Many today seem to be under the archaic impression that only men can be teachers of the Word, and that only men possess any spiritual authority (hearing from YHWH and being commissioned by Him for ministry and service).
But is it really fair to say that when Scripture plainly reveals otherwise?
While YHWH has made it clear that He expects men to be priests and heads of their household (Genesis 2:18, 3:16; Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 14:2 and 18:2; Proverbs 31:1-31; Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:2-5, etc.), He never once suggested that women were viewed as “lesser” or that they were to be relegated to only cooking, cleaning and child-bearing!
We see Him using both men and women for His Glory throughout Scripture. As a matter of fact, He even had a donkey teaching someone a lesson once (Numbers 22:29-31), denoting that He uses whomever and whatever He wishes to accomplish His goals.
There are numerous accounts of women He entrusted with spiritual authority - women who acted without the permission from, or protection of, men.
One of the most memorable women in the Bible was Miriam, Yeshua’s mother who was chosen by YHWH to carry and bring into the world His Divine Messiah (Luke 1:26-55; ). Even though Miriam was betrothed to Yosef, YHWH sent His Messenger (angel), Gabriel, directly to her.
Another woman who was thrust into the forefront of biblical accounts, was Mary Magdalene (Matthew 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-11; John 20:17-18) who was the first person Yeshua saw after his resurrection … a woman whom he entrusted to take certain messages to his disciples who were still under the impression that their friend, Yeshua, was dead. One has to ask: Why a woman? Why didn’t Yeshua simply appear to his disciples, first? Back then, this was truly a huge deal!
One of the most amazing women in Scripture was the prophetess Deborah, whom YHWH made Judge over all Israel:
Judges 4:1 But after Ehud had died, the people of Isra'el again did what was evil from ADONAI's perspective. 2 So ADONAI handed them over to Yavin king of Kena'an. He ruled from Hatzor; and the commander of his army was Sisra, who lived in Haroshet-HaGoyim. 3 The people of Isra'el cried out to ADONAI, because he had 900 iron chariots, and for twenty years he cruelly oppressed the people of Isra'el. 4 Now D'vorah, a woman and a prophet, the wife of Lapidot, was judging Isra'el at that time. 5 She used to sit under D'vorah's Palm between Ramah and Beit-El, in the hills of Efrayim; and the people of Isra'el would come to her for judgment. (CJB)
In Judges 5 we discover that prior to Deborah’s leadership, “village life in Israel had ceased” (Judges 5:7), “the roads were abandoned” (Judges 5:6) and Israel had committed adultery with false gods (Judges 5:8). All this changed under Deborah’s leadership because she was an excellent and versatile leader. She was a prophetess (Judges 4:4, 14), a judge (Judges 4:5) and a military leader (Judges 4:6-10).
Also worthy of mention is the wise Woman of Avel of Beit-Ma'akhah (2 Samuel 20:16-22) who appeared to be the leader (with apparently some spiritual authority) of the fortified town of Beit-Ma'akhah in Israel. Through wisdom and peaceful persuasion, she rescued her town from being destroyed by Joab, the commander of King David’s army.
And when Josiah, King of Judah, wanted to learn more about how to worship YHWH, he sent a delegation of his top men to the prophetess Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:19-33), the wife of Shalum the son of Tok'hat, the son of Hasrat, keeper of the wardrobe.
There are myriad women who were given prominence in Scripture; and the ones mentioned here are but a select few. However, even these few reveal that in YHWH’s eyes, there is no “Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free” (Galatians 3:28). He uses for His Glory whomever He chooses! (And, in no way, does this hinder His desire for men to be priests, or heads of congregations or heads of their households. Both sexes have specific roles, and sometimes those roles can become “fuzzy”, depending on the situation…)
Ask yourself whether the following women weren't being used by God: Miriam who was Prophetess and sister to Moshe (Genesis 24:15, 19), the Daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-11); Ruth (Ruth 1:1-4:22); Huldah (2 Kings 22:3-20); Esther (saved the Jewish nation, Esther 4:1); Anna (Luke 2:36-38); the woman at the well; Phoebe (Romans 16:1); and Philip's daughters (Acts 21:9). YHWH uses whoever is on His path to get HIS TRUTH out to the world!
He even included Moshe's and Aharon's sister, Miryam in his list of "leaders":
Micah 6: 1 So listen now to what ADONAI says: "Stand up and state your case to the mountains, let the hills hear what you have to say." 2 Listen, mountains, to ADONAI's case; also you enduring rocks that support the earth! ADONAI has a case against his people; he wants to argue it out with Isra'el: 3 "My people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 I brought you up from the land of Egypt. I redeemed you from a life of slavery. I sent Moshe, Aharon and Miryam to lead you. (CJB)
In the end, we must ask ourselves: If a woman can be a disciple like Junia or Tabitha/Dorcas; a deacon like Phoebe; evangelists like Euodia and Syntyche; or a judge over all Israel like Deborah (Judges 4:4, 5), why can't she be a teacher, prophet, or some other great example for the whole world to see? YHWH has always empowered women to serve His purposes, so why are some people trying to downplay this truth?
The list of great women in the Bible could go on, but here's the grand finale:
Acts 2:17 'Adonai says: "In the Last Days, I will pour out from my Spirit upon everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my slaves, both men and women, will I pour out from my Spirit in those days; and they will prophesy. (ISR)
For more information and a deeper study, we recommend Marg Mowczko’s article, Bible Women with Spiritual Authority. and a couple of articles on The Refiner’s Fire, entitled, What does Scripture say about women teaching men? and Can women teach men?