Does Acts 2:17-21 Contradict 1 Timothy 2:11,12 On The Roles of Men and Women?
Some assert that women can have leadership roles over men because of Acts 2:17-21 because there were female prophetesses in the first century A.D. They advocate from this text that women are authorized to assume authority over men.
In the context, Peter, the apostle explains to the crowd that the ongoing miraculous activity they were hearing (namely, speaking in different languages) is an inaugurated fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2:28–32. In this passage, Peter states “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit would come upon “menservants and maidservants.”
First, the Bible cannot contradict itself since it was made by one Divine Author (John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21).
Second, there is an alternative explanation, reconciling this passage with other passages on the roles of men and women (1 Corinthians 11:2–16; 14:34,35; Ephesians 5:22–33; 6:1–4; Colossians 3:18–21; 1 Peter 3:1–7; 1 Timothy 2:8–15; 3:1–13).
Third, the alternate explanation is that there were prophetesses in the early church. The office of prophet was a temporary office in the establishment of the church, yet it was important for the spiritual maturity of the early church until it reached its status of maturity (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:7–16).
Fourth, in order to reconcile these passages, it must be the case that Acts 2:17–21 is qualified by 1 Tim 2:11,12 and other passages. Women can serve in functional, authoritative roles to other women and children (Titus 2:3-5; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). This is the case with Philip’s four daughters who were prophetesses. Therefore, there is no contradiction between Acts 2:17–21 and 1 Timothy 2:11,12.
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