Women teaching and having authority


I’m thinking of that passage in 1 timothy 2 11-14 where Paul forbids women from teaching and having authority over men.

I always understood this to mean not teach Christian doctrine.

but what about teaching something like RCIA? I mean there would be men in the class right?

or what if you know some males that need to be evangelized and you share the faith

or is this more talking about being ordained?

are there other examples of women in the new testament teaching or evangelizing?

I’m just a bit confused


It’s not talking about all things, but about the ordained ministry. Here is a nice footnote from my favorite study bible.

2:12 I permit no woman to teach: Not an absolute prohibition that applies to all circumstances, but one that excludes women from the teaching ministry exercised by ordained clergymen (1 Cor 14:34-35). Paul is not denying the equal dignity of men and women in Christ (Gal 3:28) or the propriety of women in praying and prophesying within the context of worship (1 Cor 11:5). Women perform an invaluable service when they teach the faith in other contexts by their words and Christian example. (Tit 2:3-4). According to Church teaching, Paul forbids women to exercise the official function of teaching in the Christian Assembly (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Inter Insigniores [1976], 4). From the Ignatius Study Bible

Another source that is valuable to me:

2:8-16 Christians are called to pray and worship in a spirit of humility, without making a show, and without creating distractions on account of their conduct. While the proclamation of the Gospel and the homily at Mass are reserved for the ordained ministers of the Church, both lay men and women participate in the Church’s evangelization by both witnessing their faith and teaching others about Christ in family life and in the work place. There is some evidence that Paul may have had in mind certain women who had begun to follow some of the false teachers and began spreading errors themselves, including the idea that it is sinful to marry. (cf. 1 Thes 4:3-4). (CCC 2521-2524, 2559, 2631, 2753, 2779) The Didache Bible

Women do indeed need to be involved in RCIA, catechesis in the classrooms, and in the teaching of their children at home. In our modern society it is also the role of the wife to at times catechize the dad, though the father is supposed to be the spiritual leader of the home. We often have wives leading their husbands to that role. It’s not about subjecting women, as much as reminding all of us that the Bishops, Priests, deacons etc are given a specific role as teachers of the faith in a liturgical context and that everyone else should listen and learn quietly with respect and dignity.


Well that’s an interesting interpretation. What do you make of other interpretations that take St Paul literally? It has certainly been a passage of contention. Or even of others still who sidetrack it completely, for various reasons, and ordain women?


Most critical biblical scholars agree that Paul did not write Timothy 1 or 2, as you may know. And that 1 Cor. 14:34-35, which says something similar, was a later addition.



One must ask why anyone would want to ordain women in the first place? The notion certainly doesn’t originate from the bible. Rather it originates from the secular world, and has to do with the selfish ‘me’ over the ‘greater good’. People like George Soros fund feminists and other movements aimed at destroying the fabric of society and causing divisions - between genders, races and classes.

I simply ignore female priests/ministers, whatever comes out of their mouths is suspect. They are more interested in their own careers and feminist theory than following God’s will. Neither will I fund individual church congregations that allow that. I rather give money to non-denominational Christian charities.


Women have an essential role in teaching Catholic Doctrine and in encouraging the faith in others. Would G. K Chesterton have ever taken the leap without the support of his wife? Saints Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Sienna are doctors of the Church. Every wife and mother supports the faith of her family teaching her children as no school can do.
Given the sad mediocrity of most sermons on a Sunday, their exclusion from the ordained priesthood should have no effect on their role as the centre of the catholic family.


Acts 18:26 suggests that both Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, expounded the way of God to Apollos.


I think that’s why God gave us a Church guided by the Holy Spirit to help us understand those things that were written down by that Church. Much easier than trying to debate it ad nauseum. As St. Peter said, “There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.


Here is an excerpt from a Catholic apologetics question-and-answer document that touches this topic:

** Is 1 Tim. 2:11-12 sexist?**

St. Paul does not forbid women to teach and hold authority over men just in any matter at all; he forbids it only in regard to ordained ministry. And we can know this for several reasons.

Firstly because, besides forbidding them to exercise teaching authority over men, he also forbids them even to speak; and this shows that he was talking about doing these things in the Church alone – for he would not forbid women to speak just at any time at all; that would be ridiculous.

Secondly, because he says “let a woman learn in silence.” Where was the faith learned? In Church!

Thirdly, because of the context, which is that, the letter to Timothy is a pastoral letter, in which St. Paul explains to the young bishop Timothy how to run the churches in his area; and immediately after these verses where he forbids women to the ministry, Paul goes on to explain whom he should ordain, listing the qualities of good bishops and deacons. Thus he was teaching whom to ordain to the bishopric and the diaconate, and started by saying not to admit women to the ministry.

And finally, because the Church has declared, in the document Inter Insigniores, the proper interpretation of this passage, which is that St. Paul was speaking of the ordained ministry alone, as a thing that women are not allowed to exercise teaching authority in; and this means also that they cannot be ordained, because to teach the faithful as an officiate at Mass is a fundamental part of ordained ministry, and women are forbidden to do that.


Some Protestant denominations, such as the Christian Reconstructionist movement, seek to remove women from all teaching positions, especially in Universities and in secondary education, bar women from being cops, lest they give a speeding ticket to a man, making her be in a position of authority over him. They will bar women from seeking political office or for any job where women have men reporting to them.

All women will have male authority over them. For married women, it will be husbands, for single women, fathers and for widows, their son. I don’t know who will be the authority figure for single fatherless women or widows who do not have sons. In short, the ideal is for all women to have male authority figures.

There was a case some years ago where a woman teaching Hebrew at a Baptist university was removed from her position because she was teaching men and to the administration that was unbiblical.


Really? And how do we know someone is a “critical” Biblical scholar? Because they “courageously” challenge everything that’s ever been believed about the scriptures, including authorship and reliability of copying the texts over the year?

Somehow those “critical” scholars always seem to miraculously find just the proof they need to debunk the scriptures that don’t mesh with current social trends. Wow, that’s amazing luck, isn’t it? :rolleyes:

Sorry, not buying it. :stuck_out_tongue:


angell, your scruples are acting up.

You don’t seriously believe that women are not permitted to teach, do you?
Tell that to generations of Sisters and Nuns who kept the faith alive, not mention the thousands and thousands of female martyrs.

This is a non-starter.


yeah, I’ve heard that argument before

which was why I was wondering if there were examples of women teaching in the new testament


me? not really?

but then I run across things like this, on the catholic answers track about this topic

n 11 [A.D. 215]).

The Didascalia

"For it is not to teach that you women . . . are appointed. . . . For he, God the Lord, Jesus Christ our Teacher, sent us, the twelve [apostles], out to teach the [chosen] people and the pagans. But there were female disciples among us: Mary of Magdala, Mary the daughter of Jacob, and the other Mary; he did not, however, send them out with us to teach the people. For, if it had been necessary that women should teach, then our Teacher would have directed them to instruct along


The Church is made up of men and women of faith, and it could not remain in existence otherwise.

While the chronic complaint is based on the supposed inequality and therefore subjugation of women, I think there’s a much more practical reason for it.

Let’s look at the facts, that in a church nominally of over 1.2 billion people, far less than 0.01 % of men have formal authority in the church. There’s a lot of men sitting right next to women in the pews, lest we forget. That’s a whole bunch of equality out there.

Another fact is, the complaints about not having a female priesthood suggest strongly that the message of the gospel really hasn’t been told and will not be told until women are telling it. If that is really true, then we’re all in the wrong church, and have been from the beginning – we haven’t “really” heard the gospel. Certainly St. Paul didn’t hear the gospel, if THAT is what Christ meant.

St. Paul says something there, in I Co I think, that women are supposed to ask their husband questions when they get home. Hmmmm. Men and women talking together about their Christian faith. WHAT a radical idea – the idea that women are to make sure that their husbands have heard the gospel correctly. The idea (!) that men should listen to their wives, along with men loving their wife as Christ loved the Church.

I think if someone starts off with a feminist agenda, they can “run any train off the rails.”

Any such ideas have to stay within the bounds of Biblical teaching. But, it teaches that God created not all men, but a man and a woman, being as different as they could possibly be (as Detroit radio priest Fr. John Riccardo says) and still be human, but with different roles.

The Bible did not create that tension between men and women from the beginning, but it has arisen as a result of original sin. The universe was created as a temple for the worship of God, and the garden of Eden was the holy of holies. A man and a woman were there “tending” to the garden, the same Hebrew word (according to Dr. Scott Hahn) that is later used for the role of the temple priests.

Then, sin came along, and both were expelled from “paradise.” Sin had created a big change and later only a hand-picked few were chosen for temple duty.

The question really is, has Christ altered the Edenic catastrophe? I think the answer is, not yet.


That’s about the priesthood.


well, I don’t have the full context of the quote, but it seems to just be talking about teaching and instructing


I take 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 very seriously, women should not teach men or have authority over men. But they can teach women and young children.

34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. 35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35

Also we, as women, are to be as we are called to be in Ephesians 5:22-24 and never forget our husbands have a larger responsibility and are call to be men of Ephesians 5:25-27


NOT everything in the Bible has appropriate application today.

You’re Paul quote applies to a different time and vastly different culture.

Women are Critical to handing on and explaining our Catholic Faith. Amen:thumbsup:

closed #20

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