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

<< From part two

1Ti 2:13-14  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

The words here are literal, but the context is disputed:

a) He wants them/her to not teach or usurp/ exercise authority because Adam was made first. (But then, God doesn’t want men to usurp or exercise authority either, so this face value meaning falls short.)

a1) Some complementarians teach that because Adam having been made first is an eternal truth about God’s order, God never wants women/ a woman to teach. Those complementarians say it is “rooted in creation.”

a2) Alternatively, a temporary command could be rooted in an eternal truth. For example: “Go for this opportunity, life is short.” Life is short, but that don’t mean that it will always be the right time to go for that particular opportunity. “Appreciate the view, God made the world beautiful.” God made the world beautiful, but you don’t have to appreciate the view of a few dark shapes you have in midnight in your room, or the view of a scrapyard. OR

b) If teaching and authentein should be a combined term, God/Paul wants them/her not to teach in an authority-usurping (exercising) manner, because Adam was formed first. But then, Jesus doesn’t want that from His male followers either, so this reason makes no sense. OR

c) He wants them/her not to teach that the woman made the man, for the man was made before her.

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

a) This is a statement that God wants those with genitals like the deliberate sinner (Adam also sinned and if he was not deceived it was deliberate) to lead, that God’s mercy will not make a leader of men out of anyone whose genitals look like those of the deceived sinner. Deceived sinner types can only lead children and those with similar genitalia, while deliberate sinner types are the only ones who can lead other deliberate sinner types. OR

b) Combined with the knowledge that Adam sinned too, and God is gentler on deceived sinners and allowed Paul to teach after being free from deception (1 Timothy 1:13, earlier in the same letter), it strengthens the idea of “I am not currently allowing, but teach her/ them.” She/ they are also deceived like Eve was, and like Paul, will only have the ability to teach when they know the truth.

1Ti 2:15  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing,

a) Saved in childbearing is to be taken literally. If you take this to refer to all women, women are saved not in Christ but in childbearing. If it refers to a particular woman, that woman will be saved through childbearing. OR

b) A particular woman/ women will be saved in childbearing in the sense that God will keep them safe. (Some add this may oppose the teaching in local Artemis worship that Artemis keeps them safe in childbirth.) OR

c) A particular woman/ women will be saved in the childbearing – the Greek contains the – and the particular childbearing they have in mind is the birth of Jesus, that will still save her/ them.

if they continue

a) There was just a change in people being talked about – she shall be saved  if they continue.

a1) This may make it more possible that a particular wife and husband was in mind – she (perhaps an Artemis worshipper married to a Christian man) shall be saved if, instead of teaching her husband her religion, they continue in a Christian way. OR

a2) She refers to a few trouble-making women, and they to a larger group, who included some more Christians. OR

b) The same group is still in mind – all women.

in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

These words are the clearest of the whole passage.

In conclusion, be careful how you interpret this passage. Be even more careful before teaching on it or trying to win people to your way of thinking about it.

Comments on: "Different ways in which “let the woman learn in silence, I suffer not a woman to teach” are understood. (Part 3)" (3)

  1. Don Johnson said:

    There are more variations, but this was a great start. One thing is to start out with the whole teaching unit, which I think is 1 Tim 2:8-3:13, but some think is 2:8-2:15. Then work recursively trying to understand the parts of the teaching unit that are clearer and dodge the parts that are less clear, pointing out possible variations as you did. For this specific teaching unit, I conclude that there is simply too much doubt about what it means, due to the many variations; however, a translation does not have that option, they must put a stake in the ground, but this gives the reader a false sense of confidence about what it means.


  2. Thank you, Don. That was more or less my idea too: To show those who are have that false sense of confidence you speak of that they would be wise to be somewhat more careful in their exegesis. I am not telling anyone what to believe, only that their opinion is not the only one held by those who know Greek/ the Ephesian culture.


  3. Retha, I’m finally reading this, and like it very much. You really made me think!


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