Q: In the New Testament, there are many passages saying that women can not lead over men but in the Old Testament Deborah was a judge over Israel. In my understanding, her function was the same as that of male judges. Therefore, she was leading over men. If God really meant that women can not lead over men, why would He make an exception?
A: The Bible does not say that women cannot have lead over men but women cannot exercise spiritual authority over men in the church. This does not mean they cannot have authority in other areas whether they are schools, factories, businesses, etc. The prohibition is that a woman cannot exercise spiritual authority over men in the church. That is why she cannot hold a position of authority in the church and she cannot teach Scripture to men, because teaching Scripture always means exercising spiritual authority. As for Deborah, first of all, she had no spiritual authority in the church. Furthermore, she lived under a different dispensation of administration, that of the Mosaic Law. God would never ask any believer to violate His own commandments. Deborah lived under the Mosaic Law and nothing God asked her to do violated any woman's role that the Mosaic Law spelled out. She was both a prophetess and a judge over Israel. This is not a basis for saying women can be elders in the church since this is a whole different administration we are living with now. God did not make any exceptions. Deborah lived under the Mosaic Law and nothing God asked her to do violated the Mosaic Law. You live under the Law of Messiah, which spells out certain rules in the administration of the Church and God. God would not ask any woman to violate His laws any more than He would a man. Here is a principle: you must “rightly divide the Word of Truth” to understand what part of the Bible administration applies to us today and which does not. What applies to us today? The commandments He has given us that apply to the Church. What is written in Ephesians, Corinthians, and the Timothy epistles are the laws involving the Church which Deborah had nothing to do with.