Matthew 10

1And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. 2Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and [a]Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4Simon the [b]Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Is there a Biblical principle that would have prevented Jesus from including women as part of the twelve or otherwise required that he would only choose men?

  • 1
    This passage only tells us what he did. I don't see how we can guess his motivations from it.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 20 at 3:46
  • 2
    Because there are twelve Hebrew patriarchs, to whom the twelve apostles are likened (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30).
    – Lucian
    Oct 20 at 4:27
  • 2
    What Jesus did, sets an example. Why he did it, he does not need to explain. It can only be a matter of opinion if one does not perceive the example he is setting forth.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 20 at 8:04
  • 1
    Because those were patriarchal societies, and the Lord’s concern was to spread message through the disciples and for that purpose at that time male disciples were appropriate. There were exceptions though, st. Thekla, St. Paul’s discipless, was a courageous and successful preacher, but exceptions prove rule. Oct 20 at 13:42
  • 1
    @Austin Your edit makes it sound like a systematic theology question, which is off-topic here.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 23 at 22:56

After the fall of Man (mankind), God placed the man in the position of authority. Sin meant that without an established order, differences would be unresolvable. Further, as the woman (Eve) had been the one to lead the man (Adam) into transgression, God saw fit to put her into subjection to him.

Paul explained this to Timothy just before instructing him in the qualifications for bishops and elders.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (1 Timothy 2:12, KJV)

For Adam was first formed, then Eve. (1 Timothy 2:13, KJV)

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Timothy 2:14, KJV)

In ordaining twelve disciples, Jesus was establishing the proper order for His church. This was to be the precedent by which the church should be modeled, with men in leadership. As regards the leadership, this was no different from the Old Testament times where men served as priests and kings.

But in the larger group of disciples, those not specially ordained by Jesus, women were included. Anyone can be a disciple of Christ, and anyone can be a prophet or prophetess, but God has chosen men to be the ordained elders of the church.

Paul clearly understood this gospel order which would give structure and stability to Christ's church, and, under inspiration, he wrote instructions to Timothy about how to establish this order in the churches.

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (1 Timothy 3:1, KJV)

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (1 Timothy 3:2, KJV)

Those instructions were written for our benefit as well.


Why did Jesus not choose some women to be part of the twelve disciples?

Because Jesus knew the kinds of sufferings that these disciples would go through and Jesus wanted to spare the women from these kinds of responsibilities.

From the eternal perspective, this is not really a sex issue or even a Jewish issue: why only twelve Jewish men? These were only temporal/physical issues.

From the perspectives of faith, baptism, and the Kingdom of God, it does not matter whether you are a man or woman, Galatians 3:

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

From the eternal perspective, that's the bottom line. Everything else was a sideline and temporary. Man’s dominance over woman was the consequence of sin in the Garden of Eden. It was not God’s original intent or eternal intent.

  • Galatians 3:28 applies, not to leadership, and certainly not to marriage (should one distinguish between "man" or "woman" in choosing a spouse?), but to faith and baptism. Any person of faith can be a child of God: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:26-27, KJV). The context is important.
    – Polyhat
    Oct 20 at 15:01
  • I added to clarify. Thanks :)
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 20 at 17:41

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