You don’t decide to be a shepherd, prophet or teacher, you’re called
WILLIAM RILEY Olive Tree Ministries otwaxahachie.net
Olive Tree Ministries
This week we will conclude what has become a series about women and there leadership roles in the congregations of the L-rd. We left off talking about the functions of leadership mentioned in Ephesians 4.
The first one we will deal with is the role of apostle. An apostle is one who is sent, an emissary on behalf of the one sending them Paul mentions a female apostle in Rom 16.7.
Paul names a woman, Junia, as one of the apostles. Churchmen were so opposed to this that they wrote that this name was really a male and even changed the name to Junias, which is a male form of the name.
I have found out over the years the churchmen will stoop to any level to change the scriptures to fit their man-made doctrines, and this is no exception. A prophet was one who was called, skilled, anointed and empowered to proclaim an inspired message, to tell about something that is hidden, to foretell something for the future.
Both men and women filled this role in the Scriptures. The first reported female prophet in New Testament was Hannah in Luke 2.36-38.
Luke also mentions four female prophets in Acts 21.8-9. In 21.10 it says that Paul stayed with them "many days," so he must have approved of them. Paul also writes about women elders, pastors and teachers. In Titus 1.5 he talks about elders In Titus 1.6-9 he list the qualifications.
Then in Titus 2.2-5 he resumes his qualifications (after a rabbit trail) and says that older women (elders) are "likewise to be," listing some qualifications Interpreters have chosen to use older men/women instead of "elder," but they are clearly talking about males and females in that role, using the Greek female forms of the word when applicable.
Additional duties were given to these female elders in relationship to the women in the congregation because they were better qualified to serve them (2.4-5). He expected these female elders to be teachers and encourager’s. These were leaders and elders, not harmless, sweet old ladies as churchmen would like you to believe.
Another function filled by women was evangelists. They proclaimed Yeshua as the Messiah, they told others about His resurrection, the woman at the well in John 4 excited a whole city.
Men as well as women were dragged off by Paul because they were "announcing the good news" or preaching the gospel (acts 8.3-4). Women were also used as "deacons" or "sham-mashim" in the Hebrew understanding. These were people who served as an intermediary in a transaction, an agent or courier.
They carried out tasks for the congregation. Rom 16.1-2 names a shammash, or deacon, called Phoebe, who was very important to Paul and he wanted her treated as such. Most scholars she was the one who actually carried the letter to the Romans to them.
1Tim 3.8-10 makes no reference to gender when talking about these servants. Well, to say the least, the scriptures are clear about the roles of women in the body of Messiah and that they filled important roles in the Messianic community.
Many of the current attitudes about women in the ministry comes from a male-dominated religious hierarchy that has imposed their own bias into the word of G-d, thus robbing women of the full identity and purpose in the will of G-d.
This by no means scratches the surface or presents all the information in the scriptures on this subject, but I hope this makes you aware of the fact that women have a vital role and function in the body of Messiah today. Much of the information used in these articles was found in an article called "The status and role of women in the first century Messianic community" by Mark R. Ensign.
There are many books on the subject, and "Sketches of Jewish social life" by Alfred Eder-sheim is a good book and I recommend it to everyone interested in this subject.