Editorial: The Ministry of Women

When we take up the ministry of women, we seem to concentrate on what they are forbidden to do. When we look into the Word of God, we may discover a very different view of the role of women in the work of the Lord. The Scriptures give us many examples of godly women who brought great glory to the Lord, blessing to His people, and souls to Christ. The rabbinical schools in Israel regarded women as being incapable of spiritual understanding, and would never discuss “religion” with them. How amazing then, the way the Lord Jesus respected women and taught them some of the highest spiritual truths that have ever been given. Here are a few examples in the New Testament. Let us begin with the woman at the well in John 4. She was just newly saved, yet into the ears of this once sinful woman, the Lord Jesus poured the highest truths in all the Word of God about worship. Was she capable of spiritual understanding? It can be shown that the Lord did not cast pearls before those who were unable or unwilling to appreciate them, yet to this woman the Lord gave the richest pearl of all teaching on worship. Think of the frequent mention of the women from Galilee (Luke 23:55; Matt 27:55), who closely followed the Lord and “ministered unto Him.” This ministry must have been very practical and met temporal needs, but the word that is used very often refers to a spiritual ministry. At the grave of Lazarus, the Lord revealed Himself to Martha as “the Resurrection and the Life.” To a sorrowing sister, He gave the first intimation of His return at the Rapture, when those who have died will live and those who are alive will never die (John 11:25-26). Mary of Bethany, among all who heard the Lord’s words about His suffering and death understood Him. Can we doubt her spiritual intelligence in coming to anoint His body for burial? The Lord gave her the highest approbation for this act of faith and devotion. His body carried the fragrance of her costly spikenard to Golgotha. What a contrast between her and the eleven!

It was to the women of Galilee that the angel gave the message of the risen Lord. As they ran to take the message to the disciples, the Lord met them in the way and to women He first showed Himself in resurrection. John 20 gives us a vivid description of the fears, faith, and full spiritual insight of Mary Magdalene, “I have seen the Lord and He has spoken unto me” (John 20:18). Let us not forget that at this time the eleven were still unbelieving. Paul wrote of “women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.” What an honor to be listed as a fellow laborer with the apostle! In each of these instances women had superior spiritual understanding. We need to learn what the Lord so obviously knew, that women often have deeper spiritual insight than men. No wonder older women are “to teach the young women” (Titus 2:4). Women have much to teach that is spiritual. They are more compassionate and sympathetic than men, and are often more devoted, faithful, and consistent in their lives and testimonies. I have learned much from godly sisters.