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6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seems

6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seems

I recently listened to a sermon on 1 Timothy 2:12 given by a man who is a pastor of a relatively large church near where I live. Right at the beginning of his sermon, the man stated that 1 Timothy 2:12 is “fairly straightforward” and “uncomplicated”. He gave no indication, let alone an explanation, of the genuine interpretative difficulties of this and the following verses. Nor did he attempt to provide some kind of explanation of the context of 1 Timothy 2:12. Rather, he based his thoughts on an English translation:

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:12 (ESV)

The problem is, however, that 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as plain and simple as it appears in many English translations. This post looks at six factors which must be considered when interpreting 1 Timothy 2:12.

6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seemsFirst, epitrepō, which is typically translated as “allow” or “permit” in 1 Timothy 2:12, is consistently used in the Greek New Testament in the context of giving or asking for permission in an ad hoc, or specific and limited, situation. Similarly, the word is also used in the context of withholding permission in an ad hoc, or specific and limited, situation. Epitrepō was not the word typically used when making broad and definitive statements or universal injunctions.

Paul uses the word epitrepō just once in First Timothy. This occurrence is marked when compared with the language he uses elsewhere in this letter, including, for example, in 1 Timothy 6:17: “As for the rich in this present age, charge (or, command) them not to be haughty . . .” Paul uses this “command” word (verb: paraggellō; noun: paraggelia) seven times in 1 Timothy (1 Tim. 1:3, 5, 18; 4:11; 5:7; 6:13, 17 KJV). Paraggellō can also be translated as “prescribe” or “instruct” with a strong sense.

There is no “command” word or imperative force in 1 Timothy 2:12 in the Greek. Verse 11 is a written as a command, but verse 12 is not.

1 Timothy 2:12A second factor in understanding 1 Timothy 2:12 is working out why there is a switch from the plural for “men” and “women” in verses 8-10, to the singular “woman” and “man” in verses 11-12 (cf. 1 Tim 2:15). 1 Timothy 2:8-15 forms a section, so this switch from plural to singular is important to note.

Some suggest that Paul is speaking about a married couple in verses 11 and 12 (and 15). This may well be the case. I suspect, however, verses 11 and 12 (and 15) are speaking about an anonymous woman, perhaps like “Jezebel” who was teaching and leading astray Christians in the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:20ff). Paul’s remedy for such a situation is that a woman must learn, quietly (1 Tim. 2:11).

6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seemsThird, the fact that there is no definite article for “woman” or “man” in the Greek of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 makes these verses slightly ambiguous. A definite article can make it easier to understand if (or that) Paul had been writing about a specific woman, or a specific couple in these verses. The fact that there is no article, however, does not rule out the idea of a specific woman, or couple. (More on this here.) The functions of the definite article in Greek are more varied than in English; the implications of not having an article are also varied. (There is no indefinite article in Greek.) Some suggest that “woman” without an article in verse 12 is an anaphoric reference to Eve who is mentioned in the next verse, but I’m not convinced.

6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seemsFourth, I maintain that we cannot be sure why Paul chose to use the word authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12, and what precisely he meant by it. This word occurs nowhere else in the Greek New Testament. Authentein is not related to the more common Greek word for authority (exousia). And it is not etymologically related to the English word “authority” despite a superficial similarity.

Authentein may mean “to control” or “to dominate” in ancient Greek (Louw and Nida). The early church father John Chrysostom used the word (the exact form, authentei) in his tenth homily on Colossians where he wrote that husbands should not act this way towards their wives. (Scr. Eccl. vol 62, page 366, line 29. Source: TLG) This verb is translated as “act the despot” in the English translation of Chrysostom’s homily in Vol XIII of A Select Library of the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), 304. Authentein is unacceptable behaviour for a man or a woman.

Furthermore, unlike what some assert, there is nothing whatsoever in 1 Timothy 2:12 which indicates that Paul was somehow referring to ordination, and/or prohibiting a woman from holding a leadership office in the church at Ephesus. (Note also that a word meaning “over” is absent in the Greek of 1 Timothy 2:12, but is included in many English translations/interpretations.)

6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seemsFifth is the question of whether the words didaskein (“to teach”) and authentein are tied together to form a hendiadys. A hendiadys is where two words or phrases are combined to form one idea. Hendiadyses are common in the Old and New Testaments.

If 1 Timothy 2:12 contains a hendiadys, then Paul was not simply prohibiting a woman from teaching a man; rather, he was not allowing a certain kind of teaching from a woman. Perhaps he was not allowing a dominating kind of teaching, or a gnostic-like teaching. Perhaps he was not allowing the kind of teaching Jezebel of Thyatira was engaged in. (Revelation 2:20, which mentions “Jezebel”, contains a hendiadys: “teaching and leading astray”.)

If, on the other hand, 1 Timothy 2:12 does not contain a hendiadys, then didaskein (“to teach”) is not grammatically connected to the word for “man”; only authentein is connected to “man”. This is because didask– verbs and infinitives usually take an accusative object, while authent– verbs and infinitives take a genitive object, and the Greek word for “man” in 1 Timothy 2:12 is in the genitive case, andros.

If 1 Timothy 2:12 does not contain a hendiadys, and “to teach” is not connected to “a man”, then the prohibition of a woman teaching has nothing to do with the idea that women can’t teach men. Furthermore, since 1 Timothy 2:11 states that a woman must learn, it is reasonable to assume that the woman (or women) in question was not yet qualified to teach anyone: men, women, or children.

Whether 1 Timothy 2:12 contains a hendiadys or not, there is nothing to suggest Paul was disallowing sound teaching from an educated, well-behaved woman.

6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seemsSixth is the issue of translating the Greek noun hesuchia (ἡσυχία). This word occurs near the beginning of verse 11 and at the end of verse 12, thus forming an inclusio. (The related adjective occurs in 1 Tim. 2:2.)

γυνὴ ἐν συχί μανθανέτω ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ·
διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός,
ἀλλ’ εἶναι ἐν συχί.

There are two Greek verbs commonly used in the New Testament for “be silent” (siōpaō and sigaō) but the word in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is not related to them. Hesuchia refers more to a disposition of calmness, of tranquillity, and of being settled. It does not mean total silence. Nevertheless, a few English translations use, or have used, the word “silence/silent” (e.g. KJV, HCSB, NIV 1984, DR).

The repetition of the word hesuchia suggests there was a problem with an unruly, disruptive woman in the Christian community at Ephesus. Nevertheless, Paul was not saying that she should be completely silent. Rather, he wanted her to settle down, to learn in a submissive manner (the usual conduct of a good student), not to teach, and not to control a man (probably her husband).


Paul gave the instructions and advice contained in First Timothy to his young envoy Timothy who was looking after the congregation in Ephesus. The instructions and advice contained in the section 1 Timothy 2:8-15 are corrective and specific, rather than general. These eight verses address bad and unseemly behaviour among some Ephesian Christians: anger and disputing, expensive and inappropriate clothing, and, I suggest, heretical or unruly teaching. 1 Timothy 2:12 was written with a specific and local situation in mind, but the broader principle of this verse might be “bad or bossy teaching is not permitted.”

Taking 1 Timothy 2:12 at face value, with no understanding of the Greek or the verse’s context, can lead to a flawed interpretation. Tragically, many have applied a flawed understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12 to all women and all men for all time, with crippling consequences for women and men and the church.

Furthermore, the faulty understanding that no woman may ever teach any man does not take into consideration the broader biblical context. The Bible provides several examples of men who were guided by godly women, without any hint of censure. Apollos the teacher was corrected by Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus (possibly in the couple’s house church in Ephesus), and yet this does not seem to have been a problem. Rather it was a good thing.

Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:12 is not plain and simple, and it is misleading to suggest otherwise. The verses following 1 Timothy 2:12 contain even more exegetical challenges. We must not let a simplistic and faulty understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12—one that ignores the broader biblical context and New Covenant principles—stifle the ministry of women and the mission of the church. This was never Paul’s intention.

Related Articles

Why 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:12 are not universal regulations
Jezebel of Thyatira: A Female False Prophet
Chastity, Salvation, and 1 Timothy 2:15
More articles about 1 Timothy 2:12 here.
More articles about Priscilla here.

Further Reading: Defusing the 1 Timothy 2:12 Bomb by Gail Wallace (The Junia Project)

Posted August 3rd, 2016 . Categories/Tags: 1 Timothy 2:12, Equality and Gender Issues, The "Difficult" Passages, ,

Unkind, judgemental, bizarre, and off-topic comments will be deleted.

29 comments on “6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seems

  1. Gail says:

    Wow! There is some new learning for me here, about some of the Greek terms. I’m going to need to update that post you referenced! How hard was it to sit through that sermon? A sermon like that was what compelled me to start writing on this passage. Thanks for your persistent commitment to biblical scholarship.

    • Marg says:

      Thanks Gail.

      I listened to the sermon because a local friend asked me for my opinion on it. I was disappointed and dismayed with the sermon. There was so much to disagree with, especially the whole angle that 1 Timothy 2:12 is counter-cultural. I can’t see that 1 Timothy 2:12 is at all counter-cultural. And his way of addressing 1 Timothy 2:15 (if I remember rightly) was getting his wife up on stage to say that she had given up her career to care for her children. What on earth has that got do with verse 15 and the church at Ephesus?

      I truly wish 1 Timothy 2:12 was not the beginning and end of discussions on women in ministry, as it is for many people. It’s one verse which, when taken to apply to all women, contradicts several other verses.

      • Knut AK says:

        Hmmm, Marg, you aren’t always so good at seeing the point of others. Is 1 Tim 2:12 counter-cultural? Taken at face value in today’s western culture it certainly is. You, knowing so much about the Bible and history, automatically contrast the Bible with the cultures in which it was written. But many people, indeed many christians, most I believe, contrast it with their own culture. After all, this is the easiest and most immediate way of relating to the Bible. And when the Bible is so often referred to as «God’s word», that contributes to such an attitude. To say that the Bible is God’s word makes it sound like it was written directly by God directly to us today.

        As for v15, I think one complementarian interpretation is that if a woman is to keep her faith, she needs to be «womanly», which means marrying, staying at home and having children. The verse is interpreted to say that being «womanly» (by having children) somehow supports a woman’s faith, and that faith then saves. That’s why the pastor had her wife saying what she said.

        Indeed, while a complementarian understanding comes easily from the text in english translations, no egalitarian understanding comes equally easily, and egalitarians also seem unable to agree on a single, convincing understanding of the text. As long as that is the case, the problems with this text will continue.

        • Marg says:

          Knu AK, I do understand what he was trying to say. However if 1 Timothy 2:12 is understood as not allowing bad teaching, which I believe is the more correct interpretation, then there is nothing counter-cultural about this verse. We should still be disallowing bad teaching.

        • Marg says:

          My whole premise is that 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as many believe it to be. I acknowledge that this verse does not lend itself easily to an egalitarian or a patriarchal/complementarian understanding. And the usual understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12, as somehow applicable to all women and all men for all time, is questionable.

          I also acknowledge that there is no consensus among egalitarians as to how 1 Timothy 2:12 should be interpreted. Similarly there is no consensus among hierarchical complementarians about how this verse should be implemented. In fact, there is a wide variety of ideas among complementarians about what the parameters of this verse are, or should be.

          Problems with this text will indeed continue, as we do not precisely who, why, and what Paul was writing about.

          There are plenty of other New Testament verses (and pre-fall verses) that show that the New Covenant ideal is equality and mutuality between all of God’s people, regardless of gender, etc. It’s a great pity that these verses are not the starting point for discussion on women in ministry.

      • Knut AK says:

        Part of my point is that so many seem unable to relate to difficulties with a passage, or to what can be seen more indirectly from other passages. They want a short passage that speaks to an issue as directly as possible.

        How about trying to reach an egalitarian consensus? Something that can influence the next edition of various bible translations? NIV 2021?

        And «bad teaching»…. Paul doesn’t qualify the word «teach». And his alternative isn’t «good teaching», but quietness.

        I wonder if you have seen this post by one Mark Francois?:

        • Marg says:

          The difficulties are real, and I don’t think we are doing anyone a favour by simplifying a verse that we don’t truly understand. I don’t think a consensus on the precise meaning of 1 Timothy 2:12 will happen anytime soon, unless we uncover some long lost ancient information about the verse or about authentein, hidden in a monastery or Egyptian sands, etc.

          We need to remember that 1 Timothy 2:12 is one verse–one verse written to a local congregation with it’s own specific problems. We have many other verses which inform us about the ministry of women. So I don’t think a precise understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12 is necessary . . . but it would be nice.

          If didaskein and authentien form a hendiadys, as I believe they do, then “teach” is qualified. (Also, in the Pastorals, adjectives such as “sound”, “fine”, “godly”, etc, are often used to distinguish the good teaching from the prevalent false teaching.)

          Paul doesn’t only give the alternative of quietness; he says that he is not allowing the teaching, and his remedy is that a woman must learn and be quiet. Furthermore, the following verses give us a hint as to the content of the bad teaching. (A lot hinges on how we translate gar in verse 13. While gar can be used to introduce a reason, it can also be used to introduce additional information that doesn’t include a reason or a “because” (e.g. Matt. 3:3; John 4:44; Acts 15:21).)

          I’m aware of several articles by Mark Francois, including the one you’ve linked and his article on teshuqah.

  2. Erin says:

    Hi Gail, How would you address Tim: 2:12 in relation to Tim 2:13-14? Your knowledge and wisdom is very much appreciated. Thanks!

  3. Gloria Boone says:

    I really appreciate all of your work on this. Lots of great information to absorb. My question is: which translation or translations would you suggest for someone who does not have the knowledge you have. I’m willing to learn but need to begin simply. Hope this makes sense.

    • Marg says:

      Hi Gloria, the question about English translations comes up all the time.

      For many reasons, no translation can perfectly capture the original author’s intent. This is one reason why it is good to read and interpret the Bible in a community, even an online community.

      Most of the well-known and more recent translations are excellent. The NRSV and NIV 2011 are very good.

  4. Darryl says:

    I appreciate you dealing with the problem of backgrounds and “pretty straight forward” texts. NOTHING older than 1,000 years written in three languages and from a variety of Ancient cultures is straight forward!) 8^)

    Simplicity is great as a life style and all, but being simplistic is just not appropriate for ancient texts.

    Actually, I think there is something else going on here. Gnosticism was a second century phenomenon and I believe Paul isn’t dealing with it–or even a proto-gnositicism (we could get into the whole “is this a letter of Paul debate” but let’s not–just for argument’s sake, ok?).

    Your previous post discusses Artemis (which was an excellent post, too). Remember this is Ephesus and what is the major cult in Ephesus?

    Dr. Gary Hoag suggests–when paired with the “immodest apparel” (1 Tim 2:9, 10) this fits with Xenophon’s Ephesiaka (now recognized as a first century document) which describes participants of the cult of Artemis. Paul is saying, you’ve come out of that culture, quit carrying it into the assembly–ladies, don’t try to take it all over.

    (Also, Katherine Kroegen posits that the noun authentes means to originate–however, there are several Greek scholars who might be sympathetic but disagree. I am not a Greek scholar so I’ll just leave it there).

    The salvation in child bearing relates to the fear that if you denied Artemis (goddess of birth) that you would die in child-birth.

    As I mentioned I’m no scholar and Greek is very rusty, so I won’t attempt to read Xenophon, but I’d love to find a decent English translation (any suggestions?).

    • Marg says:

      Hi Darryl, I’ve only read Ben Witherington’s posts where he discusses Gary Hoag’s book. So far I have been unable to borrow the book in Australia.

      I’ve read Ephesiaka, and it does make a difference to our understanding of first century Ephesus if we regard it as a first century novel, rather than a later work.

      There certainly were some strong and prominent women in the first century. We can see that in the book of Acts (Acts 13:15; 17:12; etc). (The apocryphal Acts also has several strong female characters in it.)

      I have thought long and hard about the influence of Artemis on the the Ephesian church. For a long time I was inclined to believe that Artemis was behind the reference to salvation, or safety, in childbirth. It is a possible explanation, but I now hold, somewhat tenuously, to a different view. I discuss this different view here: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/chastity-salvation-1-timothy-215/

      I’m reluctant to use the word “Gnostic” and “Gnosticism” for syncretistic heresies before the second century. However, Wolters regards Cerinthus (late 1st century) as a Gnostic. Wolters notes that the cognate nouns of authentein are used in writings about Cerinthus and Saturninus of Antioch (early 2nd century). We have at least one piece of evidence that Cerinthus visited Ephesus, but I don’t know how reliable this information is, even if it is repeated by Irenaeus and Eusebius of Caesarea. I think “gnostic-like” is a reasonable description of the heresy in Ephesus.

      I read Ephesiaka online, but I can’t find the source just now. If/when I find it, I’ll post the link below.

  5. Warwick Badham says:

    Hi Marg, Good article. I appreciate your humble approach to this subject and investigative spirit, only in this way can we come to a better understanding of certain verses which has been hindered by a complementarianist mindset. I recently did a lesson on Acts 2 and one of my points was ‘The announcement of gender and racial equality’, Acts 2:17-18, 39.
    God bless, Warwick

    • Marg says:

      Hi Warwick,

      The first ‘announcement’ of humanity (in Genesis 1), and the first ‘announcement’ of ministry the church (Acts 2) sound very egalitarian.

      In Genesis 1, men and women have the same status, the same authority, and the same function. In Acts 2, men and women have the same Holy Holy Spirit who equips us and qualifies us for ministry. 🙂

  6. Peter Carrell says:

    I suggest this is a strained way to approach v. 12. There is no such strain in reading it in conjunction with the remainder of 1 Timothy, also Titus, as a simple, direct prohibition of women teaching men and exercising authority over men (which is a simple implication of the supporting argument in vv. 13-14).

    The questions I ask of these verses are whether they are consistent with other Pauline report and talk of women involved in teaching and speaking ministries (e.g. 1 Corinthians 11, 14; Priscilla, etc) and whether the supporting argument in vv. 13-14 is actually an argument that anyone, including complementarians, wish to stand up and proclaim. I answer No to the first question and hope the answer to the second is No (on the grounds that, again, a straightforward reading of the argument in vv. 13-14 is that all women are inherently gullible and prone to deceive men).

    Accordingly, cutting to a conclusion, 1 Tim 2:11-15 represents either a late Paul or an interpreter of Paul reneging on the (early) Paul of mutual gendered ministry and leadership, and possibly also responsible for the intrusion of vv. 34-35 in 1 Cor 14. The NT does not resolve a tension between a vision of the kingdom in which the true equality of men and women in creation according to Genesis 1:27-28 is redeemed and restored according to Galatians 3:28 and a vision of the kingdom in which men are ordered above women in both creation (Genesis 2) and in the new creation (so 1 Timothy 2).

    Somehow we need to live together this side of glory!

    • Marg says:

      Hi Peter, I am a huge advocate in reading verses within their context. I maintain that 1 Timothy 2:12, and the following verses, are tricky even when read within the context of 1 Timothy and the other Pastorals.

      The instructions and advice given in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 are corrective and specific, rather than general. These verses address bad and unseemly behaviour among the Ephesian Christians: anger and disputing, expensive and inappropriate clothing, and, I suggest, heretical and/or unruly teaching. (I’ve just now added this paragraph to my main post.)

      Christians have always had differences of opinions on certain matters. I think we need to be able to express these differences, discuss them fairly, and listen. I do not see that differences, unless unkindness and injustice is involved, or outright heresy, is a problem.

      By the way, I suspect a later date to the Pastoral Epistles than is usually given by those who strongly believe Paul is their author.

      Also, I have heard, on dozens of occasions, people assert that the supposed innate gullibility of women (their interpretation of 13-14) is the reason for their understanding of verse 12. Even Guthrie, in his commentary, gives female gullibility as his reason for the prohibition in verse 12. This is despite the fact that nowhere in the (Protestant) Bible are women, as a group, described as gullible or somehow less capable than men.

      Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts, even if I mine don’t match yours in every detail.

  7. judy says:

    “faulty understanding that no woman may ever teach any man”

    Aside from the utter belief some have that this is the true understanding of a man’s place in the church it is neither historically true nor logically possible.

    Women have continually taught men from the beginning, in both word and action. Women have taught as role models as well as by example as well as by word, writing and action. There are many ways to skin a cat and teaching is the same. In fact, it is simply impossible for women NOT to teach men.

    To apply the generally understood and faulty understanding to formal instruction alone in the church and college is therefore ridiculous and if it were not taken so seriously, amusing in its childishness. Today women are also teaching by ‘leaving’ churches in large numbers. I guess if the men don’t learn by that instruction then the future churches will have more of a mens’ club atmosphere than they do today. I for one have no more interest in the mens’ clubs of today they call churches, where I am not a part, aside from functioning as a silent donor.

    In the end, I have been weaned from all churches by the further ongoing insistence on pagan practices that result in sitting in a closed hall silently allowing one person to hold sway while many restlessly wander in their minds or sleep. It has finally become apparent to me that fellowship is not possible in the church of today on the level of the early church, and I mean to put it right by having my own fellowships 3-4 times a year as the Spirit leads, in my home, each person having equal part in leadership…and it really works well…but very differently.

  8. Donald Johnson says:

    Thanks for this summary.

    On point 6, I think you mean inclusio rather than chiasm. The repetition forms an inclusio and if you really mean chiasm, you should show it.

    On “a woman” a noun without an article is called an anarthrous moun and has about 50 pages in Wallace’s Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics. “A woman” is one possible translation, but there are 2 others.

    I think it would be useful to go thru each word in 1 Tim 2:12 and show the translation choices.

    • Marg says:

      Hi Don, I looked again and I can still see a chiasm on this page in point 6. But I’m happy for it to be considered an inclusio instead.

      I’ll take a look at Wallace. Thanks for this!

    • Marg says:

      I had a chance to look at Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (1996) and his information on the gnomic present verb where he mentions 1 Timothy 2:12 (pp. 523-525).

      Wallace states “there are two predominant semantic situations in which the gnomic present occurs”: (1) in a statement that is true all the time (e.g. statements about God); and (2) in a statement that is true any time. He also states “the action or state continues without time limits” in statements which include a gnomic present verb. How does this fit 1 Timothy 2:12? Paul is deceased and is no longer able to deny permission at any time.

      The following snippets, all taken from examples given by Wallace (I have not omitted any) illustrate the universal or general nature of the subject of supposed gnomic verbs: everyone who divorces (Matt.5:32); no one (Mark 2:21); every tree (Luke 3:9); every person (John 2:10); the wind (John 4:38); The Most High (Acts 7:48); God (2 Cor. 9:7); every house (Heb. 3:4); everyone (1 John 2:23); everyone (1 John 3:3); God (1 John 3:20). Wallace also cites 1 Cor. 9:9 and Gal. 3:13 which are statements quoted from the OT and are gnomic in nature. Even 1 John 3:6, 9, given as debateable examples have the generic idea of “everyone”.

      Given the pattern we see in these examples, it is hard to understand why Wallace includes 1 Timothy 2:12 as a debateable example of the gnomic present. Paul does not qualify as a universal or generic subject. He is not everyone, or no one, or God, or the ubiquitous wind. Strange. And I think “woman” does not qualify either.

  9. David Matthews says:

    Thanks for the insights. I have always questioned the reasons for the claim that this verse is simple to understand and also the claim that one verse/statement in the NT should be taken as being totally authoritative for the way the Church runs. My answer has always been that it is entirely based on the male desire to dominate.

    • Marg says:

      I think 1 Timothy 2:12 does read fairly simply in English translations, especially if what has become the traditional interpretation is played out every Sunday in church services. What we see and experience often has more influence on our ideas than words on page, even pages of the Bible. But I do wonder why people can’t see that the traditional interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12 is not supported by many other verses where we read of a godly and capable woman leading and directing men.

      I think many Christians hold to their view of 1 Tim 2:12 because they believe it is the right one, and that they are pleasing God if they hold to this belief. I understand this. What I don’t understand is men who push their point of male-only authority quite aggressively with no feelings of discomfort or embarrassment.

      • judy says:

        “What I don’t understand is men who push their point of male-only authority quite aggressively with no feelings of discomfort or embarrassment.”..

        Hi Marg…yes that is strange to a woman, but likely less strange to a man…we take authority with respect, men often take authority as if they are entitled to it…but why no feelings of discomfort or embarrassment?

        Well my theory is that, as Christians, they have missed the message, period. They don’t know that “you have one master, even Christ and all ye are brethren”…they don’t know that we are told to “in honour prefer one another”…they don’t know that we are to “submit one to another in the fear of God” and they don’t know that God said “Is not My way equal, is not your way unequal?”….they simply only know their tradition and have missed much of the Bible in the teaching they have received. In fact they don’t know that Jesus said “it shall NOT BE SO AMONG YOU”. They simply need to go back to Bible school…a good one that teaches the Bible contextually and REALLY comparing scripture with scripture…not just saying they do…’for they say and do not’…and we know about whom Jesus said that!

  10. Kristin says:

    Here are some issues that I don’t understand concerning the thinking of those who hold dogmatically, unflinchingly to the doctrine that women cannot teach or minister to men.
    1. Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China. One of the greatest Christians ever, in my opinion. Her missionary ministry in China began with her and the older woman she worked with running an inn and taking in mule drivers who regularly passed their inn. These mule drivers were all men. Gladys and the other woman would feed these men, take care of their mules, and after the men had eaten, tell them stories from the bible and teach them about Jesus Christ. So here were two women teaching men. Why was that allowed if God forbids it? Gladys led many, many people to the Lord, including many men.
    2. My pastor when I lived in Virginia was a woman. Hands down, one of the most anointed preachers of the Word I’ve ever heard. She regularly travels to both India and the Philippines to minister and to train church leaders. This is at God’s leading, not because she loves traveling. The men in those countries absolutely soak up her teaching. They love when she comes to teach and minister in their churches. Why are they okay with Cyndi being a woman and teaching them? Why does it mainly seem to be men in Western churches who have a problem with it?

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