Round 5 Interview with the Apostle Paul – who are "they"?

Round 5 Interview with the Apostle Paul – who are "they"?

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This post is the fifth 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 is itching to question Paul regarding who is referred to as “they” in 1 Timothy 2:15.  Let’s listen in.  (The previous interviews are linked at the bottom of this post.)

Paul: Greetings brother Doug.

Doug: Thanks for meeting with me once again.  It seems like I have more questions each time we meet.  I really want to hear what you have to say about 1 Timothy 2:15 and who you were referring to as “they”.  My bible says that it is women.

Paul: No, it wasn’t about women at all.  Remember I told you that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is a complete thought because of the way that I joined each verse together.  When I wrote about “they” in verse 15, the ones I was referring to will be found in that same connected passage.  My writing was not meant to confuse anyone.  Timothy knew exactly what I was talking about since the letter was written to him and for his benefit.  You will not know all the details that Timothy knew, but you can get enough information from the passage to know the action I required from Timothy and the reason for this action and the grammar will tell you who the action was intended for.  The Holy Spirit inspired me to carefully build an argument that would stand the test of time for those who are willing to meticulously follow my grammar.  Remember that it sometimes take hard work to understand scripture just as I wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15.

2 Timothy 2:15  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

1 Timothy 2:11-15 was written in such a way that a false understanding of the text would contradict the grammar in one way or another.  I could never have done that on my own.  I give all the glory to the Holy Spirit for His inspiration.

Doug: I really thought this passage was clear in my position as a complementarian.  However 1 Timothy 2:15 always did confuse me and I didn’t quite feel settled on any of the interpretations that I heard about this passage especially dealing with childbearing and women.  I could never understand why you even brought up the subject of children since not all women have the ability to become mothers and what has that got to do with the prohibition anyway?

Paul: Some of the confusion that you experienced is because many of the translators placed their interpretation into the text instead of translating the text as it was written.  It appears that they didn’t know what I was talking about so they worked with the grammar to “correct” me.  That really wasn’t necessary.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t make grammar errors.   I had an opportunity to look through some of the popular translations before I came here today and while I see several bible versions got verse 15 right, many did not.

In the Contemporary English Version the translators wrote “women” and “they”, completely ignoring the singular grammar.  That will never do if one wants to understand this passage.  The Good News Bible interprets the verse as “a woman” and “she”, completely ignoring the plural grammar!  The New American Standard Bible interprets it as “women” and “they”, although they do put “women” in italics showing that the first plural is not in the original, but they completely ignore the singular grammar leaving it out as if there is only one reference to people in the verse.  That is not accurate and will make the passage harder to understand.   I also looked through the King James Version and this version has both the singular “she” and the plural “they” but they left out the definite article before childbearing.  That throws another curve ball when trying to interpret my meticulous grammar.

There were three versions that I found that had both the singular “she”, and the plural “they” as well as the definite article “the”.   The translations that got those three points of grammar right were the Literal Translation of The Holy Bible, the Revised Version and Young’s Literal Translation.  There may be more versions that were correct, but I didn’t have time to find any more.  I paged through handfuls of bibles that were wrong on one or more of the grammar points in verse 15.  This is why I  recommend that one who wants to study to show themselves approved, should take the time to look up these difficult passages in the original language.  There are good helps out there that will guide you to all the words and each piece of grammar used.

Doug: Okay, I get that there is a need to dig deeper, but surely you can see that you weren’t clear when you went from plural to singular and then from singular back to plural.  How is anyone supposed to know what you meant?  And if “they” is not all women, how could we possibly know who “they” is?

Paul: In order to figure this one out it is helpful to go through this passage backwards starting from 1 Timothy 2:15.  I will help you.

1 Timothy 2:15  Yet she will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

We already discussed in our last conversation about who I was referring to as  “she”.  Now trace the plural “they” back to the first mention of more than one person that fits my specific grammar.  Remember I wrote that “she will be saved” as future tense and “continue in faith…” is the  action that is necessary to bring about a future salvation.  You will have to bypass Adam and Eve in verse 13 because they are both dead so neither one of them can be doing something that would affect the future salvation of a woman.  By tracing the plural grammar back you will find yourself back to verse 12 with “a woman” and “a man”.

Doug: How can “they” be two particular people?  Why is it not all of the church that is called “they”?

Paul: The grammar would cause you problems if it was the entire church.  The church would also include Timothy wouldn’t you say?

Doug: Well sure it would.

Paul: But then I would have had to use the plural “you”.  So it would have been written “She will be saved…if you….”

Doug: Okay, I see that now.  But if you were talking about one particular man and one particular woman, why did you refer to the creation account?

Paul: Because the man was a key to the problem just like Adam was a key to the very first problem situation.

Doug: You were linking Adam to the problem?

Paul: Absolutely.  I wrote that it wasn’t Adam who was deceived…but the woman being deceived…  Adam was created first and had something that the woman did not have.  He had a state of non-deception.

Doug: Is that supposed to be bad?

Paul: It isn’t bad at all for someone to not be deceived unless that one doesn’t do something with the truth that one possesses.  Is it right to have the truth and then hide it from someone who needs that truth?  Adam’s state of non-deception should have been used to protect and open the eyes of the one who was being deceived so that she would not fall into transgression.

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

In the same way the man I was speaking about in my letter to Timothy was not deceived.  Do you see that I wrote in verse 15 “she will be saved…if…”?

Doug: Uh huh… okay… so…?

Paul: So, this is my point…I didn’t say that “they will be saved….if…” because she was the only one who was deceived in the relationship.  He was not deceived.  But like Adam he did nothing.  He was silent and he let her carry on in her deception and her error.  And in her deception she was trying to influence him in her strange doctrines.  Timothy did not want to get involved at first because he was afraid of offending the husband but something had to be done.  I commanded Timothy to make sure that she was in a position to learn.  Do you know how I did that?

Doug: No, how?

Paul: I put a stop to her teaching.   When someone has embraced error and consequently has fallen into deception the more they practice the error, the more they become solidified in their beliefs.  Those who go door to door with their error are solidifying their faith every time they give out their presentation at the door.   If the one who knows the truth is not going to put a stop to her teaching, it was the grace of God in action that I was able to convince Timothy to do something about another person’s wife.  She had to be stopped from teaching the error and she had to be given the chance to learn the truth.  The church is there to teach the truth so she should be embraced and brought in to learn.

Doug: But why didn’t you name her so that we could know that this was one person and not every woman?

Paul: This another sticky situation.  You will notice in my letters that I never identify deceived people who are teaching error.  I do identify the deceivers and those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  But those who believe the lie and are not deliberately deceiving others, I never identify those ones by name.  That would have brought long lasting shame to their name.  Think about the names Judas and Jezebel.  What comes to mind when you hear those names?

Doug: Traitor, evil, shameful.

Paul: Murderer would be another thought.   Tell me, brother Doug, do people these days like to name their children “Judas” or “Jezebel”?

Doug: No.  There is a stigma attached to those names.

Paul: And rightly so.  But how would you like a stigma attached to your name if you had repented of your sin and gone on to faith in Christ?

Doug: I wouldn’t like it at all.

Paul: If a person who had been deceived and who had been singled out by myself to stop teaching error had been named, her name would have been recorded as attached to deception and error for all of church history.  I never exposed a deceived person to such shame.  If you look at my writings you will see that the only ones that I identify by name are the ones who are deliberate deceivers.  Do you remember Alexander, Hymenaeus and Philetus?  Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching that the resurrection had already happened and they were deceiving many.  I turned Alexander and Hymenaeus over to Satan as they had rejected the faith and in their deception they were ruining the faith of many.

Doug: I do remember reading about those names.

Paul: But you don’t remember reading about the names of the ones who were the victims of deception do you?

Doug: Well, no, I don’t remember seeing any of those names.

Paul: That is because their names are not listed.  The Holy Spirit has kept their names out of the New Testament record because of grace.

Doug: Okay, I can accept that, but why list creation as the reason for the prohibition?

Paul: It wasn’t creation that was the reason.  It was the link between the first created and the state of not deceived.  It was also the link between the second one created and the fall into deception.

Doug: I still don’t get it.   It just seemed to fit so neatly with stopping all women from teaching the bible to men and now you are telling me that I had it all wrong?  Was I deceived?

Paul: Next time, my dear brother in Christ we can talk about that.  We will then have time to explore the importance of the creation account and why Adam’s first creation was so important to me and to Timothy.

Doug: Where are you off to now?

Paul: I have been invited to speak at Mars Hill by someone by the name of Mark Driscoll.  I am going to speak about other gods and I will learn a little more about your culture.

Doug: I think you are in a for big culture shock.  Promise me that no matter how shocked you are, that you will still come back here to talk with me.

Paul: You have my word.  Grace and peace, brother.

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

65 thoughts on “Round 5 Interview with the Apostle Paul – who are "they"?

  1. arrrgggh. Reading these series of interviews is like watching Lost. I can’t wait for next week.

    It just seemed to fit so neatly with stopping all women from teaching the bible to men and now you are telling me that I had it all wrong? Was I deceived?

    Reviewing the translations of verses 14 and 15 I was struck by the irony – those translations seem to be just the kind of false teaching that Paul is instructing Timothy about in chapters 1 and 2 of this letter. How unfortunate for those translators that they have voluntarily named themselves for posterity. (I know I am being really harsh on the translators and leveling some pretty strong accusations, but I can’t help but see an agenda in all of this and it strikes me as being quite despicable).

  2. As I see it, there is another possibility for “they”. IF the anarthous “she” earlier in the pericope is referring to a group via the descriptive option for such nouns, then the “they” is also referring to that group, in the plural in this case.

  3. Don,
    The problem with this is that the proper way to speak about that “group” would be either with the singular form or the plural but never a mixture. i.e. “She will be saved…if she…” could then refer to that group or “They will be saved…if they..” could also refer to that same group, but “She will be saved..if they..” cannot have she=they=same group because this is improper grammar. This is why I always ask anyone who believes that this is possible to show me a second witness to this kind of grammar. No one yet has shown a valid example, so without a second witness to such a grammatical anomaly (or we could say a grammatical error), we can properly rule it out. This means that we can believe Paul when he said both “she” and “they” in his sentence that “she” may be part of “they”, but “she” is not equal to the plural “they”. Instead we can take him at face value that he meant a single female when he said “she” and he meant more than one person when he said “they”. If anyone wants to dispute this, I am very open to hearing the other side, but that person must provide proof of the particular kind of grammar that they are advocating.

  4. Scholars are not sure WHAT to make of the change from singular to plural, this is not expected. I do not see why the mixture of singular and plural forms PROHIBITS it being a group, assuming the singular is being used as a description, which is one of the options according to Wallace. Just because something sounds wrong in English does not mean it is wrong in Greek.

    What MIGHT be happening is Paul is discussing the members of a group as each individual making her choices as an individual, that is, each stands or falls based on their own choices, which is as it should be, the group does not stand or fall as a group.

    It also MIGHT be one woman, for example, just because I say “All men wearing red hats step forward.” does not mean there are men wearing red hats, perhaps there are men, perhaps there is a man, perhaps there are no men that qualify. We can discard the latter case for 1 Tim 2, as at least ONE qualified, but I do not see how we can be SURE about more than this.

    As you might surmise, I do not believe in the perspicuity of ALL Scripture, at least for me today. I do believe Timothy knew what Paul wanted, but we are not Timothy, in many ways.

  5. Don,
    If singular = plural is an option, all it would take is a biblical example. I am still waiting for Chris to show me such an example.

    I believe that all scripture was meant to be understood but not all scripture is easily understood without a lot of work. I do not believe that scripture was meant to be misleading or confusing. I am very happy that you agree that Timothy would have understood what Paul wrote. It is not a secret code. This particular passage is inspired scripture that is hard to understand as some scripture is according to Peter (2 Peter 3:16), but it is not impossible to understand. One must work through the grammar, the context, who the letter is written to, the culture and try to do all of this outside of one’s presuppositions. Hard – yes! Impossible – no!

    Anyways, if you can find a biblical example of what you are proposing for Paul’s anomaly grammar, go for it. I would love to look at an example. A second witness is very important to establish a matter that affects all godly women.

  6. The problem again is that this “she/they” isn’t in a vacuum. It is a conditional statement, and the condition is “remain faithful”. This isn’t a matter of what sounds right in English, or even English grammar, but of (1)basic reasoning and (2)an absence of precedent.

    (1) The salvation of “she” depends upon the faithfulness of a pair or group. Why specify only that this is true of women? Where are the men in this discussion? Elsewhere when it’s clear that Paul is addressing groups of people he always includes all who are affected by the teaching: husband/wife, master/slave, Jew/Greek, etc. But here there is only mention of a woman or women, and it clearly is about false teaching. Are we to presume that only the women there were teaching falsehood, and only the women needed to quiet down and learn, and only women were forbidden to authenteo? And as stated repeatedly, it ignores the shifts in number, even within a sentence.

    In other words, what is technically possible is often logically nonsensical. It reminds me of the Pharisees and their “any clause” reasoning. They were masters of minutia, nitpickers to the nth degree. Surely you’ve heard the expression about the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law… well, the argument that “she/they” could possibly and technically refer to “she” as a group disregards the context or “spirit” of the passage and the letter, as well as the whole of scripture, making Paul contradict himself at the very least.

    (2) There is not one other instance in all of scripture that matches this construction. It’s either “s/he will… if s/he” (whether it is understood to refer to an individual or not), or “they will… if they”. Like the rare words authenteo and teknogonias, this construction is found nowhere else, so the context here is all we have to go on. Yet it must be consistent with all Paul’s teachings and his grammatical usage.

  7. Sometimes there are 2 ways some text can be understood. This might imply a pun and be deliberate but it might also imply we do not know enough of the specific context to decide. Both possibilities are allowed by faithful exegetes.

    If it is 1 deceived woman or a group of deceived women in Ephesus does not make much difference in the APPLICATION as far as I can see; the key thing is that the situation was specific to Ephesus.

  8. Paula,
    Well said!! You are taking my arguments and expanding them and doing a great job. I especially liked this:

    The problem again is that this “she/they” isn’t in a vacuum.

    This reminds me of a good teacher saying “context, context, context”.

    The interesting thing is that if a sentence construction of she/they were given to a complementarian in any other setting (outside of 1 Timothy 2), they would be quick to point out that she means “she” and they means “they” and if we tried to noodle with the grammar as the comps have in 1 Timothy 2, they would cry foul so loud our ears would hurt.

    Bottom line is that the passage isn’t easy. It isn’t even necessarily clear. But it is meant to be understood if we take it as it is written and work it through piece by piece. Work it through backwards and tie in the pronouns to the original nouns without prejudice. Allow Paul to be consistent within the passage and it will open up like a flower in spring. It is a wonderful aroma – understanding God’s message regarding salvation out of deception. It is also a wonderful plan that God had to bring salvation through the very first one who was deceived by the enemy. Satan looked to destroy all of mankind through the destruction of the woman, but through her God brought the Messiah who came to save us from destruction and to destroy the destroyer. God’s plan shows that all things can be turned around by God to bring good out of what was planned as evil. God is due all glory and honor and praise for his sovereign plan!

  9. Considering that vs. 14 is talking about a specific woman (no one argues this point) who can not be Eve, it seems absolutely clear who “she shall be saved” is pointing to – that very specific woman. There are clear precedents for “they” as well in the preceeding text – it is either the Ephesus congregation or the two people from vs. 12 (which include “she”).

    I still lean toward the congregation (sorry Cheryl) because the instruction that Paul gives “they” in vs. 15 repeats the same actions and attitudes Paul has already directed toward the congregation in at least 3 places in the first two chapters. Paul hammers home three simultaneous themes throughout chapters 1 and 2: identifying false teachers, understanding the salvation that is in Christ, and directing the congregation’s behavior toward false teachers in light of that salvation. Verses 14 and 15 contain all three of these themes again, in language Paul has used repeatedly in the letter to this point.

    I agree with Cheryl and Paula that it is hardly an issue of English grammar considering the strong evidence for the sensible, logical, and straightforward conclusion that “she” is not a group and “they” is. The text points right at “she”, and rounds up plenty of suspects for “they”.

  10. gengwall,

    Thanks for your point of view! The reasons I do not believe that “they” is the whole congregation are:

    1. The verses 11 – 15 are a separate section, separated from the previous verses by a change in grammar. Therefore we would look to the plural “they” from within the passage first before we go outside the section.

    2. If Paul meant the entire congregation he would have said “you” plural. It was Paul’s habit to differentiate between the insiders and the outsiders. See the example below:

    1Co 15:29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?
    1Co 15:30 Why are we also in danger every hour?

    Notice that “we” means Christians and the ones who baptize for the dead are “they” (non-Christians)? When Paul is including the entire congregation, it is his habit to say “we” or “you” (if he is not there) but not “they”.

    3. Why is her salvation dependent on what the entire congregation does? (More on this point will be woven into the next interview when we head back to Genesis with the Apostle Paul). I think I will be able to give you enough information with the next post to give a strong defense of why the husband is key to her salvation. If “Paul” doesn’t convince you, that’s okay. It isn’t a point of division but it is a point that will tie all things together. When the package is sewed up, we will let you loose to unravel it if you would like 🙂

  11. Just another thought re. “they” as congregation…

    If we know Timothy is dealing with falsehood, then of course the whole congregation must remain faithful in order for “she” to sit and learn. It is the whole environment that must be cleaned up, and we already know that the false teachers were affecting more than one person. It is unambiguous that “a man” is being authenteo‘ed, but surely he isn’t the only one at risk for being led astray.

  12. Paula,
    Good thoughts. The problem one has to deal with, though, is that “a woman” is only stopped from teaching “a man”. She wasn’t stopped from teaching women or children. Why? While the other false teachers were out in the open, it seems to me that she was in private with her husband. I won’t say more about this now because the next post should clarify.

    I love this kind of back and forth dialog. That is the one thing that my DVD is missing – instant feedback!

  13. Yes, these discussions force us to consider the implications of our claims. Prov. 18:17 is one of the most important verses in the Bible to guide us in such things.

    And as I discussed in my recent blog post about snake oil theology”, either the section of vs. 10-15 is a separate discussion that does not get its subjects (she/they) from the preceding one and thus it’s about one woman and one man, or we have to ignore the clean breaks around it and justify this practice in other passages. Knowing the scope of the passage is critical.

  14. There is, of course, a sense in which we both could be right. It would make sense that the narrow “they” you propose in verses 14-15 would be given similar instruction as the whole congregation was given since the issue is still false teaching, albiet limited to a household in this later section. Paul remains consistent, then, whether dealing with false teaching on a macro or micro level. Faith, love, and holiness, with self-control applies on any level.

  15. I was reviewing the comments on this posting, and was reminded how, as my friend and mentor Rober K. Wright told, you must always question your pressupositions in interpretation, or you may wind up at a meaning of a text that is far from what the original author intended. And so it seems to me that some assume a hierarchical “order of creation,” assume that was Paul’s view of the “order of creation,” and then exegete and defend this view from the text, without ever establishing that Paul truly held this view in the first place, let alone warranted by Scripture as a whole. Here is what Sue and Larry Richards say about this:

    Some have taken Paul’s observation that “Adam was formed first, then Eve,” to imply that men are to be leaders in the church and women are to be the followers. Similarly the reference to Eve being deceived is taken as support for the notion that women are more susceptible to error than men and should not serve as teachers or leaders.

    One problem with this view is that the Genesis 2 creation story to which Paul appealed emphasizes the EQUALITY of Adam and Eve as possessors together of the divine image, with co-dominion over the creation. That Adam was not deceived when he ate the forbidden fruit hardly exonerates him. In fact it makes him more responsible: It was Adam’s Fall, not Eve’s. Whatever reason Paul had for referring to Adam and Eve here, it cannot to be establish a subordiante role for women, or to indicate a weakness of character that would prevent them from teaching.

    But what if Paul is developing an analogy between Adam and Eve’s experience and the situation in Ephesus rather than basing teaching on a text? Surely there are points of comparison between what happened in Eden and what is taking place Ephesus. Because Eve was deceived she took the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam. The deception of Eve started the chain of events that led to disaster. In Ephesus, women were also being deceived.

    But what does Paul mean by saying Adam was created first, then Eve? Paul is simply reminding the Ephesians that woman was created to complete man. Without Eve, Adam was incomplete. Thus men need women as partners for our race to reach its full potential! If the women in Ephesus are deceived, this can lead the whole church to disaster! (“Paul on Women,” Every Woman of the Bible, p. 230 ).

    Then they go on to explain that the solution is for the women to be properly educated and trained, then they can serve as equal partners in teaching and so on. But if you assume a “hierarchical order of creation,” you will be blind to this as alternative interpretation.

  16. Frank,
    Your observation and that of the Richards is well worth thinking about. For many their presuppositions have been used as a foundation to create a meaning and they have never even thought through a defense of those presuppositions. Paul cannot be used to support a hierarchy in Genesis and then Genesis be used to support a hierarchical view of Paul’s in Timothy. That is circular reasoning and it is faulty thinking. What truly was Paul meaning by going back to Genesis? Timothy was not confused by Paul like so many of us are. Paul’s logic and straightforward reasoning from the Septuagint will provide the basis for our next interview.

  17. Cheryl,

    Okay, you got me to tweak my understanding of the pronoun-antecedent relationships in 1 Tim 2:8-15 a little. There are some difficulties, though I’m not sure they are insurmountable, with making ‘she’ from verse 15 explicitly refer to ‘the woman’ in verse 14. I could still go with the inferred antecedent explanation, but here’s a way of thinking about it that avoids those issues better:
    In verses 8-10 Paul is giving exhortations to men (plural) and women (plural). Then, in verses 11-12, he uses the indefinite noun phrases ‘a woman’ and ‘a man’ because he intends to argue from the representative man and woman, Adam and Eve, to establish his conclusion. In verses 13-14 Adam and Eve represent any man and any woman because they are the prototypical man and woman (see Belleville). So, ‘she’ in verse 15 becomes any woman from verses 11-12 who is represented by ‘the woman’. Keep in mind that Eve represents any woman. ‘[T]he woman’ in verse 14 is Eve. So, ‘the woman’ represents any woman. Consequently, ‘they’ in verse 15 refers back to those women in verses 9-10, each of whom is represented by the woman Eve. The difference between ‘she’ and ‘they’ is not in the set of women to which the pronouns refer, but in how the set is used. ‘[S]he’ refers to any woman in the set, but ‘they’ refers to every woman in the set. So, the method of reference is different.

    In my understanding, there is a chiastic structure in this passage that goes like this:

    A. Christian ‘women’ (plural) (8-10)
    B. ‘a woman’ (singular indefinite noun) (11-12)
    C. ‘Eve’ (generic / representative woman) (13)
    C. ‘the woman’ (generic / representative woman) (14)
    B. ‘she’ has the antecedent ‘a woman’ (15a)
    A. ‘they’ has the antecedent ‘women’ (15b)

    I think this avoids any grammatical “impossibilities”.

  18. 1 Tim 2:8-10 is targeted to Ephesian men and women, altho it is phrased generally; the implied target is men and women at Ephesus who are NOT doing these things and should follow Paul’s advice.

  19. Riddle me this Chris. You are correct that Paul is giving exhortations to men and women in vs. 8-10, but do you not recognize that those exhoratations are related to the corporate ministry of the whole congregation outlined in vs. 1-4; a ministry, btw, that can not be conducted “in silence”. Verses 1-10 call the church to action – make supplications, pray, intercede, give thanks, lift holy hands, “adorn” yourselves in good works, etc. – “for this is good and acceptable in sight of God our Savior, who desires all men [i.e. humans] to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (vs. 3-4). Your argument makes vs. 11-15 an extension of the exhortation! How can that be when 11-15 are recognized by all, I believe even you, to be a prohibition. If we are to follow your line of reasoning it leaves Paul saying “women – I exhort you to take action by prohibiting you from taking action”.

    You are correct that there is a pattern here – but it is not the linear one you envision from verse 1 all the way through verse 15. Paul is employing a couplet. Here is the pattern

    1 Tim 2:1-10 In General:
    People are not living in truth ->
    God wants them to be saved ->
    the congregation is called to action to bring about what God wants for those people.

    1 Tim 2:11-15 Specifically:
    There is a woman not living in truth ->
    God wants her to be saved ->
    “they” are called to action to bring about what God wants for her.

    Of course, it would be senseless to try and construct specific prohibitions for “kings and all who are in authority” and “all men” since everyone’s situation is different. Therefore, Paul does not bother going down that road in the first section. He simply tells the congregation what it must do in order to minister, and God will take care of the rest. But in the specific instance he turns to in the second section, there are specific actions Timothy must take to get the situation under control. Only then can this woman be properly ministered to in order to bring about her slavation (or restoration).

    We may quibble over who “they” are but there is no doubt who “she” is – “the woman” that Timothy knows all too well.

    Incidentally, the couplet pattern is repeated in chapter 1, although the situation for the named individuals there is much more dire and the consequences much more severe than it is for “the woman” in chapter 2.

  20. ….and so, I have a new paraphrase (*fanfare plays in background*)

    vs. 11 (notwithstanding all I have just said) make sure a certain woman (you know who I am talking about) learns in silence and subjection. Yet, I do not allow such a woman to teach or to “Lord it over” a man, but to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve*. And Adam was not deceived. But this woman has been deceived and has fallen into sin. Still, she can be restored through The Birth! That is if they continue seriously in faith, charity, and holiness.

    *One possible theory for the inclusion of the creative order is that the specific false teaching of this woman, influenced by the Dianic cult that was centered in Ephesus, was that Eve was created first or had priority over Adam.

  21. A great point on translation is made in an older post on the christian feminism blog titled The Mistranslation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. The breakdown hesuchias in verse 11 (also occuring in vs. 12 and adjectivally in vs. 2):

    Traditionalists normally translate this word as “silence” (at least in passages concerning women), but the word in all other places is translated as “peacefulness” “Peaceable” or “quietness.” …Hesuchios/hesuchia is translated as quiet/quietness in 1 Thess. 4:11, 2 Thess. 3:12, 1 Peter 3:4 [and 9 verses earlier in vs. 2 of 1 Tim 2]. None of these verses are about silence, as in the literal absence of speech, but a tranquil quietness or peaceable presence/environment.

    Something to keep in mind whenever anyone says Paul is demanding that woemn keep “silent”.

  22. Another perspective for fun or discussion?

    Verses 11-15 seem to share a progressive theme but also seem to have disconnects. It is almost as if Paul is breaking down a general issue thread into its bulleted components (as we often do in these threads when we quote back and deconstruct another person’s post). Although there is some common ground throughout the list, there are 4 distinct questions/problems being addressed.

    Timothy: Women have never been taught before or allowed to be in the service with men. We all are kind of unsure how to proceed. Moreover, we have some trouble makers in the bunch. Right now, there is a lot of commotion.
    Paul: A woman should receive teaching with a peaceful and submissive attitude (as should anyone) (vs 11).
    Timothy: It gets worse. Some of the women in the congregation who have been influenced by the Dianic cult here in Ephesus are not only intermingling their false teachings with the gospel but are actually taking a domineering position over the men. This domination has even been violent at times, and I hear rumors about sexually perverse practices taking place [see definition of authenteo and research on Diana worship]. These are women in the congregation, not outsiders!
    Paul: I do not allow such a woman to teach or to dominate a man (or anyone else for that matter), but maintain she should strive for peacefulness. (again, as we all should) (vs 12)
    Timothy: I even have one of these Dianists who is claiming that Eve was created first and bore Adam, and that Eve and Diana are actually one in the same.
    Paul: Adam was formed first, then Eve (duh). Now Adam was not deceived, but this woman, being deceived, has fallen into sin. (vs. 13-14)
    Timothy: Is there any hope for this woman?
    Paul: She will be saved through The Birth, if they [?still not sure who “they” is?] continue in all seriousness to act with faith, charity, and holiness. (vs. 15).

  23. Thanks for all the good comments! I will be out of the office for another week as we visit grandkids and house hunt. Sorry for the delay in my ability to respond. I will respond again when I am back in the office. In the meantime, keep up the good interaction.

  24. I think the term “Dianic” is in error. It is Artemis of Ephesus. And this is not the same as the Greek Artemis which is the Roman Diana.

  25. Cheryl, I see a lot of views discussed on your blog that, IMO, don’t represent the best of modern complementarianism/patriarchalism. I’m not sure what the point of responding to all of the lame “patriarchalist” views is, but if you want to follow the principle of charity with complementarians and patriarchalists, I suggest you familiarize yourself with their strongest arguments. Given the stuff your blog posters are responding to, one would think they’ve never read a decent complementarian or patriarchalist article in their lives. In that connection, I recommend:

    John Piper, who represents part of my view on this fairly well:
    http://www.soundofgrace.com/piper89/6-25-89.htm

    For the meaning of “saved through childbearing” I recommend Andreas Köstenberger’s paper:

    http://biblicalfoundations.org/pdf/Studies14.pdf

    Though I would differ a little with Köstenberger in that I suspect “childbearing” is a metonymy rather than a synecdoche.

    And finally, if you really want to see a comprehensive treatment, get William Mounce’s commentary on the Pastoral Epistles and get Women in the Church by Andreas Köstenberger. Put one in your left hand, and the other in your right.

  26. Chris,
    First I would like to ask you to view my own material in its complete form by getting my DVD. Are you willing to do that?

    I have taken the best of the comp view by the material produced by CBMW. I interacted with that organization when I was working on my manuscript and I was also in contact with Andreas Köstenberger. I found him to be a very likable fellow although he could not answer my questions regarding his own view. I do appreciate the opportunity to question these gentlemen. Andreas said that my good questions deserved to be answered even though he was not able to provide the answers.

    When you get a copy of my DVDs, you will need to hold two in your left hand and two in your right hand. 🙂

    I will show you the problems with your “new” interpretation later this week when I am back in the office.

  27. Yes, Cheryl, it is a two-way street, and we always need to make sure that the demands of one side to be heard are demanded equally of the other. I also notice that no matter what the topic, one side accuses the other of misrepresentation, failure to comprehend, ignorance, poor samples, etc. The assumption is made that anyone who disagrees with them must certainly do so only out of ignorance or deliberate hostility, and that of course is not true, especially for you. You’ve bent over backwards to hear the other side, even though they still refuse to return the favor.

    Also, for anyone to demand that we must address every possible flavor of male supremacist teachings is arrogant. I can’t count the number of such debates where I’ve seen this card played, especially long after the person who cries “that isn’t my view” has had multiple opportunities to clarify. And as we’ve seen in this case, it appears that your opponent wants you to keep answering the arguments made by everyone but him. If these others are to be debated instead, then let them watch your DVDs and produce their own rebuttals.

    In other words, I think we should only be expected to deal with whoever shows up, and demand they answer questions put to them instead of continually trying to pass them off to people they know will not give us the time of day. If Grudem, Ware, Piper et al have killer rebuttals, then let them argue here themselves.

  28. Paula,

    That they will never do. (big guns of male supremacy coming here to dialogue)

    It would amount to a tacit admission that Cheryl’s work rates more than a wave of a hand in dismissal.

  29. Hi Don. Although the temple in Ephesus was officially the temple of Artemis, by the first century the Romanized populace had associated Artemis with Diana and the cult that persisted had the Roman Diana at the center. It was Diana who was idolized by the artisans and silver smiths in Ephesus when the citizens rioted against Paul’s teaching in acts:

    “For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.” (Acts 19:24-27 KJV)

    Diana and Artemis were in essence the same goddess (at least in Ephesus) – Artemis to the Greeks and Diana to the Romans. Today, Diana is still worshipped as “mother of all” in wicca, where she is often referred to as Artemis-Diana. At any rate, the cult in Ephesus at the time of the apostles was decidely “dianic”, not “artemisian”.

  30. Additional note: To be fair, the Greek does say Artemis, because that was the goddess’ Greek name. But the translation as “Diana” is correct because it was the Roman version of the goddess that was at the center of worship at the time. The Vulgate says Dianae and any Latin speaker would have also identified the goddess as Diana. But I guess in the long run it is kind of “you say ‘po-taa-toe’, I say ‘po-ta-toe'”.

  31. Gengwall,

    My studies indicate that Artemis of the Ephesians was a different “goddess” that the Greek Artemis, the latter is the goddess that mapped to the Roman Diana. In other words, there were 2 different goddesses with the name Artemis and only 1 mapped to Diana. What the KJV says is not relevant.

    It is a source of confusion when doing 1st century studies, this is why I brought it up.

  32. Granted, this is not extensive research, but…

    The wikipedia article on the Greek goddess Artemis has a section discussing her as the lady of Ephesus. The article even mentions the story from Acts.

    The wikipedia article on Diana also associates her with the Greek goddess Artemis AND places worship of her in Ephesus. The reference there to the “Anatolian ‘Diana’ of Ephesus” refers to how she was portrayed (or more specifically, dressed) in statues and other depictions, but does not suggest either Diana or Artemis in Ephesus were anything other than the corresponding Greek and Roman goddesses.

    The article on the temple at Ephesus clearly states that, at least in its last two constructions, it was a thoroughly Greek temple to the thoroughly Greek goddess, and that it was “known less precisely as Temple of Diana”. The article does discuss pre-Greek temples and icons of “the lady of Ephesus” dating further back than any Greek influence in the region: “At Ephesus, a goddess whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was passionately venerated in an archaic, certainly pre-Hellenic cult image”. But any pre-Hellenic personality would have been forgotten as the Greek culture assimilated and synthesized “the Lady of Ephesus” into Artemis.

    What is absolutely indisputable is that “Artemis” is the name used in the Greek in the account in Acts by the worshippers in the city of Ephesus. What is also indisputable was that Diana was the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Artemis. I would be interested in what research you have seen that indicates the Artemis of 1st Century Ephesus is not the Greek Artemis.

  33. For example,
    http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/ephesus-artemis.htm

    “That the Ephesian Artemis was distinct from the Greek Artemis is clear, especially in light of the cult image of Artemis Ephesia.”

    There was syncretism due to the names, this does not mean they were the same.

    The reason I bring this up is because it is the attributes of Artemis of Ephesus (namely motherhood and fertility) that Paul may be addressing in 1 Tim, not the Greek Artemis. To confuse the 2 is a mistake I made when I first started studying this area.

  34. Cheryl,

    You frequently make a distinction between ignorant, deceived false teachers and false teachers who know better, but deliberately teach falsely. To support your claim that this distinction is in the context you attempt to contrast the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:13 with Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:18-20. You claim that Paul was ignorant, but Hymenaeus and Alexander knew better. But this line of reasoning gets you into trouble with Paul.

    [1] If anyone teaches false doctrine (heterodidaskaleo), then he is ignorant. (1 Timothy 6:3-4)
    [2] Hymenaeus and Alexander teach false doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:18-20)
    [3] Therefore, Hymenaeus and Alexander are ignorant. (1, 2 Modus Ponens)
    [4] If anyone is ignorant and they teach false doctrine, then they are deceived.
    [5] Hymenaeus and Alexander are ignorant and they teach false doctrine. (2, 3 Conjunction)
    [6] Therefore, Hymenaeus and Alexander are deceived. (4, 5 Modus Ponens)
    [7] Hymenaeus and Alexander are deceived false teachers. (2, 6 Conjunction)

    Premise [1] follows easily from 1 Timothy 6:3, which says, “If anyone teaches a different doctrine . . . he . . . understands nothing” (ellipses mine). In other words, anyone who teaches a different doctrine is ignorant.

    Premise [2] is essentially something you argue for in the dialogue above.

    Premise [4] comes from a statement you made in http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2008/05/06/1tim2objections/. You said, “Whenever someone who is ignorant teaches error they are deceived. When one who knows the truth and teaches error purposely, they are not deceived but deceivers.”

    Finally, [7] contradicts your claims about Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom you have said know better, but the argument conclusions show that they are ignorant and deceived false teachers.

  35. 1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,
    1Ti 6:4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,
    1Ti 6:5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

  36. Chris,

    We are children of the western dream. We want an iron clad sorites and a steel tracked proof by induction in which all the dominoes fall where we want them to, in order to show that our claims are true for all x.

    This is our inheritance from Plato, Augustine, Luther and Calvin. We cannot help what we are. Hellenism has served us admirably in art, science, and literature, but it is woefully inadequate when applied to theology.

    Erasmus and LaPlace recognized this long ago, and before them, Solomon had this to say: … “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” …

  37. Don wrote: “1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, . . .”

    Indeed, whatever Paul’s opponents were teaching exactly, did not agree with the gospel of Christ. Compare 1 Timothy 1:8-11:

    1 Timothy 1:8-11, “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”

    The proper use of the law is in accordance with the gospel. Apparently, the teaching of Paul’s opponents failed to recognize what the proper use of the law was and consequently taught in a way that was out of accord with the gospel, presumably, by making the law a means of salvation.

    In contrast to his opponents’ teaching, Paul gives us the true nature of the gospel in an account of his own conversion (12-17).

  38. The idea of treating verses (which were added much later) like propositions in Euclid is preposterous. As the Bible was written by Hebrew thinkers, think like a Hebrew, not a Greek.

  39. Don: “The idea of treating verses (which were added much later) like propositions in Euclid is preposterous. As the Bible was written by Hebrew thinkers, think like a Hebrew, not a Greek.”

    But Gordon H Clark said in God and Logic:
    “On this basis-that is, on the basis that Scripture is the mind of God-the relation to logic can easily be made clear. As might be expected, if God has spoken, he has spoken logically. The Scripture therefore should and does exhibit logical organization. For example, Romans 4:2 is an enthymematic hypothetical destructive syllogism. Romans 5:13 is a hypothetical constructive syllogism. 1 Corinthians 15:15-18 is a sorites. Obviously, examples of standard logical forms such as these could be listed at great length.” (from http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=16)

  40. I agree that the argument INSIDE a pericope can be logical. What I disagree with on a basic level is the idea that one can string verses from various pericopes together as if they were propositions in Euclid’s Elements. This may even happen to work sometimes, but is not a valid method of exegesis. Instead, read each teaching unit’s text as a unit for what it says.

  41. Chris, as regards your critique of Cheryl and Don concerning the irrationality of their distinction between Paul and the false teachers Alexander and Hymaneus–that Paul sinned against the truth in ignorance and unbelief, while the others deliberately perverted aspects of the Gospel to promote their heretical views and were therefore subject to greater condemnation–I would have to say that you are in error. First of all, you neglect the full context of 1 Tim. 1:12-14, which we know from both Acts and Paul’s others letters (e.g., Philippians), clearly reveal that Paul was a strict and devout Pharisee who viewed the Nazrene sect and its teaching about Jesus the Messiah and the Kingdom as a threat to all he held dear about Israel, the Temple, and the Mosaic Law. And that is why he was so hell-bent on eradicating what he considered a dangerous and heretical sect. It was not until he had his life-changing encounter with the Risen Christ, and took time to rethink his understanding of Messiah, the identity of God’s people in connection with Messiah, etc., that Paul comes to view his former life and actions as he describes them in 1 Tim. 1:12-14.

    Secondly, in Acts 20, before his imprisonment in Rome, Paul had met with the elders of the Ephesian church and then given them this prophetic warning, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among and will not spare the flock. EVEN FROM YOUR OWN NUMBER SOME WILL ARISE AND DISTORT THE TRUTH IN ORDER TO DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM. So be on your guard!” (Acts 20:28-31, TNIV, italics mine) Sadly, before his final imprisonment and martydom in Rome, to which 2 Timothy refers, Paul lived to see this prophecy fulfilled in the Ephesian church, sent Timothy to silence the heretical teachers, which included such elders as Alexander and Hymenus who, violating their faith and own conscience, were leading themselves and their followers to destruction (cf. 1 Tim. 1:18-20 with 5:17-22), and sent the letter we know as 1 Timothy to explain to Timothy the proper way to discipline the erring leaders and set things right. And Paul surely would have agreed with Peter who, dealing with other similar heretical teachers, wrote, “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in [sin] and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them” (2 Pet. 2:20-21, TNIV).

    As for the appeal to Gordon Clark and the application of his teaching on logic. I knew Gordon Clark, though not intimately; and I am familiar with a number of his works, including his Handbook on Logic. I think he would argree with me that a sylogism may be formally true, but if the premise or any of the arguments flowing from it, are false, then the sylogism itself is false. And there are problems with your sylogism, because both your premise and several logicisms (if that is the right term for them), as far as I can tell, are based on ill-founded assumptions or misrepresentations of your opponents’ arguments. I am not impressed.

  42. Don: “I agree that the argument INSIDE a pericope can be logical. What I disagree with on a basic level is the idea that one can string verses from various pericopes together as if they were propositions in Euclid’s Elements. This may even happen to work sometimes, but is not a valid method of exegesis. Instead, read each teaching unit’s text as a unit for what it says.”

    Prooftexting is always a danger, but this fact does not make cross-referencing illegitimate. I’m criticizing Cheryl’s position from a topical approach.

  43. Frank,

    I think you need to be more specific. Which premise are you having trouble with? And exactly what is the distinction you believe Cheryl is making? Is it different motives?

    Explain this: Paul says in verse 13, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” Did Paul’s ignorance and unbelief give him a claim on God’s mercy?

  44. One can criticize from a topical approach, but one cannot simply lift verses from their immediate context and string them together like propositions in a proof in Euclid. One needs to discuss each verses INSIDE its pericope for its meaning first, BEFORE going on to a discussion of a topic taught throughout the Bible.

  45. Don (post 45): “The idea of treating verses (which were added much later) like propositions in Euclid is preposterous. As the Bible was written by Hebrew thinkers, think like a Hebrew, not a Greek.”

    And Don (post 51): “One can criticize from a topical approach, but one cannot simply lift verses from their immediate context and string them together like propositions in a proof in Euclid. One needs to discuss each verses INSIDE its pericope for its meaning first, BEFORE going on to a discussion of a topic taught throughout the Bible.”

    If post 51 explains what you meant in post 45, I would prefer it if you had just posted post 51 rather than being as obscure as you were in post 45. Thanks.

  46. #41 Chris,
    I apologize for being so slow in answering. My time away provided no opportunity for digging into the deep questions.

    You frequently make a distinction between ignorant, deceived false teachers and false teachers who know better, but deliberately teach falsely. To support your claim that this distinction is in the context you attempt to contrast the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:13 with Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:18-20. You claim that Paul was ignorant, but Hymenaeus and Alexander knew better. But this line of reasoning gets you into trouble with Paul.

    The problem with your reasoning, Chris, is that Paul goes beyond deceived into deliberate deceivers and even though deliberate deceivers can also be deceived (2 Tim. 3:13), they are uniquely charlatans and as such Paul handed them over to Satan (1 Tim. 1:20). Paul never referred to himself as a deceiver nor did he refer to those who were only deceived as deserving to be handed over to Satan. Paul makes a clear differentiation between those who teach error because they are fully deceived and those who teach error because they are liars and swindlers.

    Paul said that he was ignorant and acted in unbelief:

    1 Timothy 1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

    In contrast the deceivers act in deception, evil and harm. Paul said that Alexander did him much harm (2 Tim. 4:14) and Hymenaeus was one of the ones who lied about the resurrection. These evil men and imposters were never brought into the church to learn the truth. Paul sent them out of the congregation into the hands of satan. So while those who are deceivers can also be deceived (making these ones also ignorant), they are more than deceived. They are deceivers and as such they are treated in a harsh manner.

  47. Chris,

    I would like you to show from the scriptures where those who have been deceived and because of their ignorance are teaching error are in the same category as the “savage wolves” (Acts 20:29), “deceitful workers” (2 Cor. 11:13) and are willingly participating in the “trickery of men” (Eph 4:14)?

    The fact is for those who are willing to look at the scriptures for what it says, they will see that Paul is gentle with the deceived:

    1 Tim 1:3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,
    1 Tim 1:4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
    1 Tim 1:5 **But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.**

    …and harsh with the deceivers

    1 Tim 1:20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

    Paul considered himself one of the former who was eligible to receive mercy because he acted ignorantly in unbelief (his own testimony given in 1 Tim 1:14) so that through the one who was ignorant of the truth was given great grace and mercy by God as a way to show God’s great patience with sinners (1 Tim 1:16). To say that God treats all alike whether they are fully deceived or whether they are one of the deceivers makes God out to be unjust.

    I stand by my comments and my exegesis. If I am wrong, I ask you to prove that I am wrong from the text itself.

  48. #21 Chris,
    You said:

    In verses 13-14 Adam and Eve represent any man and any woman because they are the prototypical man and woman (see Belleville). So, ‘she’ in verse 15 becomes any woman from verses 11-12 who is represented by ‘the woman’. Keep in mind that Eve represents any woman.

    You have stated that “Adam” and “Eve” represent any man and any woman, but the passage does not say this and the implications of this are a big problem. Eve was deceived but not all women are deceived. Adam was not deceived but not all men are not deceived. Rather than a “prototypical man and woman”, Paul makes a very specific reference to Adam and Eve in their order of creation and he links that to deception. There is not even one iota of proof that Paul is referencing the deception of Eve to the natural state of all women.

    ‘[T]he woman’ in verse 14 is Eve. So, ‘the woman’ represents any woman.

    This is not possible since the specific grammar rules out both Eve and all women. Eve’s transgression is not continuing and the use of the perfect tense cannot include Eve. Since Eve cannot be “the woman” referenced in verse 14, Eve cannot be representative of all women. We need to take Paul at face value and not disregard the specific grammar.

    Consequently, ‘they’ in verse 15 refers back to those women in verses 9-10, each of whom is represented by the woman Eve. The difference between ‘she’ and ‘they’ is not in the set of women to which the pronouns refer, but in how the set is used. ‘[S]he’ refers to any woman in the set, but ‘they’ refers to every woman in the set. So, the method of reference is different.

    Not only is Eve not a representative of all women, but if you make “she” to be any woman in the set and “they” to be every woman in the set you have a problem. It means that the salvation of any woman is dependent on the actions of all women. Unless all women continue in the faith, no woman can be saved. This is so far off the wall that you have made women to be pretty much incapable of being saved and God cannot save one woman without saving them all.

    So not only do you have no proof in the passage that Paul has made Eve to be a representative of all women, but you have disregarded the perfect tense in verse 14 eliminating Eve since she is long dead. You have also bypassed the first plural (a man and a woman) to go back to a section where Paul made reference to women which is clearly a different section since Paul changed grammar when he went to the singular. I hate to say it but your offering of this explanation for verses 11-15 make the passage both convoluted and illogical. You simply are going to have to do better than that. Think through the entire grammar. Think through the flow. Remember the context is deception – the very reason why Paul left Timothy behind – and the immediate context is deception with the very first deceived woman. It is clear that Paul is giving Timothy instructions about a problem in Ephesus and anything beyond that localized problem creates a can of worms that will make one disregard the inspiration of scripture as it is written.

  49. genwall,
    You said:

    ….and so, I have a new paraphrase (*fanfare plays in background*)

    vs. 11 (notwithstanding all I have just said) make sure a certain woman (you know who I am talking about) learns in silence and subjection. Yet, I do not allow such a woman to teach or to “Lord it over” a man, but to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve*. And Adam was not deceived. But this woman has been deceived and has fallen into sin. Still, she can be restored through The Birth! That is if they continue seriously in faith, charity, and holiness.

    Good job!

  50. I really appreciate the time you take to explain these verses to us, Cheryl. And I especially appreciate the ‘can nots’.

    1. The ‘they’ cannot refer to Eve or Adam, as they are dead.
    2. The she vs. they is incorrect grammar to be referring to all women.
    3. Also, the specific switch from plural to singular in vs. 11 is of note.

    Some of the problem that we as English speakers have is that in this era we do mangle tenses, which is something that was not allowed in say 50 years ago (except maybe for hillbilly’s and cowboys who talked any way they wanted). As well it was not done in other languages. And Paul was a scholar of the highest caliber. He just didn’t do that.

  51. 1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

    Eve performed the action. The action is completed: She became a transgressor. Her action has the consequences found in Genesis 3:15-16. The consequences continue.

    This interpretation of the perfect tense ‘ginomai’ fits the definition I cited previously from http://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#PERFECT:

    “The basic thought of the perfect tense is that the progress of an action has been completed and the results of the action are continuing on, in full effect. In other words, the progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence. Unlike the English perfect, which indicates a completed past action, the Greek perfect tense indicates the continuation and present state of a completed past action.”

    The perfect tense presents no problem for my interpretation.
    But let’s not just look at the definition. Here are a couple examples:

    John 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished (perfect tense),” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

    The redemptive work of Christ is finished. The action is completed. The consequences continue. God’s elect are saved by the finished work of Christ.

    Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written (perfect tense), ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

    It stands written. The action of writing is completed, but the word of God endures. The consequence is that you can continue to depend on it.

    In the first example, there is no continuing state of finishing. It is finished. In the second example, there is no continuing state of writing. The writing is done.

    Cheryl: “The fall into transgression is a complete state but the transgression is a continuing state.”

    It’s like you haven’t even read the definition. The action is completed. Please don’t conflate the terminology by saying “the fall into transgression is a complete state”.

    Cheryl: “The grammar is the perfect tense which means that the results of her actions are continuing. She is still in that transgression.”

    Again, the action of becoming a transgressor is completed. That Eve continued to be a transgressor after she became one is beside the point. Even on your interpretation, that ‘the woman’ is a specific wife, a continuing transgression would be problematic since Paul was supposedly stopping her from teaching false doctrine.

    Cheryl: “So not only do you have no proof in the passage that Paul has made Eve to be a representative of all women, but you have disregarded the perfect tense in verse 14 eliminating Eve since she is long dead.”

    Eve’s death does not end the consequences of her transgression for women (Genesis 3:15-16).

  52. “Eve’s death does not end the consequences of her transgression for women (Genesis 3:15-16).”

    What do you think are the consequences of Eve’s and Adam’s transgression, for humans born since?

  53. We all agree that “has become” denotes a past event with continuing results; that is not the issue. The issue is whether scripture says it was the sin of Eve that had continuing results, or whether it was only the sin of Adam. Much scripture supports the latter; none support the former.

    It all hinges on who “the woman” is. It is she who “has fallen into sin” and still remains there. It does NOT say that one woman fell into sin and that other women still suffer the results. Repeatedly asserting otherwise is not an argument or proof. Only Adam’s sin is said by scripture to have had continuing results on others.

    The challenge: to prove that “the woman” MUST be Eve, and that scripture says her sin has ONLY AFFECTED WOMEN that came after her.

    But I expect that instead of facing this challenge, it will be sidestepped. The assertion will be repeated endlessly, as long as we all play along. ::sigh::

  54. Cheryl, it is good to have you back and up to top form in expounding the Scriptures, and if I may say so, giving a solid, well-reasoned and biblical answer to Chris’s comments (41). And thank you for your kind words regarding my comments (48), by which I also stand. And so, if I may, I wish to briefly respond to Chris’s last comment to me (49).

    Chris, the short answer to your questions are my trouble with your syllogism was not its formal validity, but, how shall I say this, the misleading if not false content of your premises; yes, it is the motive, and not merely the possession of, or lack of knowledge, that distinguishes the Deceived heretic from the Deliberate heretic. In fact, in the Catholic Dictionary of Theology, the terms for these types of heretics are, as I recall, an Informal Heretic, one who teaches a heresy in ignorance, not realizing it is contrary to orthodox Christianity; and a Formal Herectic, who not only knows what orthodox Christianity but rejects it and deliberately teaches a heresy for his own reasons. And it is made on the basis of the same Scriptures and reasoning Cheryl uses. At least the Catholics got something right.

    Of course, I am most intriqued by your question regarding 1 Timothy 1:13. Why would Paul, or even I, for that matter, ever think that ignorance and unbelief somehow “merit” God’s saving grace in Christ? I know there is no exegetical justification for such an idea in any of Paul’s writings, let alone in 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Or don’t you think I have ever read and studied Galations and Romans, where Paul clearly teaches we are not saved by “works of the law” but “by divine grace appropriated by faith” in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ? And if you want the reason why our Lord Jesus took pity on Paul, saved, and transformed him, might I suggest you find it in 1 Timothy 1:16, “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Tim. 1:16, TNIV). The Lord Jesus saved and transformed Paul for the benefit of others and for his own glory, not because Paul merited it. Is that explanation sufficient?

    Still, I wonder why it was necessary, Chris, for you to suggest I thought Paul taught this and so had to give an explanation? Son, I’m not as stupid, nor as biblically and theologically illiterate, as you apparently think I am. I may not have a Phd., but I have certainly been trained in biblical studies, theology, and apologetics. And I know when someone misuses hermenuetics and logic. And I have been in enough debates to know someone is using a diversionary tactic when his own position’s weaknesses are being heavily assaulted. And I apologize to others if these final remarks seem blunt and to the point, but on the basis of Prov. 26:4-5, I believe they are called for.

  55. #60 Chris said:

    1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

    Eve performed the action. The action is completed: She became a transgressor. Her action has the consequences found in Genesis 3:15-16. The consequences continue.

    The problem you have is that you ignored the grammar as pertaining to “the woman” and you appear to make it applicable to all women. However the particular grammar in question is the action “fell into transgression” that is found in 1 Timothy 2:14. The grammar is: verb, perfect, active, indicative, third person, singular. Here is the proper explanation of this grammar per Michael S. Heiser : Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology.

    perfect — The verb tense used by the writer to describe a completed verbal action that occurred in the past but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present (in relation to the writer). The emphasis of the perfect is not the past action so much as it is as such but the present “state of affairs” resulting from the past action.

    active — The grammatical voice that signifies that the subject is performing the verbal action or is in the state described by the verb.

    indicative — The mood in which the action of the verb or the state of being it describes is presented by the writer as real. It is the mood of assertion, where the writer portrays something as actual (as opposed to possible or contingent on intention). Depending on context, the writer may or may not believe the action is real, but is presenting it as real.

    It is the subject “the woman” who is in the state of being at the time of writing. This cannot apply to Eve.

    You said:

    The perfect tense presents no problem for my interpretation.
    But let’s not just look at the definition. Here are a couple examples:

    John 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished (perfect tense),” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

    The redemptive work of Christ is finished. The action is completed. The consequences continue. God’s elect are saved by the finished work of Christ.

    The “is finished” pertains to the work of the subject. Jesus’ work is finished and Jesus (the subject) continues in that finished state. Your example cannot be applied to a continued state for Eve since she is not continuing in the state of transgression.

    The grammar and your examples proves you wrong. “The woman” of verse 14 cannot apply to Eve. It is another specific woman that Paul is communicating to Timothy about her state of continued transgression.

    You said:

    Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written (perfect tense), ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

    It stands written. The action of writing is completed, but the word of God endures. The consequence is that you can continue to depend on it.

    In the first example, there is no continuing state of finishing. It is finished. In the second example, there is no continuing state of writing. The writing is done.

    The action of writing is finished, but the state of the writing as the written word of God continues.

    Once again, the subject is what is in a state of continuing. Your examples prove that just as the grammar states. Therefore 1 Tim. 2:14 cannot be about Eve because at the time of the writing Eve was not in a state of continuation of her transgression.

    It’s like you haven’t even read the definition. The action is completed. Please don’t conflate the terminology by saying “the fall into transgression is a complete state”.

    This is a perfect example for those of you who should see how complementarians react when faced with solid biblical grammar that they cannot refute. The fall for “the woman” is an action that is in the past, but her continued state in the transgression noted by the specific grammar can only refer to a woman who is alive at the time of Paul’s writing who is continuing in her sin.

    Again, the action of becoming a transgressor is completed. That Eve continued to be a transgressor after she became one is beside the point. Even on your interpretation, that ‘the woman’ is a specific wife, a continuing transgression would be problematic since Paul was supposedly stopping her from teaching false doctrine.

    It is not beside the point at all. Eve did not continue in her transgression as she confessed her sin to God. There is no problem having “the woman” as a specific person who is continuing in her deceived state and who Paul stopped from practicing her error by making sure that she was not teaching the one who she was trying to influence with her false doctrine. You will have to prove how my interpretation is not acceptable in this text.

    Eve’s death does not end the consequences of her transgression for women (Genesis 3:15-16).

    First of all it is the subject who has a continuing state. The subject is not all women but one woman. If you say the one woman is Eve, then you are not able to have a state of transgression continuing with a dead woman. It fits perfectly, though, with a specific woman who is alive at the time of Paul’s writing.

    Secondly Scripture never says that Eve’s sin is spread to others. The Bible specifically says that it is by ONE man that sin entered the world. Sin did not enter the world through Eve. So not only do you have a subject that is singular and not plural, you have a subject that must be alive, and the continuing state must be about that one subject. I would recommend that you do further reading on this particular Greek grammar. You have not followed the Greek rules and so your application is invalid and must be rejected.

    #62 Paula,
    Very well said!

    #59 tiro,
    Thank you for letting me know how clearly you can see my “can nots”. That was very encouraging to me!

  56. #63 Frank,
    I just found your comment in my “spam” box. I am not sure what triggered the software to think your comment was spam. Sorry that the comment from delayed getting up on the blog.

    Cheryl, it is good to have you back and up to top form in expounding the Scriptures,

    Thank you, Frank! I do apologize for being so slow lately. I have a lot of fires in the iron right now and distractions galore. I hope that things will get back to normal soon and it is my plan to finish my next “Paul” post within the next day or two.

    In fact, in the Catholic Dictionary of Theology, the terms for these types of heretics are, as I recall, an Informal Heretic, one who teaches a heresy in ignorance, not realizing it is contrary to orthodox Christianity; and a Formal Herectic, who not only knows what orthodox Christianity but rejects it and deliberately teaches a heresy for his own reasons.

    Thanks for educating us on this issue from another angle. I also appeal to reason. I think all of us inside know that there is a valid difference between one who has been deceived and who does his/her actions in that state and the one who is a conniving liar waiting for their next victim. God certainly will judge the heart and make a difference in his judgment between the two.

    Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.

    Frank, I think your bluntness was done with graciousness. You even kept your words to “I” instead of “you” and thus defended yourself well.

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