So glad he addressed the question of women in the church and their active involvement.
After all, women were very involved since the early days and Paul’s church!
From BH’s New Testament textbook:
"Consider Paul’s letter to the Romans, in which he sends greetings to and from a number of his acquaintances (chap. 16). He does indeed name more men than women here, but the women in the church appear to be in no way inferior to their male counterparts.
There is Phoebe, a deacon (or minister) in the church of Cenchreae, entrusted by Paul with the task of carrying the letter to Rome (vv. 1-2).
There is Prisca, who along with her husband Aquila, is largely responsible for the Gentile mission and who supports a congregation in her own home (vv. 3-4; notice that she is named ahead of her husband).
There is Mary, Paul’s colleague who works among the Romans (v. 6).
There are Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis, women whom Paul calls his *“co-workers” *for the Gospel (vv. 6, 12).
And there are **Julia **and the mother of Rufus and the sister of Nereus, all of whom appear to have a high profile in this community (vv. 13, 15).
Most impressively of all, there is Junia, a woman whom Paul names as *“foremost among the apostles” *(v. 7).
Other Pauline letters provide a similar impression of women’s active involvement in the Christian churches. I
n Corinth women are full members of the body, with spiritual gifts and the right to use them. They actively participate in services of worship, **praying and prophecying alongside the men **(1 Cor 11:4-6).
In Philippians the only two believers worth mentioning by name are two women, **Euodia **and Syntyche, whose dissension concerns the apostle, evidently because of their prominent standing in the community (Phil 4:2).
Indeed, according to the narrative of Acts, the church in Philippi began with the conversion of Lydia, a woman of means whose entire household came to follow her lead in adopting this new faith. She was the head of her household when the apostle first met her and soon became head of the church that met in her home (Acts 16:1-15).
Even after the period of the New Testament, women continued to be prominent in churches connected with Paul.
The tales connected with Thecla, Paul’s (legendary?) female convert were extremely popular (at one time Thecla vied for the Blessed Virgin Mary as most revered female connected with Jesus).
These involved stories of women who renounced sexual relations and thereby broke the bonds of patriarchal marriage, that is, the laws and/or customs that compelled them to service the desires and dictates of their husbands.
Joining the apostle, these women came to experience the freedom provided by an ascetic life dedicated to the Gospel.
These narratives portray Paul as one who proclaimed that the chaste will inherit the kingdom, with women in particular being drawn to his message.
Indeed, even though the stories themselves are fictions, they appear to contain a germ of historical truth. Women who were associated with Paul’s churches came to renounce marriage for the sake of the Gospel and attained positions of prominence in their communities.
Letters (such as the Pastoral epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) later written in Paul’s name speak of such women and try to bring them into submission. Some of these women were “widows” — that is, women who had no husband overlord (whether they had previously been married or not). Such women are said to go about telling “old wives tales” (1 Tim 4:7 and 5:13), possibly stories like the Acts of Paul and Thecla that justified their lifestyles and views.
Even in writings that oppose them, such women are acknowledged to be important to the church because of** their full-time ministry in its service** (1 Tim 5:3-16).
And there is yet other evidence of women enjoying prestigious positions in churches, well into the late second century.
Some of this evidence derives from gnostic groups that claimed allegiance to Paul and that were *known to have women as their leaders and spokespersons. *
Other evidence comes from groups associated with the prophet Montanus and his two women colleagues **Prisca **and Maximillia — women who had forsaken their marriages in order to live ascetic lives, insisting that the end of the age was near and that God had called his people to renounce all fleshly passions in preparation for the final consummation."