From reading a multitude of articles about the subject, I compiled this list of ways that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is understood by those who believe in taking Scripture seriously. On some points, the complementarians do not accept the face value meaning of the text. On others, egalitarians do not. There is even an absurd place where some gender hierarchy supporters accept the face value meaning of the text, but not the face value meaning of other texts with a similar prohibition for all followers of Jesus.
If you know other interpretations that could be included, let me know. Every time I have an a) and b) (and further letters) under a point, the meanings are either a) or b) or c) or d) . When there are numbers like b1) and b2), both are compatible with b) but either/ or in relation to one another.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman
Notice that :10 speaks of women, :11 to the middle of :15 of a woman and a man, and the rest of :15 of they. Three possible meanings were suggested:
a) To read it as we do in English: “A woman” means “women”, “a man” means “men.” (That may sound obvious to the English hearer, but some Greek scholars don’t believe that.)
b) Some scholars say that in Greek on face value, a woman means a particular female that Paul had in mind, and Timothy would have known who she was.
c) Wives and women are the same word in Greek. It may mean “a wife” and not “a woman.” Once again, a particular wife, or all of them?
a) “Let the woman learn” may sound patriarchal to postmodern ears, but was a liberating statement in the first century. At the time, women were kept at home unlearned, and Judaism said it is better to burn the Torah than teach it to a woman. A woman, claims this text, is not incapable or unworthy of learning. Many believe part of the reason for letting this woman/ women learn have to do with their education in the region’s Artemis worship – they need to learn to think in a different way.
a1) If this refers to women (wives) and not just one of them, it means they could and should get together away from their husbands’ eyes for the purpose of learning. It is almost like “send your wife/ daughter to university.”
b) Patriarchal readers put no emphasis on this word, believing it only means men should tell women what to do (teach them).
a) This very same Greek word is translated in 2Thes 3:12 as working with quietness, meaning a calm non-troublemaking spirit. Women/ wives/ that particular woman or wife should be calm when they learn.
b) Although this means calmness when referring to men and women, patriarchal readers thinks it means wordless, soundless silence when referring to a women.
…with all subjection.
a) She should submit to being taught.
b) She should submit to the teachers.