Firstly, a big welcome to those of you who have come here via Frank Viola’s blog, Beyond Evangelical and his mention of my enhanced e-book on hearing God. My blog, SimplyChurch, generally looks at different aspects of life in the Kingdom, especially as it relates to the simple/organic/house church movement. However, at present, I’m doing a series of posts on the topic of women because I’m in the process of co-writing a book on this subject. Frank is one of the contributors to the book.
I hate headlines like this one:
In this particular case, the lady, who had been a member at that church for more than 60 years and a Sunday School teacher for 54, was fired, at least in part, because of the verse in 1 Timothy 2:12. The pastor of the church wanted to be sure they were obeying the Scriptures. While I respect him for his desire to be Biblical, it is very sad, not only for the lady concerned, but also because of the negative publicity it engenders for the Body of Christ.
We all want to obey the Scriptures. So how can we understand a verse like this?
I discussed the background to the verse (which is very relevant) in this post. The purpose of Paul’s letter to Timothy in Ephesus was to stop false teachers who were causing problems in the church there (1 Timothy 1:3-4). We also know that this is the only verse that apparently forbids women to teach–elsewhere there is every indication that women were free to bring a teaching.
Here’s the challenging passage in full:
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:8-15 NKJV)
Notice that sometimes the word “woman” is singular and at other times plural. Women (plural) are to adorn themselves modestly. However, “a woman” (singular) must learn in silence and is not allowed to teach or have authority over the man. She (singular) will be saved in childbearing, and women (plural) are to continue in faith, love and holiness with self control.
Here’s the likely scenario that would explain it: There was a woman who was promoting false teaching in the church in Ephesus. Paul wants to stop this, and so he commands that this particular woman is to learn quietly, and is not permitted to teach. This is a disciplinary action against a woman who, like the “Jezebel” mentioned in Revelation 2:20, was causing problems by false teaching. Paul had no intention of it being applied to other women, just the one causing turmoil in the church.
According to Philip B. Payne in his excellent theological treatise, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters, the verb “permit” with one dubious exception, never refers to a universal or permanent situation. So the chances are that this was a temporary disciplinary measure.
I’ll be looking into other aspects of this passage in future posts, but I’m interested in your comments as to where we are so far.
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126 replies on “Understanding “I do not permit a woman to teach…””
Interesting scenario that could possibly explain this perplexing passage. It may not be truly knowable this side of heaven. But in any case, I think that Jesus Himself is the key to understanding Scripture. Jesus did not deal with women in the same
oppressing way that His culture and religion did, much to the perplexity of His disciples!
Jesus never forbade women to speak. Instead we see time and time again Jesus being gracious to women, welcoming their approaches, commending their faith and boldness.
For example, the woman who broke the law to touch the hem of His garment was not rebuked, but rather was commended by Him for her boldness and faith.
The deep emotional response of the woman who wept at His feet was despised and misinterpreted by the men in the room; but Jesus commended her for her love.
He conversed with the woman at the well (to the amazement of His disciples), and she became the first evangelist (do not evangelists teach?) to Samaria.
After His resurrection Jesus revealed Himself first to Mary, then. He sent her to tell (teach?!) the men that Jesus is alive.
I am by no means a “feminist.” I joyfully submit to my husband as my head. However, the same Holy Spirit that is in my husband is in me, and therefore he is as eager to hear what Jesus may give to me as I am to hear what Jesus may give to him. Why would men shut themselves off from the risen Jesus who is in women, since Jesus Himself welcomed women?
I don’t have any particular desire to “teach men,” but if the Lord lays a teaching on my heart for His people, I do desire to have the same liberty and boldness of faith I see in the women which Jesus personally commended, and to bring that teaching in obedience to Him.
In any case, and in any gathering, women should not dominate, and neither should men dominate. All ought to submit to Jesus and the leading of His Holy Spirit, whether at home or in gatherings outside the home.
Trish, thanks for these comments. Like you, I’m not a feminist, and i find that mutual submission–as expressed in Ephesians 5–works very well in our marriage. I willingly submit to my husband as he lays down his life for me. It’s a race to go lower–yet another of those beautiful paradoxes of the Christian life.
A husband has no authority over his wife as Christ has no authority over the church. Adam has no authority over Eve so the Bible must be wrong about her being his helper. I think your struggle is with the concept of authority and submission. Authority and submission are ugly things in this world, but authority and submission in Godly wisdom and love are beautiful things.
“negative publicity it engenders for the Body of Christ”. The world should always view the true body of Christ negatively or else either the Bible is wrong or we are doing something wrong.
Felicitydale, thank you for having the courage to make your views public. I would like to contribute my two cents’ worth to this discussion – even though I am a late-comer. First, I would like to point out that even one of the apostles believed that Paul was hard to understand. In II Peter 3:15-16 it says, “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. HIS LETTERS CONTAIN SOME THINGS THAT ARE HARD TO UNDERSTAND, WHICH IGNORANT AND UNSTABLE PEOPLE DISTORT, AS THEY DO THE OTHER SCRIPTURES, TO THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION.” (NIV). Second, the only teacher – according to the scriptures – is the Holy Spirit. In I John 2:27 John makes this very clear – at least to me. Also, in the posts that I have read, there seems to be a tendency to lump women and wives together. The people who have posted with this tendency don’t seem to recognize that there are modern-day women who are not married – who are trying to follow what was said by Paul in I Corinthians 7:32-35, that unmarried men and women are concerned with the Lord’s affairs, while married men and women are concerned with the affairs of this world – how they can please their spouse. Paul also goes on to say in verse 38 that he who marries does right, but he who does NOT marry does even better. Clearly, there is a distinction between a wife who has vowed to devote her life to her husband, and a single woman who is devoting her life solely to God. However, the word used for woman in other areas of Paul’s epistles is the word: gyne which is ambiguous and can be translated either wife or woman. I am thankful that Paul took the time to write in I Corinthians chapter 7 the difference between wives and women. I also read a little snippet about the passage in I Corinthians chapter 11 as proof that women should wear a head covering of some sort. This same passage was used back in the sixties and the seventies to show that men shouldn’t have long hair. Back then, there was no NIV, no NASB, and no Living Bible. Only KJV The peculiar thing about this passage is that it is ended with Paul saying (v. 16): But if any man seem to be contentious, WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM, NEITHER THE CHURCHES OF GOD. (KJV). I have used the KJV because the NIV has wrongly translated the word “such” as “other” giving it a meaning that is exactly the opposite of what Paul said. The word “such” in the KJV is the Greek word toioutos, meaning; of this kind or sort – making the verse read: ‘we have no custom of this sort, neither the churches of God’. Another thing I found troubling is the lack of knowledge and understanding of what Adam and Eve did in the garden. There is no mention that Eve was aware of the edict that God gave to Adam to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So, Eve was deceived. Now, tell me. How do you feel when someone deceives you? Aren’t you hurt by it? Maybe even angry? Why wouldn’t Eve feel the same way? I believe she did when she accused the serpent to his face (and yes, the serpent was still there in the garden). Adam indirectly blames God, trying to justify his actions when he said: “The woman YOU PUT HERE WITH ME – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. God then curses the serpent and Adam, but does not use the “curse” word to Eve. I believe that is because it is more of a prophecy – a foretelling of future events: Dr Katherine Bushnell, author of God’s Word To Women, researched the original Hebrew language of this passage, as well as the Greek Septuagint translation, and gives a more accurate rendering: “A snare hath increased thy sorrow and thy sighing. Thou art turning away to thy husband and he will rule over thee”. (Bushnell, God’s Word To Women, pp 52-56). The Hebrew word that men have tried to translate as ‘conception’ from time immemorial is HRN (using English language characters). If it actually were the Hebrew word for conception, it would be spelled HRJWN. This word is found in Ruth 4:13 and Hosea 9:11. The other badly translated word in this passage is “desire” The original Hebrew word is “teshuqa” It only occurs two other times in the Hebrew language in the scriptures: Gen. 4:7, Song of Solomon 7:10. When used in these other verses, it is clear that the meaning is not desire. In Genesis 3:23, we read how God resolved this situation. It was not a punishment so much as a kindness to keep Adam from eating from the fruit of the tree of life and living in this sinful state forever. In this passage, it is not clear whether God is banishing both Adam and Eve, or just Adam, as the word in the Hebrew is Adam – meaning both Adam and humankind in general. However, I believe the meaning is made clear in v. 34: “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden TO WORK THE GROUND FROM WHICH HE HAD BEEN TAKEN.” (NIV). Adam was cursed to work the ground – not Eve, and Eve was not taken from the ground. She was taken from Adam. I believe we all have personal and individual accountability to God regarding our actions. This is shown in the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10. They both conspired to break a promise about an offering. They were not lumped together as one unit, but each, individually, was held accountable for the misdeed. In the Genesis story, Adam deliberately ate the fruit (trangressed) knowing full well that God had told him not to. It would seem that Eve made a similar choice by leaving the garden and following Adam – something she didn’t have to do. I think we all have wrong ideas about scriptures because that is what we have been told – sometimes made to believe under duress (the example of the church leaders being held hostage without food or drink in Nicea comes to mind). Many women try to correct wrong ideas and mis-translations to help others see the loving character of God more clearly. Many men fight this passionately to try and prove to everyone that women are subservient to men – despite what the Bible says about gender equality (Gal 3:28) and mutual submission (Phil 5:21). It is the same argument that “Christian” slave owners used with Christian abolitionists in America’s past.
Thanks for shedding some light on this, Felicity.
If only we would read the Bible to know God better, rather than using it as “how-to” manual for writing new religious regulations.
Joel, you are so right. Under the New Covenant, God has written his laws on our hearts, and we now live from the Spirit within rather than trying to follow a religious rule-book.
but the heart is desperately wicked. The “religious rule-book” is in fact quite useful. See Psalms 119:1-8
I think we should all ‘submit’ to one another rather than making it exclusively a female to male degree. My husband is not ‘head of the home’ and neither am I, Jesus is.
My home too, Sarah. Thanks for commenting
Thanks, Felicity, for your thoughts.
There are, however, a couple things that need correction. If we are to think clearly in the Word in order that it may direct our lives, we need to make sure we take in as much of the whole picture as is possible. So, I appreciate that you have opened this for further comment.
You make the statement, “We also know that this is the only verse that apparently forbids women to teach–elsewhere there is every indication that women were free to bring a teaching.” Please take a look at I Corinthians 14:34-35. I can’t see how your statement can be true in the light of these verses.
You also make the statement that there is no indefinite (“a”) or definite (“the”) article in the Greek language. This is a false statement. There is indeed no indefinite article, but there is definitely a definite article, in all the noun cases, and both singular and plural, much more defined than in English.
If there is something about the passage in I Timothy that argues the case that there was one particular woman who was not to speak openly in teaching others, including men, it would be the fact that there is a definite article, not that the word is singular.
Thank you for commenting. It sounds like you have studied Greek? I defer to your knowledge of the Greek language.
This post is one of a series of posts on women and I looked at 1 Corinthians 14 a few posts ago. There were several posts on this subject, and they begin here http://bit.ly/YCBUwZ. Also see this post on teaching http://bit.ly/WCXH4C
As to the definite and indefinite article, thank you for your correction. I am not a Greek scholar, although I studied Latin for several years. For the sake of integrity, I will make an apology and correction in a future post but first, it would help me if you would explain the plural and singular uses of woman in these verses.
Is there still the possibility of purchasing “The Final Assault” by Steve Smith?
I don’t see it on Amazon. As I understand it, the novel was released for a short time so that people could give feedback and Steve could make corrections. When that has happened, I believe it will be released in its final version (maybe as two books?) I hope this helps. You might check out this site http://bit.ly/11F63YS
In your work on this series, have you considered this verse: Galatians 3:28? I haven’t read all your posts yet, so I don’t know. Your topic is an important one.
I haven’t yet looked at this verse, but it is the backdrop to much of my thinking in this area. Thank you for your encouragement.
I stand behind you all the way girl–im an egalitarian
Upon further study of the passage in I Timothy, I see that all the references to “woman” are preceded with no article, which means that an indefinite article is implied. An
indefinite article would mean that no particular (definite) woman is being referred to; if it were a particular woman, the definite article would have been used.
Without arguing the point either way, my concern is primarily with your method of Biblical interpretation. There is always a problem when people tend to add “facts” we aren’t given. An example of this is when you say “Here’s the likely scenario that would explain it.” What you are doing is starting with the conclusion you wish to arrive at, then attempting to back into the scriptures by adding a factual scenario.
The reason people do this is that the scripture, taken at face value, would not support the preferred conclusion. God warns us not to add or take away from His word. If you remove your “factual” scenario, and just relied on scripture alone, could you still justify your conclusion? This is the true test of Biblical interpretation.
The book of Acts, as well as portions of the gospels clearly give us detailed facts that God, in His eminent wisdom, determined that He wanted us to know. It naturally follows that when God doesn’t give us detailed facts (such as 1 & 2 Timothy), the facts are not necessary.
This is the same issue I have with Jon Zens book “What’s With Paul and Women”. Jon takes the position that Paul was dealing with the Athenian cult in Ephesus to justify the same conclusion you start with. How in the world would the average Christian reading these passages know anything about the Athenian cult when the Bible is silent on that issue?
If we believe what you are saying (the “likely scenario”) or what Jon Zens is saying (the “Athenian Cult”), then you are implying that the average believer would need some sort of special knowledge that cannot be gleaned from scripture.
Furthermore, for the sake of argument, if either you are Jon Zens is right, then that means that one of you must be wrong as to your “facts”. This is the problem with adding factual scenarios to scripture. If everyone starts adding “facts” to scripture to justify conclusions, then we will spend our time arguing about whose “facts” are true.
These are all just questions to ponder.
TheDude, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I’m aware I’m opening a can of worms here! I agree with you that the average Christian would have no idea of the cultural implications in Ephesus. Ditto Corinth.
I’m not sure I’ve added facts. Just a possible scenario that could explain the verses, especially since it’s very likely from the pronouns used that both men and women were involved in the heresy. That’s the problem with going from Greek to English (and I’m no Greek scholar).
There’s an excellent theological treatise on the challenging Scriptures to women called Man and Woman, One in Christ by scholar Philip B. Payne. Have you come across it?
Some things in the Scripture only make sense if we understand the culture. For example, if we take what you say to its logical conclusion, all women would wear head coverings and would not wear pants. (Maybe you think all women should wear hats.) Personally I believe that understanding the background to the epistles helps considerably in interpreting them. Some things have to be taken culturally otherwise all women who don’t wear head coverings are being disobedient to the Scriptures.
I keep coming back to the issue of slavery. Slavery is apparently condoned in the Scriptures on multiple occasions–way more than the passages on women. Yet no one today believes we should own slaves. The culture has changed.
I appreciate what you are saying and understand many share your position. I haven’t read Philip Payne’s book, but will definitely take a look at it.
The head covering issue is an interesting one and this is not the place to go into that here. I will admit thought I’ve struggled with that one, although I still ask myself “Is my struggle a cultural one or a spiritual one?”
Regarding slavery, God never condoned it just as he has never condoned many other factual practices (e.g. polygamy, divorce, etc.). What God has done is recognize the sinful nature of man and that we will engage in practices He does not approve of. Additionally, the concept of slavery in the Bible wasn’t always the concept of slavery as we understand that term today and as it was practiced in this country for many years. We have to be careful not to overlay our own cultural experiences with a culture that existed outside of our country and thousands of years ago.
That being said, I’ve always found safety in relying upon Jesus’ admonition “If you love me, then you will obey my commandments”. Life is simpler that way and I really don’t think when we stand before the bema seat of Christ we will be criticized for obeying the clear word of God.
At least that is my very simple way of looking at God’s word.
Philip Payne’s position on this is very different. Apparently there is a word in the Greek that in all the writings that are directly attributed to Paul are used to link things into one idea. So teaching and usurping authority is a single idea. I don’t think anyone would have a question over that being wrong for either male or female.
If I don’t allow for another interpretation of this, then I’m in a very difficult position. The Lord has led me to write books, I teach all over the world and I write this blog. Shall I stop? Or is the Holy Spirit really leading me. I have to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I know you are very sincere in your desire to follow our Lord and I respect that. Absolutely all of us should trust the leading of the Holy Spirit, however, we have to compare that “leading” with God’s word. We can be deceived at times thinking we are being lead by the Holy Spirit (I’m not implying your are or aren’t being deceived) which is why God gave us His word to judge the Holy Spirit against. God, through the Holy Spirit, would never lead us in a direction contrary to His words in the Bible.
The Holy Spirit never contradicts God’s word. And therein lies the problem. Was it sin for Deborah to lead Israel? Was Priscilla going against God’s express commands to explain “a more excellent way” to Apollos? If the answer is no, then we have to re-examine our understanding of the Bible.
There is a very interesting book out called Slaves, Women and Homosexuals. The author shows that the bible has shown ‘progression'(for the better) in the area of ‘Slaves and Women’ over the years in contrast to how they were treated in the old pagan cultures around at that time. (which was so much worse.) And its interesting that as we look at the bible in its over all entirety, God shows through his word that he had started a ‘movement’ of change and we see this coming in fruition more fully in Jesus time as he includes and reaches out to women. It is amazing and wonderful how God in working out his plan through his Holy Spirit.
Going down the “cultural” route of Biblical interpretation is a very slippery slope indeed. This leads to confusion. Who is the “expert” on what the culture was? Would we not resort ourselves to arguing which historian is more accurate regarding the culture of those times?
If we determine that some scriptures are merely cultural, why would God include them in His word? How do we determine those scriptures that are scriptural and those that are not? Doesn’t this lead to further confusion as we argue over which are and which aren’t?
Our cultures change as time progress. God’s word is timeless.
We have to begin with a very basic question: Do we accept the Bible as the complete infallible word of God or not? If you do, then the whole issue of “culture” shouldn’t even come up. If you don’t, then there isn’t any reason to engage in a discussion since we are beginning from two opposing viewpoints that cannot be reconciled.
TheDude, It’s not as if the cultural experts disagree, whether secular or Christian. There are certain things there have so much archeological and textual evidence, there’s no room for dispute. It’s not as though we are picking up one stray thought from a single text somewhere (that would be open to misinterpretation).
It’s like saying you can’t prove the NT doesn’t have lots of mistakes. There are so many early-dated fragments that agree, that there’s no question as to its overall inerrancy in terms of the text itself.
The Bible speaks to all cultures at all times–I agree with that. But there are many things that all of us do that don’t fit in with the Old Testament Scriptures and often the New too. For example, have you given everything away like Jesus instructed the rich young ruler? Do you fast with sackcloth and ashes? Do you treat your slaves well?
Jesus’ instruction to the rich young ruler was not meant as a commandment to all believers. He knew the man’s heart and knew that despite the young man’s adherence to the law that he wasn’t willing to do what was necessary to follow Jesus. Jesus knows each of our hearts and knows that in our flesh we could never make Him lord of our lives. Only through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirt can this be done.
The more important question is what “riches” are each of us holding onto that prevents us from obeying our Lord and Savior? To each it might be different. The young ruler you refer to wasn’t willing to give up his riches. Are we willing to give up our cultural correctness in order to follow Jesus?
Fasting with sackcloth and ashes was a symbol of humility before the Lord. It had nothing to do with the culture of the day. Furthermore, you are pointing to the Old Testament and we aren’t not instructed to follow the requirements of the Law. (This is a larger subject not germane to this discussion).
Do I have fast with humility? Of course. True fasting involves humility before the Lord.
God never condemned slavery either in the OT or the NT. If He wanted to He could have, but didn’t. I’m not advocating slavery by any means, but by the same token, you can’t take what our culture considers morally correct and overlay that on God’s word. Are we greater than God Himself? Absolutely not! Who are we to impose on God our sense of fairness and equality?
Do I treat those under my care well (employees)? Yes I do.
In God’s eyes, a slave was no different than a free man, yet he remained a slave. If God had wished to condemn slavery, He could have told slave owners to release their slaves and make them free.
We have to be very careful not to distort and twist scriptures to fit around our view of the world. All of us are sinners at heart and the enemy, the devil, is right there to deceive us into thinking we are like God, to have the knowledge of good and evil in our own eyes. Wasn’t this the original sin? Do we want to fall for that same deception and go down that same path? I choose not to. There is comfort and peace in total submission to God. Not that I am perfect for like Paul, the apostle, I am the “chief of all sinners”. Only through the saving grace of the blood of Jesus do I stand righteous before God.
God’s truth isn’t “new”. Real truth is as old as God Himself (to paraphrase Spurgeon). Truth may be hard to swallow at times, but this is all part of dying to our flesh and giving up our “rights” in order to follow Jesus.
TheDude, thanks for a stimulating discussion.
Your treatment of the rich young ruler is similar to mine of 1 Timothy 2:12. You say that Jesus’ injunction to the rich young ruler was situational–he was only speaking to this man, not to everyone. I’m saying that Paul’s instruction to Timothy was equally situational with a woman/women in Ephesus who was a false teacher.
I don’t think ‘TheDude’ was stating that Jesus’ comment was specific to that situation. In fact, there are a lot of other passages that tell us to forsake all things on this earth in our discipleship of Christ (Luke 9:23-25, Matthew 10:34-36, Luke 14:33, Hebrews 11:26, Philippians 3:7-8, for example). Although Jesus told this particular person to give away everything he had, Jesus still gave us an important principle that should guide our everyday lives. It is our reasonable service to present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).
If our earthly possessions would cause us to lose our salvation, then yes, we are to give it all away. If our very family would cause us to lose our salvation, then yes, we are also to forsake them in order to follow Christ.
Paul counted all things worthless in comparison to the saving grace of Christ (Philippians 3). We should do the same.
This issue is one of submission and humility. This is no different than a wife’s role within a Christian family. The wife is subject to the husband, just as the husband is subject to Christ. Our worship service should follow the guidelines given to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word. This includes omitting instrumental accompaniment in our song service (Ephesians 5:19), the inclusion of the Lord’s supper every Sunday (Acts 20:7), collecting for the saints (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), and yes, the omission of women as teachers during worship service.
David, thanks for your thoughtful comments. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
There’s plenty for me to say [Rich young man versus the woman in Ephesus -the one you create]. First regarding the rich young man, we know clearly that Jesus is dealing with a direct character conversationally. Nothing suggests so with the woman you create in Timothy. If you want my thoughts on that very clearly [regarding women teaching] I shall do so, but my main concern here is how you guys are quick to draw up slavery. TheDude points clearly [or nearly so] that our understanding of slavery is different from how it meant in Bible days. As a matter of fact only the King James version comes close [in the NT] where it translates slave as ‘bondman’.
As a Nigerian black woman living in the West, I am automatically not allowed to have a Biblical opinion regarding women teaching in Church or homosexuality. They will say ‘afterall God/the Bible justified slavery’. Something you have also said felicitydale “Slavery is apparently condoned in the Scriptures on multiple occasions” [I quote]. Mind you, Slavery was never condoned in the Bible. ‘ebed’ is the word used for ‘slave’ in the OT. It literally means ‘servant’ or ‘bondman’, ‘one who helps’ ‘Amah’ which is translated as maid means ‘handmaid’, so When Ruth introduces herself in Ruth 3: 9, here’s how it is: “And he said , Who art thou? And she answered , I am Ruththine handmaid [amah]: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman ….
So also Mary in Luke 1:38 “Behold, I am the handmaid [Doule: Greek] of THE LORD JEHOVAH; let it be done to me according to your word”, and the Angel departed from her.”
The new testament word for slave is ‘Duolos’ which is also ‘servant’. Your personal assistant in the office is your duolos or Doule’. Every verse translated as ‘Servant’ comes from the Greek word ‘Duolos’…..We are duolos of the Lord. This is how the Disciples described themselves in their opening letters….
Then, the same word ‘ebed’ used in the OT was the same word used for ‘servants’ all through the OT. As a matter of fact it is the same word David used to describe his son Solomon. ‘Ebed’ was the same word the Lord used to describe the Levite priests…where they slaves?
Elisha was Elijah’s ‘ebed’ /servant,[ 2 Kings 18:12 “And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth”]. Joshua was Moses’s ‘Ebed’….
It is so-called Western Bible scholars that Justified slavery, not God’s word! Let’s be clear on that first, then I can move on to women teaching in Church. Peace
If it is situational Felicitydale then why does he refer to Adam and Eve, think about it for a minute or two. If it was situational he would not have referred to Adam and Eve. The question you should be asking yourself is why he referred to Adam and Eve. Meditate on it and pray about it.
Except the difference is yours isn’t actually in the bible.
Jolie, some interesting thoughts. I believe that God is going to bring that “movement” to increasing fruition and fulfillment in our day.
Yes, i believe so Felicity, praise God. Its not about winning, its about getting back to Gods original plan and thankfully the New Covenant brings things into perspective.
Actually, here’s the trouble, Holy Spirit wrote the bible.
Deborah did not lead the church, priscilla and aquilla discipled apollos they were not leading the church, the 12 apostles of Jesus were men not women women traveled with them yet the did not perform miracles nor were they sent out, Jesus never overstepped that neither should we.
People also try and use gal 3 and say there is no difference between men and women , for salvation that is right but obviously a man nor a woman ceases being one once being saved
you are confusing overseeing positions.If you maintain it is a culture paul is speaking to then we have no bible to preach. It was already preached and it applies only to those of that culture. that is a serious flaw. not to mention it is a command of God that cannot be said and then undermined.
The church has been transformed by society not by the word, the word is written through men not women by Holy Spirit, the qualifications for ministry are listed for men, not women. as unpopular as it is that is the way it is.
You say you go all over the world teaching, so it is you who are saying God has blessed you and it is Himself who is against His very own word. Ministerial offices are not given to women according to scripture, so we have to read into scripture in order to arrive at the conclusion it is o.k. but yet we then have to take the fact it is a command of the Lord and toss it out completely.
No, It has not ever been nor will it ever be ok for women to usurp authority over men, paul is speaking to a singular woman you say so now you are teaching falseness in that, how else would he say it . I do not permit a woman to teach is exactly what it means, any woman people use all sorts of twistings to arrive that God is ok except they always have to look past it is a command of God. You drew some parallels that were not there. it was not a woman permeating false teachings
Coming to conclusions and reading into scripture which is not clearly laid out is opening the door to confusion and is presenting opinion as fact God doesn’t need any help getting His word across people just don’t want to obey it, If it says more than one time this is not to be , why would it now be?
The very fact there is a debate about it shows confusion which God is not the author of. It challenges people’s mindsets but the fact is if it is written to a culture, we have to toss all scripture out. because none of us are in that culture. yet all scripture is given of God 2 tim 3:16 either it is and is profitable or it is not and we preach in vain.
I love you as my sister, but you are in error in what you are presenting.
What I think means nothing it is Jesus we will stand before
I appreciate your position–one I used to hold myself. But then I found that Junia was an apostle. Phoebe was a “prostatis” (that included leadership). Of the 29 individuals mentioned in Romans 16, 10 were women, many, beloved co-workers. The lists of gifts in the NT (apostles, prophets, etc) are to “anthropos,” far better translated “people” than “men.” 1 Timothy 3:1 does not have the word “man.” It is far better translated “If anyone desire to be an overseer.” In fact, according to renowned theologian, Philip B Payne, there is not one single masculine pronoun in either of the passages that talk about elders and deacons.
So then we must toss scripture out, you are basing someone’s interpretation above the written word. The qualifications are specifically for males how can a woman be the husband of one wife.?
It won’t matter when we stand before Christ and I have no intention of changing your mind, if you are confident you are right even though it is clearly wrong that is your decision.
The qualifications for being a deacon also include being the husband of one wife, and yet we know that Phoebe was a deacon. I think we’ll have to agree to differ on this
felicity you are obviously not understanding scripture, Phoebe was a deaconess. Deaconesses/Deacons were not overseers of the church. they were servants of the church.Paul commends her as a servant who was a great help.
Romans 16 Amplified Bible (AMP)
16 Now I introduce and commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae,
2 That you may receive her in the Lord [with a Christian welcome], as saints (God’s people) ought to receive one another. And help her in whatever matter she may require assistance from you, for she has been a helper of many including myself [shielding us from suffering].
Edited to add, they would be considered like administrators, helpers servants ministers of help. far different from teaching preaching and presiding.
In your response you just took the commandments of God’s own word and said it didn’t matter because phoebe was a deacon, she was not an overseer or preacher. you either stick to the word as it is or you are a false teacher.. If it says they shall be the husband of one wife that is exactly what it means.Paul didn’t speak to hear himself talk nor did Holy Spirit write through Him to be disregarded.
I agree with the word you clearly do not.
I don’t wish to argue with you on this. Have you read Scot McKnight’s book, Junia is Not Alone in which he traces the way that Junia was translated from female to male, and then back to female again? Scot is a far better theologian than I am (and I venture to add, maybe you too.)
Felicity, Look at what you are saying. A man has more authority than God’s word.
Not even close. That is the proper translation I posted for you.
Anyhow. you will stand before Jesus not me
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Anna is a prophetess that bears witness to the redeemer. She is mentioned in Luke 2:36-38. She was very old and spent all her time worshiping God by fasting and praying at the temple. Upon seeing the baby Jesus she praised God; she joyfully told of the child to everyone in the community seeking deliverance for Jerusalem.
The Daughters of Phillip
On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Of notable mention are the four daughters of Phillip. They are briefly mentioned as prophesying in the book of Acts. The Greek word used in Acts 21:9 for prophesying is prophēteuō. Prophēteuō means “to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict”.
The scripture is unclear on what exactly or how often these women prophesied. Perhaps their prophesying was used to edify, exhort, and comfort the church (1 Corinthians 14:3-4). Perhaps their prophesying was given for learning and for comfort (1 Corinthians 14:31). Or, perhaps these women foretold of future events (1 Peter 1:10). Whatever may be the case, Phillips four daughters had a prophetic ministry and prophesied by inspiration of the Spirit of God.
Ironically, the gift of prophesy operating on Phillip’s daughters is the fulfillment of another prophesy. The prophet Joel foretold in Joel 2:28 that when the Holy Spirit would be poured out “your sons and daughters shall prophesy”. Acts 2:17reaffirms Joel’s Old Testament prophesy.
After evaluating the word as a whole, you will get to understand that Priscilla would not of been teaching men, she may have been supporting her husband as he taught and maybe even just mentioned due to the fact that she becomes one flesh with her husband. So realistically, she and her husband are one and that is the most likely reason, she was mentioned with her husband, because the scripture does not contradict it’s self and you have to learn to fill the gaps, using other parts of scripture. In regards to Deborah, thats another story, she was not a teacher, she was a judge and she also was not teaching in the temple, it was more of a defence adviser, but we must keep in mind that she was also a result of Israel’s disobedience. So due to disobedience a woman became their judge, after several male judges had come and gone.
Don’t be so easily fooled. WOMAN ARE NOT TO TEACH!
It’s because of the overall trend and tenor of the Scriptures that I hold the position I do. It’s like the issue of slavery. There are verses that apparently condone slavery throughout the Bible, but no one would now believe that God desires slavery. We know what it will be like in heaven. There won’t be any hierarchy based on race, social position or gender. We pray, Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Don’t we believe we are supposed to live according to that now?
Check out the tab “the Challenging Scriptures for Women” on this blog. It has been examined by a highly respected theologian. I think you will find that many theologians hold a different opinion to yours.
Hi Felicity, I was reading through and couldn’t help but comment on some things.
First off, yes we do pray ‘His will be done in heaven as on earth’. However, check out His will now throughout scripture. That will is for us to have and use faith, to know Him and be saved, to obey His commands, and more. Those are things that are in Heaven and He wants on earth.
Regarding women as pastors, remember in Genesis and again in the NT, God himself put the woman under the man. He put the church–called “bride” (woman) under Jesus the groom (man). In the Church both sexes have authority in Christ, but the man has the authority over the woman, and in spiritual authority over the congregation. Marriage is a spiritual act in that vows are given to each other under God’s design and in His eyes..men and women are making vows before God to each other. His design being that it’s male and female marrying. He says it in Genesis and again in the NT in Matthew when Jesus is questioned about divorce. Culture has changed that but do you believe the church should? I’ll come back to that.
He gave us His Word and it’s not going to be different in heaven until He decides otherwise. Even then it seems there are levels of authority as we will be an army returning with Christ. Armies have levels of authority.
If, “His will be done in heaven as on earth” means there is no difference btw Jew and Gentile in heaven, does that then mean there should be no difference btw Jew and Gentile on earth now? Absolutely not. No. He still calls them His people. To believe that is called ‘displacement theology’ where you don’t believe Israel matters to God anymore, the thinking is it’s all about the Church now and Israel doesn’t matter in God’s plans. Scripture is clear that He says we’ve been adopted and grafted in to His people. He still calls them His people throughout the NT. Jesus was sent to preach to the Jews first. The disciples before Paul were to do the same. PAUL received the revelation to go to the Gentiles. Then the others. Notice the women who ministered to Jesus–yet none were chosen to be disciples to lead the church.
Back to the subject of women pastors though.. A woman teaching men in church, even teaching God’s Word, is teaching them spiritually. She is exercising spiritual authority over them. She can teach women, and she can have credentials, but she cannot have that kind of authority over a congregation. Men can even listen and learn but it’s about the authority. A woman should not be an elder as she would be doing the same, so it stands to reason that she couldn’t be a pastor. Scripture gives a clear description on what the qualifications for an elder are and there isn’t a woman listed in there. The man can seek a woman’s advice and wisdom, but he decides how and if to use it there, not the woman. Many don’t understand what that position of authority looks like so they think a woman can do it just like a man. Not so!
It’s what God says, not how we want to interpret it BECAUSE of the change in culture. If that were the case, if we followed culture’s standard of right and wrong, would God’s Word even matter? I mean, our culture has changed things like who can get married, that sin is acceptable, that it’s ok to murder, that wrongs are right.. In fact, the church took God at His Word when they denounced slavery because they were treated so horribly. In the OT God told the Israelites how slaves were to be treated and it was a far cry from what some tribes did to others, and what Europeans did to Africans.
I’m sorry, but adding a possible scenario may seem ok to you and others, but it really isn’t if you are making your interpretation from it. You are then making it fact.
Paul was saying a woman can’t speak in church because God had already established the authority structure of His body (man in spiritual authority). She didn’t have God’s authority to be in that position. (A woman can speak prophesy in church, in the proper timing as noted in scripture, but her–and everyone’s prophetic words– will be scrutinized. Again, she’s under proper authority–her ‘head’ is covered.)
I don’t intend for this to come across as mean or belittling. I am in a hurry and don’t have time to change anything that might sound that way. I’m get intent on getting the facts out, not being flowery. Hope all is well with you. Goodnight.
Thank you for such a full and gracious response.
I’ve held your position myself–but actually it was the Scriptures that persuaded me otherwise.
A parallel example might be that of slavery. The Scriptures appear quite clear in a few verses that slavery is allowed. And it was Christians who used those Scriptures to argue that slavery should not be abolished. But other Christians said that despite those few verses, the whole tenor and trend of the Scriptures was for freedom. They ultimately won the battle for the abolition of slavery.
No one now would say that slavery should be reinstated.
I see a parallel here. There are four basic Scriptures that appear to limit the role of women. But they go against the whole tenor and trend of the Scriptures and many Scriptural examples. Those four Scriptures can be explained (not explained away) in ways that with equal integrity mean something different.
So when I look at the Scriptures as a whole, at Jesus’ treatment of women, at Paul’s relationship with female co-workers, at the examples of where God has used women throughout history, at the women on the mission field through the centuries and at how he is now using women throughout the world in extraordinary ways, I respectfully disagree with you.
The bible only condoned slavery because slavery back then was different than we see it today. 1. Rather than putting prisoners of war to death, they would make them slaves (which, in all reality were treated very well)
2. The first possible reference to slavery in the Old Testament could be in Genesis 9 v26 & 27 where Noah cursed Canaan for Ham’s sin by prophesying that he would serve his brothers. Both Abraham and Isaac kept servants, but the first clear example of slavery is in Exodus 1 v13 where the Israelites were made to work ruthlessly as slaves and their cry for rescue came up to God (2 v23-24). The kind of slavery the Israelites were subjected to in Egypt was clearly unacceptable to God, judging by their rescue and the regulations regarding slavery in the Mosaic Law.
So, I don’t think that the type of slavery that was allowed in the Old Testament is exactly what you think it was.. And to use that to back up your “women should preach” point of view, just really does not make sense. People often use the “well, if that’s the case then women shouldn’t braid their hair or wear gold jewelry.” Not necessarily..
In Ephesus, the original destination of this letter, the cultural elite were known for their gaudy and extravagant wardrobes, their elaborate hair styles, and their expensive clothing that communicated extraordinary wealth. Paul paints a picture of this for the Ephesians Christians and says, “Don’t mimic that. When you come to church, come dressed in a way that shows you desire to the attention to be on God, not yourself.”
So, it doesn’t mean don’t braid your hair, it means don’t mimic the world so closely that people cannot tell you apart.
It’s all about context. Slavery (in the right context) was allowed by God. And, quite frankly, even if it did seem totally off that He allowed, and even encouraged, such slavery, God is the creator of morality.. Who are we to argue with his word?
I say all that to say that I disagree with you. Your conclusion that women SHOULD be allowed to preach is, at the foundation, based on your opinion and what you want the bible to say, not what it actually says. I’m by no means a fundamentalist, however I do believe that God meant what he said when he says “2 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.”
There is a reason He put this in the bible.. It needs to be there because as women, our human nature desires to be in mans rightful place. This is wrong!
Here is an article I found very helpful by someone I respect very much!! Enjoy!!
Wow. Did you just support slavery? And say that some kinds of slavery are ok because they were treated well? You would be ok with modern prisoners of war to endureing a lifetime of slavery as long as they were treated well? And as long as God didn’t rescue the slaves then it must be ok? Your thinking (or lack of) is frightening.
Did you not read my post? “Prisoners of war”… What do you think our country does to terrorists..? Probably a little worse than a well fed personal slave.
Again, you just supported slavery. Maybe you could get a well fed personal slave. Are you from the southern USA by any chance.
Relax dude, srsly
Also, nice try trying to find out where I live.. Don’t make me report you
Sorry but I have to call out stupidity when I see it. And I don’t really consider knowing which half of the country live in, as knowing where you live.
That’s unfortunate that you’re limited to literally HAVING to do something.
Have a good night, I’m going to bed and you’re bugging me.
I read this passage as I commandment of Paul’s (“I” do not permit a woman to teach) and I’m not convinced this is a command from Jesus/God as scripture does not mention Jesus ever stating anything like this. Jesus commands were simple, love God and love your neighbor. His sacrifice did away with much of the requirements of the Old Testament and I’m sure that even after he departed Earth that the culture and value of women at that time still likely permeated the early Christian church. I believe the Bible does take in-depth study and being very close to God and working with his spirit to get a fuller understanding.
How can you say that its not Gods words it was Paul’s word. First of all 2:Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” Also when God says that the man is the head of his house and the woman ought to submit to him. God Doesn’t change his mind because this is the year 2014. Paul and all of the apostles wrote down what the Holy Spirit told them to write. If you continue to take that stance then it leaves to much open for argument about what is Gods words and what were the apostles words. All scripture is from God plain and simple.
all, late to the party! Well done too, it’s a shame when you see arguments
descend into bickering and disrespect – not so here 🙂
I love Paul’s letters, so much to unpack and consider.
Firstly, Rodney (if you’re reading), was Paul writing scripture or was he writing a letter to an individual acquaintance – even close personal friend? It was not until much later, officially in the 4th century, that this letter was deemed (“God-breathed”) scripture. The ‘scriptures’ to which Paul refers to in 2 Timothy would be what we call the Old Testament, perhaps even only parts thereof.
Further, does Paul display the attitude or even awareness that he is writing something that may one day be declared scripture? Consider the stark declaration of 1 Corinthians 7v10-12 and the notable absence of anything remotely similar throughout 1 Timothy. I expect you know it – where Paul specifies in that instance that he is writing and commanding certain things in contrast to where he is acting as God’s messenger in other parts of that letter.
In fact, in 2v7 Paul does say he is a herald and an apostle, so declaring his authority to speak, but does not choose to say that he is speaking God’s word at this specific moment. Of course, that in itself does not mean that he isn’t but why would he specify so on another occasion? It is because this is a personal letter and Corinthians is to the church as a whole in that city.
I find the debate around is this passage being specifically situational versus general teaching quite amusing because Paul declares it. The entire letter is motivated by the situation in Ephesus, see Ch.1v3. It is in
fact such a personal and direct letter that Paul refers to prophecies received previously about Timothy (1v18) and advises him about his health (5v23)!
So to argue that the letters contents could be about a specific local occurrence, or even specific, and known, individuals is not unjust but can carry a lot of weight.
Whereas we can be in danger of the great pitfall of “taking things out of context” if we remove a situational instruction or teaching and try to apply it elsewhere.
In these situations, we need to draw on multiple biblical sources to be sure of our conclusions.
Another example that has been used in this discourse is that of the rich young ruler. Yes, Jesus is speaking specifically to this individual because “he knew
his heart.” Apparently, therefore it’s ok Christians! – You can hold on to your money! Hooray!… Why then does Jesus then immediately say that it will be hard for
a non-specific rich person to enter heaven? Surely, this is an instant where Jesus used a specific event or individual to illustrate a wider Christian theme. Like most if not all of his parables.
If we are to take Paul’s decree here as a teaching against women in leadership and teaching positions in the modern church we must look at other biblical instances to confirm it.
A lecturer once explained the significance of Eve being formed from the rib cage. Rather than being formed from a bone in the foot, so as to be below a man, or a piece of bone from the head as to be above a man, she was form from the side as to be an equal partner in the stewardship of God’s creation.
The Fall did change that and let’s not deny it. God put out some pretty harsh stuff on women see Gen 3:16. However, and this is a huge BUT: God held man accountable as well! 3:17-19 sees God’s judgement
It’s such a shame one can so often hear about it being “the woman’s fault” – thousands of years after the fault has been rectified. Do we not believe that the crucifixion and resurrection dealt with this “original sin”? Is it somehow separate? Must we hold on to it because it’s scripturally correct to do so?
I think that is pretty hard to argue given that Judgement is not ours to wield and it requires us to ignore Jesus commanding us to forgive everyone for everything. Now, do we do it because it is culturally
prevalent within the church – (Western) society has its own considerable problems with its treatment of women and that could seep into church culture. Language and cultures are constantly evolving so to must we reflect on the scriptures and their interpretations.
I think the gospel message speaks to restore men and women, as equal partners as they were before the Fall; equal partners in the Great Commission; and equal partners in the life of the church.
Anyway, what a long Post! Sorry about that, thanks for reading if you have.
DaveUK, thanks for your wise comments, which reflect the work of the Spirit in both content and tone.
I agree completely re slavery. I keep seeing people repeat this statement that the Bible seems to condone slavery…it does not. The scripture simply admonishes slaves to glorify Christ in their behavior.
I was always taught at Bible College to ask the who, when, why questions of Bible Passage. Who wrote it, when was it written and why and to whom. Most members of a congregation do not really delve into all this without being taught by a gifted teacher. It now makes perfect sense to me when you think about a ‘letter’ that has been written, for instance, that you want to know the historical and cultural background of it all, and then when a person does, often so many things are revealed and those areas of a scripture that never made sense before, open up to give greater understanding of the passage.
Jolie, those are very useful questions for any Bible passage. Thank you for suggesting them. I love how Frank Viola sometimes “mirror” reads the epistles, almost reconstructing the letters to which Paul was responding. We need to dig deeper into the Word.
give up, lady. god does not like women. if you want your gender respected, form a new religion and watch christianity become as irrelevant as the old greek religions (which taught similarly stupid things, though had moments of wisdom as well)
If I thought that was true, I might even consider it. Thankfully, there’s plenty of evidence that God honors and respects women and regards them as equal to man. It’s man’s reaction that’s the problem.
Some people are trying so hard to make the Bible politically correct 🙂
This a very difficult passage indeed not in understanding its content, but rather on how to apply it. We probably need more discernment about what really happen in the beginning between Adam, Eve, the devil and God. That might help elucidate much about relationship between people and the roles of man and woman. I wish you success down that road.
Interesting that you should raise this. There is some detailed and very fascinating teaching about this on a DVD from the House2House meeting in 2008. I have a copy, but it’s no longer available from House2House.
I very much hope it might be republished.
In a nutshell, when the woman was asked by Yahweh to say what had happened, she pointed to the evil one and said, ‘He deceived me and I ate’. And that was the truth. That’s what happened.
But when he asked the man, he pointed to Yahweh and said, ‘The woman you gave me…’
She blamed the evil one, he blamed Yahweh.
Then, their relationship with the Almighty broken, they had to look elsewhere for their worth, significance, security and value. She turned to the man to provide all these things (he was her original source, taken from his side). Meanwhile, he turned to the ground (his source, the dust).
And men can never provide these things for women, neither can the work of their hands provide them for men. They rebel, men tending to dominate women and the ground tending to produce thorns and thistles.
But in Christ the relationship is restored and both men and women can turn back to the Father who does provide worth, significance, security and value.
This does not do justice to the DVD. But what it contains deserves to be more widely shared.
We all want to obey the Scriptures, so let’s vaguely re-interpret all the parts we don’t want to. Religion is such bullshit!
I agree with you about religion. Religion is a system of rules–do’s and don’ts and mostly don’ts. It’s not what Jesus died for.
If its a “singular vs plural” arguement.. Why is And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. Shouldn’t it be I do not permit this Woman to teach or have authority over MEN <<
Its plain and simple but if I saw an attractive sister in the teaching I would be interested. But I have to submit to Jesus and not let a women teach me because of the order that god ordained
“I” not “God does not permit a woman to teach.” Not God who said, but Paul who said. Remember that.
God bless you, and the lord will prove that you are worthy of speaking for him too.
Unfortunately Scripture disagrees with you. There are many verses in which Paul addresses the Holy Spirit’s inspiration through him. For another account you also have the following from 2 Peter 3 “and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction”
It is not about someone having dominion or rule over another. It is just the order that God has ordained. Many women would probably be better teachers than men, but that is not God’s design therefore violating that would be sin. I struggled with this when I was a new Christian and it was actually my wife who showed me the Scriptures when we were dating.
Paul also contradicted himself and said women will prophesy. Prophesying is teaching and correcting. It is provoking and not women sitting silent in the church.
this is my dilema…Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit that lives in all of us is the same …but according to Timothy the HS is fully manifested in male children but limited in the other half that is female…..because we are born in specific phyisical bodies, the HS preforms different “rolls” within our lives? This does not sound like the same message Christ taught. If brothers and sisiters are equal and all working together for the good and overall funzionality of the body of Christ in love then only Christ is our authority and not this legalism of who can be above who…Who are we as human or “men” to say that God only wants men to teach other men? This was never stated by Jesus and if interpresting the bible to say that only men have certain types of authority this changes all the authority of the power of the Word for all women. What part of the Bible is written for females or better yet sisters in Christ? I do not have the desire to teach men and I adore my husband but this controversy potencially weakens all woman who believe the HS will never fully use them to be teachers of the Word. Maybe they can teach but since they have been born women it will never be a full ministry. Half the body is limited? The bride of Christ partially paralized?
All things are possible through Christ! I am fearfully and awesomely made. (well according to some interpretations almost all is possible…not quite awesome enough to do everything….)
There are a lot of questions in here, but let me try to address a couple of them. I guess my first question to you to better understand your position would be 1.) who is the author of Scripture. 2) is Scripture sufficient?
I would agree with you that men and women do not have the authority to say that God has decided only men should hold Pastor/Elder position. However, it is not when men say but what God has spoken in His word (2 Timothy 3:16)
Jesus also appealed to the authority of Scripture when He was tempted by Satan and many times with the Pharisees as He often stated, “as it is written”
So it is not by opinion that the Church has adopted a men in leadership role position.
Do different roles mean less value in Christ? If I am not called to be a pastor, but a servant within the church (helping with maintenance, serving the sick brothers and sisters etc) am I less of Christian? Is my worth defined by what I do or who I am in Christ?
Just a couple things to consider
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. If we try to say that it was Paul and not God then a lot scripture would be open for argument. Wake up people and submit yourselves to the Word of Lord. Stop trying to change scripture to fit your lives and start changing your lives to fit Scripture.
Jeremiah 8:8. How can you say you are wise because you have the law of The Lord? Don’t you know that the lying scribes have handled it falsely?
And dont forget when he said “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. “
Then why did Paul say women will prophecy and contradict himself?
Mayz, I don’t think he contradicts himself. I don’t think you think he does either. Remember, though, that it wasn’t just prophecy, but also prayer(and he wasn’t instructing about order in the assembly there). Yet, is prayer only limited to when the church gathers in assembly? Nor was the gift of prophecy. And prophecy is not the same as teaching. (See Romans ch.12). Yet in no unclear words does Paul say that women are not to teach or have authority over men in the household of God (followed by specific, non-culture dependent reasons). I realize that this goes against our culture and the times we live, but we must judge the times with the scripture and not vice versa. God will bless us if we do.
2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”
“In verse 11 Paul says, “Let a woman learn in quietness in all subjection.” Quietness means silence. For a sister to learn in silence and in all subjection is to realize her position as a woman. This safeguards the sisters from the presumption of overstepping their position in the local assembly.
Verse 12 continues, “But I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in quietness.” To teach here means to teach with authority, to define and decide the meaning of doctrines concerning divine truth. For a woman to teach in this way or to exercise authority over a man is to leave her position. In God’s creation man was ordained to be the head, and woman was to be in subjection to man (1 Cor. 11:3). This ordination should be kept in the church. The word quietness in verse 12 refers to silence from speaking.
In verse 13 Paul offers a word of explanation, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” This brings us to the beginning. God always wants to bring us back to His beginning (Matt. 19:8).
In verse 14 Paul goes on, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being quite deceived was in transgression.” Verse 13 gives the first reason that a woman should subject herself to man. Here is the second. Eve was deceived by the serpent (Gen. 3:1-6) because she did not remain in subjection under the headship of Adam, but overstepped her position to contact the evil tempter directly without her head being covered. This is the strong ground for the apostle not to permit the sisters in a local assembly to teach with authority or to exercise authority over men, but to learn in silence and remain in all subjection. Man’s headship is woman’s protection.”
May I suggest you read this article by renowned theologian Philip B. Payne. He’s been studying the Bible in its original languages since he was a child (his father was a theologian). He’s a far more noteworthy authority than I am on this subject. http://bit.ly/1i6PGk2. If you are open to change, I think you will find his interpretation helpful.
The word that you say is translated “silence” is the Greek word hesuchia which in other places does not translate as silence. For example, in 1 Tim 2:2,Paul urges people to pray for kings and those in authority that we might
live a quiet (hesuchios) life. No question of silence here.
The context of the passage, though, would support “silent” in the sense of not speaking. Instead of teaching, she is to remain quiet. Instead of exercising authority, she is to be submissive. Quiet as opposed to teaching and submissive as opposed to taking authority. The intended contrasts are plain to see. Context is a safeguard against trying to find one word that can have another meaning which can sabotage the plain meaning of the text .
oh dear me it’s this simple- a woman is not to teach or exercise authority over a man, why are you reading into that passage something that is not there, it would say woman because women wouldn’t be preaching teaching, it would be a woman in the same way I would say I permit a man to teach me, I would not say men as I would expect a pastor not several, it maybe I would have a different pastor each week but it still would be a man and not men.
Look you can guess someone said this or that in Timothy’s church but you have no evidence there was! Moreover, your straw man statement about the woman who was a Sunday school teacher for 50 years it’s just rubbish isn’t it? Look women in ministry are causing division in the church. I just ask the obvious, would a Godly woman permit herself to be such a devastating influence on the church, just so she can have equality with a man? I for one will just submit to 1 Tim 2:12, I will submit to my husband, and I will do so because why would I think myself to aloof not to? I submit to Jesus, and I do that by submitting to my husband, and obeying 1 Tim 2:12. Ladies you are just being led by the WRM, stand up for the bible, stand up for your husband, stop this nonsense that you think the church can’t do without you.
Amen Sarah22, to many people try to complicate things to justify their position when they need to simply submit to Gods word. They need to stop trying to exalt themselves and Glorify God. If we love God then we will obey him and lift his name above every name and stop trying to make a name for ourselves to the world and just care about what God thinks of us.
One thing i have learnt is that God `s word is true.Every word we have in the Holy bible is the mind of God.They are all inspired by God.It is not the mere words of Paul.In Gods own mind,he never wanted any women to overshadow his head.They will be gifted,with great grace but as a complement to the Man that God has placed over him.The Question is -Where are all the MEN?.They are possibly less concerned about Gods mandate and so indifferent to spiritual things.Women must be apt to teach but they must not usurp authority over men.If the woman discover that she is outshinning the man in the public,she has a responsibilty to pray for his man.No matter how great a woman is,she is meant to complement the grace in the life of the Man.That is the Spiritual Organogram.This is the simple truth”Man was created first”.Pray for your man to come up.This is Gods mandate
Very interesting comments Akinyemi. Where indeed are the men? Unfortunately many men have been so spiritually, morally, intellectually even physically weakened by years and generations of giving in to the temptations of this world to passiveness, laziness, selfishness, drunkenness and failing to control sexual and physical appetites, that few are in a place of strength necessary to lead and teach. This is self-emasculation. There is as a result a great temptation for women in frustration to “take over” rather than wait for men to step up to the plate, in fear that the work of God (and other things) will be left undone. Unfortunately, this is emasculating as well, as failure begets failure, as happens when our expectations of someone are low. Many men, sensing their failure as a group, are lashing out in anger at women, believing that they will feel great by making women small, and taking refuge behind Pauline commands for feminine submission. They totally miss that in Paul statements in Ephesians 5 and elsewhere, the bigger responsibility is placed on the man, who is first commanded (the imperative is used) to love – in the fullest, most active sense possible, the way Christ did, totally forgetting himself; the woman on the other hand is invited (rather than commanded) to submit: most women can attest that it is a relief to submit to that kind of selfless love from a man, just as with Christ. Even in the work place, women are natural supporters of men (less so women) who show strong leadership qualities, integrity, sound judgment, benevolence and humility being the main ones (see Matt 20). Many men do the opposite – in the home they actually withhold love, or otherwise cause women to doubt their love, and outside they objectify, disrespect or repress as a way of punishing women and feeling powerful. Women retaliate, sometimes unconsciously, by emasculating them more – expecting little, doing it ourselves instead of waiting, withholding admiration, respect and praise – and the cycle continues. It is a big sacrifice, but perhaps a necessary one, on the part of women, to make a little room for men to be their best. This doesn’t mean dumbing down, and its not even about womens ordination or leadership, but it does mean making a commitment to give up the right to emasculate men, and chosing to give them freely of our trust, respect, and admiration, even before they appear to deserve it, ie as you said it, “complement the grace in the life of the man”. This is just something we have to decide and learn do if we want to have churches, societies and homes with real men in them. But there is also a need for men who will set the example and call other men to a conscious relearning of Christlike leadership, in the home, church and society, that we as women long to see.
This post is totally one sided. You make it sound like men are responsible for men not loving their wives AND for women not respecting their husbands. Women should respect their husband regardless of whether or not they feel loved. And no, women do not want to be in a position of authority because men are failing at it, they want to be in that position because it is human nature! And yes, we are commanded to respect our husbands.. It’s not a suggestion. It’s a commandment. I could argue with a lot more of what you said but I don’t want to make this any longer and your post just honestly frustrates me
Thank you for your thoughtful answer, Kayla. I think we’re going to have to disagree on this one. Tell me though, what do you think of women who go out into pioneer situations on the mission field. Are they allowed to teach/preach?
I just want to make sure you understand that I know both women and men are in ministry. In no way does any biblical view of men and women imply that men are out and about being active for Jesus and women are not out and about being active for Jesus (or in and about being active in Jesus in only their families, although this is an important role!)… “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over men. Rather she is to remain in quietness as she learns.” Those two things (teach and exercise authority) are the two things that distinguish an elder from a deacon. Elders are to exercise authority or govern and the elders are to be the authoritative teachers in the church. So what Paul seems to be saying here is that there should be male elders in the church, not all teaching and not all authority are restricted from women in that verse. So, if a woman feels called to teach a children’s Sunday school class, I do not believe that to be wrong! It is over men when it gets tricky. There is a kind of authoritative teaching over men that is referred to there, and it compromises the way God has wired men and women when women over time become the authority in a man’s spiritual life. This is the danger with women teaching over men in an authoritative way in the church. I really believe that. I think that is why Paul put that there. It undermines something deep in both the man and the woman. But there are endless possibilities for ministry for women in this world that do not put them under or into that position.
And forgive me for my last post, you misunderstood me.. “This post is totally one sided” I was referring to the woman’s comment that I replied to. Not your blog post as a whole.
Kayla, Thank you for clarifying!
Notice that he refers to Adam and Eve. which tells me that God doesn’t want any women to Preach because it was Eve was deceived by Satan in the Garden of Eden. Also notice that he says that I do not permit a woman to preach to teach or have authority over a man, he doesn’t say that woman cant teach women and small children. God doesn’t want women to have a place of Authority in the church over a man. Take it for what you will. If you interpret the Bible do so with out drawing any outside conclusions but take it for what it actually is, instead of trying to transform it into something that you think it should be instead of what it is.
When Paul refers to Adam and Eve in the 1 Tim 2 passage, it may well have been to refute the heresies at the time. Check out http://simplychurch.com/women-teaching-and-gnosticism/
Once again context would support the simple reading of text, that is; the order of creation given as the reason why she should not teach or take authority. In other words, Paul simply follows his statement of why women should not preach or exercise authority with a reason.
Rodney, I think you are really off base here. For one thing, Adam was right there with Eve, so apparently they were both deceived, not just Eve. Secondly, the Greek word translated as authority in 1 Timothy 2:12 (authentein) is not used anywhere else in scripture. When Paul writes about authority in the church elsewhere (which he does often) he uses other words. In fact, this word has been shown to have a negative connotation, as in the improper use of authority, or even an aggressive, hostile use of authority. If we’re going to “take it for what it actually is, instead of trying to transform it” as you say, then we need to be looking at the original language. Notice also, that Paul is stating his own policy – he is not laying down church policy for all time.
Really confused by your comment to “Rodney”, did you mean Paul? It is Paul who stated “Adam was not deceived.” The implication is that Adam’s failure was a willing rejection of the command rather than deception and his curse was hard work.
If you say “a man shall not murder” it is all Men, not an i solares case. It is an unspecified artícle.
If the Christian Church wants to retain the best of what it has had to offer in the past 2000 plus years, the Church must set aside the archaic values of someone who, himself, had credibility problems. Does the Church really want to lose its talented, bright women to fringe groups? It can and does happen, brothers.
As if I could provide an answer that applies everywhere, at all times, and in all places! Here is an Old Testament example which might give pause for thought. The scenario is that of the rediscovery of the book of the law in the temple; it is read out before the king, and he is so horrified that he tears his clothes—God, he reasons(correctly) must be very angry at their failure to follow his revealed will, So he tells his councillors to go and inquire of God what to do next. Guess who they go to? A woman! One wishes we knew more about Huldah.
However, the key facts in this case is that she was not the only one prophesying! This incident is located in 18th year of Josiah(II Kings 22:3). As it is, Jeremiah, a priest, was called to his role as a prophet in the 13th year of Josiah, about 5 years earlier(see chapter 1)! Of Habakkuk, a temple singer, no chronological data is given; nor is any given of Zephaniah, though 1:1 of his book locates his work in the time of Josiah. Some have reasoned, in view of his long family tree, that he was of the royal line. So, contemporaneous with Huldah, we read of one definitely(Jeremiah), another probably(Zephaniah), and a third possibly(Habakkuk).
But taking back the argument further, why do we read of female prophets but not female priests? The answer lies in the general religious scenario of the OT world, and its obsession with religious prostitution. In Hebrew there are two words for a prostitute, the zônah did it just for the money, and in the New English Bible it is translated “common prostitute”. The qedéshah, however, did it in the service of the Baalite fertility cults that were such a plague and a nuisance in Israelite history; the NEB renders it as “temple prostitute”.
An added factor—and here my British perspective might help—is that we can hardly divorce the question of women in the church from that of women in the wider world. The history of the latter does not make pleasant reading. Even into my own lifetime women were not allowed to take degrees from Cambridge University. Before the Married Women’s Property Act, passed back in Queen Victoria’s reign, a married woman had no legal existence as a person under English law; as for the vote, that didn’t come till 1918(and it was restricted to the 30+ age range – only extended to the 21-29 range in 1928). I fear that over-mighty males have a lot to answer for for their abuse of authority ove women.
Thank you, Barry. I just saw your comment. You have made some great points. When I went to medical school (Barts Hospital) only 10% of the students were female.
This is a tremendously helpful post, and the comments below it, for me in my context serving amongst churches in Kenya as a missionary…thank you for it, Felicity!
If that was the “scenario”, then the bible would have set it up and outright said that a woman was preaching falsehoods. But it does not. Admit your bible is sexist.
The Jews know who God is, but the gentiles don’t.
Knowing God like the jews means knowing He knew this would be discussed today and be a huge theological issue for many, means that if God meant anything other than what is written He would of inspired it to be explained more. I know my God and trust that He knew how to deliver the word to us as relevant for today as it was when it was written 2000 years ago. No Woman have no authority to teach men, nor exert authority over them, any woman who does, is in rebellion to God’s word and blasphemes the word of God. Full stop, God said it, I believe it that settles it, I suggest you learn to obey God even if its not what you would like, or face the consiquences!
Very sad! You’re making assumptions that aren’t there! A Woman covers ALL women and does not point to any “one” woman!
Lol and this writer is trying to twist the words to say it meant one single
woman? Lmfao try explaining this verse which uses the plural form of
woman and also says it’s a disgrace.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak,
but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire
about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is
disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
What if there isn’t a man to teach? I taught my children as my husband wasn’t saved. I teach a discipleship class and am an evangelist. Ive had several people come to me later and say that they weren’t saved before because they had no teacher, and gave their life to Christ.
Aren’t we all called to preach The Good News?
I believe this vers in 1Timothy ch2 v12 is a women who want to be ministers and lead church services and be like men. My reason for saying this is that Jesus never made an apostle of any woman.Further more paul sites his reason from Genesis ch3 v16 where it says your husband will rule over you. This was GOD punishing Eve for her sin. Today in our liberal society no woman is going to accept that a man can rule over his wife. So to make passages like this more acceptable they are watered down so not to affend anyone and keep people in the church who would other wise leave.Paul is not saying that women cant teach full stop because that would be in direct contradiction to 1corinthians ch11 v5 where a woman is allowed to prophecy. They are just not allowed to preach as a minister,priest, elder or bishop. Such dutys as marriage, burials and batism are for men to perform and not given to women.
But if anyone would disagree then they must give examples and explain to why GOD why they think women can be equal to men in this manner.
Nowhere does it say false teachings. While I have no respect for religious beliefs. I have even less respect for people who make excuses and reinterpret the bible to suit their own needs.
Women can’t teach, but men in unbiblical pastoral roles can?
I have spent some time reading most of the comments shared on this post. For those that agree with Paul’s letter to Timothy let me say this:
God’s original intent was for male and female to have equal authority and dominion. This is clearly stated in Gen. 1:26-28. At this time, neither male nor female had more authority over the other. In Gen. chapter 3 when God told the woman that her husband would rule over her, it was a direct result of sin, NOT because that was His original intent. Man, (male and female) had entered into a fallen state. Their authority had been lost. Since this power was given to man (male and female) only a Man (Christ) could get it back. It was stated that Christ never made a woman an apostle. That is very true, however the reason for this was because He had not gone to the cross which was the only way we could be restored. In Acts 10:34 Peter said that God is NOT a respector of persons, He does not show partiality or favorites. There is a reason why Paul made that statement to Timothy but it did not apply to all women or the word of the prophet Joel would not have been given. Jesus stated in Mat. 28:18 that He now had ALL authority. Jesus operated in all areas of the five fold ministry and He said GREATER works will we do. Are we to now believe that this excludes women? Does the Bible say that, “As He is so are men in this world?” If Jesus came that we might be restored then why is it that some men want to hold fast to what was spoken after sin was manifested? Wouldn’t true restoration take us back to Gen. 1:27, or does that no longer apply?
many says, that it was written to them alone.. what if there are the same cases from other churches? that curches are exempted?
Thanks for your comment. I don’t think we can deduce anything from what Scripture does not say.
Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.
Look at today(2022). Even if you hold to Paul’s statement about not permitting a women to teach,
I think most true Christians would agree that there
is a lot of false teaching going on in this present world. So, is it possible for God to use a woman to
teach today ? Pray about this and let the Holy Spirit lead.