Few biblical topics are more controversial than the role of women in the home and in spiritual matters. This volume has been written with the purpose of edifying the Lord’s church regarding women’s role. This volume does not endeavor to answer all questions on the role of women, but to reply to aspects of women’s role that have lately troubled the Lord’s church.
There are at least three dangers for the Lord’s church inherent in the study of the role of women. The first is in the practices in which some will engage (women functioning in roles that are sinful). The second is in the usage of unsound hermeneutics when interpreting the passages relating to the role of women. The usage of unsound hermeneutics will affect other areas of the doctrine of the church when this same unsound hermeneutics is applied to other passages of Scripture. The third is the irrationality of certain preachers may lead to other errors (a lack of logical thinking will open the door to all sorts of errors).
The Methodology Employed in This Study
My background has shaped how I view a study of any matter. I view the problems to be solved and try to size them up to see what creates the problems. I then try to attack the problems from as many directions as possible. I found (while studying physics and engineering) that most problems could be attacked from more than one angle and the same answer could be obtained. As a college professor I frequently had my students to learn a principle and then use it to solve a problem. Then we would develop another principle and use the second principle to solve the original problem. This might occur with even a third principle. Each time the students would obtain the same answer from using different principles. The students could be virtually certain that their answer to the problem was correct by this methodology.
This same approach will be employed in our study of women’s role in the home and in spiritual matters. We will learn a principle of logic or a principle of hermeneutics (Bible interpretation technique) and then apply it to the role of women. Later (in another chapter), we will learn another principle of logic or hermeneutics and apply it to the role of women. If we keep coming up with the same answer, we can be virtually certain we understand the biblical answer to women’s role.
These volumes will accomplish at least three things. First, we will determine the biblical doctrines on the role of women in the home and in spiritual matters. (I will appeal to principles of logic, principles of sound hermeneutics, principles of Greek grammar and syntax, and definitions of Greek words to determine this role.) Second, I will demonstrate that the doctrine and practices (public practices) of certain preachers in the Lord’s church do not harmonize with the biblical role of women as taught in the Scriptures. Third, I will demonstrate that the doctrines taught by certain other preachers will eventually change the practices of the Lord’s church (if accepted as truth and put into practice). It is axiomatic that the practices of the church will change when the doctrine changes.
Some of those who are teaching errors on women’s role have appealed to Greek grammar, syntax, and word definitions to support their unsound doctrines. In addition, most of them have attempted to make logical arguments (whether using formal logic or not is irrelevant, they are still logical arguments). Because of this we are forced to respond to them on their level (with arguments from both Greek word definitions, grammar and syntax, and from logic). In responding we have decided to use standard terminology from both logic and Greek to explain the errors of those who are teaching these errors. The reader who does not have a background in either Greek or logic should consult the glossary for explanations of the terminology. Some of the terminology is more thoroughly explained in other works written by the author (referenced in this volume).
I wish to state my appreciation to several men whose counsel and encouragement have enabled me to write this volume. The following men have greatly encouraged me in this effort by reviewing this volume: John Bellah, Willard Cox, Melvin Elliott, Scott Elliott, Bobby Gayton, Anthony McClendon, Duane McCord, Charles Pledge, Gary Smith, Ben Williams, and Frank Williams. Five women also reviewed this volume: Earlene Austin, Marsha Daggs, Gladys Patterson, Roma Whitaker, and Selene Williams. Some of the arguments in this volume were suggested by some of these men. These men and women also suggested changes in this volume to make it more readable and found typo errors in the drafts of this volume. This author is solely responsible for any errors in this volume.
I especially appreciate the help of Martie Williams for her help in making the charts and in formatting this book for the printer.
I wish to express my appreciation to the Barnes church of Christ for their patience with me while I was preparing both Volume I and Volume II. In addition several members of the Barnes church aided in the preparation of this volume.
NOTES FOR THE READER
The reader is instructed to use the Scripture Index at the end of the book to study the interpretations of various passages. Various passages are discussed in more than one chapter and the reader cannot get the total picture of what is set forth on each passage without looking at every page where it is discussed. I have introduced the various problem areas in the early chapters and developed such things as hermeneutical principles, logical principles, and even biblical doctrines that are all essential to understanding the development of the truth on these issues. Some readers will want an answer to a question as soon as it is asked, but that may not be easy because we need to develop principles by which we can understand the answer. For example, if a person asked you to explain some aspect of the book of Hebrews, it might be necessary to go back and explain some Old Testament principles as groundwork for your explanation. As we might need to lay some groundwork to explain something in the book of Hebrews, we might need to lay some groundwork to explain some answers to questions on the role of women. One of the most critical words in this study is the meaning of the word “teach” (1 Tim. 2:12). This volume (along with Volume II) contains a series of arguments, dispersed throughout, that enable the reader to understand the final synthesis of these arguments and facts, defining this word in Volume II (Chapters Nine and Ten).
The reader is also encouraged to study “The Role of Women, Vol. II” which is being printed at the same time as this volume. Volume II is also authored by Marion Fox and it contains additional arguments on the role of women. Many of the arguments of Vol. II are more extensive developments of some of the passages covered in Vol. I. It is the present plan of this author to print at least three volumes on the role of women. The reason for putting this material into smaller volumes is people do not tend to read larger books, but will read several smaller books.
There are several charts in the back of this volume and a number of charts in Volume II. These charts will give the reader a visual image of the arguments being made by the author. The reader is permitted to make copies of these charts for his preaching and/or teaching.
This book also contains a glossary of the less common words that are used in this volume. Along with the glossary there is an appendix (Appendix A) that contains the lexical definitions of some of the more important words used in this volume.
The reader should note that, for the most part, there have not been any appeals to tradition to establish any doctrine. One of the most disappointing aspects of the books of many preachers of the last 20th and early 21st centuries is that many writers spend a lot of effort quoting prominent members of the church to prove their cases. The reader can peruse the writings of the author of this volume and find, very little if any appeals to tradition in them. This has not been done because he could not find other preachers with whom his doctrines agreed, but out of conviction that the writings of men who lived since the age of miracles do not establish a doctrine as truth. Many of those who are teaching error on the role of women are forced to appeal to traditions to support their errors.
Throughout this volume when we say that women are prohibited from teaching men, we are referring to didaskō type teaching by women of men that is prohibited (1 Tim. 2:12). Women are not prohibited from teaching boys, but men (adult human males).
Marion has taught at the Elk City School of Preaching, Westside School of Preaching, Oklahoma School of Bible and Preaching, Great Plains School of Bible and Preaching, Online Academy of Biblical Studies, and presently serves as director of the Oklahoma City School of Biblical Studies and as an instructor for the Rocky Mountain Audio and Video Bible Institute.