There are some things in the Bible God could have made just a little clearer.
Did the descendants of Adam & Eve actually populate the whole planet? And then Noah’s descendants had to do it all over again?
Why did Job have to suffer so much?
What on earth are You talking about in Revelation? Or should I say what on new earth?
And when Paul called Phoebe a deacon, what was that all about?
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. Romans 16:1-2 (NIV)
Cenchreae, the seaport of Corinth. While Paul ministered in Corinth, he must have befriended Phoebe. Served alongside her. The church there possibly met in her home. Some scholars believe he entrusted her with THE letter to the Romans.
And could it be that she and Priscilla, of Priscilla and Aquila fame, attended church together? They both lived in the Corinth area for the 18 months Paul spent there. Maybe they hosted the very first women’s Bible study. We don’t know. You don’t read Priscilla’s name without Aquila’s. After sitting under Paul’s teaching and housing him in their home, this dynamic duo traveled with Paul to Ephesus, settled there and trained Apollos. Priscilla had a love for God’s Word accompanied with a gift of teaching.
If these women really carried that kind of authority in that day and age; it changes, well, everything.
Now, I know there are those of you who already have this matter settled in your minds. I’ve read your books. I applaud you. Some of you think many churches are missing the boat. You’re convinced you know what verses like this one mean; then, now and for ever and ever amen.
Would you think less of me if I took my time praying and seeking out what God would have me do with these implications?
I have learned about my faith personally from so many wonderful women. They have taught me Scripture, showed me how to love with grace and mercy. But not a one of them has ever held the title of Reverend or Deacon.
Beth Moore and I have never actually met. However, like many of you, I feel like I know her from all the videos I’ve watched. She has mentioned on more than one occasion her calling is to teach women. She’s one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever heard.
Anne Graham Lotz has a remarkable gift of teaching as well. Billy Graham himself has labeled her the best preacher in the family. Because of her gender, she’s faced some opposition to what she’s felt called to do. Yet her life shows no evidence of backing down from that calling. I encourage you to check out her interview with Guy Raz from NPR. LINK:
Women of faith, listen to God’s call on your life. Ephesians 2:10 assures us you have one.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
If you feel called to preach to the whole wide world (I’m looking at you Christine Caine, another woman affiliated with Greece), do the thing.
If you know God has gifted you to teach yet you never leave your Sunday School classroom of 8-12 women, that’s more than enough for the Kingdom.
If you’re sitting at home, enjoying quiet time with God, and you feel led to administer the Lord’s Supper for yourself, take and eat and drink in remembrance of Him.
If God has given you a word in your heart. A burning passion to share a message with the masses. By all means, prophesy.
Now back to Phoebe. It’s all Greek to me. To most of us. I think the best we can do is serve Jesus with utter abandon. Pray for opportunities to use your gifts. Trust Him. Give Him glory every single time.
Let the titles take care of themselves.