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

Posts tagged ‘1Tim2’

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

<< 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 (more…)


Different ways in which “let the woman learn in silence, I suffer not a woman to teach” are understood. (Part 2)

<< From part one


1Ti 2:12  But I

a) “I” refers to God. It is God who suffers not a woman to teach … OR

b) “I” refers to Paul. It is Paul who suffers not a woman to teach … OR

c) “I” refers to both God and Paul.

…do not allow

a) This statement has a permanent meaning: Paul/ God will never allow a woman (one of them, or all?) to do so. OR

b) This statement, according to those who understand Biblical Greek, is that in the Greek the tense for this word is more like “I am not currently allowing…” OR

c) This statement, suggests Biblical translator NT Wright, could be better translated as (more…)

Different ways in which “let the woman learn in silence, I suffer not a woman to teach” are understood. (Part 1)

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?

 … learn

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. (more…)

1 Timothy 2:11-15 – My cut and paste answer

Sometimes, people respond to me with things like: “You are wrong, see 1 Timothy 2:11-15” Most of the time, they will then cut and paste the entire passage, invariably from a translation which put “assume authority” in :12, never from one that choose another possible meaning. They will have nothing more to say, as if the passage is self-explanatory. Of course, in studying this topic I looked at 1 Tim 2:11-15. Here is what I will cut and paste next time someone does that: (more…)

16 Reasons to be careful when reading 1 Timothy 2:11-15

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 :10 to “woman” in :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 :12) speak of a calm attitude, or of keeping her mouth shut? (The same Greek word is used in :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 :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 :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 :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  :11 actually mean she should keep her mouth shut, how could God use her as 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 do 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 :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 defense 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 :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 say 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 :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 quote 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.

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