Overlooking the Women

Many a wife has complained about her husband---- "he takes care of himself first, and I am at the bottom of his priority list". When a husband overlooks the needs of his wife, there is unrest in the home. In Acts, Chapter Six, there was unrest in the church because the women were being overlooked.

Today, we have overlooked the great potential that women posess in evangelism.

Now the Bible makes it very clear that women are not to take a leadership role or do public preaching according to 1 Tim. 2:12. And for them to do so would violate the sound New Testament doctrine and go against the pattern.

But does this mean that women should be kept silent and out of the picture entirely? I think not. We have many commands that singled out, can be mis-used. Too many times we ignore some things because of what is said in other places. We need to determine exactly what the role of women in the Church is.

The Bible commands all Christians to preach the Gospel. In Acts 8:4, we find that those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. We cannot determine by this verse, context, or situation that only men were doing the preaching.

If we are to be like Christ, we all must have a concern for the spiritual welfare of those around us. There is nothing wrong with women taking an active role in teaching the Gospel to those who are lost or in error.

The New Testament is filled with examples of women being actively involved in every aspect of the Gospel.

Notice that Jesus entrusted a woman, Mary, with the very first proclamation of the Gospel of His resurrection. (John 20:17-18). At first, they did not believe her report. Perhaps Jesus deliberately chose Mary as the first, because He knew the male disciples needed to learn a lesson about listening and respecting the opinions of women.

In John 4:27-30, Jesus used a woman to bring out an entire village to hear the Gospel.

In Luke 8:2-3, Joanna, Susanna, Mary, and many others were contributing to the financial support of Jesus' ministry.

Eunice and Lois were commended for teaching their children (specifically, Timothy) the holy scriptures 2 Tim 1:5.

In Col 4:15, Nympha allowed the Church to meet in her house every Lord's day. Some versions give Nympha a masculine name and read "his house".

Rom 16:1-2, Phoebe was called "a servant of the church... worthy of all respect".

In Acts 21:9 we learn of Philip's four daughters who prophesied.

In Acts 18:26, Priscilla and Aquilla taught the details of baptism to a powerful evangelist as a husband-wife team. We teach that there is importance in words. If the Holy Spirit said "believe and is baptized", "repent and be baptized", "spirit and truth" we understand the conjunction that the word "and" has to these thoughts. We cannot let prejudice and ignorance allow us to believe that Priscilla was not a part of this teaching when the Holy Spirit said that she was.

In Phil 4:3, Paul describes two women whom he called his "fellow-workers". They were Euodia and Syntyche.

All these women were involved in a wide variety of works ranging from financial support to actual teaching of the Gospel. They played an important part in soul-winning efforts and the Holy Spirit recognizes them as faithful women. These ladies did more than just bake cookies and change diapers. They were actively involved in evangelism. There can be no doubt that many women of the New Testament were considered as "soldiers of the cross".

In 1 Tim 2:4, we see the desire of God is that all men be saved. Does this mean that God does not desire the women to be saved?

The New Testament commended these outstanding women, not because they were excellent wives, mothers, sisters, and keepers of the home as they should have been, but for their direct involvement in the Gospel. Could these women of old have been more active and effective in their soul-winning efforts, than many of our full-time evangelists?

Ladies Bible classes are common today in many places. Yet the topics usually seem to be centered around marriage and parenting or it involves some character study of women of the Bible. This is alright and has it's place. But what about a ladies Bible class that teaches ladies how to teach the Gospel to non-christians. Many women are skilled in Sunday-school preparation and presentation for the young. Why not employ the same methods for teaching the lost about God and His ways?

We need to shift our line of thinking that public evangelism is the only way that people will be converted. We need to pull away from Church-service only teaching to one-on-one individual teaching.

Now, there are some reasons why women sould have an advantage in teaching the lost, especially if they are teaching women. Most women will readily admit that "Men just don't understand Women". If Solomon in all his wisdom couldn't figure them out, then I'm not going to.

Women can open up for other women, where a man might be un-comfortable in this situation. A woman can be more frank about fornication to a woman than a man can be. Women can be special friends where men cannot. Women can call women to chat on the phone and even drop in for social visits. Some men are very jealous and would not dare let another man pay attention to his wife, but women do not pose that same kind of threat.

The availability of time and opportunity to visit and talk to others in some cases is easier for some women. Historically the man is off to work early and is tied up most of the day. How many men (other than full time preachers) have the time during the day to participate in long bible studies?

When it comes to teaching women, the old cliche from the musical, "Annie, Get Your Gun", just might be true in this case. "Anything you can do, I can do better". Women should have more positive influence on women than men would have.

If we do as we should and start to evangelize the neighborhood, we might find that there are women that need to be taught the Gospel. It would be best if women were to do the teaching.

The truth is, that we have a critical shortage of of women who can teach the Gospel to non-christians. The truth is, we have a critical shortage of anyone willing and able to teach the Gospel to non-christians. We must take upon ourselves the initiative to learn how to teach and prepare ourselves to teach. No one should wait for someone else to get things started. We must work for the Master all the day. If we are to be active soul-winners, we have to work together and not wait for something to happen, but get active.

If you are a woman, what is keeping you from learning how to teach others? Yes, the men have overlooked the incredible potential that women posess to "Lead the many to righteousness" (Dan. 12).

Women need to stop blaming the men for overlooking them. Women need to stop overlooking themselves and develop their own God-given skills as soul-winners.

We have all sorts of material designed to help Christians teach non-christians. There is really no excuse that you can offer to exempt your duty of service.

As we said earlier, the public role of women is limited by scripture, but the private role of evangelism by women is limit-less.

Now, what are you women going to do about it?


By Carey Scott based on an article by Steve Rudd
(actually, most of the article is credited to Steve)

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