The Issue of Women Preachers

It is sad that many people today still insist that women preachers are not allowed because of what it says in 1 Corinthians 14 about women keeping silent in churches. But there is strong textural evidence that those words were inserted into the text. I disagree with most of what Bart Ehrman says about the Bible, but I believe he is accurate about that passage.

One thing that the unbelieving text-experts are able to do which MOST believers do not have the guts to do, is to point out any possible errors. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is speaking about the correct use of prophecy in a church service and then veers off for two verses to say women should keep silent in church, then returns to the subject of prophecy. If you remove those two verses, the discussion flows smoothly, suggesting that the verses were inserted. In fact, “In three Greek manuscripts and a couple of Latin witnesses, they are found not here, after verse 33, but later, after verse 40” (Ehrman, page 183). Ehrman goes on to say:

Not only do the verses seem intrusive in the context of chapter 14, they also appear anomalous with what Paul explicitly says elsewhere in 1 Corinthians. For earlier in the book, as we have already noticed, Paul gives instructions to women speaking in the church: according to chapter 11, when they pray and prophesy — activities that were always done aloud in the Christian services of worship — they are to be sure to wear veils on their heads (11:2-16). In this passage, which no one doubts Paul wrote, it is clear that Paul understands that women both can and do speak in church. In the disputed passage of chapter 14, however, it is equally clear that “Paul” forbids women from speaking at all. It is difficult to reconcile these two views — either Paul allowed women to speak (with covered heads, chapter 11) or not (chapter 14). As it seems unreasonable to think that Paul would flat out contradict himself within the short space of three chapters, it appears that the verses in question do not derive from Paul. (Ehrman,  Misquoting Jesus. HarperOne, 2007, p. 184)

Sorry if this busts your belief in a text without a single error of any kind, but it is still the Word of God. The important thing is that this is powerful evidence that it was chauvinistic men who did not like women prophesying in church who altered the text. In order to accept that women should not preach, you also you must ignore the powerful evidence that God has indeed called many women into the ministry. All you have to do is look at the signs following the overall fruit of their ministry.

Take Maria Woodsworth-Etter for example, she did not want to begin preaching but God powerfully ordered her to preach and so she did, and traveled all across the USA holding tent revivals in the late 1800s and finally pastored a church. She is considered as one of the founders of modern Pentecostalism because healings and even speaking in tongues took place in her services long before the Azusa Street revival.

How can people ignore the evidence? Does God know what he is doing? Do these women merely imagine that God has called them to preach? No, it is clear that WOMEN CAN PREACH.