Why Women Are Not Pastors

Needless to say, many women today have taken pastoral positions in churches everywhere. It’s common to hear about a church with a woman pastor. But is this biblical? Is this something that God ordains and blesses? What does God’s Word have to say about women who want to be pastors?

I understand this is one of those touchy subjects. And I am not seeking confrontation. Truly, I want to be a good steward of the truth revealed in Scripture. Since it’s a secondary issue (though very important to me) I don’t take every opportunity I get to share what the Bible says about it. And this goes for any teaching/topic. For instance, if I meet a woman pastor I don’t immediately bring up the teachings. What I hope to do in this post is address this issue with as much gentleness and respect as possible.

Since this is a secondary issuemany leave the conversation after hearing one or two arguments against women eldership. They agree to disagree and go on about their business without seriously considering what they’re doing. Now, there’s already many videos and writings out there on this subject. If you’ve researched this topic and have seen what the Bible says about it, you probably won’t learn much more in this post. But here, I want to clearly lay out for you why it is absolutely unbiblical for a woman to pastor a church.

The issue is NOT about whether they are able to preach well or not.

I would like to quickly clarify that I don’t believe women are unable to properly exegete biblical text, or counsel, or pray, or lead, or shepherd. Some women can do this way better than I can. When I talk to people firsthand that have a female pastor they are quick to defend how well they can preach and teach. But that is not the issue. Some, indeed, are really good at teaching.

Common push-backs include the accounts of Mary or The Woman at the Well (John 4). They say, “Look here at how God used these women to spread the word about Jesus.” But this is a misapplication. Women are not excluded from evangelism. Nor are they exempt from The Great Commission. Everyone is included in this. But this is not the same as taking on a pastoral position.

Also, this is not a supremacy thing. It’s not that women are less important or less valued. We are equal. But God has given men and women complimentary roles that the other is not to take on. God has designed women for certain roles, and men for certain roles. This is not a matter of opinion, but what the Bible says.

The following passages are three well-known verses that oppose women eldership. These are not the only verses that can be found, but give us enough to chew on.

1 Tim. 2:11-5

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Titus 2:3-5

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.

1 Corinthians 14:33-35

33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Here’s a good place for us to remember that Payte didn’t write the Bible…

The issue is about how to properly handle what God has already said.

For those who love God and his Word, reading these passages is enough. But many people want to find their own way around what God’s Word says to fit their own preferences and convenience. The Bible is clear that God has ordained men to be the head of the household (cf. Eph. 5:22-33), and lead the rest of the family. This is the duty of every family man.

For those who are being led by a woman in the local church, I would advise you to leave. But before you do, however, ask your pastor what she thinks of these verses… Women pastors are not obeying these Scriptures, and will likely excuse other foundational Christian teachings found in the Bible. Their main argument will be that the passages are out-dated and unimportant these days. But God has spoken through the Apostle Paul for New Testament church structure.

The fact is, the Bible does not support women eldership anywhere. There’s not one female major prophet, high priest, or pastor anywhere in Scripture. I’m not saying there are not women judges, women leaders, or women who prophesied. This is about the position in the local church as pastor-elder. Furthermore, when it does address the issue, Paul says he does not “permit a woman to teach, or exercise authority over a man.” Again, the issue is not about agreeing with my opinion, but whether or not we will submit to this biblical instruction.

In conclusion, I understand this stuff involves wise, genuine conversation over multiple cups of coffee together. I’m not out to get women pastors, but I see this is clearly unbiblical. In regards to matters like these, sometimes it just takes time to discuss these Bible matters in person to see any change. However, it must be understood that those who strive to obey the whole counsel of God’s Word have no freedom to navigate away from these texts. It’s clear and settled. It is not a matter of whether or not women are capable of preaching well; it’s about what God said. If He said women may pastor along with men, there would be no dispute! Alas, God has spoken through Paul to the New Testament Christian church that women are not permitted to fulfill the role as pastor in the local church.

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31 thoughts on “Why Women Are Not Pastors

  1. “I’m not out to get women pastors..” just telling their congregations to leave because they view sections of the Bible as outdated and irrelevant. That statement is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. What woman pastor told you that? How many? Probably most of them think that way due to your mountains of research. This woman pastor sure wouldn’t say that.. but we should just have coffee right? Then you could twist my meaning and use it to fuel whatever agenda you have. You are contradicting yourself and seem to have not actually talked to any women pastors. This blog post is poorly informed, negating all the ways God used women as leaders in the Bible. Submission to your husband and to God does not mean that God only ordains men as pastors. Oh Payte, you are greatly underestimating our God and overestimating a pastor’s role.

    1. And I understand that no amount of internet debating will change your mind. You said some silly things here. You are putting words in the mouths of women across the world to justify your agenda. I’m fine with debate, but telling people to leave their church because their pastor thinks the Bible is irrelevant (an assumption you are making… not a fact)? Come on, man. I think these women deserve the benefit of the doubt. If I believed that God wasn’t okay with me being a pastor I wouldn’t be one. And I love the Bible the same way you do. Please understand that as a pastor, God is using my ministry not because I’m great, but because he is.

      I’m not even trying to change your mind, just trying to change the way you express it. Deborah led the whole nation of Israel as a judge. God is bigger than we can understand.

      1. Final comment, but the Assemblies of God can say it better than I can (especially since I’m prone to sarcasm in my frustration…)

        “And we, like Peter (2 Peter 3:15), must respect and love our brothers and sisters who hold alternative interpretations on issues that are not critical to our salvation or standing before God. We only request that those interpretations be expressed and practiced in love and consideration for all of God’s children, both men and women.”

        You might find this to be an interesting read. Not to change your beliefs on this, but to understand that one doesn’t have to dismiss God’s words to believe that women can serve as pastors:


    2. Hi Kaylee. A lot of women out their seem to do a great job at teaching the word. One thing that none of them have ever been able to do, is to comment on Paul’s not allowing a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man. Every time I bring this verse up to them, they refuse to directly address it. Usually they say dismiss it as Paul’s opinion, but only after defensively saying they are under the submission of their husband and thus are not usurping anyone. I know that there are fine woman of God now, as there were women leaders in the Bible. Just what do you think that Paul meant?

    3. The Bible is CLEAR, crystal clear that women are not mean’t to serve as Pastors in church. They simply CANNOT based on the same requirements that ALL Pastors must meet.

      A husband of one wife

      We need not go any further. That is the end of it. If you want to dismiss that requirement, then you might as well dismiss the others.

      This has ZERO to do with women having a spiritual function within the Body of Christ. ALL members of the body have spiritual gifts to be used, but they must be used according to God’s will…. not the desires of women to be pastors.

      THERE IS NOT ONE EXAMPLE of a woman pastor in the entire Bible. NOT ONE.

      For a reason.

  2. I’m not twisting anyone’s words, Karli. I have good relationships with women who are pastors, and people who have a woman pastor. And I respect them. God certainly uses women to advance his Kingdom and purposes. No doubt about that. I explain here why I won’t be joining their churches, however, because of the conviction I have with the texts I explained in the post. I do apologize if my words caused distraction, but how do you handle the passages I included in the post? Do you think what Paul was teaching is wrong?

        1. You’re missing my point, also ignoring the article that explains in great detail my views.

          My point is that even if you are right, you are making assumptions and accusations against women in ministry everywhere when you assume they are just ignoring the Bible. I know it seems black and white to you, but maybe it’s not. Pause for a moment and consider the possibility that even if your views are correct, you may have expressed them in a way that is incorrect. Rely on the merit of your argument without making assumptions about the character of the women involved.

          I disagree with a lot of people on a lot of issues, but I rarely take the time to argue with “internet people.” In the end, my calling and convictions won’t allow me to do anything except be a pastor. There are times (more than I care to acknowledge) when I wish I could do anything else, but God has me here doing this. I don’t need to argue with you to know that’s true. I just want you to remember that these women you are talking about are real women who are giving their lives to do what they believe God wants them to. I think we deserve a little bit more credit than you are giving us.

          1. I did read the article. You’re making this awfully personal. I am seeking to get down to what Paul taught & what he said. I am not Pentecostal in the slightest nor agree with AoG on very much. My favorite quote was, “Throughout their history, Pentecostals around the world have struggled to apply biblical truth in widely divergent cultural contexts.” In other words, there’s texts they ignore to try new things in new places. To give one example why the article is wrong by misapplication is the way they exegete diakonos (deacon). This was NOT the primary leadership position at a church. Women can be deacons but the dispute is with the position of an elder/pastor. These are two very different things. It can be translated to “minister.” That is why we have women leaders & directors at our church, even co-leading Bible studies. But Paul teaches women are not to be placed in elder/pastor positions. He’s not talking about deacons. This is one example of the AoG providing bad exegesis. This is eisegesis.

  3. It’s a very touchy subject, but one that deserves addressing. I like how you point out that it has nothing to do with the superiority of men, but rather the following of God’s pattern as laid out in the scriptures.

    1. Thank you. Many people have asked me about what the Scriptures teach on the subject. I have a part-two post scheduled to post later this month.

  4. Payte, you did an excellent job on this topic. You nailed it when you wrote: “For those who love God and his Word, reading these passages is enough. But many people want to find their own way around what God’s Word says to fit their own preferences and convenience.”

    These verses are black and white, and can’t be translated anyway else. Those who do so, as you write, are fitting their own preferences and convenience. They no doubt do this with other parts of Scripture, as well. Either the Bible means what it says, or it doesn’t. Once we start twisting Scripture to meet our preferences, we pretty much render the Bible of no account.

    Great job, Payte, and thank for being willing to take on this topic.