Bishop Dr N. T. Wright (7,800 words)
N. T. Wright is the Bishop of Durham for the Church of England (equivalent to our Anglican). In this paper Dr Wright looks at Galations 3, the Gospels and Acts, 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy 2. He is speaking to the UK cultural context rather than the American cultural context, and he notes this distinction.
Book: 'The Blue Parakeet - Rethinking How You Read the Bible' by Scot McKnight - Kindle or paperback
Scot (PhD Nottingham) is Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois and the author of more than fifty books. This book is about hermeneutics (how to read the Bible), but he uses the topic of women in ministry as a case study throughout.