Women & Spiritual Discernment

If you come to me and say in a nice way, “Russell, sometimes you have a problem with your temper,” you will be telling me the truth. (My wife and sons will vouch for that.) You will also, in a sense, be doing me a favor. It is a favor because you will be telling me the truth about a deficiency in myself, and once I see that area as a deficiency, hopefully I can improve on it.

With this in mind, I want to tell you ladies the truth about a deficiency that is commonly found in your gender. It is a deficiency in the area of spiritual discernment. You say, “Russell, what makes you think that your opinion on womanhood is all that important anyway?” Well, I don’t think that my opinion is all that important. But God’s opinion is important, and the reason why I say that women tend to be weaker than men in the area of spiritual discernment is because three passages in God’s word indicate it.

The first passage is 1 Timothy 2:11-14, where Paul says:

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (N.K.J.V.)

These words deal with a woman’s role in the church service, and Paul is very clear that her role is to be different than the man’s. It should be understood, of course, that the churches of Paul’s day did not have Sunday School classes, choirs, committees, or business meetings. That makes comparing the way we do church to the way they did church almost like comparing apples to oranges. Nevertheless, the point Paul is making is an important one. The God-inspired reason for limiting the woman’s role in the church service goes back to the fact that it was Eve, not Adam, who was deceived by Satan (who was inside the serpent) in the Garden of Eden.

We might ask, “If Adam wasn’t deceived by Satan, why did he eat the fruit?” The truth is, no one can say for sure. But one thing we can say for sure is that it was Eve (the woman) who was deceived, not Adam (the man). I don’t even think we stretch things too far to say that Satan approached Eve with the temptation because he knew that he had a better shot with her than he did with Adam.

The second passage is 2 Timothy 3:1-6, where Paul says:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts…(N.K.J.V.)

We see here that Paul specifically singles out the women for a direct word of warning about letting spiritual charlatans into the home. Does this mean that men never come under the spell of religious charlatans? No, it doesn’t. Let us admit, though, that this passage provides us with a highly specific word about how easily women can be duped by sinful people.

The third passage takes us to the little epistle of 2 John. The opening words of that one-chapter book say:

The ELDER, To the elect lady and her children…(N.K.J.V.)

“The ELDER” is the title the apostle John, the man who wrote this short letter, gave to himself. But who is “the elect lady” to whom he wrote? She was a Christian woman who had children. By studying the entirety of the letter, we learn that this woman had gotten herself into sin by opening up her home to anyone who knocked on her door, claimed to be a God-called teacher of the word, and asked for lodging.

A little context here will help. Inns were scarce in those days, and we wouldn’t even call most of them inns according to our modern definition of the word. They were little more than animal shelters where you could house your animal in a stall, throw down your bed roll, and make camp for a night. Such “inns” were typically crowded, dirty, flea-infested, and overpriced.

Because of this a great need arose for Christian hospitality. When a traveling Christian would come into a town, he or she would oftentimes stay in the home of a fellow Christian. That is how the apostles usually operated as they moved about from place to place.

The problem with this woman was that she wasn’t showing any spiritual discernment in regards to who she was allowing to stay in her home. False teachers had been knocking on her door, and she had been giving them food and shelter. In doing so, she had been, as John says in verse 11, sharing in their evil deeds. You see, it is highly significant that the book of 2 John, which is probably the only book in the Bible to be written specifically to a woman, holds within it a rebuke for the woman’s lack of spiritual discernment. That rebuke is found in verses 10-11 of the book, where John says to her:

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (N.K.J.V.)

So, the teaching found in all three of these references is that women, generally speaking, can oftentimes have problems in situations where spiritual discernment is required. Men can as well, for that matter, but these passages deal exclusively with women. I trust that these references are enough to make the point I’m trying to make in this post, but I can also cite what the Bible teaches about leadership in the home, the church, and the nation. Here goes.

First, the Bible teaches that the husbands (the men) should be the leaders of the homes. We find this is Colossians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 11:3, Genesis 3:16, and Ephesians 5:22-24, which says:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord, For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (N.K.J.V.)

Second, the Bible teaches that the men should be the leaders in the churches. This is the plain teaching of 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, Acts 6:1-7, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, and 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Another passage is 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, which says:

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for women to speak in church. (N.K.J.V.)

Third, the Bible teaches that the men should be the leaders of the nation. A good passage here is Isaiah 3:11-12. In those verses, God is describing the time of national judgment that He is going to bring upon the people of Judah because of their sins. And would you believe that bringing the people to the lowly state of having children and women serve as their rulers is listed as a part of that judgment? God says:

Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O my people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths. (N.K.J.V.)    

As for additional passages that teach that men should serve as national rulers, I could pretty much list the entire Old Testament. I say that because the Old Testament is dominated by kings, not queens. This applies especially to Israel, the nation God chose for Himself in Old Testament times. The book of Proverbs, in particular, has many passages that speak of how God expects kings to conduct themselves.

Of course, there is so much more than could be said about the men being the leaders in the homes, the churches, and the nation. For example, when God established Israel’s order of priests in the Old Testament, He deemed that only males could serve as priests. Also, when Jesus chose His twelve apostles, He chose twelve men. Hopefully, though, I’ve said enough to prove the case. Again ladies, I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or make you mad. All I’m trying to do is take the Bible and show you a potential trouble spot in your life and teach you what it has to do with you serving in leadership positions in the home, the church, and the nation. As for how you accept it and what you do with it, well, I guess I’ll just have to leave that between you and God.

This entry was posted in Church, Deacons, Discernment, Family, Fatherhood, God's Will, God's Word, God's Work, Headship, Husbands, Leadership, Marriage, Motherhood, Pastors, Politics, Preaching, Service, Submission, Wives, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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