|What does the Bible say about women pastors?|
It may come as a surprise to some, but the Bible says nothing about women pastors. The word pastor means shepherd. It is used in the Bible, in the normal sense, to refer to those who tend sheep (Luke 2:8). The word is often used, metaphorically, of someone who cares for another (Psalms 23:1). It is used in the Bible for people appointed in a church to lead the members of that church (1 Peter 5:1-4). Our question involves this third use of the word.
The gospel gives instruction for the appointing of shepherds in the church. It lists the qualifications for these shepherds, also called elders and overseers (bishops). Finally, the New Testament gives instruction to them regarding their authority and work.
Given the passages where these things are discussed, anyone can see what the Bible teaches on the subject. What Jesus taught by the Holy Spirit through the apostles is not difficult to determine.
Before looking at the scriptures that answer the question, let’s consider another question. Is it necessary to follow God’s instructions? Am I willing to accept what the word of God says?
In two passages, the qualifications for elders, overseers, shepherds (pastors) are given. At the top of the list we read:
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife … (1 Timothy 3:2).
“Appoint elders in every city as I commanded you — if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife… (Titus 1:5-6).
Additionally, he must have submissive, faithful children! The qualifications continue to describe his moral character and godly life. Read the rest of the chapter for more information. By the time we read to the end of the list, we learn there are many who cannot be pastors.
I urge you not only to learn what the Bible actually teaches but also to accept and follow what it teaches. It is, after all, the word of God. This is not the only controversial question raised in the world of Christianity today. Over and over again, we express our respect or disrespect for God and His word by our conduct, personally and congregationally.
Let me know if you would like a complete list of New Testament scriptures that talk about pastors in the church.
Don Bunting — 212-729-8356.