What is the biblical defence used by Anglicans to appoint female vicars/bishops?

I thought the Bible was explicitly clear:

1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

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    Documents related to consecration of women as Bishops in the Church of England are readily available on line, and discuss the topic in detail. The discussion is too long to reproduce in an answer here.
    – brasshat
    Mar 6, 2017 at 5:35
  • @brasshat hi mate, I cant find anything online with official biblical support for the Anglican view on this...any help, please feel free to attempt an answer
    – David
    Mar 6, 2017 at 22:39
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    I did a search before posting my first comment, and found documents related to your question on the Church of England website, but I cannot find them when I go back and search again. I'm on the road at the moment, so would suggest that the best resource for getting an answer to your question is to make use of the online resource here.
    – brasshat
    Mar 7, 2017 at 4:04
  • @brasshat cheers brashat! :)
    – David
    Mar 7, 2017 at 23:22
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    This question is hard to answer. What do you want? An explanation of why those passages do not apply? Or a positive scriptural argument for why women can be ordained? Jul 29, 2018 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


Ordination of women in the Anglican Communion (Wikipedia)

The Anglican church has different ordination guidelines in different countries, and often the parishes are allowed to make the decision for or against provided they give sufficient argument and evidence.

For example, although CofE as a rule accepts ordaining women, here is a case where it was forbidden: Anglican church bans women from vicar's job on 'biblical' grounds.

Arguments given

As you already know, it's a hot topic for debate. Typical biblical defences given by Anglicans to appoint female vicars and bishops can be among the following:

  • that Paul's request to Timothy was actually referring to women exercising their authority over their husband and unbalancing the marital unit, not about whether women can be given titles of leadership;
  • that it may have been a cultural norm at the time for women to exercise self-restraint, and the lack of it was bringing embarrassment on the Christian community in front of the unbelievers instead of them functioning as a light to the world;
  • that there may be certain laws in the Bible which are based on customs which become less relevant as times change, or when perfection sets in (such as the eating of certain animals);
  • that there are already examples of female leaders in both the Old Testament (Deborah who was appointed as a leader over the people) and the New Testament (Priscilla, wife of Aquila, whom Paul himself called his "fellow worker[s] in Christ", and who helped teach Apollos with her husband in Acts 18:26).
  • In the C of E it is not dioceses that can insist on male clergy, it is parishes that can make that decision. In the article linked it is the parish of Wallingford, not the diocese of Southwark, that passed a resolution not to accept female clergy. The diocese of Southwark in advertising the post were bound to respect the resolution of the parish, provided it was passed in the prescribed form.
    – davidlol
    Aug 1, 2018 at 17:41

More often than not, much like their Methodist counterparts - they hold onto Galatians 3:28

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

This verse is often used to support the idea that women can hold the offices of elder and pastor because there is neither male nor female in Christ. The argument states that if we are all equal, then women can be pastors.

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    This isn't the place to argue against female ministers. Please remove that from your answer. Please also edit this to add some links or quotes to Anglicans who do use this argument.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 6, 2017 at 23:12
  • As curiousdannii mentioned, the post would suffice with just the answer to the question as this is not a debating site. Perhaps the rest can be moved to an opposing question "What are the arguments AGAINST female ministers?" Aug 1, 2018 at 11:32
  • I have edited the answer to remove the argumentative part. If you want to put that back, please do so (in which case it will probably be downvoted and deleted). Aug 1, 2018 at 14:28

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