Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

1 Timothy 2:12 in Context (Part 5)

1 Timothy 2:13-15 – The Creation and Salvation of Woman

1 Timothy 2:12 in Context (Part Five): 1 Timothy 13-15 - The Creation and Salvation of Women

I recommend reading parts 1-4 of 1 Timothy 2:12 in Context first.

1 Timothy 2:13-14

“For it was Adam who was first formed and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived[1] but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” (NASB)

Many Christians assert that the reason women cannot be leaders and teachers of men is because the man was created first and then the woman. These people believe that implicit in the creation order is a leadership order. Yet neither leadership nor submission is acknowledged or even hinted at in anyway in Genesis 2, or in the other biblical creation accounts, and I do not believe this is what Paul was getting at in 1 Timothy 2:13. [My article on The Complementarian Concept of “The Created Order” here.]

But before I relate what I think Paul may have been saying in verses 13 and 14, let’s have a look at the creation accounts of the Adam and Eve. (See also Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6-8.)

Genesis 5:1-2. In these verses we read that God created “man”, that is, human beings, in his likeness: “He created them male and female and blessed them and named them “adam” in the day he created them” (Gen. 5:2). Note that the Hebrew word adam means a “human being” and does not necessarily refer to a male human being. When used as a proper noun, Adam is a man’s name, but in Genesis 5:1-2, “adam” clearly refers to both male and female humans. There is no hint of a “creation order” here.

Genesis 1:27-28. In these two verses, again we see that humans, both male and female, were created in God’s image. God blessed them and said to them subdue the earth and rule over creation. There is no mention of a “creation order” distinction here either. There is also no mention that humans are to rule each other.

Genesis 2:21-24. This passage contains the account of the creation of Eve that Paul is referring to in 1 Timothy 2:13. Here we read that the first woman was made from a part taken out of the first human being (Gen. 2:23b)—she had already been a part of the first human in some way. When Adam woke from his deep sleep, something was missing, something was different. Something of his had been taken and given to the first woman.[2] The first man was no longer exactly the same person as he was when he had fallen asleep![3]

The whole purpose of the narrative in Genesis 2:21-24 is to emphasise the equality and interdependence of man and woman, husband and wife.[4] When the man looked at his new partner he exclaimed that she was “flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone”. How much more equal can you get?

But to further emphasise the point, Genesis 2:24 says that when a husband and wife join in marriage they become one flesh. God’s ideal at creation was that the husband and wife be equal, compatible, and rule over nature together (Gen. 1:26-28). Gender equality, or mutuality, is the godly ideal we should aim for.

To say that Paul is using the creation order of male first and female second to create a chain of command is entirely missing the point of Genesis 2:21-24 which is of equality, affinity and unity. So what was Paul trying to say in 1 Timothy 2:13-14?

I suggest that Paul was using the teaching of Genesis 2:21-24 to correct a few of the false teachings circulating at Ephesus. These false teachings were that the “Gnostic” Eve was created first and then Adam; and that it was Adam who had been deceived. Paul corrects this with: “For it was Adam who was formed first and then Eve, and it was not Adam who was deceived but Eve . . .” (Italics added.)

The “for” (gar) in verse 13 is taken by many to mean that Paul is giving the creation order and Eve’s deception as his reasons for his prohibition in verse 12. However the “for” could also be used to introduce Paul’s correction of aspects of the false teaching at Ephesus. The Greek word gar is used in a variety of ways in the New Testament, and it is not unusual for it to introduce new information that is obliquely, and not directly, related to the preceding verses (e.g. John 4:43-45, especially v.44; Acts 15:20-21, especially v.21). What a difference it would make if gar was translated as “moreover”, or “now”, as it is in the NIV translation of John 4:44.

Paul goes on in verse 15 to correct another false, Gnostic teaching.

1 Timothy 2:15

“Yet she will be saved through childbearing provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.” 1 Timothy 2:15 NRSV

One suggestion for interpreting verse 15  is to take into consideration that some Ephesian women may have been looking to Artemis  for help during childbirth children. However it is not through Artemis, or even Eve, that women are kept safe[5] through childbirth, but by remaining in faith, love, and moral purity with self restraint—godly behaviour. The problem with this idea is that even godly, Christian mothers can die in childbirth, even in this day and age.

It is more likely that Paul’s real meaning here was that he wanted the Christian women of Ephesus to know that getting married, having sex, and having children (a clear indication that a woman has had sex) would not jeopardise their salvation, as some ascetics taught. (Early Christian literature shows that early Christians placed an importance on the “purity” of celibacy and virginity. More on this here.)

Paul cleverly associates having children with moral purity and self restraint. He associates moral purity with childbearing because some people within the Ephesian church were forbidding marriage and teaching that celibacy was a necessary virtue (1 Tim. 4:3a). Furthermore, in 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul encourages young widows to get married and have children, which they couldn’t do if they held to the ascetic ideal of virginity and celibacy.

Different gnostic groups emphasised either sexual licentiousness or asceticism.[6] Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2:15 in effect, cleverly corrects both gnostic extremes.[7] On one hand, he doesn’t want the Ephesian women to become ascetic and then be concerned that they will lose their salvation if they slip up and have sex and become pregnant. On the other hand, he doesn’t want couples to be promiscuous. He wants them to have self restraint. (More on 1 Timothy 2:15 here.)

By understanding the possible influences of Artemis and an emerging form of gnosticism, or syncretistic heresy, on the Ephesian church, suddenly these few verses in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 make more sense and become coherent.

Conclusion

Paul’s prohibition about an unknown woman (or women) in Ephesus has effectively caused countless godly and gifted women to be denied the opportunity of ministering with men as equals. This is despite the fact that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is difficult to understand, and that various suggestions have been put forth to help explain Paul’s meaning and intention. Not only are there various ways to interpret this passage, different churches also apply it in various ways. If Paul’s instruction is clear, as some suggest, why is there such a variety of applications?[8] These difficulties and uncertainties should preclude 1 Timothy 2:12 from being used as a definitive text or proof text on the issue of women in ministry.

Moreover, Paul’s prohibition was in a personal letter concerning a local church experiencing its own particular problems. The language shows that it was not intended to be a universal, timeless ban on all women as teachers or leaders, especially as Paul loved women. They were among his most valued co-workers—women such as Priscilla, Junia, Phoebe, Euodia and Syntyche, plus many others.

The Church needs to realise that this single verse—1 Timothy 2:12—does not represent a scriptural consensus on the issue of  women and leadership, and that it cannot, reasonably, be applied to prohibit or restrict women who are called and equipped by God to be Christian leaders or teachers.


Endnotes

 [1] The deception of Eve is a familiar theme of those who say that the New Testament teaches that women can’t be leaders or teachers, and yet Eve is never mentioned again in the Old Testament and only mentioned twice in the New Testament, in 1 Timothy 2:13 and 2 Corinthians 11:3. In 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 Paul warns the Corinthian Christians, both men and women, to be more careful about being deceived and believing false teachings. [My article Women, Eve and Deception here.]

Interestingly, the same people who disallow women from teaching men, generally allow them to teach other women and children. If women are so gullible and have a propensity towards deception, why are they allowed to teach other (supposedly) gullible women and impressionable children?  [My article on Women, Teaching and Deception here.]

[2] While traditionally we say that Eve was made from one of Adam’s rib, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 2:21-22 for “rib” may be translated simply as “part”. This narrative, whether taken literally or symbolically, was written to show how similar and mutually dependant Adam and Eve were: that Eve was made from a part of the first human being and that the parts were reunited when the couple were joined in marriage.

[3] The first human being was not necessarily male. God is not male either, he is a spirit and genderless. The reason why God is referred to with masculine pronouns was possibly to make a clear distinction between himself, the God of Israel, and the great mother goddess that was a common deity in the ancient Near East. [My article Is God Male or Masculine? here. And my article Human (Ha’adam), Man (Ish) and Woman (Ishshah) in Genesis 2 is here. ]

[4] The biblical account of the creation of Eve in Genesis 2, which highlights the inherent equality, affinity, and unity of the first man and woman, is profoundly different to the creation accounts of women from other religions and cultures, where the woman is seen as an adversary and temptation to men, and inferior to men.

[5] Different Bible versions translate this verb as “be preserved” (NASB), “be saved” (NIV) or “kept safe”. This verb frequently refers to salvation in the New Testament, including 1 Timothy, but it is also used in other parts of the New Testament to simply mean physical health and wholeness. [My article Chastity, Salvation and 1 Timothy 2:15 here, and What must a woman do to be saved? here.]

[6] Abstinence and “unbiblical asceticism arose out of a mistaken notion that the material world was evil—a central belief of the Gnostic heresy.”  Kaiser (2005:1958)

[7] Asceticism is no longer a problem for most churches, so the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:15 does not have a contemporary application.

[8] Andrew Wilson has identified twelve ways that 1 Timothy 2:12 has been understood and applied in the church. I think there are even more. (I do not agree with Andrew Wilson’s position on the understanding and application of 1 Timothy 1:12.) [My article Questions about how to Implement 1 Timothy 2:12 here.]

© 8th of December, 2009; Margaret Mowczko

Image: Creation of Eve; marble relief on the left pier of the façade of the cathedral, Orvieto, Italy. © Georges Jansoone 2008 (Source: Wikipedia)


1 Timothy 2:12 in Context:

Part 1 – Using 1 Timothy 2:12 as a Proof Text
Part 2 – Understanding the Ephesian Culture
Part 3 – The Heresy in the Ephesian Church
Part 4 – 1 Timothy 2:11-12, Phrase by Phrase
Bibliography


Related Articles

Chastity, Salvation, and 1 Timothy 2:15
1 Timothy 2:13: Another reason 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seems
A Suitable Helper

The Complementarian Concept of “The Created Order”
Adam and Eve in Gnostic Literature, and 1 Timothy 2:13-14
Women, Eve and Deception
Women, Teaching and Deception
The Prominence of Women in the Cultic Life of Ephesus
Questions about how to implement 1 Timothy 2:12
The Consensus and Context of 1 Timothy 2:12
1 Timothy 2:15: What must a women do to be saved?

Posted April 17th, 2013 . Categories/Tags: Equality and Gender Issues, Equality in Ministry, Gender in Genesis 1-3, The "Difficult" Passages, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

17 comments on “1 Timothy 2:12 in Context (Part 5)

  1. Cameron Blair says:

    Dear Marg,

    Thanks again for these thought provoking words. I thoroughly agree that we are created equally in God’s sight because both male and female are made in the image of God. But the creation account does show an important difference between male and female. A difference which you seem intent on denying. This difference is that the man is indeed created first (Gen 2:7, cf. 1 Tim 2:13) to work and to keep the garden (Gen 2:15), that the man is given the command not to eat from the tree (Gen 2:16) and that he is to name the animals (Gen 2:20). The woman is clearly and obviously created second as his helper (Gen 2:20-23). The clear implication of Genesis is that it was the man’s responsibility as the “first-formed” to lead the work of the garden and to pass on the commands of God to his wife so that she could help him in the task of ruling the garden correctly. This difference between the roles of the man and the woman does by no means mean that females are lesser human beings – I have already acknowledged that they are equal in God’s sight – what it does mean is that we have been given different, complimentary roles by God that we are required to fulfil as creatures made in his image, made to reflect his glory.

    It is important to note that the curse comes because the serpent deceived the woman who then led the man so that together they broke the command not to eat from the tree thus inverting the created order established by God. In other words the man is the one who fails to lead his wife by not stopping her from eating from the tree. We can see that it was the man’s responsibility to lead in this regard because when God discovers their sin, it is the man that he confronts first not the woman!

    This is the point of what Paul is saying here in 1 Timothy – women are to not to rebel against or reject or usurp male authority and leadership in the church because that is exactly how the curse came upon the world in the first place in that very first “church” in the garden. To appeal to some gnostic teaching which some have questioned did not exist until the second or third century AD as the reason why Paul writes this is just speculation. What the actual text seems to suggest was that the false teachers were saying to the women of the church is that now you have become free in Christ and are able to learn you can now throw off all those old out-moded ways of behaving and take matters into your own hands. Paul is instead saying that those in the church must not reject God’s good order of things and acknowledge the different roles he has given us (see 1 Timothy 4:1-4).

    Now I must acknowledge though that there is a degree of speculation in my suggestion also, but whatever the false teaching was, Paul prohibition of women teaching or having authority over men is based on his appeal to the creation order and it is therefore a timeless universal truth that cuts across every particular culture and it’s false teaching from any age.

    It has even been suggested that the grammar of 1 Tim 2:12 also shows the universal and timeless truth of Paul’s prohibition. NT Greek Scholar Daniel B. Wallace argues, albeit tentatively, that the “I do not permit” maybe what’s called a “Gnomic Present”. A gnomic present as a verb which “refers to a general timeless fact”.

    In short, Paul’s reason for prohibiting women from teaching or having authority over men is based not on some temporal cultural practice but on a timeless universal truth of the good ordering of God’s creation. We deny this order to our peril!

    So we must be very careful about playing the cultural card when interpreting the Bible in case we fall into the trap letting our presuppositions rule our interpretation instead of the spiritually inspired word of God.

    I should say that I am totally in favour of women teaching – other women (Titus 2:3). With the majority of the church being female, there is much ministry to be done by woman to women.

    I would appreciate your repsonse on the comments I have made.

    Cameron Blair

    • Marg says:

      Hi Cameron,

      Did we meet at Create09?

      Thanks for your comments. Just to clarify, I am not denying that men and women are different; in fact I believe that their general and specific differences are important for healthy and functional family life and church life. We need both husband and wife, and men and women, in leadership in the home and in church for maximum effectiveness. However I do not believe that the creation accounts highlight the difference you are referring to.

      In all the creation accounts, bar one, it simply says that men and women were created . . . It is only in one creation account (Genesis 2:20-24) that we are told that one person was created first and then another. I speculate that the first human-being created may not even necessarily have been male before the creation of the women. It does not say that he was male. (Adam simply means a human-being in Hebrew. See Genesis 5:1-2) Why would one human-being, alone, have been made male? When the first human being woke from his sleep in Genesis 2:21-22, a part of him had been taken and given to the woman. As I said in my article, Eve was already there as a part of the first human being in some way. Whether you take this Creation narrative literally or figuratively, it is all about showing the equality and mutual interdependance of men and women, both made in the image of God.

      I have written another article entitled “A Suitable Helper” about Eve being a helper, so I won’t comment here about it.

      You wrote: “It is important to note that the curse comes because the serpent deceived the woman who then led the man so that together they broke the command not to eat from the tree thus inverting the created order established by God. In other words the man is the one who fails to lead his wife by not stopping her from eating from the tree. We can see that it was the man’s responsibility to lead in this regard because when God discovers their sin, it is the man that he confronts first not the woman!” Your interpretation on this event is completely based on assumptions that are not stated or corroborated anywhere in Scripture. God confronted Eve also, and she gave God the more straight forward and honest reply; and she didn’t try to blame God for her sin (Genesis 2:12-13). To try and make a major doctrine from who God confronts first seems irresponsible. And I wouldn’t say that offering a piece of forbidden fruit to your mate constitutes leadership or inverts a Creation order.

      I firmly believe that Jesus came to rescue us from the curse of sin and its consequences. Male domination was a result of sin (Genesis 3:16b), it was not present before the fall. The only leadership mentioned before the fall is of men and women being charged to rule over creation TOGETHER (Genesis 1:28). Are you suggesting that in New Covenant, Kingdom life only men can be leaders and teachers of groups of both men and women? Jesus first instructions after his resurrection from death was to Mary. Jesus fully trusted Mary with his profound message which she was to give to the brothers. (Matthew 28:9-10; John 20:17-18). Jesus trusted women, as did Paul, as able communicators in ministry. I am saddened that you distrust the ability of women as capable and competent messengers and ministers of the Gospel. Do you base this purely on Creation order? You do realise that animals were created before people?

      Gender has little to do with a person’s leadership ability. There are good and bad leaders of both genders; there are discerning and gullible people of both sexes. Spiritual leadership is a spiritual gift which the Holy Spirit gives as he determines (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:11).

      The implication “that it was the man’s responsibility as the “first-formed” to lead the work of the garden and to pass on the commands of God to his wife so that she could help him in the task of ruling the garden correctly” is far from being “clear” and is complete conjecture.

      Also there is no mention of leadership roles in 1 Timothy 4:1. 1 Timothy 2:12 simply cannot be a timeless prohibition against female teachers and leaders because several of Paul’s coworkers were women who functioned as leaders.

      I believe that it is extremely important to take into account the culture and situation of the original recipients of the New Testament letters where possible. We are so far removed from them in time and culture, that to assume we can take everything that was written to them at face value is naive.

      I would like to know what the “peril” is that you are referring to?

  2. Kate says:

    Hi Marg,

    You say that in verses 13-14 Paul is correcting a false teaching but I haven’t understood how you believe this relates to the prior verse. Verse 13 starts with an explanatory γὰρ which would indicate that what he is about to say is the reason for what was just said. It grammatically makes more sense to understand vs 13 & 14 as the truth which forms the basis of the command in vs 12, rather than a correction of false teaching.

    • Marg says:

      Hi Kate,

      While some claim that the “for” (gar) in 1 Tim 2:13 is a rationale for the previous verse(s) an alternative is that 1 Tim 2:13-14 is a repudiation of part of the false teaching at Ephesus.

      The reason why Paul was not allowing a woman to teach (v12) was because she was teaching or spreading false doctrines (v13-15). One false doctrine was that Eve was created first and then Adam. Paul corrects this by stating, “For (gar) it was Adam who was created first and then Eve. And then he goes on to address another false teaching in verse 15.

      As I stated in Part Three, one of the primary reasons for this letter to Timothy was Paul’s concern over false teaching in the Ephesian church.

      Gar is used in a variety of ways in the New Testament, and it is not unusual for its function to be ambiguous (e.g. Acts 15:20-21).

  3. Cameron Blair says:

    Dear Marg,

    Yes, we may well have met at Create ’09. If not then, we may have met at Create ’08 where, if I am not mistaken, you came to my Death by PowerPoint seminar. Hope you enjoyed our conferences.

    Thanks for responding to my comments, they have helped to further clarify in my mind your position on this important issue. In light of your comments, I don’t think it necessary nor constructive for me to restate the scholarly arguments that I have already presented on this matter. I do, however, not want you to misunderstand my position. While I do firmly believe, based on a plain reading of Scripture, that in the “New Covenant, Kingdom life only men can be leaders and teachers of groups of both men and women”, I am not for moment denying the abilities of women in teaching, nor do I discourage women from using their gifts of preaching and teaching. In fact in my work with university students, the majority of which are female, I am always looking for opportunities to nurture the gifts of these women in teaching other women. My concern in this present matter is that we not only we have right doctrine but that this right doctrine be accompanied by right practice.

    It has been good to dialogue with you on this matter. I wish you all the best in the future.

    • Marg says:

      Hi Cameron,

      I have enjoyed our brief dialogue also. I do hope that you may read the Genesis 2 creation account one day and see the tremendous level of equality and oneness between the sexes that is being emphasised there. Leadership is neither stated nor implied in Genesis 2; but it is in Genesis 1 where men and women are charged with ruling God’s creation together. But I am repeating myself . . .

      See you at Create10! All the best!

    • Geoff says:

      Cameron, I am amazed at how patient Marg is with you. Your argument is not ‘scholarly’, Cameron. It’s shallow. I feel sorry for any young woman or man who listens to your unthinking and ill informed approach to the Bible. Why don’t you take seriously, responsible scholarship that helps us understand what Paul was saying to the original audience?

  4. […] Eve’s deception is also mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:13-14.  While the meaning of these two verses in 1 Timothy is clear, the precise intent of these verses is far from clear.  We  cannot say with certainty the reason why Paul brought Adam and Eve into his discussion.  Paul, however, like other biblical authors, never states that women are more easily deceived than men.  Women were among Paul’s trusted ministry colleagues. […]

  5. NorrinRadd says:

    Hi Cam. I doubt you’re still around, but on the off chance that you are, I’m inclined to engage with your comments.

    From your second post:

    “In light of your comments, I don’t think it necessary nor constructive for me to restate the scholarly arguments that I have already presented on this matter.”

    Did you intend for that to come across as condescending and passive-aggressive as it sounded? You evince no recognition that the egalitarian view might also have scholarly arguments on its side. More importantly, you do not acknowledge the ones Marg actually presented.

    From your first post:

    “I thoroughly agree that we are created equally in God’s sight because both male and female are made in the image of God. But the creation account does show an important difference between male and female. A difference which you seem intent on denying. This difference is that the man is indeed created first (Gen 2:7, cf. 1 Tim 2:13)”

    If you read some of Marg’s other articles, including the one she linked about the Creation Order, you would see that she does not “deny” that Adam was created first, but she does cite reasons to question whether “ish” was created first, or whether “ish” and “ishah” were both present in Adam, and became distinct simultaneously around 2:23.

    “to work and to keep the garden (Gen 2:15),”

    One wonders if you are implying something along the lines that ONLY the “man” (in contrast to the woman) is to “work.” Of course interpreting it that narrowly would also mean that we are to ONLY participate in agrarian lifestyles.

    “that the man is given the command not to eat from the tree (Gen 2:16) and that he is to name the animals (Gen 2:20).”

    There is no “he is to” about naming the animals, as if it were a command of God.

    Also, I have to wonder if you are one who sees the “naming” as an act of “authority,” and so also sees “ish” naming “ishah” as an act of authority. If so, the next thing I wonder is how you find the point of balance between on the one hand man and woman being (you claim) equal in value, and on the other hand woman being in the same class as the animals.

    “The woman is clearly and obviously created second as his helper (Gen 2:20-23).”

    It is perhaps less “clear and obvious” in other translations, e.g. the NET (“companion who corresponds to him”) or ISV (“companion that is a suitable match for him”). I recommend you check out Marg’s articles, “Suitable Helper” and “Suitable Helper (in the Septuagint).” I will paraphrase the conclusions according to my understanding: A better translation would be something along the lines of a combination of “suitable ally” and “rescuer who is of his own kind.”

    The traditional watering down to “suitable helper” or “help-meet” is analogous to the linguistic mistreatment of Phoebe as mere “helper,” rather than something closer to the usual meaning of prostatis such as “president.”

    “The clear implication of Genesis is that it was the man’s responsibility as the ‘first-formed’ to lead the work of the garden and to pass on the commands of God to his wife so that she could help him in the task of ruling the garden correctly.”

    As Marg briefly indicated, it is no more “clear” that the “man’s” being formed first give him authority and responsibility relative to the woman than it is that the animals’ being formed before humans grants the animals authority over us.

    “This difference between the roles of the man and the woman does by no means mean that females are lesser human beings – I have already acknowledged that they are equal in God’s sight – what it does mean is that we have been given different, complimentary roles by God that we are required to fulfil as creatures made in his image, made to reflect his glory.”

    The problem is that this sort of equality is imaginary. It’s like saying, “Well sure, blacks are equal to whites, but they still have to sit in the back of the bus.”

    “It is important to note that the curse comes because the serpent deceived the woman who then led the man so that together they broke the command not to eat from the tree thus inverting the created order established by God.”

    The text does not say that she “led” him, nor that there was any sort of “order” which was thus inverted. You INFER that message. Others infer otherwise.

    “In other words the man is the one who fails to lead his wife by not stopping her from eating from the tree. We can see that it was the man’s responsibility to lead in this regard because when God discovers their sin, it is the man that he confronts first not the woman!”

    But He does not SAY, “Why did you not stop her? Why did you invert My intended order?” The text does not SAY that God “confronted” Adam first — or at all. He CALLED to him. There was no interrogation until Adam confessed to hiding and shame.

    “This is the point of what Paul is saying here in 1 Timothy – women are to not to rebel against or reject or usurp male authority and leadership in the church because that is exactly how the curse came upon the world in the first place in that very first “church” in the garden.”

    This view always amuses me. “Women must never teach men or be in authority over men, because women are more easily deceived, as Eve proved. Men are more qualified to be leaders and teachers, because they willfully rebel with full knowledge, without being deceived, then try to cover it up, then try to divert blame to women and God Himself, as Adam showed.”

    “To appeal to some gnostic teaching which some have questioned did not exist until the second or third century AD as the reason why Paul writes this is just speculation.”

    It is not speculation that Artemis worship was active in and near Ephesus.

    “What the actual text seems to suggest was that the false teachers were saying to the women of the church is that now you have become free in Christ and are able to learn you can now throw off all those old out-moded ways of behaving and take matters into your own hands. Paul is instead saying that those in the church must not reject God’s good order of things and acknowledge the different roles he has given us (see 1 Timothy 4:1-4).”

    First of all, that citation from ch. 4 says nothing about church leadership and nothing about hierarchial gender roles. Secondly, it actually argues against what you just said. In your view, the demonic false teachers were preaching doctrines of excessive liberalism, while the passage you cite shows them preaching excessive ascetism — whether related to some form of Artemis-worship, proto-gnosticism, legalistic Judaizing influences, or whatever.

    “Now I must acknowledge though that there is a degree of speculation in my suggestion also, but whatever the false teaching was, Paul prohibition of women teaching or having authority over men is based on his appeal to the creation order and it is therefore a timeless universal truth that cuts across every particular culture and it’s false teaching from any age.”

    How can you be certain that it is ONLY that portion of the passage that is timeless? The section has a unified appearance, with instructions to both men and women. How can you be sure that the instructions to the men to pray Pentecostal-style, with lifted hands, is not also timeless and universal? How can you be sure that the instructions to women not to dress attractively are not timeless and universal?

    “It has even been suggested that the grammar of 1 Tim 2:12 also shows the universal and timeless truth of Paul’s prohibition. NT Greek Scholar Daniel B. Wallace argues, albeit tentatively, that the “I do not permit” maybe what’s called a ‘Gnomic Present.’A gnomic present as a verb which ‘refers to a general timeless fact.'”

    If you read the whole series, you know that she cited another scholar (one of several who make the same point) that opines the proper translation is “I am not permitting.”

    “In short,”

    Too late for that.

    “Paul’s reason for prohibiting women from teaching or having authority over men is based not on some temporal cultural practice but on a timeless universal truth of the good ordering of God’s creation. We deny this order to our peril!”

    Oooo, da scare card! That’s right up there with people defending Word-Faith preachers via “Touch not God’s anointed, and do His prophets no harm!” What if we legitimately see the “timeless universal truth” is that man and woman were created equal in value, status, and authority, that the Fall damaged this relationship, and that in Christ, in the Spirit, in the New Covenant and New Creation, the relationship is restored? If we really see that in Scripture, but deny our consciences and claim otherwise, would not THAT put us in “peril” also?

    “So we must be very careful about playing the cultural card when interpreting the Bible in case we fall into the trap letting our presuppositions rule our interpretation instead of the spiritually inspired word of God.”

    Not particularly charitable or honorable of you to characterize things that way, but it’s what I’ve come to expect in talking with complementarians online. You operate from the PRESUPPOSITION that we are looking for ways to avoid what the text says. In reality, many of us began our journey by trying to reconcile passages such as this one with ones like Acts 2 and Gal. 3 that really DO appear to have universal timeless reach, that clearly teach full equality of male and female in ministry and in general. We also notice different Bible translations render certain passages significantly differently. We also notice passages being broken up such that, e.g., “Women shouldn’t dress fancy” is relegated to 1st-C Ephesus, but “Women shouldn’t teach men” is universal. That kind of stuff makes us start digging.

    “I should say that I am totally in favour of women teaching – other women (Titus 2:3). With the majority of the church being female, there is much ministry to be done by woman to women.”

    As long as they stay in the back of the bus where they belong.

    “I would appreciate your repsonse on the comments I have made.”

    Yeah… When you got it, you were reasonably polite, but didn’t sound all that appreciative.

  6. […] [See #7! Marg Mowczko has written an insightful reflection on verse 15 here.] […]

  7. […] 1 Timothy 2:12 in Context: 1 Timothy 2:13-15 – The Creation and Salvation of Women […]

  8. Phyllis says:

    I would like to suggest that Eve was the one who was deceived because she was not the one who heard directly from God about not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge must have been passed on to her from Adam. Therefore, it was expected that she would wonder if God had really said it, or if it was something that actually came from a misunderstanding on the part of Adam. When we don’t hear directly from God for ourselves, but rely on the words of others, we will always be in doubt. That’s why it is stated that Eve was deceived but Adam sinned. So will it be if women are told to obey the teachings of men without seeking out the truth on issues for themselves. They would be easily deceived. God spoke to a young woman named Mary. Joseph would have put her away, unless God, in turn, spoke to him and stopped him in his tracks. What if Joseph had told Mary that she was deceived and didn’t really hear from an Angel sent by God? Do you think Mary would have been convinced? When a person actually hears from God, it matters not what others say, be they men or women. I know this from personal experience.

  9. Harry says:

    Cameron Blair,

    If you believe that (according to 1 Timothy 2:12-13) women are not supposed to teach or have authority over man because Paul references creation in verse 13 and therefore means that this teaching is timeless and universal among all women, in all churches, throughout all time.

    Would you also acknowledge that women need to wear head coverings throughout all churches through all time? In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul instructs women to wear head coverings in order to honour their head (husband) and then references creation in verse 8 and 9.

    Following your logic and reasoning in the way you apply the creation reference in 1 Timothy 2, it would be necessary for you to think about whether or not all of the women in your church (and everywhere in the world) need to cover their heads. After all, Paul is quite clear in referencing creation in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9.

    You claim to call your work scholarly, yet the outworking of your logic and exegesis is inconsistent. Unless of course… All the women in your church are instructed to wear head coverings as a sign of submission to their husbands in marriage. However I doubt your church upholds this practice.

    So lets be real for a second, either you change your interpretation of what Paul intends when he references creation in the new Testament, or you better start encouraging all of your women to wear head coverings in order for your interpretation to remain consistent.

    Just a thought,

    Harry

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