Paul, even with his views against women in positions of leadership, is not afraid to commend women who have “labored side by side with him” for the sake of the gospel. This is a profound statement given Paul’s views of women in leadership.
Romans 16 is another example. Take time to read the names that Paul publicly thanks and you will find women who are called “fellow workers” and “servants” of the church. It seems that Paul goes out of his way to thank those that the Lord has lifted up. He thanks the women that have labored and served in the building of the Kingdom.
There are many other examples of this in the New Testament. Women are valuable to the work of the church. As confessionally reformed churches, through our ministers and elders, we have stood on the New Testament principle of male leadership. But have we also stood on the principle which acknowledges the valuable role that women play in work of the church? Have we thanked the women of our congregations who invest in Kingdom work and labor? Have we used New Testament language like “fellow worker” or “ministered to the church” or “servant of the church”? These are important questions if we are going to be biblical about the roles of women in the church. It seems that too often we focus on what women can’t do, rather than what they can do in the life of the church.