The General Synod of the Church of England voted by large majority on Monday (288 votes to 144) to adjourn the debate, until November.
Pro-women campaigners objected to an amendment to the draft law allowing parishes who do not accept women bishops to request a male bishop.
The amendment, agreed by the Synod's House of Bishops in May, contained a provision for parishes who object to women bishops to request that they be placed under the care of a male bishop. But it also specified that the replacement bishop should exercise their ministry in accordance with the parish's opinions on the issue.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said that an adjournment would not be a "panacea" but would give a chance to "lower the temperature" within the Church of England over the dispute.
"When there is a reaction of real hurt and offence in the Church, Christians, and Christian pastors in particular, cannot afford to ignore it... If other bishops feel as I do, they will need to examine themselves and feel appropriate penitence that they did not recognise just how difficult that was going to be."
The bishops of the Church of England will reconsider the amendment over the summer, with the legislation set to return for final approval in November.
The Church of England approved the ordination of women priests in 1992. There has now been 12 years of work on legislation to allow women bishops.
Source: Church of England