Women in the Ministry
by General James Green
Deborah: A Wise and Courageous Mother
ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED WOMEN of all time was Deborah.
Wife, mother, prophetess, judge, poetess, singer and leader in war,
she demonstrates the power of one life dedicated to the Lord. Jabin,
king of the Canaanites, “had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty
years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel” (Judges 4:3).
During this period, God had chosen Deborah as judge over His
people. She sat under her palm tree in the hill country of Ephraim,
and all Israel came to her for counsel and judgment. The evident
parallel between conditions of Deborah’s day and our own day should
furnish a most forceful lesson for God’s people.
THE SIN OF MEROZ
“Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the
inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD,
to the help of the LORD against the mighty” (Judges 5:23). Simply
doing nothing is the sin with which the people of Meroz were charged.
Not vile crimes or base immorality. They just complacently went about
their daily duties and failed to help in subduing the enemies of God.
While the fierce battle raged, they were just too busy to be bothered.
What a fearful Scripture this is. It is so easy to think that all is well
with our souls just as long as we do not actively oppose God’s work
or willingly aid the enemy. In so many places God warns that it is
impossible to be neutral. The sin of the one-talent man was simply a
failure to do anything (Matthew 25:14-30). “Therefore to him that
knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
THE FRIGHTFUL PARALLEL
In every aspect of this story, a forceful parallel is seen in our time,
whether taken from the viewpoint of the church or the nation.
The enemy within. Of the twenty-one major civilizations which
have crested and then fallen, nineteen of them have crumbled
because of internal decay; and national destruction has always been
preceded by moral decay. The same internal evils which deteriorated
Israel have saturated our nation and have even infiltrated the church.
Moral decay is rampant. Evil associations are the order of the day.
In many circles, to do “evil in the sight of the Lord” is thought
necessary for sophistication.
The enemy without. We face today a heathen enemy more
powerful, ruthless, cruel and godless than the idolatrous Canaanites.
Atheistic materialism today enslaves much of the world’s population,
and its advocates boast that it will soon envelop the earth. If this
should happen, not only would our nation be destroyed, but
Christianity would be oppressed and destroyed wherever possible.
Study what has happened to religion in the nations which are
controlled by the materialistic atheists, and you will understand the
seriousness of this enemy which presses upon the world from every
HOW CAN WE WIN?
“Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake” (Judges 5:12). Victory
began with an awakening, an awareness that something needed to
be done to save Israel from complete destruction. Awake, Christian,
awake, and realize that you are needed to uproot the seeds of
destruction before they come to fruition.
~ Lottie Beth Hobbs
WELCOME TO MESSAGE #1. We’re going to go into a series of
teachings in which we are going to methodically go through some
Scriptures and break through some demonic strongholds regarding
the subject of women in the ministry. I’ve been wanting to teach on
this for years but I’ve never really taught on it like I will now, in this
series. I know it’s important that the truth comes out the way God
intended it to be, not the way we understand it.
There is a lot of abuse that has taken place in both Christian
circles and amongst mankind in general, wherein these Scriptures
that I am going to be bringing out have been used to rule over
women. You’ll find this anywhere you go in the world. In fact, in most
places you go in the world, you will find the type of spirit in operation
that says women are servants and men are kings. Then, in some
instances, you will find places where the women have rebelled and
they have become queens and the men are castrated and have
become servants. But the truth we want to get out is this: What does
God have to say and how was it originally intended to be?
My wife and I started out in this thing together in 1971 and we’re
still together, working side by side, equally involved in the ministry. I
don’t consider myself above her and she doesn’t consider herself
above me. I believe God in His great mercy towards us has kept that
balance with us. And we have been on both sides of the fence.
We’ve been in groups where it was totally men in control and not the
women, and we’ve been in another group where we had a strong
woman leader. So we’ve seen both sides and we’ve seen damage
I have been accused of letting my wife rule over me and lead me
around like a bull with a ring in my nose just because she has an
active part in the ministry. These are the accusations that I’ve
received from the men. I’ve also been accused by the women of
being too hard and stern. But you know, the women don’t have much
to stand on because I’ve always fought for women’s rights. We have
fought this subject out, standing up for the women in every country
we’ve been in, because we’ve had to break through this male
oppression caused by a misunderstanding of the Bible; and we’ve
won great victories in Africa and in Asia and in other countries. The
men have seen that the way they were oppressing the women is not
the way that God intended it to be. Women are not just supposed to
cook and stay home with a bunch of kids. There are some women
that are called of God who have a place in the ministry equal to and
sometimes above men.
Some people do not even believe that you should have an
organization or that you should have some type of hierarchy, but I
disagree with that. The fact is that in order to get anything done,
generally speaking, you’ve got to have some sort of a system, some
sort of an organization to accomplish things. Take the army for
instance. It has a structure with the generals at the top and the
privates at the bottom. Now just because the private is at the bottom
of the structure doesn’t make him lesser than the general, in the
sense that they’re both human beings, but obviously there is a great
difference in position. The same thing applies to the ministry.
Obviously, if you’ve studied twenty years in the ministry, you’re going
to know more than the person that’s just been in the ministry for 6
months. It’s because of experience and knowledge and time spent in
the Lord. However, the person who has the twenty years doesn’t
need to lord over the person who has only 6 months. If he’s been in
the Lord for twenty years, he should know that he could rule and have
a place of rulership and headship and still not oppress the other
Let’s go to 1 Corinthians chapter 14. I’m going to be taking you to
three of the most used and abused Scriptures against women in the
ministry and women in general. We are going to go through them and
we will see what God has to say about this matter. We will see what
God intended when He first created man and woman, and we will see
the contrast between the way God intended His organization to work
as opposed to the way things are working now. Let’s begin with
verses 34 and 35.
34 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.
35 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.
Some people take this as an absolute command for all women—that
all women are not to be heard at all, PERIOD! No ifs, ands, or buts
about it...because the Bible said it, they claim. It is this viewpoint that
I’m trying to break through.
There are several thoughts on this. Some people say, “Absolutely
no talking!” Others say that the women are not supposed to teach or
preach in the main service but it’s okay for them to teach something
like Sunday school. Some say it’s okay for the women to pray and
prophesy, because the Bible obviously says it’s okay; and it’s okay for
women to hold the position of a deaconess but women are not
allowed “behind the pulpit” as preachers. And then there are some
people who have the truth on this subject, who understand that Paul,
in this portion of Scripture, was not laying down any literal absolutes
for ALL women. More on this as we go along.
Now I’d like to go to another Scripture found in 1 Timothy chapter
2. Let’s start reading in verse 11. It says, “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. For
Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived,
but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
Everything this portion of Scripture is saying is true . . . but we’ve got
to understand what it’s really saying!
Let’s go back to the beginning, back to Genesis. We’re going to
find out what God had in mind when He first created man and woman
and what kind of organization He first instituted. Did God really want
man to rule the woman? Did God really want the woman to be in
subjection to the man? Was that in God’s heart? Was that in God’s
mind as we understand it today?
Before we get into all that, I want to go over some guidelines that
I’ve used for years, along with some points to keep in mind.
General Statements. First of all, there are general statements in
the Bible. “Language permits the use of general statements...without
branching out to all explanations or exceptions that might be
possible.” So I want you to keep in mind there may be some
exceptions and explanations that apply to certain texts. This is where
we fall into error, for we take a general statement and put a period
after it and say, “That’s it! Bless God, that’s what it says. That’s the
truth and I’m settled with it.” Meanwhile, we fail to consider other
pertinent texts and too often formulate a conclusion before seeking
God and studying the issue.
In relation to this study, many fail to realize that there are quite a
few Scriptures we can find where God used women to speak and to
work in the ministry. God used them as prophetesses and leaders.
Now, are there exceptions to the general statement that women aren’t
supposed to speak in church? Yes, of course there are.
Grammar and Punctuation. If you don’t get your grammar and
punctuation just right, it makes a big difference. One comma out of
place can change a lot. Interpreting a noun as a proper name or an
improper name can make a big difference too.
Did you know that in the early scrolls of Scripture, there wasn’t any
punctuation? It wasn’t until later on when they translated the
Scriptures that they added punctuation, and then it was in light of the
translators’ understanding. Now how would it be if English today
didn’t have punctuation?
One problem is that the original manuscripts were written when there
were no punctuation marks. Consequently, commas and question
marks must be inserted as the translators think best—based on their
beliefs. Usually the correct punctuation is indicated by the wording,
but there are a few passages in which a change of comma location
can change the meaning; the classic example being the dispute over
The actual word-for-word translation of this verse in English
(without punctuation) is as follows: “Verily I say unto you today thou
shalt be with me in paradise.” The accompanying illustration shows
this verse in the Greek from which the New Testament was translated.
There are no commas or punctuation marks. Letters all run together.
Where the comma is placed in translating into English could make it
read: “Verily I say unto you today, thou shalt be with me in paradise”,
or “Verily I say unto you, Today thou shalt be with me in paradise”. If
a question mark was added, it could read: “Verily I say unto you
today, Shalt thou be with me in paradise?”
Does this verse mean the thief would be with Jesus that same day
in paradise, or does it mean that on that very day Jesus was assuring
him that he would be with him in paradise—regardless of where or
when? Since the position of the comma would make this difference,
and since there were no commas in the original, doctrines on the
state of the dead cannot honestly be built on this one verse—one way
or the other.
One more example involving punctuation will be given; this one
concerning a question mark. In Isaiah 45:11 we read: “Concerning
the work of my hands command ye me.” Does this mean we are to
command God what to do? People have commanded God to heal
them, have commanded God to meet their need, have commanded
God to do this or that. We realize that in prayer we “ask” God; but
somehow the idea that we are to “command” God seems out of place.
We believe this statement was intended as a question. Notice
Moffatt’s translation: “Would you dictate to me about my work?” Or
Goodspeed: “Will you question me concerning my children or give me
orders regarding the work of my hands?” We believe a question mark
is correct (as in these translations) because this is the indication of
KING JAMES VERSION — 1611
Many suppose the text of the King James Version in use today is
exactly like that which was issued in 1611. This is not so. There were
several revisions which followed the original copies issued in 1611—a
major revision appeared in 1629, and another edition in 1638. In
1762, an edition was prepared by Thomas Paris of Trinity College,
Cambridge, which corrected printing and spelling errors of the former
editions and was called the “Standard Edition” of the King James
Version. Then in 1769, Benjamin Blayney, a professor of Hebrew at
the University of Oxford, revised the spelling, bringing it more
up-to-date. This edition was called the Oxford Standard edition. It is
the text of this edition of the King James Version that is now in
common use. Like it or not, even the King James Version is a revised
version of earlier editions.
Some of the words that appeared in the edition of 1611 which
were changed to be understandable are these: fornace was changed
to furnace, charet to chariot, murther to murder, damosel to damsel,
fet to fetch, creeple to cripple, moneth to month, Moyses to Moses,
~ Ralph Woodrow
BF & AF — BC & AD
With all that preliminary information said and done, let’s go back to
Genesis. We’re going to be talking about BF and AF, like BC and AD.
BF stands for “Before the Fall” and AF stands for “After the Fall.”
What we want to determine is how God had it set up before Adam fell.
Regarding the Scripture in I Corinthians about how women should
remain silent in the churches, the ultimate background that anyone
could ever find to support their views is located in Genesis 2 and 3.
There is nowhere else in the Scriptures that provides better
foundational support. That’s why I’m going to Genesis 2 and 3, for we
want to know exactly what God said—from the very beginning.
First of all, I want to ask a question. Why was there a need for
man to rule over women in Eden before the Fall? Well, tradition will
tell you that it was because woman was created second and therefore
she is inferior. This view has been passed down for generations
among certain groups ... but is it Biblical?
#1—WOMAN CO-EQUAL & #2—WOMAN INFERIOR
One school of thought teaches that the woman is equal to the man;
that she is a co-laborer with him. A second school of thought teaches
that the woman is inferior because God created man first and woman
second; plus she is responsible for sin. So not all Hebrew scholars
agree on the same thing.
All right, turn to Genesis chapter 1 verse 26. It says, “And God
said, Let us make man in our image...” Our being created in God’s
“image” has a lot to do with “dominion,” as we have shown in other
studies. Yes, God created man in His image and likeness, and you
need to study that for yourself and see what God wanted man to be.
If we were to be in His image, and be like Him, and God made it that
way from the beginning, then it was important for us to be created that
The Word is self-defining. Therefore, let us examine the Word
and determine whether or not God was just talking about one man
(Adam) when He said, “Let us make man in our image.” What do the
Hebrew words mean? If you look up the word “man” in those verses,
you will see very plainly that it is referring to all of humanity. It was
not only talking about Adam. What people like to assume was that
God was referring to Adam as a singular man, and that God gave him
total dominion over all the creation which followed him, of which
woman was a part. Therefore Adam was naturally to have dominion
over Eve. But what is missing is that they fail to look up the word
“man.” There are 14 Hebrew words and 7 Greek words all translated
as “man,” and if you take time to look up these different words, you
would find that each one has a specific meaning: “man” as a sex,
“man” as humanity, “man” meaning both male and female. Genesis
one used the Hebrew word HA’ADAM, which means humanity. Now
will you believe that when God said He created “man” in his image,
that He was talking equally about all humanity—males and
females—not just one man named Adam?
MAN — ADAM — MALE & FEMALE
When God said, “Let us make man,” was He referring to just the man
Adam or to all humanity? This is important since God said “man”
would rule His creation. If the first physical man, Adam, is meant, it
stands to reason that Eve, made later, would be part of the creation
he would rule.
God’s command was given to them, not him. God’s original
statement must govern our thinking on this subject! Ha’adam,
with the definite article ha, used in Genesis 1:26-27 for “man,” is not
the proper name Adam with an article. Ha’adam is a generic term
meaning “humanity” or “mankind.” That’s why the plural “them” is
used. If God meant a single person, the pronoun “I,” “he,” or “him”
would have been used, but not “them.” This text tells us God did not
give His command to rule just to one person, but to all humanity,
including the soon-to-be-made woman.
This difficult passage troubled the ancient rabbis. Although they
spoke Hebrew as a native tongue, in their pre-conceptions they
believed woman was the source and cause of sin; therefore, her
subjugation had to be God’s punishment. The “them” troubled them
as did the “us” and “our” when God said, “Let us make man in our
image.” How could God address “them” when there was only one, the
man Adam? Some rabbis said Adam was bisexual. Others said he
was both male and female within one body with all the functions and
possibilities of both male and female.
“He created them male and female, and blessed them and named
them Man [ha’adam] in the day when they were created” (Genesis
5:2). Ha‘adam, with the definite article, isn’t used after Genesis 5:2.
After this reference the article is dropped and the word adam
becomes the proper name of the man, Adam. Understanding the
simple usage of this word, without the mystical interpretations of the
rabbis, the mystery of Genesis 5:2 vanishes. God specifically called
both man and woman adam.
~ Charles Trombley
Unger’s Bible Dictionary says that the word “man” used in Genesis
chapter 1 is a generic word that refers to the whole human race. In
light of this, when God says that He created “man” in His image
(Genesis 1:26-27), we know that He is talking about mankind in
general, both male and female, not just males or the man Adam.
We need to understand these truths because there are so many
ministers, and I’ve known some of them personally, who literally hate
women that get involved in the ministry. They hate such women and
run them down, using these Scriptures against them. And I’ve found
that the primary reason that many men hate women in the ministry is
because those men don’t understand the Bible. Another reason men
hate women in the ministry is because many of the men are
homosexuals, and so they naturally and vehemently hate women in
general. Then there are some men who don’t literally hate women,
but they’re very dogmatic in their doctrines against women in the
ministry because those are the only doctrines they’ve ever been
taught. They may want to be right and they’re sincere in what they’re
saying, but they’re deadly wrong in their understanding.
Now I want to go back again to verse 26 of Genesis chapter 1 and
read the part that says, “...and let them have dominion...” Listen,
if God meant for only Adam to be the ruler, the big macho man ruling
over woman, even before the Fall, then why would God come along
and say, “...and let THEM (male and female, Adam and Eve, man
and wife) have dominion...” There is no indication at all that there
is a separation of the sexes with one having dominion and the other
having less dominion or no dominion.
If God created man in the image and likeness of Himself, and He
included both male and female, then we’ve got to look at God for our
example. Is there a hierarchy in God? Is there a pattern that we can
find where God the Son or the Holy Spirit is ranked supreme, one
above the other? Can you find that in the Bible? No, you can’t. You’ll
find out that there are three—the Father, the Son, the Holy
Ghost—and that these three are unified in one.
NOTES ON ONENESS
In A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, Buswell wrote: “In
the recorded words of Jesus, the divine Sonship designates a
relationship of absolutely essential equality. . . .all reference to the
subordination of the Son to the Father signify a functional
subordination in the economy of the divine redemptive program. It is
of the utmost importance that we distinguish between economic, or
functional subordination, and essential equality. When Jesus said,
‘The Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28), and ‘I can of my own self
do nothing’ (John 5:30), we must understand these statements as
referring to His economic subordination in ‘the days of his flesh.’
“But when He said, ‘The Father does not judge anyone, but he has
given all judgment to the Son, in order that all should honor the Son
even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does
not honor the Father who sent him’ (John 5:22,23); ‘I and my Father
are one’ (John 10:30); it should be clear that in these passages we
have to do with the essential relationship of equality.”
Paul exhorted the Philippian church to voluntarily submit to one
another, esteeming others better than themselves. Then he used
Christ as an example of humility. Christ, who was the Word and with
God (John 1:1), humbled Himself and took the form of a servant and
was obedient unto death. He laid aside His equality!
“Who existing [and continuing to exist—Greek tense] in the form
of God, thought it nothing to be attained to [or grasped or held on to]
to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave
and was made in the likeness of men.” What He relinquished was not
~ Charles Trombley
When God said, “Let us make man in our image,” they—Father,
Son, Holy Spirit—were all in agreement. One was not ruling over the
other. So if there is no hierarchy among the three Persons of God,
then why would God institute a hierarchy with man ruling over woman
if man—meaning male and female—was created in the image of
The only instance that you will find any sort of hierarchy among the
three Persons of the Godhead is when Jesus walked on the earth.
Jesus said that He was not equal to His Father and He only did what
the Father told Him to do; but as we saw above, this “hierarchy” was
in place for functional purposes. Jesus walked the earth as a human
being and He submitted Himself to the leading of the Father.
Naturally, being fully man, Jesus had God the Father rule over Him,
and this was, in turn, depicting the perfect example of God ruling over
man. Is that complicated? Not at all.
The Scriptures don’t say that God will rule over man and then man
will rule over woman. No, they say that God will rule over man,
meaning mankind, male and female, equally. But man has built a
pyramid where they put God the Father first, then Christ, then man,
then woman, and lastly children. In Churchianity, I used this structure
and I was taught that this was the Gospel truth. That’s why I’ve taken
the time to study this out, and in this series, I’m going to bring out the
truth the way I believe God has revealed it to me.
When you’re dealing with organizations and large numbers of
people, there is nothing wrong with having a hierarchy and a structure
to help get the job done. But when it comes to the question of
whether females are inferior to males, we need to recognize that God
did not institute a hierarchy with the male ruling over the female. God
did not design woman to be ruled over like that. God rules over both
male and female, and both male and female are responsible for their
individual actions before God.