Several years ago I was a stranger in a group of people when one of the ladies said, "Sometime I feel like I am called to preach." To which another lady answered, "You had better do what ever you feel the Lord wants you to do." Since I was a stranger and no one asked my opinion, I said nothing.

This thinking seems to be popular today. Whatever you feel God wants, you should do. The problem is, it is dangerous to only follow our feelings. The truth is, the Spirit of God will never lead contrary to the Word of God. May I repeat that? The Spirit of God will never lead contrary to the Word of God. If you feel one way and the Bible teaches another, you should align your feelings with God's Word and not the other way around.

That brings us to the subject of women preachers. In my very short research on the subject, it appears that women preachers find their beginning with John Wesley and the Methodists. "In 1787, despite the objections of some of the male preachers, he [John Wesley] officially authorized Sarah Mallet to preach, as long as she proclaimed the doctrines and adhered to the disciplines that all Methodist preachers were expected to accept." (Charles Yrigoyen, Jr., John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, p. 9)

Almost a century later, in 1879 R.L. Dabney, a Presbyterian preacher, wrote, "A few years ago the preaching by women was universally condemned among all conservative denominations of Christians. Now the idea is being presented to the churches, and female preachers are knocking at our doors."  (

Today most Methodist, Holiness, Pentecostal, Charismatic, as well as other churches ordain women.
More recently we find, "CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Baptist Press) -- Anyone who resists the notion of women preachers is functioning as a tool of the devil, Tony Campolo, founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, said during the opening session of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's general assembly June 26 [2003]." (

With that short background, does the Bible have anything to say about women preachers? Yes it does.
"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:11-12). This is not some obscure verse that you must stretch to make a point. It is so plain as to be almost impossible to misinterpret. Paul said he did not allow a woman to teach or have authority over a man. That should settle the matter, but of course it doesn't. Many will reply that Paul hated women or that times have changed or that we are living under different circumstances today. First, you must remember that Paul wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Second, if we change the Bible to fit the times in which we are living, then the Bible becomes meaningless. The Bible would be in a state of constant change.

Again, "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak;but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). The subject under consideration in these verses is speaking in tongues and prophesying in church. Women were not allowed to speak in tongues or prophesy in a church service. (That would surely destroy the tongues movement.)

But wait. Doesn't the Bible say that Philip's four daughters prophesied? "And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy"(Acts 21:8-9). Philip certainly did have four daughters who prophesied, but not in a church service. Otherwise we would have a serious contradiction in the Scriptures.

Aren't there some good women preachers? Of course there are. I know some women that I think would make better preachers than a lot of preachers I know. They know more about the Bible than most men. But, that is not the subject under consideration. Our only question should be, what does the Bible teach?
1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 teach that a pastor should be the husband of one wife. A woman cannot be the husband of a wife. 

Not one woman pastor or preacher can be found in all of the New Testament.

Does this mean that women are inferior to men? It means nothing of the sort. That is comparing oranges to apples. Men and women are different. That does not make one better or one worse than the other. Most churches today would not exist if it were not for the women. However, God has placed men in the position of leadership in the church and in the home. The most important position in any church is the position that God has placed you in.


by Raymond McAlister
November 2005