Where in the Bible Does It Say Women Can’t Be Pastors

Title: Exploring the Biblical Perspective on Women as Pastors


The role of women in religious leadership has been a topic of debate for centuries. Some argue that the Bible prohibits women from being pastors, while others believe that women are equally called to serve in this capacity. In this article, we will delve into the passages often cited to support the notion that women cannot be pastors, as well as present some interesting facts to shed light on this complex subject.

Where in the Bible Does It Say Women Can’t Be Pastors?

1. 1 Timothy 2:12: This verse states, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” This passage is often cited as evidence that women should not hold positions of authority over men in the church.

2. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: These verses state, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” These verses have been interpreted as a prohibition against women speaking or teaching in the church.

3. Ephesians 5:22-24: This passage emphasizes the submission of wives to their husbands, which is sometimes extrapolated to argue against women serving as pastors. However, it is important to note that this verse refers specifically to the marital relationship, rather than a broader prohibition on women in ministry.

4. 1 Corinthians 11:3: This verse states, “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Some interpret this verse as implying male authority over women, hence excluding women from pastoral roles.

5. Titus 2:3-5: This passage encourages older women to teach and mentor younger women in the church, but it does not explicitly address the role of women in pastoral leadership. However, it implies that women have an important teaching role within the church community.

Interesting Facts:

1. Throughout the Bible, there are numerous examples of women in leadership roles, such as Deborah, who served as a judge in Israel (Judges 4:4-5).

2. Priscilla, alongside her husband Aquila, taught Apollos more accurately about the Gospel (Acts 18:26), indicating her active role in teaching and mentoring.

3. In Romans 16, Paul commends several women who played significant roles in the early church, including Phoebe, Junia, and Priscilla.

4. The term used for “helper” in Genesis 2:18, often associated with women’s role, is also used to describe how God helps His people in other parts of the Bible.

5. Jesus consistently treated women with respect and dignity, challenging societal norms of the time, indicating a value for their equal participation in ministry.

13 Interesting Questions about Women as Pastors:

1. Does the Bible’s prohibition on women speaking or teaching in the church apply to all women or only a specific context?

2. How do different denominations interpret and apply the passages often cited against women pastors?

3. Are there cultural factors influencing the interpretation of these passages that may differ from today’s context?

4. How do we reconcile the examples of women in leadership roles throughout the Bible with the notion that women cannot be pastors?

5. Are there any instances in the New Testament where women are explicitly described as pastors or leaders in the church?

6. What role did women play in the early church, and how does that inform our understanding of women in church leadership today?

7. Should the cultural and historical context of the Bible influence our interpretation of these passages?

8. Are there instances where women may be called to lead in specific contexts, such as women’s ministries or other areas within the church?

9. How does the concept of equality and mutual submission in marriage relate to the issue of women as pastors?

10. Are there any biblical principles that can guide us in discerning women’s roles in pastoral leadership?

11. How do churches and individuals navigate the tension between differing interpretations of these passages?

12. What impact does the inclusion or exclusion of women in pastoral roles have on the church and its ability to effectively fulfill its mission?

13. How can churches foster an environment of respect, understanding, and dialogue concerning the role of women in ministry?


The question of whether women can serve as pastors is a complex and multifaceted issue. While some scriptural passages appear to limit women’s roles, other passages and biblical examples suggest a more inclusive view. As believers, it is crucial to approach this topic with open minds, acknowledging the diversity of interpretations and striving for unity in the body of Christ. Ultimately, our focus should be on faithfully discerning God’s will and embracing the gifts and callings He has given to both men and women within the church.