Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

1Ti 2:11 Let a woman be learning in quietness with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12 Now I am not permitting a woman to be teaching nor yet to be domineering over a man,, but to be in quietness”
1Ti 2:13 (for Adam was first molded, thereafter Eve,
1Ti 2:14 and Adam was not seduced, yet the woman, being deluded, has come to be in the transgression).”
1Ti 2:15 Yet she shall be saved through the child bearing, if ever they should be remaining in faith and love and holiness with sanity.”

(from the CLV, chosen because it is very literal)

This often mistranslated passage is really hard to understand:

1) Why does it go from “women” in verse 10 to “woman” in verse 11? Are we still discussing the same group, or are we discussing one particular woman now?

2) Does learning in quietness (:11; again at the end of verse 12) speak of a calm attitude, or of keeping her mouth shut? (The same Greek word is used in verse 2 of the chapter, “lead a quiet and peaceable life”. Christians were not called to refrain from using their voices to influence, but to witness.)

3) Why does Paul use his own authority – “I do not allow” in verse 12? Should we assume God’s authority is also behind Paul’s words, or not?

4) If a woman is not allowed to teach a man, why did Priscilla teach Apollos?

5) Should verse 12 be translated “have authority”, as some Bible translations do? Or “usurp authority”(take authority that does not rightfully belong to you), as other translations do? Or “dominate?” Or should it, as other scholars insist from studying the Greek, be understood as seduction, or violence/ murder?

6) If verse 12 speaks against having authority, why could women be prophets (for example Acts 2:17) and bring a message from God’s authority? In fact, if verse 11 actually mean she should keep her mouth shut, how could God use her as a prophet at all?

7) Whatever Paul/ God forbids a woman/ women from doing, should she not do it to any individual male? Or to a specific individual male known to Paul and Timothy? Or could “a man” also refer to all males?

8 ) She (they) should not do it because Adam was made first and was not misled. If all women can be blamed for Eve’s sin, why does the New Testament speak of not being blamed for the sins of your parents? And why does it speak of Christ’s perfect atonement? (Deut. 24:16; 2 Chron. 25:4; Jer. 31:29f.; Ezek. 18:20)?

9) Is “Adam was born first, and therefore …” not part of the “endless genealogies” Paul warns against in 1 Tim. 1:4 a few verses earlier?

10) Just before that, Paul tells in 1 Tim 1:13 how God had mercy on him, as his sin was the result of being misled. And after God had mercy and Paul learned the truth, he could preach. On the other hand, those who sinned knowingly did not get God’s mercy. (1:19-20) In this context, why would verse 12-14 forever bar everyone from the same gender as the misled Eve from teaching while not barring the gender of the knowingly sinning Adam from anything?

11) If women should not teach/ lead men, as women are easily misled, why were they not rather barred from teaching children, who have the least defence against false doctrine, or other women, who are easily misled? (Do not think for one second that children are less important to God!) In fact, if women are so easily misled, knowledgable women should probably teach only those who will spot false doctrine the most easily.

12) If the woman who was seduced in verse 14 will find salvation, who does it speak of? Eve? She was dead at the time of writing, and “will find” is a reference to the future. One particular woman in that congregation? All women?

13) Salvation through the child-bearing? How does this tie in with the rest of scripture, which says salvation is found in Christ?

14) She will be saved if they continue? Is her salvation made dependent of someone else here?

15) What group do “they” refer to in verse 15?

16) How does it work that God can say there is neither male nor female in Christ, and that before the Lord there is neither man without the woman nor woman without the man (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 11:11), and then he forbids things based on gender?

Anyone who quotes from 1 Timothy 2:11-15 to prove a point, make a lot of assumptions about many of the points above. Even experienced scholars find this passage hard to explain. So using it for doctrine without backing up your assumptions, and without having some answers to the problems that arise from your interpretation, is simply not a respectful use of the Bible. Even more so if your interpretation contradicts everything from Christ’s perfect atonement to the teachings of the previous Bible chapter.

Comments on: "16 Reasons to be careful when reading 1 Timothy 2:11-15" (8)

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful questions.


  2. I regularly comment on ab=nd I have posted some of my teachings these, the big one is on marriage and divorce in 1st century context based on Instone-brewer’s work mainly.


  3. Yes, I also post on CBE blog and have posted on WIM in the past.


  4. […] is regarded as a very hard passage to understand. But face value is good enough for now. Remember that the point the Danvers statement […]


  5. Hi Retha, I was really struck by your last sentence:
    “Even more so if your interpretation contradicts everything from Christ’s perfect atonement to the teachings of the previous Bible chapter.”

    I need to remember Christ’s perfect atonement!!! No single verse interpreted can take away from that.

    Thank you for sharing!


  6. Some great points here!

    I think the translation “seduced” in the CLV may be problematic for the many people who primarily associate seduction with sexual seduction. I personally think the CLV have made some poor translation choices in these verses.


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