I would like to help my father and brother to know God and Jesus as they
are taught in the bible. Both of them are from a traditional
denomination. Can I as a woman study the Bible with men?


Let me answer you by giving a general rule or principle. There are many
and important exceptions to this rule, but you can use it as a starting
point. When you can find nothing in the Bible which precludes a
particular practice, then you can assume that this practice is probably
acceptable for you to do. This principle is supported by 1 Cor 6:12.
Here Paul quotes some other Christians by saying, “All things are
permissible for me.” Paul adds to this truth that, nevertheless, not all
things are beneficial.

Based on this principle, I believe it is certainly okay for a woman to
study the Bible on an individual basis with a man. When I think about it,
I can discover no scripture which outlaws this practice. Let us, however,
consider Paul’s follow-up advice. “‘All things are permissible’… but
not all things are beneficial.” It is our job to apply biblical
principles and common sense to decide what is best (Romans 12:1,2). In
the specific case, I believe that it may very well be “best” for you to
study the Bible with a man, especially if you are the only one available
to study with him. I would advise that this be a preliminary study of the
Bible. If possible, you should look for a way to introduce your father
and brother to a male Christian before long, for obvious reasons.
However, it is possible that you will not be able to do this. Using the
principle above, I believe it may be “best” for you to do most or even all
the studying with members of your family if you are far from anyone you
know who can step in.

Bottom line, there are no rules in the Bible about this. In this
situation, wisdom must apply. It clearly is better for you to study the
Bible with your brother if he knows no other disciple of Jesus. The Bible
teaches, and I have learned from experience, that when we apply man-made
rules, we do not glorify God or bring about the growth of his kingdom. As
Paul said, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with
their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment
of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgance.”
(Coll 2:23; please read the passage for context).

John Oakes

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