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Luke 21:1-4: "And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, of a truth say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury has cast in all the living that she had."

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This article taken from Banner of Love

by Elder Bill Walden

October 2003
Volume 71
Number 10

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The Role of Women in the Church

Elder Bill Walden

I was recently asked about what role women have in the Church and was reminded of how little has been written on the subect, to my knowledge.

Much is written on the duties of the Elder and deacon, and while it is true that the Church is one body made up of many members, women have certain rules unique to themselves. This is what my few remarks will be centered around, thus the title of this article.

First I want to mention the fact that the woman brings a unique blessing because of a sensitivity peculiar to her gender. Many are blessed with inner strength, and the ability to sense things about others, that sometimes men are not aware of. Think of a mother's love for her children.
Most mothers are more sensitive to the needs of their children than fathers are. I am not saying a father's love is not strong, but there is a tie with our mothers that is like no other.

Many times when people have lost their ability to communicate because of a failing mind, especially in the process of dying, they call for their mother. These qualities do not begin in the Church, but they are a great blessing and benefit when they are brought to the Church.

We believe we have Scripture that describes our public worship, that we are to pray, sing hymns, and preach the gospel. Our song leader, the one leading in prayer, and the preacher are very visible and necessary, but we must not lose sight of our sisters whose footprints are recorded and are still being made where the flock of God travels today. There is a tendency many times to go to extremes, where the truth is in the center, and an extreme in either direction is wrong.

1 Timothy 2:11 - 12

Some denominations are ordaining women to preach their doctrines, but the Apostle Paul instructs us in 1Timothy 2:11-12,

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over the man, but be in silence."


If not careful, we may transpose Paul's instructions for the women to keep silence in the church to the extent that her voice is not heard at all, however, she is neither to teach(instruct) nor usurp(dominate)authority over the man.

She does have a teaching role that she is best qualified to fill. This is found in Titus Chapter 2, verses 3-4-5: "The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

The Apostle Paul commended Phoebe, a servant of the Church. She had been a succourer (assistant) of many and to him also (Romans 16:1-2). Many preachers have been helped by our sisters at some time.

Salvation is by the Grace of God

When I was young in the ministry, I had a tendency to inform the Church each of my felt weaknesses and the fact that I did not know much. Once, when we spent the night with a dear brother and sister, she in a very kind way said: "Billy, you say you don't know much, and there is a lot you don't know, but you know that salvation is by the grace of God, so in knowing this, there's a lot you do know".

There is still a lot I don't know today, but I know salvation is by grace, and by her kind admonition, I try to refrain from constantly reminding the Church of how little I know.

Some years ago I attended a meeting where the preacher was putting great emphasis on the evils of a wife working outside the home. This seemed to be the whole focus of his effort. At that time there was a sister sitting nearby and because of a very bad health situation in her family she had to go to work to pay large medical bills, and the situation lasted a long time in their lives. She and the rest of us endured this.

I wondered if the preacher knew of the faithfulness of this sister and that she and others in like circumstances were contributing to his expenses there.

Women have made great contributions to the Church. Some women faced great difficulties because they have joined the Church, but the Lord has used their lives to shine a light for families for generations to follow because of their examples.

The women have been a strength to the Church many times. Through their determination and resolve they have been instrumental in some particular Churches continuing to meet in what may have appeared to be a hopeless case, and the Lord has blessed the contribution of those Churches. There are also instances where the father does not feel the need to attend worship services, and it is the mother who leads the way in bringing the children to the Church.

Luke 21:1-4: "And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, of a truth say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury has cast in all the living that she had."


This great incident is so important the Holy Spirit left it on record for us today. The Lord Himself looked upon it and said that the rich out of their abundance cast into the offering, as they should then and today, but this poor widow out of her poverty cast in all the living she had. "The widow's mite" today has become synonymous with small offerings, but that is not the point.

The Lord said of her that out of her poverty and need she gave all she had. How much the rich had left over we do not know, but she had nothing. Perhaps as the rich were giving she felt her contribution was small. We do not know if they even noticed her.

Look at verse three again, she gave more than all of the put together. In light of what the Lord said, "the widow's mite" should be an example of generous giving. It would be interesting to read more about this widow, but this is all we know.

It seems there is always more that could be done. Could study His word more, or could make one more visit to the hospital or nursing facility. But the Lord of glory said this woman has done what she could. What a wonderful and blessed commendation is given in this scripture.