I have given this issue much thought and this is the summary of my research and what I believe is the basis for Women to serve in leadership and ministry.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
There are a number of instances where women were given significant roles in the Bible. The most striking is Deborah who held the two highest offices in Israel, judge and prophet. She had authority over lands, armies of men and affairs of state.
Genesis 1:27 reflects the nature of God in both the masculine and feminine. We need both genders to be heard in order to have the wholeness of God’s character. This is re-affirmed in 1 Corinthians 11:11.
In the New Testament are references to women teaching (Acts 18:26), praying and prophesying (Acts 21:9, 1 Cor 11:5, Luke 2:36-38) in public settings. Euodia and Syntyche, Priscilla and Aquila, Phoebe and Junias (Romans 16:1-16, Phil 4:2-3) were all commended for there leadership roles by Paul. Joel 2:22 speaks of women prophesying, and Peter re-affirms this in Acts 2:17-18. Galatians 3:28 says that there is neither male nor female in the context of inheritance related to the Abrahamic Covenant which includes dominion and authority (Gen 12:1-3, 15:18-21). We also see the heart of God in the way Jesus treated women, specifically Mary Magdalene.
“What about 1st Corinthians 14, and 1st Timothy 2?”
The bible cannot contradict itself and must interpret itself. Those facts alone make it difficult to say those two passages are for all people for all time. The weight of scripture showing women in leadership in a positive light seams to be overwhelming. How can Paul commend women for their leadership in Romans and Philippians then say no woman can ever be in leadership in 1st Corinthians and 1st Timothy?
“If these are not for us then why are they in the scripture?”
The context of these two passages is order. Paul is illustrating that we serve a God of order and these two churches were not operating accordingly. Additionally Paul illustrates that we should be a witness to the community (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Women were not permitted to be in leadership in the community and were largely uneducated. Those two cultural facts do not exist today.
No one should be placed in authority simply because of gender, except where the bible specifically defines gender roles for the purpose of order, as in the home (Ephesians 5:22), or practicality (Titus 2:4). Men and women should be held to the same standards regarding ministry and leadership (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Peter 5).