Yesterday we look at some passages of Scripture which talked about women in the early church.
We answered the questions:
How were believing women in the New Testament described? What roles did they have? How did they serve the church? (Check out the post here.)
Today, we’ll continue the discussion by addressing how to reconcile what we see modeled in the New Testament and what we sometimes see as the “restrictions” in the letters of the New Testament.
Through looking at the passages I talked about last time, how did we see women in the church participating?:
- They hosted house churches.
- They led their households to Christ.
- They were leaders in some capacity.
- They served as leaders on Paul’s team in some way.
- They formed ministry teams with their husbands.
- They served as significant deacon-like roles.
- They did hospitality inside and outside the church. They met pressing needs.
- They served their husbands and raised their children.
What are we to do today?
First off, we’ve got several places where we can serve. I’m going to talk about the home, the local church, and in a leadership team. Titus 2:3-5 is the main passage I’m going to use as a reference. I love this passage and I’m working on memorizing it. And I fail so much at fulfilling it, but it’s my goal.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” – Titus 2:3-5
In the Home
Obviously, women have a special place in the home. In Titus 2:4-5, younger women are encouraged to love their husbands and love their children – this happens in the home. They are also encouraged to be workers at home, which includes caring for everyone in the home, as well as keeping the home orderly, warm, and an inviting space.
So, to sum up. In the home, women’s roles are:
- Bring your families to Christ
- Fulfill your role as wife and mother
- Establish the home (This is literally one of the keys to the expansion of the gospel, “so that the word of God will not be dishonored”, Titus 2:4-5)
Without women helping to establish households, then there will be no strong households.
In the Local Church
In the local church is where we women can fulfill verse 3 – older women teaching the younger women. When we are living our real life together, that is when we can truly encourage one another.
- In the church, women’s roles are:
- Teach the younger women
- Work to establish other households (particularly women helping other women be established in the faith (2 Timothy 3:6)
- Be hospitable (We’ll talk more about hospitality tomorrow, but the word hospitable comes from the word “love of strangers.”)
- Either serve the widows on “the list”, or being a widow on “the list”
- Be devoted to good works in their community
- Note: The primary challenge for devotion to good works and establishing other households is toward older women. But the primary challenge for raising children and establishing their own home is given to younger women.
On a Leadership Team
- It’s possible that women will be church planters and lead church growth…at least at first.
- “Most leaders who are close to the ground of large-scale church planting movements will tell you that women have greater spiritual interest and often believe first. They open their homes. Churches are formed. But as all of these household passages imply, if men do not step up and lead in the churches and help other men lead their households, the churches will not be protected and the gospel will not continue to progress on solid ground.” -Jeff Reed
- Women in leading roles in the community (entrepreneurs, civic leaders, etc.) have a special place of influence in the church as well. Remember Lydia, Nympha, and Phoebe whom I mentioned yesterday? They were the benefactors of the church.
- A third of the names listed who worked on Paul’s team were women.
- Women are to focus on good works, training, and encouraging other women; men are to focus on teaching. There is obviously crossover, but that is the general principle.
Well, tomorrow I’m going to be talking about Hospitality.
I’ve done a lot of studying on hospitality this year and it’s something that takes continuous practice. Here is the schedule of what I’ll be writing on for the remainder of October:
Sundays – Hospitality
Mondays – Organizing my life priorities/goals
Tuesdays – Studying the first principles (becoming grounded in my faith)
Wednesdays – Teaching my children
Thursdays – Being the helpmate to my husband
Fridays – Encouraging other women
Saturdays – Rest
See you tomorrow!