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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.