Lindsey Johnson Edwards on Teaching the Bible as a Woman

When my husband first approached me with the idea of teaching at an all-male Bible study, I laughed and said, “Why would I teach an all-male Bible study?” My question was rhetorical, but he answered anyway.

“The men are inviting a group of women to join them this week. The leaders think having a woman teach will make the women more comfortable.”

I snickered and asked, “What about the guys? How will they feel about listening to a woman lead their Bible study?” The all-male group—primarily comprised of collegiate football players—typically studied New Testament passages taught by respected athletes. Would those men really want to listen to a female teach out of the Old Testament?

“Lindsey, you’re qualified to do this, and you were specifically chosen to do this,” he replied. “I promise, it’ll be fine.”

The Teaching Woman

The previous year I started teaching at my university’s worship service. Not long after I took on that role, my Campus Ministries Director asked, “Has anyone given you flack for being a woman teacher?”

“No, not yet,” I responded.

“Well, if someone says something directly to you, then you can always send that person to me. I can give a defense for choosing a woman to teach.” I smiled and nodded my head, but I had already prepared my defense. I knew I was qualified to teach and I was ready to stand up to anyone who dared to call me unqualified.

Throughout my year of teaching at the worship service, no one I knew directly told me I was not qualified to teach men. John Piper, however, expressed that idea on the internet. In his article about why a seminary should not allow women to teach men, Piper wrote, “If it is unbiblical to have women as pastors, how can it be biblical to have women who function in formal teaching and mentoring capacities to train and fit pastors for the very calling from which the mentors themselves are excluded?” He said that a woman’s lack of intelligence was not the issue. Neither did he believe women to be incompetent. A woman’s deficiency in pedagogical skills or leadership did not disqualify her from teaching men. Piper said that the only biblical reason for barring an otherwise qualified person from teaching men is if they are not one.

Piper was referring to women teaching at a seminary. However, at the undergraduate level both sexes questioned their views on a woman’s role in the body of Christ. Women teachers like me experienced uncertainty. If I was barred from teaching at the seminary level, could I even teach future pastors at a university worship service? I was chosen to speak at that worship service in order to prepare me for my future ministry as a teacher. While one of my professor’s unceasingly encouraged me to get a Ph.D. and teach seminarians, Piper made me wonder if I even had a future in teaching and preaching.

Click here to read more.
Source: Church Leaders