Round 4 Interview with the Apostle Paul – only one woman?

Round 4 Interview with the Apostle Paul – only one woman?

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This post is the fourth 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 still more questions for Paul on 1 Timothy 2:11-15.  Let’s listen in.

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

Paul: Nice to see you again brother Doug.  Are we ready to move on to another hard passage today?

Doug: Oh no!  I still have more questions on the 1 Timothy 2 passage.  I don’t quite understand what we are supposed to get from this passage if it was a local situation.

Paul: There are two important things that we should review to make sure that you clearly understand what I have been teaching you.

Doug: Okay, go ahead.

Paul: The first thing that is vital to know, and we went over this the last couple of interviews, is that it is impossible for the 1 Timothy 2 passage to be a new law the forbids women from teaching men.  The principle of two or three witnesses rules out a universal law since there is no second witness.  The second thing that you must remember is that the letter was written to Timothy and Timothy understood my letter to him.

Doug: Well that is fine to say, but don’t you think that we should be able to understand your letter too?

Paul: Yes, I do.  However there are several issues that make my letter hard for those outside of the specific situation to understand.  This is why Peter said that some of the things that I write are difficult.

2 Peter 3:15  and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
2 Peter 3:16  as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

When we started our discussions, I told you what my letter cannot mean.  Once we can eliminate the false understanding, it is easier for you to understand what I did mean.

Doug: Why is that?

Paul: Because as soon as one tests 1 Timothy 2:12 against all other biblical laws and against the Old and New Testament principle of two or three witnesses, one must come to the conclusion that all women cannot be the subject of the prohibition in verse 12.  Besides you will notice that I didn’t say that “God doesn’t allow…”  I said “I am not allowing a woman to teach or authentein a man”.

Doug: Don’t you mean “exercise authority over”?

Paul: No, my son.  I used the exact word that Timothy would understand.  It was a rare word that fit perfectly the situation that we were dealing with.   That should have been a red flag for you.  After all, nowhere in the Bible is authentein ever given to anyone to do to another person.  Do you see that?

Doug: I didn’t know that.  I thought that men were given this authority many times in scripture.

Paul: Not at all.  The action described by the word authentein is never ever given to a Christian to act on.  No man is given permission to authentein a man or a woman and no woman is ever given permission to authentein even another woman.  The meaning of this word is not related to Christian activity and this is why it is never used in scripture other than this one time where it is used as a prohibition.

Doug: Paul please tell me what this word means.

Paul: I am not going to give the meaning to you because I want you to learn a principle that goes beyond the use of this one unique word.  Here is the principle:  When a doctrine is based upon one unique word used only one time in the Bible, and this doctrine has no second witness,  it is a doctrine built on sand.

Doug: Why are you so forceful on this issue?

Paul: It is because there are so many false doctrines that have crept into the church.  When a passage is taken outside of its context and when a doctrine is established on a passage that has no valid second witness, the church can be greatly harmed.

When I was walking over here, I stopped to talk to several people who called themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They told me that Jesus is Michael the Archangel and they gave me the reference of 1 Thessalonians 4:16

1 Thess 4:16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God …

They said that the only archangel named in scripture is Michael so Jesus is Michael the archangel.  Now I could have have made comment to them that Jesus must also be a trumpet since “the Lord” is also coming with the trumpet of God, but I chose to ask them for a second witness, one that says that Jesus is the archangel Michael.  I gave them the same spiel about the principle of two or three witnesses.  Guess what?  They had no second witness.  I told them their doctrine was invalid.

Doug: What did they say back to you?

Paul: They said that this is what the apostle Paul meant and Paul didn’t have to repeat himself and I told them I was the Apostle Paul.  I have never seen people run so fast in all my life!  I didn’t even get a chance to tell them that I had been transported from the New Testament times to answer questions.

Doug: They probably thought you were a spirit.  You are getting into your share of trouble while you are here.

Paul: That always happens when you tell the truth to someone who doesn’t want to know the truth.  Such a shame.  Well, let’s move on to the meaning of verse 12.  Remember I told you that Timothy understood what I wrote him.  It was a situation that Timothy was very familiar with and he didn’t need me to tell the whole story for him to get it.

Doug: So if the “a woman” in verse 12 doesn’t mean all women, what does it mean?

Paul: It means a particular woman.

Doug: Why didn’t you say “the woman” instead of “a woman”?

Paul: I did within the passage itself.  Look at verse 14.

1 Timothy 2:14  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

The grammar here is the perfect tense.

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.

The fall into transgression is a complete state but the transgression is a continuing state.  The woman I was communicating to Timothy about was still in this state and this was the problem.

Doug: But how does “the woman” from verse 14 connect with “a woman” from verse 12?

Paul: It is simple.  The passage is one complete thought and a noun can be definite with or without the definite word “the”. Look at this example from my own writing:

2 Corinthians 12:2  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven.

Do you think  “a man” was all men or just any man at all or representative of all men, or do you understand that I was talking about a specific individual?

Doug: I know that it was a specific individual.  In fact I have always understood this to be you.  You called yourself “a man” because you were not wanting to boast about your visions.

Paul: And I am still not wanting to boast.  But do you see that an indefinite noun can be definite depending on the context?

Doug: Sure.

Paul: Let’s look back at 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in the ESV

1 Tim 2:11  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.
1 Ti 2:12  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
1 Ti 2:13  For
1 Ti 2:14  andbut the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
1 Ti 2:15  Yet she will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

In verse 11 we have a noun without the article but it is still to be considered definite because the passage is connected together.  Why is “woman” not allowed to teach?  I stated the reasons and the outcome in the next verses.  For.. andbutthe woman” was deceived (and the transgression is a continuing state) yet she will be saved

The one who will be saved is the same one who is in a state of transgression and the same one who isn’t allowed to teach and the same one who is to be allowed and encouraged to learn.  It is impossible to remove the connection between “the woman” and the anarthrous noun in verses 11 & 12 because the entire passage is connected together with conjunctions.  The context is one woman who is deceived and who must not teach while she is in her state of deception.  But she will be saved if she is allowed and encouraged to learn and she remains in the truth that she learns and has self-control to stay away from the deception.

Doug: But John MacArthur doesn’t agree with you.  He says:

The salvation spoken of here is not salvation from sin. It cannot refer to Eve since the future tense is used (“she shall be saved”)” (see http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/sg54-17.htm).

Paul: Well brother John is half right.  Verses 14 & 15 cannot refer to Eve.  Eve is not continuing in transgression so verse 14 cannot be Eve.   Verse 15 also cannot be Eve since the future tense is used just as John MacArthur said.  That is all correct.  But he is wrong when he said that the salvation I spoke about is not salvation from sin.  In fact I made it very clear when I stated that she would be saved (future tense) through THE childbearing (definite article and the childbearing is a noun and not a verb).  The unique and only birth of the (definite) childbirth that brought salvation was the birth of the promised Messiah.  There is not even one reference of mine to salvation from anything else but sin in all of my epistles.  So there is a 100% agreement in my epistles when I speak about salvation that it is from sin and 1 Timothy 2:15 is not an odd ball reference removed from all of the other references.  It follows the same pattern.  Salvation by THE childbearing is the person of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah who came through the lineage of the very first deceived woman.

Doug: But here is one more thing that I want to bring up.  It is from a dear friend of mine – my friend Chris.

When ‘she’ in verse 15 refers back to ‘the woman’ in verse 14 it is not referring to the woman *as* Eve or *as* the woman herself but rather the woman as the representative of all women collectively.  Using the singular ‘she’ is fine grammatically because ‘the woman’ in verse 14 is singular, but it should be understood that all women are meant because, conceptually, ‘the woman’ stands for all women.  The plural ‘they’ in verse 15 refers to all women collectively.

Paul: This grammar is impossible.  While “the woman” is certainly “she” (and the same woman from verse 12 with the use of the anarthrous noun) “she” can never be the same thing as “they”.  In other words “she” cannot be “all women” while at the same time “they” is all women.  Where is the second witness for such illegal grammar as this?  Have you ever seen a second witness to this grammar error?

Doug: Well, no.

Paul: Secondly, let’s replace the “she” and “they” with this interpretation:

All women will be saved through THE childbearing if all women continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Does this make sense?

Doug: That doesn’t sound right, does it? It kind of sounds like no women can be saved unless all women continue in faith.

Paul: This is the problem.  It doesn’t make sense and a doctrine based on one passage without a second witness is harming the church.

Doug: But how can this passage harm the church?

Paul: It harms the church by creating a law that stops women from using their gifts of teaching for the benefit of the entire church.  Do you think that only women are being hurt?  Men are hurt too when they do not have the benefit of women’s gifts.  The church needs every single saint and every single gift that God has given because we are knit together in love and it is when we serve each other that the whole body grows.

Oh dear, look at the time!  I must be on my way.

Doug: Will you be back?  I have so many questions!  Wait…you were supposed to tell me what we are to get as a lesson from 1 Timothy 2:11-15.

Paul: The lesson? It is simple.  Deceived people can be helped if they are nurtured by caring Christians who are willing to teach them solid biblical teaching.  We should not just write off those who are deceived.  They can be saved if they are taught proper doctrine and if they will embrace and love the truth and have self-control to stay in that truth and not wander off after the lie.  Now brother Doug, don’t worry.  I will be back.   I am on my way to a Kingdom Hall to find myself some more Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I am going to practice finding and teaching the deceived.

Doug: Oh boy, Paul.  Just don’t tell any more of them that you are the Apostle Paul!  They frighten easy.

Part 5 of this series is located here.

44 thoughts on “Round 4 Interview with the Apostle Paul – only one woman?

  1. ‘Besides you will notice that I didn’t say that “God doesn’t allow…” I said “I am not allowing a woman to teach or authentein a man”.’

    By what power or authority does any mortal man have to create or give a universal law for God? God did not speak those words directly, Paul did not quote him and Paul did not say it was a command or law of God’s or the Lord’s. And by what kind of thinking and power or authority do any mortals have to give any mortal man such power and authority?

    I know that many think that since Paul wrote it and his writings are inspired that therefore it must mean that what Paul wrote is a universal law of God’s. If this kind of logic were true then everything Paul wrote could be taken as universal law, but those who would say he wrote such a law in the 1 Tim 2 passage also pick and choose which other things that Paul wrote are universaly binding and which things are not.

    ‘It’s inspired therefore it is universal law’ is nonsense.

    It wouldn’t matter even if Paul or anyone else stopped all women from teaching since mere mortals, including apostles do not have the power or authority to create universal law for God. And God’s laws are ALWAYS said to be his in the scriptures. If a law is God’s then we find him speaking, being quoted or the law is said to be his.

  2. ‘When ‘she’ in verse 15 refers back to ‘the woman’ in verse 14 it is not referring to the woman *as* Eve or *as* the woman herself but rather the woman as the representative of all women collectively.’

    And this is because why? What is written IN the passage itself that indicates this? Absolutely nothing. These are mere assertions.

    ‘Using the singular ‘she’ is fine grammatically because ‘the woman’ in verse 14 is singular, but it should be understood that all women are meant because, conceptually, ‘the woman’ stands for all women. The plural ‘they’ in verse 15 refers to all women collectively.’

    Conceptually ‘the woman’ should be understood to be standing for all women because why? What is actualy written in the passage to indicate this or what spells it out? What evidence is there for saying that ‘the woman’ represents all women and ‘they’ refers to all women? There is no evidence within the passage itself to support your assertions.

    The assertions above come completely from the imagination and not the text itself. On the other hand, there is no way to deny the least number of women, which is 1, and there is no way to produce as a fact, a larger number than 1 from the passage itself. If you look over the passage with a careful eye and keep within it’s written boundaries, this fact cannot be missed.

  3. Excellent points, Pink! I think I’m going to try and find time to look up ever NT instance of the singular that context requires to refer to a generic plural. Should be interesting.

  4. So the “they” in v. 15 is not the specific man and the woman from the passage but their brothers and sisters in the church who have the ability to lead her out of her deception…hmmmm. That makes more sense. Would it even be fair to say that v. 15 then wraps up all of 1 Tim 2, in that Paul now brings it back to the congregation he was speaking of and exhorting in vs. 1-10? In other words, vs. 15b, “if they continue…” is summarizing the instruction of vs. 1-10, now applied to this specific woman!

  5. The NIV has an interesting footnote regarding “saved” in v. 15. It says it can also mean “restored”. That seems to be the thrust of v. 15, that this woman can be restored to fellowship and ministry (as God wishes for all people – vs. 3-4) through the grace and intersession of Jesus (see vs. 5-6) if the church remains faithful, comes around her in love (vs. 1, 8), and leads her out of her transgression into proper holiness (like that described in vs. 9-10).

    It’s a shame the NIV botches the rest of the translation so badly.

  6. gengwell, I have had so many seminary trained people tell me that saved in that verse means that she will be ‘restored’ if she stays in her role as wife and mother and not trying to teach men.

    As if she was saved but would not be unless she did not stay in her proper role. Some also claim it is more about sanctification than salvation.

  7. Amazing! I presume that they associate the “role” that the woman is being restored to is described by vs. 11-12. Bascially, a role of house arrest. Do they completely miss that vs. 9-10 describe a role of vibrant ministry for women (“in like manner” to that of men in v. 8)?

    This is all so clear now. Vs. 1-4 states what ALL Christians (men and women) should be doing. V. 8 deals with how men go about doing this ministry, addressing some generally male tendancies (wrath and doubting) that could hinder their effectiveness. Vs. 9-10 do the same thing for women, but women have a different potential hinderance (immodesty???). This is the “role” that the woman in 11-15 can be restored to. Vs. 11-12 instruct Timothy on what needs to be done with her until she is restored. It is not a role but a consequence of her continuing transgression.

    Woah! It is almost too sensible to believe. Am I nuts?

  8. Cheryl, an observation on 1 Tim. 2:12 based on 1 Cor. 7:17-31. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about “the rule of conduct” for congregational relationships and practices that he lays down for all the churches (1 Cor. 7:17). Then in 7:25-31, he responds to the question as to what engaged couples should do in the light of the eschatological end in which the Church lives between now and the 2nd coming of Christ. When he addresses this issue, having stated his general rules, which are based in the teaching of Jesus himself, Paul says, “Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are…” (1 Cor 7:25-26, NIV). Since he is addressing a specific issue, limited to a certain place and time, and since no general command of the Lord Jesus exists to address, Paul, by the wisdom of the Lord granted him by the Spirit of Christ ” (i.e., “the mercy of the Lord” to which he refers), he gives an hoc rule that suits this issue and its attending circumstances.

    Now, 1 Tim. 2:8-15, we have the same pattern of general rules for the churches, rooted in Paul’s own teaching and practices, with a specific situation considered and ruled on in vv. 11-15. In 2:1-10, such is the wording that the “rule of conduct for prophesying,” which we recognize in its full form in 1 Cor. 11-14, is here given in summary form, because it was teaching Timothy was well acquainted with and needed no further instruction on (Cf. 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5). But such is the subject and language in 1 Tim. 2:11-15, that it is clear that Paul is no longer focused on general rules arising out of the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, but is again, by the Spirit of Christ, giving a word of wisdom and a ruling that addresses the specific situation that Timothy is facing in Ephesus at the time and on which he sorely needs advice and counsel. So this something else we need to keep in mind regarding this passage.

  9. A quick check of scripture tells me there’s no other passage with the kind of singular/plural shift seen here in 1 Tim. 2, and an exhaustive study would take a very long time. Let those who think this “she will… if they” construction can be taken as a generic “she” find supporting scripture, since they are highly motivated to find it. But I did blog today to comment on bible dot arrrgh’s footnotes to the passage.

  10. I emend 1 Tim 2:15 to say if they (each) …, as salvation is by individuals, in community for sure, but by each individual’s choice.

    Based on Wallace’s 3rd option for an anarthrous noun of it describing a group of at least 1 member, I see it as POSSIBLE that there were a (small) group of (deceived) women that Paul wants taught and while being taught to not teach. This possibility does not change the application for today, whether it was one woman or a small group of women.

  11. The instances I found where singular and plural occur together had an important feature: another word such as “every” described the singular. Does Wallace show any examples of scripture where this is not the case? What I’m getting at is that Paul does not say “every she” or “all she” or anything like that (which would be nonsense). The phrase “if she will” would have to refer back to a generic woman already identified, such as if Paul had said “Women cannot teach men. If a woman teaches a man, she is in sin.”

  12. “… Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are…” (1 Cor 7:25-26, NIV). Since he is addressing a specific issue, limited to a certain place and time, and since no general command of the Lord Jesus exists to address, Paul, by the wisdom of the Lord granted him by the Spirit of Christ ” (i.e., “the mercy of the Lord” to which he refers), he gives an hoc rule that suits this issue and its attending circumstances.”

    Frank, I was just reading this last night and thinking the same thing about this whole passage.

  13. #4 gengwall,

    So the “they” in v. 15 is not the specific man and the woman from the passage but their brothers and sisters in the church who have the ability to lead her out of her deception…hmmmm.

    Verse 11 would deal with community teaching where all may teach (prophesy) so that all may learn (1 Cor. 14:31). But could “they” refer to the entire church community in verse 15? Paul will be back shortly to deal with the “they” part of this equation.

  14. #10 Frank,
    You said:

    Since he is addressing a specific issue, limited to a certain place and time, and since no general command of the Lord Jesus exists to address, Paul, by the wisdom of the Lord granted him by the Spirit of Christ ” (i.e., “the mercy of the Lord” to which he refers), he gives an hoc rule that suits this issue and its attending circumstances.

    This is a very good example of a rule that is issued for a particular circumstance.

    But such is the subject and language in 1 Tim. 2:11-15, that it is clear that Paul is no longer focused on general rules arising out of the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, but is again, by the Spirit of Christ, giving a word of wisdom and a ruling that addresses the specific situation that Timothy is facing in Ephesus at the time and on which he sorely needs advice and counsel. So this something else we need to keep in mind regarding this passage.

    This is excellent! I couldn’t have worded it any better myself!

  15. Lin,

    BTW: I think these conversations are an excellent teaching tool

    Thank you Lin! These kinds of encouraging words really keep me going and want to be even more productive.

  16. #5 Lin,

    What are the reasons 1 Corin 14 could not be used as a second witness against women teaching men? Just curious.

    There are two reasons that it cannot be used as a second witness. The first reason is that it would have to be Paul’s words not a quote from the Corinthians to make a second witness and since verse 36 refutes the previous position, the “second witness” cannot stand.

    Secondly if we were to take 1 Cor. 14:34, 35 as Paul’s command, it still isn’t a second witness. There is nothing in that passage that forbids women to teach men. Can women teach men in groups outside the church? 1 Cor. 14 cannot be used to prohibit that.

    Lastly if we were to take the passage as Paul’s command, everyone interprets it as allowing speech to some extent. Otherwise women wouldn’t even be able to say “hello” in the church. So if speech is allowed, what isn’t allowed? The passage in Corinthians says not one word about “teaching men” as something forbidden and since Paul has already told the Corinthians they all can prophesy so that all can learn, prophesying (teaching) to men could not possibly be forbidden in this passage by Paul.

    Thanks for asking! I am sure that “Paul” will have more to say when we get to this passage.

  17. #13 Paula,

    What I’m getting at is that Paul does not say “every she” or “all she” or anything like that (which would be nonsense).

    Good point! “Everyone is hungry and they all want to eat” is acceptable grammar. However she is hungry and they want to eat does not equate “she” as the exact same thing as “they”. The grammar rules show that a singular must equate with another singular and a plural with a plural. I know of no way for the complementarians to get out of the grammar. If they think they can, I would like to see the biblical example provided. Where is the second witness?

  18. Cheryl says in her blog post “What does 1 Timothy 2:11-15?” under point #17: “The grammar from 1 Timothy 2:15 requires the identification of a single female to refer back to “a woman” from verse 12.”

    But consider Numbers 30:4-5 in the LXX (the Greek OT):
    “4 And if *a woman* shall vow a vow to the Lord, or bind herself with an obligation in her youth in her father’s house; and her father should hear her vows and her obligations, wherewith *she* has bound her soul, and her father should hold his peace at her, then all her vows shall stand, 5 and all the obligations with which she has bound her soul, shall remain to her.”

    Here a command is given to the congregation. The pronoun ‘she’ refers to ‘a woman’, but the command isn’t just for one specific woman, it is for all women. Apparently, the pronoun ‘she’ does not necessarily restrict the number of the antecedent to only one specific individual.

    Cheryl: “It is impossible to remove the connection between ‘the woman’ and the anarthrous noun in verses 11 & 12”

    The reason Paul switches to the generic singular form is because he intends to connect his proscription in verse 12 to his argument from the creation order in verses 13-14 where the singulars ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ are used as representatives of all men and women. In verse 14, ‘the woman’ refers back to Eve and stands the representative of all women.

    Cheryl: “’[S]he’ can never be the same thing as ‘they’. In other words ‘she’ cannot be ‘all women’ while at the same time ‘they’ is all women.”

    ’[S]he’ is any woman, and ‘they’ refers to those women.

    So, in context, Paul is giving instructions for women. He switches from plural to generic singular but is still giving instructions for women. The switch to generic singular anticipates his argument from the creation order. Adam and Eve stand as representatives of all men and all women in Paul’s argument. The woman in verse 14 is Eve. So, the woman is representative of all women. ‘She’ in verse 15 refers back to ‘the woman’ in verse 14. All women are still in view here. ‘[T]hey’, in verse 15, can have an inferred antecedent that refers distributively to all of the women in the church because the topic continues to be instruction to women and ‘the woman’ to which ‘she’ refers stands for all women.

    If there is some rule of Greek grammar that requires the pronoun ‘they’ to have explicit antecedents in the text, then (unless this rule is extraordinarily arcane) Greek experts would have caught this in 1 Timothy 2:15 and brought everyone’s attention to it. But it certainly appears that most, if not all, Greek experts have made no mention of any such rule here. So, I seriously doubt that there is any such rule that would prevent the Greek ‘they’ in 1 Timothy 2:15 from having an inferred antecedent, especially given how this verse has been understood by most commentators.

    Antecedents can be inferred from the text, as in this English example:

    1. Few elders attended the seminar. They stayed home instead.

    They = the elders who did not attend the seminar. The antecedent is the complement of ‘few elders’ in the set of all elders.

    I’ve seen the claim that the switch from ‘she’ to ‘they’ is a problem for patriarchalists several times here, but I have yet to see any documentation to support this alleged violation of the rules of Greek grammar.

    Terri Darbi Moore writes (in the previously referenced article): “The plural use of gunhv in verses 9-10 refers to the larger sphere of women, the singular uses in verses 11-12 and in verse 14 referring to Eve have a generic or representative force, and verse 15 expands from the representative back to the larger sphere of Christian women with which the passage began. This shift in number is a characteristic of paraenetic style and occurs throughout the passage, thus there is no reason to interpret it as connoting a change of subject.”

    And: “Finally, the shift in number from the apodosis to the protasis, though often a “red herring” to exegetes of this verse, does not demand two different subjects for the elements. There are subtle shifts in subjects throughout the passage, yet the entire message is directed toward the believing women at Ephesus.”

    So, I think you haven’t chosen your antecedents very well.

  19. “The reason Paul switches to the generic singular form is because he intends to connect his proscription in verse 12 to his argument from the creation order in verses 13-14 where the singulars ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ are used as representatives of all men and women. In verse 14, ‘the woman’ refers back to Eve and stands the representative of all women.”

    This makes no sense from another point of view. Why would being deceived be a more important prohibition from teaching than sinning willfully and on purpose like Adam?

    Are you saying that God prefers and trusts those that sin willfully and purposely?

  20. #20 Chris,
    You said:

    Here a command is given to the congregation. The pronoun ‘she’ refers to ‘a woman’, but the command isn’t just for one specific woman, it is for all women.

    This is no problem at all. “A woman” can refer to generic woman. The point I was making is that “a woman” is always referred to as “she” and never referred to as “they”. “Women” are referred to as “she”. The grammar can be generic woman for both cases but in each case the grammar must match. In other words “a woman” will never be matched with “they”. You have not proved me wrong and I challenge you to do so from the scripture.

    The reason Paul switches to the generic singular form is because he intends to connect his proscription in verse 12 to his argument from the creation order in verses 13-14 where the singulars ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ are used as representatives of all men and women. In verse 14, ‘the woman’ refers back to Eve and stands the representative of all women.

    If this is the case then Paul (and the Holy Spirit who inspired Paul) made some blunders with the grammar. Verse 14 cannot refer to Eve and neither can verse 15 because of the grammar. Verse 15 is future tense and verse 14 is continuing transgression and neither can apply to Eve. As far as Adam referring to all men, that doesn’t appear to be the case cause “all men” are not formed first and not all men are *not* deceived. *Adam* was formed first and only he was not deceived.

    ’[S]he’ is any woman, and ‘they’ refers to those women.

    I am asking for a second witness for this type of grammar. Show me another example from scripture. I hope that you do not just ignore my request like you have ignored Paula’s questions. That is not a good sign of someone who wants to press on towards truth. Please do answer my question and give me a second witness to this kind of grammatical error in the scriptures.

    So, in context, Paul is giving instructions for women. He switches from plural to generic singular but is still giving instructions for women.

    There is no need to switch from plural to singular if he is still talking about women in general. This would confuse the matter instead of keeping it simple and understandable.

    The switch to generic singular anticipates his argument from the creation order. Adam and Eve stand as representatives of all men and all women in Paul’s argument.

    Prove this argument. Show how all men have not been deceived and all women have been deceived. This is not a representative argument since it is reflective of Adam’s position alone (not deceived) and not that of all men.

    The woman in verse 14 is Eve. So, the woman is representative of all women.

    You cannot just keep repeating your argument. I have already shown how verse 14 doesn’t fit with “the woman” being Eve because of the continuing state of transgression.

    ‘She’ in verse 15 refers back to ‘the woman’ in verse 14. All women are still in view here.

    John MacArthur has already proven my point and he is a strong complementarian. He gives the proof that Eve cannot be the “she” from verse 15 since the grammar is future tense. Therefore either your argument is true and the passage is filled with all kinds of grammar errors (which isn’t possible since it was written by the Holy Spirit) or the grammar is true and verse 15 cannot be Eve. Instead verse 14 AND verses 11 & 12 are all a particular women who is continuing in transgression at the time of Paul’s writing and whose salvation is spoken of in verse 15.

    ‘[T]hey’, in verse 15, can have an inferred antecedent that refers distributively to all of the women in the church because the topic continues to be instruction to women and ‘the woman’ to which ‘she’ refers stands for all women.

    This will be the subject of our next interview with Paul. I am sure that it will interest you. It may take me a couple of days to get the interview complete as I am at a women’s conference this weekend.

    If there is some rule of Greek grammar that requires the pronoun ‘they’ to have explicit antecedents in the text, then (unless this rule is extraordinarily arcane) Greek experts would have caught this in 1 Timothy 2:15 and brought everyone’s attention to it. So, I seriously doubt that there is any such rule that would prevent the Greek ‘they’ in 1 Timothy 2:15 from having an inferred antecedent, especially given how this verse has been understood by most commentators.

    The experts have always said that this is a very difficult passage and most say that they do not know exactly what Paul means or why he kept switching from plural to singular and back to plural. If there was a Greek or Hebrew precedent for this kind of grammar, it surely would have been brought to light by now. By the biblical standard of two or three witnesses, I ask for a second witness for this kind of grammar. If it is valid to make she = they, then surely there will be a second witness. Will you be successful at finding a second witness? I am still waiting. It appears to me that you are begging the question.

    1. Few elders attended the seminar. They stayed home instead.

    They = the elders who did not attend the seminar. The antecedent is the complement of ‘few elders’ in the set of all elders.

    “Few” means “more than one” so it can properly be called “they”. But it would not be proper to say: “An elder attended the seminar. They stayed home instead.” This is because “an elder” cannot equal “they” just as “a woman” cannot equal “they”. You are trying so hard to circle the issue but your circling only proves that you are unable to answer my question and to prove the unique and improper grammar with a second witness.

    I’ve seen the claim that the switch from ‘she’ to ‘they’ is a problem for patriarchalists several times here, but I have yet to see any documentation to support this alleged violation of the rules of Greek grammar.

    It is a violation of the rules of any grammar as I have already shown. It would be such a simple exercise to prove me wrong by bringing up a second witness. But alas the proof of the improper grammar as “proper” is for you to prove. Go ahead. I would love to see you try. I think that you know deep inside your heart that this one is unprovable but you are not willing to say that you are wrong. Am I right?

    Your appeal to Terri Darbi Moore is without merit without proof that this kind of grammar is valid. Neither Terri or you can give another example of such violation of the accepted use of grammar. If you or she could, then her statement would have merit and we can examine the second witness. But without a second witness it is not only improper grammar, but it is without precedent and would make Paul (and the Holy Spirit) out to deliberately confuse people. I would rather believe that Paul meant what he said and said what he meant.

    As far as my argument being a “red herring” it should take nothing to prove it. Provide a second witness to prove your claim that Paul used a valid type of grammar making a singular noun equal to a plural noun in the same sentence.

    Again, I would recommend that you read my next post about “they” and see if you can refute “Paul”. 🙂

  21. ‘There is no need to switch from plural to singular if he is still talking about women in general. This would confuse the matter instead of keeping it simple and understandable.’

    There was no need indeed. And what would we read and how would it look if Paul had NOT made the switch from plural to singular? The NLT is an example of what the inspired Paul very simply could have wrote. If the NLT translators could write it, then so could Paul. ;P

    NLT
    9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
    11 Women should learn quietly and submissively. 12 I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. 13 For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.

  22. Cheryl, it seems to me that you have fabricated a rule of Greek grammar for yourself regarding what ‘she’ and ‘they’ can or cannot refer to in order to prop up your view on 1 Timothy 2:11-15. You then appeal to it as if it is some well known rule of Greek grammar that ‘she’ and ‘they’ cannot have the same antecedent. But where is the documentation? Please. You have pushily repeated this claim ad nauseam. As Rene Descartes has said, the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim. You have not met that burden.

    Now, if one specific woman were in view, then I trust you will agree that the plural ‘they’ would more likely refer to a husband together with his wife than anything else. But, as I’ve already argued, husbands and wives are not in view here. So making the antecedent of ‘they’ out to be a husband and wife is almost certainly wrong. Even your own writers recognize the problems with this. See Linda Belleville’s article “Exegetical Fallacies in Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11–15” in the Priscilla Papers (Summer 2003 17:3, page 4):

    “Some translations have sought a way out by narrowing “women” and “men” to “wives” and “husbands” (e.g., Luther’s Bible [1545, 1912, 1984], Young’s Literal Translation [1898] , Charles B. Williams’ Translation [1937]). Lexically, this is certainly possible. Gyne¯ can mean either “woman” or “wife” and ane¯r can mean “man” or “husband” (see BDAG s.v.): “I permit no wife to teach or to have authority over her husband.” Yet, context determines usage, and “husband” and “wife” do not fit. “I want the men to pray . . .” (NASB, 1 Tim: 2:8) and “I also want women . . .” (NIV,vv. 9-10) simply cannot be limited to husbands and wives. Nor can the verses that follow be read in this way. Paul does refer to Adam and Eve in verses 13-14; but it is to Adam and Eve as the prototypical male and female, not as a married couple (“formed first,” “deceived and became a transgressor”).”

    Notice here that Belleville answers the argument that the reference to Adam and Eve shows that a husband and wife are in view (a claim that was made here recently).

    So, given the problems with taking ‘they’ to refer to a husband and wife (among other things), I have to return to the patriarchalist view that ‘they’ refers to the women in the church to whom Paul is giving instructions. And, I have to regard this alleged rule of Greek grammar you’ve put forward as implausible.

    pinklight, hahaha. First, go back and see who you are quoting. Second, go back a read the reason I gave for Paul’s switch from plural to singular . . . then get back to me.

  23. “But where is the documentation?”

    Cheryl asked you to provide the documentation from scripture:

    It is a violation of the rules of any grammar as I have already shown. It would be such a simple exercise to prove me wrong by bringing up a second witness.

  24. The patri or comp interpretation of this passage argues for Paul teaching women to keep within their role which would include not teaching, not having authority AND having children. (I guess getting married is not part of their role) So wives are not in view yet women without husbands will be saved through CHILDBEARING? Maybe only umarried women who have children will be saved? ;P

  25. ‘Now, if one specific woman were in view, then I trust you will agree that the plural ‘they’ would more likely refer to a husband together with his wife than anything else. But, as I’ve already argued, husbands and wives are not in view here.’

    Chris, why does it matter if wives and husbands in general are not in view since Paul is NOT talking about wives and husbands but rather a specific couple?

    If Paul is talking about a specific couple, then yeah, all wives and husbands in general are NOT going to be in view because in view is the specific couple.

  26. Chris is arguing that Paul does not have wiveS and husbandS, in general, in view therefore he is arguing AGAINST a plural and a general meaning.

    He wants to argue against a plural meaning (wives and husbands) on one hand but on the other he wants to argue for it (women and men).

    Now, if Paul had a specific woman and a specific man in mind then it doesn’t matter one way or the other if they are married, though as Chris has pointed out, ‘they’ are likely husband and wife and it doesn’t matter since the woman and man in the passage remain SPECIFIC persons rather than refer to women and men in general.

  27. ‘He wants to argue against a plural meaning (wives and husbands) on one hand but on the other he wants to argue for it (women and men).’

    Chris, by saying that ‘a woman and a man’ cannot be refering to all wives and husbands (because the context isn’t about marriage) is to say that Paul did not necessarily use the singular ‘a woman and a man’ generaly for both sexes, MARRIED OR NOT. Therefore you’ve argued for my position and against your own.

    When Paul said ‘I do not allow a gune to…’ he could be refering to all wives generaly, all women generaly, or just a specific woman or wife. Therefore to be able to argue against a general meaning (all wives or all women) shows the weakness of your own argument for a general meaning.

  28. Chirs said:

    But consider Numbers 30:4-5 in the LXX (the Greek OT):
    “4 And if *a woman* shall vow a vow to the Lord, or bind herself with an obligation in her youth in her father’s house; and her father should hear her vows and her obligations, wherewith *she* has bound her soul, and her father should hold his peace at her, then all her vows shall stand, 5 and all the obligations with which she has bound her soul, shall remain to her.”

    Here a command is given to the congregation. The pronoun ‘she’ refers to ‘a woman’, but the command isn’t just for one specific woman, it is for all women. Apparently, the pronoun ‘she’ does not necessarily restrict the number of the antecedent to only one specific individual.

    And yet, the word “they” is never used within this passage…thanks for proving the point that “they” and “she” cannot be analagous.

    So, in context, Paul is giving instructions for women. He switches from plural to generic singular but is still giving instructions for women. The switch to generic singular anticipates his argument from the creation order. Adam and Eve stand as representatives of all men and all women in Paul’s argument. The woman in verse 14 is Eve. So, the woman is representative of all women. ‘She’ in verse 15 refers back to ‘the woman’ in verse 14. All women are still in view here. ‘[T]hey’, in verse 15, can have an inferred antecedent that refers distributively to all of the women in the church because the topic continues to be instruction to women and ‘the woman’ to which ‘she’ refers stands for all women.

    Chris – If the entire passage continues to refer to all women, then explain this contradiction:

    Verse 1 is addressed to all of the congregation and involves inter-church activities which inherently includes verbalization. As the group of posts and comments have also pointed out with due second witnesses from scripture, that activity also encompassed “teaching”. Verse 8 gives special instruction to the men of the congregation related to these activities, as do verses 9-10 for women. Conversely, the “command” in verses 11-12 requires, in your interpretation, all women, to remain silent in church and tend to strickly to their “role” of homemakers (a role never ever declared in scripture and specifically refuted in Proverbs 31 as well as Genesis 1) by remaining virtually on house arrest.

    So, how can the “women” who are included in verses 1 and 9-10 engage in the activities that Paul “exhorts” (v. 1) them to engage in, if verses 11-12 are “commanding” all of them to alternately lock themselves in their home or remain silent and cowed in church? It makes no sense at all unless verses 11-12 are completely disconected from verses 1 and 9-10. Although in theory, they certainly might both pertain to “women”, they can’t both possibly pertain to the same group of women. The admonission in verses 11-12 has to refer to some other woman or women than those already exhorted by Paul in vs. 1 to raise their voices in “supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks”. Since Paul dramatically switched to the singular, as even recognized in the KJV (“the woman” in verse 11), and confirmed in verse 14b (“but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience – HNV, also equiv in ASV, YNG) it seems pretty clear he was not referring to another group of women but to a single soul. As has been pointed out repeatedly, that is the only conclusion that makes sense from Paul’s grammer.

    Humans, of course, can make whatever sense they want out of a passage. I have seen the wildest explanations for Genesis 2 that are based not one wit on what is actually written there and the people who promote those fantasies are quite convinced they are being very holy and “bible based”. But, I have never seen anyone try to make a “she” into “they” before this. That is quite the, pardon the gender bias, “ballsy” leap to be sure.

  29. All of the argument over verses 14 and 15 is easily resolved by simply looking at the Greek at four critical points.

    1. The “woman” in verse 14 is a specific, real woman, not a representative of a group. The noun has the definite article. I know there has been a lot of discussion over translation in absence of the definite article but when it is present, Greek is unambiguous – it relates a specific person, place, or thing. Verse 14 can’t correctly be translated as “a woman” and is utter nonsense as “women”. The only correct translation is “the woman”.[1]

    2. The deception that “the woman” fell victim to was past but the resulting transgression is ongoing. The “to be” verb is in 2nd Perfect tense. It is very easily and consistently translated into English as “has become”. The only correct translation therefore is that “the woman…has become in transgression”. Any translation referring to a past state, subsequently concluded is just plain in error. Since the state is ongoing, “the woman” can not possibly be Eve.[2]

    3. The childbirth is a specific childbirth. Again, the definite article is present. This can not be grammatically translated as generic child-bearing and certainly can not be turned arbitrarily into a verb (“through bearing children”, as in some translations).[3] Since, there is no possible child birth of Eve’s that could apply, nor can it possibly refer to child-bearing in general, nor is there any reference to a child born by “the woman”, this can only mean one possible thing – the birth of Jesus. This of course makes perfect sense, since “the child-bearing” is in direct relation to…

    4. The redemption or salvation spoken of is in the future. “she shall be saved (or redeemed, restored, preserved)”. Technically, the verb is future indicative – “she shall be being saved”. Since the salvation that “the child-bearing” brings is in the future for “the woman”, again it can not possibly be Eve.

    Regardless of what one thinks about the construction of “woman” in prior verses, the grammar in 14 and 15 is unambiguous in that: A) a specific woman is “in view”, B) it can not be Eve, C) it is not her bearing of children but the birth of Christ that makes her redemption possible. Although our translations get it right on point A, they almost universally distort, confuse, and misrepresent the text on points B and C. And considering the grammar is not at all complex, I am saddened to say that I am forced to believe the deception portrayed in the translations must be intentional. Let us hope that we have not “been deceived” and therefore “become in transgression”.

    Versions….
    [1]…that translate “the woman” correctly: all, (although some are worded to clearly identify Eve as the woman).
    [2]…that translate “has become” correctly: ASV, Hebrew Names Version, Young’s Translation (possibly)
    [3]…that translate “the childbirth” correctly: Young’s (Interestingly, the NLT gets it horribly wrong in their main text but lists it dead on as “by the birth of the Child” in the footnotes.)
    [4]…that translate “shall be saved”: all.

  30. Those are some great insights. The Greek definite article is sometimes used in places where it is not considered good English when translated, and so is omitted in some cases, yet can be crucial to understanding. While an anarthous noun (one with no article) in Greek has a range of possibilities, a noun with the definite article does not.

  31. “The meaning of this word is not related to Christian activity and this is why it is never used in scripture other than this one time where it is used as a prohibition.”

    Excellent point, Cheryl. Nowhere is anyone in the whole of Scripture told to authenteo another person. It would be an activity that is ungodly behavior. Sometimes, its just amazing how legalism and gross literalism (i.e. not really thinking things through in context) leads people in the strangest places.

  32. I see the discussion has moved on to a further discussion (Part 5) of the “grammatical issues” connected with “she” and “they” in 1 Tim. 2:15. And when I can do some further research, I may comment on this newest posting. But in this comment, in part a refocusing on the “big picture” (i.e., the historical, cultural and literary context) in response to comments made by Chris and Donald (20, 12)–some elements of which I agree with and some of which I do not–I would like to add to and expand upon my own (10), if I may.

    As I had stated in my previous comment, as general rules and guidelines Paul had laid down for the churches he had founded, there are striking parallels between 1 Cor. 11:2-14:32 and 1 Tim. 2:1-15. Both passages, as revealed by commonalities in concerns, terms and phraseology, are examples of standard rules and guidelines designed to both define and regulate the proper conduct of men and women as they together engage in intercessory prayer, adoration of God, and in prophesying in the house church meetings. And by means of this mutual, cooperative ministry, everyone present was instructed, encouraged, and built up in their common union with their living and exalted Lord Jesus Christ, as well as being trained and equipped “for good works of service” (Cf. Gal. 3:26-4:7, 1 Cor. 12:1-13, and Eph. 4:1-16).

    Moreover, on the basis of the principle of a legal pronouncement or a word of testimony requiring confirmation and validation by two or three witnesses, which Cheryl has argued so well from the Scriptures, we can firmly and without reservation state that Paul himself, as long as the standard rules and guidelines were followed, both approved and urged men and women to engage together in mutual, complementary prayer, adoration of God, and prophesying. For here is what Paul actually said about this:

    1. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. Do not treat prophecies in contempt but test them all; hold to what is good, reject what is harmful” (1 Thess. 5:16-17, TNIV).

    2. “What then shall we say brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two-or at most three-shall speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret…Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said…[Y]ou can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the control of the prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace-as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people” (1 Cor. 14:26-33, TNIV).

    3. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:15-17, TNIV).

    Now you would think, in light of this clear, threefold testimony given by Paul himself, that when people read what he says in 1 Cor. 14:33b-40 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15, they would immediately recognize that these passages are clear departures from his regular rules and guidelines and that they must be Spirit-given, ad hoc rulings pertaining to special problematic situations arising in Corinth and Ephesus either 1) such was the nature of the problem that the standard regulations did not apply or 2) as the historical, cultural and literary context of both 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy indicates, there were deliberate violations of these Pauline regulations due to certain rebellious factions, influenced by heretical teaching, that were to be found among the members of the congregations in Corinth and in Ephesus. And I would like to say some more on this. But it is getting late, and I must run some errands before bedtime. So this comment is to be continued…

  33. #24 Chris,

    I apologize that I haven’t been too fast this past week. It has been an extremely busy time for me.

    Cheryl, it seems to me that you have fabricated a rule of Greek grammar for yourself regarding what ‘she’ and ‘they’ can or cannot refer to in order to prop up your view on 1 Timothy 2:11-15. You then appeal to it as if it is some well known rule of Greek grammar that ‘she’ and ‘they’ cannot have the same antecedent.

    It is a basic rule of grammar and if it is “fabricated” it should be so easy to disprove. All you have to do is provide another example of “she” or “he” called the plural “they” and I will stand corrected regarding both the Greek grammar and the inspired scriptures. Since no one yet has been able to provide such an example, and you are so certain that it is perfectly fine for a singular to be spoken of as a plural (she=they), then go ahead and prove it. I dare you to find such an example.

    As Rene Descartes has said, the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim.

    My claim is that there is no second witness that shows a grammatical construction of a she=they in the entire bible. I do not have to go through all the grammatical examples to prove my case since my claim is one of non-existence. Your claim is that she can equal they. Yours is a positive claim and so you are the one who must prove their claim.

    Now, if one specific woman were in view, then I trust you will agree that the plural ‘they’ would more likely refer to a husband together with his wife than anything else. But, as I’ve already argued, husbands and wives are not in view here.

    Read my newest post http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2009/04/02/5-apostle-paul-they/ to see that my argument is not about husbands (plural) and wives (plural).

    So making the antecedent of ‘they’ out to be a husband and wife is almost certainly wrong. Even your own writers recognize the problems with this….See Linda Belleville’s article…“I also want women . . .” (NIV,vv. 9-10) simply cannot be limited to husbands and wives. Nor can the verses that follow be read in this way. Paul does refer to Adam and Eve in verses 13-14; but it is to Adam and Eve as the prototypical male and female, not as a married couple…
    What Linda Belleville is saying here verses 11 & 12 cannot mean just married women (plural). She isn’t arguing that Paul isn’t talking about one woman in particular and one man in particular. In fact in the portion you quoted, she doesn’t even entertain this interpretation so she could not be refuting it. You have certainly misrepresented Linda Belleville by trying to make it out as if she is refuting me. Nice try, but you are shooting blanks.

    Notice here that Belleville answers the argument that the reference to Adam and Eve shows that a husband and wife are in view (a claim that was made here recently).

    As stated above, Linda Belleville is stating that she doesn’t believe that husbands and wives are in view. She is dealing with the argument regarding all wives and stating that it couldn’t be a prohibition against only wives vs. single women. It is a respectful thing to properly represent the opposition.

    So, given the problems with taking ‘they’ to refer to a husband and wife (among other things), I have to return to the patriarchalist view that ‘they’ refers to the women in the church to whom Paul is giving instructions. And, I have to regard this alleged rule of Greek grammar you’ve put forward as implausible.

    This is where your problem is. If you want to make “they” as women in the church, then who is “she”? It is improper grammar to make a singular equal to a plural regarding these persons. I have not seen an example in English nor have I ever seen such an example in Greek grammar. It is not “implausible” to be grammatically consistent. It is the way that language is built so that sentences do not become nonsense.

    I eagerly await your ability to prove me wrong. You have such a simple task ahead of you. All you need is one example. Without a grammatical case to point to, we cannot understand Paul in any other way than the grammatical standard in language. A singular pronoun is not equal to a plural pronoun. The singular goes with the singular and the plural goes with the plural. Paul is to be taken at face value and his grammar is carefully crafted and it is not nonsense.

  34. #28 pinklight,

    Now, if Paul had a specific woman and a specific man in mind then it doesn’t matter one way or the other if they are married, though as Chris has pointed out, ‘they’ are likely husband and wife and it doesn’t matter since the woman and man in the passage remain SPECIFIC persons rather than refer to women and men in general.

    Amen!

  35. #30 gengwall,

    You said regarding Chris’ use of Numbers 30:

    And yet, the word “they” is never used within this passage…thanks for proving the point that “they” and “she” cannot be analagous.

    This is exactly what was going through my mind as I was reading his post. I can’t believe that he was actually tearing down his own argument.

    It makes no sense at all unless verses 11-12 are completely disconected from verses 1 and 9-10. Although in theory, they certainly might both pertain to “women”, they can’t both possibly pertain to the same group of women. The admonission in verses 11-12 has to refer to some other woman or women than those already exhorted by Paul in vs. 1 to raise their voices in “supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks”. Since Paul dramatically switched to the singular, as even recognized in the KJV (”the woman” in verse 11), and confirmed in verse 14b (”but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience – HNV, also equiv in ASV, YNG) it seems pretty clear he was not referring to another group of women but to a single soul. As has been pointed out repeatedly, that is the only conclusion that makes sense from Paul’s grammer.

    Very well said!!

    But, I have never seen anyone try to make a “she” into “they” before this.

    I have given this challenge out for years and no one yet has managed to find an example that makes “she” into “they”. If I was so clearly wrong then there is a problem with these hierarchical men who cannot find even one example to correct me. Clearly if I am in the wrong, these men are at fault for their failure to prove their point and correct a sister in Christ. They speak great swelling words against basic grammar structures but have no single piece of evidence to make Paul into a renegade self-created grammarian.

  36. #31 gengwall,

    You said:

    1. The “woman” in verse 14 is a specific, real woman, not a representative of a group. The noun has the definite article. I know there has been a lot of discussion over translation in absence of the definite article but when it is present, Greek is unambiguous – it relates a specific person, place, or thing. Verse 14 can’t correctly be translated as “a woman” and is utter nonsense as “women”. The only correct translation is “the woman”.[1]

    Bravo! I greatly appreciate your wisdom and the way that you have expressed yourself in a very understandable way so that all of us should be able to catch it.

    2. The deception that “the woman” fell victim to was past but the resulting transgression is ongoing. The “to be” verb is in 2nd Perfect tense. It is very easily and consistently translated into English as “has become”. The only correct translation therefore is that “the woman…has become in transgression”. Any translation referring to a past state, subsequently concluded is just plain in error. Since the state is ongoing, “the woman” can not possibly be Eve.[2]

    Amen!

    3. The childbirth is a specific childbirth. Again, the definite article is present. This can not be grammatically translated as generic child-bearing and certainly can not be turned arbitrarily into a verb (”through bearing children”, as in some translations).[3] Since, there is no possible child birth of Eve’s that could apply, nor can it possibly refer to child-bearing in general, nor is there any reference to a child born by “the woman”, this can only mean one possible thing – the birth of Jesus. This of course makes perfect sense, since “the child-bearing” is in direct relation to…

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    4. The redemption or salvation spoken of is in the future. “she shall be saved (or redeemed, restored, preserved)”. Technically, the verb is future indicative – “she shall be being saved”. Since the salvation that “the child-bearing” brings is in the future for “the woman”, again it can not possibly be Eve.

    Regardless of what one thinks about the construction of “woman” in prior verses, the grammar in 14 and 15 is unambiguous in that: A) a specific woman is “in view”, B) it can not be Eve, C) it is not her bearing of children but the birth of Christ that makes her redemption possible. Although our translations get it right on point A, they almost universally distort, confuse, and misrepresent the text on points B and C. And considering the grammar is not at all complex, I am saddened to say that I am forced to believe the deception portrayed in the translations must be intentional. Let us hope that we have not “been deceived” and therefore “become in transgression”.

    Very well stated!! Although I am an eternal optimist, I do not know how much of the bad translation of this passage has been intentional by translators who want to input their hierarchical views. No doubt many wanted to translated the passage in a way that people could understand, but their mistranslation shows that they themselves didn’t understand. God’s word does not need to be corrected. The grammar will stand as it is written and when we find ourselves forced to face the grammar and the implications of that specific grammar, it forces us to have to reject a universal prohibition against women. I have been so blessed to see many pastor’s eyes opened by the inspired grammar. Many will fight tooth and nail not to see the implications of the grammar because their doctrine about women is based on a faulty mistranslation. They want to hold onto their doctrine so tightly whether out of loyalty to other male teachers, their own pride or because they find it hard to admit that they have been wrong about an issue that touches their sisters in Christ. My heart goes out to those who have humbled themselves to admit their error. I know it is hard for them, but I believe that God will honor their humility.

    genwall, thank you for such great comments!

  37. #33 tiro,

    Excellent point, Cheryl. Nowhere is anyone in the whole of Scripture told to authenteo another person. It would be an activity that is ungodly behavior.

    People don’t always think this through. They understand that “a woman” is not allowed to “authentein” a man, but they seem to fail to pick up the point that no man is every given permission to “authentein” another man. There is not even one reference that I have ever found that makes “authenteo” a godly Christian activity.

  38. #34 Frank,

    But in this comment, in part a refocusing on the “big picture” (i.e., the historical, cultural and literary context) in response to comments made by Chris and Donald (20, 12)–some elements of which I agree with and some of which I do not–I would like to add to and expand upon my own (10), if I may.

    Thank you for coming onto my blog to offer the “big picture”. While I consider my gift to be seeing the tiny details that others may miss, I recognize that my brothers and sisters in Christ can add to my understanding of scripture by giving the “big picture” approach. Often I do not see the “big picture” until I have worked through every little detail of the text in my biblical “microscope”, so I always appreciate having a look outside my own box that brings me a fresh perspective of the “big picture”. Thanks!

    As I had stated in my previous comment, as general rules and guidelines Paul had laid down for the churches he had founded, there are striking parallels between 1 Cor. 11:2-14:32 and 1 Tim. 2:1-15. Both passages, as revealed by commonalities in concerns, terms and phraseology, are examples of standard rules and guidelines designed to both define and regulate the proper conduct of men and women as they together engage in intercessory prayer, adoration of God, and in prophesying in the house church meetings.

    Excellent point to remind us about recurring terms, concerns and phraseology!

    Moreover, on the basis of the principle of a legal pronouncement or a word of testimony requiring confirmation and validation by two or three witnesses, which Cheryl has argued so well from the Scriptures, we can firmly and without reservation state that Paul himself, as long as the standard rules and guidelines were followed, both approved and urged men and women to engage together in mutual, complementary prayer, adoration of God, and prophesying.

    Again a wonderful overview regarding the scriptures and my argument!

    Now you would think, in light of this clear, threefold testimony given by Paul himself, that when people read what he says in 1 Cor. 14:33b-40 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15, they would immediately recognize that these passages are clear departures from his regular rules and guidelines and that they must be Spirit-given, ad hoc rulings pertaining to special problematic situations arising in Corinth and Ephesus either 1) such was the nature of the problem that the standard regulations did not apply or 2) as the historical, cultural and literary context of both 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy indicates, there were deliberate violations of these Pauline regulations due to certain rebellious factions, influenced by heretical teaching, that were to be found among the members of the congregations in Corinth and in Ephesus.

    I feel so blessed to read your review of these passages in such a clear and concise way and with that “big picture” view. Thank you for your contribution and your affirmation of the work that I have done to make this passage understandable to the common man. I am so blessed by the quality of people who visit my blog and who give me their insights. Truly the body of Christ is blessed when we work together. All of us are needed with our gifts. You have greatly blessed me with your gift that is definitely on a bigger view than mine typically is. Thank you so much!

  39. I am chomping at the bit to read part 5 but I thought I would make one last comment here since Frank has raised, and Cheryl has endorsed, recognition of “the big picture”. Indeed, it seems to me, that the universal problem people run into when dealing with Paul’s teaching is that they take a micro view – focusing on one particular passage or even verse and building a supposed Pauline philosophy from there. Paul’s details can’t be understood without taking into consideration Paul’s corpus.

  40. Cheryl, I would like to amend the first sentence, of the third paragraph in Comment 10 to read, “Now, in 1 Tim. 2:8-15, we again have the same pattern of general rules for the churches, rooted in Paul’s own teaching and practices…,” and not as “rooted in the Lord Jesus’ teaching and practices.” And the original error was due to a trick of eye or mind (I’m not sure which), I here now correct it. And as one who has translated and exegeted NT texts myself, I want to express my appreciation for the great care you have taken in navigating us through 1 Tim. 2:11-15. From what I have seen in consulting the various commentaries available, this is a very complex and difficult passage for any exegete to sail through without running aground somewhere. Yet, I think it is fair to say, if I may so put it, that you have done a fine job in piloting us around some of this text’s more dangerous shoals and reefs. So with your permission, I would like to finish my comments on the parallels between 1 Cor. 11:33b-40 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15, and the necessity, as gengell succinctly puts it (41), of setting them in their proper place within the entire Pauline corpus.

    Most NT scholars acknowledge that 1 Corinthinans 11-14 is a subsection of a larger literary unit that begins in 7:1 and ends in 15:58. And in this section, as a result of both a letter and an oral report from Chloe’s house church, Paul finds himself again addressing problems that he had previously dealt with (cf. 1 Cor. 1:10-17; 5:1-12; 7:1-16). Whether it has to do with sexual ethics, marriage and divorce (Ch 7); food offered to idols (Ch 8); the difference to be made between liberty and license (Chs 9-10), etc–Paul is constantly having to define and clarify, rebuke and correct, chastise and remind the Corinthians of teachings and rules and guidelines that he has reviewed with them several times, and which he had expected them to have learned and understood now before visiting them again (Cf. 2 Cor. 13:1-4, which indicates Paul is primarily referring to the second of three visits he was to make to Corinth in order to deal with these persistent disorders).

    Now what I find most interesting about 1 Cor. 11:2-14:40, is what I would describe as the “stark contrast” between 11:2-16, which serves as the introduction of this literary section, and 14:33b-40, which serves as its conclusion. In 11:2-16, Paul “commends” the Corinthian congregation for praying and prophesying in compliance with “the traditions,” or authoritative teachings, he has passed on as regulating all Christian belief and practice. And in agreement with many NT schloars, I believe he is referring to the tradition of “the New Creation in Christ,” which he first sets forth in Gal. 3:26-4:7, and then further develops in 2 Cor. 5:11-6:4; Rom. 4:13-17; and Rom. 8:12-21. But in this passage, he gently rebukes a partial misunderstanding of this tradition. However, I will have to finish the rest of this comment tomorrow. I have some errands I must run now. To be continued…

  41. Frank,
    I have fixed the comment error. Funny I didn’t even catch that one myself. Thank you for your kind remarks about my piloting gifts! It took me a very long time to be able to even acknowledge my own gifts but my husband taught me that if I fail to acknowledge a word of praise then I fail the opportunity to give the glory back to the one who gives us our gifts. It is with deep gratitude that I acknowledge the Lord Jesus as the one who works in me and I look forward to reading more of the gift that He shares through you as you provide the needed gift of the big picture.

  42. Well, Cheryl, as some of my CBE friends will tell, I see my sharing of “the big picture” as a means of engaging in what Carolyn James describes, in The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough To Break The Rules, as a “Blessed Alliance,” between men and women as equals and partners under God, join their gifts and abilities to spread Christ’s Gospel of the Kingdom and fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. So thank-you for letting me cooperate with you in proclaiming, defending, and confirming the Gospel of Christ. And, now with your leave, I will complete my discussion of the “big picture” for 1 Cor 14:33b-35 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15.

    As I pointed out in the previous comment (42), when Paul commended the Corinthian congregation for praying and prophesying in accordance with “the traditions” he had passed on to them (1 Cor. 11:2-16), he was referring to the authoritative teaching which he had given regarding “the New Creation in Christ,” which he had set forth in Gal. 3:26-4:7, and which he further developed in 2 Cor. 5:11-6:4, Rom. 4:13-17 and 8:12-21. Furthermore, I agree with the consensus among most NT scholars (e.g., George E. Ladd, Geerhaus Vos, James D.G. Dunn, Gordon Fee, et al), that this tradition is the eschatological heart of Paul’s theology and it colors everything else he has to say about salvation, justification, sanctification, the Spirit’s gifting and calling of people to ministry, the nature and mission of the church, etc. Essentially, according to this “tradition,,” by means of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and his pouring out of the Spirit upon his assembled people (i.e., the Church), the eschatological promise of the Abrahamic Covenant is now being realized as the Old Age Passes away, and the New Age To Come dawns with the coming of Christ and the Spirit, but which will come to full bloom only at the Second Coming. And this fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise is now being manifested in the new family of Abraham, the New Israel, the New Humanity, reconstituted around Christ, the Seed of Abraham. And what this means is that the New Humanity, the Body of Christ, is made up of all who are united with Christ by faith, have received the New Covenant sign of baptism, now live by the Law of Christ and not the Law of Moses, and who are renewed by the Spirit of Sonship and equipped by him to lovingly worship God and serve humanity as did Christ their Lord, the Son of Abraham and the Son of God.

    Anyway, this is the tradition Paul has in view in 1 Cor. 11:2-16, which is the first half of the introduction to 12:1-14:32. But he has to gently rebuke a partial misunderstanding of this tradition that appears to exist in Corinth. He reminds them that this tradition does not obliterate natural distinctions existing among the sexes. Rather, it renders these distinctions, however defined by their culture, as invalid as barriers and restraints to both men and women engaging as partners in those ministries for which the Holy Spirit has gifted and called them. For, again, the equal possession of the Spirit and his gifts, is their inheritance right as those united with Christ, the Seed of Abraham and as coheirs with Christ in all the promised blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant: Full membership in the family of God; equal and full possession of the Spirit and his gifts apart from any limitation due to to age, race, gender or social status; and co-rulership of the world with Christ in the future. But Paul gives no word of condemnation or censure here the would lead us to ever believe he forbade men and women praying and prophesying together, as long as the general rules were followed. However, when the general rules are violated, such as 11:17-34 indicates was the case in connection with the Lord’s Supper, not only does he not gently rebuke them, but takes them to task for their ungodly attitudes and practices: “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good…Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!” ( 1 Cor. 11:16-22, TNIV). And this is something we will want to consider when we look at the conclusion of this literary section, 14:33b-40.

    Then in 1 Cor. 12:1-14:32, Paul answers questions in the letter from Corinth, explaining, once again, the origin, nature, and purpose of the Spirit’s gifts, 12:1-31; that the gifts must be exercise out of love both for God and God’s people, otherwise they are useless, even harmful, 13:1-13; and then after distinguishing between tongues, interpretaion of tongues, and prophecy, Paul then reminds them what he had previously taught regarding the “how, when and why” of their employment in congregational worship, 14:2-32. And throughout this section, Paul never says anything that indicates that any spiritual gift is the special privilege of either sex, nor that the Spirit gives men certain gifts that he never gives to women. None of that at all.

    That is why, for a long time, when Christians come to 1 Cor. 14:33b-35, it is like a slap in the face. Such is the sterness and discord of the language of these verses with all that has proceeded them, it is not surprising that some have thought them an interpolation from a later commentator who didn’t want women preaching. And unlike the introduction of 11:2-34, there is no commendation, followed by a gentle rebuke, and then a stern censure of outrageous behavior, but an immediate censure of apparently one group. Something out of the ordinary certainly is being dealt with here. But what is it, and why is it being treated in this manner, which clearly departs from Paul’s normal practice in the previous sections? Though I am convinced they were written by Paul, I am also convinced they are not Paul’s own view. For as Gilbert Bilizekian, Cheryl Schatz and others have ably demonstrated, 14:33b-35 is the view held by and being promoted by a Judaizing faction in Corinth, which Paul then sternly rebukes and refutes in 14:36-40. And since Cheryl deals with this in some great detail in her postings on 1 Corinthians 11-14, I refer the readers there if they have questions about this interpretation. It is well worth the read.

    Now here is the point of my little exercise on seeing “the big picture.” If we are to properly interpret and apply 1 Tim. 2:11-15, it is not enough to understand the grammar and syntax of this passage alone, though that is very important in itself, and Cheryl is doing a great job in that regard. 1 Tim. 2:11-15 must first of all be understood as regards it place within the total context of 1 Timothy, then within the total Pauline corpus which has proceeded 1 Timothy–i.e., 1 and 2 Thessalonians; Galatians; 1 and 2 Corinthians; Colossians and Philemon; Philippians; and lastly, Ephesians (though some may include Titus as a later witness after 1 Timothy). Since we all believe in the progressiveness of revelation given in Scripture, including that given by Paul himself, there are several questions we need to ask about 1 Timothy in general, and about 1 Tim. 2:11-15 in particular. If this little passage is connected with what Paul has previously taught on men and women praying and prophesying together, in what way? And does 1 Tim. 2:11-15 represent 1) a clear regression in Paul’s teaching and practice on this issue; or 2 ) is it a clear progression in Paul’s teaching and practice on this issue; or 3) is this another example of a special, Spirit-given ad hoc ruling peculiar to certain situations existing in Ephesus and which Paul sought to correct when he wrote 1 Timothy? And so to properly answer these questions, our detailed study of 1 Tim. 2:11-15 must be constantly examined in the light of the greater Pauline corpus, if we are not to lose our bearing and sail off on a false and harmful course. Thank-you for letting me share my observations and comments. I hope they prove both informative and helpful.

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