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Women In The Ministry


WELCOME to message #3 in our series on women in the ministry. Like I’ve said from the very beginning of these messages, there are so many women oppressed around this world by false teachings concerning the role of women in the Body of Christ. Entire church organizations and many civil governments are in bondage to the teachings that women are second-class people.

     SO let’s go back to Genesis chapters 2 and 3. As I’ve stated previously, Genesis chapters 2 and 3 are where you can find the beginning of the entire school of thought that teaches that women are second-class people and are under a curse from God. We have already studied this very closely and we have found that before the Fall, God did not create man to be superior over the woman at all. We studied the meaning of “help meet”, and we are going to go back and look at that a little more, and we’re going to proceed to study a little more about headships.

     SO, let’s go to Genesis 2:18 and read that Scripture again where it says, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” Upon looking at the words ‘help meet’, we see that the phrase goes back to two Hebrew words, EZER and KENEGDO. Now these two words together in the Hebrew mean “helper” and were translated into the King James English as “help meet”. But if you divide them up, you will see that they mean two different things. The first part, EZER, means “helper”. The second part, KENEGDO, means several things, including “front parts” in reference to a woman, and “opposite” in regards to what another is lacking. It also means “answering to each other”. Now, if you put all these meanings together and consider what God was saying when He declared He was going to make a “help meet” for Adam, it’s obvious that He was going to make an opposite or a counterpart to fulfill what Adam was lacking. Eve was in reality the counterpart of Adam. He was not designated the boss, ruler, chief or leader as we’ve taken it to mean. She was the counterpart that Adam needed to depict the fulness of God, because God in the Spirit is both male and female.

     AND when He made man, Adam and Eve, male and female, He made them in the image and likeness of Himself, depicting in the human creation both sides of His nature. As we gain a greater understanding of God’s original intention, it becomes obvious that God never intended that the man be considered superior because he was created first and the woman inferior because she was created second. Nevertheless, that’s the way the majority of mankind has taken it, and has gone off into error. And that’s why women have been in bondage to male oppression for generations.

     FOR years this bothered me. It used to worry me because my wife and I, we’ve always got along good ever since we’ve been saved. We’ve always wanted to help each other in the ministry. We’ve wanted to complement one another in our personal life as well as in our married life. I never really wanted to rule over her and she never really wanted to rule over me. We never really understood how a man is supposed to be a first-class citizen and the woman is supposed to be inferior, even though that is what we were taught. There was something in my spirit that didn’t agree with that.

     I’VE done some research on the words “help meet” in several different commentaries. One version said that “woman was to be similar in nature to the man, corresponding as a supplement to the incompleteness of man, and every way adapted to be his co-partner and companion.” What they are saying here makes it clear that they saw beyond the oppression and the superiority complex of the male.

     WOMAN was to be a “help meet” insomuch as to make man complete where he was lacking, and to form a complete union with man, representing the male and female sides of God.

“[Eve] was the counterpart that Adam needed to depict the fulness of God, because God in the Spirit is both male and female. ...And when He made man, Adam and Eve, male and female, He made them in the image and likeness of Himself, depicting in the human creation both sides of His nature.”


     NOW let’s go to First Corinthians chapter 11 and see what it says regarding the subject we’ve been discussing. I want to start in verse 1 where it says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (vv. 1-3). Here is where we encounter the hierarchy or structure of superiority that we’ve always been taught in the Church.


The NEW TESTAMENT — An Expanded Translation

Kenneth S. Wuest, Teacher Emeritus of New Testament Greek, The Moody Bible Institute

1 Corinthians 11:11-13

“Nevertheless, neither is a woman [complete] apart from a man, nor a man [complete] apart from a woman in the Lord, for even as the woman came out of the man as a source, thus also does the man owe his existence to the intermediate agency of the woman. But all things are out of God as a source.”


     BUT the verse that I really want to get at is verse 9, where it says, “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” Here we go again! So many men take this Scripture out of context and will tell you that because the woman was made for the man, that the man is supposed to rule over the woman. That is a very common teaching that you will find today in the Body of Christ. But in verse 11 it says, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” This goes back to the Hebrew idea that in order to have a complete union, you’ve got to have male and female. That’s the way God intended it to be—male and female compliment each other. And verse 12 sums it up, saying, “For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” What does this mean? It is referring back to Genesis where the woman came out of the man’s rib section. But that was only a one-time deal, because when they started having sexual union, then the men started coming out of the women.

     ONCE again, let us go back to the claim made by many that since woman came out of man, that he is superior, and therefore should be the ruler. Well, if that’s true, then what about all the men that have come out of women ever since the Beginning? If we are going to stick to our principles, then the women should be ruling, because ALL men after Adam came out of women! Fortunately, Paul ended verse 12 above by saying, “...but all things of God”, meaning that God did not make one superior to the other just because one came out of the other. Men and women are supposed to be in union and work together for the glory of God.

  NOTES ON “HELP MEET” — Woman Made a Helpmeet

DOESN’T helpmeet or helpmate mean she was created for man’s sake, to be his helper under his authority? Wasn’t she made specifically for man? “...man is the head of a woman...” (1 Corinthians 11:3). “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve” (l Timothy 2:13).

     It’s true God “fashioned” woman from man’s side, “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Genesis 2:22), but this doesn’t make her a lesser person to be subjugated. We must ask a simple but relevant question: Why did God make woman?

     God said, “lt is not good for the man to be alone: I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). As soon as man saw her, he said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman [Ishah], because she was taken out of Man [Ish](v. 23). To be fully happy and complete, mankind needs relationships and communication between equals. As humans we can enjoy animals; they can afford some companionship, but they are not communicators. God foreknew Adam’s need for oneness with an equal companion, but Adam needed to recognize that need himself. Genesis 2 reveals how God made that need known. —C. Trombley


HELPMATE. The Bible does not use the expression “helpmate”. The reader will notice that a different expression is actually used in Genesis 2:18. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The word “help” means helper and “meet” means suitable. Adam was given a helper suitable for him. At some point in the evolution of language, these two words became merged into help-meet, then helpmeet, and finally helpmate, as though meet and mate were the same! Consequently, today we have two words, helpmeet and helpmate, both of which are used interchangeably for a person’s marriage partner. —R. Woodrow

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     IN the beginning, God didn’t just give the man dominion. It says He gave “them” dominion, both of them together. They were supposed to be co-workers, laborers, partners in the work of the Lord. And of course all that was determined before their Fall into sin. After the Fall, the curse came about and changed things SOMEWHAT. But I want to tell you something. If Christ did away with the curse, then we have no reason to still be living under it! Why are we still trying to operate in the realm of the curse, with man claiming to have superiority over the woman? Many ministries still operate under that curse, even though they believe that they have been delivered from the curse of sin. They can’t see that they are in bondage to false teachings which constitute a curse over their lives.

     THERE are many Scriptures you can look up in reference to the curse. Romans 6:14, Galatians 3:13, Colossians 2:15 and Romans 8:1 will explain that after we are born again, we are no longer under the curse of Satan. We’re not under the curse of satanic rulership. We’re not under the curse of worldly oppression. God freed us of those things. He cleared the slate and we’ve become new creatures. So then, the point is, that if we’ve become new creatures, then we’re going to go back and live the way God originally intended, as co-laborers, co-workers, male and female complimenting each other, right?

     SOME people actually believe that it is a man’s world, and that women don’t have any part in it. But everywhere we’ve been, in all the third-world countries we have visited, we have personally made it a point to break through this demonic oppression on the women. We’ve seen so many women that were treated just like dogs. All they did was have kids and were never even allowed to participate in anything. They couldn’t do anything in the assemblies, and they were treated just like they were second-class. Some of them were sitting in the churches and they were not even saved. And all the time the men act like big kings, sitting on their thrones with big crowns on. We have made it a point to break through these false teachings about women whenever we encounter them, and set the women free.

     NOW we’ve got a mess in America because we’ve gone to the extremes of liberation. The women were tired of being oppressed by the men and so they rebelled. The problem is that they’ve gotten off on a tangent and have become total Jezebels. They’ve gotten off into an ugly spirit where they won’t submit to anybody, and that’s wrong too.

     I want to say this, that I’ve always fought for women’s rights, and I don’t believe that men are greater than women. Just because many men hold more important positions than women does not mean that men are created superior. One human being is no better or worse than another human being. Some may be more talented, some are more educated and some may be better looking, but as far as one person being greater than another in God’s eyes, it’s just not true.  

     NOW I do believe that some women go overboard and try to run things when they’re not supposed to. A lot of women run the churches, and the men are like little wimps running around saying, “Yes, ma’am . . . No, ma’am.” That spirit is wrong. Whenever you have one spirit trying to outdo and overrule the other, things get off and people get into the wrong spirit. What we need to understand is that if both sexes are in Christ, then they can respect each other’s position in the Lord and achieve a balance.

     AND some men are absolutely bullies, and they try to rule by force, which drives the women to rebellion. But not all men are bullies. Some men respect their wives, giving them positions and letting them have their way because the Bible says so. They understand how God meant it to be, male and female working together as a team. Yet overall, we’ve got a real mess today in the Body of Christ.

     IN discussing the subject of headship we are going to be asking, “Who is the head?” and “Who is the headship?” I was taught years ago, just like I read in I Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3, that the head of every woman is the man. So I naturally took it to mean that the man was the boss, he was the chief, he was the leader. But now, what I want to do is go into the Scriptures and find out if that was what Paul actually meant.


“Whenever you have one spirit trying to outdo and overrule the other, things get off and people get into the wrong spirit. What we need to understand is that if both sexes are in Christ, then they can respect each other’s position in the Lord and achieve a balance.”


     DID you know that Paul knew Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic? He was a Pharisee, which meant that he was brought up under intense study of languages and the Scriptures. Also, he was born in Tarsus, which was a Greek-speaking city, and so he spoke Greek. When it came to Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek words and their different meanings, Paul was not mixed up about it like we are. Many times we read certain words in the King James version and we just take for granted that they mean what they appear to mean in English. But if you get a concordance and study those Biblical languages, you will find out that the meanings of many of the original words are different than what you may think.

     FOR example, when it says that the man is the head of the woman, we take it to mean that he is supposed to be the boss. Well it doesn’t mean that at all. And Paul knew that it didn’t mean that, yet we’ve taken it to mean just that. Some people will try to tell you that because Paul said it, that it has to be true. Yet what they are failing to realize is that the Greek words Paul used, carry different meanings which did not come out in their fullness in the English translations. They also fail to realize that Paul used particular words for specific reasons, and he knew exactly what they meant.

     THIS is where I want to pick up the text. I want to start in Galatians chapter 3, verse 28. We’re going to talk about the new order. The new order canceled the old. When Christ came He set in a new order. He says all things become knew, the old things have passed away. He broke down the middle wall of partition. There is neither Greek nor Jew, bond nor free in Christ. We are all new creatures, which means that we are going to go back to the original plan that God had arranged before the Fall.

     SO in light of what Christ has done, we can’t hang on to the old traditions of the Pharisees. And this is the area in which Paul was dealing. He was dealing with some of those Jewish traditions which said that the women had no part in anything that had to do with God. He was dealing with Jews that refused to do away with the old Law, even though it had been disannulled by God; he was dealing with those who wanted to bring the old Law into the New Kingdom of Christ. So, knowing this, it becomes more clear that what Paul was doing was refuting many of these old customs of the Traditional Jews, not enforcing them.

     ALRIGHT, let’s read in Galatians chapter 3, verse 28, where it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” This goes back to Genesis and the concept which we were discussing earlier, where God created man and woman. Although they were biologically different, God did not set the male above the female as far as superiority goes. And Paul is referring to that when he says there is neither male nor female in God. Paul does not respect one sex above the other sex like we do because of the error in our teaching. And you can find the counterpart to this Scripture in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17, which tells us that in Christ, ALL THINGS become new.


“Verse twenty-eight. The individual differences between Jew and Greek, between slave and free, between male and female, are merged in that higher unity into which all believers are raised by the fact that they all have a common life in Christ Jesus. One heart now beats in all. The pulsating life of the Lord Jesus is the motive power. One mind guides all, the mind of Christ. One life is lived by all, the life of the Lord Jesus produced by the Holy Spirit in the various circumstances and relations of each individual believer’s experience.

Translation. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there isneither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female. For ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”


     SO what Christ did when He died and rose again was to set in a new order, and make salvation available to everyone, regardless of their sex, race, nationality or position. God is not a respecter of persons, and if you’re in Christ, YOU ARE A NEW CREATURE. But as far as things go, that deal with mankind and his problems, there are many distinctions made. Obviously, a General is not a Private in the army, and it needs to be that way. You can’t have all Generals, and you can’t have all Privates. There needs to be distinctions made according to experience and ability, in order to make things work smoothly and get things accomplished.

     BUT when it comes to our relationships in Christ and the question of whether or not God recognizes one sex as superior to the other, the answer is that WE ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST. I am not dealing with the question of position. I’m dealing with the question of actual worthiness. Are men more worthy in God’s eyes than women? Does God view men as superior and women as inferior? No! God is not a respecter of persons. We need to realize that there is a difference between the position a person holds and the actual value of that person in God’s eyes. We are all created equal in God, and we all have equal access to salvation in Jesus Christ.

     NOW I want to go to another Scripture, found in Ephesians chapter 5, verse 22. It says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.” Once again we are faced with the false concept that men are superior to women. All the men love this Scripture because they think, “My wife is supposed to submit to me and get under my feet, and I’m supposed to take dominion over her.” The Scripture goes on in verses 23 and 24, saying, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in every thing.” The problem is that most men stop here and don’t read verse 25 that says, “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

     LISTEN, if you love your wife like Christ loved the Church, you’re not going to treat her like a dog. If you love your wife, you’re not going to put her under your feet. If you love your wife, you’re not going to oppress her and abuse her! If you love her, you’re going to treat her like God would treat you—equally. And we need to keep that in mind.

     ALL these men that like to rule over their wives, they don’t read that Scripture (v. 25 above). They get a spirit of hatred and a big macho-man spirit. They think that they’re God’s gift to women.

     NOW I want to go to First Timothy, chapter 2, verse 11. This is one of the most abused Scriptures when it comes to understanding a woman’s role, and is one of the most used to oppress women. It says, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” Then verses 12-13 say, “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.” Let’s look at these Scriptures, one part at a time.

     ONE point that is very popular, and which many men use to justify their superiority complex, is that Adam was created first and Eve second, thereby making Adam superior, because he was created first. And so, they deduce, that means all women are supposed to be in submission to the men because women were created second.

     READING in verse 14, it says, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Tonight while I was praying, I was thinking of this very Scripture. So many men use this Scripture to blame the women for the Fall of mankind into sin. They claim that Eve caused Adam to sin. Wait a minute! If you read the account closely, you will see that Adam was right there with Eve when the Devil offered her the forbidden fruit. They were together! Adam was not somewhere else; he was right there. Now I want to ask, who committed the greater sin?—the man who knew better, or the woman who was deceived? It says plainly that the woman was deceived, but on the other hand the man rebelled, because he knew better. God told man personally not to eat of that fruit, so his sin was much greater because he openly rebelled against the Word of God. He totally refused to obey God when the serpent was tempting Eve. He was right there when Satan was tempting Eve and he totally disobeyed God’s Word.

     Now if the men really want to get picky, we can analyze this situation and see that it is actually the man’s fault that the woman fell into sin, because he should have interfered and said, “Wait a minute! God said don’t touch that fruit. If we touch it, we’re going to die.” You see, Eve had the idea that if she partook of that fruit, that she perchance might die, that maybe she would die. She didn’t understand what God had said, therefore she was easily deceived. But not Adam. He was not deceived. He was responsible because he knew better. But because the Scripture says that the woman being deceived was in transgression, we think that it was all her fault. That’s not what it’s saying at all. The man was at fault, not the woman.



IT is commonly assumed that when Eve ate of the forbidden fruit (at the suggestion of the serpent), that Adam was somewhere else. Then later, when he returned, he also ate of this fruit. But the fact is, Adam was right there with her: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food. . . she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband WITH HER; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6).

     Now I ask you: was her husband there “with her” or not? Yea, he was. So, men, we cannot blame all the trouble in the world on women! There is no indication that Adam tried to stop her and no indication that he was somewhere else at the time!

     The result of them both eating this fruit was this: “And the eyes of them BOTH were opened, and they knew they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). It does not say her eyes were opened first, and his at some later time. No, the transgression involved “both” of them.

     The idea that the forbidden fruit was an apple may have developed from the fact that in Latin the word which means “evil” is exactly the same word as “apple.” Jerome translated the Bible into Latin in 405 A.D. and the idea may have passed on down from that time. But the Bible does not mention the apple in this connection. —R. Woodrow

* * *

     NOW let’s go to one more Scripture—Titus chapter 2, verses 3-5. It says, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Many men wrongly use these Scriptures to prove to the women that a woman’s place is in the home. And I’m not saying that women don’t have obligations and responsibilities in the home, because they do. But that is NOT the ONLY position they are limited to. They have a part to play in the ministry and they can be actively used by God. But still many men persist in believing that their women should remain little mealy-mouthed weaklings that stay at home and cook for their fat belly. And then he’ll kick her once in a while and tell her, “Do this!” or “Do that!” I’ve known many men that did this to their wives, and their relationships were always a big mess.

     This is an interesting study because it is going to set a lot of people free who are in bondage to these false teachings. And some of you men who think you have to rule over the women, these messages will set you free. And some of you women who think that the man has to be that way, these messages are going to set you free too. Amen.