Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 6

Last week, we began a new series on women in ministry and took a closer look at the controversial writings of the Apostle Paul.

Examples of Paul accepting women in ministry are seen by the company he kept. “His letters reveal that women were active with him in [his] mission.”[1] In the book of Romans, chapter 16, Paul mentions twenty-nine people serving with him, and out of that twenty-nine, ten were women. As previously mentioned, Paul begins this chapter by commending Phoebe, but he goes on to commend both men and women who have welcomed him and have started house churches (most churches in the first century were house churches).

“It is recorded that women provided the facilities for some groups, especially if they were wealthy and prominent members of the community.”[2]

Another example in this chapter is a specific house church hosted by a husband and wife, Priscilla and Aquila; “and, if the order of the names implies what it seems to, it was not Aquila who took the lead, as might be expected, but his wife.”[3] In addition, in the letter to Philemon, Paul mentions Apphia, “‘our sister’ who together with Philemon and Archippus was a leader of the house church of Collossae.”[4]

So then, how did it end up that Paul permitted women serving in Christian leadership positions when his Jewish tradition forbade such practices? It is likely there would have already been women in ministry positions by the time Paul was converted, considering these house churches were plentiful, and Jesus treated his women supporters with dignity.

We will take a closer look at how Jesus treated women, and how women were treated in the Old Testament in our next post.


[1] Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Leifeld, Daughters of the Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan),  71.

[2] Barbara J. MacHaffie, Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press), 24.

[3] Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan ), 69.

[4] Barbara J. MacHaffie, Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press), 25

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8 thoughts on “Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 6

  1. Pingback: Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 7 | A Closer Look

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  4. Pingback: Risking life for others | Getting Closer to Our God

  5. Pingback: Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 10 | A Closer Look

  6. Pingback: Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 11 | A Closer Look

  7. I seldom leave a response, however i did some searching
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