THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH?
The WAY magazine (January-February-March edition, 1998)
INTRODUCTION by Keith Hunt:
Among the Sabbath/Festival of God observing Churches,
there has been THREE large important doctrinal debates in
the last 30 years. Two have been over "church government"
and "the calendar." The third debate is over the role of
women in the church. I have written in the past quite
extensively on this topic, yet it is needful for me to comment
on the following points and arguments of the article below
that appeared in The Way publication. This will be a long
study, but a necessary one as we search the Scriptures for the
truth of the matter. I will comment and expound where I feel it
is needed as we slowly proceed through the following article.
Should A Woman Be
Speak in Services?
Dale D. Carmean and Jack M. Lane
The controversy continues about this subject. On the one
hand, there are those who say a woman's place is to keep silent
in the church, and be under subjection, pointing to a number of
scriptures which seem to say so. On the other hand, there are
many people who don't see any problem with allowing women to
fully participate in services, even teaching! Is it true that the
Greek Scriptures say something substantially different than what
the English translations say? Who is right? Can we know?
Of the many hot topics being discussed by members of God's
ekklesia today, one of the hottest seems to be the controversy
over exactly what a woman's role during church services might be!
No one doubts that the female member of the Body of Christ
has many important and valuable functions to perform: help meet
for her husband, mother of her children, friend of others in the
ekklesia, and support functions too numerous to mention.
The Bible plainly states that women have, in the past,
served as prophets (Luke 2:36; Acts 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11:5),
and even ministers (see next article), helping powerful
evangelists to better learn the Way (Acts 18:24-28). Women are
also destined to serve again as prophets in the end times (Acts
Yet, there is little in the Greek scriptures that would
indicate that any woman ever took on the duties of congregation
leader (pastor or elder) or teacher in any of the New Testament
congregations. From what we see in scriptures, there was
apparently a set role that women were to take in the
congregation, just as there are roles which men must take in the
The function of "teacher" of the Scriptures within the Body of
Christ, was evident, from the example of Priscilla as recorded in
the book of Acts. So also the example of Philip's four daughters,
who are classified as giving "prophecy" (Acts 21). Obviously
they did "teach" but it is true as pointed out above that there
is no NT proof these women were ever "ordained" to the Eldership,
that they ever functioned as congregational pastors or elders.
I have covered this situation quite thoroughly in part one of
this study. End comment.
WOMEN IN SOCIETY
Most of us are aware that the role of women in our society
has changed dramatically over the past hundred years or so. Many
historians and sociologists point to World War I as the turning
point in our western society. The bulk of an entire generation of
young men went to war and never came back. There was such
enormous bloodshed during the Great War of 1914-1918 that
horrified statesmen and men of influence insisted that war must
come to an end. The Great War needed to be the "war to end all
wars!" The League of Nations was formed with the intent of
establishing world peace, but it failed in its task, collapsing
under the looming storm clouds of World War II.
Let's look at some of the sociological factors that were
involved as a result of this first Great War. With such a large
reduction in the number of men in society during and after World
War 1 more women had to carry the weight of responsibility in
feeding and caring for their families. With women's increased
responsibility and social contact came the desire for increased
interaction as fully functioning members of society, and the
movement supporting women's right to vote became a burning issue
of the day in the United States. With the passage of the Women's
Suffrage Act in 1920, women at last became voting equals with men
as citizens and members of society. At least, that was the ideal.
During World War II, as another generation of men was
drafted and sent off to war, someone was needed to run the
factories to produce the weapons of war, and again the women
came to the aid of their countries. "Rosie the Riveter," a
fanciful female American steelworker, became the world's ideal
for women getting out there and working hard to support their men
in uniform, so we could win the war.
Following World War II, when the fighting men and women came
back to their place in the work force, it became difficult for
women to simply disappear back into their traditional mold. It
became apparent that, not only was the world freed from the
terror of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, but our women had also
found that they could, indeed, work as hard as men and produce as
much output, and earn livings right alongside the men. Not only
was the world freed, but our women found that they were also
freed from the old mold!
During the decades following World War 2, massive upheavals
in western civilization took place. Today we see women taking an
increasingly responsible role in running the affairs of business
and government. However, at the same time more and more men are
finding it difficult, if not impossible, to find gainful
employment with enough salary to support a family, thanks in part
to the increased competition for available jobs.
Today, in our emancipated society, our girls go through
school and on into college right alongside our boys, and our
women go out and compete equally with our men for jobs. At the
same time, we see many of our young women no longer looking
forward to raising a family as a primary goal in their lives, but
rather setting career goals and acquiring material possessions.
The American ideal, along with the ideals of other Western
nations, is that no person is superior to anyone else because of
their race, religion. or sex. Such is the society in which we
find ourselves today.
Today, amid this backdrop of social equality, we must
attempt to determine where our women fit into our religious
practices, and how we can utilize the talents they bring to
church services without violating God's commands in the Bible
regarding women in the ekklesia.
DEFINING THE DEBATE
There are two major viewpoints among church people regarding
the role of women. Both perspectives deal with whether a woman
may participate in church services, or in what way a woman may
participate. Both sides bring in scriptural evidence to support
their claims. The difference is mainly in how people of each
viewpoint read the scriptures.
The traditional view is that women do not have any role at
all in leading services or in sermonizing, although few people
object to a woman singing along with hymns or performing a
musical offering as a soloist. We might look on this as the
"conservative" point of view.
The other outlook, which we might think of as being more
"liberal," would allow women to have full participation in
services, including making presentations or leading Bible
A more excessive aspect of this second viewpoint would
permit a woman to pastor a congregation. but that's not within
the scope of this article. We're examining the issue of whether
a woman should be allowed to speak during services, or teach a
lesson. (We might mention in passing, though, that none of our
editors believes that women ought to take on the role of church
pastor or religious leader, although we have seen it done in
extreme circumstances, when it has been necessary.)
I'm not at all sure if by what is stated in this article, the
idea is being taught that women can lead in church services with
"teaching" in sermonette type speeches or discords, although they
state above that none of their editors believe that women should
function in the role of pastor or religious leader. Paul nor any
other writer of the NT ever addresses the subject of women being
ordained to the Eldership and pastorship of congregations. As
other writers on this subject have seen, Paul, in giving Timothy
and Titus instructions as for the qualifications for the
Eldership, so gives some instruction that would only apply to
It would seem that in the NT church, the issue of women ever
becoming part of the Eldership/Pastor function of congregations
and the Church of God, was a "none" issue.
The Jewish mind would naturally not conceive the idea, and
neither Jesus or the Holy Spirit ever led them to think
otherwise. But the subject of whether women could "teach" in a
sermonette/sermon type discord when the "church was come
together" is addressed by Paul. And is the subject of this
article and my comments. End comment.
Two passages of scripture appear more frequently than any
others in the discussion of this topic. Let's review these
Paul wrote to the Corinthian congregation, "Let your women
keep silence in the churches [Greek ekklesia]: for it is not
permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under
obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any
thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for
women to speak in the church [ekklesia]" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35,
To the evangelist Timothy, Paul wrote, "Let the woman learn
in silence with all subjection. But l suffer not a woman to
teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in
silence" (I Timothy 2:11-12, KJV).
For many people, that constitutes a clear "Thus saith the
Lord" on the subject. Women are not to speak during church
services, and are to remain silent.
But there are some problems involved -- not with Paul, or
with what he wrote, but with our understanding of what Paul
actually wrote, which then leads to misunderstandings about what
One problem arises when husbands accept this "husband as
absolute ruler, woman as subservient" concept, and carry it home
with them, so that the wives are expected to keep silent
at home, as well! Fortunately, that doesn't take place in all
homes. Another problem comes from the idea that women are
inferior, intellectually or otherwise, and have no business
trying to use their brain power in the "man's world" of preaching
Those men or husbands who would take the comment of Paul home
with them, really do have a problem of both reading and vain
authority. Paul was speaking in a "church" context, "when you
come together" (1 Cor.11:18 through to chapt.14:26 and end of
chapter). We have seen (in part one) that women like Priscilla
did not keep silent and did teach the word to others, even to
men, OUTSIDE of "when you come together." They did teach outside
of the setting of official church services.
In Paul's mind, the teaching and guidance of the congregation
"when they come together" in official church services was to be
looked upon as pastoring the flock of God, and to him that was
part of the qualifications of those qualified men (not all men
were qualified either, otherwise there would be no need for
having qualifications for Eldership) who had been called and
chosen to pastorship of the flock of God. In Paul's mind and
from his clear statement to Timothy, that function of the church
was not given to women, who had been created different than men.
This difference of mind between men and women, has come to notice
in many scientific studies in the last 20 years, and has been
shown on many TV news programs during the 90's. But many still
will not admit to this now proven fact. End comment.
So we need to ask some specific questions: What does Paul
mean when he says "speak," "silence," "subjection," or "in the
ekklesia"? Are women to remain absolutely silent, not singing,
not allowed to cough, or to comfort or discipline their children?
Most people would be quick to say, "Well, of course that's not
what it means."
Then, what does it mean "to speak" -- does Paul mean any act
of vocalization, or does he mean making a formal, prepared
presentation? Where in the law does it say women are to be silent
during church services? Why must they ask their husbands at home
in order to learn anything - did Paul consider women to be too
dense to understand what the teacher is saying when he is saying
Why would it be a shame for a woman to speak in the
assembly? What does "in the church" mean --during an assembly of
the ekklesia, or every minute of her life after she is
baptized? Does it mean during "formal church services" but not
during Bible studies or open forums? Why should women be
subjected into Silence, and how is vocalizing usurping authority?
We need to understand that Paul was not violating other
principles he had already established. He had written in another
place that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither
bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all
one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's
seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:28-29). On
another occasion he wrote, "...there is neither Greek nor Jew,
circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor
free: but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11). These
passages tend to make it sound as if Paul was actually in favor
of equality among all the members, so that no distinctions were
drawn between Christians from various races or backgrounds, or
from either sex. This doesn't match with the idea that women are
to be treated virtually as inferiors.
Yet, on the other hand, those who wish to have women
participate fully in services, with no restrictions on speaking
or leading, may in fact be violating Paul's apparently clear
commands quoted earlier. If that's the case, there may he
problems with the more liberal viewpoint, as well.
As is often the case, the truth of the matter may very well
lie somewhere in the middle. It's possible that both of the
extremes are wrong. We always encourage our readers to examine
all the facts before making up their minds. With that in mind,
we need to seek a greater understanding of these scriptures, to
help us answer these questions.
Whichever side of this debate anyone may favor, the most
important thing we can do is to examine our own motives, deep
down inside, and determine if we are truly set to accept God's
will on a matter, and do as His word teaches. If that is not our
true motivation, we may find that we are merely attempting to
further our own agenda, or put our own interpretation of
scripture on an equal footing with what God wants us to do. If
that's the case, we need to stop and make sure our motivation is
pure. If it isn't, this will demonstrate to God that we are still
weak in our human condition. Our main motivation must always be
to serve and please God! Once we have that straight, we can
proceed with our studies, no matter what the subject matter
To the last sentences I add my Amen. A love of the truth, a
hunger and thirst after truth and righteousness, a desire to be
willing to be corrected, and to want the Lord to lead us into all
truth through the Spirit, is the heart of the matter. Only with a
respectful fear and trembling before the Word of God will we be
humble enough for the Almighty to lead us into truth, and a
growing in the grace and knowledge of our Savior Christ Jesus.
A WOMAN'S ROLE IN ANCIENT SOCIETY
We need to go back still further in time to get a better
overall picture of how women fit into various cultures throughout
history. "A woman's place" during most of human history has
been a place of subjugation, second class citizen status, or that
of a piece of property which can be bought and owned. The concept
of a woman having any kind of "rights" would be laughable
to men of many past generations. It might be difficult for us to
place ourselves mentally into that type of setting, but doing so
will help us to understand just how it was that this new sect of
Christianity, this new Way of life, differed so radically from
the way people had been accustomed to living.
The Apostle Paul wrote his general epistles to
congregations of believers living in Gentile areas of the Roman
Empire. The secular Roman/Grecian culture of the day was
strongly influenced by the pagan philosophers, primarily Socrates
(470-399 B.C.), Plato (427-347 B.C.), and Aristotle (38~322
B.C.). Socrates taught, for example, that in every regard women
were "the weaker sex," and that being a woman was a punishment,
since women were halfway between being animal and human. (It
might be interesting to learn what kind of women were in
Socrates' life --what his mother was like, or his sisters, or his
wife, etc. for him to have developed such a strong dislike
toward half the human race!)
In the Greek culture of that time, the men loved to get
together and discuss philosophy, or go to sporting events, while
the women stayed behind, never being allowed to venture out of
the house very far. Social, cultural and educational
opportunities for women were very limited. Aristotle furthered
the notion of sexual inequality with comments such as these:
"The courage of a man is shown in commanding, of a woman in
obeying." "The difference between husband and wife is like that
of a man's soul and his body, as the soul is meant to command the
arms and legs."
Later, the philosopher Zeno (335-265 B.C.) objected to how
men used women so freely for recreational purposes. He was not
concerned with the plight of women, but rather that men were in
this way distracted from the more pure and preferred pursuit of
Zeno's followers became known as the stoa poikite (or
painted colonnade) in the marketplace in Athens, which was
apparently the spot from which Zeno chose to teach. The
Stoics became champions of celibacy and restraint. Women were
considered a distraction and a temptation to men.
By the time of Christ, the well-known Jewish philosopher
Philo (15 B.C. - 50 A.D.), a resident of Alexandria, Egypt, was
attempting to bring Jewish thought more in line with the
Hellenistic world in which they lived, and his writings combined
aspects of Plato with biblical subjects. Philo also taught a
disdain of womanhood along the lines of the Greek philosophers'
teachings. Later, Josephus, the Jewish historian, continued in
the same vein, although the well known Jewish sage Gamaliel, who
appears briefly in the Bible (Acts 5:34; 22:3), apparently did
not concur with the negative view of womanhood.
An interesting historical note about Philo: He believed
that God was completely removed from the affairs of men -- an
unknowable God. He postulated a second God, who would be an
intermediary between the unknowable God and His creation. Philo
named this intermediary "Logos." Of course, we know that the
Greek word logos means "word," or "spoken utterance," and
is translated so in John 1:1. However, Philo interpreted this
Logos to be the sum total of the eternal thoughts and ideas, and
the creative power, that had gone into creating the universe. It
looks as if the influence of Philo's writings and teachings
reached into the New Testament church, because Paul confirmed
that it is Christ who is the mediator between God and man (1
Timothy 2:5). John later wrote in the beginning of his gospel
that the Logos was, indeed, the One who had created all things
and had come down from heaven as a human (John 1:1-14).
To think that the NT writers got true theological ideas from
Philo is to me "far out man" just far out. More likely it was
Philo who was influenced by Christianity as he lived until
50 A.D. Then again, there were Jewish concepts of the Godhead
that were not that far removed from the truth, as Christianity
was at first a Jewish religion, I mean Jesus was a Jew from the
tribe of Judah, and they did have the sacred OT Scriptures where
the truth of God is proclaimed and recorded. End comment.
From the first century A.D. forward, there was a tendency
among leaders in the increasingly apostate Christian church to
interpret scripture according to the Greek viewpoint, es-
pecially in the budding Roman Catholic Church, and later in its
Protestant descendants. In the 13th century, for example, Thomas
Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.) systematized the religious beliefs
of his church and brought them into a closer harmony with ancient
Greek ideals, including the negative view of womanhood. He and
later theologians thus interpreted Paul's writings according
to this world view.
All that may well be true to a point, but what Paul wrote is
Scripture, inspired by the Spirit of the Lord, and must be
understood in the light of all Scripture, letting the Bible
interpret itself and putting scripture with scripture. Greek
ideas, viewpoints, philosophy must be discarded.
And what man has to say about what Paul said, must also be taken
with a grain or a bag of salt. End comment.
Readers of "The WAY" are aware that the King James Version
of the Bible is not the pure and authoritative English
translation we had been led to believe that it was. Rather, King
James himself, and his politics, directly influenced the
translators. History shows that, not only were variant
translations in the margin not allowed by King James, but all
other English translations (Wycliffe, Geneva, Coverdale, the
Great Bible, etc.) were destroyed by fire, along with some of
the people who owned them and refused to give them up! The
majority of English language thought on the Bible and religious
matters since that time has leaned heavily on the King James
Version. The KJV was the primary translation of the Worldwide
Church of God under Herbert Armstrong. Therefore it's only
natural that some of the KJV's biases crept into his religious
thought and, as a result, into ours.
Mistakes are evident in the KJV, not a few, but no major truth or
doctrine of the Eternal is corrupted by that translation. There
are just too many passages and verses on all of the Lord's
important truths and doctrines in the NT, for any group of
scholars (including those of King James) to try to deliberately
tamper with in order to secretly try to foster their particular
teaching on such as we are studying here. They would have to
re-write the entire NT if not the whole Bible to successfully
attain their clandestine plan. And the KJV scholars never came
close to doing that - rewriting the Bible. The so-called plot of
King James is in the main a fabrication of some person's mind and
imagination, as they were dreaming some nightmare.
And I well remember articles being published in the early
editions of the Plain Truth (back in the 60's) that showed some
of the errors of the KJV. Certainly at that time and way before,
Herbert Armstrong and the theology College he founded, had at
their disposal copies of the Greek NT just as other theology
schools had. Any in-correct teaching on the part of HWA and the
WCG in those days, was not because of the King James Version of
the Bible. End comment.
This brief tour through history may help us to see how our
own view of womanhood may be skewed because of what came before
us, and even by our own trusted Bibles concealing the truth
rather than revealing it! We're not going to suggest that the KJV
says "black" when it should have said "white," but we need to
come to a deeper understanding of some of these verses by
examining them more closely. When we note that women in the first
century assembly were treated differently than they had been
either in the Jewish synagogue or in Hellenistic society, that
tends to point out the discrepancy in our current understanding.
The women of the ekklesia were apparently treated better than
they were elsewhere, which may also have resulted in the large
number of righteous women mentioned in many scriptures.
We can see women in the Church of God in the first century were
treated with much more dignity and respect simply by the way
Christ Himself treated them. Hence His perfect example would have
been followed and taught by the apostles to everyone, in sermons,
teachings, and in living the example that Jesus set for everyone.
So it should be no secret nor should it be hard to find this
truth in the pages of the NT. All this still does not negate
the truth of what Paul was inspired to write about the role and
the place of "to teach or not to teach" for women, when the
church was to come together into one place (1 Cor.11:20). End
A NEW AND DIFFERENT WAY
Paul and the other apostles and disciples came preaching,
not just about Jesus and salvation, but about a new Way of life!
Coming into the fellowship meant not only giving up a life of
sin, but also re-thinking the meaning and purpose of life. A wife
was elevated from the status of a slave, an animal, or an
inferior life form, to a fully functioning partner -- a help meet
for her husband, and co-heirs together of the grace of life
(1 Peter 3:7).
What is a "help meet"? The term has often been mispronounced
as "help-mate." This tells part of the story, but a fuller
understanding of the role of the wife is needed, and Paul was
there to teach that new Way.
The truth of the Eternal had always been there. It was some of
the religious leaders of Judaism that had perverted and twisted
and forgotten it. Jesus came and swept away the falsehood, and
then the Spirit was given to clean the mind and renew the truth
that was always there in God's word, as to the "why" and the
"role" of the creation of women in the structure of marriage, the
family, the church congregation, and personal salvation. The
truth had always been there as to the liberty that every woman
had in telling others (men and women, and all who would listen)
about the wonderful ways of the Lord and His truths.
This is clearly evident in the Gospels with the examples of the
prophetess Anna, the woman at the well in Samaria, and others we
have discussed fully in part one of this topic. Paul introduced
no new theology, only conformation as to the truth already
understood in Israel as to the role and function that women were
to practice in the church when it "came together into one place."
If we look back to Genesis, we can read the term: "And the
LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I
will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground
the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of
the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call
them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that
was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to
the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for
Adam there was not found an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18-
The word "meet" used in this sense is an obsolete word, no
longer in use in today's English. It means "fitting," or
"appropriate." The phrase "help meet" simply means a suitable or
appropriate helper. The phrase is translated from the Hebrew
'ezer' (Strong's #5828), which in these two verses is translated
"help meet" in the KJV, but the other 19 times it appears in
Scripture it is translated simply as "help." Eve was a suitable,
appropriate help for Adam, in the context that all the other life
forms existed as male and female.
Paul's writings emphasize that, in Christ, there is no need
for the separations that existed between people of various races,
nationalities, status in life, or even the social barriers that
existed between genders. There is no reason, in Christ, to "put
down" another member of the assembly because of being a Jew,
slave, barbarian -- or a woman. Christianity brought a new
meaning to the idea of the wife as an appropriate helper. Truly,
this was a new and different Way!
It was a new and different way only in respect to the false
teachings, customs, and practices of the Pharisees, who in many
ways had rejected the commandments of God (as Jesus told
them) to hold to their traditions and man made ideas (many
towards women). It was a new and different way only in respect
to the wrong false practices and mind-set of the Gentile
nations towards women. It was not new in respect to how the
Eternal had always, from the beginning, established how women
should function in marriage, in motherhood, in raising
children, in their personal relationship with their God, in
sharing with others the word of their Lord, and in the role they
were to take when the church "comes together."
What this article is now going to zero in on, amounts to about
ONE to TWO HOURS a week (if the church calls for an official
congregational "come together in one place" Bible study each
week, maybe a total of Three hours, or a little more) and as I
have shown before in part one, this amount of time is very small
indeed when we compare it with all the other hours of the week
that every women has, to freely teach the word of the Lord to
others as led by the Spirit of Christ. Let us try to keep it all
in proper perspective. End comment.
GOING BACK TO THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGES
What about the verses we quoted earlier in this article,
indicating that women had little or no part in the life of the
ekklesia? We can derive a greater understanding of the words
quoted in the New Testament scriptures by going back to the Greek
and examining them in more detail.
We must remember that, no matter which translation of the
Bible we use, it's only a translation! We can often gain more
understanding of what was meant in any given passage by
consulting the original languages. Is it possible that there
might be subtle shades of meaning which have been lost, or at
least concealed, because of the improper translation of the Greek
thought? As we have seen in other word studies, this is exactly
Is it really exactly the case? Did the KJV translators try to
hide something so women could be "kept under" and so men would
run the show in church services? Or was it from the beginning
God's intent and directive that men should lead in the "teaching"
during official congregational worship services? End comment.
1 Timothy 2
Let's consider the well known verse used to forbid women
to have any vocal part in any teaching taking place on Sabbaths:
"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority
over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:12, KJV).
Let's begin by defining who is being discussed in this
passage. Notice the context: "First of all, then, I urge that
entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on
behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in
order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness
and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our
Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the
knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator
also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:1-5,
Each of the words "man" and "men" emphasized above are
translated from the Greek word anthropos (Strong's #444), which
primarily means any human being, not just the males. We could
restate this passage to say that prayers could be made on behalf
of everyone, that God desires all people to be saved, and there
is a mediator between God and mankind, the human Jesus Christ.
These would all be satisfactory translations of anthropos.
A change takes place in the Greek, though, which is lost on
the English language readers. Notice verse 8: "Therefore I want
the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without
wrath and dissension." This time, "men" is translated from
another Greek word, aner (Strong's #435), which has the meaning,
not just of mankind in general, but more specifically of the
husbands! The word is used to denote the man rather than the
woman, and an adult male rather than a juvenile male.
The word "aner" is used for the MALE, not just "husband." You can
see this in the Englishman's Greek Concordance, where every place
is listed where it is used in the NT.
Yet, the writers of this article lead you to their thinking by
saying, "but more specifically of the husbands." Is it only the
husbands and not the wives that are to pray lifting up holy
hands? Can the wives(if we are to take this word to mean
husbands) never pray in a family setting at home? No other verse
in the entire Bible comes close to teaching such an idea.
They will tell you later that when the Greek words for woman and
man used here are in close proximity to each other, we are to
understand them to mean "husband" and "wife."
So, in verses 9-10, is it only wives that this adorning applies
to? And at home to boot! Are the single women and widows
excluded! No! This instruction for women in verses 9 and 10
applies to ALL women, not just wives. So also the instruction in
verse 8 is for MEN not "husbands" only. And in the context of
all men and all women in congregational worship services, Paul
was instructing Timothy that it was the "men" (married, single,
divorced, widower) who should pray, and that women (married,
single, divorced, widow) should dress modestly (not as if going
to some fancy dress ball with the Queen of England) and
especially with the attitude of good works, true humble
Christianity. End comment.
But does this mean that only the husbands are to pray? Let's
continue: "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper
clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold
or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works,
as befits women making a claim to godliness. Let a woman quietly
receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not
allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to
remain quiet" (verses 9-12).
Here, the word "woman" is translated from gune (Strong's
#1135), and can mean "women" in general, but in proximity to the
word aner (husband), it can only mean "wife." "Man" in verse 12
is again translated from aner.
There it is; the two words when in proximity, then "gune" can
only mean "wife." But who says? Where is the "thus says the
Lord" on that bit of grammar? Where is the Bible verse
that tells you that rule of speech - in English or Greek? End
A note on language usage: When aner and gune are used in the
same context, the proper translation would not be "man" and
"woman," but rather "husband" and "wife."
We have seen that the context and LOGIC of verses 8 to 10 would
disprove that idea. Besides that, the Greek language did have
other words for the specific understanding of "husband" - "wife."
Paul could have used those words. Or, He could have said "the
married man" and "the married woman" (such language he used in 1
Cor.7) to make sure Timothy and everyone reading his letter would
have no doubt that he was in this section only referring to the
married. End comment.
Often, at the end of wedding ceremonies, we can hear the
familiar phrase: "I now pronounce you man and wife." This is a
mixture of definitions. The preacher might better pronounce them
to be "husband and wife." It's evident that they are a man and a
woman. The preacher would probably never pronounce them to be
"husband and woman." But "man and wife," although incorrect, has
become acceptable in our language.
To be Continued