Why does GotQuestions.org allow women to answer questions from men?

In the eighteen-year history of GotQuestions.org, we have received over 600,000 questions. Approximately 65 percent of the questions have been submitted by men (although only around 50 percent of questioners indicate if they are male or female). We currently have around 250 volunteers who assist us in answering the questions we receive, 72 percent of whom are men. But, even with a majority of the questions being submitted by men, and with a majority of our volunteer question answerers being men, there still have been tens of thousands of questions submitted by men and answered by women.

For some (albeit a small minority), this is a problem. They claim that since 1 Timothy 2:11-12 says women should not teach or exercise authority over men, women should not be answering questions submitted by men. Answering a question is, in their minds, teaching, and therefore a violation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. At GotQuestions.org, we don't see it that way. Here's why:

We view 1 Timothy 2:11-12 as primarily describing the pastoral/shepherding role. For a detailed explanation, please see this article: "Women pastors / preachers? What does the Bible say about women in ministry?"

Teaching and exercising spiritual authority are the primary functions of a pastor/shepherd. Further, the book of 1 Timothy is a letter from the apostle Paul to Timothy, who was serving as the pastor of a church. The context, then, of 1 Timothy 2:11-12, is the church. Women are not to serve in the pastor/shepherd role over men in local churches.

GotQuestions.org is not a church. While our question answerers definitely do teach in their answers, in no sense do they exercise spiritual authority over the questioners. A person submitting a question to us and us providing an answer is nothing more than one person seeking to assist another person in understanding what the Bible says about a spiritually-related issue. Are women not allowed to give men advice? Are women not allowed to help men understand what a certain Bible verse means or what the next strange cult believes?

Some would probably say yes. To that we would respond with the biblical example of Priscilla and Aquila teaching Apollos in Acts 18:24-26. The passage says that "they," referring to both Priscilla and Aquila, taught Apollos. Priscilla taught Apollos, and she did so in a way that did not contradict what the Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Men and women are one and equal in Christ (Galatians 3:28). None of the spiritual gifts are restricted to men, and the Bible nowhere restricts women from using their spiritual gifts for the benefit of men. To say that 50 percent of the body of Christ has no need of ministry from the other 50 percent is foolish, and more importantly, blatantly unbiblical (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11, 14-26).

Some of our female question answerers only want to answer questions from women. If a questioner wants his/her question answered by a man/woman, all he/she has to do is indicate that in his/her question. Generally speaking, we try to have questions submitted by men answered by men, especially if the question is counseling related.

At the same time, we absolutely reject the idea that a woman answering a question submitted by a man in any way violates 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

S. Michael Houdmann

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Why does GotQuestions.org allow women to answer questions from men?