May Women Preach in the church?
According to Alan Highers, two of the things the liberals in the church are wanting to change are 1) to add instrumental music to our worship, and 2) to allow women to preach in the mixed assembly and to add them to the leadership roles (such as elders) in the church. Brother Higher’s observations are true. These things (and others) are evidentiary marks of those who have forsaken the fact that the New Covenant is the authority for Christians and have tossed aside the fact that the Bible gives us a pattern for the church and her worship to God. (See Mat. 28:18; 2 Tim. 3:16-4:4; 2 Pet. 1:3; Heb. 8:5; 1 Cor. 4:6.).
One trick that liberals have used down through the ages is to take a passage out of context. A true saying is this, “When you take a verse out of context it becomes a pretext.” Webster’s Dictionary defines “pretext” as, “a purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs.” In other words, it is a deceptive tactic used to try to make the Bible say something it did not say.
One example is Acts 20:7. It says, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” Here the word “spoke” is translated from the Greek word “dialegomai.” Thayer defines this as, “1) to think different things with one’s self, mingle thought with thought, 1a) to ponder, revolve in mind, 2) to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss.”
Liberals will take the second definition—"to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss”—to argue that the women present in this worship assembly in Acts 20:7 joined in with the discussion that night. But is that a correct understanding of “dialegomai” as it is used in this passage?
Remember that words often have multiple meanings. For example, the word “set” in Webster’s online dictionary, has some 118 variations listed. It may be a set of tea pots, a music set, or someone who sat down. How can you know which of these 118 variations is the correct understanding? By the context. “The team was set for action.”
In Acts 20:7, how does one determine the correct meaning of “dialegomai”? Was it a discussion among all who were there, including the women? Or, was it a sermon preached by Paul to all who were there?
Verse 7 is a compound sentence. The focus of first part is the brethren who came together to break bread. This first part modifies the primary focus, which is, “Paul preached unto them.” The noun is “Paul.” The verb is “preached,” or, “spoke,” or, “discoursed.” Paul is the one who is doing the action. The phrase, “ready to depart the next day,” modifies Paul, not the brethren. It is because he was ready to depart the next day that he “continued” (“parateino” – prolonged, preached a long time) his “message” (“logon” words or message) till midnight.
The context is clear. It was Paul who carried on this “discourse.”
Even if there was a time of back-and-forth communication, the broader context of Scripture would lead one to believe that it was the men who would have engaged in a discussion not the women. 1 Corinthians 14:34 commands the women to remain silent in the assembly. Did not Paul say in 1 Corinthians 4:17 that he taught the same things in every church? Or, did different churches have different divinely given standards for the worship assembly? (See 1 Timothy 3:15.)
The passage nowhere indicates that there were any women engaged in preaching or teaching in this assembly. It is a pretext to teach otherwise.