Topic 1: “A helper fit for him”: What does this mean?
“A helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).
What does this mean? The Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in its September 1985 paper, “Women in the Church” (CTCR-WIC) concludes “woman is created to be helper for man. She is created from him and for him. While the word ‘subordination’ is not actually used in Genesis 2, this account of the creation presents the foundation for 1 Corinthians” (CTCR-WIC, pgs. 23-24).
“It has been argued that the word ezer does not necessarily imply subordination in any way. Sixteen of twenty-one uses of the word in the Old Testament refer to God as a superior helper to human beings. The remaining three refer to men helping other men. But ezer must be seen in context. The phrase says that God created woman to be help for man; that is to say, the purpose of her creation was to be a help to the man. There is apparently some kind of subordination indicated by the phrase” (CTCR-WIC, Footnote 29, pg. 23).
This understanding is reflected by a comment by a lay person, “Everyone knows that a carpenter’s helper is subordinate to and lesser than the carpenter. This is how we understanding the relation of man to woman.” And Clark, in Man and Woman in Christ, reflects the same understanding: “In the narrative [of Genesis], then, the woman’s role is understood in relationship to the man, which indicates some kind of subordination” (Clark, pg. 25).
But is subordination implied? No, the phrase “a helper fit for him” does not imply “some kind of subordination…”
(A) First, note that various biblical translations offer different nuances:
“I will make him an help meet for him” (KJV).
“I will make a helper comparable to him” (NKJV).
“I will provide a partner for him” (NEB).
“I will make a helper suitable for him” (NIV).
“I shall make him a helper” (New Jerusalem Bible).
“I will make a helper to suit him” (Moffatt).
“I will make a suitable companion to help him” (TEV).
(B) The biblical word translated “helper” is the Hebrew word ezer.
(1) Ezer is found twenty-one times in the Old Testament.
(2) Sixteen of these times the word refers to God or Yahweh who is a strong and superior helper or who supplies the help (Ex. 18:4, Deut. 33:7, 26, 29; Ps. 20:2, 33:20, 70:5; 89:19; 115:9, 10, 11; 121:1,2; 124:8; 146:5; Hosea 13:9). Three of the others refer to people who receive no help (Is. 30:5, Ez. 12:14, Dan. 11:34), and the other two are in the Genesis 2 passage.
(3) The general sense of ezer is of a stronger helping or assisting the weaker: in most instances of Old Testament usage (e.g. Ps. 121:1-2; also compare 1 Sam. 7:12) the word refers to God. God does not fit the description of a lesser assistant.
(4) “Thus, forms of cezer as used in the Bible can mean ‘to save’ or ‘to be strong.’ In Genesis 2:18b, when God speaks of the being He is to create to relieve the man’s loneliness, He is surely not creating this creature to be the man’s savior. This makes no sense. God creates this new creature to be, like the man, a power (or strength) superior to the animals. This is the true meaning of cezer as used in this passage” (Freedman, “Woman, A Power Equal to Man,” Biblical Archeology Review (Jan/Feb 1983), pgs. 56-58). Freedman also notes that the Hebrew word ezer is a combination of two roots: `-z-r, meaning “to rescue, to save,” and g-z-r, meaning “to be strong.”
(5) Ezer is never used in the Old Testament to designate a subordinate.
(6) Consequently the word conveys no implication of subordination, weakness, inferiority, or lesser ranking.
(C) “…a helper fit for him…”
(1) “…kenegdo…appears in the Bible only once….In later Mishnaic Hebrew, the root keneged means ‘equal,’ as in the famous saying that ‘The study of the Torah is equal (keneged) to all the other commandments'” (Freedman, pg. 57).
(2) The Hebrew negdo (“fit”) with the preposition ke (“a particle of comparison” Langenscheidt, pg. 139) means “corresponding to,” “equal and adequate to” (Langenscheidt, pg. 206), similarly, someone in front of or in the presence of another.
(3) The particle of comparison admits no subordination. “The root word neged, when used as noun, refers to rulers and leaders in the Old Testament” (Pareles, Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage, pg. 3).
(D) If anything then, ezer suggests the woman is superordinate, not subordinate.
(1) “The two Hebrew words that describe the position of the to-be-created woman vis-à-vis the man are cezer kenegdo…They should be translated instead to mean approximately ‘a power equal to man.’ That is, when God concluded that he would create another creature so that man would not be alone, he decide to make ‘a power equal to him,’ someone whose strength was equal to man’s. Woman was not intended to be merely man’s helper. She was to be instead his partner” (Freedman, pg. 56).
(2) “When God creates Eve from Adam’s rib, His intent is that she will be — unlike the animals — ‘a power (or strength) equal to him.’ I think that there is no other way of understanding the phrase cezer kenegdo that can be defended philologically” (Freedman, pg. 58).
(3) An intensive care unit nurse helping a patient, even if the patient is CEO of the hospital, does not imply subordination, but skill, strength, expertise, and even authority (“Here, swallow this pill!”).
(4) “It is not good that man should be alone”: The context of needing a “helper” or a “companion” is not a need for some one to till the garden or cook the man’s meals, but man’s “aloneness,” that fact that the animals cannot provide the kind of intimacy a human being needs.
(5) “However, if the woman is subordinate to the man simply because she was created to meet Adam’s need for a helpful assistant, then his authority over her should pertain only to those tasks with which he would have needed help before she was created. Her helping tasks should concern only the sort of work for which the man would have had responsibility when he was working in the Garden alone” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 130).
The context, which the CTCR-WIC document states as necessary for understanding the meaning of ezer, argues against the idea of subordination of women.
(A) “[vs 18]… It is not good that man should be alone“: God understands the male’s need as a need for companionship, something he cannot supply himself, something none of the animals could give him; animals certainly could help (note farm animals and their usage), but not to meet this need of the male. The male’s need implies neither domination nor subordination on his part. If anything, the need suggests incompleteness.
(B) “[vs 21] … the Lord … took one of his ribs … [vs 24] … he made into a woman …”: God’s creative action suggests parity.
(1) Adam and the animals were made from the dust. Their origin and source was the dust.
(2) But the woman is different. The man is the “source” of the woman.
(3) We do not assume the man was inferior to the ground. Source or derivation does not translate into subordination. One person has commented, “If being taken from Adam’s rib implies Eve is subordinate or inferior, then by the same logic Adam is inferior and subordinate to the dirt from which he was taken.”
(4) The man sleeps when God takes the rib; the man plays no part and has no claim to superiority through action.
(5) The context of “rib” implies relationship. The Hebrew word for “rib” can also be translated “side” (BDB, pg. 854).
(C) “[vs 23]… bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh“: The male understands the relationship not as subordination but equity, parity, unity, oneness.
(1) The male expresses no understanding of the woman as being subordinate or inferior or ranked beneath him.
(2) “Eve was literally created from Adam’s bone and flesh. But the idiomatic meaning in the Bible of ‘bone and flesh’ is ‘very close relative,’ ‘one of us’ – in effect, ‘our equal.’ For example, when Laban refers to Jacob as ‘my bone and flesh’ in Genesis 29:14, he provides Jacob with free hospitality. But in verse 15, where Jacob is demoted to ah (brother, kinsman,’ he has to work for his keep” (Freedman, pg. 58).
(D) “[vs 24]…Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh“: The divine writer understands that the relationship, even of marriage, is “one flesh,” a mutuality, partnership, equity, with neither greater or less than the other, neither subordinate nor superordinate in relation to the other.
(1) The man’s “aloneness” need has been met by a partner equal to him.
(2) The same Hebrew verb is used for the “taking of man from the dust” as is used for “the taking of woman from the rib.” The divine author suggests thereby that God is treating both equally.
We conclude that the phrase “a helper fit for him” does not imply “some kind of subordination.”
Topic 2: “And he shall rule over you”: What does this mean?
Genesis 3:16: “And he shall rule over you”: What does this mean?
 What does this mean? This study will look at Genesis 3:16 and ask if this verse about “ruling,” “dominating,” “mastering” presents a prescription or a description. The question can be posed thusly: Is the “ruling of man over woman” something in place before the Fall by the design of the Creator — a prescription — or is the “ruling” the result of something that happened as a result of the Fall — a description?
 One interpretation: The Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in its “Women in the Church: Scriptural Principles and Ecclesial Practice” (Sept. 1985) [CTCR-WIC] states “Man was woman’s head from the first moment of her creation,” and “When the New Testament talks about the subordination of woman to man, it does so on the basis of Genesis 2 and not on the basis of Genesis 3. The foundation for this teaching is not the ‘curse’ of the fall but the original purpose of God in creation” (pg. 24). “The ‘curse’ pronounced in Genesis 3:16 does not institute subordination as such, but it does make this relationship irksome for both parties” (pg. 24).
 Let’s look at Genesis 3:16. Note the various translations of this verse listed above.
KJV (1611): “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
Moffatt (1922): “…yet you shall crave to have your husband, and he shall master you.”
RSV (1952): “…yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
NASB (1960, 1997): “Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
NEB (1961) : “You shall be eager [feel an urge] for your husband, and he shall be your master.”
NIV (1973): “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”
TEV (1976): “In spite of this, you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him.”
NJB (1985): “Your yearning will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.”
NRSV (1989): “…yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
 Unpack your understanding of what these translations suggest.
 Then read the following about the interpretation of the Hebrew word teshugah, a word most often translated “desire”:
Walter Kaiser translates the Hebrew teshugah as “You are turning away to your husband and he will rule over you.” He discovered that the Hebrew teshugah, almost universally translated as “desire,” previously was rendered as “turning,” not desire, in the twelve known ancient versions of the Bible: the Greek Septuagint, the Syriac Pashitta, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Old Latin, the Sahidic, the Bohairic, the Ethiopian, the Arabic, Aquila’s Greek, Symmachus’ Greek, Theodotion’s Greek, and the Latin Vulgate. Thus the Hebrew conveys: “You are turning away (from God) to your husband, and (as a result) he will rule over you (take advantage of you)” (see Walter Kaiser, “Hard Sayings of the Old Testament” (Intervarsity Press, 1988, pgs. 34-35).
“…and he shall rule over you.” The Hebrew verb is future tense, not imperative. God is describing a future condition, the result of the woman’s rebellion. The implication is not “should” (prescriptive) but “will” (descriptive). The text “does not say that the man would continue to rule but would now do so in a cruel and domineering fashion. The news to the woman was simply that the man would rule, not that he would rule differently” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 140).
“Teshuga can justifiably be translated ‘to turn’: ‘Yet you shall turn to your husband, and he would rule over you.’ Here teshuga can refer to when a woman turns to her husband for her needs and does not turn to God for them. If a wife looks to her husband for everything, rather than to God, then she places tremendous power in her husband’s hands, which he can easily use to rule over her” (Pereles, Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage, pg. 12).
The will of God for his human creatures is described in terms of “made in the image of God,” companionship, partnership, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” The accounts suggest equity-with-differences, beings-in-partnership, as God’s creation design and intention. In the perfection of Paradise there is no need for superordination or subordination; both “walk with God.”
When sin enters, all relationships are now ruptured (Genesis 3:7ff.). Enmity sets in; the delight in each other is no longer present. A struggle for dominance ensues. The man blames the woman (and God!) for his own participation in the fall (“…the woman you gave me…she…”). The woman blames the serpent. All self-justify at the expense of the other, fracturing God’s intended unity. Each is now corrupted by the desire to set oneself up “as gods” (Genesis 3:5), a desire which causes humankind once again to be “alone” (Genesis 2:8). A hierarchy of blame and control is established.
 Another interpreter: Luther sees the Fall as instituting subordination: “…she is the mistress of the house just as you are its master, except that the wife was made subject to the man by the Law which was given after sin” (this and the following Luther quotes are from Luther’s Works, “Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 1-5” [Concordia, 1958], pg. 138). “Now the seat of the face is imposed upon the man, and woman is given the command that she should be under her husband” (pg. 138). “This means that Eve’s sorrows, which she would not have had if she had not fallen into sin, are to be great, numerous, and also of various kinds” (pg. 200). “Now there has been added to those sorrows of gestation and birth that Eve has been placed under the power of her husband, she who previously was very free and, as the sharer of all the gifts of God, was in no respect inferior to her husband” (pg. 202). “If Eve had persisted in the truth, she would not only not have been subjected to the rule of her husband, but she herself would also have been a partner in the rule which is now entirely the concern of the males” (pg. 203).
The TEV translates vs. 16 as saying “…yet you will be subject to him…” This lays the weight of responsibility on the obedience of the woman. The translation “…he shall rule over you…” puts the responsibility where it belongs, on sinful domination by the male.
The above understanding of teshugah suggests that the “ruling” and “dominating” are a result of the Fall and not the original intent of the Creator. Translators often wrongly focus on the sexual desires of woman (“…your yearning will be for your husband”) rather than on the god-issue (“…you are turning [away from God] to your husband…”). The woman is choosing a substitute god.
 Let’s look at the larger context, Genesis 3:14-19. The situation of the serpent, the woman, and the man all change or suffer consequences after the Fall which are not intended in creation.
A. 3:14: After the Fall, the serpent is cursed and set apart from all the animals: he will now “crawl on your belly and you will eat dust” (synonymous with defeat and humiliation).
B. Read 3:15: There is now “enmity between the woman and serpent,” not the implied “peaceful kingdom” relationship where there is no sin; cf. Isaiah11:6-9, especially vs. 8.
C. Read 3:16: Now the woman will suffer pain in childbirth.
D. Read 3:16: Now the woman will turn (from God) to her husband, and he will rule her. Previously (in Genesis 1:26), both male and female made in the image of God together will “rule over the earth.”
E. Read 3:17: Since the fall, work for the man becomes painful toil because the cursed ground produces thorns and thistles. The man’s relationship to the earth, originally as intended by the Creator, “…let them [plural] have dominion” (Genesis 1:27-28– joint rule; “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” = equity with differences, beings-in-partnership), is altered because of sin.
F. In the self-centered pride is conceived for the first time the desire to “rule over you” (James 1:15). The command of God was to subdue (Hebrew: kabash) the earth. After sin entered, humanity began to subdue (Hebrew: mashal) humanity. The verb in vs. 16 (mashal) is not the same as is used for humanity’s dominion over the animals in Genesis 1:26 and 28, which uses the verb radah, “to tread down, have dominion over.”
G. “…I will greatly multiply your pain…” (vs. 16). The Hebrew issalon (pain) used here is the very same word used in vs. 18 for the consequence of the man’s action: “In toil (issalon) you shall eat it.” The consequences of the man’s sin is the same as the woman’s. Both are treated equally.
 Let’s talk about these changes.
A. Read 3:16a: Many women use the Lamaze method of childbirth as well as drugs to reduce the pain of child birth. Is this altering God’s intention?
B. “Consistency holds that if prior to the Fall the serpent had not traveled on its belly and the ground had not born thorns and thistles, then man had not ruled over woman.”
C. Read 3:18-19: Farmers seek to eliminate the “thorns and thistles” in their fields, and many ride in tractors and combines with air conditioning. Is it sinful then to get rid of thistles and sweat through modern technology?
D. Now read 3:16b again: And based on what you understand about the previous passages, what is God’s intention for male and female in relationship?
E. The pain in childbirth, the desire for substitute gods, the tendency to set oneself up to rule over another are all symbolic of all the pain in the world (physical, emotional, spiritual, social). Whenever anyone exploits another, whether by gender, race, or sexuality, this pain is evident.
 Evaluate this statement: “The ‘curse’ pronounced in Genesis 3:16 does not institute subordination as such, but it does make this relationship irksome for both parties” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church,” p. 24).
A. Does verse 16 constitute a curse? Or is it a consequence? A prescription of what God wants? Or a description of how people will behave because of sin active in the lives of people?
This brokenness and pain is humanity’s condition when it chooses to live apart from God and his holy purposes (Romans 1:24, 26, and 28 [“…God gave them up…”] is a Pauline commentary on Genesis 3:14-19).
“No cursing language is used in this verse. God does not issue the command, ‘You must experience great pain in child birth.’ Rather, the simple future tense form of the verb is used to describe what will happen to the woman, not what must be. She must pay the consequences of her actions; she brought the pain upon herself” (Pereles, pg. 11).
If dominion by male over female is part of God’s intended “order of creation,” then by the same logic we must also conclude that pain and brokenness are part of God’s intention for humanity. But note Jesus’ miracles of healing throughout the Gospels.
Our innate tendency now is to dominate, “rule over the other.” Living with a Gospel of forgiveness, a gospel which seeks the best for the other, is it wrong to suggest equality between male and female, between husband and wife, and for women to resist male dominance?
 Genesis 3:16 does not speak of God’s intention — prescription — for humanity, but describes the consequences of our own sin. “Headship” in a relationship is necessary only in so far as people live in a fallen and sinful world, where each “seeks to be a god” and dominate others. Police and armies are needed only in a fallen society. God’s people will endeavor with the aid of the Spirit to return to God’s original intent of parity, of equity honoring differences.
A. Read Galatians 3:28 and discuss.
B. Read Romans 8:1-8: What has Christ done for us? (Set us free from the law of sin and death)
C. Read Philippians 2:5-11: What is the “mind of Christ” in terms of “ranking” and “ruling” over others? (In the new creation in Christ, ranking and ruling have no sway)
D. “Pain is invariably an outcry of God’s natural law against abuse; and pain must be contrary to God’s will.”
E. “This brokenness (pain) is humanity’s condition when it chooses to live apart from God and his holy purposes; Romans 1:24, 26, and 28 [“…God give them up…’] is a Pauline commentary on Genesis 3:14-19.”
F. Read Genesis 2:23 and 1:26-31: What do these passages suggest about the relation of male and female? Is there any word in these verses about one having any sort of rank or rule or authority over the other?
G. Compare Genesis 2:23 with 3:11-13: what has changed? (A hierarchy of blame is established in place of “the delight in each other.”) (The tempter says, “you will be like gods…”)
H. Read Revelation 21:5: What is God doing with what is broken and under the power of sin?
I. Read Romans 8:22: What is the condition of the earth, including relationships? (In bondage to decay)
J. Read 2 Corinthians 3:18: What is God doing? (Transforming us into his likeness)
K. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Topic 3: “The Order of Creation”: What does this mean?
The “order of creation”: what does this mean? This topic seeks to explore our understandings of how God works within creation to establish relationships between the woman and the man.
The “Order of Creation” concept is found embedded in “Women in the Church: Scriptural Principles and Ecclesial Practice: A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, September 1985” (hereafter CTCR-WIC). The purpose of this post is to set “order of creation” theology found in CTCR-WIC in dialogue with biblical material and Lutheran insights which posit instead “orderings of the Creator,” God’s dynamic ordering of creation for the well being of humanity. The CTCR concept of “the order of creation” (with reference to male “headship” and female “subordination”) transmutes into a concept of structured hierarchical relationships and is derived from Calvin rather than Luther. Lutheran theologians have understood Luther’s “station” and “calling” as God’s dynamic ordering for the care of human existence. When we talk of the CTCR’s understanding and Luther’s understanding we are not discussing identical concepts, but apples and oranges.
◆ “The Order of Creation. This refers to the particular position which, by the will of God, any created object occupies in relation to others. God has given to that which has been created a certain definite order which, because it has been created by Him, is the expression of His immutable will. These relationships belong to the very structure of created existence” (CTCR-WIC, page 21). ◆ There are “two themes clearly present in the Word of God: 1) the positive and glad affirmation of woman as a person completely equal to man in the enjoyment of God’s unmerited grace in Jesus Christ and as a member of His Body, the church; and 2) the inclusion of woman (as well as man) in a divinely mandated order which is to be reflected in the work and worship of the church” (CTCR-WIC, page 4).
(A) The CTCR definition of “the order of creation” posits the following understandings:
(1) an emphasis on the order and structure of the creation in the distant past rather than the Creator and his continual working today; (2) hence the CTCR posits relationships which are fixed, unchanging, immutable, existing (3) in a created structure apart from redemption (an area where Christ’s work is not applicable). (4) This results in hierarchical rankings between males and females (persons are defined over and against others and not in their relation to Christ). (5) The male is to be number one; the woman is to be number two. (6) This relationship, then, exists and builds the relationships on the basis of the Law, not the Gospel.
(B) The reasoning undergirding the CTCR’s definition may be amplified as follows with reference to the CTCR-WIC document:
(1) Created objects need orderliness and unity between themselves. ◆ Page 32: Subordination is for the sake of orderliness and unity.
(2) To meet this need God mandated certain hierarchical relational structures. ◆ Page 21: “… the particular position … any created object occupies in relation to others.”
(3) For man and woman this is the headship/subordination principle. ◆ Page 27: “The idea that God desires man to be the head of woman and woman to be subordinate to man is rooted deeply in the Old and New Testaments … this biblical truth ….”
(4) This begins with our first parents prior to the Fall. ◆ Page 22: “According to the order of creation, God has assigned individual identities to each sex. He ‘from the beginning made them male and female’ (Matt. 19:4). The identities and functions of each are not interchangeable; they must remain distinct.” ◆ Page 24: “When the New Testament talks about the origin of the subordination of woman to man, it does so on the basis of Genesis 2 and not on the basis of Genesis 3. The foundation for this teaching is not the ‘curse’ of the fall but the original purpose of God in creation…. Man was woman’s head from the first moment of her creation ..” ◆ Page 31: …” she has been subordinated to man by the Creator…”
(5) God does not want this order changed. ◆ Page 21: “ … by the will of God … a certain definite order .. the expression of His immutable will.” ◆ Page 21: “The obligatory character of these orders of things derives from the Creator Himself.”
(6)Therefore even in the Church this order prevails: women must be subordinate to men. ◆ Page 36: “Assumption of that office [the office of the ministry] by a woman is out of place because it is a woman who assumes it, not because women do it in the wrong way or have inferior gifts and abilities.” ◆ Page 4: “… 2) the inclusion of woman (as well as man) in a divinely mandated order which is to be reflected in the work and worship life of the church.” ◆ Page 18: “..2) the proper relationship between man and woman which God established at creation and how that relationship is to be specifically maintained in the church; …” ◆ Page 36: “The theological matrix for the apostle’s inspired teaching on the silence of women in the church and the exercise of authority is, again the order of creation.” ◆ Page 37: “The creational pattern of male headship requires that women not hold the formal position of the authoritative public teaching office in the church, that is, the office of pastor.”
(7) In fact, because this order is the immutable creative will of God, this relationship is outside redemption’s purview and unaffected by it. ◆Page 14: “The Apostolic Constitutions make the point: Jesus did what He did, and He has delivered to His church no indication of women priests because he “knows the order of creation.” What he did, being the Creator of nature, He did in agreement with the creative action. Similarly, since Jesus is the incarnate Word in whom the creation is being made new, He, as head of the church, the new people of God, typified in His ministry the new life of the church not only it its “spiritual” but also in its fleshly contours.” ◆ Pages 25-26: “The biblical view affirms that the New Testament discussion of male-female relationships is rooted in a divinely instituted order and that this order is not overthrown by the new creation …the relationships between man and woman must bear the elements of the structure given in creation (Rom. 8:18-25; 1 Cor. 7:17-31).” ◆ Page 26: “The division into male and female established in the order of creation is not relevant in reference to Baptism into Christ.”
(8) Male and female are “spiritually equal,” but relationally unequal (the woman is subordinate). ◆ Page 24: Quoting Clark, page 28: … it is a very specific kind of subordination – the kind that makes one person (sic) out of two. He was the head of the relationship, head of a relationship that was “one flesh.”
In contrast to the CTCR document, Luther’s understanding of God’s “stations [which] maintain and preserve righteousness in the world” emphasizes not hierarchy or ranking but placement.
(A) Luther, in his commentary on Psalm 111 (referenced in CTCR-WIC, page 21, footnote 22), writes:
“This is the second reason for praise. Here the psalmist approaches the festival of Easter and the Easter lamb. But once again he refers to all God’s works in general, not especially to creation or other wonderful acts but to all His ordinances and institutions which He established by His Word and command — such as the station of father and mother, of priests and Levites according to Moses’ Law, of servant and maid, marriage, the station of lords and subjects, Sabbath and feast days, worship and church order, and the like. All this is His work or His undertaking, for He commanded and instituted it. The psalmist also says that these undertakings and institutions of God are honorable and glorious, that is, noble and fine, praiseworthy and beautiful, so that whoever knows them must praise them as fine stations. But the ungodly do not understand them, and so despise them. Where such stations operate as they should, there things go well in the world, and there is the very righteousness of God. But where such stations are not maintained, it makes for unrighteousness. Now God declares concerning these stations that they must remain if the world is to stand, even though many oppose and rage against them. Therefore the psalmist says that His righteousness endures forever. All sects and man-made righteousness will finally perish, but these stations remain and preserve righteousness in the world” ([emphases added]; Luther, Luther’s Works, “Selected Psalms II,” Volume 13, page 338).
(1) One of Luther’s underlying concerns is that the various “stations” in which people find themselves not be disparaged because they are not that of clergy or priest (a common denigration in his day). No one’s station is to be despised. God’s “ordering” of creation includes many roles, myriads of vocations, thousands of “stations.” God’s calling to these roles is just as important as his calling an individual to the priesthood or ministry of the church. These are “all God’s works … honorable and glorious … so that whoever knows them must praise them as fine stations.”
(2) When Luther uses the term “stand” or “beruf,” the term does not signal hierarchy, but a positioning, the role in which people find themselves. With “station” Luther discusses fields of service or arenas in which people live out their “callings.” In “The Office of the Keys and Confession” in the Small Catechism, Luther writes, “Here consider your station [italics added] according to the Ten Commandments, whether you are a father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, slothful; whether you have grieved any person by word or deed; whether you have stolen, neglected, or wasted aught, or done other injury.” (Indeed, it can be questioned whether Luther ever uses the concept “order of creation” [Schoepferordnung].)
(B) Whatever these roles are, wherever the Christian finds himself or herself, the Christian views his or her “station” as a calling, the place where one lives out his/her life as a faithful servant of Christ.
(1) For Luther, God’s ordering of creation is part of his work of creating and preserving, his “left-handed” work, and in Lutheran theology ordering refers not to placing genders into static hierarchies, but involves placing people each in his or her own particular biography, the place where one lives out life in faith or unfaith, using those factors that are part of his or her own particular biography.
(2) Luther understands that God’s orderings are an ordering of all of life in such a way as to let all function properly in his total economy for the well being and preservation of all of creation.
(3) “By faith we confess that ‘God has created me and all that exists,’ which is something quite different than claiming to know that once upon a time in the far distant past God created the very same structures in which we now participate.”
(4) “The point of this doctrine is to affirm that Christians like all other human beings exist in a framework of universal orders which are there prior to and apart from the fact that they believe in Christ and belong to his Church. God has placed all human beings in particular structures [not hierarchies] of existence, such as nationality, race, sexual identity, family, work, government, which in some form or other are simply the givens of creaturely existence” (Braaten, “God in Public Life A Rehabilitation of the Lutheran Idea of the ‘Order of Creation,'” pg. 35).
(5) “The orders of creation are the common structures of human existence, the indispensable conditions of the possibility of social life. Through these structures human beings are bound to each other in various relationships and mutual service. Luther said, ‘You will always be in a station. You are either husband, wife, son, daughter, servant, or maid.’ Saint Peter says that the graces and gifts of God are not all of one kind, but various. And each one is to realize what his own are and use them so that he may be of use to others” (Braatan, page 38).
Luther understood superordination/subordination hierarchy as stemming from the Fall, and not part of the Creator’s ordering.
(A) In reading Luther’s commentary on Genesis (Luther’s Works, Volume 1, “Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 1-5” [Concordia, 1958]) , we find Luther’s perspective. Note the following quotations [emphasis added]:
(1) “… and that He governs and preserves these creatures by the power of His Word, by which He also created them” (page 47).
(2) “… because she is your wife, she is the mistress of the house just as you are its master, except that the wife was made subject to the man by the Law which was given after sin. This punishment is similar to the others which dulled those glorious conditions of Paradise of which this text [Genesis 2] informs us. Moses is not speaking of the wretched life which married people now live but of the innocence in Paradise. There the management would have been equally divided, just as Adam prophesies here that Eve must be called ‘she-man,” or “virago” because she performs similar activities in the home. Now the sweat of the face is imposed upon man, and woman is given the command that she should be under her husband. Yet there remain remnants, like dregs, of the dominion, so that even now the wife can be called ‘virago’ because she has a share in the property” (pages 137-138).
(3) “This means that Eve’s sorrows, which she would not have had if she had not fallen into sin, are to be great, numerous, and also of various kinds” (page 200).
(4) “Now there is also added to those sorrows of gestation and birth that Eve has been placed under the power of her husband, she who previously was very free and, as the sharer of all the gifts of God, was in no respect inferior to her husband” (page 202).
(5) “If Eve had persisted in the truth, she would not only not have been subjected to the rule of her husband, but she herself would also have been a partner in the rule which is now entirely the concern of males” (page 203).
(6) “On the woman obedience to her husband was imposed …”(page 203).
(7) “We heard above that the punishment of being under her husband’s power was inflicted on the woman. An indication of that power is given here. It is not God who gives her a name; it is Adam, as the lord of Eve, just as he had previously given names to the animals as creatures put under him. No animal thought out a name for itself; all were assigned their names and received the prestige and honor of a name from their lord Adam. Similarly even today, when a woman marries a man, she loses the name of her family and is called by the name of her husband. It would be unnatural if a husband wanted to be called by his wife’s name. This is an indication and a confirmation of the punishment or subjection which the woman incurred through her sin” (page 219).
(B) Luther is never as consistently systematic as we would like, yet it seems clear that he does not understand the superordinate role of the male and the subordinate role of the female as a pre-Fall static order established by the Creator. Rather he reads the Genesis texts as indicating that woman’s subordinate role and the male’s superordinate role is initiated after the Fall as consequence and result of sin. For Luther the hierarchical aspects of the relationship result from sin, not from creative intent, contrary to the CTCR’s understanding.
The texts of Genesis 1 and 2 can be easily and fairly read to indicate an “equity with differences” theology of the creation of Man (male and female) in the image of God. Cf. Genesis 1:26-28: “…God blessed them, and God said to them…have dominion…” Genesis 5:1-2 (NIV): “This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘man’.” The term “man” here refers not to the male gender, but to humankind, both male and female.
(A) Read in the light of what the texts themselves say (without viewing them through the template of the humanly devised construct of “order of creation”), these texts in themselves offer no indication of a “single divinely mandated immutable order of creation” that demands superordination and subordination order as posited by CTCR-WIC.
(B) That God would structure and mandate a fixed “order” in the Old Testament (and carried over into the New) to subordinate one gender contradicts the New Testament’s insistence that “to subordinate oneself” stems from “faith active in love.”
(C) A static “order of creation” shifts the focus from God to some creation of God. As part of that logic, even Jesus is “bound” by and subject to the order of creation (cf. CTCR-WIC pages 14-15).
(D) If we want to argue for the order of creation in the sense of a static hierarchy (“woman should not usurp authority over man”), we need to look elsewhere for that argument. Otherwise we commit eisegesis. In the past we’ve used Paul’s “insights” to inform our understanding of Genesis; now it’s time we ask what understanding the Genesis account adds to our reading of the New Testament texts (otherwise we have a reverse Marcionism).
A useful distinction to understand the difference between the CTCR concept and Luther’s concept is that of “ranking” verses “positioning.”
(A) In Lutheran theology, the Creator’s ordering does not refer to a static hierarchy, but to God’s placement of people on the field of life. Ed Schroeder (“The Orders of Creation–Some Reflections on the History and the Place of the Term in Systematic Theology,” Concordia Theological Monthly, Vol. XLIII, No. 3, pgs. 165-178) provides a useful image to help etch the distinction between a static “order” (“the order of creation” [hierarchy, rankings] and the dynamic of “God’s ordering of all of life” [placements of people in roles]):
(1) “God’s creating is an act of ordering, that is, he arranged the species of the cosmos in their places – the sun over there, the moon over here, the earth in its own place, and so forth – and he also gave placement to the man and the woman who live here on earth in God’s creation. This is a ‘spatial placement’” (page 167), similar to the beginning of a baseball game when “everybody is at his appropriate place: pitcher, catcher, fielders, umpires, batter, and so forth. And even more – certain ‘things’ are appropriately placed: the pitcher has the ball, the batter has the bat, the base bags are in place … This order is physical placement at a particular spot in a larger web of relationships” (page 169).
(2) The other concept of “order,” which Schroeder sees the CTCR as using, is that of “rank,” “to be in an order of ranking with reference to each other, a placement in primordial social stratification. That is, in their common life the man and the woman relate not only locally in the same garden on the planet, but personally in terms of superordination and subordination.” (Page 167). The CTCR concept is not placement, but hierarchy, “that of the organization chart of rankings” (page 169).
(3) Schroeder is helpful here with his distinction between “batting order” and “placement on field”: “One might also be a bit more folksy and talk about batting order of a baseball team. Somebody is first, and then someone else follows in sequence” (page 169). Then he concludes the image: “But there is not ranking of placement – the shortstop is not subordinate to the center fielder” (page 169). This baseball image reminds us that God’s ordering has to do with placement, not organizational charts.
(B) In God’s ordering, God is designating the multitude of placements where God calls a person to be his person.
(1) Quoting Harless, Schroeder concludes, “In sum, Harless sees the Creator’s orders as the substantive givens that make up a person’s specific biography” (page 171).
(2) “Here one is to live out the commandment to love his neighbor and is to be God’s faithful person in all of the different ordainings God has made for him in his unique life” (page 172)
◆ The CTCR argument depends upon the “hierarchical principle” of “headship/subordination” being the immutable creative intent of God. The document says, “God has given to that which has been created a certain definite order which, because it has been created by Him, is the expression of His immutable will” (CTCR-WIC, page 21). The CTCR specifically applies this to the “headship” of the male and “subordination” of the female (CTCR-WIC, pages 21-22).
◆ The LCMS Convention Workbook, 1968, pg. 144, offers a very succinct equational definition: “… order of creation (usurping authority over men).”
(C) CTCR-WIC needs the ranking emphasis so it can support an “order of creation” hierarchy.
(1) “… in our Synod the needed refocusing is away from the organization-chart notion to the base-ball-field image” (page 172).
(2) Schroeder summarizes: “The logic that seems intended [by the CTCR] is as follows: God the Creator does not want the ranking reversed. His spokesman, St. Paul, makes that very clear. Faithful believers wish to conform to what God does want; therefore they should not reverse the ranks” (page 167).
◆ CTCR-WIC stresses the hierarchical aspects as it understands the “order of creation” to consist of “the particular position which, by the will of God, any created object occupies in relationship to others” (page 21) and which belong to the very structure of created existence” (CTCR-WIC, page 21)
The Creator’s “orderings” “remain and preserve righteousness in the world,” but they are stations and callings and placements, neither “prisons” nor immutable assignments vis-a-vis another person.
(A) These “callings” are not static or immutable “orders.” They can change in life.
(1) Luther does not conceive of these orderings as permanent or immutable.
(2) For example, “the station of father and mother”: early in life, before marriage, one is not called to this station; one is single, one finds oneself in a role other than father or mother. After marriage, with the gift of children, one’s calling is different than it was before. If children die, one finds oneself no longer in the calling of parent.
(3) And God’s ordering is part of his continuing creating: a woman is widowed, hence finds herself put into a new ordering; she remarries, and again enters a new order. Braaten’s example: “Women experience the gift and task of motherhood [a new ‘ordering’] immediately within their conscience once they become mothers” (page 39). The Small Catechism asks, “In what station do I find myself? … There I am to serve God and neighbor.”
(4) Luther mentions “Sabbath and feast day” as part of God’s orderings. These change. The Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday. Feast days are to help focus us on Christ, but are adiaphron, not divinely appointed orders. “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).
(5) Braaten: “God did not create once upon a time and then let things run their course, as the deists maintained” (page 39). God continues creation and ordering even through today.
(B) “The orders of creation,” being historical “givens” and “relationships,” are subject to the conditions of sin and death; there is nothing created that is “uncorrupted” by the Fall.
(1) The “orders” cannot evolve into perfection, or into “the order,” which includes permanence (else we would have another God), but are provisional, penultimate, and not infused with a divine attribute of immutability (they are part of the historic order of things).
(2) “God continues to order the natural life of humanity by means of the concrete historical structures that actually impinge on our existence – the particular systems of government, economics and family that frame our life. There is no ideal state, no ideal marriage, no ideal economic system, as though God’s Word should be equated with some abstract ideal structures of life” (Braatan).
(3) “The assertion that the Holy Spirit has solved our problem for all time through the admonitions of the apostle can be neither the beginning nor the end of our deliberations. According to evangelical doctrine, there is no final form of church order that can be Biblically or legalistically maintained for all time” (Brunner, 13).
◆ “The identities and functions of each are not interchangeable; they must remain distinct” (CTCR-WIC, page 22). ◆ “In this passage [Galatians 3:28], then, one sees the vision of that one body into which Christians have been incorporated as living members together with all baptized believers – that Body of Christ in which He is the head and where racial, social and sexual distinctions have no validity. [And this validity is defined in the next sentence:] All share in the blessings of Christ’s redemption” (CTCR-WIC, page 26). [Comment: distinctions are part of God’s creation, do have validity, and do impact our relationships. When sin enters the picture, the distinctions are made into divisions. Redemption’s work reorders these relationships from ones of exploitation and destruction to ones of equity and care — even in the historic order!] ◆ “The individual characteristics of believers are not abolished by the order of redemption. The things ordained by God in His creation and the divisions in this world which reflect in some measure the creation of God are not annulled” (CTCR-WIC, page 27). [Comment: The individual characteristics of believers are not abolished by the order of redemption; that is true. They are affirmed as gifts and blessings, until sin distorts them into divisions. And if we are talking about what happened at Creation, prior to the Fall, so we are – should be – talking about all humanity, not just believers.] ◆ “ … a second principle … Distinctive identities for man and woman in their relation to each other were assigned by God at creation. These identities are not nullified by Christ’s redemption, and they should be reflected in the church.” (CTCR_WIC, page 27). [If given at creation, why are they not to be reflected among all humanity? “Identities” are here confused with functions, with roles of subordination and superordination.] ◆ Page 27: We have not properly understood the interrelated concepts of headship (1 Cor. 11:3) and subordination (1 Cor. 14:34) if we take them to be equivalent to superiority or domination.
In CTCR-WIC we note a certain fuzzy impreciseness in the use of concepts.
(A) The document uses the English terms “identities” and “functions” as synonyms (page 22).
(B) There is actually a difference between these two:
Identity: is the substance, personality, the “givens” of the person (for example, femaleness, race, date of birth, physical characteristics, mental capabilities, etc.)
Function: is that which the person is called to do, the role he or she enacts on the stage of God’s creation (which can be separate from or undetermined by “identity,” e.g., parent, child, servant, maid, lord, subject, etc.).
(C) This fuzzy impreciseness leads to problems:
(1) If we are saying, as the CTCR-WIC seems to do, that both of these are “immutable,” that would imply, for example, that a child can never grow up to become a parent, that a maid could not work her way to ownership, a woman once married could never be a widow, etc., all of which come from change.
(2) The “unchangeables” are the elements of identity, e.g., race, date of birth, parents, physical build, sex differentiation, etc. God always maintains his creative and preservative “stations” “of father and mother, of priest and levites … of servant and maid, marriage, the station of lord and subjects, Sabbath and feast days ..,” but these are subject to historical change.
(3) The “identities” are not interchangeable, but the “functions” do change. Not understanding this leads one to fail to understand that distinctions and identities are part of God’s creative work, and what is sinful are the divisions which sinful people create because of those distinctions (Jew versus Gentile, etc.).
◆ CTCR-WIC, pgs. 37-38: “The order of redemption, while affirming that men and women are one in Christ and joint heirs of the grace of life, does not abolish the order established at the time of creation … far from annulling the order of creation, the order of redemption sanctifies it… The Lordship of Christ spans both creation and redemption.”
“The Order of Creation” theology of the CTCR is rooted in Law; in Christ where there is giving, receiving, and returning what man and woman has received from God, this giving and receiving is not bound by Law, but is shaped by the Gospel. The question becomes whether it is Law or Gospel which rules the people of God. Is a person made for the Sabbath, or is the Sabbath made for people, and what/who is the Lord of the Sabbath?
(A) An “order of creation” teaching ends up separated from the Gospel.
(1) The focus as seen by the CTCR is a divinely mandated immutable one-dimensional framework (scaffolding) that created objects occupy in a particular position and in a certain definite order: man is first, woman is second (“… because it is a woman” (page 36).
(2) Even Jesus is bound by the Law of the order of creation: “Jesus did what he did, and he has delivered to His church no indication of women priests because He ‘knows the order of creation.’ What He did, being the Creator of nature, He did in agreement with the creative action” (pages 14-15). Jesus who knows the order of creation is bound not to change it; it is “divinely mandated” (page 4), relationships which ”belong to the very structure of created existence” (page 21), relationships which “must bear the elements of the structure given in creation” (page 26), and “His immutable will” (page 21).
(3) The focus is now on a principle (headship) and structure (superordination, subordination) and how people relate to each other in light of the principle, in light of the law.
(4) The motivation becomes Law instead of Gospel
(5) Natural reason instead of Gospel provides the rationale: God maintains order in a very “reasonable way”: “when there is more than one of us, someone has to have the last word.”
◆ In speaking of the term “order of creation,” CTCR-WIC notes that the concept is “of long-standing importance in Lutheran theological tradition” (page 21). Then it goes on to say: “Luther, for example, spoke of the social relationships (such as marriage and family, people, state, and economy) in which everyone finds himself, including the Christian, and in which he is subject to the commandments which God gave as Creator to all people. Husband and wife, parents and children have their own respective positions in relation to each other. The obligatory character of these orders of things derives from the Creator Himself. Luther employed such terms as Stand (“station”) and Beruf (“calling”) to refer to the relationships in the order of creation” (CTCR-WIC, page 21).
(B) Lutheran theologian Einar Billing, in his essay, “Our Calling: A Statement of the Relationship of Christian Faith and Christian Living” (Augustana Press, 1958, translated by Conrad Bergendoff) discusses “the German ‘beruf,’ the English ‘calling,’ which binds closely together the vocabulary of religion and everyday work” (page 6).
(1) Billing pictures Luther’s understanding of beruf differently than the CTCR. Luther relates “calling” to the Gospel, not to the Law: “… the call is the forgiveness of sins. Or, more specifically expressed: my call is the form my life takes according as God Himself organizes it for me through His forgiving grace. Life organized around the forgiveness of sins, that is Luther’s idea of the call” (page 11).
(2) Providential deeds, including God’s ordering activity, are rooted not in a desire “for …. orderliness and unity” (CTCR-WIC, page 32), but in God’s approach are for God’s “striving to come so close to me that He might confer on me His highest gift, the forgiveness of sins” (Billing, page 11).
(3) “Whoever knows Luther, even but partially knows that his various thoughts do not lie along side each other, like pearls on a string, held together only by common authority or perchance by a line of logical argument, but that they all, as tightly as the petals of a rosebud, adhere to a common center, and radiate out like the rays of the sun from one glowing core, namely, the gospel of the forgiveness of sins. Anyone wishing to study Luther would indeed be in no peril of going astray were he to follow this rule: never believe that you have a correct understanding of a thought of Luther before you have succeeded in reducing it to a simply corollary of the thought of the forgiveness of sins” (page 7).
(4) The danger of misunderstanding God’s calling and ordering, Billing says, comes “when the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins has shrunk to one among other teachings, central maybe, yet only one among others” (page 17). “The forgiveness of sins means ultimately nothing less than the totality of all the ways God has taken in history to build His kingdom. The kingdom of God is nothing else than the actualization of the forgiveness of sins” (page 18).
(5) The Gospel does effect change in the historic created order. The Gospel effects change within the self understanding of individuals, and sequentially, within the church and its orderings as well. The Gospel works to overcome and undo the destructive and distorting power of sin. The Good News is that God through the dying and rising of the Christ is at work to bring about God’s purposes of restoring humanity to its intended purposes. This means that through the forgiveness of sins each is restored to her or his Creator and each is restored to the other through the forgiveness of sins. The redemptive work of Christ means that the recreated relationships are built neither on the idolatry of “being male” nor on the Law of “an order of creation,” but upon a redemption that affirms differences as blessings and gifts of the Creator. This faith affirmation refuses, then, to make such differences into damaging divisions (Ephesians 2:11-22). Those in Christ are, indeed, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:16-18).
(6) Billing keeps the focus on the dynamic and present tense of God’s ordering: “I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me…” (Meaning to the First Article).
(7) God has been doing “the ordering” since the beginning for the preservation and care of the world. That these “orderings” are historical means for us that here and now is the place and time where God is doing his creational placing of humanity, in the midst of the realities of life in America as we move into the third millennium.
(8) In whatever ordering a Christian finds oneself, there the Gospel has the power that enables one to (a) see this ordering as a calling (beruf) and (b) by the power of the Gospel to live faithfully in that station of life (e.g., not with eye service, not greedily, not with exploitation, etc.). Each person, woman, man, adult, child, in whatever race or nationality, is related to the other through Christ and the forgiveness of sins.
(9) “The orders of creation are the media through which the command of God addresses the conscience of all human beings … Spanning the entire spectrum of creation, whether in terms of sex, politics, or religion, God is speaking through the law written on human hearts, with their consciences picking up the signals, either accusing or excusing them … God speaks his law through the ordinary things of daily life; but his extraordinary Word is spoken in the End time [Hebrews 1:1] through Jesus Christ, who fulfills and transcends the law of creation”(Braaten).
(10) We live in the grace of the One who said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28) and Lord of all creation.
(11) “If the Lutheran confessing movement has stood for anything, it has waged war against works-righteousness in the name of the gospel. But that’s the only kind of righteousness that we can expect from the most virtuous accomplishments in the orders of public life. The righteousness of Christ available through faith alone is something totally other. It is totally a gift from God, received freely through faith apart from the works of the law”(Braaten).
(12) “We live in the tension between the dignity of creation and the dis-grace of sin, between the joy of being God’s creatures and the shame of perverting this status. The orders of creation are subject to the conditions of sin and death, and nevertheless they are still the object of God’s continuing and present act of creating, as Luther so clearly stressed” (Braaten). These “givens,” like the rest of creation, are corrupted by another ordering, the law of sin and death. (Romans). God works in and through his ordering for the purpose of preservation and for the purpose of extending his kingdom, even though we as humans corrupt and distort that ordering to our selfish ends. “The whole creation has been groaning … as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons …” (Romans 8:19-25). There is no realm of nature that is not under the curse of sin (that’s what Genesis 3 is all about).
(13) We cannot elevate God’s work of creation and preservation above his redemptive work in Jesus Christ.
◆ Not surprisingly, therefore, early Christian groups which evidenced syncretism often had women in prominent positions and assigned to them real theological significance” (CTCR-WIC, page 15).
The CTCR-WIC document uses several pages to outline the heretical effects which followed when the polytheism of Rome and Greece infected the Christian community. Any good gift can be misused. In rebuttal we can also document the failings of “order of creation” theology.
(A) Reformed tradition theologian Karl Barth introduced the idea of superordination and subordination in Church Dogmatics. The CTCR uses Brunner’s the order of creation, although Brunner never considered it “immutable.”
(B) Although Francis Pieper teaches the subordination of woman to man, he uses the term ”order of creation” infrequently in his three volume Christian Dogmatics (Volume 1, pages 524 and 526). The German term is “Schoepferordung”(“the Creator’s ordering”) and not “Schoepfunsordnung” (“order of creation”) as it is translated in the English Pieper.
(C) Ed Schroeder says that the order of creation theology was introduced into Missouri Synod through Albert Merkins, who found Fritz Zerbst’s The Office of Women in the Church in Germany, translated it, and then had it published by Concordia Publishing House. In his work Zerbst cites Luther only twice, but time and time again quotes from Calvin. “It is from Calvin that Zerbst gets his crucial quote about an ‘order’ at the time of ‘creation’ ‘subordinating women’ generically to men’ (page 170). Talk about the Creator’s ordering rather than the orders of creation may seem insignificant, but it does shift the focus to the God who in the present tense created me (page 171).
(D) The “order of creation” theology, Schroeder reminds us, is a concept that did not surface in Missouri Synod convention literature until 1956. “Previously the question of women suffrage was answered by simple reference to the biblical texts wherein St. Paul says women are not to usurp authority over men and that they are to keep silent in the church” (Schroeder, page 165).
(E) “As a graduate student in Tuebingen, 1969/1974, I spent the last year on contract with Ulrich Duchrow and Wolfgang Huber (the later now Bishop of Berlin-Brandenberg in the EKD) for the Department of Studies of Lutheran World Federation. My task was to research the misuse of Martin Luther’s ‘Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms’ especially in 19th and 20th century German theology. What we found was that beginning with German conservative and nationalist theologians of the 19th century there was a growing tendency to justify all manner of subordination of the church to German nationalist goals, or at least to completely divorce the ‘two kingdoms’ from one another so that the political and theological realms no longer had any effective contact – in effect, liberating the secular order to operate under a form of ‘Eigengesetzlickheit’ (operating under its own rules), which the theologian no longer has any valid right to address. Finnish pastor and theologian Ahti Hakamies (may be spelled Haakemies) wrote his (published) theological dissertation on some of the worst misuses of this doctrine. Prominent in the arsenal of arguments used to justify this split (completely foreign to Luther) was the use of ‘orders of creation’ ideology. Later the National Socialists took ‘orders of creation’ and used them to justify all manner of National Socialist ideological constructs (recall the Nazi endorsement of ‘fruitful women’ who knew their subordinate place in society)” (Louis Reith, personal correspondence with Arnie Voigt, 1999).
(F) “Order of creation” ideologies have also been used to teach that one race is inferior to another and to defend slavery (e.g. in Genesis 9:24-27 Noah ordered the slavery of black races after the flood) and to ignore child abuse in the home (“the father has the right to punish the children”). Pro-slavery arguments parallel anti-ordination arguments: “Jesus reversed polygamy and divorce but did not mention slavery” compared to “Jesus never ordained women but chose twelve male disciples;” etc).
(G) The CTCR document is heavily dependent on Clark’s Man and Woman in Christ, which it calls “one of the most significant studies to be published in recent years.” CTCR-WIC often parses directly from “Man and Woman in Christ.” Clark writes, “We can see God’s intention for the human race purely in his original creation of the first human begins. In other words, we have to go back to the first chapters of Genesis to understand some important elements of God’s purpose for the human race ….It is not possible to understand the New Testament teaching on men and women without understanding how it is founded on the creation of Adam and Eve.” Clark approaches the questions backward, without going through the Center, through Christ.
Dynamic “orderings of the Creator” are set in contrast with static “orders of creation.” To buy into “order of creation” theology is to buy into the subordination of the woman to the man. To listen to the “orderings of the Creator” is to seek the gift God has given the individual, each of whom finds her/his identity not in relation to the other but to Christ.
Topic 4: “Natural precedence by birth”: What does this mean?
Some would hold that the male has “a natural precedence by birth,” i.e., the male has dominance and headship over the woman because he was created prior to the woman. Note the following comments from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod found in its 1985 document on “Women in the Church.”
◆ “He is the ‘first-born’ and hence would have a natural precedence by birth” (CTCR WIC, page 23).
◆ “Second, the man is designated as Adam (v. 20), which is also the term used to describe the race. That the man is given this name suggests that he occupies the position as head of the relationship” (CTCR-WIC, page 23).
◆ “The creation of man as the first in sequence is integral to the narrative structure of Genesis 2″ (CTCR-WIC, page 23).
A response: Creation chronology or order or derivation does not imply subordination or inferiority or “natural precedence.” There is no internal evidence or suggestion in these Genesis 1 and 3 texts that God ordains a hierarchical priority because of gender or creation sequence.
(A) The birds and beasts, the creeping creatures and the crawling ones, all were created before the woman, indeed, also before the man. Yet they do not have “natural precedence” or superior worth over humanity.
(B) Since humankind was created after the animals and is the crown of creation, one just as logically could infer that woman, created after the male, is superior to the male.
(C) Humanity’s source is the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7); yet we would not argue that humanity is subordinate to the dust. That woman’s source is the man’s rib does not, likewise, suggest inferiority or subordination; derivation does not imply subordination.
(D) Genesis 1:27 implies a simultaneous creation of male and female, or at least a creation in which precedence and priority are not issues.
(E) In Genesis 2, the inspired writer uses exactly sixteen words in Hebrew to describe the creation of the male (Genesis 2:7) and later exactly sixteen words in Hebrew to narrate the creation of the female (Genesis 2:21b-22) (Dennis, Sarah Laughed: Women’s Voices in the Old Testament, pg. 13). The equal number of words suggests the writer’s careful balancing of the male and the female as persons in parity.
(F) In Genesis 2, the male is incomplete – in need, alone – until the woman is created. The direction of the text is not from superior to inferior, but from incompleteness to completeness (Dennis, pg. 16). The creation of woman is the climax of the account.
(G) That God is not concerned with “temporal priority” is indicated in that he held each one (man, woman, serpent) responsible for what each did. God did not accept the finger pointing and blame casting. See also Romans 5:12-14, in which Paul shows his concern is not with “priority” (“Who sinned first?” – finger pointing: “It’s his/her fault!”) because instead of citing Eve, he cites Adam as prototype for all humanity.
(H) “Did God believe (long before there even was an ancient Middle Eastern mind-set) that the first born ought to have special privileges? Did God regard primogeniture as something of a universal law operative even at creation? Is this likely? Is this consistent with Scripture?” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 220).
(I) Esau, the first-born, lost out to Jacob, and this was within the purview of God’s intent and plan (Genesis 25:23). Birth order does not suggest divine mandate, nor does creation order.
(J) 1 Corinthians 11:11 (“In the Lord…woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman”) suggests temporal precedence is not a New Testament issue.
(K) What happens in Scripture when either a person or a group insists on “being first” or when they perceive it to be some sort of divine right? “If any one would be first, he must be last of all, the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Luke 14:7-11 suggests that God operates in a different economy than we who “would be gods” do.
(L) Are we reading back into the Genesis account material and emphases that are not there, and saying more than Scripture itself says? The CTCR’s “natural precedence by birth” is a conclusion unwarranted by exegetical examination.
Topic 5: Women ‘in authority’: What does this mean?
We list here a few selected passages from the Old Testament which speak to the manner in which God desires women to embrace the gifts he has given them in the service of ministry to his people. This occurs even when women’s roles put them in a position of “authority” over men which may even contradict the cultural understandings of the times.
Genesis 21:12: But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” God orders Abraham to listen to Sarah and do what she says in the matter of the divine plan.
Genesis 25:23: And God said to her [Rebekah], “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.” Genesis 27:6-10: Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me game, and prepare for me savory food, that I may eat it, and bless you before I die …'” Rebekah carries out the will of the Lord which her husband threatens to undermine.
Exodus 1:20: So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and grew very strong. The insubordination of the midwives to Pharoah was pleasing to God.
Exodus 15:20: Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand … and Miriam sang to them … Miriam leads the Old Testament community of faith in the worship of God.
Exodus 38:8: … the ministering women who ministered at the door of the tent of meeting. Women had cultic functions in the Tent of Meeting.
Numbers 12:1-2: Miriam and Aaron … said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” Miriam was also one through whom God spoke, not just Moses and Aaron.
Judges 4:4-6: Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging [NIV: leading]Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah … and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak … and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you …” Deborah outlines the will of God to Barak and Israel; she “has authority” over all the people of Israel; there is no indication Yahweh has any reservations about her role.
Judges 4:9, 17-22, 5:24-27: … for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman … Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite … God uses a woman to deliver his people.
Judges 5:7…Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel…
Judges 13:23-24: And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering … or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” Manoah’s wife instructs her husband in the will of the Lord.
Ruth: Ruth initiates the marriage overtures rather than Boaz.
1 Samuel 2:1-10: Hannah prays aloud in the public worship of the ancient people of God and publicly proclaims God’s salvation.
2 Samuel 20:14-22: … a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.” He went toward her…she said, “Listen to what your servant has to say.” “I’m listening”…the woman went to all the people with her wise advice… God uses an unnamed woman to deliver her city from siege.
2 Kings 22:8-20, 2 Chronicles 34:14-13: Josiah turns to Hulda rather than to Zephaniah or Jeremiah: “Go inquire of the Lord for me and for the people…what is written in this book that has been found…”…went to speak to the prophetess Huldah…” and she confirms that the book is the word of the Lord. (Consider also the notes on Huldah following this section.)
Psalm 68:11: … great is the host of the maidens who bring glad tidings. Women are messengers of God’s good news.
Nehemiah 6:14: Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets … A woman is the only prophet whose name is given.
Esther 8:5-8, 9:29-32: Esther instructs the king as to what should be done with regard to the Jews, and acts in the name of the king.
Isaiah 8:3: And I [Isaiah] went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Isaiah’s wife is termed a prophetess.
Joel 2:28: … your sons and your daughters shall prophesy … Joel does not hesitate to use the technical verb “prophesy” in referring to women.
Micah 6:4: For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Miriam is listed equally with two men as leaders of the people.
Matthew 1:20: Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus … Joseph is instructed by the angel to agree with instructions already given to his wife.
Luke 1:59-60: And they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so! He shall be called John.” Elizabeth assumed authority over men and tradition by naming John.
◆ “2. In private and public worship in the Old Testament the participation of women went beyond the hearing and obeying of the law. They were free to approach God in prayer just as the men (Hannah, 1 Sam.1:10; Rebekah, Gen. 25:22; Rachel, Gen. 30:6, 22). God responded to their prayers (Gen. 25:23; 30:6, 22) and appeared to them (Gen. 16:7-14; Judges 13:3). They were also expected to take an independent part in bringing sacrifices and gifts before God (Lev. 12:6; 15:29). Women appear to have had certain circumscribed roles in the public worship, too. For instance, Hannah approached the sanctuary (1 Samuel 1). Women ministered at the door to the tent of meeting (Ex.38:8), and while it is not clear what form this service took, it did play some part in the worship. Women also participated in the great choirs and processionals of the temple (Ps. 65:25; 1 Chron. 25:5-7; Neh. 7:67). Although they were not permitted to serve as priests, this is never interpreted to mean that they were less than full members of the worshiping community” (From the September 1985 document, “Women in the Church,” by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, pg. 6).
In the Scriptures we find examples of God’s approval and utilization of woman who made use of “authority” to instruct and lead men and the worshiping community; their office and work is no less prophetic and/or authoritative than if they had been male.
Further examination of the account of Hulda, the prophetess:
2 Kings 22:14- 20 (cf. 2 Chronicles 34:22-28): So Hilkiah the priest … went to Huldah the prophetess .. . and they talked with her. And she said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the Lord …'” And they brought back word to the King.
◆ “… but technically a prophet is one through whom God speaks … They sought out Huldah who was well-known for her commitment to God and for her ability to speak for God. She told Josiah very clearly and specifically God’s message” (CTCR-WIC, pages 5-6).
Hulda is an example of God employing women as fully as men to be bearers of his authoritative Word.
(A) Huldah is appointed by God.
(B) Huldah is submissive to her Lord, to whom she listens, and for whom she speaks.
(C) Huldah teaches: clarifies, imparts knowledge, points the direction.
(D) Huldah publicly instructs and teaches the men even when male prophets such as Isaiah were available.
(E) The text does not indicate that God forbids or frowns on males listening to a woman interpret the Word of God.
(F) The text does not indicate that seeking divine revelation from and through a woman was forbidden or unusual or strange.
(G) Huldah is not “silent” and in a submissive posture to men.
(H) Huldah is the first person in biblical history to authenticate and declare a written portion of Scripture holy.
(I) The text does not censor or condemn Huldah for not submitting to an order of creation hierarchy or exercising spiritual authority over men.
(J) This verse clearly speaks to the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12: it is much “clearer” than the 1 Timothy passage, which uses a hapax legomena (authentein), about which there are diverse interpretations. The Huldah passage is an unambiguous example which helps understand the “dim” passage of 1 Timothy.
◆ “They sought out Huldah who was well-known for her commitment to God and for her ability to speak for God. She told Josiah very clearly and specifically God’s message” (CTCR-WIC, page 6).
The sacred record includes these glimpses of God choosing women and directing them to act in ways contrary to any role of “keeping silent” or “acting in a subordinate manner” to a prior divine mandate.
(A) The cultural milieu of God’s ancient people was patriarchal, which meant that men ruled, dominated, treated women as objects (Genesis 29:18-20, Ruth 4:5, 10), employed a double standard (Numbers 5:11-31), permitted women to degrade themselves and their own sex (Genesis 16:1-6), and eventually institutionalized this in temple (the court of the women was many steps lower than the court of the men) and synagogue (a woman was not counted as a member of the synagogue congregation). The Old Testament history and life style bears out the sinfulness of humanity.
(B) Out of this there emerged in Judaism an open scorn of women (“Happy is he whose children are males, and woe to him whose children are females”) and restrictive rules about public appearances and family life.
(C) The grace is that though this was the cultural prison in which women found themselves, God was not bound by this prison; he called women forth into faithful service; though women were “bound” in terms of culture, God did not “bind” them in terms of religious devotion and participation (Deuteronomy 21:10-14; 22:13; 22:28).
(D) There is no inference that these women are just exceptions to a general rule, used where men are unavailable or irresponsible.
(E) These examples provide important data which form a basis for and help clarify the “dimmer passages” of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:33-36, and 1 Timothy 2:11-15, regarding God’s intended purpose for the use of individuals regardless of gender.
(F) The CTCR does not draw out clear conclusions from its own statements, such as the statement about Hulda.
◆ “To be sure, this spiritual equality does not preclude a distinction in identities between man and woman … Men and women are equal in having the same relationship to God and to nature” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 20).
(G) Is it “spiritual equality” or is it “equal in having the same relationship to God and to nature [emphasis added]”? Or is it both? The Old Testament does not limit parity to “spiritual equality,” parity only before God; but in the examples of Miriam and Deborah and others there is parity also in the created and civic arenas.
(H) It seems strangely inconsistent that God would establish an “order of creation” in which women are to be submissive and subordinate and yet he himself calls forth women into leadership roles.
(I) God is not bound by human understanding of “orders” or gender roles.
(J) God is free to choose through whom he will address his people.
The fact that there are no female priests in the Old Testament is an example of God condescending to the human condition.
(A) Women in the Old Testament were judges (Judges 4:4), queens (2 Kings 11:3), wise women who had influence over males (Judges 5:28-30, 2 Samuel 14:2ff, and 20:16ff) and were in charge of businesses and households (Proverbs 31).
(B) The one function disallowed women was the performance of sacrificial acts. Why?
(C) The Old Testament never specifically forbids women’s participation in the performance of sacrificial rituals.
(D) The surrounding cults emphasized goddess worship which included fertility and prostitution rituals. In order to keep Israel distinct and set apart (“holy”), the sexual motif was removed deliberately from the ritual worship of the people of Yahweh.
(E) Also, according to Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17:10-17, life “was in the blood.” A woman menstruating was considered unclean; she could therefore not represent the people to God (cf. IDB, 4, page 866).
Topic 6: “Male” or “human”: What does this mean?
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all …” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
One of the arguments used to support an all male clergy is the fact that Jesus was incarnated as a male human being:
◆ “The minister stands as a representative of Christ before the congregation. Therefore, a woman cannot be a ‘male’ representative. The argument is carried further in the example of an all-male choice of Apostles by Christ” (Springfielder, page 48).
◆ “The arguments against ordained women pastors on Scriptural prohibitions are well known …these … are not spun in thin air but are based on the deeper realities of Christ’s choice of His apostles and, beyond His choosing the apostles, of the sublime mysteries of the incarnation and God Himself. God became incarnated in the man Jesus Christ because He was the eternal Son of the Father. God is not only like a father, He is Father! That eternal Father is perfectly mirrored in the eternal son incarnated in Jesus” (Scaer, Affirm).
◆ “Against the Cololyridians, Epiphanius writes, ‘Never from the beginning of the world has a woman served God as priest’ (Panarion 79)…. Such an appeal … was predicated upon the belief that Jesus was the incarnated Word of God by whom all things were made and through whom all things were redeemed” (“Women in the Church,” the Commission on Theology and Church Relations’ 1985 document, pg. 14).
◆ “The NT is QUITE clear in Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Cor. 15:20-22 that the Savior HAD TO BE A MAN [sic]” (Christian News, May 18, 1998, pg. 6)
To the argument that “clergy must be male” because Jesus was male and his disciples were male, the Scriptures suggest that it is not Jesus’ maleness that is the key to his saving work, but, rather, his humanity is the soteriological component.
(A) Jesus did become incarnate as a human male (“…she gave birth to her first-born son” Luke 2:7). (The only other choice would be female, hardly an option in terms of his ministry in first century culture.)
(B) The biblical witness to Jesus in his role as Savior stresses his humanity
(1) The Greek word anthropos means “humanity,” while the Greek term aner refers to the male gender.
(2) I Timothy 2:5: “…one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”: The Greek in both instances is anthropos. The use of the same generic term emphasizes Jesus’ full identification with humanity, both male and female. When Jesus is held up as the mediator, it is not his maleness that is considered, but his humanity.
(3) The point is that he entered into our humanity (John 1:14, “The Word became flesh …”) in order to be our Savior.
(4) His humanity, not his gender, is the soteriological issue (“… who gave himself as a ransom for all”).
(5) The Scriptures indicate nothing in Jesus’ maleness per se that is absolutely necessary or constitutive for God’s salvific work in and through him.
(C) Note other biblical witnesses which stress not Jesus’ male-ness but his humanity:
(1) John 19:5: “Ide, o anthropos!” (Pilate’s words, “Behold, the man [the one!]”
(2) Romans 5:12, 15: “ Therefore as sin came into the world through one man [enos anthropou] and death through sin, and so death spread to all men [pantas anthropous] because all men [the Greek has only pantes – “all”] sinned ….  But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s [the Greek has tou enos — “the one’s”] trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man [tou enos anthropou] Jesus Christ abounded for many.”
In both places where “male” [aner] could have been an appropriate Greek word choice, the inspired author emphasizes the humanity of the sinner and the humanity of the Savior. Sin inhabits human nature, not just maleness. The Savior comes (yes, a male) to take on our humanity.
(3) Philippians 2:7: “… en omoiomati anthropov genomenos…” (“…being made in human likeness…”).
(4) Hebrews 7:16: “…[Christ] who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning physical descent but by the power of an indestructible life…”
(D) Yes, “the minister stands as a representative of Christ before the congregation” (Springfielder, page 48). But (if male) he stands in this station as Christ’s representative in his embodiment as representative humanity, not as a male.
(1) “The Church Fathers never evoked the maleness of Jesus or the apostles as an argument for regarding women as second-class members of the community of redemption. This argument was developed in scholastic philosophy in the Middle Ages. Thomas Aquinas and others adopted Aristotle’s views of biology which define women as misbegotten males” (cf. Reuther, Women and Redemption: A Chronological History, pgs. 92-97).
(2) “Any claim that there is something about the nature of another human being [emphasis added] as such that renders that person to be of inferior value not only denies the biblical doctrine of creation, but also calls into question what the Scriptures teach about the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As a human, Jesus descended from Adam [Note: and Eve!], whom God created (Luke 3:38), and whom all human beings have as progenitor. To deny the full humanity of any fellow human being is at the same time to compromise the apostolic truth that in Christ ‘the fullness of the deity dwells bodily’ (somatikoos, Col. 2:9), that is, that he truly ‘was made man’ (Nicene Creed)” (CTCR, “Racism and the Church,” February 1994, pgs. 38 and 39). Since Galatians 3 mentions not only race (Jew and Gentile), but also male and female, would that the Commission on Theology and Church Relations’ theology in “Racism and the Church” were also applied to women in the church.
(E) Gnostic heresy is here, too, addressed and refuted.
(1) Gnostic theologians posited many intermediaries. Paul says there is only one.
(2) Gnostic theologies sought to “enlighten” people; Paul says Jesus came to offer himself a “ransom” for humanity.
(F) Whence comes authority in the Church?
(1) The Donatist heresy made the power of the Gospel dependent on bodily configuration of the proclaimer.
(2) Is authority inherent within the speaker, or is it in the Word?
(3) Is authority in the church determined by sex and gender, or is it bound up in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Topic 7: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 1: Pastoral advice
This is the first in a number of brief studies focusing on 1 Timothy 2:8-15.
1 Timothy 2:8-15:  I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy handswithout anger or quarreling;  also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire  but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion.  Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness.  I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve;  and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.  Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.
This passage is central to the discussion of women’s roles in the church, especially in regard to the question of ordination. The Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in its September 1985 document, “Women in the Church,” interprets this passage to deny women the rite of ordination.
◆ “In 1 Tim. 2:12 St. Paul instructs the church, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or have authority over man; she is to keep silent.” Again on the basis of Scriptural arguments, the apostle holds in this text that women are not to take the position of one to whom is assigned responsibility for the formal, public proclamation of the Christian faith” (CTCR- “The Service of Women …16 November 1994”).
◆ “In 1 Timothy 2:13-14 (R.S.V.) man is ascribed a superiority in the worship services, because ‘Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.’ The woman has her origin and purpose in life in man” (Surburg, “The Place of Women in the Old Testament,” The Springfielder [Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, March 1970] pg. 27).
◆ “If we have the same writer in both letters writing on the same matter, we have the right to allow one text to explain the other, and especially to let the clearer on more definite throw light on the less precise. So 1 Tim. 2 is the key for the understanding of 1 Cor. 14” (Hamann, “The New Testament and the Ordination of Women,” pg. 5).
✔ “Many … view all biblical passages about the role and ministry of women through the lens of 1 Timothy 2:12. It becomes the key verse on women, the one on which all others turn” (Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, pg. 12).
✔ “Without 1 Timothy 2:11-15, traditionally interpreted, there would be no case at all for the universal restriction of women in ministry” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 211).
Paul is writing to address a concrete historical situation, and the Scriptures here give us a divinely inspired example of pastoral practice and Gospel application.
(A) “[vs 8] … I desire then …. [vs 12] … I permit no woman to ….”: such wording suggests Paul is giving pastoral advice in a given situation.
(B) That Paul says “I permit” instead of “thus says the Lord” (as he does elsewhere; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:25; 11:23) suggests that he is making a pastoral application and/or correction of a certain locally specific problem.
(C) Paul does not assume that Timothy already knows this instruction.
(D) “Verse 12 … begins with Paul’s own personal instruction (I do not allow; better, ‘I am not allowing,’ implying specific instruction to this situation)…” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, pg. 35). (The verb epitrepo is a present active indicative.)
(E) He is not laying down a timeless and universal restriction that he received from God, but addressing a local, time-bound behavioral and/or doctrinal aberration.
(F) Some exegetes would understand the dress code in 1 Timothy 2:9 (in the same paragraph) as culturally relative, yet the instruction in verses 11-12 is considered universally permanent. This is not good exegetical logic.
(G) “[vs 8] … every place…”: Paul’s instruction is not limited to either the home (private) or the house church (public) locale. The issue here is not the ecclesial position of women regarding worship leadership, but proper decorum.
(H) Paul makes the same point in 1 Corinthians 7 where he distinguishes between divinely inspired pastoral application of the Gospel and a universally binding “word from the Lord.”
(1) 1 Corinthians 7:12: “…To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if …”: Paul himself distinguishes between his advice and the Lord’s command.
(2) “[vs 6] … I do not give this as a binding rule. I state it as what is allowable” (translation by Lightfoot given in Key, pg. 405).
(3) We also see this in verse 17: “This is my rule in all the churches.
(4) “[vs 25]: …I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy…”
(5) In Chapter 7 Paul seeks to work out the relationship between male and female on the basis of parity in Christ. Paul, in giving advice, applies the Gospel pastorally to concrete ministry situations; yet he distinguishes between the Lord’s command and “my advice” so that he does not inappropriately bind Christian consciences with his advice.
(6) Inspired Scripture includes examples of pastoral practice and advice, not to bind us to cultural norms of another age, but to provide us instruction in how to apply Law and Gospel in various circumstances and conditions.
(7) We need to take seriously in our exegesis that some passages may be just this kind of example, instruction for a particular time and place and a certain group of people, and not a principle which binds for all times.
Topic 8: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 2: Context
This is the second in a number of brief studies focusing on 1 Timothy 2:8-15.
The context of 1 Timothy 2:8-13 suggests that Paul is addressing the issue of husband and wife relationships, not general male/female rankings, and not public ministry issues.
(A) What is the larger context?`
(1) Acts 20:30-31 suggests Paul’s concern: “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and not spare the flock…”
(2) 1 Timothy 3:14-15 suggests the problem is behavior: “…you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church…”
(3) The Greek didasko appears twenty times, and Paul speaks of his teaching and Timothy’s teaching and the teaching of church elders.
(4) 1 Timothy 1:3 indicates the problem basically is false doctrine.
(B) “[vs 8] … men … [vs 9] ..women …  …women ..  …woman …  woman … men …”: The context suggests that Paul is addressing wives and husbands, not just men and women in general:
(1) gune can be translated “wife” as well as “woman.”
(2) aner is used five times in 1 Timothy, three times (1 Timothy 3:2, 3:12, and 5:9) outside this passage. In the three passages outside this passage the word means “husbands,” not males in general.
(3) The larger context suggests “wife” as the translation here: compare similarities with 1 Timothy 2:9-15, 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, 1 Peter 3:1-17, all of which relate to wives.
(4) The usages of aner and gune in this passage can well be translated “husbands” and “wives” instead of “men” and “women.”
(5) 1 Timothy 2:13-14 has allusions to Genesis 2 and 3 which relate to the institution of marriage (Genesis 2:24) and Adam and Eve, the “first couple.”
(6) “When he [Paul] does not use anar as husband, the passage is very clear that he is referring to the adult male human; e.g. 1 Cor. 11.12: ‘For just as the woman is from the man, so also the man is through the woman …;’ 1 Cor. 13:11b: ‘When I became a man …;’ etc. Only two passages are not that absolutely clear, the two verses in our text: ‘I desire that the man should pray …’ and ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or to govern a man.’ Only these two passages seem ambiguous. Shall we then be absolutely dogmatic in insisting that these two instances must refer to males in general and not to husbands?” (Dinda, “WORD STUDY: 1 Cor. 14.33-35 and 1 Tim. 2:8-12,” pg. 20).
(7) Even more specifically, refer again to the study by Hugenberger (“Women in Church Office: Hermenteutics or Exegesis,” pg. 354): “In summary, besides the use of aner and gyne in lists (where the terms are generally found in the plural) there are no examples where aner and gyne bear the meanings ‘man’ and ‘woman’ when the terms are found in close proximity.”
(8) Luther understands 1 Timothy 2:11-12 as referring to husband/wife relationships and not to men and women in general (Commentary on 1 Timothy, pg.276).
◆ “His instructions are directed to the worship/church setting. … The teaching that Paul forbids women to perform is the latter, namely, that of the formal, public proclamation of the Christian faith” (CTCR-WIC, page 34).
(C) The context, too, suggests that the subject is not instruction or corrective aimed at all women, but at the behavior of Christian wives (women) vis-a-vis husbands (men) within a worship context:
(1) vs 8: husbands, as is the custom, are to lead family prayers;
(2) vs 9: modest apparel in the worship setting is a sign of inward beauty;
(3) vs 10: good deeds are a sign of a faith-filled woman;
(4) vs 12: the emphasis is behavior (wives are not to dominate or contradict husbands publicly and go against cultural custom);
(5) the reference to Eve and Adam suggests the marital context;
(6) the reference in verse 15 to childbirth suggests a family and marriage situation;
(7) vs 15: “Yet…if she continues…” focuses on the behavior issue;
(8) 2:15: Paul is writing so “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God.”
(9) The whole discussion is summed up as a behavioral issue with the words: “with modesty” (vs. 15).
(10) Note the parallels to the husband/wife discussion in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Peter 3.
(11) Juvenal (as quoted in Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pg. 39): “There is nothing a woman will not permit herself to do, nothing that she deems shameful, when she encircles her neck with green emeralds and fastens huge pearls to her elongated ears … So important is the business of beautification; so numerous are the tiers and storeys piled one upon another on her head! … Meantime she pays no attention to her husband.”
(D) The context indicates the issue is the disruptive consequences of what is being taught.
(1) “[ vs 12] I permit no woman to teach.. “: Paul’s prime intent at this point is to suppress false teaching (and its practical consequences) rather than define the ecclesial role of women during worship. The contrast is between women who are teaching unprepared (and being influenced by the Artemis cult) and the need first to learn well;
(2) 1:3: Paul discusses false teachers, and urges Timothy to remain in Ephesus in order to instruct the congregation “not to teach any different doctrine” and to engage in “divine training” (1:4);
(3) 1:5: false teachers and their speculations (1:4) stimulate “dissensions, slander, base suspicions and wrangling” (6:4-5) and cause havoc within the Christian community;
(4) 1:20: the excommunication of two of the false teachers;
(5) 2:7: Paul defends his apostolic authority over against the false teachers;
(6) 3:14-16: the false teaching is causing disruption in the practice of worship of the community; Paul reiterates the core of the Christian faith to correct heresy and to oppose the teachings of the Artemis cult;
(7) 4:6-7: a good minister nourishes the people “on the words of the faith and of good doctrine”;
(8) compare 2 Timothy 2:17-18; 4:14-15; Titus 1:9-14;
(9) 2 Timothy 3:6-7: The false teaching had found a beachhead among the women in the congregation;
(10) 1 Timothy 1:8-10; 2:9-10; 5:6-15: the excesses engaged in by the women are connected with the false doctrine.
(11) “Fee notes that ‘to talk foolishness’ is a better translation than ‘gossip’ (NIV); for this word was ‘used in contemporary philosophical texts to refer to “foolishness” that is contrary to “truth”’” (Fee quoted in Groothius, pg.213).
(E) In summary, the context supports the understanding that Paul is not addressing men/women relationships in general but instead applying pastoral wisdom in a local context to the behavior of certain Ephesian wives vis-a-vis husbands, a behavior stemming from false teaching.
What does Paul’s approach and application in this context suggest for the church at large?
Topic 9: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 3: Artemis
This is the third in a series of brief studies of 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Some initial observations:
◆ “Note the paragraph following the above sentence: “Nascent Christianity was located within a religious environment in which female deities and significant female religious leadership were not uncommon” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations’ September 1985 study on “Women in the Church,” pg. 15).
◆ “Johann Gerhard in his Locus XXIII under No. 186 understood the instruction of St. Paul which explicitly deny [sic] women the right to hold the preaching office in the church as thus: a necessary reaction to the matriarchal tendencies of various heretical sects” (Springfielder, page 49).
◆ “The theological matrix for the apostle’s inspired teaching on the silence of women in the church and the exercise of authority is, again, the order of creation” (CTCR-WIC, page 36).
The Artemis cult of Ephesus provides the socio-religious context which influenced and adversely infected the Christian community.
(A) “At that time there arose no little stir concerning the Way” (Acts 19:23).
(1) The letter to Timothy is mailed to Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3), the site of the cult and worship of the goddess Artemis (“Diana” to the Romans) (Acts 19:23-41).
(2) The temple dedicated to Artemis, the Artemision, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and served as a strong economic factor in Ephesus.
(3) “The cult of Artemis reflected religious mixture (syncretism) but basically was an Oriental fertility rite, with sensuous and orgiastic practices” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pg. 5).
(4) The Christian teaching of the apostles reacted strongly to the system of worship of Artemis (Acts 19:19). The writer of 1 Timothy warns about myths (as opposed to divine training in 1 Timothy 1:4 and 4:7).
(5) Paul had a tough time in Ephesus, with doctrine and with life (Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 16:8-9).
(6) The silversmiths saw Paul’s teaching as undermining the political, economic and social fabric of the city (Acts 19:23-27).
(7) Apollos is corrected in Ephesus by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:24-28).
(8) The effect of this pervasive Artemisian culture on the young church would be similiar in effect for a Lutheran pastor serving in a heavily Mormon-populated area such as Utah, or a pastor serving in Las Vegas or Reno and teaching the implications of the Seventh Commandment to members working in casinos, or a white pastor of a white congregation in the South in the 1960s addressing racism.
(B) “[vs 13]… for Adam was formed first, then Eve …”: Goddesses were central to Artemisian theology and worship.
(1) In 1 and 2 Timothy Paul constantly addresses the issue of false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 6:3-5; 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:15; 2:16-18; 3:6-9; 4:3-4; 4:14-15).
(2) “The church at Ephesus no doubt numbered former Artemis worshipers among its converts” (Gritz, Paul, Woman Teachers, and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus, pg. 31).
(3) “The Mother Goddess represented the great parent of all nature. She had responsibility for the health and well-being of both humans and animals … As Earth Goddess, her divine authority rested in her ability to create new beings continually. Other deities were the daughters and sons of the all-creating Earth Mother … As a mighty and popular deity, the Mother Goddess held the power over life and death. In mythology and later in cult practice, she often associated with a young lover-turned-devotee, the god of vegetation. This male consort held a subordinate position” (Gritz, page 34).
(4) Another example, this from The Apocalypse of Adam (V.5.64.9-14): here Adam says about Eve: “I went about with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from which we had come forth. She taught me a word of knowledge of the eternal God.” In On the Origin of the World (II.5.115.31-116.9), Eve, the “instructor,” gives Adam life.
(5) In Ephesus, the locale of the letter to Timothy, Artemis was associated with Eve. The distorted idea taught in the church there saw Eve as giving life to Adam; motherhood was acclaimed as the ultimate reality. Knowledge of one’s origin brought salvation (cf. Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, pgs. 105-113).
(6) “Peter said to Mary, ‘Sister, we understand that the Savior (soter) loved [you] more than (para) the rest of the women. Speak to us the words of the Savior (soter) which you recollect, those which you know and we do not, nor (oude) have we heard them.’ And Mary answering said, ‘I shall explain to you what has been hidden from you,’ and she began (arxesthai) to speak to them” (The Gospel of Mary, quoted in Kroeger, page 73).
Some additional comments reflecting Missouri’s position:
◆ “1 Timothy 2:13-14. Paul appeals to the temporal priority of Adam’s creation (‘Adam was formed first’; cf. Gen. 2:20-22), as well as to Eve’s having been deceived in the fall (Gen. 3:6), to show that women should not teach or exercise authority over men in the church” (CTCR-WIC, page 22).
◆ “In 1 Timothy 2:13-14 (R.S.V.) man is ascribed a superiority in the worship services, because ‘Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.’ The woman has her origin and purpose in life in man ….In forbidding woman either to assume leadership or the teaching office in the church, Paul cites the order of creation, as establishing man’s natural leadership” (Surburg, “The Place of Women in the Old Testament,” The Springfielder (Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, March 1970, pg. 27).
◆ “On the basis of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15, we hold that God forbids women publicly to preach and teach the Word to men and to hold any office or vote in the church where this involves exercising authority over men with respect to the office of the Keys. We regard this principle as of binding force also today because 1 Tim. 2:11-15 refers to what God established at creation” (LCMS Convention Proceedings, Denver, 1969, quoted in Convention Proceedings, New Orleans, 1973, page 110).
(C) “[vs 13] … for Adam was formed first …”:
(1) Paul is not appealing to “the temporal priority of Adam’s creation” as the CTCR suggests. This would be inconsistent with Genesis; it would fall into the same trap of finger pointing as Adam (“…the woman whom you gave to be with me” [Genesis 3:12]) and Eve (“…the serpent beguiled me” [Genesis 3:13]).
(2) That God is not concerned with “temporal priority” is indicated in that he held each one (man, woman, serpent) responsible for what each did. God did not accept the finger pointing and blame casting.
(3) See also Romans 5:12-14, in which Paul shows his concern is not with “priority” (“Who sinned first?” — finger pointing: “It’s his/her fault!”) because instead of citing Eve, he cites Adam as prototype for all humanity.
(4) Paul here does not say specifically that “creation order” equals a timeless mandate or universal principle for male authority. Rather Paul is stating a historical fact. Groothius (Good News for Women) quotes John Calvin: “The reason which Paul assigns, that woman was second in the order of creation, appears not to be a very strong argument in favour [sic] of her subjection; for John the Baptist was before Christ in the order of time, and yet was greatly inferior in rank” (pg. 218).
(5) “The argument often made that the ‘order of creation’ precedes the Fall and is therefore eternally binding is neither made by Paul (nor Moses) nor relevant, since that is not his concern here. Rather Paul is concerned with her subsequent deception and fall into sin” (Fee, page 40).
(6) “The Ephesian church had problems during worship. False teachers had encouraged some women, including wives, to flaunt respected behavior and traditional roles. Some women dressed indecently. Some wives exalted their Christian freedom and denigrated their husbands in public. They had been deceived by the wayward elders … Wives who did not submit to sound doctrine but to unorthodox notions and instructed their husbands in public reminds [sic] one of Eve’s behavior. Paul wants to break a similar pattern at Ephesus. With Artemis glorified as the giver of life and knowledge, it would not be too surprising if former devotees overturned the Genesis accounts and similarly glorified Eve. Later Gnostics did this” (Gritz, Paul, Women Teachers, and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus, pg. 140).
(7) “Eve was not born after Adam, she was ‘born’ from Adam” (Groothius, page 221).
(8) “The grammar here does not require us to understand Paul’s reference to Adam and Eve as the causal basis for the prohibition. The word ‘for’ does not necessarily mean ‘because’; it can be used simply to express a connection or continuation of thought, as it does in 1 Timothy 2:5. If this is the case here as well, then verses 13 and 14 could simply be supplying an analogy that explains why women must, at this time and in this church, learn from the men who are in leadership” (Groothius, pages 216-217).
(9) The context would suggest that Paul is not arguing either from or for an “order of creation” theology; instead, he is offering correctives to mistaken theologies. For example:
Artemis: “There are many gods!”
Paul: “No, there is one God and one mediator … ” (1 Timothy 2:5).
(10) Paul is gently reminding the women in Ephesus that their emphasis on Eve’s primacy and female superiority does not square with the basic Biblical account. Thus:
Gnostic Artemis: “Eve, who pre-exists Adam and who is the source of all the living, gives Adam life and is primary!”
Paul: “No! Remember the Genesis account? Adam was formed first, then Eve.”
(11) Or, following Kaiser (“Shared Leadership…” [Christianity Today Institute]): “But how could Eve so easily have been duped unless she previously had been untaught? Adam had walked and talked with God in the Garden during that sixth ‘day,’ thus he had had the educational and spiritual advantage of being ‘formed first’ (v. 13). The verb is plasso, ‘to form, mold, shape’ (presumably in spiritual education), not, ‘created first’ (which in Greek is ktizo). Paul’s argument, then, is based on the ‘orders of education,’ not the ‘orders of creation.’ Thus, when the women have been taught, the conditions raised in the ‘because,’ or ‘for’ clauses (vv13-14) will have been met and the ban removed even as the Bible illustrates in the lives of Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, evangelist Philip’s daughters, Phoebe, Priscilla, Junias, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Eudodia and Syntyche” (page 12-I).
(D) “[vs 14] ..and Adam was not deceived…”: Paul also offers a corrective here:
(1) On the surface, Paul can hardly mean this: Adam was deceived and was a transgressor. Scripture teaches male and female were co-participants in the Fall; Adam is no less culpable than Eve (Genesis 3:6, Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
(2) The verbs in Genesis 3:6-7 are plural; both Adam and Eve were present at the temptation and fall. Eve, biblically, is not primarily responsible for the Fall; she and Adam are co-participants. Thus:
Artemis convert: “Eve gives life. Adam was not told this; he was deceived about his priority by the gods.”
Paul: “No, the biblical accounts make clear the woman, too, was deceived, and became a transgressor.”
(3) “Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussions, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions” (1 Timothy 1:6-7).
(4) “Yet, ‘Adam was not deceived’ (1 Tim. 2:14): He deliberately partook of the transgression. He knew exactly what he was doing” (Lepper, “A Fresh Vision of a Woman’s Glorious Heritage in Christ,” pg. 4).
(5) We must let the “clear” passages help inform this “dim” passage. Genesis shows that God’s intention is equity-with-differences. Domination comes in with the Fall (Genesis 3:16). The pattern of exegesis usually interprets Genesis in the light of 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2. We need to let Genesis help us with the Pauline verses. Genesis 3:6-7 is instructive in interpreting the obscurities of 1 Timothy 2:13-14. 1 Timothy offers a corrective to Ephesian heresy.
(6) “We believe that the verb here forbids women to teach wrong doctrine, just as 1 Timothy 1:3-4 and Titus 1:9-14 also forbid false teaching. An alternate translation for 1 Timothy 2:12 provided is ‘I do not allow a woman to teach nor to proclaim herself author of man.’ … The writer of the Pastorals was opposing a doctrine which acclaimed motherhood as the ultimate reality. Our Bible maintains that God, who far transcends all limitations of gender, created the heavens and the earth, and that all things are of God” (Kroeger, pg. 112).
◆ “Paul appeals to the temporal priority of Adam’s creation (‘Adam was formed first’; cf. Gen. 2:20-22), as well as to Eve’s having been deceived in the fall (Gen. 3:6), to show that women should not teach or exercise authority over men in the church (“CTCR-WIC, page 22).
◆ “Turning from creation to the Fall, Paul adds that Adam was not deceived but that the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. The conclusion drawn is that the leadership of the official, public teaching office belongs to men. Assumption of that office by a woman is out of place because it is a woman who assumes it, not because women do it in the wrong way or have inferior gifts and abilities” (CTCR-WIC, page 36).
(E) “[vs 14] … the woman was deceived …”:
(1) Does this mean woman was more gullible, culpable? Note these quotations from Missouri Synod literature that demonstrate a poisoned bias that infects our theological blood stream:
“The New Testament constantly points to the Genesis record. Adam … is told, after the fall, that his mistake was to listen to the voice of the woman. Because he thus relinquished his leadership he is to find that he can no more rule in the way he did before the fall. The sin of both is disobedience, but Paul calls attention to the fact that the attending circumstances of the fall point to Eve as the ‘adjutrix Satanae,’ the agent of Satan [emphasis added]. Eve usurped first the Lordship of God by taking matters into her own hands, the second step was almost a natural consequence, she now also entices Adam to be obedient to her or Satan” (Nauman, “Natural Orders,” The Springfielder (Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, March 1970, pg. 6).
“Woman, when speaking in the congregation, not only revolts against the clear command of God, but also usurps authority over man, subverts the divine rule of order, and entails upon the Church the perils of false doctrine and general disorder and confusion, through her amenability to fraud and deception [emphasis added]. It is for these reasons that Paul forbids women to speak in the churches — an injunction to remain in force at all times” (J.T. Mueller, “The Service of Women in the Church” [Touchpoint Series] pg. 43).
“The point of Paul in these two references of 1 Tim. 2 to Adam and Eve is the subordinate position of Eve: she was created second, i.e., to help and serve [emphasis added] Adam — the mere succession of time is surely not the point — and she is mentally (morally?) inferior” [emphasis added] (Hamann, “The New Testament and the Ordination of Women,” pg. 7).
(2) Note the biblical record which instead speaks of the wisdom of women (Proverbs 1:20-33; 8:1-9:6; 31:26; Judges 4:4-5; 1 Samuel 25:33-35; 2 Samuel 14:1-24; Esther 4:14, 8:17, 9:11-12, 29-32; Mark 7:29).
(3) Paul here is not placing the blame on Eve and leaving Adam unscathed. Rather he is offering a corrective to heretical teaching.
(4) The original sin was “disobedience” (Romans 5:19). Here Paul is emphasizing not the sin, but the process, “was deceived.” Both Adam and Eve are culpable. Thus:
Convert from Artemis: “Eve, as goddess, is the source of enlightenment and knowledge!”
Paul: “Au contraire! Eve, too, was completely deceived, just like Adam.”
(5) The fact of Eve’s deception is a relevant illustration of the current problem in Ephesus.
1 Timothy offers Gospel centered pastoral advice to a congregation struggling to integrate new converts from Diana worship into its community. We must first go to what is happening “then” so that our applications “now” keep a Gospel understanding in our pastoral approach.
Topic 10: 1Timothy 2:8-15: Part 4: “Let a woman learn…”
This is the fourth in a brief series based on 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Paul is seeking to apply sound pastoral advice to a difficult situation in the Christian community in Ephesus. Because of all the teachings about the goddess Diana, Paul wants the women solidly grounded in the faith so they would not easily be swayed.
(A) False doctrine which appealed especially to women is the problem Paul addresses here: “… swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7).
(B) “The learning of wrong ideas and behavior had threatened the faith of the Christian community at Ephesus. Heretical elders had promoted an officious and intellectualistic piety that had attracted women. Female believers were learning deceptive teachings. Those women converted from the Artemis cult brought to the worship setting a noisy boisterousness that did not conduce to learning. Between their own former cultic patterns of behavior and the encouragement of wayward elders, these women represented a problem for Christian worship done decently and in order” (Gritz, Paul, Women Teachers, and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus, pg. 129).
(C) “[vs 11] …let a woman learn …”:
(1) That the Scriptures counsel women “to learn” is a radical departure from Jewish culture. This would be new for a Jewish convert: women in the synagogue culture did not engage in formal Scripture study:
(2) The verb manthano “to learn by study.” “Manthanein takes place when God’s will is learned from Scripture and taken up into one’s own will” (TDNT, IV, 408).
(3) The verb manthano here is a present imperative (manthaneto), which is best translated “let a woman continue learning” (Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, pg. 103).
(D) Women were already participating in public worship and teaching.
(1) Otherwise Paul would not have tried to correct the abuses.
(2) Men were the first to assume authority in God’s church, and in other aspects of life.
(3) Women were new to this; when they had “learned” then they would also assume any such positions (Galatians 3:28).
(4) “… let women keep on learning …”: The contrast is learning as it relates to teaching. The implication is that women must learn and hold correct content before being allowed to assume a teacher’s role. Paul does encourage the opposite of synagogue custom: “let women keep on learning.” This positive position of Paul is often lost in arguments over this passage.
(E) In “1 Timothy 2:9-15 … Paul says, ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent’ (v. 12 NIV). The imperative verb, however, is in verse 11: “A woman must be taught …[‘… must learn …’]” The prohibitions cited in verse 12 [to teach and to have authority] follow and are subordinate to it [the learning]. But the problem is that few pause to listen for the reasons given in verses 13 and 14 where Paul tells us why he ‘would rather not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority.’ It is mainly because Eve had been tricked, deceived, and easily entrapped (v. 14)” (Kaiser, “Shared Leadership…” Christianity Today Institute, page 12-I). In short, Paul uses a biblical example from the Old Testament to illustrate and give an example for his reasoning. He is not laying down “principles.”
Paul wants the women in the Ephesian congregation to be grounded in the faith before seeking to teach the faith.
Topic 11: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 5: “…learn in silence…”
This is the fifth in a brief series unpacking the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8-15. The writer is seeking to apply pastoral wisdom to a difficult situation in the church in Ephesus. Christian growth is always a process.
Paul’s pastoral concern is for the women in the congregation to be solidly grounded in the faith so they would not easily be swayed or corrupted by the tenants of Artemesian cult theology.
(A) False doctrine which appealed especially to women is the problem Paul addresses here: “… swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7).
(B) “The learning of wrong ideas and behavior had threatened the faith of the Christian community at Ephesus. Heretical elders had promoted an officious and intellectualistic piety that had attracted women. Female believers were learning deceptive teachings. Those women converted from the Artemis cult brought to the worship setting a noisy boisterousness that did not conduce to learning. Between their own former cultic patterns of behavior and the encouragement of wayward elders, these women represented a problem for Christian worship done decently and in order” (Gritz, page 129).
(C) “[vs 11] …let a woman learn …”:
(1) That the Scriptures counsel women “to learn” is a radical departure from Jewish culture. This would be new for a Jewish convert: women in the synagogue culture did not engage in formal Scripture study:
(2) The verb μανθανω implies “to learn by study.” “Μανθανειν takes place when God’s will is learned from Scripture and taken up into one’s own will” (TDNT, IV, 408).
(3) The verb μανθανω here is a present imperative (μανθανετο), which is best translated “let a woman continue learning” (Kroeger, page 103).
(D) Women were already participating in public worship and teaching.
(1) Otherwise Paul would not have tried to correct the abuses.
(2) Men were the first to assume authority in God’s church, and in other aspects of life.
(3) Women were new to this; when they had “learned” then they would also assume any such positions (Galatians 3:28).
(4) “… let women keep on learning …”: The contrast is learning as it relates to teaching. The implication is that women must learn and hold correct content before being allowed to assume a teacher’s role. Paul does encourage the opposite of synagogue custom: “let women keep on learning.” This positive position of Paul is often lost in arguments over this passage.
(E) In “1 Timothy 2:9-15 … Paul says, ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent’ (v. 12 NIV). The imperative verb, however, is in verse 11: “A woman must be taught …[‘… must learn …’]” The prohibitions cited in verse 12 [to teach and to have authority] follow and are subordinate to it [the learning]. But the problem is that few pause to listen for the reasons given in verses 13 and 14 where Paul tells us why he ‘would rather not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority.’ It is mainly because Eve had been tricked, deceived, and easily entrapped (v. 14)” (Kaiser, page 12-I). In short, Paul uses a biblical example from the Old Testament to illustrate and give an example for his reasoning. He is not laying down “principles.”
The verse, “ Let a woman learn in silence…,” refers to the process of learning and does not establish qualifications for pastoral office.
(A) The word esuxia (here translated “silence”; cf. 1 Timothy 2:2) does not mean “always keep your mouth shut.”
(B) The primary meaning is manner, attitude, demeanor; compare other usages of the word:
1 Thessalonians 4:11 (“… to aspire to live quietly…”);
2 Thessalonians 3:12 (“..to do their work in quietness…” not as the “busybodies” in verse 11);
1 Timothy 2:2 (“…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life…”);
1 Peter 3:4 (“…a gentle and quiet spirit…”) (cf. Dinda, “WORD STUDY: 1 Cor. 14:33-35 and 1 Tim. 2:8-12,” pgs. 25-26).
(C) Compare Acts 11:18: Here Peter is confronted by the apostles and others, and he tells of a teaching he received from the Lord in a vision. The apostles, having heard Peter, then esuxasin, “held their peace” (King James Version). The word of truth struck home as true. “The verb doesn’t mean the apostles did not speak; it probably meant they were paying attention to what some one else was saying” (Perales, Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage, pg. 104).
(D) Not just women, but the the “whole church is exhorted to this kind of quiet lifestyle with the same word in this very context ([1 Timothy] 2.2)” (Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, pg. 108).
(E) Since esuxia means “quietness” and “rest” in addition to “silence,” this phrase is better translated, “Let a woman continue learning with a quiet demeanor in an attitude of receptivity.” Or, “… learn with a quiet demeanor, with respect for the teacher and the teaching.”
(F) That women should learn with an attitude of receptivity would imply that the opposite was happening (2 Timothy 3:6-7).
(G) Compare 3:6 for the same application to men who are learning: “He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil…” In the context the implication of this statement of Paul’s is that women, due to exclusion from the synagogue and from learning experiences, are playing “catch-up.”
(H) “The phrase silence and submission is a Near Eastern formula implying willingness to heed and obey instruction — in this case that contained in the Word of God” (Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, pgs. 75-76).
(I) The focus here is on behavior, not on qualifications for ecclesiastical office.
(J) The focus here is on training, learning, and behavior, not on excluding women from teaching men or participating in or leading worship.
Topic 12: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 6: “…with all submissiveness…”
This the sixth in a brief series unpacking the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Paul is seeking to apply sanctified pastoral counseling to a difficult situation in the Christian community in Ephesus. Ephesus is a seat of worship of the goddess Diana (Artemas).
When 1 Timothy speaks of the “submissiveness” of the learner, the “submissiveness” is anchored in the process of learning, not to a structured relationship.
(A) Vs 11: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness…”: To whom or what is the woman to be submissive?
(1) There is no object in the Greek at this point to the term upotage, “submissiveness.”
(2) The context is how women should learn.
(3) Nowhere in the New Testament is upotasso or its noun form used to give the church leaders authority to subordinate various members or classes of members.
(4) Compare 2 Timothy 3:6-7: “For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” Women in this context were anchored into the individual teachers and not in the Gospel, hearing and learning the truth.
(5) Women are to submit to the sound doctrine Paul is preaching and not to the heresy of Artemis, and not run around talking “about what they should not” (5:13).
(6) The object, then, of “with all submissiveness” is not “husbands” or “men” but “what is taught” and the process of being taught before themselves offering to teach.
(B) The focus of the passage, then, is that a woman in the process of learning is not to teach or assume authority until she has “washed out” her Artemesian theology and learned “what is taught” by the Christian teachers.
Topic 13: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 7: “…permit no woman to teach…”
This is the seventh in a brief series of studies on 1 Timothy 2:8-15. The writer of 1 Timothy is seeking to apply sanctified pastoral counsel to the Christian community in Ephesus, which is plagued with false teachings relating to the goddess Diana.
The Commission on Theology and Church Relations in its September 1985 document, “Women in the Church,” hears this passage as restricting the pastoral office to males:
◆ “The teaching that Paul forbids women to perform is the latter, namely, that of the formal, public proclamation of the Christian faith … The apostolic restriction of 1 Timothy 2 pertains to that teaching of God’s Word which involves an essential function of the pastoral office” (CTCR-WIC, page34).
◆ “To be sure, if women having a majority on such a panel were to seek to assert their power as women over men, such conduct would be a violation of Christian love, just as it would be for a majority of men to exercise power as men over women in such a situation” (CTCR, “The Service of Women …” 16 November 1994).
◆ “… as long as this service does not violate the order of creation (usurping authority over men)” (CTCR, “The Service of Women …” 16 November 1994).
◆ “Women may not teach (didaskein) men in St. Paul’s use (1 Timothy 2:12). The Service of Women in the Church (Touchpoint Series).
In response, we conclude this passage from 1 Timothy does not give a universal decree restricting women’s roles in teaching or worship, but rather refers to a process of learning before engaging in such ministries.
(A) “[vs 12] … I permit no woman to teach …”: On what basis do we insist that this refers to forbidding women to engage in public instruction?
(B) Women do teach (Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 11:5, 14:26; Titus 2:3-4). In 2 Timothy 4:19 Paul upholds Prisca who taught Apollos; in 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul reminds Timothy to “entrust to faithful people” (anthropois, not “men” as the RSV has it!) what Timothy has heard from him.
(C) In his letter to Timothy, Paul is concerned about a teaching ministry which is mature in the sanctified Christian life and produces the fruit of the Spirit: “He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil; moreover he must be well thought of by outsiders, or he may fall into reproach and the snare of the devil … The women likewise must be serious, no slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things” (1 Timothy 3:6-7, 12).
(D) In the context of this 1 Timothy 2 passage the issue is poorly instructed women who tend to spread false teaching (compare 2 Timothy 3:6-7 where Paul has the same concern about men!).
(E) “[vs 12] … I do not permit …”: Paul is giving not “a word from the Lord” but a divinely inspired pastoral application of the Gospel to this current situation.
(F) According to Greek grammar, the focus of the sentence falls on the content of the teaching rather than on the women’s ability to teach or on their gender (Perales, Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage, pg. 107).
(G) “ … the verb ‘to permit’ [epitrepo, present active indicative] is written in a tense that implies continuous present action. To more accurately translate, the verse could say, ‘I am not currently permitting a woman to teach …’ The verb is not written in the command mode. The command mode [imperative] appeared in the previous verse, where Paul was telling women he wanted them to learn. But in verse 12, he was telling them he was not permitting them to teach at that time, which implies that those who learned might eventually teach – just not right now” (Perales, pg. 106).
(H) “‘I am not permitting them to teach’ corresponds to ‘women should learn'” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pg. 35).
(I) In Titus 1:10-11 Paul also silences the men for this reason: “For there are many insubordinate [anupotaktoi] men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially the circumcision party; they must be silenced [epistomizein], since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach.” Paul addresses a problem that both men and women bring into the church.
The Commission on Theology and Church Relations interprets the passage differently:
◆ The teaching that Paul forbids women to perform is the latter, namely, that of the formal, public proclamation of the Christian faith. The word for teach (didaskein) is used uniformly in this way throughout 1 Timothy” (CTCR-WIC, page 34).
(J) A response: “On the basis of these uses of didasko in the Pauline letters, on what grounds do we insist that the use of I Tim. 2.12 must refer to the public proclamation of the Word in a worship setting? Of course, Paul does use didasko to refer to such proclamation, but we note two things: in none of those texts does he limit the teaching exclusively to males; second, many of the passages make no clear distinction between public instruction over against private instruction. I believe with Luther, that our passage may not refer to a formal worship environment at all” (Dinda, “WORD STUDY: 1 Cor. 14:33-35 and 1 Tim. 2.8-12,” pg. 24).
(1) Note also 1 Corinthians 11:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; and 1 Timothy 6:2, 3. See also 1 Timothy 1:7, 1 Timothy 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, and Titus 3:9 where instruction applies to teaching the Scriptures.
◆ “If the right to vote is a franchise of power and authority, how can the woman who exercises that right in the assembly avoid usurping authority over men, especially when they are in the majority? (1 Tim. 2:12)” (LCMS Pittsburgh Convention Workbook, page 199 [an argument against women suffrage]).
◆”Priscilla, together with Aquila, took Apollos in and expounded (exethento) the way of God more accurately. Neither didaskein nor any other closely related word is used (Acts 18:26)” (CTCR-WIC, page 35, footnote 49).
(2) Or, sarcastically: “But isn’t this exactly what Priscilla did in straightening out Apollos (Acts 18:26)? No, she ‘expounded’ or ‘explained’ (exethento), says the Touchpoint Series. St. Luke knew the difference, we suppose, even if Apollos and Priscilla didn’t. And of course, under the influence of direct and inerrant verbal inspiration, he was led to use the exact word to describe the contretemps between Priscilla and Apollos, just so no one in the Missouri Synod would get confused by it later” (Lutheran Forum Letter, July 1995, page 4). (Note: The statement is actually in CTCR-WIC, page 35, footnote 49).
(3) It is human preference, not exegetical soundness, that leads the authors to conclude that these two Greek verbs are opposites, explaining two different educational processes, rather than synonyms. Webster: “synonym: one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses.”
In the New Testament churches, women do teach publically after a process of learning.
Topic 14: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 8: “…have authority over…”
This is the eighth part of a brief series of studies on 1 Timothy 2:8-15. 1 Timothy is an epistle to the Christians in Ephesus and seeks to apply pastoral Gospel centered wisdom to a difficult situation in which teachings of Artemis have found their way into the local church.
◆ “Theologians note that there is a great difference between women having authority with men and having it over them. The former, dealing with a mutual exercise in authority, is appropriate in nearly every churchly instance outside of the distinctive functions of the pastoral office (e.g. preaching in the services of the congregation, leading formal public worship services and administering the Lord’s Supper …” (Lutheran Witness, September 1988, page 6).
In this study we assert the need to carefully distinguish between “usurp authority” and “have authority” and “exercise authority.” There is a fundamental difference between “assertion to power” and “implementation of power.”
(A) “[vs 12] … or to have authority over men …”: The verb here is a hapex legomena (meaning it appears only in one place [here] in all of the New Testament). Such words are difficult to translate clearly.
(B) The verb authentein, here translated “to have authority over,” has an unsavory flavor:
(1) “to domineer” (Arndt-Gingrich, page 120);
(2) “to have power over. From authentes… an actual murderer: esp. of murders done by those of the same family: also a self-murderer, suicide. 2. an absolute master or ruler” (Liddell and Scott, pg. 114);
(3) “… one who with his own hand kills either others or himself. b. in later Grk, writ. one who does a thing himself, the author … one who acts on his own authority, autocratic” (Thayer, page 84);
(4) “It comes from aut-hentes, a self-doer, a master, autocrat … to domineer …” (Robertson, page 570);
(5) “The etymology of the word is also obscure: it may come from auto-thentes, ‘the self involved in killing,’ or from autos-hentes, ‘achieving or realizing an action on oneself or by one’s initiative” (Wilshire, page 48);
(6) Josephus uses the noun form of authentein to describe Antipater, Herod’s son, accused of killing his two brothers and attempting to kill his father, and he employs the term to translate “assassins, murders” of a Galilean Jew on his way to a festival (Lepper, “A Fresh Vision of a Woman’s Glorious Heritage in Christ,” pg. 46).
(C) authentein and exousia are not synonymous.
(1) The first implies authority that is self-proclaimed and gained by “muscling in” and the second implies authority that is granted by someone else (John 1:12, 2 Corinthians 10:8). One seeks authority and power on its own; the second receives power from others.
(2) Jesus himself addresses the innate human tendency (found in the disciples — and in us!) to use any “authority” we might have in a self-serving manner: “It shall not be so among you, but whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:25-27).
(3) “… exercising authority on one’s own account – doing something on your own – and exercising authority generated from Christ are poles apart … the former can be selfish; the latter is always selfless …” (Lepper, page 46). Cf. Luke 22:25-26.
(4) Nowhere does Paul forbid a woman to possess exousia, which is the power Christ imparts for the work of the Church.
(D) What are the translation options?
(1) The usual Greek noun used by Paul for “authority” or “power” that is granted by another [exousia] is not used here.
(2) Paul chooses instead a verb which has a negative connotation, “to domineer” or “to usurp” (Moffatt: “to dictate to men”; NEB: “nor must woman domineer over man”).
(3) So the thrust of the infinitive is not in “position” or “office,” but in the action someone takes independently.
(4) The thrust is not a neutral “have authority” (TEV, Jerusalem).
(5) The thrust is not a benign “exercise authority.”
(6) The “hard edge” to authentein would suggest that the King James Version’s translation, “usurp authority” (to take by force, acting on one’s own authority) or the New English Bible’s “nor must woman domineer over man” are translations preferable to the neutral “to have authority over” (RSV; NIV; TEV, etc.) or the benign “exercise authority.”
(7) This understanding would fit the context: men are instructed to behave in the worship setting “without anger or quarreling” (1 Timothy 2:8), and women modestly and sensibly (verse 9) should not muscle their way in, seeking to domineer in the worship setting (verse 11).
(E) Authority [exousia] can also be given (Matthew 28:18) or acknowledged.
(1) The text does not deny women possessing authority in the church.
(2) The text does not forbid these receiving authority from others or having authority acknowledged.
(3) The text does not deny the church bestowing authority on women who have received from the Spirit the gifts of preaching and teaching and pastoring and have had these gifts recognized and affirmed by the church.
(F) There are no instances in Greek literature from Paul’s era where authentein is associated with ecclesial authority. This would suggest Paul is here not discussing guidelines for the pastoral office.
(G) The text is about obtaining authority in a process of self-promotion and arrogating it to oneself.
(1) The text is not talking about exercising authority over men with respect to the public administration of the Office of the Keys.
(2) There is no discussion of “ordination” as we in today’s church understand it in this passage.
(3) The text never mentions “office” or “position” but instead describes how Christians are to relate to and serve one another.
(4) Paul never uses the term “pastor” or “presbyter” in this passage.
(5) There is no express word here in this Scripture forbidding women in the office of ministry.
(6) The text does not speak to “authority” of women whose authority is granted through gifts of the Spirit and learning and then recognized by the Church.
(7) The text is a correction of an abuse of a privilege already granted (compare 1 Corinthians 11:5).
(8) The text does forbid “usurping” authority, obtaining it through aggressive self-aggrandizement, in a way not compatible with the Christ-servant model. “To usurp” is the opposite of the servant ministry Jesus taught and modeled (John 13:14; Mark 10:43-44) and Paul fostered (Philippians 2:3-8).
(9) That Paul needs to say this indicates that the opposite behavior was taking place.
(H) The text does not speak to women in offices serving men and other women with the Gospel. The text contains caution to women on how to use their positions of responsibility for service and not domination. (What is applicable to women regarding sin is also applicable to men.)
(I) But to have “authority” recognized requires also submissiveness to the discipline of learning and to the Word (verse 11).
(J) Verse 11 instructs women to learn with quiet, receptive spirits, instead of engaging in activities that result in “usurping authority over men” (verse 12)(King James Version) or “lording it over men.”
(K) Not to “usurp authority” should be paired with “but to be in quietness” (receptive to learning). Verses 11 and 12 begin with “quietness” and end with “quietness.”
(L) In secular literature authentein is translated “to claim to be the author of something” or “to be responsible for the initiation of something” or “to begin something” or “to kill someone” or “to lay claim to property as being one’s own” (cf. Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence).
(1) Hence, Kroeger suggests a possible translation: “I do not allow a woman to teach nor begin some (new doctrine) about men.”
(2) This translation would fit the context of the letter to Timothy, namely the environment in which the theology of the Artemis cult in Ephesus was rampant.
(M) “[vs 12] … over men …”: The word, in Greek, is singular, “man,” suggesting one “husband” rather than all “males.”
(N) Compare also Paul’s instructions to males in 1 Timothy 2:8.
(O) When the CTCR equates “order of creation” with “usurping authority over men,” it clearly weights a bias in favor of males.
(1) What the creation accounts suggest is that male and female relate as “equity with differences.”
(2) Any “usurping of authority,” whether by females or by males, violates God’s paradisal intent for humanity.
(3) Is it godly for males to “usurp” (take by force, deny by “show of right”) ministry grounded in Spirit-given gifts to women?
(P) “Yet this is the only biblical text that appears specifically to forbid female leadership; therefore, those who wish to use this prohibition to impose a permanent ban on women in leadership must somehow demonstrate that the meaning of authentein in this verse points unequivocally to authority in the ordinary, neutral sense of exousia” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 215).
The Christian community in Ephesus had problems with women “pushing in” and “domineering” with false teaching. Paul’s pastoral approach says, “No, this is not the process. The process is wait; first be submissive to the teaching process, learning with a receptive attitude. Then you will be ready for leadership.”
Topic 15: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 9: “teach…authority…”
This is ninth in a brief series on unpacking the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Part 9 deals with the relationship between teaching and “exercising authority.”
The Commission on Theology and Church Relations in its September 1985 document “Women in the Church” posits the following:
“The question now arises, what is the relationship between teaching, learning, and exercising ‘authority over man’? … In point of fact, however, a careful review of this passage indicates that the terms ‘teach’ and ‘exercise authority’ parallel each other. They are intentionally linked. The kind of teaching referred to in the passage is tied to exercising authority. The authority forbidden to women here is that of the pastoral office, that is, one ‘who labors in preaching and teaching’ (1 Tim. 5:17; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12)” (CTCR-WIC, page 35).
We conclude that the terms “teach” and “usurp authority” are linked and are “parallel to each other” but not in the sense that “to teach” equals “to usurp authority.” The passage does not forbid women the authority to teach; it forbids women “usurping authority” in order to teach.
(A) CTCR argument (CTCR-WIC, page 35) goes as follows:
(1) “… they [the terms ‘teach’ and ‘exercise authority’] are intentionally linked …”
(2) “The kind of teaching referred to in the passage is tied to exercising authority.”
(3) “Teach” equals “exercise authority” (Paul intentionally links these two).
(4) Ergo, “The authority forbidden to women here is that of the pastoral office…”
(5) [No detailed exegetical material is presented in the CTCR document.]
(B) Rather, what is forbidden is not teaching per se, but an individual’s domineering and aggressive process of obtaining a position of teacher within the faith community.
(1) See the previous part which provides a word study of authentein, indicating that this term suggests a domineering and self-appointed and aggressive flavor.
(2) See other references which speak of women in teaching roles and theological education (e.g., 1 Timothy 2:3-4, Acts 18:26, Romans 16:3, 6, 12).
(3) “[vs 12]…ouk … oude…”: usually in reverse order, these two are the equivalent of the English “neither … nor…” They connect two present infinitives didaskein and authentein (two separate infinitives, listed in sequence).
(4) “ouden/‘and not’ joins the two words. The use of de (‘and’), as well as its compounds ouden/meeden (‘and not’), in 1 Timothy always strongly suggests a move [sic] to a different topic or to quite a different aspect of a topic. See, e.g., 2:15 and 1:4 … the grammatical construction of the verse and the argument in the context … seem to suggest that teaching is one thing and with the mention of authority Paul moves on to a new topic … )” (Convention Workbook, 59th Regular Convention, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, St. Louis, Mo, July 15-21, 1995, “Dissenting opinion on women in congregational offices,” page 313).
(5) And, “Paul gives two prohibitions here. oude simply joins these two words as a negative conjunction. Although the second prohibition explains and qualifies the first, these exist as two separate interdictions. In other words, didaskein does not equal authentein. Since didaskein and authentein are linked by a co-ordinate conjunction, andros serves as the direct object for both of these verbs. The nature of the two verbs requires a direct object in the genitive case instead of the accusative case” (Gritz, Paul, Women Teachers, and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus, pg 133).
(6) Or, “At this point one can see the relationship between didaskein and authentein. Teaching in the first century did contain the idea of authority for both Jews and pagans. For wives to teach their husbands gave the impression that they were ‘lording it over them.’ The problem intensified in Ephesus because of the attitude of the false teachers — arrogant and highhanded. Some women, including wives, unfortunately adopted this unchristian disposition. A further complication resided in the fact that the heretics forbade marriage. As a result, some wives publicly demeaned their husbands. Ephesian Christian wives had overstepped their bounds. This behavior had to cease. Paul’s instructions in this entire passage reveal his pastoral concern at this point to maintain not only order in church worship but also healthy family relationships in an environment hostile to the same” (Gritz, pg. 135).
(7) “The relationship and function of a woman in the congregation is to be seen in the light of the relationship between man and woman in the family” (Powers, pg. 59).
(C) Didaskein has no modifier (as it does eleven of the thirteen times it appears in the New Testament).
(1) This suggests the emphasis here is on the act or the process, not on who is teaching or who is being taught or the content of the teaching.
(2) Therefore, the text can be translated, “I am not permitting (present tense: “currently”) women to teach in a way as to domineer (or seize authority) over men.”
◆ ‘However, when the apostle’s phrases are separated in this way and used to formulate a code of rules concerning the role of women, both the text and women are abused” (CTCR-WIC, page 35).
(D) No, the text is abused when authentein is translated with a neutral or benign flavor, “to have authority” or to “exercise authority” when the stress of the word is on a domineering and self-aggrandizing action.
(1) And women are abused when they are denied full use of their gifts which the Spirit distributes “as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:11).
(2) The text does not indicate Paul forbids women teaching if it is done in a way that does not impose itself over others, nor does Paul say women cannot teach if this authority is granted by the faith community. Paul is not saying women cannot “have authority” or “exercise authority.”
(3) “[vs 12] .. alla einai [present infinitive: “currently] en esuxia”: “but to be at this time in [a posture of] quiet receptiveness” (again the “rabbinic teaching model”).
(4) “…oude…alla...”: the opposite attitude of “usurping” is “quietness,” learning first, earning the community’s authorization, then teaching.
(5) 1 Tim. 2:8-15 is not a reference to the pastoral office. Paul is not forbidding authoritative teaching; he is forbidding the arrogant action which assumes one can muscle one’s way into the community as a teacher.
(E) There is no express word herein which hints at or refers to pastoral office.
Topic 16: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 10: “saved through childbirth…”
This is the tenth part in a brief series on 1 Timothy 2:8-15. This, passage, “[vs. 15]… women will be saved through childbirth,” is admittedly a most difficult passage
(A) “Three possible meanings of this verse are: (1) It speaks of the godly woman finding fulfillment in her role as wife and mother in the home; (2) it refers to women being saved spiritually through the most significant birth of all, the incarnation of Christ; or (3) it refers to women being kept physically safe in childbirth” (Concordia Self-Study Bible, pg. 1852).
(B) To begin to understand this passage, remember that Gnostics taught that the physical was evil. Note Saturnilus (ca. 130 A.D.), a gnostic teacher, as described by St. Irenaeus: “The Savior he [Saturnilus] assumed to be unbegotten, incorporeal, and without form, but appeared in semblance as a man. The God of the Jews, he says, was one of the angels; and because all the archons wanted to destroy the Father, Christ came for the destruction of the God of the Jews and the salvation of those who believe in him; these are they who have the spark of life in them. He was first to say that two kinds of men had been molded by the angels, the one wicked, the other good. And since the demons helped the wicked, the Savior came for the destruction of the wicked men and demons, and the salvation of the good. Marriage and procreation, he says, are of Satan [emphasis added]. Many of his followers abstain also from animal food [emphasis added], and through this feigned continence they lead many astray” (quoted in Karris, The Pastoral Epistles, pg. 68).
(C) In response, Paul is contradicting the Gnostic view by saying that what happens in the physical realm is not evil: “[vs 15]…through childbirth…“: dia with the genitive (“in the state of child bearing”) — even as mothers…
(D) Beck translates this, “But women, having children, will be saved if they live in faith, love and kindness, and use good judgment.”
(E) “[vs 14] … the woman (singular) was deceived … [vs 15] Yet woman (singular) will be saved … if they (plural) continue in faith …”
(1) “…will be saved…” is passive, indicating salvation comes from someone other than herself.
(2) The outlines of Pauline salvation through faith are still evident in the text (“…if they continue in faith…”).
(F) If we take verses 13-14 at surface literalism without historical context and interpret them as “order of creation” material, then we should do the same for verse 15:
(1) For example, we should argue that salvation is denied to all infertile women.
(2) Then we should deny Jesus’ and Paul’s assertion that salvation is by grace through faith.
(3) Then we should relieve Adam of his responsibility for sin.
(G) Another view:
“There is probably a play on words occurring in the Greek in v. 15 when it says ‘she will be saved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith…” In Ephesus, where Timothy was when Paul wrote this epistle, the Greek goddess Artemis was the goddess of hunting, wilderness, wild animals, and childbirth. Ephesian women would pray to Artemis so that they would be ‘saved’ through childbirth. Now, the word for salvation in Greek is “soterias” and one of the other names of Artemis was ‘soteira’ which is very close to the Greek word for salvation! Paul may very well have been referring to this goddess by saying that the Ephesian women who were converts from the cult of Artemis/Soteira were to trust in Christ to deliver them through childbirth instead of looking to the pagan goddess. This is why Paul then switches to ‘they’ in reference to continuing in ‘faith and love and sanctiity with self-restraint’ (v. 15). He first speaks of women as ‘she’ by analogy in reference to Eve (she) and then moves to ‘they’ as he speaks to women in general, applying the principle of Eve’s ‘womanness’ to them — especially in the area of them bearing children.
“This gains weight as an argument when we note that Artemis was referenced in the New Testament and Paul was trying to dissuade people from following this false goddess.
And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen, 25. these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, ‘Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. 27 And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence’ (Acts 19:23-27).
“So, we see that Paul was working against the false goddess Artemis, also known as Soteira and it would make sense that he would reference her in passing in 1 Tim. 2:15” (carm.org/1 Tim. 2:15).
Topic 17: 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Part 11: Summary
This section concludes the brief series on 1 Timothy 2:8-15.
The Commission on Theology and Church Relations in its September 1985 document, “Women in the Church,” states:
◆ “Corresponding to Priscilla, who taught Apollos, early Christian tradition was not devoid of women known for their missionary teaching and preaching …The early church, therefore, did not apply the prohibition of 1 Timothy 2:12 to the mission context” (CTCR-WIC, page 15).
That conclusion would suggest that the early Church obviously did not feel bound by an “order of creation” argument in the application of 1 Timothy 2:12!
(A) What other conclusions can be drawn about our use of the “orders of creation” theology from this statement?
(1) That the early church had a double standard?
(2) Or that the early church did not consider the “order of creation” practice binding on conscience?
(3) Or that Paul (as elsewhere, with marriage, for example, in 1 Corinthians 7) determined that any application of any teaching, must be done pastorally (that is, a divine law is not mandated here).
(B) Maybe with Tertullian he was making a pastoral application because of the heretics’ offense. Might not the offense given today be that females are discriminated against in society (e.g., the “glass ceiling,” lower pay for the same positions and jobs, victimization by the legal system in cases of rape, exclusion from certain positions) and that today Paul might answer such offensive behavior by pastorally advising the church to honor and include women in all positions as a visible corrective rather than joining a culture under sin’s dominion in subordinating women?
(C) If verses 11 and 12 are interpreted as a decree of timeless and universal application (“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man”), the same viewpoint must be applied to verse 9 (“…not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire…”). “…if we insist that v. 8 must be taken theologically, how is it that v. 9, so closely related to v. 8, is taken sociologically?” (Dinda, “WORD STUDY: 1 Cor. 14:33-35 and 1 Tim. 2:8-12,” pgs. 20-21).
(D) To understand verses 13 and 14 as theological rationale instead of theological correction is to continue a practice (allowing no women elders or presidents or vice-presidents) for the purpose of punishment of today’s daughters of Eve. This contradicts the Gospel which removes the curse (Galatians 3:13).
(E) In this text (1 Timothy 2:11-14) there is no express word which indicates the pastorate or public ministry or qualifications thereof are being discussed.
(F) There is no directive here to say that a human being who is female is not to assume the ministry of the Word (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:2-16).
(G) This passage does not say that men should have authority over women.
(H) This passage does say that women should not usurp (assume by force) authority over men.
(I) This passage, 1 Timothy 2:11-14, may be understood, then, thusly:
Paul: “[Just as women should have good judgment and learn about inner and outer beauty,] let a wife [a woman] continue learning [the faith] with a quiet demeanor, being receptive [to receiving true doctrine]. [In this situation] I am [currently] not allowing [busybody (5:13)] women to teach [ — as I do with newly converted males (1 Timothy 3:6)] or to take authority by a show of force [or lord it over, or domineer] from men [or to claim to be the originators of men, as the Artemis myth says]. She is to be receptive [not disruptive]. Is Eve the source of all humankind [as Artemis would claim]? No, Adam was created first. Is Eve the source of true revelation [again, as Artemis would teach]? No, she, too, was completely deceived.”
The early church did not use “order of creation” arguments to restrict women involved in teaching. The church did ask that a learning process precede any teaching.
Topic 18: 1 Timothy 3:1-2: “…the office of bishop…”
I Timothy 3:1-2 focus on the position of and qualifications for an episcope (overseer, bishop).
1 Timothy 3:1 reads, “The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task.”
Let’s take a closer look. English translations of 1 Timothy 3:1 often obscure the integrity and point of the Greek text.
(A) A male pronoun is often added to the English translations where no pronoun at all is called for in the Greek text.
(1) In 1 Timothy 3:1 Paul employs the Greek tis which refers to “anyone,” male or female. [For the following I am indebted to Joseph Webb, , and Joann Lepper, “A Fresh Vision of a Woman’s Glorious Heritage in Christ.”]
(2) Tis is properly translated “any one, anything, someone, something; many a one or thing” (Arndt/Gingrich, pg. 827). Thayer adds that it is an “indefinite … pronoun” (pg. 625). It always has an indefinite referent, applying to either male or female or both.
(3) “So chapter 3 of 1 Timothy opens with ‘If anyone aspires to oversight’” (Webb, pg. 43).
(4) Read 1 Timothy 3:1 and following. All of the pronouns “in English are male pronouns: ‘he desires’ (v. 1), ‘he must manage’ (v. 4), ‘his own household’ (v.5), ‘how can he care for God’s church’ (v.5), ‘he may be puffed up’ (v.6), ‘He must be well thought of,’ (v.7), and ‘he may fall into the reproach of the devil’ (v.7)” (Webb, pg. 42).
(5) “The fact is. … that the repetition of the ‘he’ in the text … is simply not a correct handling of the verbs and pronouns contained within those verbs. In the Greek text, no pronoun is inserted at any point where the ‘he’ appears in the above list.”
(6) “‘He’ is only part of the correct translation. The third person singular pronoun could also be translated as ‘she.’ It is without question most accurate to translate the pronoun each time it appears as ‘he or she’” or “the one who …”
(7) “The pronoun, instead, is always ‘implied’ within the verb form that is used. In every instance listed above, moreover – and that includes virtually every verb in the text – the Greek verb is in the third person singular and should always be translated as ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘it.’”
(8) “With this line up of male pronouns – and it is this way in virtually all English translations – it is little wonder that the reader … would assume that it calls for men to fill the positions of leadership and for woman to be excluded” (Webb, pg. 41).
(9) “We are required by tis to translate them with ‘he or she’ because only the ‘he or she’ harmonizes with the inclusive indefiniteness of tis, the ‘formative pronoun’” of this text (Webb, pg. 43). “The insertion of tis indicates that anyone without regard to sex, could aspire to the work of oversight.”
(10) Greek has sex-specific words for males and females, which Paul does use in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 to distinguish male and females. Here he avoids those specific words.
(B) 1 Timothy 3:4 contains the Greek proistamenon, a present middle participle. It is attached to no specific pronoun. “The participle itself has gender but the writer is quick to neutralize the masculine gender by inserting the indefinite pronoun [tis] in a repetition of the ‘manage’ statement which follows immediately.”
(1) Proistamenon means “managing.” It may literally be translated, “managing one’s own household well …”
(2) The similar issue holds with the verbs in verses 6 and 7, which accurately translated would read “Not a recent convert, or being puffed up, he or she [third person singular] fall into the condemnation of the devil” and “being well thought of by outsiders, or he or she [third person singular] may fall into the reproach and the snare of the devil.”
(C) “If the apostle Paul had intended to indicate that ‘if any male aspires to oversight,’ he could have very clearly stated that, and given his penchant for precision, would have done so” (Webb, pg. 43).
(D) Therefore, 1 Timothy 3:1 and following may be translated as follows: “If anyone sets the heart on being an overseer, he or she desires a noble task…managing the family well…(If anyone does not know how to manage the family, how can he or she take care of God’s church?) He or she must also have a good reputation…so that he or she”
(E) 1 Timothy 3:2 reads, “Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife … “
(1) This passage is used by those opposed to women pastors to “prove” that God wants only males to be in the pastoral office. But the point of the passage is not the gender of the bishop, but the behavior of one who holds the position of overseer.
(2) “… the husband …“: The point is the marital status and fidelity of a bishop to the spouse.
(3) The bishop must also have “children who obey him..” If we follow a logic which says Paul is requiring only males because he says “husband of one wife,” we would end up concluding that to be a bishop one must be a husband and also have fathered children.
(4) Such reasoning would disqualify Paul himself (who was unmarried) as well as Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12).
Topic 19: Deaconess or Deacon?
Romans 16:1-2 in the RSV is translated as follows:  I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae,  that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well.
The Commission on Theology and Church Relations in its September 1985 paper, “Women in the Church,” relegate Phoebe to assisting the apostles “in their material requirements.”
◆ “They want to do for Phoebe what she has done for the apostle and others — assist them in their material requirements. Phoebe’s ministry, then, like that of Steffanas and his household, was to assist the saints” (CTCR-WIC, page 11).
Our point here is that Phoebe holds a specific office, that of deacon; this is more than simply assisting in the material support of the apostles.
In Romans 6:1 Paul refers to Phoebe as a diakonos (“deacon” diakonon, masc.) and in 6:2 Paul calls her a prostatis (benefactor or patron) This is the only place in the New Testament where a woman is specifically referred to with these two distinctions. The clearest NT identification of an individual with titles associated with local church leadership is not a man at all, but a woman. Paul introduces Phoebe as his emissary to the church in Rome and, because they are not acquainted with her, Paul provides them with her credentials.
When Phoebe is termed a diakonos (“deacon”) does this mean that she is one who provided only material support for leaders in the church, or was she herself a leader who also shared the Gospel in more pastoral situations?
 First, understand that New Testament versions have an interesting history as to how the word diakonos and its cognates have been translated.
[a] In most Bible translations, diakonos is translated as “deacon” only in 1 Timothy 3:8, 10, 12 and Philippians 1:1. All other occurrences of this word are translated either “servant” or “minister.” The verb form of the word, diakoneo, is translated most often as “to serve” or “to minister.” The same goes for the word diakonia, translated as “service” or “ministry.”
[b] When the words diakonos, diakoneo or diakonia are used in the writings of Paul, major versions consistently translate diakonos as “minister” when the word is used in connection to a male person.
1 Cor. 3:5: Paul and Apollos are “ministers” (King James Version, New King James Version) or “servants” (English Standard Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, New International Version).
Eph. 3:7: Paul is a “minister” (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV) or a “servant” (NRSV, NIV, NLT).
Col 1:23 and 1:25: Paul serves also a “minister” (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV) or a “servant” (NRSV, NIV, NLT).
Eph. 6:21: Tychicus is a “minister” (KJV, NKJV, NRSV, NASB, ESV) or a “servant” (NIV).
Col. 4:7: Tychicus is referred to as a “minister” (KJV, NKJV, NRSV, NIV, ESV) or a “servant” (NASB).
Col. 1:7: Epaphras is a “minister” (KJV, NKJV, NIV, NRSV, ESV) or a “servant” (NASB, NLT).
Col. 4:7: Archippus is active in “ministry” (diakonia) (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV).
Philm 13: Onesimus is doing “ministry” (diakoneo) (KJV, NKJV, NASB) or “service” (NRSV, ESV) for Paul.
Older translations such as William Tyndale’s New Testament (1534) and the Geneva Bible (1560) throughout translated diakonos when it referred to all of Paul’s co-workers as “ministers” and also in Rom.16:1 where diakonos refers to Phoebe.
[c] When it comes to Rom. 16:1, the only reference where the word diakonos is used in connection with a female person in Paul’s writings, the word is never translated “minister” in these translations. But in these same translations Phoebe is a “servant” or a “deacon” (NRSV, NLT). One would ask the question why this is so, concluding that a gender bias is at work in translating the word diakonos. What has influenced our understanding of this function or ministry through the centuries has been the many translations we have used.
 So, secondly, we ask what might it mean that Phoebe is called a diakonos?
[a] There are seven references in the New Testament texts which link the masculine noun diakonos to an individual’s name:
1 Cor. 3:5 — Paul and Apollos (“What is Apollos…Paul? Diakonoi through whom you came to believe)
Eph. 6:21 – Tychicus (“…a faithful diakonos in the Lord…to encourage your hearts”)
Col. 1:7 – Epaphras (“You have heard of this hope…from E….a faithful diakonos of Christ…”)
Col. 1:23 – Paul (“the good news…of which I, Paul, became a diakonos”)
Col. 4:7 – Tychicus (“beloved brother, a faithful diakonos…might encourage the hearts…”)
1 Tim. 4:6 – Timothy (“if you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good diakonos of Christ Jesus”)
The seventh reference is Rom. 16:1 – Phoebe where Paul describes her as a diakonos.
[b] The descriptive phrases added by the epistle writers to the individual described as diakonos in the first six references indicate ministries of sharing/preaching the gospel.
[c] Even though Phoebe is a woman, note that in Rom.16:1 Paul chooses a masculine noun, diakonos, to identify her. This suggests that the word is used in a technical sense of an established and recognized position defined by this word apart from gender. This form of ministry is gender inclusive, articulating no special separate role for women, no function limited only to men. Phoebe would function in the ways of ministry as do men to whom the term is applied. Had Paul wanted to make a gender distinction or limitation he could have chosen to use other terms such as doulos or oiketes.
[d] By calling Phoebe diakonos Paul implies she has the same type of position as that of the church leaders in 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12. 1Timothy 3:11 also seems to imply that Timothy also had women diakonoi in his churches (see below).
[e] The term diakonos (deacon) is used to identify other leaders like Paul, Timothy, Apollos, and Tychicus. The term is also applied to Christ (Romans 15:8). Leaders like deacons and overseers were selected because of their moral character. The qualities of a deacon (1Timothy 3:8-10) are nearly identical to those of an overseer (1 Timothy 3:1-7). Both deacons and overseers were to manage their families. They were to be charitable and self-controlled.
[f] Phoebe served the ecclesia, having “an official function in the congregation at Cenchreae” (Black, Romans, pg. 178). English translations add the indefinite article “a” before “deacon” although the Greek does not have the indefinite article. Without the “a” the Greek states that Phoebe is “deacon of the church in Cenchreae,” adding to the implication of leadership. She functions, then, in the same capacity that Paul, Apollos, Tychicus, Epaphras, Archippus, and Onesimus did elsewhere. It is possible that not all churches had women diakonoi, but some churches like Cenchreae did.
[g] Stephen and Philip (Acts 6:8, 8:5), chosen (Acts 6:5) to implement the daily diakonia (6:1), also preached the gospel (6:8 ff.) and baptized new converts (8:38). Paul speaks of his apostolic work as diakonia (Rom. 11:13, 1 Corinthians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Ephesians 3:7, 1 Thessalonians 3:2). “Both the participle and the genitive [In Romans 1:16] indicate that Phoebe occupied an official position by appointment of the church which was similar to that of the seven deacons who were appointed in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-6)” (Lenksi, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, pg. 899).
[h] “Romans 16:1-2 is clearly a statement of recommendation on Phoebe’s behalf. Paul trusts her to deliver his letter to the church in Rome as his emissary. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe” – and then he underlines her qualification by adding her position – “a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. ”Since she bears Paul’s letter, she may be called upon to explain anything ambiguous in the letter when the Romans read it, and Paul wishes them to understand that she is indeed qualified to explain this writing, his most theological letter. He argues the point by citing her church offices (Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, pg. 238). She would be the obvious person for the Romans to ask about any questions they had on hearing Romans read to them and “so is properly regarded as the first expositor of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans”. This implies a teaching function for Phoebe.
Richard Gahl adds these pertinent comments: “Permit me to expand upon the information in 2h. There is no question in my mind that Phoebe carried the letter from Paul to the house churches in Rome. The encouragement to receive her with a gracious hospitality was certainly how a group would welcome an honored guest.
“Ben Witherington III (Early Christian Rhetoric , p.3) explains the responsibilities of one who carried correspondence from a person like Paul. ‘These documents would not be handled to just anyone. From what we can tell, Paul expected one of his co-workers such as Timothy, Titus or Phoebe to go and orally deliver the contents in a rhetorically effective manner. This would have been almost a necessity since the document would come without division of words or punctuation and so only someone skilled in reading such seamless prose; indeed, one who already knew the contents of the document could place the emphasis in the right places so as to effectively communicate the message.’
“Paul’s note regarding the role of Titus in 2 Corinthians 8:22-24 likely describes what the carrier of his letters were to do. Titus was not just one of a group to chaperone the offerings of the Corinthians to Jerusalem. Just as Phoebe, he would be able to answer questions about Paul’s message so that it would be clearly understood.
Richard Gahl concludes: “Over thirty years ago our family visited the British Museum in London. They still remind me of my excitement upon stumbling upon the Codex Sinaiticus, a very early and important manuscript of the New Testament. I still remember the jumble of letters on the displayed page – all capitals, no spaces between words, no punctuation, no paragraphs. Now I understand how a Phoebe or Titus were so necessary for the communication process in a community where Witherington estimates that only 10% of the population could read.”
[i] “Since Romans was written before any surviving reference to the office of a local church ‘overseer,’ ‘deacon’ may have been the only officially recognized title for a local church leader at that time and/or place” (Payne, pbpane.com).
[j] In the Didache, diakonoi were those who assisted with the Eucharist. In a Syrian inscription, the term “deacon” is applied to the equivalent of a synagogue leader. “…in later times those who held this synagogue office were required to be knowledgeable in Scriptures…regular teachers sometimes filled the post” (Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, pg.239).
[k] The tradition of female deacons continued throughout the early centuries, as noted both by the archaeological evidence and also in Christian literature preserved from this period. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 C.E.), Origen (185-242 C.E.), John Chrysostom (347- 407 C.E.), and Egeria (a fifth century pilgrim) refer to female deacons without reservation.
[l] Even if in the New Testament no women were identified by name as elders, overseers, or pastors, and many men were, this would not logically exclude women from those leadership positions any more than the actual lack of Gentile men identified by name as elders, overseers, or pastors in the NT excludes Gentile men from those leadership positions. A diakonos functioned as a minister of the gospel, of Christ, in his or her faith community.
 A third consideration is whether Paul designates Phoebe a “leader” or simply “great help.”
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a prostatis of many and of myself as well” (Rom. 16:1-2).
[a] Not only does Paul refer to Phoebe as a dikanos, but he also esteems her as a prostatis. This is the only verse in the New Testament in which the word prostatis occurs.
[b] The word prostatis literally means “one standing out in front.” It is a derivative of the Greek word proistemi which includes in its meaning “exercise a position of leadership, rule, direct, be at the head of.” Earlier, In Romans 12:8 (“Let the one in leadership (o proistamenos) govern diligently,” the leader, in diligence”), we see the participial form of this word, again, to imply leadership. The verb form of prostatis is found also in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, where Paul refers to those who “labor over” and have “charge over” (proistamenous). Prostatis is also in 1Timothy 5:17 (“let the elders who rule…”). Used in relation to the family, it means “ruling one’s household” (1 Tim 3:4, 5, 12). It is a word which, according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, means “one who presides” or, here, “a woman who is set over others.” The word Paul chose to describe Phoebe (prostasis) always elsewhere refers to leadership.
[c] The Greek verb translated as “help [her]” (parastete from pararistemi, “I help,” which combines para = “along side” and istemi = “I stand”) is almost opposite in meaning to the word describing Phoebe as a prostatis “one who leads,” which combines pro = “in rank before” and istemi = “I stand” ( ).
Paul’s logic is “Help her in whatever matter she has need, because she is a leader of many, including myself also.” It is natural that Paul, who calls all believers to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21) should himself submit to the local leadership in churches he visited. If Paul had intended to say simply that Phoebe had “helped” others, it would have been natural for him to repeat pararistemi to make his reason parallel his request ( LSJ, 1526).
[d] “The word is used of office-bearers in a heathen religious association” (Moulton-Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Non-literary Sources, pg. 551). “The masc. form of the word was used by the Romans for the legal representative of a foreigner. In Jewish communities it meant the legal representative or wealthy patron. Here it indicates the personal help given to Paul” (Linguistic Key to the New Testament Greek, pg. 383). “In Jewish communities prostatis means “the legal representative or wealthy patron” (Sandy and Headlam, Romans, pg. 417). “The word prostatis conveys leadership, which probably entailed ‘spiritual oversight’” (Payne, Man and Woman: One in Christ, pg. 63).
[e] The NRSV translates this as “she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.”
[f] If by prostatis Paul identifies a position in the community of faith, then he describes Phoebe using two titles for a church office that may have been equivalent to the later-documented titles “overseer,” “elder,” and “pastor,” someone with position and authority within the faith community, someone who does much more than just assist “in their material requirements.”
[g] “In the writings of the early church Fathers, the masculine form of prostatis is used for the one who presided over communion” (Kroeger, Women Elders…Sinners or Servants?, pg.9).
 And fourthly, of further significance for this issue is 1 Timothy 3:11.
[a] 1 Timothy 3 is a discussion of the qualifications for church leaders, and here we find in verse 11 the phrase gynaikas hosautos semnas, “women likewise must be…” Who, then, are the “women”? The wives of the deacons or deacons themselves?
[b] Gunaikos is also found in verse 2 (bishops are to be the “husband of one wife”) and verse12 (where deacons are also to be “husband of one wife”). Here gunaikos clearly means wife.
[c] The word housautos (“likewise”)” occurs in verse 8 and is used there to introduce a distinct but related subject (deacons versus overseers). When occurring in verse 11 it can also be understood to introduce a distinct but related subject (women deacons verses male deacons).
[d] The absence of the word “their” in verse 11 would seem to imply that the women in view are not the wives of deacons but rather women who serve in the same capacity as the men. The text is not “their women/wives” but “women.” A possessive pronoun would be required to signify “wives.”
[e] The list of qualifications for the women (“serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things”) although abbreviated (only one verse), is similar to those for the male deacons (vss. 8-10, 12-13).
[f] The silence concerning any qualifications for the overseer’s (episcopa) wife (3:1-7) and the male deacons’ wives (3:12-13) argues against this being understood as referring to qualifications for deacons’ wives.
[g] 1Timothy 5:3-16 and Titus 2:3-5 give instruction to women and how they are to relate to other women in the church, as well as their own families. Instructions are given to men here as well. Whether these instructions suggest some sort of organized women to women ministry is not clear. Diakonia and related verb forms are not used here. This suggests a different understanding of women’s roles here as compared to 3:8 which women are discussed in the conversation about bishops and deacons.
Paul commends “our sister Phoebe” to the church in Rome and recites her qualifications as “deacon of the church at Cenchreae” and “a benefactor of many and of myself as well” in order that she is recognized for her role and service and be accepted as his representative. He does not have to defend Phoebe’s participation in this way or argue that the church in Rome must recognize a woman’s role in doing this service. This suggests that such service by women within the Christian communities and in offices more generally occupied by men was not an issue then as it might be today.
Topic 20: The Image of God
Both male and female are created in the image of God. This suggests that God’s intention for male and female is what the church says about the Trinity: “no one is before or after, greater or less than the other.”
Genesis 1: 26-28: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
Female and male, like the Trinity in whose image they are created, are partners-in-fellowship.
(A) “[vs. 26] Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image'”: The Persons of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are “equal in glory, coeternal in majesty … no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons” (Athanasian Creed).
(B) “[vs. 26] Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image ..'”: The Hebrew term here is adam, the form of which is the generic term for humanity. By the term “man” is meant both male and female human beings, as Scripture defines them in Genesis 5:1-2 (NIV): “This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘man’.” The term “man” here refers not to the male gender, but to humankind, both female and male.
(C) “[vs. 26] Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image‘”: “… man ..” equals “humanity.” Humanity is created in the image of God. By implication, aspects included in the image are:
(1) both male and female are created in the image of God (“… in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”; note the pairing); woman is not created in the image of the male, but of God;
(2) distinctions (1:27b [“male and female he created them”] explains 1:27a [“in the image of God he created him”]);
(3) equal responsibility within the created order (“let them have dominion…”; “… said to them, ‘Be fruitful …’”);
(4) equal function/position within the created order (“let them have dominion over the fish of the sea … and over every creeping thing …”);
(5) parity, partnership: both are created simultaneously (“male and female he created them”); the text, at the least, suggests parity, not priority or secondary derivation.
(D) “[vs. 26] …Let us make man in our image“: The nature of the Godhead is Persons-in-fellowship where “no one is before or after, greater or less than the other”; for humanity to be in the image of God, then, suggests both male and female within God’s created order are beings-in-fellowship, as male and female, both equal (“no one is before or after, greater or less than the other”), mutually dependent and singularly independent and jointly interdependent.
◆ “…the image has to do with spiritual qualities – features that correspond and relate to the Creator … This equality is a spiritual equality of man and woman before God” (“Women in the Church,” study document of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, September 1985, pg. 19).
(E) The text suggests, contrary to the CTCR suggestion, that the image is also a “material equality” lived out in history and time in concrete relations. The two are to be “fruitful and multiply;” the two are to “have dominion” over the created order. Woman is “his equal before the Creator” and also his equal in creation.
◆ “Man was woman’s head from the first moment of her creation, but after the fall the will to self-assertion distorts this relationship into domination and/or independence” (CTCR-WIC, page 24).
(A) In Genesis One there is no suggestion of superordination or subordination or superiority or inferiority in the relationship between male and female.
(B) “[vs 26] … let them have dominion …”: The only reference to dominance (and by inference, subordination) is that of humankind having “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). The suggestion is that humanity is to exercise this dominion as beings-in-fellowship, in partnership (“… let them…”).
(C) This understanding sheds interpretive light on 1 Corinthians 11:11-12: “Nevertheless, in the Lord” — that is, as in relationship to each other and in faith toward the mutually interdependent Trinity — “woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man so man is now born of woman.”
(D) These beings-in-fellowship, where neither “is before or after, greater or less,” live, as God intends, in mutual relationship and work and have mutual dominion in the historical, created order.
(E) Woman does not receive her identity and purpose from her relationship to man, but to her Creator.
(G) “[vs 26] … Let them have dominion … over all the earth …”: ◆ “Man and woman are equal in having the same relationship to God and to nature [emphasis added]” (CTCR-WIC, page 20).
(H) The conclusion, apparently drawn by the CTCR-WIC document, is that female-male equality is both spiritual (in the realm of grace: “the same relationship to God”) and natural (in the created order: “the same relationship …to nature”). Yet this conclusion about equality in nature is consistently ignored throughout the document.
(I) Genesis 1 offers no support for an “order of creation” theology.
Topic 21: “…and she shall be called Woman”: What does this mean?
This is a brief study of interpreting Genesis 2:22-24 (NRSV): “And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh”
◆ “Third, Adam immediately begins to exercise his authority by naming the animals (vs.10). He also names his wife ‘woman’ (v.23)” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations (LCMS), “Women in the Church” (Sept. 1985), pg. 23).
That the man says, “This one shall be called Woman” is not exercising authority over his wife
 “… and she shall be called Woman …“: “Woman” is not a personal name, but a gender identification.
(A) “She shall be called woman” is God’s designation, not the man’s, just as woman’s “being taken out of man” is not man’s doing, but God’s.
(B) “Woman” is not a “name” as is “antelope,” “anteater,” or “aardvark,” which are designations of types of animals over which humans do rule. “Woman” is not a different “type” of humanity but speaks of a sexual differentiation from the male, not from humanity. The male’s understanding is that here is someone like him (and unlike the animals), yet differentiated sexually.
(C) “… and she shall be called Woman …“: Naming someone usually implies dominion over that person. Here we find something different. New nouns are used to describe the man and the woman: “The man (ish) calls the new creation woman (ishsha). He does not employ the technical naming-formula here, for ishsha is not a proper name. Instead, this Hebrew pun recognizes sexual differentiation and not subordination. The similarity between the Hebrew words emphasizes the equality of woman and man. Thus, man acknowledges before Yahweh and in the woman’s presence the equality of the partnership between the couple. Woman and man relate in like mutuality” (Gritz, Paul, Women Teachers and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus, pg. 56).
(D) “While an official act of ‘naming’ takes place in Genesis, there is a distinctive formula that is followed. It includes the specific verb, qarah (“call”), followed by the noun, shem (“name”). This formula is followed in 2:19-20 where the man names the animals; it appears in 3:20 where the man names (or more correctly renames) Eve; it is employed in 5:2 when God names the two of them “Adam”; and the formula appears in Genesis 4:17, 25, 26; 5:3, 29; 11:9, and so on. But in [Genesis] 2:23, the formula is absent: the noun shem does not appear” (Fleming and Maxson, quoted in Groothius, Good News for Women, pgs. 128-129).
(E) The naming “Eve,” by the man comes later (Genesis 3:20) and after the Fall. Before the Fall they shared a God-given name, adam (Genesis 5:2) (Groothius, page 128).
(F) Therefore, the context suggests the relationship here is not subordination/headship, but partnership and companionship.
 The particular way in which woman should be “a helper fit for him” (2:18) or “a helper as his partner” (NSRV) is defined by listening to the context.
( A) She is not described as being a helper by bearing children, mothering, being subordinate, or serving at the male’s beck and call.
(B) She is a “partner suitable for him” precisely because he recognizes ([2:23] “…this, at last!, is …”!) she is like him; unlike the animals which he has sorted through and named but which he found wanting, she is able to be in human companionship with him.
◆ “Certainly women can teach Sunday school, and, I might add, they made excellent teachers. And women can surely lead topics in their own groups. But, you see, the real point at issue has to do with the relationship between women and men. Paul insisted that women should not domineer over men, and he referred to God’s act of creation to prove his point. In other words, in God’s creative scheme He gave a submissive role to women” (A District President writing on women’s suffrage in the church: Lutheran Witness, March 1968, pgs. 21-22).
◆ “… it is a very specific kind of subordination – the kind that makes one person (sic) out of two” (CTCR-WIC, page 24, quoting Clark, Man and Woman in Christ, pg. 28).
(C) “[vs 23]…Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.'” God gave a partnership, not dominant/submissive roles, to males and females.
(1) “Creation from the man’s rib shows an affinity between man and woman such as is not possible between humans and animals. The affinity is expressed poetically in the jubilant cry of v. 23, with is word play on ‘man’ (“‘ish”) and ‘woman’ (“‘ishah”)” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, footnote on Genesis 2:21-23).
(2) “Man’s joy in the first wifely ‘thou’ (observe the threefold enraptured ‘this one’) is quite elemental and knows nothing yet of the ‘supra mundane facts'(Eph., ch. 5), which are adumbrated in this mystery of marriage'” (Von Rad, Genesis, pg. 82).
(3) “When comes this love ‘strong as death’ (S. of Sol. 8:6) and stronger than the tie to one’s own parents…it comes from the fact that God took woman from man, that they actually were originally one flesh. Therefore they must come together again and thus by destiny they belong to each other…They ‘were…naked, and were not ashamed.” That inexplicable split in human nature did not yet exist…” (Von Rad, pg. 82-83).
(4) Peter Lombard: “Eve was not taken from the feet of Adam to be his slave, nor from his head to be his lord, but from his side to be his partner.”
(5) “… that women should not domineer over men” does not equate with or imply, on the other hand, “a submissive role” on the part of the woman or that men should domineer over women.
(6) Why, in God’s paradisal world, should either dominate? The other (biblical) option is partnership (“bone of my bones”).
(7) Note Ephesians 5:21: mutually submissive is God’s intent.
(8) “Woman was created not to serve Adam, but to serve with Adam” (Groothius, pg.32).
Genesis 2:18-25 does not speak of domineering or subordination, but of unity and partnership.
Topic 22: Jesus and Women
This is a selection of a few passages from the New Testament which speak to the manner in which Jesus connected with women in a way that contradicted the legalistic customs of his day and demonstrated an egalitarian acceptance of women.
 Jesus is more than a culturally conditioned first century Jew. He is God-incarnate. As such he reveals his Father’s purposes not just in sayings, teachings, and preaching; his Father’s purposes are also revealed in Jesus’ life style and actions and deeds.
Jesus repeatedly demonstrates in the face of Jewish customs and Laws, which “bound people” into roles and structures, that the Gospel does have social implications: the Gospel, the love and mercy of Christ for sinners, changes people who change even social interactions and relationships and structures this side of eternity. Jesus refused to acquiesce to cultural norms which kept dispossessed women in subordinate roles. God’s ordering, reflected in Jesus’ ministry, contradicts our human constructions. Note the following:
(A) “But if you are not satisfied with her, you shall let her go free and not sell her for money” (Deuteronomy 21:14).
Compare Matthew 5:28: Jesus allows for no double standard.
(B) “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days … all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness … Whoever touches these things shall be unclean and shall wash his clothes, and bathe with water, and be unclean until the evening … and the priest shall make atonement on her behalf before the Lord for her unclean discharge” (Leviticus 15:25-30).
Read Matthew 9:20-21, Mark 5:25ff, Luke 8:40-48: Jesus allows a ritually unclean woman to touch him, thus rendering him ritually unclean, yet without condemnation, and neither does Jesus tell the woman to go to the priest.
(C) Talmud, Gittin 9:10: Rabbi Akiba said a man could divorce his wife if he found a woman more beautiful than she. The school of Hillel said a man can divorce if his wife spoils his cooking.
Read Matthew 5:32, 23-28, Mark 10: Jesus redefines adultery, marriage, and the dignity of women.
(D) Jesus’ following of women was “an unprecedented happening in the history of that time … Jesus knowingly overthrew custom when he allowed women to follow him …” (Jeremias, page 376).
Read Mark 15:40-41, Luke 8:1-3: There were women disciples around Jesus: Peter, James, and John left fishing boats to follow Jesus, and Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Susanna and “many others” left assigned roles and tasks in the home to travel about as disciples with Jesus.
(E) Talmud, Sotah 3:4: Rabbi Eliezar expresses the opinion that “whoever teaches his daughter Torah teaches her lasciviousness.”
Compare Luke 10:38-42: While Martha does the “feminine” task, Mary behaves as a disciple, listening to the Word, sitting at the Lord’s feet (cf. Acts 22:3: Paul “at the feet of Gamaliel”) and is the one receiving Jesus’ affirmation as having chosen the better part.
(F) “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” (Luke 11:27).
Compare: Luke 11:28: Jesus challenges the common assumption that bearing children (the womb as the unique gift of the woman) was the sign of fulfillment and blessedness in a woman’s life. “New creation by the Word, not procreation by the womb, is the fulfillment of female personhood” (Morrison, Jesus and Women, pg. 12).
Cf. also Matthew 13:33; Luke 7:11-17; 7:36-50; 8:1-3; 10:38-42; 13:10-17; 15:8-10; 18:1-8; 23:55-56; 24:1-11; Mark 5:25-34; 14:3-9; 15:40-41; John 4:7ff.
(G) Talmud, Beracloth 24a: Rabbinic tradition taught that a woman’s vice was sexual enticement, so men avoided speaking with and to women in public.
Compare John 4: Against all custom, Jewish, patriarchal, moral, Jesus talks with the Samaritan woman. “His conversation … shows his willingness to dismiss conventions of men which stand in opposition to his purposes” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations (LCMS), Women in the Church, Sept. 1985, pg. 7).
(H) “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10).
Compare John 8:1ff: When men betrayed their prejudices by laying hold only of the woman, Jesus confronted them with their sin also.
(I) Talmud, Kiddushin, 1:11: “A man should not teach his son a trade which brings him into association with women.”
Compare: John 12:1-8: Martha serves the table at which the guest, Jesus, sits, a task that custom reserves only for males, whether slave or free.
(J) Talmud, Shabbath, 152a states that a woman is “light-minded” (unreliable) and describes woman as being a “pitcher of filth with its mouth full of blood,” and women therefore were not acceptable as witnesses in a court of law.
Compare Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-11, John 20:1-2, 11-18: Women were the original witnesses to the angel’s message at the open tomb.
(K) Following its Lord, should not, then, the Body of Christ display that reality which is the “new creation” of God?
◆ ”However, the Lord’s conversation with this woman shows how He disregards these conventions of society in order to communicate about Himself and the Kingdom” (CTCR-WIC, page 7).
(L) John 4:7-30: “…many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…”: Jesus chooses women through whom his purposes and will is communicated to all, including males, regardless of cultural expectations.
(M) Luke 15:8-9: In the Parable of the Lost Coins, Jesus uses the example of a woman as the finder of the lost. Jesus is comfortable with having a woman represent him.
(N) Discuss: Should not the Body of Christ, then, also “disregard those conventions of society” which infect the church and subordinate women?
Topic 23: The Gospels and Women
The inspired authors of the Gospel demonstrate in unique ways the parity of females and males in Jesus’ mind and that Jesus in his ministry touched and empowered women as fully as men. Note how St. Luke pairs accounts of Jesus’ interaction with and ministry to males and females:
(A) An angel speaks to Zechariah (1:5-20) and to Mary (1:26-38).
(B) Mary sings a song (1:46-55) and so does Zechariah (1:68-79).
(C) Simeon and Anna both receive Jesus in the temple (2:25-38). When Messiah comes, all, regardless of gender, are set free to proclaim Jesus in the Temple — the center and heart of Jewish worship — and in the city.
(D) The woman of Zarephath and Naaman the leper are set forth as examples of faith (4:24-27).
(E) The parable of the mending of the garment (from the life experience of women) is balanced with the parable of making wine (from the experience of men) (5:36-39).
(F) The raising of the dead: one young man (7:11-17) and one young woman (8:49-56).
(G) Two texts demonstrate Jesus’ concern for sinners in the face of the harsh rejection of the self-righteous. The first is the account of the women in the house of Simon (7:36-50). The second is the parable of the publican and the Pharisee (18:9-14). In one case the rejected person is a woman and in the other case it is a man.
(H) The band of disciples includes men and women (8:1-3). They all have names.
(I) Two people are told, “Your faith has saved you.” These are the woman with the flow of blood (8:43-48) and the blind man (18:35-42).
(J) The gospel records two clear cases where Jesus becomes defiled with midras (contact) uncleanness: he allows the woman with the issue of blood to touch him (8:43-48) and he enters the house and spends the night with a tax collector (19:1-10).
(K) Martha (10:41-42) and the ruler (18:22) each lack one thing.
(L) Two parables on assurance of answer to prayer (the friend at midnight [11:5-8] and the unjust judge and the widow [18:1-8]). The main character in the first is a man, and in the second a woman takes center stage.
(M) The poem on the men of Ninevah and the queen of the South (11:29-32).
(N) A concern for justice for men servants and women servants (12:45-46) in the interpretation of the parable of the master who comes home from the marriage feast.
(O) Divisions in one house include divisions between men and divisions between women (12:51-53).
(P) Two healings on the Sabbath occur in the center of the travel narrative. One is of a woman (13:10-16) and the other of a man (14:1-6). The example of the ox and the ass occurs in each.
(Q) The “daughter of Abraham” (13:16) and the “son of Abraham” (19:9).
(R) Two brief parables appear in 13:18-21. One is from the life experience of men (the planting of a mustard seed) and the other from the world of women (the leaven in the meal).
(S) Disciples of Jesus must demonstrate loyalty to him above loyalty to male and female members of the family (14:26-27).
(T) The double parables of the lost sheep (15:4-7 – a man searches) and the lost coin (15:8-10 – a woman searches).
(U) The day of the Son of Man: two men in one bed (17:34) and two women grinding (17:35).
(V) In debate with the Sadducees Jesus affirms equality between men and women in the resurrection (20:27-36).
(W) A poor woman is made the hero of Jesus’ observations of gifts given to the treasury. The grammar allows the conclusion that the rich mentioned are men and women. However the Middle Eastern cultural assumption is that they were men (21:1-4).
(X) Strangers who offer aid and support at the cross include Simon of Cyrene (23:26) and the women of Jerusalem (23:27).
(Y) His acquaintances, men and women, who followed him from Galilee, stand at a distance watching the crucifixion. The women are specifically mentioned (23:49).
(Z) Those present at his burial include Joseph of Arimathea and the women (23:50-56).
(AA) The empty tomb stories and the resurrection appearances are focused on the women and the disciples. The initial witness is from the women to the men (24:1-49).
(The material above is from Bailey, Finding the Lost: Cultural Keys to Luke 15, pgs. 97-99)
Topic 24: Women in the Book of Acts
In this topic we briefly survey the Book of Acts and observe the ministries of women.
Acts 1:14 All of these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Mary and the other women shared in the community life with the original disciples and ministered to each other in prayer.
Acts 1:15-25: Specific references biblically to election of church officers make no mention of excluding women from serving or voting.
Acts 2:1-21:  And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;  yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy …  And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
◆”Men and women have the same Bible, the same God, the same sinfulness, the same Savior, the same hymns, the same Sacraments, the same Church, the same heaven. But God did not give them the same roles — not in the home, not in the Church. The women may serve God in a thousand ways — outside the ministry. God honored them by making one of them the mother of his Son. Then, what a privilege to be able to bear the bodies and to shape the souls of immortal beings, children! This is the proper sphere of women, 1 Timothy 2:15. Why should they yearn for what is denied them by God?” (Christian News, 23 February 1976).
Contrary to such thinking, the Spirit does not limit his empowering of persons for full ministry to only one gender.
(A) “[vs 17] .. your sons and your daughters shall prophesy …”: women are recognized as having the gift of prophecy and the privilege of prophesying.
(B) Both male and female are gifted by the Spirit for the sake of the Gospel so that those who hear and “call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Acts 12:12: When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Mary was one of the leaders of the early Christian community and opened her dwelling to house a church.
Acts 15:22: Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men …
Women — as part of the “whole church” participated in the decision making process of the early church.
(A) “ … the whole church …”: The church includes women.
(B) This would include women, who then participated in the process of choosing whom to send.
Acts 16:13-14:  And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.  One who heard us was a woman named Lydia …
The conversion of women was an important feature of Paul’s ministry.
(A) That Paul addresses a group of women with none of their men present reflects his attitude, an attitude like Christ’s (cf. John 4:1-41).
(B) Although the Jews would not let women form a synagogue, or even count them in the number required for the formation of such, or give them access to the systematic teaching offered therein, Paul draws on this group of women to form the nucleus of the Philippian congregation.
(C) Lydia housed the congregation in her home.
Acts 17:4, 12, 34:  And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas; as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women …  Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men….  But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Luke considers the women among the converts on a parity with the male converts.
(A) He makes no distinctions.
(B) Note the pairing: “… not a few Greek women … as well as men” and “among them Dionysius … and … Damaris…”
Acts 18:26: He [Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately.
◆ “The responsibility for oversight (supervision) in the church is given to the pastor/bishop. All teaching of the Word is subject to his oversight. Even if there are women who teach in the church (as did Priscilla) or Sunday School teachers and/or others, the substance of the teaching is under the supervision of the pastoral office” (Dr. George Wollenburg, Synodical Vice President, as quoted in the Christian News, 2 April 1990).
Important teachers of theology in New Testament ministry included women.
(A) Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned six times in the New Testament.
(B) Priscilla is mentioned first four of these times, an indication of the order of importance (Note “Barnabas and Paul” [Acts 11:25, 12:25, 13:2,7] becomes “Paul and Barnabas” [Acts 13:13, 13:34, etc.]). “This precedence of Prisca cannot be accidental. It is taken to mean that she possessed decidedly greater ability than her husband and, all in proper sphere and manner, made it count for the work of the Gospel; an example appears in Acts 18:24, etc.” (Lenski, Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, pg. 903).
(C) “Prisca…is named first. This is most unusual, and the only possible explanation is that she was more important than her husband. In what sense? … If by secular standards, this would mean that she outranked Aquila in terms of social status or independent wealth; if by Christian criteria, this would mean she had been converted first or was more prominent in the life of the Church. The choice is not easy, but the balance of probability favors the second alternative. The fact that she worked manually with her husband (Acts 18:3) suggests that she neither outranked him in social status nor had independent wealth. A woman of noble birth would not know how to do the heavy needle-and-palm work of tentmakers, nor would her hands be adapted to it, and a woman of independent means would not need to work. Hence the standard of judgment is Christian. The public acknowledgment of Prisca’s prominent role in the Church, implicit in the reversal of the secular form of naming the husband before his wife, underlines how radically egalitarian the Pauline communities were” (Murphy-O’Connor, “Prisca and Aquila,” Bible Review, December 1992, pgs. 40-41).
(D) Romans 16:3: “…all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks …”: Would the churches have known her well if she had remained silent and been submissive in the traditional women’s role?
(E) Romans 16:3: Priscilla is called a “fellow worker”, sunergos, a term used also for Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23) and Timothy (Romans 16:21), both pastors and teachers. A “fellow worker” in this sense would hardly have been silent, submissive, and subordinate. “By using these terms Paul raises a theological claim for himself and his helpers. Their assistance in proclaiming the Gospel means that they share with the apostle the burden of the ministry of reconciliation” (Bertram, TDNT, VII, 875).
(F) Acts 18:26: Priscilla is involved in the instruction and teaching of males in the Ephesian church, the recipient of Paul’s first letter to Timothy (“let the women keep silent”). She exercised her Christian freedom to nurture her own particular spiritual gifts for the growth and blessing of the church.
(G) Priscilla is involved in teaching Apollos, a public proclaimer of the Gospel, on behalf of the church.
(H) The verb “expounded” [ektithemi] is the same verb which describes Peter’s public teaching when he defends his eating with the Gentiles against the criticism by the “circumcised believers” (Acts 11:4) and is the verb used to describe Paul’s public teaching of “the kingdom of God” (Acts 28:23).
(I) There is no indication in this passage of Priscilla being “under the supervision of the pastoral office.”
Acts 21:9: And he (Philip) had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
◆ “Acts 21:9 and 1 Corinthians 11:5 specifically indicate that women functioned as prophets in the early church” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church,” pg. 10).
Women filled the role of public teachers (prophets) in New Testament times.
(A) Compare 1 Corinthians 11:5.
(B) Compare Ephesians 2:20.
(C) “The church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles.”
Women were involved in all aspects of the early church, teaching, worship, hosting house churches.
Topic 25: Only male disciples?
◆ “None of them [the women], however, is included among the number of the Apostles; they were parallel to the disciples as traveling companions, but they were not included among the twelve” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church,” Sept. 1985, pg. 9).
Contrary to what the CTCR implies, Jesus does not set a principle as to who can be included in the public ministry of the Church when he chose twelve male Jewish disciples.
(A) Neither are Gentiles, Blacks, Asians, or slaves included among the twelve apostles. If we draw theological and ecclesiastical practice from the fact that no women were among the apostles, what conclusions do we draw from the fact that Jesus chose no Blacks or Asians or slaves? Does this mean that only Jewish males can be Missouri Synod pastors? The CTCR’s logic is patently weak.
(B In the cultural context of the first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds it only makes sense to choose male apostles. Does not this factor indicate the issue of male disciples is partially time-bound? Or, should we infer, then, that the choice of male disciples is one that is an immutable law, always to be made?
(C) The Scriptures do not create a theological mandate out of Jesus’ choice of disciples; the choice of twelve is meant to replicate the twelve tribes of Old Israel (Jesus and the Twelve as the foundation of the New Israel), not construct a gender issue point.
(D) The Apostles did not appoint any successors; their ministry now belongs to the whole church.
(E) See the notes at Topic Six, “Male or Human?” on 1 Timothy 2:5-6.
(F) The Gospels themselves point beyond an all-male ministerium:
(1) Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-11: Christ first appeared after his resurrection to women, and he commissioned them to tell his brothers. Women provide the initial witness to the central event of the Christian faith (which is a criterion for apostleship, Acts 1:22).
(2) John 4:1-42: “[vs 39]… many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony …”
(3) Josephus writes, “But let not a single witness be credited; but three, or two at the best, and those such whose testimony is confirmed by their good lives. But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex, nor let servants be admitted to give testimony on account of the ignobility of their soul; since it is probable that they may not speak truth, either out of hope of gain, or fear of punishment” (Antiquities, IV, viii, 15). In light of this feeling, it is surprising that women are chosen as witnesses of the resurrected Christ.
(4) Since, culturally, women may not have been chosen to be among the first twelve, the fact that women were first at the tomb “balances this out.” God does not despise preaching and witnessing by women.
Topic 26: “Whoever would be great…”
The biblical understanding of rank and authority — or “greatness” — contrasts markedly with the world’s.
Mark 10:  And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant,  and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(A) The biblical understanding of leadership and authority is that of empowerment of others for service rather than one’s own exercise of power over others (Matthew 20:25-28, Matthew 23:6-12; John 13:13-17; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 5:2-3).
(B) And such leadership is done “for the sake of the Gospel” — not for the sake of “orders of creation” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 11:11; 1 Peter 2:13-3:6).
(C) Responsibilities or roles are opportunities to God’s people for faithful service rather than occasions for an insistence on an individual’s rights.
(D) If we have been called to “wash feet” (John 13), why do we worry about who is to have power and authority?
(E) The biblical understanding of authority and leadership contrasts with that of the world’s understanding:
The World The Kingdom
(1) Focuses on function — Relationship (sees a person)
(2) Rights (privilege and status) — Responsibility (1 Peter 5:2-3)
(3) Authority (controlling) — Empowering others (Philippians 2:7)
(4) Competitive — Obedient (John 17:4)
(5) “Success” oriented — Service oriented (Mark 10:45)
(6) Self-sufficient (Luke 18:11-12) — God-confident (2 Corinthians 3:4-5)
(7) By “divine” right — Conferred as privilege (Mark 10:35-40)
(8) Hierarchy focus — Service orientation
(F) Even the pastoral office is an office of service for the Gospel and to others. One’s authority, biblically speaking, is exercised not by demanding control and insisting on superordination of one and subordination of another, as well as “rights,” but by self-giving service, as is Christ’s (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:5-8). Compare John 13:13-17, Galatians 5:13, and 1 Peter 5:2-3.
(G) “Masters are not directed in the Bible to have slaves submissive to them; men are not directed to have wives submissive to them. The directive is always toward the person under authority, that they should bear it without concern. Therefore, it is humility that is being called for on the part of both men and women” (Dentinger, Women in the Church).
Topic 27: Women in the Letter to the Romans
In his letter to the Romans, Paul mentions and names women who are active in the ministry of the church. (See also Topic 19: “Deacon or Deaconess?”).
An underlying principle for Paul is found in Romans 12:3-8:
 For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.  For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function,  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;  if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching;  he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Paul nowhere puts limitations or restrictions by gender on the use of spiritual gifts.
(A) “[vs 6] … if prophecy, in proportion to our faith … he who teaches, in his teaching …“:
(B) Paul is addressing “all the saints” (Romans 1:7).
(C) Male and female may engage the use of whatever gifts the Spirit supplies.
(D) To limit the use and employment of Spirit given gifts based on gender considerations is to oppose the work of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 16:1-2:  I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae,  that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well.
See Topic 19, “Deacon or Deaconess?” for a detailed discussion of these two verses.
 Greet Prisca and Aquilla …  … greet also the church in their house …
Women are full leaders in early Christianity’s house churches. The house church is led by Priscilla (Prisca) and Aquilla, both given “equal billing” by Paul.
(A) “ Greet Prisca and Aquilla ..”: the first mentioned is usually the one with the lead role. Compare Acts where “Barnabas and Saul” change into “Paul and Barnabas” (Acts 11:25-26; 13:2, 7, 9, 13, 42).
(B) Paul terms Prisca and Aquilla sunergous mou.
(C) In 1 Corinthians 16:16 Paul asks his readers “to submit themselves to such as these and panti to sunergjounti…”
(D) Sunerggos in the dative implies “helper,” but in the genitive case it means “a person of the same trade” (Liddell and Scott, pages 1711-12). Paul uses the genitive case (cf. Romans 16:3, 16:21; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 4:2-3; Philemon 1, 24). “The word w. gen. could mean …‘fellow workers w. God’ or ‘fellow workers in God’s service.’ The context indicates that Paul is speaking of the equal relation of God’s workers with one another” (Key, pg. 394).
(E) We can conclude, therefore, that Paul is saying that at times men and women in the church need to place themselves under the authority of women leadership.
 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners; they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
In the Scriptures, women are named among the apostles.
(A) Iounian is the accusative form of the noun; if it is accented on the ultima it is masculine (as Nestle does), but if accented on the penultima it is a feminine accusative (Cranfield, “Some Observations on Romans XIII. 1-7”, pg. 789).
(B) “[vs 7]… men of note ..” the Greek does not contain the word “men” or “male.”
(C) “… Apart from the present verse no evidence of its [Iounian] having existed [as a masculine name] has so far come to light” [Cranfield, pg. 789].
(D) “… Junias …”: this is a feminine noun and a common Roman feminine name derived from the Roman goddess Juno, queen of the gods (and Jupiter’s sister and wife).
(E) Chrysostom (d. 407) writes, “And indeed to be apostles at all is a great thing … Oh, how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!”
(F) Origen (d. 254), Jerome (d. 419), Theophylact (d. 1108), and Peter Abelard (d. 1142) all saw Junias as a woman.
(G) “Ancient commentators took Andr. and Junia as a married couple…moreover, unlike Iounian [accented on the ultima: masculine ]…the form Iounian [accented on the penultima: feminine] is actually found so accented in some mss. … But the accented form of Iounian [accented on the ultima: masculine] has no support as such in the ms. tradition… ” (BDAG, pg. 480).
(H) The male name Junias does not appear until the middle ages (Note: It was Pope Gregory VII [1073-1085] who took decisive action against the marriage of priests) .
(I) The first to consider the name as masculine was Aegidus of Rome (d. 1316).
(J) The NEB recognizes “Julia” or “Junia” as legitimate translations (cf. footnote).
(K) In Paul’s writings, “apostles” include more than just the original twelve.
(L) 1 Corinthians 9:5 suggests there were husband-and-wife teams. Given the cultural context, that would make sense.
 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.
Women are prominent and active in the ministry of the Word in the early church.
(A) Paul notes that Tryphaena and Tryphosa (women) are tas kopiosas in kurio (“those who labor in the Lord.”).
(B) “Here Paul uses a term that commonly refers to the toil of proclaiming the Gospel (cf. 1 Cor.4:12; 15:10; Gal. 4:11; Phil. 2:16; Col.1;29; 1 Tim. 4:10)” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church,” pg. 12).
(C) These verses, listed even by the CTCR, indicate that women spread the Gospel and not just provided physical support for Pauline work.
(D) In 1 Corinthians 16:16 Paul urges his readers “to be subject [upostassesthe] to such and to every fellow worker and laborer [kopionti].”
(E) Therefore, Paul at times urges Christians to submit themselves to women leadership.
(F) CTCR-WIC, page 12: “They attended worship, participated vocally, were instructed [italics added], learned of the faith, and shared it with others.” The biblical Word indicates women not only “were instructed” but also did instructing as well. Note Prisca.
1 Corinthians 1:11
 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren.
Paul recognizes women’s leadership levels and status.
(A) “[vs 11] … by Chloe’s people…”: Paul identifies a group within the Corinthian church by the name of a woman, who is evidently the head of the group.
(B) Paul recognizes not only the importance of women’s labors, but also their status at the leadership levels. He does this without criticism or correction.
Topic 28: “Head” as “source”
Kephale: What does this word mean? How is it used? This topic offers some background and is a discussion of possibilities. We focus on 1 Corinthians 11:3.
 But I want you to understand that the head [kephale] of every man is Christ, the head [kephale] of a woman is her husband, and the head [kephale] of Christ is God [RSV].
“[vs 3] … the head of every man …the head of a woman …the head of Christ …”: In this context is kephale to be understood as boss, head, “headship,” chief executive, or can it be origin or source? The term kephale (here translated “head”) legitimately may be understood not in a hierarchical, authoritarian sense (a built-in external structure), but in a dynamic sense as “source” and “self-giving nurturing.”
(A) Biblically, the heart, not the head, is the source of decision making.
(1) “The word ‘head’ in the Bible is never connected with the intelligence. The ancient Hebrews were unaware of the function of the brain and, indeed, had no name for it; the intellectual powers were believed to be situated in the heart” (Dentan, IDB, Volume 2, page 541).
(2) “From the idea that the heart is the center of intellectual life it is a natural step to the thought that it is the center of the will and hence of the moral life. … the heart, as the innermost spring of the human personality, is directly open to God and subject to his influence” (Dentan, IDB, Volume 2, page 550).
(3) “We, of course, assume that we know very well the meaning of ‘head.’ Anybody knows that the head makes the decisions for the body, so the passage has been interpreted to mean that Christ makes the decisions for man, man makes the decisions for woman, and God makes the decisions for Christ. But in biblical times, it was not known that the head makes the decisions and gives orders to the nervous system. Decision-making was located in the heart, which is why we are told that our belief in Christ is to take place in our hearts and that thoughts issue from the heart (Romans 10:9; Matthew 15:19; Hebrews 4:12; and so forth). So the passage cannot be a discussion of the head as the decision-maker [emphasis added]. We are then forced to study the context in order to understand the meaning of ‘headship’ here; and the context makes clear that Paul is speaking of the head as the source or origin, as we speak of the head of a stream [emphasis added]… the confusion over the meaning of head is a good example of the confusion which results when we heedlessly ‘read in’ modern meanings for ancient word usages” ( Mollenkott, Women, Men, and the Bible, pgs. 111-112).
(B) Old Testament translations support the idea that kephale does not equal “chief” or “rule” here.
(1) The Septuagint does not use kephale when the Hebrew word for “head” (var) is used to indicate a ruler (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 151).
(2) “Can one be certain that arche and kephale were so different…Could kephale not sometimes mean ‘boss’ or ‘ruler’?…note how these two words are used in the Septuagint…if arche and kephale were more or less synonymous and could be used interchangeably, then when the seventy scholars who wrote the Septuagint came to the Hebrew word rosh, they could have used either Greek word they wished…However, they were very careful to note how the word rosh was used, whether it meant ‘physical head,’ or ‘ruler of a group.’ Whenever rosh mean ‘physical head,’ they translated it kephale; or whenever rosh referred to the first soldier leading others into battle with him, they also translated it kephale. But when rosh meant ‘chief’ or ‘ruler,’ they translated it arche or some form of that word. Every time, this distinction was carefully preserved” (Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women, pg. 37).
(C) “Modern research has shown that during the first century kepahle was rarely, if ever, used to indicate authority. Instead, writers such as Paul used the words exousia (‘authority’; see Rom. 13:1-2) and archon (‘ruler’; see Rom. 13:3) to indicate those who held authority or power” (Parales, Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage, pg. 80).
(1) “Therefore, if Paul had believed as Aristotle taught, that husbands should command their wives and rule over them, then Paul … could have written that the husband is the arche (head) of the wife…However, Paul did not choose to use the word arche when he wrote of how the husband is the head of his wife…Instead, Paul used the word kephale…” (Bristow, page 36).
(2) “…the word kephale…does mean ‘head,’ the part of one’s body. It was also used to mean ‘foremost’ in terms of position (as a capstone over a door, or a cornerstone in a foundation). It was never used to mean ‘leader’ or ‘boss’ or ‘chief’ or ‘ruler.’ Kephale is also a military term. It means ‘one who leads,’ but not in the sense of ‘director.’ Kephale did not denote ‘general,’ or ‘captain,’ or someone who orders the troops from a safe distance; quite the opposite, a kephale was one who went before the troops, the leader in the sense of being in the lead, the first one into battle” (Bristow, pages 36-37).
(3) “The word Paul used in this passage for head is kephale, and not arche. … arche means ‘beginning,’ ‘boss,’ or chief,’ while kephale means ‘physical head,’ or, figuratively, ‘one who proceeds another into battle.’ Although Paul did describe Christ as arche of the Church in Col. 1:18, in this passage whenever ‘head’ appears, it is a translation of kephale” (Bristow, page 84).
(4) “In Greek usage the word, when metaphorical, may apply to the outstanding and determining part of a whole, but also to origin (e.g., in the plural, to the source of a river) … Paul does not say man is the kurios of the woman; he says that he is the origin of her being. In this he is directly dependent on Gen. ii. 18-23, where it is stated (a) that woman was created in order to provide a helper suited to him, and (b) by the removal of a rib from Adam’s body” (Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, pg. 248).
(5) [vs 8] … For man was not made from woman, but woman from man ….  … for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God” (1 Corinthians 11:8,12): “In verses 8 and 12, Paul speaks of the man as being the source or point of origin for woman. This reinforces an understanding of ‘head’ or ‘source’ in verse 3; clearly, this concept is not alien to the passage, but serves as an important line of Paul’s argument” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 159).
(D) “[vs. 3]: … the head of Christ is God …”: kephale here cannot refer to a chain of command, or else Christ is not equal to the Father (see John 10:30; 14:7; Hebrews 1:3). To hold that God is “in authority over” Christ denies the equality of the persons of the Trinity.
(E) Note the context of “head” in these New Testament texts suggesting “nourishing rather than “bossing” or “ruling”:
(1) “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
(2) “… and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19).
(F) A person’s head (kephale) was thought of as the source of physical life.
The arrangement, therefore, in 1 Corinthians 11:3 is not hierarchical, but (a) chronological and (b) unitary through the dynamic of self-giving:
(A) “the head (source) of every man is Christ…”
(1) John 1:3: Christ was God’s agent in creation; Christ participated in the creation of Adam.
(2) Colossians 1:16: “… for in him [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him.”
(B) “the head (source) of every woman is man…”
(1) Genesis 2:21-23: God takes the rib, or side, from the earth-being and fashions a female.
(2) 1 Corinthians 11:8 and 12 both say woman originated from the man.
(3) See notes under 1 Corinthians 11:7-16; Paul challenges the understanding of “head” as “authoritative, controlling” with an evangelical “in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman.”
(C) “ the head (source) of Christ is God…”
(1) Luke 1:32, John 1:14; 5:26, 2 Cor. 1:3: God is the source of Christ when Christ was incarnated in human form through the woman Mary.
(2) Luke 1:35: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you..”
(3) 1 Corinthians 11:12 says all things originate from God.
(4) “If God is the source of Christ, and Christ is the source of man, and man is the source for woman, and through a woman God is the source of Christ, then God is the ultimate source of all things” (Parales, page 82).
(D) God is the source of all, and each gives to the other, empowering, seeking not to be served, but to serve and nurture and nourish the other. Each contributes.
(E) The next verses (1 Corinthians 11:4-16), then, demonstrate the reciprocity, the returning to God what is his, the honor, the praise, through specific acts that are culturally non-offensive, that strive to maintain God-given cohesion and unity and return to God his rightful due. Paul’s line of argument is that reciprocity follows reciprocity.
(F) In 1 Corinthians 11, the context is husband/wife relationships; the context does not address “all men and all women” or “headship” of men over women in general.
(1) The concept of kephale is not applied to the Apostolic ministry, or to any of the offices within the early Christian community.
(2) “It was pointed out that a logical corollary to the ‘Kephale argument’ [when kephale is understood in the sense of “holding authority over”] is that the church should then today crusade for the subordination of women in society generally, not merely in the church, since this subordination to man, the head, comes from creation’s structure and seemingly should apply to all of society. Our Christian duty would be to repeal the 19th Amendment” (Reumann, “What in Scriptures Speaks to the Ordination of Women?”).
Topic 29: Christian freedom: to cover or not to cover
This topic is titled, “Christian freedom: to cover or not to cover.” Paul is confronted with a number of practical issues in the Corinthian church, issues to which he applies sanctified pastoral advice to distinguish between what is Gospel motivated and what is cultural expectation and how the Christian community functions under both.
1 Corinthians 11:  Any man who prays or prophesies… … any woman who prays or prophesies …
Thesis One: The Scriptures indicate that God chooses to speak to the community of faith through women as well as men.
(A) St. Paul assumes women already are leading worship with prayers and with prophesying.
(1) “[vs 5] … any woman who prays or prophesies …”: The context is the gathered faith community.
(2) Paul’s concern is not the issue of whether or not women should be leading worship.
(3) 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 clearly affirms the Apostle’s recognition of the right of women to pray and preach in public worship services (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:26ff.: “…anyone…”).
(4) He does not dispute or forbid this act of worship participation. He sees it as prompted by the Spirit. The passage contains no prohibition against worship leadership by women.
◆ The Commission on Theology and Church Relations 1985 document, “Women in the Church,” in working with 1 Corinthians 11:4-5, distinguishes between preaching and prophecy, saying that “preaching is a form of teaching, but the distinctive characteristic of prophecy is that it results from God having put His very words into the mouth of the one speaking (2 Peter 1:21-22)” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 10).
(B) Several comments on this CTCR-WIC statement as an interpretation of 2 Peter 1:21:
(1) It follows that if women prophesy in worship (1 Corinthians 11:5), and if God is putting “His very words into the mouth of the one speaking,” then God is certainly choosing to gift women for roles of speaking and leading in public worship.
(2) If prophecy is an act which “results from God having put His very words into the mouth of the one speaking” — then this question must be raised: If God uses women to speak “His very words” within the community during public worship, then why does the church refuse women a privilege to practice preaching communication (1 Corinthians 12:28), a privilege God grants?
(3) “After all, Paul was fully supportive of women who prayed and prophesied in churches, and the authority of the prophet was second only to that of the apostle in the church (12:28)” (Perales, Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage, pg. 85).
(4) “The prophet’s task is mediating divine knowledge, bringing to bear on the lives of Christians the revelation of the will and word of God” (TDNT, VI, 854).
(5) Note also Hulda (2 Kings 22); note also Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1) in which God has spoken to and taught the Church for centuries through the voice of a woman.
(6) Teaching and prophecy should be evaluated, as it was in the New Testament (Acts 17:11), on the basis of the Gospel and not on the basis of gender (cf. Groothius, Good News for Women, pgs. 199-200).
(C) “[vs 4]… any woman who prays or prophesies …”:
(1) Taken at surface value, 1 Corinthians 11:5 is clearly inconsistent with what Paul writes later in 1 Corinthians 14:34: ” … the women should keep silence in the churches.”
(2) Is it not inconsistent to forbid women to hold congregational roles such as president, vice president and elder, based on 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Corinthians 14, and 1 Timothy 2, and yet not insist on hats (head coverings) in worship?
(3) How then is 1 Corinthians 14 to be understood, given God’s gifting and employment of women in leadership and superordinate roles in the Old and New Testaments?
Thesis Two: The specific concern Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 11:7-16 are cultural expectations within both the Corinthian community and the Christian community, a failing of which to meet will give offense to the Gospel.
1 Corinthians 11:7-16:  For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.  (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.  Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)  That is why a woman ought to have a veil [exousian] on her head, because of the angels.  (Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;  for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.)  Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?  Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him,  but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering.  If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God.
(A) The discussion of proper dress decorum within the worshipping community is in a section in which Paul discusses Christian freedom: “All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).
(1) He begins the section with pastoral advice on eating “meat sold in the market.” One may eat whatever is put before one without “raising questions of conscience” but if the statement is made that “this has been offered in sacrifice,” then for the sake of the other’s conscience one must refuse” (1 Corinthians 10:27ff.). He does not want anyone to stumble and is “seeking not my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:27-33). The question is one of giving offense.
(2) A similar question of custom which was an issue among the Corinthians is addressed by Paul: “Is it fitting for a woman to pray or prophesy with head uncovered?” The question is not, “Is it fitting for a woman to pray or prophesy?” but the question addressed becomes “Is praying and prophesying with head uncovered proper?” The issue is not preaching but “what is beneficial” regarding dress.
(B) There were cultural expectations.
(1) In the Corinthian community (indeed in both Greek and Jewish social thought), “a woman’s hair was considered a sexual enticement and should be kept bound up and under veils” (Perales, page 86). To keep hair bound up was to that culture a wholesome practice and in light of Dyonisian worship, a positive witness (Gritz).
(2) “But the veil may also have been simply a symbol of womanly dignity, esp. befitting a Christian woman” (Arndt, Gingrich, pg. 278).
(3) “Disheveled, unbound hair and wildly tossing heads characterized the worship Isis, Cybele, and Dionysus” (Gritz, Paul, Women Teachers, and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus, pg. 85).
(4) There must have been some who were throwing off cultural expectations, saying they mean nothing because they “were free in the Gospel.” Yes, “all things are lawful,” says Paul (10:23, “but not all things are beneficial.”
(5) “[vs 4] … with his head covered … with her head unveiled …”: “Paul’s concern centers in the distinct witness that Christian men and women give in their worship practices, and that dress not become a cause for offense within the Christian community or a barrier to the distinct witness of the Christian community in a pagan world.
(C) Paul recognizes these cultural expectations: “Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil….. does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:4-6, 11).
(1) First, Paul addresses cultural expectations, even honoring them: from creation (“…does not nature itself teach…”) and social customs of respectability (“…disgraces his head…disgraces her head…”):
(2) Paul sees this applicable to the worship context: “a man worshipping with something on his head disgraces his head. A woman who prays or prophecies with her head unveiled disgraces her head: it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved” (vs. 4).
(3) Honoring cultural expectations is one way of not getting in the way of the Gospel, or of dishonoring Christ. Corinth was known as a particularly licentious city, making behavior norms a witness even more important. Today we, too, have certain dress expectations when someone enters for worship. “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are beneficial.”
(4) For Paul the concern is that the Gospel not be hindered but “have free course and be preached for the joy and edifying of God’s holy people.” Paul addresses cultural issues which impact the “free course” of the gospel, and so here he asks, “Is it fitting for a woman to pray or prophesy with head uncovered?” He is asking, “Does the failure to observe the cultural expectation of women’s headdress block someone from hearing the gospel?”
Thesis Three: Paul has “no word from the Lord” in this situation as he does in other situations (7:6, 12, 17, 25, 40; 11:23), but he does undergird his argument with Gospel expectations and pastoral understanding.
(A) First, Paul reminds them that they are connected in Christ.
(1) “Christ is the source of every man, the man is the source of the woman, and God is the source of Christ….” (vs. 3). And vs 12: “… And all things are from God” is a restatement of verse 3. These themes underlie the passage.
(2) Paul reminds them of what they share in common “… in our life in the Lord …”: verse 4 (man prays and proclaims) and verse 5 (woman prays and proclaims) and verse 11 (woman is not independent, man is not independent) and verse 12 (the church recognizes that God brings male and female into a new relationship in Christ).
(3) “[vs 9] … created for woman, but woman for man …”: The Greek dia with the accusative means “on account of” [with the genitive it would mean “through”]: because of man’s aloneness and inability to find companionship and intimacy with the animals, God created woman. Adam did rejoice in his equal: “This, at last, is bone of my bones ..” (Genesis 2:23).
(4) “[vs 11] … in the Lord …”: In the Church, mutual respect for the sensitivities and situation and roles of the others is the motive for the choices of Christian freedom. Paul underlines mutual interdependence; yes, woman follows man in creation history, but man needs woman. There is no chain of command, no established hierarchy, but Paul balances the ideas and comes to an equity with differences conclusion.
(5) This text, as well as Genesis, says nothing about “authority” or “headship.”
(B) Another perspective: “It would seem that in this one passage we have a chart of Paul’s mind. Trained by one of the best of the rabbinic scholars and a product of his culture just as much as we are products of ours, Paul instinctively (“naturally”) thinks women should be subordinate. When he reads Genesis 2, he thinks that the story of Adam’s rib indicates that Eve is created subordinate to Adam, because this is what the rabbinical tradition teaches about Genesis 2. But there is nothing in the text of Genesis 2 which implies subordination, and even the rabbinic tradition admits that women and men are interdependent and both dependent upon the divine spirit. Paul has elsewhere written that in Christ there is neither male nor female. So his conscience makes him uneasy as he uses the argument of woman-from-man, and he stops to admit that ‘everything comes from God.’ and that woman is no more a product of man than man is a product of woman. When he returns to his opinion that women should wear long hair as a covering, he no longer uses the rabbinical theology but switches to an honest and overt appeal to custom” (Mollenkott, Women, Men, and the Bible, pgs.100).
Thesis Four: The question, “Who is on top of the heap?”, is morphed into the reminder, “All things come from God.” Paul does undergird his thinking with his theology. The Scriptures center church practice in the Gospel, and not in a Law-oriented “order of creation.”
◆ “The apostle argues for male ‘headship’ on the basis of Gen. 2:18-25, which teaches that the man did not come from the woman but the woman from the man and that the woman was created for the sake of the man [emphasis added]” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church,” pg. 22).
◆ “The word which Paul uses to describe this order – subordination – (The Greek word for subordination is hypotage, which is formed from the word tasso – to appoint, to order, to arrange, and hypo – under.) – does not carry with it any notion of inferior value or oppression. This term is used by Paul simply to refer to order in the relationship of man and woman to one another. St. Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 11:7-9, “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)” (CTCR-WIC, page 23).
(A) The CTCR-WIC statement (pg. 23) interprets 1 Corinthians 11:7-9 to mean that Paul subordinates woman because of the order of creation: “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” However, had the CTCR document continued in chapter 11 and quoted verses 11 and 12, the document would have shown Paul enlarging his readers’ understanding by showing that “in the Lord,” in the community of Christ, relationships are changed and that any “built-in order” does not control the relationship: “ (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;  for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.)” By stopping the Biblical quotation at the end of 11:9, the CTCR exegetes clearly “load” the argument in the favor of subordination (in the English sense) and/or simply confuse the issue.
(B) “[vs 8] … man was not made from woman, but woman from man…”: Paul uses these words to explain verse 7, in which he indicates culturally that man should not cover his head, but woman should cover hers.
(C) “[vss 11-12]… nevertheless…”: A verse later Paul enlarges his argument so that his listeners will not continue to use a Genesis derivation-from-the-male “orders of creation” argument to support subordination; his Christian insight is that “in the Lord … all things are from God.”
(D) “ (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;  for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.)“: Here (in verse 11) Paul rebukes his own Jewish rabbinic interpretation (vss 7-9) as determinative, using the following arguments:
(1) “[vs 11] … in the Lord …”: Paul chooses instead an interpretation and practice centered in the Gospel (“… in the Lord..”).
(2) This, for Paul, leads to mutual interdependence (“…woman is not independent of man nor man of woman …“) as opposed to domination – subordination (“…Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man …”). The Christian insight overrides Jewish custom and midrash teaching.
(3) Paul uses the created order to highlight a reversal of the priority of male over female (“so man is now born of woman”).
(4) “All things are from God“: God’s creation intention, not custom or religious restriction, obtains.
Thesis Five: The use of the veil can be interpreted fairly to mean that Paul is correcting a social imbalance — women are considered inferior — with a sign.
1 Corinthians 11:  A man ought not to cover his head, since he is in the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.  For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;  neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.  For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority [RSV: “veil”] on her head.  In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.  For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God [NIV].
◆ “They were asserting their ‘freedom’ by praying and prophesying with uncovered heads like the men (11:4)” (CTCR-WIC, page 28).
◆ “In other words, the laying aside of the head-covering is regarded by the apostle as a repudiation of the relationship between man and woman established in creation” (CTCR-WIC, page 29).
(A) Vs. 10: “…a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head…“: The Greek in verse 10 is not “veil” or “head covering,” but “authority” (the same Greek word [exousia] as in Matthew 28:18) (Note in Concordia Self-Study Bible, page 1760).
(1) The Greek text does not say males have authority over women or that women are under male authority.
(2) The “only reference to authority in the entire passage speaks of the woman’s own authority (vs.10), and not of any authority her husband has over her” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 160).
(3) The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2) would rule out the male as functioning as the intermediary between women and God.
(4) All Christians are priests and are given gifts regardless of gender “as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11).
(5) Exousia comes from God, his gift to his children, his gift “to all who receive him, who believed in his name” (John 1:12). It is the gift of the office of the keys (Matthew 16), the authority to forgive and retain sins; it is the power and authority of children of God in whom Christ dwells to “renounce all the forces of evil, the devil, and all his empty promises.”
(B) The exousia in Paul’s pastoral opinion ought to be there “because of the angels.”
(1) Angels are messengers of God, extensions of God’s power, who do God’s will and live in his presence..
(2) Angels cover their faces in God’s presence out of respect (Isaiah 6).
(3) Worshipers at Qumran believed angels attended their worship.
(4) Angels are interested in the salvation of God’s people (1 Peter 1:12) and their community life (1 Timothy 5:21).
(C) The Greek here is not “head covering” but “authority” [verse 10] denoting their partnership or equality with males in the church.
(1) Women, denied equality in the Roman and Greek worlds but granted a partnership with males “in the Lord,” should wear their “authority” (head-covering) as a sign of equal parity with men in the church.
(2) “Paul uses the phrase eichen exousian (‘to have power’) in this verse, and this phrase always refers to one’s personal ability to exercise power (see 1 Cor. 7:37; 8:9; 9:4,5,6,12,18; 15:24; 2 Cor 10:8; 13:10)” ( Parles, page 88).
(3) “By arranging or covering her head, the woman exercised her own authority to pray and prophesy, just as a queen would wear a crown to display her authority” (Perales, page 86).
(4) Ezekiel 13:17-23: The sign of a prophetess is the veil instead of the prophet’s mantle (Reumann, page 16).
(5) There are no biblical passages which limit or link exousia to any one gender.
◆ “The headcovering was a custom (v. 15) subservient to a principle (‘the head of the woman is the man,’ v. 3). The custom of headcovering functioned as woman’s acknowledgment of the principle of headship” (CTCR-WIC, page 29).
(D) No, it is just the opposite; it is a pastoral application by Paul of the Gospel to affirm the exousia that comes from God to all his children, female as well as male, joined to Christ in baptismal faith. Paul is saying that when a woman prays or prophesies she “ought to wear” this sign that she, too, even as a woman, has received this exousia.
(E) Or following Kaiser (“Shared Leadership” Christianity Today Institute): “Since the days of the gnostic heretic Valentius (d. A.D.160), the church has incorrectly agreed with him on insisting that the ‘power’ or ‘[active] authority’ placed on the head of a woman by our Lord be revised to read a ‘veil,’ substituting the Coptic ouershoun, ‘veil,’ for the proper word ouershishi, ‘power, authority.’ Almost every modern translation perpetuates this gnostic myth in verse 11, saying, ‘a veil which is the sign of authority.’ However, God has given a unique sphere of authority to women; not a veil nor even a sign! This is straightforward exposition; all else is oral tradition” (pg. 12-I).
(F) Or following Scroggs (Paul and the Eschatological Woman):
(1) Gnostics believed the physical had no value.
(2) Therefore, they believed physical distinctions should be ignored.
(3) Therefore, a woman who wore a veil or kept her hair long was affirming distinctions, a theology the Gnostics denied.
(4) Paul wanted to keep creation reality in focus and admit the distinctions.
(5) And distinctions don’t translate into inferiority/superiority or rank. God pronounced all creation as “good.”
(6) “He [Paul] just will not suffer any value judgment to be drawn on the basis of the distinctions” (page 285).
(7) This is theological statement by practice.
(G) This passages raises the question: What in Paul’s writings is time- and culture-bound and what is a permanent “word from the Lord”? Women wearing hats, common in the 1930s and 1940s, is not regarded as normative today.
Thesis Six: Paul finally leaves it up to Christian freedom. Paul does not bind the people’s consciences on non-doctrinal points.
(A) “[vs 13] “Judge for yourselves…”: Paul finally leaves it up to Christian freedom. Paul does not bind the people’s consciences on non-doctrinal points.
(1) Note the NEB translation of 1 Corinthians 11:16: “However, if you insist on arguing, let me tell you, there is no such custom among us, or in any of the congregations of God’s people.”
(2) It is not a theological “word from the Lord” that dictates the answer to the questions here.
(B) “… is it proper …”:
(1) We today need to be asking the same question about what blocks the “free course” of the gospel. The question we need to be asking is the same: Does limiting women’s activities in the church, against today’s cultural expectations of “full use,” block the “free course” of the gospel? Especially when the “proof passage” texts are filled with exegetical difficulties and offer no clear trumpet sound to prohibit this involvement?
(2) Are we not giving offense and blocking giving the gospel a hearing when we refuse to employ women fully in the church (“… some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” [1 Corinthians 14:23]).
(3) The CTCR pulls up short by not including in its logic verses 11 and 12, Paul’s infusion of a Gospel motive into the whole argument about order of creation.
Thesis Seven: So the translation of 1 Corinthians 11:7ff has this sense:
(A) [The basic principle of Christian freedom is “Do not cause anyone to stumble” (10:32)]; therefore]  a man ought [not ignore culture and thus] not … cover his head, since he is [created in] the image [of God] and [reflects the] glory of God [else culturally he is shaming the one he represents], but woman [also created in the image of God] [and culturally] is the glory of man,  for [historically] neither was man created [with] for woman, but woman [to be a companion] for man [Christian freedom says, “Don’t deliberately offend!” Sometimes self-subjection is necessary for the Gospel to be heard!].
(B) Compare the translation in Eugene Peterson’s The Message: “In a marriage relationship, there is authority from Christ to husband, and from husband to wife. The authority of Christ is the authority of God. Any man who speaks with God or about God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of Christ, dishonors Christ. In the same way, a wife who speaks with God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of her husband, dishonors her husband. Worse, she dishonors herself — an ugly sight, like a woman with her head shaved. This is basically the origin of these customs we have of women wearing head coverings in worship, while men take their hats off. By these symbolic acts, men and women, who far too often butt heads with each other, submit their ‘heads’ to the Head: God. Don’t, by the way, read too much into the differences here between men and women. Neither man nor woman can go it alone or claim priority. Man was created first, as a beautiful shining reflection of God — that is true. But the head on a woman’s body clearly outshines in beauty the head of her ‘head,’ her husband. The first woman came from man, true — but ever since then, every man comes from a woman. And since virtually everything comes from God anyway, let’s quit going through these ‘who’s first’ routines. Don’t you agree that there is something naturally powerful in the symbolism — a woman, her beautiful hair reminiscent of angels, praying in adoration; a man, his head bared in reverence, praying in submission? I hope you’re not going to argumentative about this. All God’s churches see it this way; I don’t want you standing out as an exception.”
Topic 30: To whom are the Spirit’s gifts given?
This topic asks the question, “To whom are the Spirit’s gifts given?” Does the Spirit put limitations on these spiritual gifts?
1 Corinthians 12:  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Thesis One: God gifts as God wills.
◆”When someone says ‘no one has the right to limit my use of gifts in ministry,’ the pastoral office is seen as simply another form of a self-chosen effort to do good. In order to do the self-chosen good for others, authority is needed. Otherwise, one remains powerless to perform ‘ministry'” (George Wollenburg, former LCMS Vice President, as quoted in Christian News, 2 April 1990).
(A) Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 12 addresses those who feel that because they have a certain gift they are superior to those who don’t have an identical one. They feel the others’ gifts are less important or significant.
(1) The Spirit is the one who chooses who shall serve, which gender will serve, and how each will serve (vs 11: “All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills“).
(2) In Greek, “each one” (ekasto) is neuter, which implies the gifts are not limited or bound to one gender.
(3) In Chapter 12 there are no gender designations given when Paul talks of the Spirit who gifts all as he wills, even in the area of pastoring, preaching, prophesying.
(B) If a person of either gender has any gift, who are we to deny the use of that Spirit-given charisma or exclude from office those who bear the gift?
(1) “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you'” (1 Corinthians 12:21).
(2) Compare the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Jesus points to the sin of burying one’s talents. It is spiritually unhealthy for an individual to be restricted in the use of Spirit endowed gifts and abilities merely on the basis of gender. The Scriptures do not make this limitation.
(3) In many parts of the world (for example, India), a man may not approach a woman without endangering her and himself (Personal correspondence). God’s gift of life needs to be proclaimed through women.
1 Corinthians 12: And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers …
Thesis Two: Prime Biblical passages which speak of God appointing persons to offices in the apostolic church do not speak of these offices as being based on gender.
◆ “If it is admitted that the charge which constitutes this office is based on the mandatum Christi, then we are faced with this pressing question: Is not the fact that God, according to the apostolic witness, has in His ekklesia appointed only men to be ‘apostles, prophets and teachers’ part of the divinely established contingency of the Office of the Means of Grace which we may not call into question?” (Brunner, pg 26).
◆ “Distinctive identities for man and woman in their relation to each other were assigned by God at creation. These identities are not nullified by Christ’s redemption, and they should not be reflected in the church” (CTCR-WIC, page 26).
(A) When God appoints persons to these positions in the apostolic church, the witness of this verse includes no gender distinctions.
(B) Priscilla was a teacher in the church; the daughters of Philip were prophetesses; and women led worship in the Corinthian congregation.
(C) If the sequence of the listings is significant, then we need to recognize that ones who prophesy, even women, are of greater rank than teachers, workers of miracles, healers, helpers, etc. (1 Corinthians 12:28-29).
1 Corinthians 14: What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at the most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God.
Thesis Three: Paul’s concern is, again, not gender, but worship order.
(A) “[vs 26] …. each one … ”
(B) In these worship instructions, everyone present is included; there are neither instructions to exclude anyone nor restrictions established based on gender.
(C) “[vs 31] … you can all prophesy …”
1 Corinthians 14: [26[ What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God.  Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.  If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent.  For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged;  and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.  For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,  the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.  If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.  What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?
◆ “Simply stated, this assignment has arisen because the Synod has previously taken the position that the Scriptures themselves qualify or limit the eligibility of women for service in the church. The Scriptures do so in those passages which require that only men are permitted to serve in the office of pastor and carry out the functions which God has assigned to it (1 Corinthians 14; 1 Timothy 2)” (CTCR, “The Service of Women…16 November 1994”).
◆ “The opening phrase of verse 34 suggests that the practice in all of the Christian congregations of Paul’s day is that the women are to keep silent in church assemblies. The context of this passage makes clear that the ekklesiai referred to are the assemblies of Christians gathered for congregational worship” (Maier, page 35).
Thesis Four: Paul, here in 1 Corinthians 14:26-36, is not discussing the office of the public ministry, nor ecclesiastical authority, nor qualifications as to whether or not women can participate in such an office. He is discussing rubrics for conduct during worship and how wives relate to husbands during worship.
(A) In the preceding and following chapters and verses, Paul is addressing an apparent problem of behavior in public worship in Corinth:
(1) There is confusion in the public worship: with factions and divisions being evident (1 Corinthians 11:18-19), with regard to the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-29), confusion on how women relate to men in worship (1 Corinthians 11:3ff), a confusion centered in “speaking in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:6-19), and misunderstandings due to everyone trying to speak at once (1 Corinthians 14:26-40).
(2) Confusion will be offensive to unbelievers and hinder the Gospel witness.
(3) In Chapter 14, Paul uses the term “edify” seven times, laying down a basic, common sense outcome so that chaos is stemmed and order and growth take place. Verse 26: “Let all things be done for edification …”
(4) In 14:26 Paul suggests a “liturgy” that might bring about order and edification in the assembly (“each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue … let all things be done for edification …”).
(5) In 14:28 instruction is given to ensure order when the gifts of tongues is present: “… each in turn…”
(6) Then in verse 29 he instructs “the prophets” (which would include women, 1 Corinthians 11:5) to proceed “one by one” (verse 31).
(7) Verse 33: Paul concludes “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
(8) Verse 40: “… but all things should be done decently and in order.”
(B) We can conclude:
(1) Paul is addressing the issue of rubrics for worship, not eligibility for public preaching of the Word.
(2) The universal principle Paul is laying down (vs 37: ” …what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord …”) is not directed to the question of whether or not women can lead worship and preach, but that those who are prophets and spiritual (vs 37) should demonstrate this by showing godly love and respect toward each other within the worship setting.
(3) The context is behavior in worship, not eligibility for pastoral office.
Topic 31: Is the woman the one responsible for the fall?
Is the woman the one responsible for the fall into sin? Older Lutheran texts speak of woman’s “amenability to sin” and “that she sinned first.”
Genesis 3:  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.  Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
The Genesis text holds both man and woman equally responsible for the Fall, and the text does not argue that Eve should be subordinate because “she is first responsible for sin.”
(A) “Did God say, ‘You [plural] shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). Compare also Genesis 2:16-17: “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not die…” God puts the responsibility on both.
(B) “The text of the Hebrew Bible, as well as its Greek translation, the Septuagint, states that Adam was with Eve when she partook of the forbidden fruit [Gen. 3:6]. Though many translations lack the statement, the Hebrew literally says, ‘She gave to her husband, who was with her.’ Furthermore, the Hebrew text indicates that the serpent is speaking to both the man and the woman, for the plural form of the second person is used. The account infers that Adam and Eve were equally responsible” (Kroeger, I Suffer Not A Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, pg. 20). Compare the NIV translation of Genesis 3:6.
(C) “The man silently participates in her act of wrongdoing. He, too, has heard about knowledge and becoming wise, for he is present with his wife” (Quell, TDNT, I, 282).
(D) The man, who stands by and says nothing to stop the process, himself decides to eat the fruit handed to him. The text does not indicate the woman “tempted” or “seduced” him.
(E) “Moreover, the fact that Adam was so willing to follow Eve in eating the fruit suggests that they had not been accustomed to functioning along lines of male authority and female subordination” (Groothius, Good News For Women, pg. 142).
(F) “…there is also another thing missing, something quite conspicuous by its absence, that God would have said if Adam had been left in charge of Eve. To illustrate, parents are in charge of their children, and if they passively watch a child drink poison, they are guilty of neglecting their duty. Similarly, Adam was with Eve, and he did not try to stop her as she ate the forbidden fruit: ‘She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’ (Gen. 3:6) Look closely at God’s words of chastisement: “because you listened to your wife and ate …” (Gen. 3:17) Had Adam been left in charge of Eve – been given authority over her – he would have become guilty of neglecting his duty while he passively watched her eat of the forbidden fruit. Yet, God specifically faulted Adam for a sin of commission; not one word was breathed by God about a sin of omission: failure to exercise authoritative command! [sic]” (Lepper, “A Fresh Vision Of A Woman’s Glorious Heritage in Christ,” pgs. 3-4).
Topic 32: 1 Cor. 14:26-39: Part 1: Context
1 Corinthians 14:26-39 is a discussion by St. Paul on worship practices in the Corinthian congregation. In 1 Corinthians 11:5 Paul speaks of women in the congregation praying and prophesying. These verses continue the discussion.
[14:26] What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at the most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God.
Thesis One: Paul’s concern is, again, not gender, but worship order.
(A) “[vs 26] …. each one … “: In these worship instructions, everyone present is included; there are neither instructions to exclude anyone nor restrictions established based on gender.
(C) “[vs 31] … you can all prophesy …”
[14:26] What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God.  Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.  If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent.  For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged;  and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.  For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,  the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.  If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.  What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?
◆ “Simply stated, this assignment has arisen because the Synod has previously taken the position that the Scriptures themselves qualify or limit the eligibility of women for service in the church. The Scriptures do so in those passages which require that only men are permitted to serve in the office of pastor and carry out the functions which God has assigned to it (1 Corinthians 14; 1 Timothy 2)” (Commission on Theology and Church Relations, LCMS, “The Service of Women…16 November 1994”).
◆ “The opening phrase of verse 34 suggests that the practice in all of the Christian congregations of Paul’s day is that the women are to keep silent in church assemblies. The context of this passage makes clear that the ekklesiai referred to are the assemblies of Christians gathered for congregational worship” (Maier, “Some Thoughts on the Role of Women in the Church,” The Springfielder, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4 [March 1970] pg. 35).
Thesis Two: Paul, here in 1 Corinthians 14:26-36, is not discussing the office of the public ministry, nor ecclesiastical authority, nor qualifications as to whether or not women can participate in such an office. He is discussing rubrics for conduct during worship and how wives relate to husbands during worship.
(A) In the preceding and following chapters and verses, Paul is addressing an apparent problem of behavior in public worship in Corinth:
(1) There is confusion in the public worship: with factions and divisions being evident (1 Corinthians 11:18-19), with regard to the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-29), confusion on how women relate to men in worship (1 Corinthians 11:3ff), a confusion centered in “speaking in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:6-19), and misunderstandings due to everyone trying to speak at once (1 Corinthians 14:26-40).
(2) Confusion will be offensive to unbelievers and hinder the Gospel witness.
(3) In Chapter 14, Paul uses the term “edify” seven times, laying down a basic, common sense outcome so that chaos is stemmed and order and growth take place. Verse 26: “Let all things be done for edification …”
(4) In 14:26 Paul suggests a “liturgy” that might bring about order and edification in the assembly (“each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue … let all things be done for edification …”).
(5) In 14:28 instruction is given to ensure order when the gifts of tongues is present: “… each in turn…”
(6) Then in verse 29 he instructs “the prophets” (which would include women, 1 Corinthians 11:5) to proceed “one by one” (verse 31).
(7) Verse 33: Paul concludes “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
(8) Verse 40: “… but all things should be done decently and in order.”
(B) We can conclude:
(1) Paul is addressing the issue of rubrics for worship, not eligibility for public preaching of the Word.
(2) The universal principle Paul is laying down (vs 37: ” …what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord …”) is not directed to the question of whether or not women can lead worship and preach, but that those who are prophets and spiritual (vs 37) should demonstrate this by showing godly love and respect toward each other within the worship setting.
(3) The context is behavior in worship, not eligibility for pastoral office.
Topic 33: 1 Cor. 14:26-39: Part 2: “…in all the churches…”
Does the phrase in 1 Corinthians 14:33b, “as in all the churches of the saints, …” belong with verse 33a or with verse 34?
(1) Is the silence to be held in all the churches (local parenesis, connecting to verse 34) or is God the God of peace for and in all the churches (the theme underlying the chapter, connecting to verse 33)?
(2) Verses 34 and 35 are placed by the Western Text after verse 40, indicating that the ancients did not think that this phrase in 33b belonged as a part of verse 34.
(3) Lenski (First Epistle to the Corinthians, pg. 613) notes that most of the ancients, as well as Luther, connect the phrase “as in all the churches” with the preceding verse, verse 33a.
(4) Harrisville (1 Corinthians, pg. 243) notes in the “publication of the American Standard Version in 1900, the original division was altered, and the new sentence begun at v. 33b. Since then, all English versions of the New Testament have followed suit (the RSV, the NEB, the Jerusalem Bible; but cf. The Living New Testament). Curiously enough, Nestle’s Greek text of the New Testament, first published in 1898, and in its subsequent editions used by the majority in Europe and America, contained the same verse division as appeared in English versions until 1900, while the Greek text of Westcott-Hort, first published in 1881, and in subsequent editions used by English scholars, evaluated the old division as on a par with the new. To what extent aversion to female occupancy of the pulpit contributed to the alteration can only be surmised.”
(5) Given the “disordering” style of worship in pagan cultic practice, Paul’s “rubrics” in verses 26 to 36 apply to all within the universal church.
(6) The interpretive significance: “Peace in the society is a mark of the presence and work of God. This is true (ideally) not only in Corinth, but universally …there are Christian assemblies elsewhere from whose example the Corinthians might learn a lesson …” (Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, pgs. 329-330).
Topic 34: 1 Cor. 14:26-39: Part 3: Roles or relationships?
◆ “If women are to remain silent in the assembly, how can they engage in the deliberation without audible participation? (1 Cor. 14:34)” [an argument against women suffrage] (LCMS Pittsburgh Convention Workbook, 1992, pg. 199).
Thesis: In 1 Corinthians 14:26-36 Paul is addressing not male/female roles, but relationships as publicly evidenced between husband and wife.
(A) “[vs 34]…the woman…[vs 35]…a woman…”:
(1) The word translated as “woman” in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is a form of the word gyne, which can mean (1) any adult female, (2) a wife, or (3) bride (Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich, pg. 167).
(2) In his letter, 1 Corinthians, Paul uses forms of gyne 39 times. The context in other chapters in 1 Corinthians calls for gyne to be translated “wife.”
(3) The internal context here (“[vs 35] … let them ask their husbands at home…” ) calls for gyne to be translated “wife.”
(4) Lexicon studies support the translation of gyne as wife: “… besides the use of aner and gyne in lists (where the terms are generally found in the plural) there are no examples where aner and gyne bear the meanings ‘man’ and ‘woman’ when the terms are found in close proximity” (Hugenberger, “Women in Church Office: Hermeneutics or Exegesis?” pg. 354).
(B) Is it not strange, then, that here all the major English translators choose “woman” or women”?
(C) Paul is not speaking here of women in general, or of women in society, or of women to men in general, or of women in relationship to some public ministerial office; he is speaking specifically to wives in the Corinthian congregation as they relate to husbands within the congregation.
(1) Paul is addressing the issue of husband-wife relationships when both are together in a worship context.
(2) The reason for Paul’s restrictions on “wives” is tied up with customs of that day which reflected a wife’s submission to her husband.
(3) Debating publicly with her spouse, and thus flouting a social practice accepted even in the church of that time showed disrespect. Sometimes even speaking publicly in front of a husband was looked upon as showing disrespect to the husband.
(4) “1 Cor. 14:34-5 represents the application, in a particular cultural context, of an order of the present creation concerning the conduct of a wife vis-a-vis her husband. It reflects a situation in which the husband is participating in the prophetic ministries of a Christian meeting. In this context the co-participation of his wife, which may involve her publicly “testing” (diathakrinein, 14:29) her husband’s message, is considered to be a disgraceful (aisxron) disregard of him, of accepted priorities, and of her own wifely role. For these reasons it is prohibited” (Ellis, “The Silent Wives of Corinth,” pg. 218).
Topic 35: 1 Cor. 14:26-39: Part 4: Silent and Speaking
In 1 Corinthians 14:34 Paul says that “the women should keep silent…” How is this to be understood?
◆ “It should be noted in this connection that Paul uses the Greek word laleo for ‘speak’ in 1 Cor. 14:34, which frequently means to ‘preach’ in the New Testament (See Mark 2:2; Luke 9:11; Acts 4:1; 8:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; 2 Cor 12:19; Phil. 1:4; et al.), and not lego, which is the more general term … Thus, Paul is not here demanding that women should be silent at all times or that they cannot express their sentiments and opinions at church assemblies. The command that women keep silent is a command that they not take charge of the public worship service, specifically the teaching-learning aspects of the service” (LCMS’ Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church” [Sept. 1985] pg. 33).
◆ “I Cor. 14:34f., too, is designed to prohibit the woman from proclaiming God’s Word in the worship service of the church. Any other interpretation appears to be extremely artificial and improbable. The whole chapter deals with participation in the worship service. All the decisive words used in this connection (“be silent”, “speak”, “church”) Paul used immediately preceding in the same chapter (vs. 27-30), and it is quite clear that we are dealing here with the right publicly to participate in the worship service and there to speak of God’s ways. For this reason alone the claim that the word in v. 34 (lalein) has a different meaning and refers only to disturbing chatter, is extremely improbable” (Giertz, Springfielder, March 1970, pgs. 14-15).
Thesis: The verb sigao (“...the woman should keep silent…”) means “hushed silence” and is never used as a reference indicating “no public preaching.”
(A) “[vs 34] … the women should keep silent …”: What does the verb sigao mean?
(1) Can this mean “totally silent”? No, compare 1 Corinthians 11:5.
(2) Can this mean she cannot pray or preach? No, compare 1 Corinthians 11:5.
(B) How is the verb used here?
(1) There are 10 uses of sigao in the New Testament.
(2) The Greek word suggests a voluntary, as opposed to a commanded, silence. “This is the type of silence that is called for in the midst of disorder and clamor” (Bristow, pg. 63). “Each one of these, in context refers to ‘keeping the mouth shut’ — in actual silence, so as not to be a disturbance, not to refrain from public preaching of the Word” (Dinda, “WORD STUDY: 1 Cor. 14:33-35 AND 1 Tim. 2:8-12,” pg. 4).
(3) The verb sigao (“to be silent”) is used three times in 1 Corinthians, all in chapter 14: vs. 28: “if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent“
vs. 30: “if a revelation is made … let the first be silent“
vs. 31: “… one by one ..[vs 34] … women should keep silent“
(4) Verse 28 means “say nothing, keep silent.” The second, verse 30, means to “stop speaking, become silent so to let the revelation be heard.” If these two passages refer to literal silence (to stop disruptive speaking), it seems reasonable that the verb sense would remain the same for the third one.
(5) The context in verse 35 has Paul forbidding women even from “asking questions”; this would indicate that behavior, not a doctrinal question, is still the subject. Clearly he is using the verb in verse 34 the same way that he does in verses 28 and 30, and that the sense has not changed significantly for verse 34. The instruction “to be silent” is directed against chattering confusion and disruption. “Instead of causing chattering confusion in the assembly, please do the chattering at home” (vs 35).
(6) In both 1 Corinthians 14:28 and 14:30, the one told to “keep silent” is masculine in gender. Even if this is gender “inclusive,” it still means men are being asked to keep silent. Paul has not singled out women alone.
(7) Sigao — here [in verse 34] is a present or durative infinitive — to keep on talking or chattering in church. Note: no direct object” (Dinda, pg. 8).
(8) Compare 1 Corinthians 12:7-11: No gender designations are given. Women receive the gifts of the Spirit, wisdom, knowledge, tongues, interpretation – gifts which would hardly be shared unless women could use them and speak.
(9) If Paul gives permission to everyone, including women, in verses 26-32 of responding to the Spirit’s prompting (“ … each one has a hymn …  let two or three prophets speak [which includes women; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:5] … [vs 31] for you can all prophesy one by one…the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets …”), he is not going to turn around and take it away in the next verse . Would Paul contradict himself thus?
(10) Paul is concerned about women interrupting teaching, not women engaged in teaching.
◆ “The command that women keep silent is a command that they not take charge of the public worship service, specifically the teaching-learning aspects of the service” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 33).
◆ “The main application of these passages in the contemporary church is that women are not to exercise those functions in the local congregation which would involve them in the exercise of authority inherent in the authoritative public teaching office (i.e., the office of pastor)” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 38).
◆ “Secondly, it must be underscored that Paul’s prohibition that women remain silent and not speak is uttered with reference to the worship service of the congregation (1 Cor. 14:26-33)” (CTCR-WIC, page 33).
(11) Can anyone show from any Greek lexicon that the word sigao ever means “should not take charge” or “should not preach” as the CTCR-WIC suggests? Does this happen to be a unique use of that word in the Scripture? “We cannot just arbitrarily give meanings to inspired words, otherwise we can make the Bible say anything we wish it to say. What if we allowed the words of institution of the Lord’s Supper to be defined arbitrarily?” (Concord, May, 1965, issue).
(12) To say, as does CTCR-WIC, that “women are not to exercise those functions in the local congregation which would involve them in the exercise of authority inherent in the authoritative public teaching office” is to load sigao with freight it nowhere else bears and to read into 1 Corinthians a subject that is not even addressed in this passage.
(13) So, we conclude that “keep silent” is directed toward a confusion at this point; Paul is not addressing a question of abuse of a teaching, preaching, or pastoral office; rather, he instructs about worship which is being disrupted by some extraneous conversation, or by speaking in tongues, or by questions raised spontaneously, or by loud talk regarding revelations given by the Spirit in the congregation (verses 13-19), just as he instructs all others to be silent in verse 30. “The apostle is simply preventing women from taking the initiative in speaking, but allows exceptions where there is genuine pneumatic endowment” (TDNT, I, pg. 787).
(14) Paul’s call for women “to be silent” was a particular silence while their husbands’ prophecies are being tested. This call does not ask for “total silence,” as verses 28 and 30 do not, nor is it a law forbidding worship leadership participation and teaching.
(15) “The juxtaposition of the two chapters [1 Corinthians 11 and 14] demonstrates at the least that this command to silence is not an order for every situation and for all times, for it is limited even in the same letter by adjacent material in ch. 11” (Reumann, “What in Scripture Speaks to the Ordination of Women,” pg. 19).
(16) How does this text help interpret the phrase “women should keep silent”? Jesus certainly was pleased with and approved that women should be bearers of the sacred Word. John 4 does not support the contention that women should not preach or teach.
◆ “It should be noted in this connection that Paul uses the Greek word laleo for ‘speak’ in 1 Cor. 14:34, which frequently means to ‘preach’ in the New Testament (See Mark 2:2, Luke 9:11, Acts 4:1; 8:25; 1 Cor 2:7; 2 Cor 12:19; Phil. 1:4; et al.), and not lego, which is the more general term. The claim that Paul has a different meaning in mind and that he uses it here to prohibit disturbing chatter is extremely improbable.). When laleo has a meaning other than religious speech and preaching in the New Testament, this is usually made clear by an object or an adverb … ” (CTCR-WIC, page 33).
◆ “The contrast in the Greek sentence marked by the ou gar … alla sets in opposition lalein and hypotassesthosan, speaking and being subordinate. A speaking is involved which is the opposite of being subordinate, a speaking with authority, teaching, preaching with the implicit demand for obedience” (Hamann, “The New Testament and the Ordination of Women, pg. 5).
Thesis: “[vs 34]… for they are not permitted to speak …” is a reference not to eligibility for pastoral office, but “to prattle.”
(A) What does the verb here, lalein, mean? Does it necessarily pertain to public preaching as the CTCR-WIC suggests? Or to a “speaking with authority” as Hamann suggests?
(B) The basic sense of the word does not mean official speaking or preaching: “laleo and related words like the Lat. lallus (the ‘nurse’s crooning’), lallare (‘to lull to sleep’), the Germ. lallen and the Eng. ‘lull’ imitate the babbling of small children. Hence to use the word of speech of adults is a sign of either intimacy or scorn: ‘to prattle'” (TDNT, IV, page 76).
(C) In this sense, Paul uses lalein when referring to speaking in tongues (e.g. 1 Corinthians 13:1, 14:4), “because such speaking to people without interpretation is child’s prattling and babbling” (Dinda, pg. 7).
(D) In the New Testament lalein is used many different ways other than preaching:
(1) Mark 7:35: “and he spoke plainly…”
(2) Mark 1:34: speaking in contrast to silence
(3) 1 Corinthians 3:1: simple conversation
(4) Matthew 10:20: a more official authoritative kind of speaking
(E) When lalein is used to mean preaching, the verb has a direct object, usually “the Word,” behind it (Dinda, pgs. 6 and 7); compare the passages the CTCR-WIC document (page 33) cites:
(1) Mark 2:2: “he was preaching the Word to them …”
(2) Luke 9:11: “and spoke to them of the kingdom of God”
(3) Acts 4:1-2: “speaking to the people .. teaching the people and proclaiming …Jesus...”
(4) Acts 8:25: “and spoke the Word of the Lord …”
(5) 1 Corinthians 2:7: “but we impart [speak] a … hidden wisdom of God..”
(6) 2 Corinthians 12:19: “we have been speaking in Christ…”
(F) 1 Corinthians 14:34 does not include a direct object after lalein. If it did include a direct object after the verb, for example, “it is disgraceful for a woman to speak the Word in church,” a strong case could be made for no woman functioning in a pastoral office and for lalein be an equivalent to “preaching.” But there is no direct object and nothing else in this context to indicate pastoral roles. The CTCR’s argument, pg. 33, does not hold.
(G) If the Apostle intended to prohibit preaching and teaching, two other words were available to him, either one of which would have put the matter beyond question: kerusso and euaggelizo.
◆ “The command that women keep silent is a command that they not take charge of the public worship service, specifically the teaching-learning aspects of the service” (CTCR-WIC, page 33).
(H) Verses 39 and 40, in which the apostle sums up this chapter, do not contain a statement about women’s participation in worship leadership, only a word about behavior and unseemly words and acts, that is, worship etiquette.
(I) There is here no express word that indicates this text speaks to eligibility for church office. Paul here never uses the word for pastor or any New Testament synonyms for it. The context indicates Paul uses the word λαλειν in a wider, more general sense, and not as “preaching.”
◆ “Why are they told to ask their men (andras) at home if they are free to take an active part in the discussions of the assembly? (1 Cor. 14:35)” [argument against women suffrage] (LCMS’ Pittsburgh Convention Workbook, 1992, pg. 199).
(J) Paul seems to be telling the disruptive women, “If you can’t speak in a manner that edifies others in this community of faith, then keep silent until you get home.”
(K) Another view: “In light of the discussion of pagan prophecy above, it is very believable that these women assumed that Christian prophets or prophetesses functioned much like the oracle at Delphi, who only prophesied in response to questions, including questions about purely personal matters … Those asking questions were not yet educated enough in the school of Christ to know what was and was not appropriate in Christian worship. Paul affirms their right to learn, but suggests another context. In any case, Paul is correcting an abuse of privilege, not taking back a woman’s right to speak in the assembly, which he has already granted in ch. 11. The adversative particle e (‘or’) in v. 36 does not imply that Paul is rejecting a statement that he has quoted in vv. 34 f. — it is his own statement. He is, rather, anticipating opposition to his ruling and forestalling it in v. 36″ (Witherington, Conflict and Community in Corinth, pg. 287).
(L) Another perspective: “Again one is reminded of the Megillah’s concern for disgracing the dignity of the congregation should a woman be permitted to read Torah aloud” (Mollenkott, Women, Men, and the Bible, pg. 100).
(M) Another perspective: If the congregation were following the Synagogue pattern of women sitting separately from men, calling to the husbands or men across the gathering would be highly disruptive. So, Paul’s advice, “Talk at home.”
Topic 36: 1 Cor. 14:25-39: Part 5: Women and subordination
[1 Corinthians 14:34] … the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.  If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
Thesis: The context suggests that “[vs 34] … be subordinate …” is the mutual voluntary submission which characterizes the wife-husband relationship.
(A) The tense is middle passive, the sense of which is that the woman is asked to “subordinate herself.”
(1) The text does not say “women should be subordinated by men.”
(2) The text does not say “Men, subordinate (or dominate) your women.”
(3) The text does not say, “Church, keep and require women to be subordinate.”
(B) The word in this context does suggest self-control and inner self-discipline (compare Galatians 5:23). This stems from faith and demonstrates a desire not to dominate or exploit or embarrass the spouse.
(C) The word does not suggest a church rule imposed from the outside upon the woman. The context indicates that she simply should not add to the confusion in worship.
◆ “Paul cites the Law (very likely Genesis 2 in this particular context) as the basis for the subordination of woman” (LCMS’ Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church,” Sept. 1985, pg. 22).
◆ “In addition to the moral and vocational qualifications required of those divinely placed into this high office in the church (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 3:5-9), the Scriptures teach that the incumbent of the pastoral office must be a man. On the basis of Old Testament Scripture, St. Paul taught that ‘the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak; but should be subordinate, as even the law says’ (1 Cor. 14:34). Understood within its context, this passage means that women ought not lead the public worship service, specifically carry out the teaching-preaching aspects of the service” (CTCR, “The Service of Women …, 16 November 1994”).
◆ “With the clause kathos kai ho nomos legei, Paul indicates that the regulation and practice of women maintaining silence in the assemblies of the saints, and thus subjecting themselves to the men, has its ultimate source in the Law, which is here the Old Testament” (Maier, The Springfielder, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4 [March 1970], pg. 35).
Thesis: There is no clear exegetical evidence to understand specifically to what “Law” Paul is referring.
(A) “[vs. 34] … even as the Law says…”: The canonical Old Testament Scriptures nowhere say women should be silent in a worship context.
(B) A possible interpretation is that “the Law” which Paul cites is Jewish midrash or synagogue custom; the midrash does contain the following injunctions:
(1) Talmud, Kethuboth 59b, teaches a woman is to serve her husband no matter how many slaves her dowry enables her to purchase.
(2) Kethuboth 59b requires a wife to wash her husband’s face, hands, and feet, make his bed, and pour his wine.
(3) Kethuboth 6b, 78a, and 48b indicate that income earned from the wife’s own handicraft or from her pre-marriage assets become the property of her husband.
(4) Megillah 23a says that women are not permitted to read from the Torah in the synagogue because of the “dignity of the congregation.”
(5) One scholar suggests this refers to the Midrash on Numbers 12, which details Miriam’s disrespect for Moses.
(C) If so, Paul is then arguing not from Scripture, but from his rabbinic stance and knowledge. “The Old Testament clearly assumed female submission but contained no law to command it, whereas rabbinic Judaism was full of traditional laws and customs which required the subservience of women” (Mollenkott, Women, Men, and the Bible, pg. 96).
(D) Note an example of such a tradition from the Mishnah: “All are qualified to be among the seven [who read the Torah in the synagogue on sabbath morning], even a minor and a woman. But a woman should not be allowed to come forward to read [the Torah] in public” (T. Meg. iv. II, 226, as quoted in Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, pg. 374).
(E) Or, not finding such a law in the Old Testament, Martin (page 76) renders nomos as “the ruling,” based on the sense of the word as norm, principle (Romans 3:27, Galatians 6:2).
(F) Is not the Old Testament ceremonial law superseded in Christ (Matthew 27:51; Colossians 2:16-17, 20)? For those “in the Lord,” Jewish law no longer binds consciences, even Jewish midrash which ordains segregating women from worship participation and leadership.
(G) Our notes on Genesis 2 suggest there is no “law” either explicit or inferred directing superordination or subordination; what is suggested is partnership, companionship, parity.
(H) Or, another view: “The public cultic activity of women was familiar to Hellenism, and Paul shows himself extremely free to change position on these externalities in themselves. Passages such as 11:2 ff. and 14:33b ff. are explained in terms of the concrete situations which compelled Paul to oppose the innovations of his opponents with the demand, concretized in detail, for the preservation of the traditional practice. Since he obviously did not sense that the active participation of women in the cultus was demanded by the Gnostics, it is characteristic of his freedom that he tolerates this practice without contradiction. At the time of Epistle B he is better informed; hence he now demands that the Gnostic custom, which allows women to engage in public prayer and certainly also in speaking in tongues, be once again discontinued. On this point it is interesting that he now refers briefly to the tradition and sets forth the practice of other communities as normative, without attempting again a fruitless theological motivation for this originally Jewish observance. In judging Paul one must keep in mind the special cause which compelled him in the last analysis against his intention, to limit Christian freedom in this way, and one then will readily accept, without qualms and naturally also without legalism, passages like 14:33b ff. as Pauline. One will then also, at the deepest level, feel no contradiction between 11:2 ff. and 14:33b ff. It is the same correctly understood Christian freedom which lets Paul allow the activities of women in the cult there and forbid it here” (Schmithals, Gnosticism in Corinth, pgs. 244-245).
Thesis: The word “shameful” in verse 35 (aisxros) suggests behavioral problems rather than doctrinal issues.
(A) “[vs 35] … for it is shameful for a woman to speak …”: Compare Ephesians 5:12: “For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”
(B) Plutarch writes, “Not only the arm but the voice of a modest woman ought to be kept from the public, and she should feel shame at being heard, as at being stripped” (quoted in Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, pg. 331).
(C) “Paul’s short-range solution to the disruptive problems was for women to be silent during worship. His long-range solution was for women to become educated in their faith” (Perales, Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage,pg. 97).
Topic 37: 1 Cor. 14:26-39: Part 6: Summary
In summary, 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 can be understood as follows (following Dentinger, “Women in the Church,” pg. 13):
(A) “But the heart of the passage is the Greek term e, which introduces 1 Corinthians 14:36. This particle startles us with its vivid forcefulness and its strong negative reaction. As J.H. Thayer pointed out in 1889 (A Greek-English Lexicon), e with the grave accent may appear ‘before a sentence contrary to the one preceding [it] ….’ Thayer then listed 1 Corinthians 14:36 as an illustration. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 14:36 is hardly a summation of verses 33b-35. Consequently, Paul rejects the quotation of verses 33b-35, apparently cited from the Corinthian letter and rabbinic law: “What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you [men = masculine form] the only ones it has reached?” What irony! The very text that has been used for centuries to silence women from joining in the worship of the church, Paul used to establish their equality” (Kaiser, “Shared Leadership…” (Christianity Today Institute, pg.e 12-I).
(B) Paul (with sarcasm, mimicking comments he has heard or else quoting from the letter he has received from the Corinthians (note, for example, 1 Corinthians 6:12-13, 7:1, 8:1, 10:23):
“Women should keep silent!” “Wives should not speak!” “Wives (women) should be subordinate (that is our culture!)!” “Jewish custom says wives should keep silent (they do not help constitute a synagogue)!” “Let women ask their husbands! It is a shame for wives to speak (i.e, question husbands) publicly!”
Paul, then, with anger, incredulously (because these kind of sniping comments contradict what he said in 1 Corinthians 11:5):
“What! Are you men (the second pronoun in verse 36 has a masculine adjective) the only ones who have received the word of God? (No, there are other congregations with other practices!) Did the word originate with you men? (The Greek, literally translated, “… or from you [umon, plural] the word of God went out, or to you [umas, plural] only did it arrive?!”] Are you men God? Do you have the arrogance to usurp authority over other human beings?”
(Other examples of Pauline sarcasm include 1 Corinthians 11:20; Paul uses sarcasm to show how ridiculous a point of view is. Paul is saying God did not give men a monopoly on the Word of God.)
following Martin (The Spirit and the Congregation: Studies in 1 Corinthians 12-15, pg. 75) and Dinda (pg. 8), the passage can be read this way:
Paul: (While I’m on the subject of confusion in the church, let me briefly address the problem of babbling and chattering and causing confusion back behind the screens where they must stand or sit. They are disturbing us, and that’s disgraceful. Let your wives keep silent in the worship service, for they are not allowed to babble (that disturbs the worship). Rather let them be under (self-)control, just as the (pastoral) ruling says. (My pastoral advice — in order to end confusion in worship — is that) If they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home (rather than disrupt the worship scene).
[1 Corinthians 14:37] If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.  If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized.  So, my brethren, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues;  but all things should be done decently and in order.
◆ “Having appealed to the Old Testament (to the Law in I Cor. 14:34; the Creation Accounts and the Fall into Sin in I Tim. 2:13f.), Paul points to the highest authority the early church knew, the command of the Lord himself” (Giertz, The Springfielder, pg. 15).
Thesis: The Scriptural “[vs 37] … a command of the Lord” addresses behavior in worship, not eligibility for public office in the church.
(A) Exactly what is the Lord’s command? That women should stay out of public ministry? Or that worship be done “decently and in order”?
(B) Verse 37 indicates that this is addressed to “any one,” that is everyone, regardless of gender, and not specifically women.
(C) These verses are Paul’s summary of the chapter, and, one would think that if women’s role in worship leadership and preaching were the problem, it would have been included in this summary. His key word in this chapter is “edify.”
Topic 38: The New Creation
Is it possible that Paul counsels from both rabbinic as well as Gospel insights? Do the unique insights provided by the Gospel at times change or negate the rabbinic or Old Testament logic and approach (such as between 1 Corinthians 11:9 and 1 Corinthians 11:11)? Does an insight as we find in Galatians 3:28 represent a “break through” which negates the idea of certain groups “keeping silent in the church”?
Some passages of Holy Scriptures which seem to contradict previous passages are simply fuller revelations and reflect deeper divine insights than the previous ones. Below are a number of examples:
(A) One example measures retaliation and forgiveness:
(1) Genesis 4:23-24: “Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Sillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken to what I say: I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” The Old Testament cultural context permitted unlimited retaliation.
(2) Deuteronomy 19:21: “Your eye shall not pity: it shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” The Mosaic law posits a limited retaliation.
(3) Matthew 5:38-41: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Jesus takes the problem one step further and denies any retaliation as a Christian response.
(4) Not all of Scripture expresses the Creator’s original intent. But we see the gradual unfolding of God’s intended will most fully expressed in Jesus Christ. We do not hold to the teaching of the Genesis passage or the Deuteronomic passage, but we do teach the forgiveness implied in Jesus’ words.
(B) Another example:
(1) Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” God’s original intent is the concept of one indissoluble union.
(2) Deuteronomy 24: “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a bill of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the latter husband dislikes her and writes her a bill of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord.” Moses permits an exception to God’s intent.
(3) Mark 10:2-5: “And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.'”
(4) Jesus appeals to Scripture (Genesis) against Scripture (Deuteronomy). Jesus goes back to the original intent of the Creator.
(C) And another:
(1) Leviticus 15:25-31: “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her impurity … everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her impurity. And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.”
(2) Luke 8:43-48: “And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, came up behind [Jesus], and touched the fringe of his garment … And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.'”
(D) We do have commands and prohibitions in Scripture that are not absolute:
(1) “Thou shalt not kill,” yet the government is given the power of the sword.
(2) “In everything give thanks,” yet certainly not for having given in to temptation.
(E) The Deuteronomic injunction is transformed by forgiveness; compare:
(1) Leviticus 20:10: “... commit adultery … shall be put to death...”
(2) John 8:47: “Let him without sin among you cast the first stone … Go, sin no more.”
(F) Numbers 27:1-11 The daughters of Zelophedad, disinherited according to the Levitical laws (which recognized only sons as heirs, Deuteronomy 21:15-17), appeal their property rights against the Levitical laws before Moses. The request is granted, and the law is changed to “[vs 7] … cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them.”
(G) Scripture does reflect the human limitations and emotions of its human authors even when they are opposite God’s ultimate will; compare:
(1) Psalm 137:9: “Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”
(2) Proverbs 24:17-18: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.”
(H) Judaism forbade women to worship with men. The early church had the question: “How do women interact with men now that we worship together?”
(I) These examples from the Scriptures need to be kept in mind when we approach texts that seem to bind the faithful in the absolute and immutable. God’s intention in dealing with sinful humans is their salvation, and his prophets and apostles work in their individual situations to remove barriers which inhibit people from faithfully embracing fully their life with God.
(J) There is a recognition among biblical students that, even though “all Scripture is inspired” (2 Timothy 3:16), not every passage of Scripture is on a parity with every other verse and theme of Scripture.
(K) Scripture reveals in some places insights not available in others. In Christ comes the new: Baptism replacing circumcision, Eucharist over Passover, substance instead of shadow, one Lamb surpassing many sacrificial lambs.
(L) Thus, even if in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 Paul were ordering public proclamation based on the “orders of creation,” creation order can be renewed and replaced by new insights such as Galatians 3:27 and 28.
(M) This does not mean playing one proof text against another. It does mean seeking passages that more clearly and unmistakably capture God’s intent for his first creation and his New Creation.
[2 Corinthians 5:17] Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.
Thesis: In Christ, the Gospel and the Spirit change the Old Order and the old carnal way of relating.
(A) The NEB catches the sense: “…and a new order has already begun.”
(B) “In Christ” the new has already begun; yet for Paul all is not yet fulfilled. Christian life is simul justus et peccator and growing in sanctification (Romans 6:19, 1 Peter 2:2).
(C) Operating within this tension, Paul can point to the New Creation; yet recognizing “the old” is still not completely defeated, he can advise pastorally on the basis of the New Creation within the old order.
(D) Thus, recognizing the presence and power of sin, Paul had to be satisfied with partial application (e.g., the slave question).
Topic 39: “…neither male nor female…”
[Galatians 3:27] For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  For there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
◆”The division into male and female established in the order of creation is not relevant in reference to Baptism into Christ” (LCMS’ Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church” (Sept. 1985), pg. 26).
◆ “Gal. 3:26-29: On the basis of the difference between the order of creation and the order of redemption the 1956 study committee report correctly concludes that Gal. 3:26-29 (along with 1 Cor. 12:13 and Col. 3:11) describes human relationships in terms of redemption, and thus it is improper to use the Galatians passage as a basis for supporting the cause of women suffrage” (Lutheran Witness, June 1969, pg 7).
◆ “This text [Galatians 3:28] reveals how believers appear before God, but it does not speak to issues pertaining to order in the church or the specific functions of women in the congregation” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 27).
◆ “ [Galatians 3:28] … does not mean identity of man and woman can be exchanged any more than Greeks can become Jews or vice versa” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 27).
Thesis: Galatians 3:27 and 28 suggest that God’s purpose is the restoration of the original creative intent.
(A) The lines quoted above from Missouri Synod literature illustrate a basic exegetical bias in working with Galatians 3:28. Does Paul limit the passage to the “order of redemption” (salvation)? Does not faith have to do with the nitty-gritty of life (James 2:14-17)? We can distinguish but not separate salvation and sanctification in the way the Witness writer implies. “Faith without works is dead.”
(B) Once again, the Gospel, the Good News which comes through Jesus Christ, does speak to all issues in the church, to orders and ordination and to men and women in ministry and sacradotal office; if it does not, it is a limited Gospel at best! There is no area of faith and life which the Gospel does not encompass and to which it does not speak!
(C) Galatians 3 deals with current issues and is not just talking about a future way of being. The baptized “put on Christ” within the present order. We are called to grow in Christ-likeness now (Ephesians 4:11-16). The verbs are past tense: this has already happened; we have already been clothed in Christ.
(D) If “the division into male and female established in the order of creation is not relevant in reference to Baptism into Christ,” as the CTCR-WIC maintains, then, by extension of the same logic, the division and separation between Jew and Gentile and slave and free also remain, and the Gospel has no bearing on the concrete reality of these other two issues. But if “in Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female,” then there is no order.
(E) A central point of the letter to the Galatians is that neither Jew nor Gentile because of race or patrimony (or lack of it!) has priority in Christ. Paul even describes the concrete, historic New Order in which this takes place (Galatians 2:4-21) and castigates the Galatians for being “bewitched” (Galatians 2:1) by a gospel which denies this Christocentric reality now.
(F) Paul specifically singles out three relationships in which God’s Eden-ic intent has been prostituted by making one group unequal to another in the eyes of one. He works through this Jew-Gentile division in Romans and Galatians.
(G) And most of the Book of Acts details Paul’s effort to break down through the power of the Gospel “the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14) between Jew and Gentile, and Paul’s letter to Philemon certainly plants the seeds of renovating the relationships between master and slave and abolishing the institution of slavery (Philemon 16).
(H) None of us would limit access to the pastoral office based on race (Jew and Gentile).
(I) None of us would stand up and support slavery today, even though Paul (Ephesians 6:5) wrote, “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters.”
(J) The Gospel does not erase created distinctions, male and female, but it does empower God’s people to work through “sinful divisions.”
(K) “[vs 28]… neither male nor female…”
(1) The Greek actually reads “male and female. Scholars see this as a clear reference (an identical form is used in the Greek Septuagint) to Genesis 1:27.
(2) Paul uses the words for male and female (arsen kai thelu)instead of husband and wife. He thus links this passage back to Genesis 1:27.
(3) Such a reference would indicate a reference to God’s original creative intent, equity-with-differences. The baptized, participating by grace in God’s New Order, reflect God’s original intent.
◆ “ C.S. Lewis makes a similar point in his essay on ‘Priestesses in the Church?’ when he writes, “the point is that unless “equal” means “interchangeable,” equality means nothing for the priesthood of women’ (that is, for women in the pastoral office)” quoted in CTCR-WIC, pg. 26.
(4) Lewis misses the point of “equity with differences.” No, equal does not mean interchangeable. Equality does ask one to ignore the distinctions; it implies working through the divisions that sinful beings create because of distinctions.
(L) In a footnote CTCR-WIC gives lip-service to this: “As long as the gospel is a living power, differences in this world cannot become the basis for arrogance and oppression.”
(M) “Any claim that there is something about the nature of another human being [emphasis added] as such that renders that person to be of inferior value not only denies the biblical doctrine of creation, but also calls into question what the Scriptures teach about the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As a human, Jesus descended from Adam [Note: and Eve!], whom God created (Luke 3:38), and whom all human beings have as progenitor. To deny the full humanity of any fellow human being is at the same time to compromise the apostolic truth that in Christ ‘the fullness of the deity dwells bodily’ (somatikoos, Col. 2:9), that is, that he truly ‘was made man’ (Nicene Creed)” (CTCR, “Racism and the Church,” February 1994, pgs. 38 and 39). Since Galatians 3 mentions not only race (Jew and Gentile), but also male and female, would that the CTCR’s theology in “Racism and the Church” were also applied to women in the church.
Thesis: The New Creation is always in the process of “being born.” Consider the following sequence:
(A) Genesis 1: Male and female are created in the image of God. God is Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in all ways, each deserving equal majesty and honor, none less than the other. That equity-with-difference” posture is part of the image of humanity, male and female.
(B) Genesis 3:16: That man “shall rule over you [the woman]” is not God’s ordering of creation, but a result of the fall into sin. It is a consequence of anyone heeding the subtle and tempting call of Satan, “You will be like God,” setting oneself up as God, determining power and authority or right and wrong.
(C) 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” The Gospel changes people and how they relate in structures and relationships. God inaugurates a New Order.
(D) Galatians 3:28: Paul, in this Galatians text, describes what the new creation looks like as it finds expression in the church. The Old Order still operates the way “the Gentiles do” (Mark 10:42). In Christ, in the Church, the New Creation reigns. Differences and animosity and separateness between Jew and Gentile are a matter of the past (Ephesians 2:11-22).
(E) The seeds for dissolving the slave-master construct were planted (Philemon), even though it takes yet centuries for these seeds to be nurtured and grown. In applying Law and Gospel Paul is working with deep-seated social institutions, structures firmly entrenched in culture. Had the Gospel been fully implemented, for example, in the area of slaves-masters, the machine of Rome would have “crucified Paul” (note the Roman response to Spartacus). Paul, instead of attacking the demeaning and exploitative institution head on, injects a new motivation (Philemon 16, 21).
(F) White Christians in the American South in the pre-Civil War era wanted to absolutize slavery as it was in that day: but God’s truth goes marching on; no Christian in the 1990s would stand up and support slavery. The seed Paul planted in the Gospel, “all are justified” and “in Christ there is neither slave or master,” has borne fruit down through the centuries. In the same manner, in our most faithful postures, we do not tolerate “walls of hostility” “between Jew and Greek,” or Hispanic or Anglo or Black.
(G) And it is taking centuries to address the male-female consequence (Genesis 3:16), even “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11), even in the church. Walking faithfully, then, calls for us not to absolutize male-female relationships, whether in society or in the Church, at a first century point. In Galatians 3:28, Paul plants this seed as well. The Gospel changes even all the Old Orders. In the Church, there is not hierarchy, but servanthood.
(H) Consider the institution of slavery:
Paul: injected a Gospel motivation for one living within evil social structures.
American Civil War: White Christians in 1860 in the South wanted to absolutize slavery here.
Abolition: But God’s truth marches on.
2014: Racism and injustice still rear their ugly heads, but the implementation of Gospel insights and motivations continues.
(I) Point: We do not absolutize male/female relations at a first century point. Galatians 3:28 is the Gospel insight, motivation, and ideal; we struggle today with the Gospel implementation and practice.
Topic 40: “be subject to one another”
Ephesians 5: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church;  however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
◆“The word which Paul uses to describe this order — subordination — (The Greek word for subordination is hypotage, which is formed from the word tasso — to appoint, to order, to arrange, and hypo — under) — does not carry with it any notion of inferior value or oppression. This term is used by Paul simply to refer to order in the relationship of man and woman to one another. St. Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 11:7-9, ‘For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)'” (LCMS’ Commission on Theology and Church Relations “Women in the Church” [Sept. 1985]. pg. 23).
Thesis One: The Biblical word radically reinterprets the cultural patterns of its time.
(A) Jewish attitudes of the New Testament times are expressed in words like these: “Rather should the words of the Torah be burned than entrusted to a woman,” and “When a boy comes into the world, peace comes into the world; when a girl comes, nothing comes.” In the synagogue women were assigned special places behind a screen.
(B) “The restricted role of women in the New Testament needs to be viewed in the light of attitudes toward women prevalent at that time” (Concordia Theological Monthly, June 79, page 134).
(C) “In the light of this background it is clear that New Testament authors did not introduce a subordinationist view of women as a new, central divine teaching that was in conflict with the view of Jewish and pagan society around them. Rather, they shared or at least did not fully oppose, the views of their environments” (CTM, June 79, page 134).
(D To add verse 21 (“… upotassomenoi allelois en phobo theou…”) is the radical (evangelical) Christian reinterpretation of community and religious norms.
Thesis Two: Mutual submission is the Christ-like way.
(A) “[vs 21]… be subject to one another …”: This verse establishes the framework of the entire passage: mutual voluntary submission; no spouse is superior or inferior in any way.
(1) (Much of the literature in discussing Ephesians 5 for some inexplicable reason begins with verse 22; for example, Zerbst, The Office of Women in the Church, pg. 80).
(2) The passages which relate to the role of women in marriage, Genesis 21:12, Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19, 1 Peter 3:1-7, all urge wives to submit to their husbands, yet reciprocally the responsibility of the husband is stressed. In these passages husband and wife are seen as “joint heirs of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).
(3) “ …be subject to one another …  …(be subject) to your husbands …”: The English verb (“..be subject…”) in verse 22 is not in the Greek; rather, the verb from verse 21 is carried over as understood into verse 22. Wifely submission is dependent upon the verb for mutual submission. We cannot separate the issue of voluntary wifely submission from mutual submission.
(4) “When Paul speaks of wives submitting themselves to their husbands, he is building upon the concept that every Christian is intended to submit to every other Christian, to serve every other Christian, to defer lovingly to every other Christian” (Mollenkott, Women, Men, and the Bible, pg. 23).
(5) “Sometimes 5:21 is translated as if it begins a new section only incidentally related to the preceding section: ‘Submit to one another.’ But it is more likely that the Greek phrase ‘submitting to one another’ retains here its usual force in the context of the parallel phrases that precede it: a subordinate participial clause dependent on the preceding imperative. In other words, the submission of 5:21, like the worship of 5:19-20, flows from being filled with God’s Spirit (v. 18)” (Keener, Paul, Women, and Wives, pg. 158).
(B) Clarifying “mutual submission”:
◆ “A woman who sees her rights and her dignity of being a human being as violated by the ‘obey’ clause in the marriage ceremony probably has never calculated the honor and dignity of being wife and mother worth the price of the loving service she owes her husband” (Naumann, “Natural Orders,” The Springfielder, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4 [March 1970], pg. 8).
(1) Paul does not use the word “obey” for wives toward husbands (he does use “obey” [upakouo] for both children [Ephesians 6:1] and slaves [Ephesians 6:5]).
(2) There is no reference to the husband possessing authority “over” his wife.
(3) No permission is given for the husband to demand that his wife submit to his authority.
(4) The husband is not given leave “to rule” the wife or “to be lord” over her.
(5) There is no reference here to a “chain of command.”
(6) “This passage depicts marriage not as a hierarchical organization, but as a living, unified (head and body) organism” (Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 153).
(7) Christ is himself the provider of definitional content for “head”: self-giving, cherishing, self-sacrificing, nourishing; not exercising domineering authority and rule.
(8) The thrust in this passage is not to the Christ “possessing authority” over the Church, but to the Church’s willing self-subjection to Christ.
(9) “Christ’s self-humbling and voluntary self-humiliation is pictured as a model for the Christian husband, not for the wife at all” (Mollenkott, pg. 123).
(10) Culture and society do not define the roles, but rather the pattern between Christ and his Bride, the Church.
(11) The ideal is “one flesh” (5:31), achieved when there is mutual submission prompted by the Spirit.
(12) “Masters are not directed in the Bible to have slaves submissive to them; men are not directed to have wives submissive to them. The directive is always toward the person under authority, that they should bear it without concern. Therefore, it is humility that is being called for on the part of both men and women” (Dentinger, “Women in the Church,” pg. 6).
(13) The address of a word of submission to one person is not simultaneously a word of superordination and domination to the other party. To ask women (in a specific context) to be submissive or silent is not an order to males (or even the church!) to subject women to lesser status or silence or exclude them from certain functions.
Thesis Two: The concept of kephale is not applied in the Scriptures to the public ministry.
(A) The concept kephale is not used of any office within the early Christian church within the New Testament.
(B) The term is used only in the context of the marriage relationship.
(C) Therefore, any application of this concept to the church’s ministry is an inference which does not have direct warrant in the text itself (Priebe, “Some Observations on the Orders of Creation and the Office of the Ministry”).
Topic 41: Submission
The word upotasso: The word, upotasso, often translated to English as “submit,” in its basic New Testament context of relationships between believers suggests a voluntary Christ-like act, a self-giving without the implication of being forced or coerced by another.
(A) The noun upotage is used four times in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 9:13, Galatians 2:5, 1 Timothy 2:11 and 3:4).
(B) The verb tasso means “to order, to position, to determine.”
- (1) With upo in the active voice, it means “place under, subordinate, subject.”
- (2) With upo in the passive voice, it means “become subject to someone or thing.”
- (3) With upo in the middle voice, it means “voluntarily submit oneself, defer to, surrender one’s right.”
(C) The verb upotasso is employed thirty nine times in the New Testament.
◆ “The woman is reminded, always in the context of an appeal to the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ, that she has been subordinated to man by the Creator and that it is for this reason that she should willingly accept this divine arrangement” (CTCR-WIC, page 31).
The motivation for voluntarily submitting oneself: Never does the New Testament remind the woman “that she has been subordinated to the man by the Creator.”
(A) Contrary to the CTRC implication in the above quotation, the woman is reminded to subordinate herself as Christ subordinated himself.
(B) “Order of creation” ideology never is given as the reason for self-submission. The Greek word for “subordination,” as used in the New Testament, is related not to any,”order of creation” theology, but to Christology and soteriology. Note the following chart:
Verse Object Rationale
Luke 2:51 Jesus was subject to his parents
Romans 13:1 Let every person be s. to the governing authorities by the mercies of God (12:1)
Romans 13:5 One must be s. (to the governing authorities) for the sake of conscience
1 Cor. 14:32 spirits of prophets are s. to the prophets for God is…a God…of peace
1 Cor. 16:16 be subject to such…fellow workers for they have refreshed me
Eph. 5:21 be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ
Eph. 5:22 Be subject to your husbands as to the Lord
Col. 3:18 be subject to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord
Titus 2:5 and submissive to their husbands that…Word…not discredited
Titus 2:9 slaves be submissive to their masters that…they may adorn doctrine
Titus 3:1 Remind them to be s. to rulers and authorities for we…once foolish…saved
1 Peter 2:13 Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake
1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be s. to your masters that you follow in (Christ’s) steps
1 Peter 3:1 wives, be s. to your husbands so that they…may be won…
1 Peter 3:5 were s. to their husbands person of heart…precious to God
1 Peter 5:5 you be s. to the elders for God…gives grace
Each time the object of upotasso is specified, with the exception of 1 Corinthians 14:34.
“Submission” is mutual: Frequently, when someone is admonished to “be submissive,” the one to whom the person is to be submissive is also exhorted and reminded of the need to defer from the normal cultural pattern of domination (see also the discussion in Kittel, TDNT, 8, pgs. 39-45).
Verse Object Corresponding Admonition
Romans 13:1 Let every person be s. to the…authorities for he is God’s servant
1 Cor. 16:16 be subject to such…fellow workers devoted to the service of the saints
Eph. 5:21 be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ
Eph. 5:22 Be subject to your husbands husbands, love your wives
Col. 3:18 be subject to your husbands husbands love your wives
Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents Fathers, do not provoke… children
Col. 3:22 Slaves … not with eye service Masters, treat… justly and fairly
Titus 2:5 and submissive to their husbands younger men…control themselves
Titus 2:9 slaves be submissive to their masters (compare Philemon)
1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be s. to your masters (compare Philemon)
1 Peter 3:1 wives, be s. to your husbands Likewise, you husbands live…
1 Peter 5:5 you be s. to the elders So I exhort the elders among you
The purpose of submission is not authority but service:
(A) 1 Peter 2:13-3:6 and 1 Corinthians 9:19-23: to win the other for Christ;
(B) 1 Corinthians 11:11: for mutual care;
(C) 1 Corinthians 7:35: “to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
The dynamic of submission is
(A) “be subject …”: self-initiated, not imposed “from above” (vss 22 and 26: the middle voice of the Greek leaves the initiation for submissive behavior with the wives themselves).
(B) Compare Philippians 2:3-8, Christ’s self-emptying (kenoo).
(C)”[vs 21] …out of reverence for Christ“: the submission is done in obedience to Christ, and is grounded in one’s faith, not in an “order of creation” teaching.
(D)”Mutual submission” and agape inform kephale, not exousia.
“To obey” and “to submit oneself” are not synonyms.
(A) Upotasso does not mean “obey.”
(1) “To obey” means to respond under a required order from a higher authority.
(2) There are three other New Testament words which express “obey” better: peitharxein, peithesthai, and upakouein.
(3) Upotasso does not imply a blind, uncritical acceptance or agreement to the person being submitted to (Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19-20).
(4) “The problem of “upotassomenoi allelois in Eph. v. 21 is to be solved not by attempting to explain away the idea of reciprocity, but by recognizing that upotassesthai here does not mean ‘obey.’ The real meaning of the phrase becomes clear when we compare Rom. xii. 10… and Phil 11. 3 f. … The three phrases, upotassesthai allelois, te time allelous proegeisthai, and allelous egoumenoi uperexontas eauton, would all seem to mean essentially the same thing” (Cranfield, “Some Observations on Romans XIII. 1-7,” pg. 243).
(5) The motive for “submission” or “deference,” then, is an inner one, one’s faith relationship to Christ and through Christ to one’s neighbor.
(6) “A complete and wholehearted submission amounts to giving oneself so completely that one lays down his or her life for the other. This, in fact, is precisely what husbands are told to do in Ephesians 5:21-33. Ironically, this is the passage most frequently used to mandate the wife’s universal and unilateral submission to the husband’s authority over her”(Groothius, Good News for Women, pg. 164).
◆“The word which Paul uses to describe this order –subordination–(The Greek word for subordination is `hypotage, which is formed from the word tasso–to appoint, to order, to arrange, and hypo–under)–does not carry with it any notion of inferior value or oppression. This term is used by Paul simply to refer to order in the relationship of man and woman to one another. St. Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 11:7-9, ‘For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)'” (LCMS’ Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Women in the Church” (Sept. 1985), pg. 23).
The appropriate English referents need to be found for upotasso.
(A) Note the following English definitions of the word “submit”:
(1) “Synonyms: yield, relent, bow, defer, submit, capitulate. These verbs all have a sense of abandoning or retreating from a position or stand. Yield has the widest application. It can refer to giving way for reasons ranging from recognition that one is overmatched to acknowledgment that an adversary’s position is the more correct one … Defer can mean either giving way to authority or changing one’s stand as an act of courtesy, respect, or recognition of another’ s superior knowledge, judgement, or the like. Submit implies giving way out of necessity after opposing unsuccessfully…” (American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language, 1980, pg. 1484).
(2) “Yield: any sort or degree of giving way before force, argument, persuasion, or entreaty… Submit suggests full surrendering after resistance or conflict to the will or control of another….Defer implies a voluntary yielding or submitting out of respect or reverence for or deference and affection toward another…” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, pg. 1368).
(B) The word “subordination” in English clearly implies “inferior, placed in or occupying a lower class, rank, or position” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1989, pg. 1175).
(1) The same source gives no indication that the word can be used as it is defined in CTCR-WIC, pg. 23.
(2) The dictionary definition of “submit” is the least in corresponding to the theological Greek word, ὑποτάσσω. The New Testament understanding is not “giving way out of necessity after opposing unsuccessfully” nor “full surrendering after resistance or conflict to the will or control of another.”
(3) If upotage “does not carry with it any notion of inferior value or oppression” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 23) then careful scholarship asks that we find an English equivalent of the Greek to say what the Greek says. If it does mean “to appoint, to order, to arrange…under,” then we need to use those terms.
(4) As a noun, “order” suggests structure, rigidity. As a verb, “to order,” it implies God’s action and puts the emphasis not on a created structure or ranking but in the Creator who continues to order all existence.
(5) “In fact, the closest thing Paul gives to a definition of the term [upotasso] in the context of Ephesians 5:21-33…is the word ‘respect’ in 5:33, where he plainly summarizes his whole exhortation to wives” (Keener, quoted in Groothius, pg. 164).
(C) The CTCR fails to heed its own understanding of approaching the Scriptures: “The undeniably necessary effort to hear a text of Scripture first of all in its particularity, its meaning ‘then and there,’ must be balanced by an equal effort to hear the text both in its integral relation to all the rest of Scripture and its meaningfulness for all who hear it today. This effort does not require an arbitrary flattening out of the rich variety of the Biblical witness into a dull one-dimensional uniformity” (CTCR, “A Lutheran Stance Toward Contemporary Biblical Studies,” pg. 10).
◆ “Assumption of that office by a woman is out of place because it is a woman [emphasis added] who assumes it, not because women do it in the wrong way or have inferior gifts and abilities” (CTCR-WIC, pg. 36).
“Social structures would disintegrate into anarchy and chaos were mankind to seek to live by a purely egalitarian model of communal life. To conceive the personal dimension as an I/thou fellowship does not imply an egalitarianism that knows no level of authority and obedience, no super- and subordination in society. In fact, in the concrete structures of life, women ought to be subordinate to men as the occasion demands. By the same token men ought to be subordinate to women as the occasion demands. It is not the subordination of some women to some men, but the subordination of all women to all men, because they are women, that constitutes the indefensible thesis, indeed the unscriptural thesis. … Since men and women are equally in the image of God, what is true for one is true for the other [emphasis added]. … Men and women are persons related as partners in life. Hence neither men nor women by nature are born to command or to obey; both are born to command in some circumstances, to obey in others. And the more personal the relationship between them, the less there is of either; the less personal the relationship between them, the more there is of both” (Jewett, Man as Male and Female, pgs. 130-131).
“Just as we do not believe that wifely subjection excludes the wife from loving her husband, we should not believe that husbandly loving excludes the husband from subjection to his wife” (Mollenkott, Women, Men and the Bible, pg. 27).
Mutual submission involves not obedience but reciprocity. Obedience cannot be a synonym for submission; rather in Ephesians 5 “love” seems to be the synonym for “submission” (cf. Groothius, Good News for Women, pgs. 154-155).
◆ “If we admit that Christ has authority over his church, it is crystal clear that man has authority over woman” (Christian News, 23 June 1986).
◆ “As in the husband-wife relationship (the husband the head, the wife the helper), so in the church the same role differences apply” (Tom Trapp, Newsletter of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church’s Campus Ministry).
There is no biblical suggestion in the original context that “head” (from Ephesians 5) and “helper” (from Genesis 2) are opposites.
Titus 2:9 also uses the word submissive: “Bid slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect.” The Gospel has transformed that relationship (consider abolitionist pre-civil war thought!). The same applies to woman: what is the cultural context and similarity for women today? The Scriptures are problem-solving literature, and the Scriptures give divinely inspired examples of problem solving, addressed to special situations and contexts, which must not be read as “eternal principles.”
“The first century Jews understood very clearly that when Jesus claimed to be doing the work of God his Father, he was claiming equality with God. For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18 NIV). And the response of the Father to the voluntary submission of Jesus was immediate exaltation. Because Jesus submitted to death on the cross, ‘therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name’ (Philippians 2:9 NIV). So if we are going to talk about the relationship between the Father and the Son as a model for Christian wives and husbands, we are talking about a model of complete unity and equality, involving only a voluntary submission and a voluntary exaltation which is to be an example for both males and females” (Mollenkott, page 64).
“The instruction, ‘Let everyone be subordinate …’ has been so seriously misunderstood, and then abused, because of the failure to respect the complete context in which both the word hypotassesthai and the other similar invitations to obedience, honor, to humiliation are found. All of these words give expression to an essential mark of Christian relationships to one’s fellow man: in the congregation, in the family and in the city, for brethren, for non-Christians, and also (in political contexts) toward the bearers of power. The call to ‘be subordinate,’ to ‘obey,’ to ‘regard another as higher than oneself’ is addressed to men with regard to their wives and vice versa, slaves toward their masters (and again vice versa, compare Philemon), children toward their parents (and the parents should honor their children by not irritating them), the young toward the old, and the elders toward the congregation which they lead.
“If then one does not regard the imperative, ‘Be subordinate,’ in isolation, it immediately loses the bad taste which the word ‘subject’ has taken on in German history and literature. Hypotassesthai then does not mean playing along at every price, not slavish obedience, not bowing before the throne and altar. It is not the attitude of the loyal citizen in the time of national absolutism. It is rather founded, in accord with an ethical theme which runs clear through the New Testament, in the person and the way of the Lord, who is at the same time the norm and the realization of this self-abasement; cf. 1 Tim. 2:3-7; Titus 3:3-7; 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:21-25, 3:18; Eph. 5:25-27; 4:32-5:2; Phil. 2:5-11; Col 2:18ff; 4:1; Eph. 6:1-9; 1 Cor. 7:20ff; 8:11f; Rom. 14:7ff; 15:3f; Gal. 5:24; 6:2, and many other texts.
“The best-known example, the Christological Psalm of Phil. 2:5ff, grounds the imperative to the church to ‘regard one another as higher than oneself’ by pointing to the self-abasement of the Lord of our salvation. The concrete definition of the meaning of hypotassesthai comes from the crucified and risen Lord who, being free, abased himself for our sake and gave himself for us. Since we receive our life from this deed of this Lord, it is fitting that we subordinate ourselves to one another in a way that corresponds to this gift and this example. The form of love among us is defined by that love which was shown toward us by the Lord who served us and rescued us.
“If on the other hand one understands hypotassesthai in isolation, then one has made of this root word for discipleship a formal and a passive obedience which takes from the ‘subject’ his own arbitrariness. But the blame for this misunderstanding does not belong to the New Testament but to our unbelief, which has made out of the call to freedom and discipleship and the way of the cross an invitation to duck out of danger, to get out of the way, for the benefit of whatever group may be in power…
“If then hypotassesthai (and the other substantially synonymous terms) is in principle a posture ‘befitting’ the gospel of the self-abasing Lord of the world, then it is in every situation a free, extremely aggressive way of acting, taking very clear account of the situation, including feeling and understanding and will, always including the possibility of a spirit-driven resistance, of an appropriate disavowal and a refusal, ready to accept suffering at this or that particular point” (Hamel, “Erwagungen zur unchristlichen Paraenese” (JH Yoder, pgs. 159-161).
To adopt the free act of submission or deference for the Christian is recognition that God has created and redeemed the other and is a sign of parity and fundamental worth with the one to whom one freely submits or defers. Addressed to the subordinate person in the social order, such an address makes of this one a decision maker, assigns renewed responsibility, and makes this one’s service an arena of witness and ministry.
If slaves, then, are to be submissive—and in today’s social context we would argue that slavery is evil—, this injunction regarding women must also be seen in the same light.
(A)When Christians are asked to submit or to defer to another, the theological reason given is never “order of creation,” but Christological or soteriological or doxological. “Order of creation” rationales are never used with upotasso.
(B)The submission or deference of one Christian to another is the “recognition that the other person is the representative of Christ to one, in accordance with Matt. xxv. 40, 45. It is the glad recognition that the other person, as Christ’s representative to one, has an infinitely greater claim upon one than one has upon oneself” (Cranfield, page 243).
(C) God is not setting up or reinforcing a created hierarchy; he is talking about equal relating and equally submitting oneself.
(D)The injunction to be submissive or show deference is always directed to the one under authority, never to the one the person is to subordinate oneself to. For example, in Ephesians 5, wives are counseled to show deference to husbands, but husbands are never told “Subordinate or subjugate your wife.”
(E) Upotasso, in New Testament usage, contains the seed of reciprocity. Pleas to “be submissive” or “to defer” are counterbalanced also by a word to the second party regarding that person’s behavior toward the one giving deference.
(F)“The vast majority of feminists are pleading for the equality of men and women. But the Biblical answer is submission: not the submission of one category of persons to another category, but rather the voluntary and loving submission of each individual to all the others” (Mollenkott, page 32).
(G) Upotasso is a Christian virtue, what one does from faith and not what one does because she is female (or conversely, male). In Ephesians 5 the key is mutual submission (cf. 1 Peter 5:5) of one to the other, as to Christ, recognizing Christ in the other.
(H) Christ is the example of submission (Philippians 2:3-10); here in Ephesians 5 his voluntary humbling is pictured as a model for the Christian husband, not the wife
(I) Upotasso means “to arrange or order one’s life to be of benefit to the other.” Given the reality of Genesis 3:16, the “head” is addressed to take the lead in ordering for the benefit of the other.
(J)Biblical references admonishing women to be subordinate are all in relation to each woman’s individual husband (not to men in general).
◆ “Women must not be permitted to exercise authority over man …” (Ft. Wayne Exegetical Department, 1976, quoted page 200, LCMS’ Pittsburgh Convention Workbook).
(K)The phrasing “women must not be permitted …” violates the sense of the use of upotasso as it is used in Scripture. In the Scriptures it is middle passive, reflexive, what one does to oneself without outward compulsion.
Topic 42: Additional New Testament passages
▬ Ephesians 6:5 ▬
 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters …
Thesis: The Scriptures first must be understood as applied within the original context.
(A) One cannot imagine Paul today addressing these words to any group — or supporting the institution of slavery with such advice.
(B) Proper biblical exegesis and interpretation must first of all see the text in light of the original context, learn the meaning of the biblical Word for that time, and then apply it to today’s situations.
(C) Unless we first “read Paul’s culture” in our exegetical process, we will not correctly interpret when we then “read Paul’s word.”
▬ Philippians 2:7 ▬
 … taking the form of a servant …
Thesis: The Christian ministry and life is not rooted in a hierarchical model, but in the servant self-emptying of the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ. Cf. John 13.
▬ Philippians 4:2-3 ▬
 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  And I ask you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellows workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Thesis: The Scriptures recognize the public ministry of women.
(A) “[vs 3] … labored side by side with” Paul “in the gospel …” suggests a similarity of service.
(B)Paul accepts the prominence and influence of Euodia and Syntyche in the Corinthian congregation.
(C)Their influence was so great he feared their continual disagreement would hurt the community of faith.
(D)”[vs 3] .. labored …”: the verb sunathleo indicates “to contend as an athlete who strains every muscle” in the Gospel’s cause.
▬ Colossians 3:16 ▬
 Let the word of Christ dwell in you [plural] richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Thesis: The Scriptures are consistent in not limiting public functions to one gender.
(A)”[vs 16] … you … teach and admonish one another …”: Paul, again, adds no restriction and does not limit these functions only to males.
(B) All in the congregation are included.
(C)If limiting women were such an important issue, surely Paul would have been careful of his gender language and spoken of limiting women’s service in texts like this.
▬ Colossians 3:18-19 ▬
 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
Thesis: The combined exhortations to both wives and husbands again suggest mutual submission and care.
(A)The context, verses 12 through 17, is addressed to all Christians and exhorts the Christian virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearing one another, forgiveness, and love.
(B)The appeal is not to “the order of creation,” but to what God does in Christ, “as is fitting in the Lord.”
▬ Colossians 4:15 ▬
 … to Nympha and the church in her house.
Thesis: Women are listed by Paul as leaders of the church.
(A) A house church is listed, and a woman is listed as the leader.
(B)Note the struggle over translations:
- (1) King James Version: “and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.”
- (2) Living Bible: “…and to Nymphas, and to those who meet in his home.”
- (3) New King James Version: “..and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.”
▬ 1 Thessalonians 5:12 ▬
 But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.
◆ “The kind of teaching referred to in the passage [1 Timothy 2:12] is tied to exercising authority. The authority forbidden to women here is that of the pastoral office, that is, one who ‘labors in preaching and teaching.’ (1 Tim. 5:17; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12)” (CTCR-WIC, page 35).
Thesis: The phrase, “labors in preaching and teaching” is also used by the Scriptures of women in ministry, contrary to the CTCR implication.
(A) “But insufficient attention has been paid to other words of Paul which indicate that Paul recognized and accepted the leading, ministering function of women in the church. One word in particular points to Paul’s approval of the pastoral work of women. That word, kopiao/kopos, is usually translated “to labor/toil. “Kopiao/kopos …, along with a related word, ergazomai, ‘to work,’ display Paul’s understanding of ministry. K. [sic] is a favorite word of Paul for his own ministry. And k. is a term that Paul applies to the ministry of others, including women. K. represents burden-bearing, suffering service of the gospel which characterizes the ministry of Paul and other Christian workers” (Gerberding, “Women Who Toil in Ministry, Even as Paul” (Concordia Theological Monthly, August 1991, pg. 285).
(B) “Paul chose k. to refer both to his manual labor and to the labor of ministry. 1 Cor. 4:12 refers to the former … But for Paul there is a thin line between labor as manual labor in order that Paul might preach, and labor as actual toil of preaching/evangelizing/pastoring. Paul moves easily from k. as manual labor to the ministerial aspects of his work. Paul often uses k. to refer to his own pastoral work (1 Cor. 3:8, 15:10; 2 Cor. 11:23,27; Gal. 4:11; Phil. 2:16; Col. 1:29; 1 Thess. 3:5)” (Gerberding, page 286).
(C) “If in fact Paul utilizes k. and e. to refer to the ministerial functioning of women, then what is said of other ministers must apply also to these women. In 1 Corinthians 16 Paul urges his sisters and brothers to ‘be subject to such who have devoted themselves to the service of the saints and to every fellow worker and laborer.’ This would mean that Paul’s readers are admonished to be subject to those women in their midst serving as ministers” (Gerberding, page 288).