WAS PRISCILLA “LEAD TEACHER IN HER FAMILY?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
Advocates of women preachers and Christian women teaching men point to assorted verses for Scriptural support. The case of Priscilla, a Christian lady of the New Testament Scriptures, forms the foundation for one of their arguments. Allegedly, she is “lead teacher in her family.” Is that so? “For what saith the Scriptures?”
Priscilla appears on six occasions in a King James Bible (2 Timothy 4:19 shortens her name to “Prisca”). She is continually paired with her husband, Aquila. This Jewish couple was saved under the Apostle Paul’s ministry and served as his spiritual coworkers. Read the only passages that feature Priscilla:
- Acts 18:2: “And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome: ) and came unto them.”
- Acts 18:18: “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.”
- Acts 18:26: “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
- Romans 16:3: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:”
- 1 Corinthians 16:19:“The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
- 2 Timothy 4:19: “Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.”
Supposedly, since Priscilla’s name “always” precedes Aquila’s name, she was the dominant one in the relationship (and thus, the Bible teacher of her family). That is simply not true, as a careful reading of the Bible text shows us. When first introduced to us, Aquila comes before Priscilla (Acts 18:2). In journeys, she appears first (Acts 18:18). When being greeted, she is first (Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19); when greeting others, she is second, after Aquila (1 Corinthians 16:19). In the case of teaching, Aquila comes first, then Priscilla (Acts 18:26). Priscilla never dominates her husband with respect to teaching ministry or family. Aquila leads in teaching, just as God the Holy Spirit tells us in 1 Timothy chapter 2, Ephesians chapter 5, and 1 Corinthians chapter 11.
- First Timothy chapter 2: “ Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
- Ephesians chapter 5:“ Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
- First Corinthians 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
Thus, a woman who takes the lead in a local assembly or marriage/family does so due t one of two reasons: (1) no man has the courage to guide the church or marriage/family so she dominates, or (2) a man is leading but her flesh compels her to compete against him. Even though neither situation is ideal, it is better to have the first than the latter. Someone has to lead, so if the man fails, then the woman will have to step in. When no man was willing to be used of God as a prophet (speaker), then He resorted to employing women/prophetesses (Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:36). If neither man nor woman were available, the LORD God spoke through a donkey (Numbers 22:28-30)!
We can learn a great deal by looking to our first parents, Adam and Eve. Eve did not submit to her husband’s spiritual headship, and he was unwilling to be her spiritual leader. Overall, they both failed to function in their God-given capacities. Hence, the human race fell into sin! If the local church does not learn this lesson, if the family does not learn this lesson, if the marriage does not learn this lesson, you can be sure trouble and destruction will abound (1 Timothy 2:11-15—quoted earlier)!
Genesis chapter 3: “ Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Adam did not remind his wife of what the LORD God told him (Genesis 2:16-17), and Eve did not ask Adam what God told him to tell her. Eve listened to Satan’s evil doctrine, and Adam stood there—and did nothing to stop her. In fact, Adam went right along with his wife—she led him, and he let her usurp his role! Absolutely, Priscilla knew better than to repeat the gross error of our mother Eve… and Aquila knew better than to repeat the gross error of our father Adam!