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Women's Role in the Church #8

Women and Church Office #1


by the late Dr.Samuele Bacchiocchi



     How does the headship-subordination principle, examined in
our previous chapter, relate to the role of women in the church?
Does this principle allow women to function as pastors or elders
of the congregation? These questions receive only a limited
treatment in the New Testament, presumably because only in a few
instances did the question arise about the role women should fill
in Christian congregations. The two major passages which relate
to these questions are 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1 Corinthians
14:33b-36. In view of their fundamental importance, much
investigation has been conducted recently into their meaning and
relevance for today.


     This chapter represents a fresh attempt to re-examine the
meaning and contemporary relevance of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1
Corinthians 14:33b-36 in the light of contemporary research. No
attempt will be made to interact directly with all the current
literature, although those familiar with it will recognize my
responses to major positions.
     The specific aim is to ascertain the teaching of these two
crucial texts within the context of Paul's thought and of the
customs of his day. This study will form the basis for
considering the relevance of these passages for our contemporary
situation. Obviously the conclusions will not please everyone.
The most that can be hoped is that most readers will recognize
the effort not to violate the integrity and authority of these
two passages of Scripture.




1. Importance and Applicability of the Passage   

Importance of Passage. 

     In the contemporary debate over the role of women in the
church, one passage has polarized interpreters more than any
others. This passage is 1 Timothy 2:11-15, which says:

     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.

     The significance of this passage lies in the fact that it
addresses specifically the question of the role of women within
the church. Thus, it is not surprising that this passage has been
examined at great length by evangelicals who oppose or limits 1
or support the full participation of women in the ministry of the
church. 2 Usually, the view taken by an author on this passage
reflects his or her views on the role of women in the church and
vice versa.

The Purpose of 1 Timothy. 

     Before examining the specific instructions given by Paul in
this passage, it is appropriate to consider whether such
instructions were intended exclusively for the local situation
existing at Ephesus or inclusively for the church at large. To
answer this question we must look first of all at the overall
purpose of the epistle.
     It is generally agreed that 1 Timothy was written to counter
the sinister influence of certain false teachers upon the church
of Ephesus. The exact nature of the erroneous teaching is not
defined by Paul, but apparently it included speculations about
"genealogies" (1:4), prohibition of marriage and abstention from
certain foods (4:3). The result of such a teaching was that some
of the members had "wandered away into vain discussion" (1:6).
Concerned over the disruptive influence of these false teachings
in the life of the church, Paul wrote to Timothy, his delegated
representative, giving him instructions on how to order and
direct the life of a Christian congregation:

     I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these
     instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know
     how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is
     the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the
     truth (3:14-15).

     The precise wording used here by Paul indicates that he
considered his instructions to be normative beyond the local
situation of the Ephesus church. The impersonal verb "dei" ("one
ought") generally emphasizes a strong necessity, usually deriving
from a divinely established moral obligation. 3 Similarly the
present infinitive form "anastrephesthai" ("to behave"), which
takes no person or number, suggests a general rather than a
restricted application.
     James Hurley rightly points out that "Paul did not say,
'Timothy, here is how you personally ought to behave.' He
deliberately said that he wished Timothy to know 'how one ought
to conduct himself in God's household." 4 Paul's use of this
generic language indicates a general application of the
instructions contained in 1 Timothy. This conclusion is also
supported by the fact that Paul's explicit purpose is to give
advice on how to order and direct not merely the church at
Ephesus, but "the church of the living God, the pillar and
bulwark of the truth" (3:15). The implication is clear. Whatever
is said about church order in the epistle applies to the
universal church.

Only Local Applicability? 

     In spite of the obviously general stated purpose, numerous
recent writers have argued that the instructions given in 1
Timothy, especially those regarding women, ought to be understood
as relevant only to that particular time and occasion. David
Scholer, for example, concludes:

     Therefore, 1 Timothy should be understood as an occasional
     ad hoc letter directed specifically toward enabling Timothy
     and the church to avoid and combat the false teachers and
     teaching in Ephesus. This false teaching appealed strongly
     to women and led them so astray that traditional values of
     marriage and the home were seriously violated.... 1 Timothy
     2;9-15 should be understood as a unified paragraph on the
     place of women in the church in Ephesus. It provided
     instructions for and was limited to a particular situation
     of false teachings. 5

     The efforts expended to detect local circumstances behind
Paul's instructions, especially regarding the proper demeanor of
Christian women in the worship service, are motivated by the
assumption that if the presence of local circumstances can be
demonstrated, then the instructions in question are not
universally applicable. This assumption is obviously faulty. The
fact that a particular teaching was occasioned by local
circumstances does not per se negate the normative nature of such
a teaching. Paul's teaching that "a man is not justified by the
works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ" (Gal 2:16) is
not regarded as lacking universal validity because it was
occasioned by a specific Judaizing heresy which attracted the
Galatians. The general applicability of virtually any Biblical
command could be negated simply by arguing that there are
possible local circumstances behind it. 

Four Helpful Criteria. 

     To determine the extent of applicability  of a Biblical
teaching or command, four major criteria are helpful: 6

(1) Are the circumstances which occasioned the instruction apt to
recur? In the case of the passage in question, we may ask, Is
there a temptation for some "emancipated" women today, as in
Paul's time, to forsake "domestic roles such as raising children
in order to assume such prominent roles in congregational life as
teaching"? 7 
(2) Is the basis for a command or teaching a local, temporary
situation or a general principle? In the case of 1 Timothy
2:11-15, did Paul base his command on the local problems caused
by emancipated women or on the order of creation?
(3) Is the same teaching or command given in other situations? If
so, one can safely infer that such a teaching is meant to have a
broader application. In the case of 1 Timothy 2:11-15, similar
instructions can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 and 14:34-35.
(4) Does the author indicate a general or limited applicability
of his teaching? In the passage in question Paul does not
restrict the prohibition of exercising improper roles in the
church only to certain libertarian women, but to women in
general. As Susan T. Foh observes: "There is no mention of false
teaching, no word of correction in 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Paul says
that women should not teach or exercise authority over men,
period. There are no conditions attached which would allow
exceptions to Paul's command." 8

General Applicability. 

     Even a cursory reading of 1 Timothy suffices to see that the
instructions given by Paul were meant not merely for the local
church at Ephesus, but for the Christian church at large. While
the epistle was occasioned by the disruptive influence of certain
false teachers (1:3-6; 6:3-5), Paul's concern is not to launch a
detailed rebuttal of their false teaching, but rather to explain
to the congregation, its leaders, and to Timothy himself, how
Christians ought to live godly lives in the face of unhealthy
teachings and a depraved pagan environment. 
     The general applicability of 1 Timothy is evident especially
in the nature of the subjects discussed. The opening chapter
discusses the perverted use of the law by false teachers, the
proper use of the law to develop character, the work of Christ
and the challenge to Timothy to exercise competent leadership.
The second deals with prayers for rulers and worship procedures
for men and women. The third and fourth chapters discuss the
qualifications for church leaders and practical suggestions for a
more earnest ministry. The fifth and sixth chapters explain how
Timothy should function in relation to old and young members,
widows, elected elders, false teachers, and worldly riches
The topics discussed are not culturally relative, although they
are addressed within the context of the culture of Paul's time.
Any attempt to reduce the instructions of 1 Timothy to local and
temporary applicability cannot be legitimately supported from the
intent of the letter itself.  
2. Modesty and Submissiveness

Prayer and Modesty. 

     The first part of 1 Timothy 2 deals with prayer and modesty.
After urging that prayers be made "for all men," especially "for
kings and all who are in high positions" (2:1-2), Paul turns to
discuss how "men should pray," namely, by "lifting holy hands
without anger or quarrelling" (2:8). This comment reminds us of
Psalm 24:3-4 where David affirms that only "he who has clean
hands and a pure heart" shall stand in the holy place. Paul was
concerned that men would not mar their prayers by "anger and
     Paul then expresses his concern for women, saying: "I desire
also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in
seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearl or costly
attire but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion"
     Paul's call for a high standard of modesty in dress and hair

adornment is obviously not culturally relative. What may be
culturally are some of the examples given: "braided hair or gold
or pearls or costly attire" (2:9). It is noteworthy that numerous
Jewish and pagan texts also favor modesty and reject extravagant
external adornment, arguing that the real adornment of a women
should be her inner beauty. 9

(Now Dr.Sam would like to believe the "braided hair, gold, pearls
and costly clothes" was a local culture; Dr.Sam was a SDA
minister, and the SDA church teaches such things to wear is wrong
- not godly. The truth of "women's adornment" and the truth of
this passage is expound in detail on this website. Also to
remember is that God's word is not understood by the teachings of
Jewish writing or pagan writing or practices. God's word stand on
its own feet - Keith Hunt)

Adornment and Insubordination. 

     Ostentatious external adornment apparently expressed a
woman's independence from her husband. David Scholer concludes
his analysis of numerous texts regarding women's adornment and
dress in the Jewish and GrecoRom cultures, by saying:

     More important, in virtually all the Jewish and pagan texts,
     the rejection of external adornment was part of a woman's
     submission to her husband and a recognition of her place
     among men in general. Using external adornments such as
     pearls, gold, jewelry, hair styling and expensive,
     provocative clothing indicated two undesirable
     characteristics -- material extravagance and sexual
     infidelity. 10

(Again, this is from Jewish and pagan texts, which have nothing
to do with proving what the truth of God's word says on the
subject. The truth of the matter on outward adornment you will
find in studies on this website - Keith Hunt)

     The connection between a woman's modest adornment and her
submission to her husband is also suggested by Peter's double
exhortation that wives be submissive to their husbands and that
they be modest in their adornment (1 Pet 3:1-4). 

(The truth of 1 Peter 3:1-4 is found in my studies on "Women's
Adornment" on this website - Keith Hunt)

     Some argue that there is a progression of thought from
Paul's concern for women's immodest dress (vv.9-10), which
expressed insubordination, to his injunction that women be
submissive and silent in public worship (vv.11-12). The
conclusion drawn from this is that it was not women in general
that Paul prohibited to teach in the church, but only those women
in the church in Ephesus who were indecently dressed. As Philip
Payne puts it, "For such indecently clad women to teach in the
church would bring the gospel into contempt." 11

(The problem with all this reasoning is that it is founded on a
false premise - ladies wearing costly attire, gold, pearls,
braided hair etc. is SIN, and is WRONG for a Christian woman to
so do, so some teach, which teaching is incorrect - Keith Hunt)

     This argument may be right in suggesting the existence of an
underlying unity between Paul's admonition against women's
immodest dress and their improper roles in the church.
Presumably, both of them expressed insubordination. But the
argument is wrong in maintaining that a "contributing factor to
Paul's restriction on women in the church in Ephesus was indecent
dress." 12 First, the problem appears to have been one of
overdressing rather than of underdressing, as indicated by the
emphasis upon not dressing lavishly (cf. 1 Pet 3:35). Second, the
reason given by Paul for his prohibition of v.12 is not indecent
dress but the order of creation of Adam and Eve (v.13). Thus, the
attempt to relativize Paul's prohibition by appealing to the
alleged indecent dress of the Ephesian women must be rejected as
devoid of contextual support.

(And the first argument indeed does need to be thrown out of the
judgment court room, for the fact is that many godly women in the
Bible dressed at times in costly physical attire, all clearly
shown to you in the studies on this website under "Women's
Adornment" etc. - Keith Hunt)

Quiet Learning. 

     From modesty in dress Paul proceeds to discuss in verses 11
and 12 the learning and teaching aspects of the lives of "women
who profess to worship God" (2:10, NIV): "A woman should learn in
quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach
or to have authority over a man; she must be silent" (2:11-12,
NIV). These two verses should be taken as a unit, because they
form an inverted parallelism. What is stated positively in verse
11, is restated and amplified negatively in verse 12. Quiet
learning is paralleled by the command not to teach, and the
attitude of submission is paralleled by the command not to
exercise authority.
     The first injunction is significant because it contains
Paul's positive command (manthaneto--an imperative verb): "Let a
woman learn." This command shows that Paul assumed that women can
and must learn the truths of the Gospel. His view of women, then,
is not rabbinic - but "quite radical for his time." 13 
     The manner in which women are to learn is qualified by two
phrases: "in quietness (hesychia) and full submission (hypotage).
"The word 'hesychia' does not require total silence as the word
'sigao' used in 1 Corinthians 14:34, but rather "quietness,
peacefulness." 14 As James Hurley points out, "Paul is not just
calling for 'buttoned lips' but for a quiet receptivity and a
submission to authority in his description of the manner of
women's learning." 15

     To appreciate the relevance of Paul's injunction it is
important to remember that a New Testament church service was
rather different from ours. The difference is well explained by
N. J. Hommes:

     The peculiar and most striking difference between the church
     services then and now lies in the fact that the sermon, the
     word spoken, was being discussed among the worshippers, and 
     there was more than one preacher in the service. We can see
     this clearly n 1 Corinthians 14:26ff. It is true that Paul
     is here bringing the order of the worship service in line
     with the charisma of prophecy, but such mutual discussion
     was, in apostolic time, always part of the worship service. 

Submissive Learning. 

     Learning "in quietness" is recommended by Paul, presumably
not only because much of the talking that went on in conjunction
with the "discussion type" of worship service was not always
conducive to effective learning, but also because some women
through their speaking may have expressed insubordination to
their husbands or to the officials of the church. The latter is
suggested by the second qualifying phrase "with all
submissiveness" (RSV). The concept of "submission" (hypotasso)
recurs regularly in the discussion of women in relation to men
(Eph 5:21-24; 1 Pet 3:1-5). "Submission" appears to be the
pivotal concept that unites the learning of women in verse 11
with the issue of their teaching in verse 12. 17

3. Teaching and Exercise of Authority

Authoritative Teaching. 

     After calling for women to learn "in quietness and full
submission," Paul moves to forbid the contrary: "I do not permit
a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be
silent" (2:12, NIV). We noted earlier that this verse forms with
the preceding one an inverted parallelism. Therefore, it is
important to look at the two verses together, to grasp what Paul
is emphasizing. The thrust of the parallelism is well explained
by James Hurley:

     Verse 11 calls for quiet and submissive learning. Verse 12
     forbids teaching or exercising authority over men. The two
     are visibly parallel. Quiet learning inversely parallels
     (verbal) teaching and full submission inversely
     parallels exercising authority. Both verses have the same
     situation in mind, one in which women are not to teach
     authoritatively but are to learn quietly. The closing remark
     of verse 12 makes this clear by summing up both verses with
     a single short statement: 'she must be silent.' We conclude,
     therefore, that Paul intended that women should not be
     authoritative teachers in the church. 18

Local or Universal Prohibition? 

     Before attempting to define what constitutes authoritative
teaching, it is important to establish whether Paul's prohibition
is of a local or universal nature. Some writers argue that Paul's
command is neither universal nor permanent (transtemporal),
because he uses the first person present indicative active form
of the verb: "I do not permit...." This form of the verb,
according to Philip B. Payne, "is Paul's typical way of
expressing his own personal opinion." To support this contention
Payne appeals to the fact that the verb "to permit" (epitrepo)
"in the NT only rarely occurs with reference to a continuing
state" and that "Paul in 1 Tim 2:12 does not claim that this
restriction on women is from the Lord or to be observed in all
the churches." 19

     The argument that the first person present, active
indicative is generally used by Paul to express his own personal
opinion rather than a universally valid principle cannot be
supported. Though this form is relatively rare in Paul's writing
there are instances in which the apostle uses the first person
singular indicative to communicate what he believed to be the
will of God. For example, in Romans 12:1, Paul makes this appeal:
"I urge you, brothers.... to offer your bodies as living
sacrifices." (NIV; cf. 1 Cor 4:16; 11:2; 12:3; Gal 5:2,3; Eph
4:1; 1 Thess 4:1; 5:12,14). No one would interpret this
exhortation as being Paul's personal, presumptive opinion because
he uses the first person singular indicative without a universal
     The rare occurrence of the verb "to permit" (epitrepo) to
express a continuing state, is per se irrelevant because the verb
in itself has no temporal connotation. Similarly, the fact that
Paul "does not claim that this restriction on women is from the
Lord or to be observed in all the churches," does not negate its
universal applicability. Paul had just established the ground of
his authority in verse 7: "I was appointed a preacher and
     Only rarely Paul clarifies whether his instruction is
personal advice or a command from the Lord. This clarification is
usually given only in few uncertain situations, as with regard to
Paul's counsel to the married and unmarried (1 Cor 7:6,10,12,25,
40). When in these instances Paul expresses his own personal
view, he explicitly says: "I say, not the Lord" (1 Cor 7:12; cf.
vv.6,40). Thus, the absence of any qualifier in the prohibition
of 1 Timothy 2:12, suggests that Paul had no doubt as to the
normative nature of his instructions. This conclusion is
supported by the fact that the similar instruction given in 1
Corinthians 14:34-35 is followed by Paul's statement: "What I am
writing to you is a command of the Lord" (1 Cor 14:37).     

(Very well explained and argued by Dr.Sam. And if this was only
for a local church for a governed time, Paul would have made this
clear to Timothy, as he was writing to help him govern the church
of God - instructions that apply for any individual church as
well as any time frame. If not Paul would have made it clear by
saying something like, "Now concerning women who are dressing way
too glamorous, and desire to teach in the church, for that
situation this is my directive......"   
The instruction here in Timothy goes hand in hand with Paul's
instruction in 1 Corinthians 14 - Keith Hunt)

Female False Teacher     

     What is the meaning of Paul's injunction: "I do not permit a
woman to teach or to have authority over a man" (2:12)? Obviously
Paul's intent here is not to prohibit all  forms of women's
teaching and speaking in the church. We noted in chapter 5 that
in 1 Corinthians 11:5 Paul assumes that some women were praying
and prophesying along with men in the worship service. 

(Another often mistake here - the first section of 1 Cor.11 has
nothing to do with any "church service" - people coming together
in a church congregation is not brought into the teaching of Paul
until verse 17. What goes before is a general instruction on the
issue of long hair or short hair for either men or women. Verse
17 starts another topic, as when the church comes together -
Keith Hunt) 

Moreover, Paul explicitly enjoins older women "to teach what is
good and so train the young women" (Titus 2:3-4).
     Some authors argue that Paul's injunction is only "directed
against women involved in false teaching who have abused the
proper exercise of authority in the church (not denied by Paul
elsewhere to women) by usurpation and domination of the male
leaders and teachers in the church at Ephesus." 20 This
conclusion rests largely on two faulty assumptions: (1) Paul's
injunction was occasioned by and directed (exclusively) to "the
false teaching plaguing the church in Ephesus." 21 (2) The verb
authentein usually translated "to have authority over" seems
"rather clearly to carry the negative sense of 'domineer' or
'usurp authority.'" 22 Thus, Paul is only forbidding teaching to
women who were false teachers and who were usurping the authority
of male leaders. Had the women been orthodox teachers and
respectful of church leaders, Paul would have had no objection to
their teaching.
     The first assumption is discredited by the fact that, as we
have shown earlier, though the writing of 1 Timothy was
occasioned by the disruptive influence of certain false teachers
(1:3-6; 6:3-5), Paul chose to counteract such an influence not by
addressing specifically the false teachers, but rather by
offering guidelines on how Christians should live in the world
and in the church in the face of unhealthy teachings and a
depraved pagan environment.
     If Paul intended to prohibit only the teaching done by
certain female false teachers, he would have surely alluded to
it, as he does refer to young widows who got "into the habit of
being idle and going about from house to house.... saying things
they ought not to" (5:13, NIV). Moreover the reason given by Paul
for his prohibition is not the sinister effect of certain women's
false teaching, but the priority of the creation of Adam and the
deception of Eve, both of which are unrelated to the problem of
false teaching.
(Yes indeed if the issue had been over "false women" teachers as
Dr. Sam says Paul would have made it clear, or stated as he often
did, "Now concerning false women teachers among you...." - Keith

"Authority over" or "Domineer"? 

     The second assumption that the verb "authenteo" should be
translated "to domineer, to usurp authority," instead of "to have
authority," is faulty for two major reasons. First, the recent
study by George Knight of all the major lexical occurrences of
"authenteo" (published in New Testament Studies, January 1984),
has shown that "the recognized meaning for the first century BC
and AD documents ... is 'to have authority over.' The nuance is
positive, or at least neutral, but in any case there is no
inherent negative overtone such as is suggested by the word
'domineer.'" 23
     Second, the meaning "to have authority over" fits better in
the text with verb "to teach" (didasko) with which it is joined,
since the latter has no negative implications. Moreover, we have
seen that authority and teaching in verse 12 are parallel to
subordination and quietness in verse 11. This suggests that the
converse of "authenteo" is to be found in the phrase "full
submission." The concept of "submission," as we have seen from
our study of Ephesians 5, does not carry with it the meaning of
"cringing servility under a domineering person but of a willing
submission to a recognized authority." 24 What Paul disallows,
therefore, is not the abuse or usurpation of authority, but
the exercise of authority by women over men in the church.

Uneducated Women? 

     Some maintain that the reason Paul prohibited women to teach
and to exercise authority over men in the church is because women
were uneducated. Since this is no longer true today, then Paul's
prohibition is no longer relevant. If the lack of education had
been the reason for Paul's prohibition, then he would have
forbidden both men and women to teach, if they were uneducated.
Moreover, women as well as men could have been trained to become
good teachers. Deaconesses and workers in apostolic times must
have received some training.
     The real situation in Ephesus may have been just the
opposite. Some of the women may have been more educated than many
of the men, and consequently they may have felt justified to act
as the teachers and leaders of the congregation. Prisilla was
well enough educated in the Christian faith to be able to
instruct an intellectual like Apollos when he went to Ephesus
(Acts 18:26). Paul, as we have seen in chapter 2. commends
several women for their outstanding contribution to the life and
growth of the church. All of this suggests that the reason for
Paul's injunction was not that women were uneducated.

The Nature of Teaching. 

     What is the nature of the teaching forbidden to women? This
question has been debated at great length. Some have assumed that
Paul prohibits women from participating in any kind of teaching
or speaking, including teaching in public schools and having a
job in which a woman exercises authority over man. Such a view is
obviously unwarranted because, as we have seen in chapter 2, in
Paul's ministry women prayed, prophesied and exercised a teaching
ministry (1 Cor 11:5; Acts 18:26; Phil 4:3; Rom 16:12).
     The nature of teaching forbidden to women in 1 Timothy 2:12
is undoubtedly the authoritative teaching restricted to the
pastor or elder/overseer of the congregation. This conclusion is
supported not only by the meaning of the inverted parallelism
discussed earlier but also by the use of the verb "to teach" and
the noun "teaching" in the pastoral epistles. The teaching
ministry is presented, especially in the pastoral epistles, as a
governing function performed by Paul, Timothy or appointed
elders/overseers of the congregation. Paul speaks of himself as
"a teacher of the Gentiles" (1 Tim 2:7; cf. 2 Tim 1:11). He
charges Timothy to "Command and teach" (1 Tim 4:11), "Take heed
to yourself and to your teaching" (1 Tim 4:16), "teach and urge
these duties" (1 Tim 6:2), "preach the word ... in teaching" (2
Tim 4:2).
     The restrictive meaning of the teaching ministry is
especially evident in 2 Timothy 2:2 where Paul gives this solemn
charge to Timothy: "what you have heard from me before many
witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach
others also." The "faithful men" are presumably the
elder/overseers of the congregation. A qualification for such an
office was "an apt teacher" (1 Tim 3:2). Paul urges that special
recognition be given to "the elders who rule well ... especially
those who labor in preaching and teaching" (1 Tim 5:17).

     The importance attached to sound teaching in 1 Timothy and
the other pastoral epistles is illustrated by the fact that of
the 21 occurrences of the word "teaching, doctrine" (didaskalia)
in the New Testament, 15 appear in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. 25
The teaching by appointed church leaders was most important
because it involved the careful transmission of the teachings of
Jesus Christ (cf. Gal 1:12) and their significance for the life
of the church. Before the existence and general availability of
the writings of the New Testament, the teacher (pastor, elder,
overseer) served the congregation as a kind of living Bible. He
was the guardian of the body of teachings which had been received
by the churches and to which they were to remain true (Rom 16:17;
Eph 4:21; Col 2:7; 2 Thess 2:15).
     In the light of the restrictive use of the words "to teach"
and "teaching" in the pastoral epistles, it is reasonable to
conclude that the teaching forbidden to women is the
authoritative teaching done by "Leaders of the congregation" 26
such as Paul, Timothy, Titus, elder/overseers.  "Although women
are allowed an audible participation in the gatherings of the
church, they are not to aspire to the role of leadership as
superintendents of the local congregation." 27 The teaching role
of these leaders is emphasized especially in the pastoral
epistles, where destructive and demonic teaching (1 Tim 4:1)
necessitated leaders who would uphold "sound teaching" (2 Tim
     Paul forbids women to teach as the leaders of the church
because this would place them in a headship role of authority
over men. This role is inappropriate for women, not because they
are any less capable or competent than men, but because of_ the
creational order for men and women established by God (1 Tim
2:13). These theological reasons given by Paul will now be

(The main reply arguments by Dr. Sam to the above, I find true
and logical, especially in the context of the whole New Testament
- Keith Hunt)

4. Theological Reasons

Reason or Illustration? 

     To justify his ruling about the exclusion of women from
teaching '(as leaders) and exercising authority over men in the
church, Paul submits two reasons:  "For Adam was formed first,
then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived
and became a transgressor" (1 Tim 2:13-14). Before examining
these two reasons, attention must be given to the conjunction
"for" (gar). Some argue that "for" is illustrative and not
illative, that is to say, it is designed to introduce an example
and not a reason for Paul's ruling  28
     To defend this view they appeal to grammar and context.
Grammatically, the illustrative use of gar ("for") is a lexical
possibility. Contextually, they see Paul's reference to Eve as a
historical example of what once happened when, in a situation
similar to that at Ephesus, a deceived woman taught a man. Thus,
Paul's statement does not offer reasons for the general exclusion
of women from teaching or exercising authority over men in the
church, but merely a historical example relevant only to the
local situation in the Ephesian church.
     This interpretation of "gar" ("for"), as Douglas Moo has
cogently shown, founders both on grammar and context 29
     Grammatically, the "illustrative" use of "gar" ("for") is
rare. All the major lexicons and grammars give the causal meaning
as the first and most common one. Contextually, the illustrative
use of "gar" ("for") fails to explain how, for example, the
priority of Adam's creation can illustrate what happens when
women false teachers teach and exercise authority over men in the
church. Reasons such as these indicate that the conjunction "for"
is used to introduce not an illustration but a reason for the
ruling of verses 11-12.
(It is used as tying what was said before to the explaining of
what is said now to explain the previous, i.e it is not going to
rain, do not take your rain-coat, FOR there are no clouds in the
sky and the weather man is telling us no clouds are expect. -
Keith Hunt)

Priority of Adam's Creation. 

     The first reason given by Paul to justify his ruling is the
priority of Adam's creation: "For Adam was formed first, then
Eve" (1 Tim 2:13). The meaning of this statement is clearly
expressed by Paul Jewett: "The plain meaning of Paul's argument
is that the subordination of woman to the man is an essential
part of the hierarchy which God himself established to insure a
proper order in the relationships of life." 30

     According to several writers, Paul's argument from creation
is faulty on two counts. First, it is based on the wrong creation
account. Instead of using the creation account of Genesis 1 which
accurately speaks of the simultaneous creation of man and woman,
Paul made the unfortunate mistake to use the second, "poetic,"
account of creation. 31 Second, it attaches hierarchical
significance to the fact that man was created before woman. "If
beings created first are to have precedence, then the animals are
clearly our betters." 32 Paul allegedly fell back on his rabbinic
eisegesis, which caused him to argue for a wrong doctrine from a
wrong text. 33 Therefore, the argument from creation offers no
valid support to Paul's ruling in verses 11-12.

Authority of Scripture. 

     The charges that have been levelled against Paul on this
issue are not inconsequential. If Paul made a mistake in
interpreting the meaning of Genesis for the role relations of
men and women, he could have been equally in error in
interpreting the meaning of the life and death of Christ, of the
resurrection, of the Second Advent, or of the relation between
faith and works in the process of salvation. Ultimately what is
at stake is the authority of Scripture. If any part of
Scripture presents false teachings through faulty exegesis or
reasoning, then its normative authority is discredited. 
     Paul stated very clearly his own understanding of the
authority of his own teaching and of those who would challenge
it:  "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 anyone does not recognize this, he is not
recognized" (1 Cor 14:37-38). Strikingly, Paul made this claim in
the very context of his teaching about the role of men and women
in the church. Therefore, it behooves us to accept his inter-
pretation of Scripture.  

(What many fail to understand is the accounts of Genesis creation
of male and female are given in different settings. One, the
first chapter 1:26 is an "overall view" - it is not concerned
with the details. It is an overall view for it has an over all
context, namely they were to reproduce and also to have authority
over all things on the earth, in the sea, air, and land. And then
God gave THEM some laws of eating what the Lord had created for
them to eat. It is an overall setting. But Genesis 2 goes into
detailed specifics: it also moves back in time, and tells us the
details of how God created two beings. It gives us the details
that at first only man was created. For our benefit (not God's as
He knew what He was going to do from the beginning) that of all
that the Lord had created there was NOTHING to compliment him,
man was indeed on a human level ALONE. So hence then we are told
God does not like that situation, did not like it, did not plan
it [God knew what He'd planned anyway] for any length of time,
only for a relative short time, in which time man himself would
know he was alone, and nothing in creation could approach him
that he would feel was his equal, and as we might say today, his
"soul mate." Then God takes a rib from Adam and makes woman -
from out of man. So there is an important meaning as to why
Genesis 1 and 2 are written the way we find them written. And
Paul takes the detailed explanation of the creating of man and
woman, and correctly gives us under inspiration [if Paul was not
inspired to write what he wrote then the New Testament means
really nothing, for anyone can then take whatever parts of it as
inspired or not inspired] another lesson from God as to a lesson
we must learn from Genesis 2, namely man was created first, and
second woman was created to compliment man, but certainly the
role of man being the head of the woman as Paul was inspired to
tell us in 1 Cor.11; as Christ is head of the church; as the
Father is head of Christ - Keith Hunt)

Priority of Creation and Subordination. 

     Why does Paul appeal to the prior formation of Adam to
justify his injunction that women should not be permitted "to
teach or to have authority over men" (1 Tim 2:12)? Primarily
because Paul saw in the priority of Adam's creation the symbol of
the leadership role God intended man to fulfil in the home and
in the church.
     From an empirical standpoint, it seems arbitrary and
irrational that leadership should be assigned on the basis of
priority of creation. From a Biblical standpoint, however, the
arbitrariness and irrationality disappear because the priority of
creation is seen not as an accident but as a divine design,
intended to typify the leadership and headship role man was
created to fulfil. The sanctification of the seventh day
provides another example. From an empirical standpoint, it seems
arbitrary that God should choose to bless and sanctify the
seventh day instead of the first day or any other day. After all
the seven days, each consisting of the same 24 hours, seemed
identical to one another. From a Biblical stand-point, however,
it is not arbitrary that God should choose the seventh day as a
symbol of creation and sanctification (Gen 2:2-3; Ex 31:13,17;
Ezek 2 :20).
     In the same way Paul sees the priority of Adam's formation
and the derivation of woman from man (1 Cor 11:8), as typifying
the role distinctions of men and women. This typological
understanding of the priority of Adam's formation is reflected in
the meaning both the Old and New Testaments attach to
primogeniture (being first-born). The first-born son inherited
not only a "double portion" of his father's goods, but also the
responsibility of acting as the leader of worship upon his
father's death.

Christ the "First-Born." 

     The typological meaning of the firstborn is used by Paul
also with reference to Christ in Colossians 1:15-18: "He is the
image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation; for
in him all things were created.... He is the head of the body,
the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead,
that in everything he might be pre-eminent." The rich imagery
used in this passage presents Christ as (1) the Image of God, (2)
the First-born, (3) the Source of Creation, (4) the Head of the
church. All of these are drawn together to establish the
pre-eminent authority of Christ over everything.
     It is noteworthy that the headship and authority of Christ
are tied in with His being the "First-born." Our earlier study of
Ephesians 5 has shown how Paul used the headship and authority of
Christ as the model for the headship role a husband is to
exercise for the sake of his wife. His use of the "first-born"
typology to express the headship and authority of Christ suggests
that he may have attached the same meaning to Adam's being "first
formed." In the light of the Old Testament background, Paul may
have seen in the priority of the formation of Adam a type of the
headship role God called man to fulfil, and thus, a reason why
men, rather than women, should exercise teaching leadership
authority in the church.

(Indeed that is exactly what Paul saw, as being divinely
inspired. And that is even what I saw as a child of 8,9,10 etc.
going to a Church School and reading the Bible for our first half
hour of the day. It should not have to take some rocket scientist
mind to see the clear lesson from Genesis 2. It would have been
as easy as eating pie for God to have created BOTH male and
female at the SAME time. He did not because He had a reason for
NOT doing so. Man was to be the first leader in the home, the
woman a help fitting for him. And Paul was inspired to carry this
lesson into the very Church of Christ - the man was to lead in
church services - Keith Hunt) 

Priority of Animals. 

     The above observations help to show the weakness of the
argument that Paul's reasoning leads to the conclusion that
animals should rule mankind by right of their temporal priority
in creation. Proponents of this argument fail to realize that no
typological significance is attached in Scripture to the temporal
priority of the animals. Moreover, Paul clearly associates in 1
Corinthians 11:8-9 the priority y of Adam's formation with Eve's
derivation out of man. The animals were created before mankind,
but mankind does not derive from animals.

(The hills and mountains, insects and birds, the fish of the sea,
came before man, but to think that was some kind of lesson or
teaching from God that THOSE creatures were "head of man" is just
utterly silly, if not darn right stupid reasoning, but some will
try to make up stupid ideas to try and uphold other stupid ideas.
The account of Genesis 1 is overall, and so people would not come
up with stupid ideas God tells us there that He created mankind
- male and female did He create them and the job THEY [both] were
given - the rule the physical earth. Genesis 2 is the detailed
fill in of how God created male and female - it goes back to fill
in the details and it should be obvious to those who can see and
have minds not influenced by "the feminist movement" what God is
teaching us in the way He created male and then female - Keith

     The significance that Paul attaches to Adam's priority of
formation is compatible with the central role of man in Genesis
2. We have shown in chapter 3 that the leadership role of man is
implied in Genesis 2, not merely by the priority of his creation,
but also by the fact that God provided him with a garden, an
occupation, and a wife to be "a helper fit for him" (v.18).
     Moreover God called man ha-'adam ("the man," "the human"),
the collective name of mankind, and charged him with the
responsibility of naming first the animals and then the woman.
Paul offers in 1 Timothy 2:13 an explicit interpretation of these
historical facts, applying them to the role of women in the
worship service, which should be in accordance with the
subordinate, helping role envisaged for them in creation.   

The Deception of Eve.    

     The second reason given by Paul to support his ruling is
derived from the deception of Eve: "and Adam was not deceived,
but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor" (1 Tim
2:14). This argument is less developed by Paul, and it has
produced many dangerous interpretations. Some have assumed that
this verse teaches that women are not qualified to teach
religious doctrine in the church, because they do not have the
same critical acumen as men and thus are more susceptible to
external pressures 34
     This view is without warrant, because the text does not say
that "the man is deceivable," but simply that "the woman was
deceived." If it were true that women are more susceptible to
deception, it would ultimately make God responsible for having
created women less perfect than men. (If Paul believed that women
are more prone to err than men, he would not have admonished them
to teach what is good to children and other women (Titus 2:3-4;
cf. 2 Tim 1:5; 3:15). 

(Let me say here that just as many men can make theological
mistakes as women - wow indeed so; look at all the men
"ministers" in the Roman Catholic and Protestant world who are
blinded and deceived about what they teach is Christianity. There
are hundreds of thousands of male teachers and preachers of
theology that are out in left field, who have missed the boat,
who are trying to canoe up stream without a paddle. Now I will
also say God did create women to be more "emotional" in the
overall scheme of life than most men, that could have adverse
effects in some situations within a congregation. Yet men can
learn to be more emotional and women can learn to be less
emotional, as both can learn to harness emotions and govern them
correctly. It is not a strong argument so do not pin too much on
my presentation of it - Keith Hunt)

Typological Role of Eve. 

     The best way to understand the statement "the woman was
deceived" is to look at it not empirically, that is, by asking
how Eve's deception affects the subordination of women; but
rather typologically, that is, by asking what Eve's deception
represents for Paul. Stephen B. Clark perceptively points out
that we tend to think empirically, that is, in terms of
observable causes, while Bible writers are "more inclined to
think typologically," 35 that is, in terms of the symbolic
meaning of an event. "Typological thinking," explains Clark,
"focuses on the concrete event--the 'type' which reveals the
general purpose or intention of God. Empirical generalizations
focus on verifiable facts and observed regularities." 36     
     Typological thought assumes that if Adam was formed first,
then Scripture must be indicating something about he role of man.
Similarly, if the woman was deceived and not man, then Scripture
must be indicating something about the role of women. As Adam is
a 'type' man (Rom 5:12,18), so Eve is a 'type' woman, and her
being deceived points to what women should do or not do.
How could Paul view Eye's deception as a type of woman's
subordination to man? The text does not tell us. We can rep-
presume that Paul understood Eve's deception to be the result of
her attempt to assert her independence from man. The Seventh-day
Adventist Bible Commentary supports this interpretation: "The
apostle's second argument for the submissiveness of women is that
when Eve tried to assert leadership she was beguiled." 37.  What
happened  Eve at that historic and significant occasion becomes
then a type of what happen when the order of creation is
reversed. "In verses 13-14, as Douglas Moo observes, "Paul
substantiates his teaching in verses 12 by arguing that the
created order establishes a relationship subordination of woman
to man, which order, if bypassed, leads to disaster." 38

Subordination and the Fall. 

     Some contend that the argument from the deception of the
woman is untenable because it bases subordination of the woman to
man on the results of the Fall. If Paul's ruling about the
subordination of women in the church is based on "curses" which
resulted from the Fall, then such ruling has reversed by the work
of Christ. 39  The weakness of this reasoning is twofold. First,
it ignores fact that Paul's primary appeal is to the priority of
Adam's format: Second, it fails to distinguish between the cause
of the Fall and results of the Fall. Eve's deception was the
cause of the Fall occurred before the human race faced the
judgment of God and suffering its consequences. Paul does not
ground the subordination women on the Fall but on creation. Thee
point of his argument is that "Adam was formed first and "the
woman was deceived." 
     These two events, which occurred bore the human race faced
the judgment of God, typify for Paul the headship role of man and
the subordinate role of women.

Saved through Childbirth? 

     To counteract any possible misunderstanding derived from his
negative statements in verses 11-14. Paul concludes his a
argument with a positive statement:  "Yet woman will be saved
through bearing children, if she continues in faith
love and holiness, with modesty" (v.15). This verse is
clearly connected with the preceding by the preposition de
("yet") and forms the climactic conclusion to the whole argument
introduced in verse 9 with the phrase "likewise women."
Therefore, an understanding of this closing statement can further
clarify the meaning of the whole passage.
     The interpretation of this verse poses some linguistic
     The major one has to do with the verb "sothesetai," which
can mean either "she will be saved" or "she will be kept safe
through childbirth." The second option has been adopted by the
New International Version. According to this translation what
Paul is saying is that woman will survive childbirth if she is
pious. This interpretation is not only irrelevant to the context
but also empirically untrue. Godly Christian women have died
bearing children. The first translation is in harmony with the
usage of the verb "to save" in Paul's writings where it virtually 
refers to salvation from sin. The question is, in what sense will
a woman be saved through childbirth? Some believe that it means
that Christian women will be saved through good works,
figuratively represented by childbearing. 41 This would be a flat
contradiction of Paul's view of salvation by faith in Christ.
Others believe that it means that Christian women will be saved
through the childbirth, that is, the coming of the Messiah. 42
This interpretation finds support especially in the presence of
the article "the childbirth" (tes teknogonia), which could
suggest a particular childbirth, namely, that of Christ. Such a
view, however, is discredited first of all by the most likely
lexical meaning of "teknogonia" - "childbearing" or
"childrearing" which denotes the woman's role in giving birth,
not the birth as such (cf. 1 Tim 5:14). Second, this
interpretation does not fit the context. How can Mary's role in
the birth of Jesus be the means of the salvation of women? 

(The definite article "the" is in the Greek hence "THE
childbearing." How can Mary's role in the birth of Jesus be the
means of salvation of women, is what Dr.Sam asked. Surely it
should be a logical answer to such a question. All women can be
saved through Christ as all men can be. Paul has just talked
about the woman being in the transgression (verse 14) and
immediately Paul gives the hope to all women, who have sinned as
all men have sinned, that no matter their role or function in
life as wife, mother, single, widowed, or role in the church, she
shall have salvation the same way ALL people will have salvation
through the One that was born of a woman - Christ Jesus. Not all
women will give birth to children; not all women will be wives;
there will be many functions women will perform in life, but
being an Elder in the church was NOT to be one of them. But
nevertheless, one great glory for women was the fact that the
Savior was born of a woman, and as the Savior of the world came
through a woman, so women could also be saved in the exact same
way men can be saved. And then Paul adds to that basic fact the
fact for all people, male or female, "if they continue in FAITH
and CHARITY, and HOLINESS with sobriety." Surely once more
showing women as like men, that we are not saved by the law, but
being saved by grace through faith, we keep the law. Here Paul
breaks that simple truth down as "faith, love (charity),
holiness" - a state of mind that encompasses the truths of
Gal.2:20; 1 John 5:3; 1 Cor.13; Mat.5:48.
Some like Albert Barnes and here Dr.Sam have fancy complicated
understanding of this verse, but with what I have said above, I
believe the verse is simple - regardless of the function of what
a woman can do or can not do within the church (in this case NOT 
teaching and leading as an elder/pastor), the underlying truth is
in her functional role in the church (which Dr.Sam has in previous
chapters shown to be quite large) she will be saved through
THE childbirth that came from a women - the coming of Christ
Jesus to save everyone who will, the exact same way for all - men
or women - Keith Hunt) 

 Faithfulness to Proper Role.

     The interpretation which best fits the vocabulary and the
contextual location of verse 15--the concluding statement to the
whole discussion on the role of women in the church--is the
following: Women will be saved, not by aspiring to the leadership
role of teacher-superintendent of the local congregation, but
through faithfulness to their maternal and domestic roles,
providing they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with
modesty. 43

(But we must add that to "faithfulness to their maternal and
domestic roles" must be noted and remembered that does not mean
strictly being a house-wife, mother, and teacher of children or
the other women teaching the younger women [as Paul elsewhere
admonished for them]. Because we have seen women were part of the
message of the teaching and proclaiming of the Gospel OUTSIDE OF
the synagogue service, and some Paul claimed were co-workers with
him in the Gospel, as has already been mentioned by Dr.Sam in an
earlier chapter - Keith Hunt)

     This interpretation admirably suits the immediate context of
verses 9-14, where the concern of Paul is to emphasize the proper
sphere of women's activities. It also finds support in the larger
context of the pastoral epistles where a recurring motif is the
need for Christian women to devote themselves to their maternal
and domestic roles (1 Tim 5:9-14; Titus 2:3-5).

(Maybe in another situation where Paul was not strictly
addressing the role of women in church services, but in the role
of maternal and domestic service - each teaching of Paul had a
context, and that context we should bear in mind at all times -
Keith Hunt)

     This admonition was apparently needed to counteract the
sinister influence of false teachers, who counselled women to
abstain from marriage (1 Tim 4:3) and to seek fulfilment outside
the home (1 Tim 5:13-15), by assuming leadership roles in the
church (1 Tim 2:12). To counteract this teaching, Paul urges
Christian women to maintain their "modesty" (sophrosyne)--a term
he uses twice (vv.9,15), at the beginning and at the end of his
admonition. Christian women were to show their modesty and
propriety by dressing sensibly, by learning submissively, by
refraining from aspiring to the role of teacher (leader) of the 
congregation and by fulfilling their maternal-domestic roles.

(I find part of this as somewhat of a forced meaning. For the
problem with the "dressing sensibly" part as that meaning for
Dr.Sam and the SDA church is dressing with no jewelry and make-up
- the understanding of that passage they do not have correct
within the whole context of the Bible, as I prove in my studies
on "Jewelry" and "Makeup." The rest of Dr.Sam's comment on false
teachers and aspiring to the role of teacher (leader) of the
congregation I would agree with - Keith Hunt)

Salvation through Childbearing? 

     Our interpretation poses a problem: Did Paul mean in verse
15 that all women should get married and bear children in order
to be saved? Obviously not. We know from 1 Corinthians 7 that
Paul considered both celibacy and marriage a divine calling.
Moreover, this view would reduce salvation to a human
relationship and biological process, rather than to a
divine gift of grace (Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16). 

     It is, therefore, more likely that Paul mentions
childbearing as a typical, but not exclusive aspect, of a woman's
role. This is supported by 1 Timothy 5:14 where Paul expresses
the wish that younger widows "marry" and "bear children"
(teknogonein). It is obvious that Paul did not expect all young
women to marry. Rather, he expected them to maintain their proper
domestic roles.
     To remove any possibility of attributing meritorious value
to childbearing, Paul adds the essential Christian virtues women
must maintain: "faith and love and holiness, with modesty" (v.
15). Verse 15 ends by emphasizing "modesty." the very quality
mentioned at the beginning of the passage v.9. This quality is
emphasized by Paul because it expresses the chief virtue of a
Christian woman, manifested not in aspiring to be the
teacher-leader of the congregation, but in maintaining a
submissive and domestic role, which is in accordance with the
role for women established by God at creation.

(The word "sobriety" in the KJV means according to Strong's
Concordance: propriety, appropriateness, reasonableness, mental
soundness, soberness. All which goes nicely with faith, love, and
holiness. It means living your life in the righteous way that you
were called to function as a woman in the church of God - Keith

     In its immediate and larger context, then, 1 Timothy 2:15
helps to clarify why Paul forbids women "to teach or to have
authority over men" in the church, namely, because he sees such a
role as a violation of the proper domestic and subordinate role
God has established for women at creation. By maintaining this
proper role in faith, love and holiness, women, become recipients
of the gift of eternal life.

(This remember is within "the church" or as functioning within
the church service, outside of the church service, as it has been
shown women could do teaching [of both sexes - i.e. Presilla and
Aquila who were Paul's helper/co-workers with him in the Gospel
of Christ Jesus - Romans 16:3 - who also taught Appolos more of
the truths of the Gospel -  Acts 18:24-26] - Keith Hunt)

Contemporary Relevance. 

     How relevant for us today is Paul's teaching about the role
of women in the home and in the church?
     Some argue that it is totally irrelevant because today many
married women find their fulfilment not in rearing a family, but
in pursuing a professional career. They argue that had Paul lived
in our age, he would have taken a much different stand.
Consequently, to be faithful to the "central thrust" or "greater
vision" of Paul, we must reject his restrictions and allow women
to function as leaders not only in the secular world, but also in
the church where they ought to be ordained as pastors/elders of
the congregation. This reasoning is unacceptable for three major

     First. Paul's conviction on the role of women in the church
and in the home derives not from cultural perceptions, but from
his understanding of the special role God has called women to
fulfil. Rearing a family and being subordinate were for Paul
central elements of the Biblical definition of womanhood and of
her fulfilment of God's calling to mankind. Therefore, if Paul
lived today he would still admonish women to be true to their
divinely established roles.

     A second reason why Paul's teachings on the role of women
are relevant today is because in some ways the contemporary
emancipation of women may be strikingly similar to that of his
time 44 If, numerous writers argue, Paul's opponents in the
pastoral epistles included "women [who] were in the forefront of
the libertarian trend," 45 as evidenced by their extravagant
dress, (which is really a none issue as the verses mentioned on
that subject are not understood correctly by Dr.Sam - Keith
Hunt), "forsaking of domestic roles such as raising children in
order to assume such a prominent role in congregational life--as
teaching," 46 then Paul was addressing a situation rather similar
to the one existing today.
     The existence of a "women's liberation" movement in early
Christianity is implied not only by Paul's strictness (1 Tim
2:11-12; 5:13; 2 Tim 3:6; 1 Cor 11:5-10; 14:34), but also by
such post-New Testament documents as the apocryphal Acts of Paul
(about A.D.185). In the latter, Paul commissions a woman,
Thecla, to be a preacher and teacher of the word of God: "Go and
teach the word of God." Thecla obeyed by going away to Iconium.
There she "went into the house of Onesiphorus ... and taught the
oracles of God." 47
     The attempt of this apocryphal document to present Paul, not
as forbidding, but as commissioning a woman to be an official
teacher of the Word of God in the church, offers an additional
indication of the possible existence of a feminist movement
already in Paul's time. 48 If such a movement existed at that
time, then Paul's instruction on the role of women in the church
would be particularly relevant to our time, when a feminist
movement within the church is gaining strength.

(Actually the example brought forth by Dr.Sam is NOT against what
he has been arguing against - the ordination of women to
Eldership and governing a church of God. For a woman to teach
privately to anyone, the oracles of God is an entirely different
matter than being an ordained minister ruling and guiding a
church of God - Keith Hunt)

The Witness of the Text. 

     A third reason for accepting Paul's teaching in 1 Timothy
2:11-15 as relevant for today is the fact that the text contains
no cultural elements that should be modified in the light of our
new historical situation. If Paul had said "I do not permit a
woman to teach as the leader of the church or to have authority
over man because women are uneducated and culturally unacceptable
as leaders in the church," then there would be a legitimate
reason for rejecting his injunction as culturally relative.
     Paul, however, grounds his ruling not on cultural factors,
but on the events of the opening chapters of Genesis. He makes no
reference whatsoever to cultural factors such as lack of
education and any possible cultural offense which might result
if women were allowed to teach as the leaders of the
congregation. His argument precludes the introduction of "new
cultural factors" which would cause him to take a different stand
today on the role of women in the church.


     The conclusion of our examination of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 is
that the intent of this passage, in the light of its immediate
and wider context of the pastoral epistles, is not to
prohibit women from participating in the general teaching
ministry of the church ("they [women] are to teach what is
good"--Titus 2:3), but rather to restrain women from aspiring to
the restricted teaching role of the leader of the congregation.
The reason for Paul's ruling is that for a woman to exercise such
a leadership role is incompatible with the subordinate role which
God at the beginning assigned to women in the home and in the
church. Essentially the same view is expressed by Paul in 1
Corinthians 14:33b-36, a passage which we shall now examine.


To be continued 

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