Round 3 Interview with the Apostle Paul on 1 Timothy 2:12

Round 3 Interview with the Apostle Paul on 1 Timothy 2:12

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This post is the third one of a simulated interview with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.  Doug, a strong complementarian has been given the opportunity to ask Paul about tough passages of scripture that Doug thought were clear to him.  In his dialog with Paul, Doug is troubled by the implications of what he has been hearing and in this third interview Doug has decided to push Paul on the issue of the universality of “woman” in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

The first interview with the Apostle Paul and Doug is located here.  The  second interview is located here.

Paul: Did you have a good sleep and did you have time to think about what we have been discussing?

Doug: I didn’t sleep well last night, but I have been thinking about the concept of two or three witnesses needed to establish a matter. Yet somehow  I can’t get beyond the universality of 1 Timothy 2:12.  Didn’t you say that women are not allowed to teach men?

Paul: Brother Doug the lesson you need to learn today is that you must consider the whole.

Doug: Huh?

Paul: What I mean is that I wrote some hard passages of scripture that cannot be understood piecemeal.  The passages must be considered in whole and not in parts ripped from the context.  Otherwise my intended meaning falls to the ground.  Let’s look at the full passage of 1 Timothy 2:11-15.  After verse 11 what do you notice about the beginning of each verse?

Doug: Verse 12 starts with “but”, verse 13 with “for”, verse 14 with “and” and then verse 15 starts with “but”.  It does seem like these verses are all connected together.

Paul: That’s right.  Each verse joins together with the next verse and together they make one complete thought.  When I wrote to Timothy I was very concerned about a specific problem in Ephesus that was a sticky situation for Timothy and he sure needed my help.  When I wrote to Timothy I alluded to the problem, which Timothy already knew about, I also gave him the solution to the problem, the reason for the problem and the expected outcome after the problem was fixed.  I wrote all of this to instruct Timothy regarding what he should do and I also wanted to encourage him on the good results that I was expecting.

Doug: So how were we supposed to know that this was about a situation in Ephesus and not meant for all women?  It sure seems to me that it was written as a general instruction.  In fact when I look up commentaries on this passage, they all seem to think that you were talking about the role of women forbidden to be official teachers in the church.

Paul: That is a good question and I can help you with that.  Before I give you an answer, why don’t you tell me what you think I intended when I wrote this set of verses?

Doug: I think you were pretty clear.  You said that the woman’s role is to be quiet and learn.  You do not want women to teach or have authority over men in the church because their role is to be quiet while the role of the men is to speak out as the spiritual authority and as the doctrinal teachers of the church.  After all God gave man the preeminent first position.   God’s original design was reversed when the woman took the man’s role by speaking out to the serpent and by her trying to speak for God.  She fell into sin first when she usurped the man’s role.   God has promised women that if they stick to their assigned roles and do not seek to be teachers of men, then they will have protection from deception.

Paul: That is quite an interpretation.  It seems to me that you think I was saying that if a woman publicly speaks out about what she has learned in a way that appears to be teaching, then she has usurped the role of men.

Doug: I think that says it pretty well.

Paul: Hogwash! That interpretation would cause me to contradict myself.  In the book of Corinthians I wrote that when the whole church assembles together all may speak out so that all may learn.

1 Corinthians 14:23,24  Therefore if the whole church assembles together and … all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all;

1 Corinthians 14:31  For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

Doug: I don’t think that is real teaching and it certainly isn’t preaching.   I have heard that women aren’t allowed to preach because only men can speak in a powerful way to bring conviction to the consciences of men.

Paul: Let’s go back through this one more time.

1 Corinthians 14:24 – if an unbeliever or someone that is untaught comes into your midst and all speak publicly in prophesy, he will be convicted by all and called to account by all.

This kind of prophesying calls a sinner to repentance and is used by God to bring conviction.  The results of this kind of prophesying expose the secret sins of the heart.

1 Corinthians 14:25  the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

The sinner will have his sin exposed and brought to his attention and he will come under conviction and repent.  Brother Doug, this is anointed preaching at its best.  Do you see that this is allowed in public with the church assembled together?  This is not the realm of the male alone.  It is the realm of the whole church.

Doug: Well then maybe a woman is allowed to teach unsaved people in the church but she is not allowed to teach Christian men.

Paul: Double hogwash!  The teaching and the learning is to be done by all and for all.  This is the the purpose for the assembly of the church.

1 Cor 14:26,31  … When you assemble, each one …has a teaching, … For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

The Greek word for teaching is the word that means doctrine.  If teaching doctrine is a man’s “role” then it is also a woman’s “role” because God made the woman to be a helper in the same realm as the man.

Doug: But why did you say that women cannot teach?

Paul: I didn’t.  I gave Timothy instructions for the whole church and then when I changed the subject I also changed the grammar.  Did you notice that I went from the plural in verse 9 to singular in verse 11?

Doug: Yes I saw that, but I thought you were talking about the same thing.

Paul: Then why would I need to change the grammar to singular?

Doug: I don’t know.

Paul: If I was continuing to talk about all women and all men in general, then the clearest way to show this would have been to simply carry on with the plural, wouldn’t that be true?

Doug: Sure.

Paul: The grammar was changed for a purpose.  I was writing to Timothy and he was not confused about what I wrote.  I wrote the singular form of man and woman because of a specific problem.  Timothy was left behind to stop the false teachers.  There was one specific false teacher that posed a real challenge.

Doug: How would we know that you were talking about false teaching?  You didn’t say that “a woman” can’t teach false doctrine to “a man”.  You just said that she cannot teach a man.

Paul: The entire context is about deception.  The only teaching that is completely forbidden in the context of the letter is false teaching.  In chapter one I talk about those who are teaching error and then in chapter two I bring up the deception (verse 14) as a reason for the prohibition.  Why would you think that I was stopping godly teaching when I gave the reason for the prohibition as deception?

Doug: It is because of the word that you used.  False teaching has a different Greek word not the word you used.

Paul: And you are trying to educate me in Greek?  I am impressed!  Let me show you that you are wrong.  Words that normally can mean a good thing can also mean bad things depending on the context.  Look at Revelation 2:20.

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.

Notice that Jezebel teaches and leads and these two words are normally good things.  In fact the word for “teach” here is the same one that I used in 1 Timothy 2:12.  But do you see that the context shows that Jezebel is not teaching that which is good nor is she leading in a good way?  The context defines the word.  The context surrounding 1 Timothy 2:12 is deception.

Doug: If you wanted us to know that the teaching you wanted stopped is the teaching of error, then why did you connect it to Adam being created first?

Paul: I connected it to Adam because the first one created had something that immunized him from being deceived.  Eve did not have this immunity because she was created after an event that Adam alone was privy to.  Knowledge of a significant event protected Adam and his knowledge should have been used to protect Eve. Adam should never have been silent and allowed Eve to be deceived.

Doug: What was the thing that gave Adam immunity?

Paul: That will have to remain for another day when we are talking about the subject of Genesis.  Time is so short for my stay here, but I will add it to the list of things to talk about.

Doug: So tell me how would we know that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 was not talking about women in general?

Paul: I have already given you in the two previous interviews the importance of a second witness.  Today I can add to that foundation, and it is the fact that the grammar of verses 14 & 15 proves that this passage is not about all women.

Doug: Prove it.

Paul: Okay I will.  Verse 14 is definite “the woman” but the grammar in this verse shows that although the deception of Eve is the model, the one called “the woman” is alive at the time of writing because the sin is continuing.  The grammar is the perfect tense which means that the results of her actions are continuing.  She is still in that transgression.

Doug: Couldn’t this be Eve’s sin continuing?

Paul: No because Eve is dead and gone and her transgression is not having a continuing action for her.  Neither her deception or her transgression is continuing because she is dead.

Doug: Okay, so verse 14 is a specific woman, but isn’t verse 15 about generic woman?

Paul: No.  If I wanted to speak about generic woman I would have made the grammar to be singular or I could have made it plural.  I would not have moved from a singular to plural.  The grammar is specific to a single woman and a couple (they).

Doug: Most commentators see 1 Timothy 2:15 as a shift from the singular to the plural as a proof that you are talking about women in general.  In fact many translations say  “women will be saved…if they“.  They make it a matched plural.

Paul: But this is not the way it was written by me.  This is putting an interpretation into the translation.  Also where is the second witness?

Doug: What do you mean?

Paul: Do you remember when we were talking about the importance of every matter to be established by two or three witnesses?

Doug: Yes.  I think you proved that quite well to me.

Paul: So where is a second witness that proves that a singular person can be called both she and they in the same sentence?  Show me even one example in the Old Testament or the New Testament where there is another example of such a piece of grammar.

Doug: I have never heard of grammar being used this way except for 1 Timothy 2:15.

Paul: You are right because there is no second witness.  The “experts” are wrong.  There is not even one example of grammar like this in the entire bible that would establish a documented case.  This is because this kind of grammar is in error.  If I wanted to make 1 Timothy 2:15 to be about all women I could have said “She will be saved…if she” or “They will be saved…if they”, but it is a grievous error to say “She will be saved…if they” if “she” and “they” are the same thing – generic woman.

Doug: Are you trying to tell me that the commentaries are wrong?

Paul: Yes I am.  And you can tell them they are wrong too.

Doug: How do I do that?

Paul: Ask them to give you a second biblical witness for a piece of grammar that makes a generic person to be called  singular and plural.  For example ask them if there is any other place in the bible where she is called they or he is called they.

Doug: What if they do have such an example?

Paul: (Laughing)…then they would have shown such an example by now, wouldn’t they? There is no such example at all in the bible because the Holy Spirit doesn’t inspire grammatical errors.

Doug: So what you are telling me is that you were writing Timothy about a specific woman and a specific man.

Paul: Yes and my grammar proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Doug: Then why didn’t you make it easy on us and name her?

Paul: Because I only named those who were deliberate deceivers.  Hymenaeus was one of those who deliberately deceived people about the resurrection.  I named him and warned people about him.   She was not one of those deliberate deceivers.  Deliberate deceivers were sent out of the church to be “taught” by satan.  I did this sending out of the church to Hymenaeus.  The deceived are to be taught and corrected in the church by believers.  I did this for her.  I instructed Timothy to make sure that she learns.  Do you see the difference?

Doug: This is all so new to me I don’t know what to think.

Paul: This is what you should think.  Test all thingsHold fast to what is good and true.  If you can find an example in the scriptures of a singular he being called they, then accept that verse 15 could be a generic conclusion about all women.  But if you cannot find a second witness to prove this anomaly, then know for sure that the context of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is not about all women.  It was a specific situation in Ephesus that I counseled Timothy on and it was dealt with in a proper manner.

Doug: Okay…..so tell me why did you connect women’s salvation with their roles if you were only talking about one woman?

Paul: Tell me, brother Doug.  Were men given a promise that they would be saved from deception if they stayed in their “roles”?

Doug: Well, no.

Paul: And neither were women given that promise.  The salvation I spoke of was the salvation out of the deception that she was already in.  Teaching her sound doctrine and having her stay in the faith and with love for God and self control in order to stay away from false doctrine was what would make her safe.  And the Messiah was the childbearing promised to Eve who was the very first one who was deceived.  I made that clear by making “the childbearing” as a noun instead of a verb and it is a definite noun. THE childbearing = THE Messiah.

Doug: You have given me so many things to think about.

Paul: Good!  Then I will say goodbye until next time.  I am off to meet with some TV preachers who are fleecing the flock.  I am bringing along my own shears to use on them before I show them the door.

Doug: Hot dog!

Click here to go to part 4.

37 thoughts on “Round 3 Interview with the Apostle Paul on 1 Timothy 2:12

  1. I think Doug needs to ask himself, why to begin with, he presumes that Paul is speaking about all women in general. Without that presumption in mind, when one goes to the text and follows it from v9 – v15 one is not able to come to that impossible conclusion that is, if facts and scriptural boundaries mean anything.

  2. This was awesome. I’ve read parts 1 and 2, and gained a whole lot of light on that passage, and others in Paul’s writings that seem to put women down. I think the interview exposes a whole lot of his most likely real intention: solving particular problems. He’s not saying “This is the way it MUST be until Christ comes again”; he’s merely saying “This is how I want you to deal with this issue among your congregation”. To try to derive an immutable universal principle from a circumstantial teaching is like trying to make a cat into a dog. It simply can’t be done, unless you want to violate the whole of the Scriptural witness, to say nothing of putting your opinions into the Holy Spirit’s mouth!

  3. I am a bit surprised Doug has not asked him about authenteo. :o) But then, there is so much in this passage which is misunderstood.

    Very good point about the grammar not being used any where else in scripture. To date, no one has brought you another example?

  4. Pinklight,
    Maybe Paul should ask Doug that question 😉

    Alison,
    Welcome! I am so glad that you find the dialogs helpful. When I used to do this in ministry years ago, people seemed to understand the concepts better when it was presented in a real life dialog instead of just in an article. I guess this format works well too with the issue of women in ministry.

    Lin,
    I think there was so much presented by Paul in this last dialog that he didn’t think the point about authenteo would do anything to change the “whole”, but I am sure when he sleeps on it, he will find one more objection 🙂 and give Paul one more opportunity to shed light on this passage before they move on.

  5. Cheryl, your third installment of the Doug/Paul interview is as good as the first two, and certainly brought up a number of key interpretive issues that complementarians, in my experience, are either ignorant of or deliberately ignore. And as someone who has researched and written on the subject of prophecy and prophetic ministry (e.g., “Prophecy, Past and Present, And Its Significance for Women in Ministry,” Journal for Biblical Equality, Vol 4, 1992), I would like to make a couple of observations on this fallacious distinction complementarians, following the example of Wayne Grudem, make between “prophecy,” or the proclamation of God’s revealed word, and “teaching,” or instruction from God’s revealed word.

    First of all, neither in the OT or in the NT, is there a clear distinction made between prophecy or teaching in terms of “forthtelling” or “proclaiming” God’s revealed word. When I wrote my original paper, one of the questions I had to answere was, “What were the prophets in the OT and NT doing, when they were not predicting future events?” And what I discovered, and revealed in that article was that they were expounding and applying the Word of God that had been given through their predecessors, the Law of Moses or the Gospel of Christ. For example, Deborah and Samuel in the OT calling erring Israelites to the Mosaic Law, and Judas and Silas, NT prophets, who instructed, exhorted and encouraged the Antiochian church on the basis of the Edict of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:22-35). Furthermore, while Jesus is called a prophet, it is his teaching that is most recorded. So this is not a biblical distinction.

    Secondly, as we all now know, 1 Cor. 14:33-34, is not the actual teaching of Paul himself, but of a Judaizing group in Corinth that he repudiates in 14:36, as Cheryl Schatz, Gilbert Bilizekian, and other scholars have demonstrated over the last 15 years or so.

  6. Thirdly, other complementarians, such as Gary Crampton, (who wrote “The Bible and Women Preachers” in the Trinity Journal), have admitted that on the basis of both the major Greek lexicons and NT texts such as Colossians 3:16-17, this distinction often made between “prophecy” and teaching has little, if any, biblical authority and so is invalid. Indeed, because he tightly holds on to a complementarian view of this issue, Mr. Crampton reinterprets 1 Cor. 11-14, say Paul didn’t really mean to teach that men and women could prophesy together as equals–it was all a hypothetical sham!

    Fourthly, this intepretation of these Pauline passages (1 Cor. 14:33-34 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15), divorces them from their historical, cultural and literary contexts, ignores what the rest of Scripture says who is gifted and called to prophetic ministry, and makes two ambiguous Pauline texts the rule of all the other Scriptures that go against the complementarian understanding. A terrible violation of basic biblical intepretative methods, that all Protestants, in principle, hold to.

    Well, enough said on this for now. God’s blessing on you, Cheryl!

  7. “First of all, neither in the OT or in the NT, is there a clear distinction made between prophecy or teaching in terms of “forthtelling” or “proclaiming” God’s revealed word. ”

    True and where Grudem, et. al. also get in trouble is when someone points out how the Puritans defined prophecy. They tend to ignore that uncomfortable position even though they are quite willing to quote the Puritans on many other issues. Of course, the Puritans were not concerned about women prophesying so they did not need to twist the meaning. :o)

  8. 1 Tim. 2:11-15 makes much more sense as a one-shot deal to correct a specific problem at Ephesus in a personal letter by Paul to his protege who was the pastor there.

    The amount of extra-Biblical construction, extrapolation, and inference required to make it a universal law for the church age is staggering.

    “… No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means…”
    (George Bernard Shaw)

  9. Cheryl, you and others might be interested to know that Sue and Larry Richards have co-authored a book, EVERY WOMAN IN THE BIBLE, that considers the various OT and NT texts refering to the stories and roles of various women within their appropriate historical, cultural and literary contexts. Then they demonstrate that many traditional, complementarian interpretations and applications of these texts miss the mark. And in regards to 1 Tim. 2:8-15, our present passage of discussion, the authors give a point by point comparison of both the complementarian and egalitarian interpretation, along with charts, and show clearly the inconsistency and incoherence of the complementarian interpretation. I don’t agree with everything they say in this book, but it seems to be a valuable resource for interpreting and applyings those biblical texts often used to restrict women in ministry. So I would recommend it.

  10. Cheryl, the 3rd interview was excellent as were the first two! Thank you!

    You said:

    “I connected it to Adam because the first one created had something that immunized him from being deceived. Eve did not have this immunity because she was created after an event that Adam alone was privy to. Knowledge of a significant event protected Adam and his knowledge should have been used to protect Eve. Adam should never have been silent and allowed Eve to be deceived.”

    I’m eagerly waiting to learn what the “significant event” that protected Adam is, but in the meantime, I’m not finding scripture to support Adam’s “role” in protecting Eve. When you say Adam should have never “allowed” Eve to be deceived, you put an authority in his hands that is not recorded in the Genesis passages.

    Adam was commanded to “dress and keep” the garden. “Keep” has the Hebrew meaning of guarding and protecting, granted, but the charge was to protect the garden against (logically) evil or danger. Eve would have been indirectly protected had Adam protected the garden as commanded by God, but I do not find any hint of a command for him to protect Eve. The command was given prior to her being formed.

    Just my thoughts…..

  11. One should see the close connection between the land and the people on the land. When God charged the man to guard the garden, God is charging the man to guard all the things IN the garden, not just the dirt or just the dirt and trees.

  12. I can’t WAIT for Paul’s next journey back and his next interview. Cheryl, I really think you have the beginnings of a great book here. I hope you persue this format in an extented work.

    On the interview itself – I had never investigated or even heard the grammatical argument before, although I have never had any trouble understanding 1 Timothy as dealing with isolated issues and saw no reason myself to dig too deep. Thanks again for another great surprise!

    Have you ever read the book “What Paul Really Said About Women” by John Bristow? A good companion piece, IMO, to this series of posts.

  13. Victorious,

    I read it a little different in the garden: Adam’s mandate to protect Eve was not one of authority but of responsibility, at least in relationship to Eve. The authority would have been of Adam over the serpent, not Adam over Eve.

    Incidentally, I believe Eve (and women) have a profound role in protecting us Adams as well. But, I think it manifests itself in a different way due to the gifts God has designed into women. That is another discussion, of course, but in summary I think protection goes both ways.

    But in that incident in the garden, clearly Eve was the susceptible partner and Adam was the partner equiped (or immunized) to prevent the deception.

  14. Yes, we need to remember that guards are not authorities. They have a responsibility and the authority to repel invaders, as pointed out already, but never over the people they protect. Nobody would put the generals of the army on guard duty, nor put the king beneath the guards simply because the guards protect them. So Adam’s having been charged with protecting the garden and all it contains is certainly no authoritative role in itself. His dominion over other life forms was not tied to this task of guarding at all, and was given to both he and Eve. But Eve was charged to guard Adam! And although she failed, her failure was due to being beguiled by the most skilled deceiver of all time, while Adam’s failure cannot be excused.

  15. She was his “strong one facing him”, his “comrade in arms”. Today we might say “I’ve got your back”. So although the word for “guard” wasn’t technically used for her, it’s really a part of the meaning. IMHO. 🙂

  16. Hello gengwall:

    “I read it a little different in the garden: Adam’s mandate to protect Eve was not one of authority but of responsibility, at least in relationship to Eve. The authority would have been of Adam over the serpent, not Adam over Eve.”

    Thank you for your response, but I’m not seeing any mandate from God to protect Eve. Since he was commanded to “guard” (keep) the garden, the reasonable assumption is that there was an entity that required guarding against. That could have only been satan imho and Adam failed in guarding the garden.

    hmmm…. in typing this, I see how Adam was, in fact, mandated to protect Eve indirectly.

    Ignore this post…. lol!

  17. “One should see the close connection between the land and the people on the land. When God charged the man to guard the garden, God is charging the man to guard all the things IN the garden, not just the dirt or just the dirt and trees.”

    Thanks, Don! I got it now!

  18. Cheryl,

    I do have a question for Paul if you bump into him. I see the shift in grammer in vs. 11, but I am struggling with still identifying vs. 11 with a specific woman. Of course, unlike Doug, I would never try to lecture Paul on his Greek, so I need some help.

    If I understand the analysis, “woman” in vs. 11 and 14 are both definite and both the same woman. Now, I see the definite article in vs. 14, so all is well there. But I don’t see it in vs. 11, lending the reading as “a woman”, i.e. a generic female which would be a straw person representing all females. What am I missing here (clearly a lot because even the KJV translates vs. 11’s woman as “the woman”)?

    And definite article not withstanding, I struggle with the change from “the woman” (sans definite article) in vs. 11 to “a woman” in vs. 12 back to “the woman” in vs. 14. I’m afraid Paul has me more confused than before. Not that I disagree with the premise – that 11-15 is about a particular Ephesian issue. But I so want to understand the grammer better since Paul made a point of it.

  19. I will thank Paul [;-)] for this revelation: the use of the perfect in vs. 14. My quick google on the Greek perfect yielded this explanation:

    The perfect tense expresses perfective action. Perfective action involves a present state which has resulted from a past action. The present state is a continuing state; the past action is a completed action.

    How is it that almost all bible translations then put the transgression in the past as a completed action? Are they that biased, or that sloppy? A quick version review on blueletterbible.com yields only two translations that get it pretty right: the ASV (“has fallen into transgression”) and Hebrew Names version (“has fallen into disobedience”). (Young’s is also close.)

    This is a huge deal because it sheds whole new light on the passage. Even my trusty NASB seemingly can’t be trusted too far when it comes to 1 Tim 2:11-15.

    So, Cheryl, permit a paraphrase and let’s see if I got it right (not withstanding my questions in the previous post.)

    Timothy had written Paul about a particular man and woman in the church. In particular, she had been deceived, like Eve, and was currently engaged in false teaching. In vs. 11, Paul addresses that issue, in what probably in the original letter was a new section. Here is what I think he is saying.

    Let that woman learn in silence and all subjection, for I don’t permit a woman (so deceived) to teach, nor to (even) usurp her man, but to stay silent. You see, Adam was first formed, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived. Now, this woman, having been deceived (like Eve), is being sinful. Never the less, she will be saved, because of the birth of The One, if she and he show faith, charity, holiness, and sobriety.

  20. Your paraphrase is almost identical to the one I did last year (source):

    That woman must learn, in a respectful and humble way. I do not confer on her the authority to teach, since it will be the man’s ruin; she must quiet down. For Adam was formed first and Eve second, and Adam was not fooled; but this woman, being completely fooled, has fallen into a state of error. In spite of that, she will be rescued by means of proper spiritual upbringing, as long as they both remain in faith and love and wisdom. You can count on that.

  21. gengwall and all,
    I have been out of commission for a few days and hope to start the catch up process tomorrow. I love the good questions and you can be assured by Paul is planning a trip back to answer the mystery!

  22. gengwall,

    In Greek the presence of the definite article makes the noun definite, but the absence of the definite article does NOT necessarily make the noun indefinite, see Wallace “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics”. There is no indefinite article in Koine Greek, so there are 3 basic possibilities when the definite article is not used:
    1. The noun is definite, even tho the article is not used to mandate this.
    2. The noun is indefinite.
    3. The noun is describing a group, of 1 or more that meet the quality.

    The decision about which is the best fit is decided by context and there can be disagreement among scholars in some cases.

  23. Thanks Don. There certainly is disagreement among scholars regarding vs. 11, although the vast majority translate it “a woman”*. Yet the determination on which is correct is crucial. I would think in such an important passage with such significant ramifications where no context is provided to guide us that there would be more grammatical clues.

    Some might say, I suppose, that since Paul did use the definite article in vs. 14 and did not in the other instances in vs. 11-15 (for either “man” or “woman”), that he was being clear when “the” and “a” were to be used. But again, I suspect that is simplistic. At any rate, the question remains, especially amongst such scholarly disagreement.

    One way to look at the passage would be to say that vs. 12 – 14a are kind of parenthetical. That the meat of the passage is “Let the/a woman learn in silence with all subjection…(14b) for that woman having been deceived has become sinful.” Then 14b provides the context to make 11 definite – since it is one continuous thought about the same woman. It may be that that is what our interviewee was getting at and I was just too dense to pick it up.

    *It is ironic that two “old” translations, the KJV and Webster’s, which presumably would be the most patriarchal, are the only ones that translate vs. 11 as “the woman” – the least patriarchal translation. On another translational note, I have no remaining respect for the NLT, which completely butchers this entire passage.

  24. Don: “In Greek the presence of the definite article makes the noun definite, but the absence of the definite article does NOT necessarily make the noun indefinite, see Wallace “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics”. There is no indefinite article in Koine Greek, so there are 3 basic possibilities when the definite article is not used:
    1. The noun is definite, even tho the article is not used to mandate this.
    2. The noun is indefinite.
    3. The noun is describing a group, of 1 or more that meet the quality.

    The decision about which is the best fit is decided by context and there can be disagreement among scholars in some cases.”

    Thanks for this. Don, your posts seem to be a little more sensible than others who post here. Although, I think Wallace uses the words “definite”, “indefinite”, and “qualitative” to describe the options for an anarthrous noun. It still leaves me wondering, if Paul had meant a specific woman and man, why didn’t he use the article?

    Previously I quoted Rebecca Groothhuis who says, “I am not persuaded that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 speaks only to one specific woman. Although I suppose it could be possible, the Greek text does not clearly state this to be the case. As NT scholar Craig Blomberg explains it, although the nouns (“a woman,” “a man”) are singular, they “are indefinite; hence ‘I do not permit a woman to. . .over a man.’ The nouns thus become generic. If they were definite–‘I don’t permit the woman to. . .over the man,’ one could argue that one specific man and one specific woman were in view. But if I write, ‘I don’t permit a child to sleep on a concrete floor,’ I am making a more general statement about not allowing any child to sleep on any concrete floor. ‘I don’t permit children to sleep on concrete floors’ is the semantic equivalent, meaning exactly the same thing.”

    My trouble is like Groothuis’ when she says “the Greek text does not clearly state this to be the case”, that is, the context does not indicate that a specific woman and a specific man are in view. In chapter 2 Paul is talking about conduct in the worship assembly rather than an individual household. He uses the plural forms for men and women in verses 8-10 to speak to them in general and gives no reason to think he has switched to a particular woman and man or a particular husband and wife. Unless Paul gives me a good enough reason to think he has switched, I would assume continuity in his meaning on this. If “a woman” and “a man” meant a wife and husband, then, as Grudem shows, there would be a decisive clue. Grudem gives these examples in EFBT (pages 297-298) to support the point:

    “Romans 7:2: “A married (hupandros) woman”

    1 Corinthians 7:2: “Each man should have his own (heautou) wife and each woman her own (idion) husband.”

    1 Corinthians 7:12: “If any brother has (echei) a wife” (and the entire context of 1 Corinthians 7 is a discussion about marriage)

    1 Corinthians 7:39: “A wife is bound to her (aut?s) husband as long as he lives”

    Ephesians 5:22: “Wives submit to your own (idiois) husbands” (Some translations, such as the NIV, RSV, NRSV, and NLT, omit the word “own” but in doing so they fail to translate the Greek word idiois; everyone agrees that Ephesians 5 is talking about marriage)”

    For more examples see 1 Cor. 14:35, 2 Cor. 11:2, Gal. 4:27, 1 Tim 3:2, 1 Tim 3:12, 1 Tim 5:9, Titus 1:6, and Titus 2:5.

    Given the fact there are decisive clues or qualifications in all of these verses that indicate a husband and/or wife is being spoken of, it seems safe to conclude that the lack of such specificity in 1 Timothy 2:12 indicates that Paul is speaking of men and women in general. Otherwise, he would give us a decisive clue as he did in the other places.

    This claim that a specific husband and wife are being spoken of appears to be another ad hoc hypothesis designed to restrict the applicability of Paul’s proscription to one couple in the church, namely, the one couple, allegedly, that Paul is correcting.

  25. #26 Chris,

    My next conversation with “Paul” should be quite enlightening regarding your questions. I prefer to put my comments in the form of a post instead of just in the comment section since all will see the argument because not all read the comments section.

    You may be interested to hear that Rebecca Groothhuis has commented about my work on the hard passages of scripture regarding women in ministry that I have several “home run” arguments. I have also been in contact with Daniel Wallace who says that he has respect for me and because of this he agreed to review my DVD set. I greatly appreciate his willingness to review my work beyond what he already has read in print on the internet. He also has a copy of my latest work on the Trinity and I look forward to hearing back from him as he has the time to review all of the material.

    So on the next post, we will explore Paul’s reasoning for why he wrote the passage in question as he did and what clues he provided that prove he was not stopping all godly women from teaching any man the truth of God’s word.

    To all:

    There have been some real challenges in our lives the last few months and we are considering whether God would have us move to a bigger center where we would have more room for our ministry offices and the freedom to construct our video studio. We are cramped where we are right now and need to add an addition but we do not know if we should go to a place where the renovations have been already complete or build where we are. We are torn between the two. Moving again would be a challenge but it also would take us where our grandchildren are and even closer to the US/Canada border which is necessary for us to minister in both countries. We have also met a new pastor where we are who is warm, welcoming and who gives us reason for wanting to stay where we are. If anyone is inclined to pray for us, we are asking God for wisdom to make the right choice.

  26. Chris,

    Thanks for pointing out the terms Wallace uses. You point out another option for aner/gyne, namely husband/wife. One context clue is when both are mentioned, altho this is not conclusive.

    Given that we are not Timothy (an understatement but a true one), I think we need to be gracious and not dogmatic on our understandings of some puzzling passages in 1 Tim. Some text is simply not as clear as we might wish and believers can come to different conclusions and still be faithful. Given this, I do not use such verses to restrict half the believers, as I do not see it as a requirement to do so.

  27. Chris,

    I have one more comment for you. Why don’t you answer Paula’s questions? I appreciate that you ask questions because it gives me and others the ability to give a reason for why we believe as we do. However I notice that you are unwilling to give a reason for your reading into the Genesis account. Those who make statements about what scripture says should also be willing to defend those statements by pointing to specific scripture, specific grammar and specific reasoning processes that defend their point of view. I expect this from myself and from my readers. If you continue to ignore Paula’s requests to explain where you are getting the hierarchy arguments from the Genesis account, then I may have to send “Paul” over to your house to have a one on one conversation with you. 😉

  28. #5 Frank,

    Your encouragement is very much appreciated!

    “What were the prophets in the OT and NT doing, when they were not predicting future events?” And what I discovered, and revealed in that article was that they were expounding and applying the Word of God that had been given through their predecessors, the Law of Moses or the Gospel of Christ.

    Excellent observation!!

  29. #6 Frank,

    Thirdly, other complementarians, such as Gary Crampton, (who wrote “The Bible and Women Preachers” in the Trinity Journal), have admitted that on the basis of both the major Greek lexicons and NT texts such as Colossians 3:16-17, this distinction often made between “prophecy” and teaching has little, if any, biblical authority and so is invalid.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I am sure that many will find enlightenment with your comments regarding prophecy and teaching.

  30. #7 Lin,

    Of course, the Puritans were not concerned about women prophesying so they did not need to twist the meaning. :o)

    It is thought-provoking to see how people interpret passages when there is no ulterior motive to cover up.

    #8 Greg,

    The amount of extra-Biblical construction, extrapolation, and inference required to make it a universal law for the church age is staggering.

    “… No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means…”
    (George Bernard Shaw)

    This is the reason why I keep pushing people to have an honest view of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and test this “law” against every other universal law. An honest evaluation shows that this prohibition is not like the others. One needs to ask why we as a church have so easily taken a prohibition written in a personal letter to one person and without any connection to any existing law and without a second witness, and made it applicable to all women? If Paul had stopped one unnamed man from teaching other men, would this have so easily become a universal prohibition against men teaching other men? I think it reveals our societies underlying prejudice against women.

  31. “Doug: Verse 12 starts with “but”, verse 13 with “for”, verse 14 with “and” and then verse 15 starts with “but”. It does seem like these verses are all connected together.”

    There’s 5 conjunctions total. There’s one more “BUT” in there! There’s “and” plus “but” in v14. It’s important because the second conjunction of v14 contrasts Adam’s past with this woman’s present state.

    11A woman should…12BUT, I do not permit a woman to…13FORAdam was formed…14AND Adam was not the one deceived; BUT…the woman… 15BUT she will be saved…if…

  32. This is more clear:

    11A woman should…12BUT, I do not permit a woman to…13FOR Adam was…14AND Adam was not…; BUT the woman IS…15BUT she will be saved…if…

  33. And since there are no verses…:

    A woman should…BUT, I do not permit a woman to…FOR Adam was…AND Adam was not…; BUT the woman IS…BUT she will be saved…if…

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