My article laying out the original argument showing that 1 Timothy 2:12 is a specific woman that Paul forbids from teaching is here.
Matt Slick has put up several articles attempting to refute my reasoning and today I would like to answer Matt’s “refutation”. This article will be an answer to Matt’s article at http://www.carm.org/womeninministry/1Tim2_9-15specific.htm
In Matt Slick’s article he admits that “a woman” and “a man” could be a specific husband and wife. This is quite an admission from Matt since he has been trying to prove that it would be impossible for Paul to be referring to a specific woman. Since we already have that admission from Matt, we will let the context be the key to understanding Paul’s meaning. Matt summarizes the egalitarian argument this way:
“One of the interpretations given to these two verses is that there was a particular married woman who had been deceived (as Eve was deceived), was believing false teachings, was ignorant of the truth, and had been teaching false things to her husband…Even though she was a fallacious teacher, she was being shown mercy because of our (sic) ignorance just as Paul said he was shown mercy due to his ignorance as he mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:13. Once the woman learns the truth, then she will be permitted to teach men and or her husband.”
At this point Matt writes that this interpretation would be reading into the text because the text says:
“absolutely nothing about ‘this woman’ being deceived in ignorance. It isn’t there. Nor is there anything prior to this text that would imply there was a woman was deceived.”
What Matt does is completely ignores Paul’s connection between verse 12 and the reason for the prohibition in verse 14 as the deception of the woman. Since Paul is the one who connects the two, we cannot say that there is no mention of deception. We also find a connection to 1 Timothy 1:3 where Paul is instructing Timothy to stop certain people from teaching strange doctrines. The inspired text here doesn’t say that Timothy is to stop certain “males” but unnamed people teaching error. What has happened to some of these unnamed people who are teaching false doctrine? Paul said that some have turned aside from the truth. Another thing that Matt Slick completely misses in his article is the ones who turned aside from the truth are desiring to be teachers and they do not understanding what they are teaching:
1 Timothy 1:7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
So there is a connection between 1 Timothy 1 & 2 because Paul is stopping teachers in chapter 1 and stopping a single teacher in chapter 2. The reason Paul gives in chapter 1 is that these teachers are teaching in ignorance and in chapter 2 Paul stops a woman teacher and he ties it in the deception of a woman, another strong connection to the ignorance of the false teachers in chapter 1.
Paul also makes a clear difference in chapter 1 between those who are acting ignorantly in unbelief and those who know the truth and are distorting that truth.
Matt then claims that there is nothing in the context to suggest that there is a woman who has been sincerely deceived and is ignorant of proper doctrines. But what Matt fails to state is that the only command in verses 11 & 12 is the command for Timothy to let “a woman” learn. The fact that Paul makes it mandatory that she is to learn is a strong indication that her teaching is faulty.
Paul’s command for her to learn ties in to chapter 1 where Paul says there are people who are ignorantly teaching error. We know one thing for sure. There is no evidence at all that Paul meant to stop godly people who are teaching correct biblical doctrine. Paul’s theme of error and deception in the church is carried from false deceived teachers to “a woman” who must learn and must stop teaching and it ends with the deception of Eve in Chapter 2. For Matt Slick to say that there is no connection between ignorance (chapter 1 has ignorant people teaching error) or deception (chapter 2 has a deceived woman – verse 14) and the stopping of one teacher reveals Matt’s prejudice.
The next point that Matt tries to make is that Paul tells “a woman” in verse 12 to be quiet instead of telling her to be silent. Matt asks,
“…if the verses are about a woman teaching false things to her husband, then shouldn’t Paul tell her to stop doing it completely?”
The answer is very simple and understandable. If this is indeed a husband and wife situation, it would not be “normal” for Paul to tell a wife that she could not say one word to her husband. For Matt to say that Paul would have had to tell this wife that she couldn’t talk at all to her husband if she was a false teacher is completely illogical. Matt then puts words in Paul’s mouth by saying that this would be telling her “to speak her false doctrines a little more quietly” and he asks “Does that make any sense?” Matt’s question doesn’t make sense. The fact is that Paul could not interfere in a marriage and tell a specific wife that she could not talk to her husband at all. The term “quiet” in verse 12 most certainly refers back to the “quiet” from verse 11 where she is told to learn in a quiet manner. Paul’s first concern is that she learns the truth in a quiet manner, not looking to continue to teach her error, but learning in a quiet manner. He is certainly not telling her that she can teach error, just a “little more quietly”. Paul said she is to be stopped from teaching. Her being in quietness then has nothing to do with continuing false teaching but with her place of learning (verse 11).
Matt then tries to make an issue of the fact that the word “teach” that is forbidden in verse 12 is from the Greek word didasko (to teach) not heterodidaskaleo (to teach falsely). He asks,
“So, if Paul is referring to a certain woman in 2:12 who is teaching false doctrine, then why does he not use the word heterdodaskaleo when referring to her teaching…It doesn’t make sense if the egalitarian position is true.”
The answer is found in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 2:20, Jesus uses the same term for false teaching when he speaks to the church in Thyatira:
Rev 2:20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
Here we see that Jezebel is teaching and leading in false doctrine, yet Jesus himself uses the term didasko. If Jesus can call false teaching “didasko”, and it is also used this way in Revelation 2:14 and 15 then there is no problem in Paul using the same term to include false teaching. The proof that it is false teaching is in the context itself.
The question that I would like to ask Matt back, is where does it make sense from the context of 1 Timothy that Paul was desiring to stop godly Christian women from teaching correct doctrine? No Old Testament passage ever forbids women to teach the bible to men, so why should we even consider that Paul’s goal was to stop godly teaching instead of stopping false doctrine? It only makes sense to those who come to this passage with a preconceived view against women teachers.
Next post will be part 2 of the review of Matt Slick’s “refutation” of the “a woman” argument.