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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.