Buried Talents: 1 Timothy 2:12-13: A More Formal Argument

Youth prayingMy response to Alexander’s thoughtful comments regarding this passage is too long for the comments, and so I’m posting it here.


We are talking past each other — and making little progress. Several arguments have been stated, but the core argument I’m trying to make isn’t getting across. I’m going to state it more formally. I apologize to those readers who will find this hopelessly tedious.

You argue that Paul’s argument is —

A. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve”

C. Therefore, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man”

I more or less agree.

The missing step

Where we disagree is how Paul gets from A to C. Under either your interpretation or mine, Paul’s argument is an enthymeme, that is, an argument stated with a missing step. The question is: what is the missing step?

You see, it’s not obvious why Adam being made before Eve requires all women in church (and only in church) to submit to all men in church.

Now, it’s common among all people in all times and places to skip steps in arguments — even mathematicians do this. Paul surely thought Timothy knew the logic that go him from A to C, but nearly 2,000 years later, it’s not so obvious.

So what is B? What step completes the logical flow?

Well, one possibility is that B = “Whomever God makes first has authority over whomever God makes second.” (Call this B1) That’s the classic argument. There are several problems with it.

First, the real premise would have to be: “Whichever gender God creates first rules over whichever gender God makes second” (Call this B2). After all, Paul somehow generalizes from Adam and Eve to all men in church and all women in church. You see, many female members of my church were made before my 18-year old son, but under the traditional view, they are subordinate to him. Hence, the real argument is B2, not B1.

Another problem is there is nothing in either B1 or B2 (or A or C) that tells us why the rule only applies in the church and does not apply to Deborah and does not apply in the workplace.

So you can argue over and over that B1 or B2 is true, but it doesn’t complete the argument as applied in contemporary Christianity.

Or you could argue that Christian women should not have authority over men in the workplace either, and that at least follows from B2, but no one seems willing to accept that conclusion.

Rather, even the most conservative among us want to insist that C is really “Therefore, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man [but only in internal church matters].” Call that C2.

To get from A to C2 you need a B that logically implies C2 from A. And I’m aware of no such argument. Even if 1 Tim 3:15 tells us that C is really C2 (which I dispute but doesn’t change the conclusion), you still have to logically get to C2 from A by some missing step. What is it?

Now, there are those who get frustrated at this point in the discussion and say “Paul said it and I believe it and that’s all there is to it!” But Paul didn’t say C2. He said C. And C2 is not a reasonable inference from A if you can’t explain how A implies C2.

You see, Paul gave us the reason for C. He was quite explicit. And he expected to be understood. And if we interpret C to really be C2, and if C2 can’t be inferred from A, then we were wrong to interpret C as really meaning C2.

That’s the formal argument. Of course, that argument doesn’t answer the question. I merely shows that the traditional argument has significant logical flaws. That flaws can be partly (and only partly) cured by teaching that Christian women cannot have authority over men in the workplace, but it’s only a partial solution because it doesn’t deal with Deborah.


There are three usual rebuttals to the Deborah argument —

• Many commentators solve the problem by ignoring her.

• LaGard Smith argues that God empowered her because the men were so weak, but there’s no evidence of this in the text at all. It’s just not there. And God often used weak men to lead his people. Consider Gideon, for example.

• Finally, some argue that God gave her special gifts via the Spirit, which empowered her to lead. But these same people would refuse to admit that a woman given the gift of leadership or teaching (Rom 12:7-8) today could lead or teach men — whereas Deborah led men.

Thus, to make A imply C, you have to overcome the Deborah argument and explain how the order of creation only applies in internal church affairs as a logical conclusion from A or else both overcome the Deborah argument and accept that Christian women cannot have authority over men in the workplace.

A better explanation

Now, the above is all true as a matter of logical necessity whether or not I have a better explanation, but I have a better explanation.

Point I. “Woman” is a reference to a wife. The Greek word (gune) is entirely ambiguous and must be interpreted from the immediate context. The same is true for the word translated “man.”

There are at least two reasons to take it as meaning “wife” in this context.

I.A. 2:15 refers to being saved through childbearing. Paul is obviously not thinking of single women!

I.B. It’s just not true that all women are subordinated to all men in Genesis 2. Eve was made the suitable helper for her husband, not for all men. There is nothing in Genesis 2 that remotely suggests that all women are to be subject to all men.

Therefore, I take Paul to really be saying,

A. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve”

B. ?

C. Therefore, “I do not permit a [wife] to teach or to exercise authority over a [husband]”

Now, translated this way, what is B? Obviously, B = “Eve was made second to be a suitable helper to her husband, a relationship that should be true of all marriages at all times.”

Indeed, Gen 2 says —

(Gen 2:24 ESV) 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Moses himself generalizes the lesson of Genesis 2 to all marriages — but not to women and men who are not married to each other.


Therefore, the traditional interpretation insists on a conclusion that cannot be inferred from the reasons stated by Paul, whereas the interpretation I suggest results naturally and easily from Genesis without having to invent doctrines not found in Genesis.

Notice, that these conclusions flow without reference to the culture of Ephesians and the relative ignorance of the women in that congregation.

Now, there are other questions that could be addressed, such as —

* Should “exercise authority” be translated “usurp authority”?

* Is “to teach or to exercise authority” translated incorrectly (as Carroll Osburn argues)i?

* What is the point of “(1Ti 2:14 ESV) 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor”? Is he arguing that women are more gullible than men? Or that all women inherit Eve’s penalty? Or something else?

But the heart of the question is, to me, confronting the difficulties with how Paul gets from A to C.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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108 Responses to Buried Talents: 1 Timothy 2:12-13: A More Formal Argument

  1. Cary says:

    I hesitate to say this, but could another possibility be that Paul was somewhat of a misogynist when it came to church leadership, and therefore doesn't really have a solid logic?

    I'm not saying I believe this, I just wonder sometimes if it could be the case. I know it creates a pandora's box of questions about scripture. And I know you've said before that you don't want to debate the nature of scripture.

  2. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Cary,Not really wanting to have a conversation about whether Paul’s writings are inspired.Even if someone is uninspired, he at least believes his arguments have a logic to them. No one says “C is true because of A” unless he really thinks A is the reason C is true. The logic may be flawed (if it weren’t inspired) but there still will be a logic of some sort. One of the most rewarding scriptural studies is to consider the whys — why does Jesus say that X is true? What is Paul’s rationale for Z? It’s only when we understand the reasons they give for their answers that we can learn to think as they think and apply their teachings correctly.Indeed, one of the great errors of legalism is to seek out the laws and commands while ignoring the reasons behind the commands — which is guaranteed to lead to misapplying the commands.

  3. aBasnar says:

    Let's do some pieces at a time, Jay

    * What is the point of “(1Ti 2:14 ESV) 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor”? Is he arguing that women are more gullible than men? Or that all women inherit Eve’s penalty? Or something else?

    "What's the point" is usually asked by people who did not get the point. And I can see that if people come from a wrong angle they won't get the perspectives right. Our Western culture and education sure does distort our views.

    But in fact, it is not complicated at all, as long as we stick with the text and read on:

    Stick with the text: No, Paul does not say that women in general are more easily deceived than men. Nor does he say that all women are from the men. In 1st Corinthians he makes it clear that this argument only points to the creation of Adam and Eve, since then every man comes from/through/by a woman (see 1Co 11:11-12).

    So Adam was created first, then Eve – this is speaking of Adam and Eve exclusively and of Genesis 2.
    Then Eve was deceived – only Eve. This is speking of Genesis 3.

    So there are no generalizations here in the sense of all men were created first or all women are so easy to be deceived. That's not what the text says.

    The text goes on in verse 15:

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

    We haven't looked at this one, yet, but it is important to get Paul's thoughts. Paul is now referring to childbirth. How on earth is he thinking of this? Well, it's also in Genesis three, and it shows a consequence of sin: Giving birth to children became a dangerous task for all women since Eve. Many died in this.

    Let's look at this closely: Paul switches from the singular to the plural, which is intersting. The singular is – I think – still based on Eve (verse 14). BTW if you objecvt that Paul uses the word "woman" instead of "Eve"; that's the way Eve was called in Genesis three, she was renamed by Adam after all of this had been said. So God said to Eve, that bearing children will become more difficult. But Paul now brings in the Gospel: ALL WOMEN will be saved.

    Again, slowly, step by step. They will be saved THROUGH (Greek dia) childbearing. This does not mean BY (in German it's alot mor confusing). Giving birth to a child is not necessary for salvation. But all women (in general) have to go through this process, they experience and live under the curse of a fallen nature; yet they will be saved. How?

    If they continue in faith, love and holiness.

    Actually there is nothing special about that – we all are saved in this way: Through faith, love and holiness.


    Now the Gospel did not take away the curse on the fallen nature. But what else had been said to Eve after the fall? This is a little more interesting, if you read the LXX.

    κα? πρ?ς τ?ν ?νδρα σου ? ?ποστροφ? σου, κα? α?τ?ς σου κυριε?σει

    It is not so much a "desire" for the man (which could mena a liot of different things) but an ?ποστροφ?. This means: "a turning to" – she will turn again to her huisband (in submission) and he will rule over her. This reading takes out a lot of the tensions we read into this text. The same BTW is true for Gen 4:7 the "desire" there is also ?ποστροφ?, but it is not speaking about the sin, but about Abel who will turn to Cain accepting hs right as firts born (important: the gender of sin in Hebrew is female, but the one desiring is male). But that's just a side remark.

    So that Eve turns to Adam in submission is normal and God pleasing. There is no hint of fight over power and influence between Adam and his wife.

    to be continued:

  4. aBasnar says:

    So, in fact we have a very good impression of Paul's line of thought:
    Women will be saved in spite of the curse and in spite of what Eve did – but they will submit to their husbands accepting the order of creation put forth in the creation ofthe first man and the first woman.

    This means: They will not take authority over the man as Eve did. She did?

    What did God rebuke Adam for?

    Gen 3:17 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife …

    Eve was deceived, but Adam was held respomsible. You can even think a littler further: God gave the command to Adam not to Eve. It was Adam's responsibility to pass it on to Eve. And we can even see how he did it by the way Eve responded to the serpent. She said:

    Gen 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,
    Gen 3:3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'

    Adam "added" to the command of God by saying to Eve: "Don't even touch it."

    Of course this is a little debatable, because Genesis two and three are not spelled out in every detail, but the command was given before Eve was created. Tha task was given to Adam before Eve was created. So, when Eve was there, it was Adams responsibilty to introduce Eve to the task and the command.

    Another thing is remarkable: Adam named all the animals, which is in fact a sign of having authority over them. I name them, I call, them, I rule them. He did the same with Eve. He saw here, he named her, and renamed her after the fall and is specifically called to rule her in Gen 3:16.

    So Genesis 2 and 3 are the reason and these pointes in Paul's reasoning are clear enough. Concerning your A – C (where is the B?) Question, I think this is answered.


  5. aBasnar says:

    Now to another paragraph:

    Another problem is there is nothing in either B1 or B2 (or A or C) that tells us why the rule only applies in the church and does not apply to Deborah and does not apply in the workplace.

    You won't find it there but in the overall purpose of the letter (1Ti 3:15) where it is clearly stated that this letter is meant to be a definite description for behavior in the church.

    Therefore it has – basically nothing to do with Deborah or women in any field outside the church.

    Although, let me be a little bolder here (some will hate me for that):

    There is an overall calling for women that is different from the calling for men. Men's destiniy is to work the ground, Women shall bear children. Both is set forth in Genesis 3. I do believe this is an overall rule, and these roles are not exchangable.

    But there are "shades of grey" in between. Of course the life of a women is more than childbearing and tzhe life of a man is more than ploughing. But now let's focus on texts that describe how women ought to be – not at women that did what they did.

    Proverbs 31 is a classic one:

    Pro 31:10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
    Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
    Pro 31:12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
    Pro 31:13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
    Pro 31:14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
    Pro 31:15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
    Pro 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
    Pro 31:17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
    Pro 31:18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
    Pro 31:19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
    Pro 31:20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
    Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
    Pro 31:22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
    Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

    As many things as she can and may do and is praised for, it's her husband who sits among the elders of the land, not she.

    Paul in Titus writes:

    Tit 2:4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
    Tit 2:5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

    Submissive, working at home. This may include all that is mentioned in Proverbs 31 and even beyond since this is not meant to be a complete list.

    But you see: It is not in God's order that women go into poilitcs and become leaders.

    "Shit happens", as we say, and this is the situation in the book of Judges. Never forget the overall message that is revealed in this book:

    Jdg 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

    So there was a female Judge in Israel (Jdg 4:4) and she was a prophetess. That's undeniable, yes there was ONE such person in the 2000 years between Abraham and Christ's Epiphany.

    Is that in line with the overal calling for men and women? No. Was God able to cope with that situation? Actually He brought it about, because being a prophetess is a gift from God. But was this meant to be a new precedent? By no means, otherwise the Holy Spirit would have pointed Paul or Peter to this fact and they had written otherwise.

    But what does Peter say is a good example for godly women?

    1Pe 3:5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,
    1Pe 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

    We cannot put clear commands and approved precedents aside by pointing to single historic events or persons like Deboraj that are completely disconnected from the New Testament Church and its order.

    To confirm: Yes, women are NOT called to become leaders in society either, but to work in the sphere of their homes.


  6. aBasnar says:

    To your wife-woman approach

    Point I. “Woman” is a reference to a wife. The Greek word (gune) is entirely ambiguous and must be interpreted from the immediate context. The same is true for the word translated “man.”

    There are at least two reasons to take it as meaning “wife” in this context.

    I.A. 2:15 refers to being saved through childbearing. Paul is obviously not thinking of single women!

    I.B. It’s just not true that all women are subordinated to all men in Genesis 2. Eve was made the suitable helper for her husband, not for all men. There is nothing in Genesis 2 that remotely suggests that all women are to be subject to all men.

    Therefore, I take Paul to really be saying,

    A. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve”

    B. ?

    C. Therefore, “I do not permit a [wife] to teach or to exercise authority over a [husband]“

    Well, first of all I see a huge difference to the other theory you presented in the other debate. Here it seems not to be necessary to state that this only applies because women back then were so terribly uneducated. Now you seem to accept the creation order, but you limit it to marriage.

    Actually I am confused, because you cannot hold to both theories, since they are quite different from each other.

    But anyhow. Yes, it is true that gune can mean a married or unmarried woman. So in fact it is the context that decides. What belongs to the context?

    First of all the theme is defined in chapter three:

    1Ti 3:14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that,
    1Ti 3:15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

    Now Paul in chapter 2 verse 8 starts off with the men:

    1Ti 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

    Does this apply to married men only? Of course not. Paul goes on:

    1Ti 2:9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
    1Ti 2:10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness–with good works.

    Does this apply to married women only? Also not.

    1Ti 2:11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

    Can single women do this as well? They are encouraged to.

    1Ti 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

    Now here: Is this changing to married women only? Let's look: "over A man", there is no definite article here and no indication that this is limited to her own husband. For example in 1Co 14:35 Paul speaks of "their" husbands. If that was on Paul's mind here as well, I'd expect him to make that clear by using the same wording. He does not.

    I mean, ask yourself: Would it be all rightthen for single women to become teachers over men? Over for married women to teach other men, but only not their own husbands? This does not make sense, Jay.

    No, the whole letter is about order and behavior in Christ's Church. Whenever Paul spoke about the family-order (and Peter likewise) they followed the same structure: Wmone submit to their men, children to their parents, slaves to their masters. But family is clearly not the topic in this chapter (also not in verse 15).


  7. Bruce Morton says:

    You seem to moving away from some of what you have written in Buried Talents. That encourages me. But I challenge your translation of "rule" by men in the assembly in your opening essay. Even when men lead an assembly, they need to be serving all in such. Correct? How about ceasing the use of "rule"?

    I appreciate Alexander's focus on 1 Timothy 2:9 in clarifying how a translation of "wives" does not fit the context of 1 Timothy 2:12-13.

    I have commented on Deborah before (and seem to have been ignored (oh, that's fine :-). Jay, I am having a hard time understanding how Deborah invalidates 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Deborah was a Judge in Israel. She held court (Judges 4:5). And as a Judge she would have spoken in some matters regarding idolatry. And she helped lead Israel to civil deliverance. And she prophesied. But we do not read that she lead Israel in worship assemblies. Nothing in Judges suggests such.

    Perhaps this remains of no difficulty for me because my long-standing reading of Scripture is that the Lord is showing that His Creation order applies to the home and to the spiritual community, a conclusion reached with careful attention to Scripture by Susan Foh in 1979. I encourage you (and your weblog readers) to read her excellent work, Women & The Word of God, A Response to Biblical Feminism. It remains perhaps the best overall look at the subject of "in His image" in print.

    Susan stresses equality between men and women because we are all in His image. And in a dark world with much suffering, abuse and betrayal in a vast number of Western relationships, her work remains important for all to read.

    And in balance she stresses the below:
    "The woman's role in public worship, the cult, was limited in the Old Testament; she could not be a priest; she could minister only at the door to the tent of meeting (only priests could go inside). But women could be prophetesses and queens (Esther, Bathsheba), and Israel's history claims one woman judge." (p. 84)

    And Susan highlights correctly the role of women as priestesses under the New Covenant. While the Creation order remains in place in the home and spiritual community, women come before the throne too (Ephesians 2:6). While men may visibly lead in the assembly, apostolic teaching makes clear that the role of women in prayer remains no less — similar to all in the assembly. We would do well to let Ephesians 2:6 soak in as we look at our assemblies from Heaven's perspective.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  8. alanrouse says:

    You present the argument as "Because of A, therefore C" and assuming an unspoken B. It could just as easily be "A, and similarly C" because of an unspoken X.

    In other words, the reason God created Adam first is the same as the reason women are not permitted to teach and have authority over men. God's plan for man was different from his plan for women.

  9. Price says:

    Amazing that God would choose to empower and appoint a woman to an authoritative position of Judge and Prophet and NOT her husband (apparently God didn't think it violated HIS RULES); That the Holy Spirit would recognize Anna and her work in the Temple and her teaching others about the Messiah; That Paul would recognize Phoebe as a Deacon in the Church; that the Apostles would recognize Junia as a tremendous leader in the Church; that the Holy Spirit would recognize Priscilla and her ability to teach the Gospel: That the New Covenant would allow women to be a part of the Royal Priesthood……….and some won't let them pass a communion plate or pray because they need to submit… Does God call a man to step up to the plate and be a man and lead…YES, He does…Does leading require that we treat our women in a manner inconsistent with the treatment they receive from God Himself ? No way. There is no excuse for the demeaning of a woman and preventing her from exercising her GOD-GIVEN talents and gifts. If a leadership of men can't find a way to use God's creation in service to Him then perhaps they shouldn't be in a leadership role.

    Jay, the logic was spot on. It doesn't matter than Deborah was just once…It was God that did it.. And if she were an example from 3000 years ago and it's recorded in the Word, then how many times does God need to point it out ? Fortunately, He followed up with all the above examples…

  10. Alabama John says:

    I recommend you all read Al Maxey at this months post concerning women.

    I personally believe all women should call me Sir and do exactly what I say as soon as I say it.
    A piece of cake with ice cream on it brought to me every night while I watch TV would be nice too.

  11. gt1 says:

    AJ, this is an instructive exchange and your sarcasm and childishness is counter productive. What are you? 12?

  12. laymond says:

    Now, that's what I'm talking about ! :p John.

  13. Price says:

    Alexander…How would you include Priscilla in your argument for quietness and not teaching ?? Would you concede that a woman can teach all men if they are teaching "along side" a man? How would the scriptures you quote address the "co-teaching" that Priscilla and Aquilla did ?? Would that allow a woman to pass the communion plate as long as there was a man on the other end ?

  14. Price says:

    AJ…Al's most recent post was spot on !! Thanks for bringing it to the attention of this audience.
    GT1…yes, AJ's remarks were sarcastic but when church leadership won't allow a woman to pass out communion because of some submission argument, it's difficult not to be sarcastic. The only example that a woman is not listed as being a member of is the Eldership. So, that means they can't pray in the assembly? Pass out communion…Teach a Sunday School class ? To me that's worse than sarcastic..

  15. aBasnar says:

    In as much as a private conversation after synagogue in the house of Priscilla and Aquila is not a church gathering or the like. And it is nowhere said that she was leading the conversation either; one ofthe reasons she was mentioned before her husband might be the she was from the Prisca-clan – not that the NT writers cared about class distinctions per se, but it could have been a common thing. Just to give you an idea that there might be very different reasons why she was mentioned first. But since the scripture doesnÄt tell us why, we should stop guessing in a nonsensical way. By this I mean: It is nonsensical to assume that Paul's co-worker Priscilla did what Paul consistently forbade.


  16. Bruce Morton says:

    I am curious, what do you gather from 1 Timothy 2:13?

    To confirm (in the event my other posts are not clear) I believe women can certainly lead in commerce and civil affairs — as illustrated in the Scriptures. I hope you (and others) will let go of the example of Deborah. I am hopeful that all on this weblog recognize that her "holding court" was in keeping with the Lord's will.

    And the command to love has Ephesians 5:21 embedded within it. And that means that if I need a new suit and my wife needs a new dress, I lead… and she gets a new dress (a real scenario in our household that led to a smile on my wife's face when I "overruled" her. Why would I do such? I love her and I love my daughter — and I love my sons).

    And I hope you will take some time to let 1 Timothy 2:13 inform where American egalitarianism has represented darkness even as it has claimed to be light.

    In light of the strong emotion/sarcasm I see, I will note this for consideration: I have worshipped with a congregation where men and women together served the Lord's Supper. Men led the prayers, and both served (just as happens when women pass trays within a pew). No clash with apostolic teaching there.

    I gather you are arguing that women should be able to teach a mixed adult Sunday school class. I will offer it is likely that is what was happening in Ephesus — where many women were probably comfortable taking the lead, given their previous positions in the indigenous mystery religions. More than 20% of the city's religious leaders were women (priestess in the Asian mystery religions) during at least the Roman imperial period. Corinth and Ephesus were the hubs of these religions in the ancient world — but they were widespread throughout the Mediterranean.

    Paul is writing teaching that was as religiously counter-cultural in Ephesus as it has been in the U.S. (and throughout the West) during at least the past two generations.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  17. aBasnar says:

    Price, sarcasm is not the way to lead such discussions.

    Now, don't mix apples with pears. And don't confuse overly strict applications (or misrepresentations) among many conservative churches of Christ with what the Biblical teaching on this suubject still demands. These are two quite different things. And when we blend in our modern way of doing worship we will be lost in no time.

    Scripture says clearly that women may pray and prophesy in the assembly with a headcovering. Almost all chutrches of Christ disobey in one or another way: Conservatives in general forbid women to pray (so – since they don't pray! listen to this – they are not required to wear a headcovering! I really heard that!). Progressives allow women almost everything without headcovering. Disobedience and selfwill whereevrer you look! No, this is not a time for sarcasm! This is war! This is the war of our flesh against the Spirit and the Word of God! Who remains silent here, becomes a traitor himself.

    OK – a little less emotional: Both sides are wrong. The overreation to some conservative rules and practices among the progressives leads to different distortions that are by no means better or more scriptural. They are equally wrong.

    As for this particular discussion: We may pray and prophesy with a headcovering, but they may not teach but remain in submission – to be sure there is a fine line between prophecy and teaching, and the sign of submission is a necessary reminder not to step over that border willfully.

    Another thing is the absolute NO to women in church leadership. Here the progressives are on a way that dishonors our God and His Word. Why? Because neglecting the divine order puts shame on Christ, the men and the women (see 1Co 11:3-6). It reflects an ecclesiology that puts the church as an equal to Christ, because the relationship between man and woman is a type for Christ and His church. And the churches really act this out! They take away from God's Word and they add to it. This is against God's order.

    Let me put it in very dry words without any sarcasm: This is dead wrong.


  18. Bruce Morton says:

    Where did Priscilla teach? Do the apostles reveal an issue with women teaching in their homes — including teaching their husbands there? To confirm that is not where the egalitarian-complementarian discussion has focused.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  19. Alabama John says:

    Suppose I was absolutely serious. My position would not be any more discounted by most here than what others are posting, even you.

    It did get attention, that's a plus, hope it made you think, sorta like my favorite sage, teacher, with humor Will Rogers. He taught and corrected with a lariat in his hand better than many do with a Bible. Most on here probably don't know who he was or appreciate his wisdom and positions taken and points he disagreed with exposed with humor.

    Lighten up, you'll live longer!

  20. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Alexander wrote,

    We may pray and prophesy with a headcovering, but they may not teach but remain in submission – to be sure there is a fine line between prophecy and teaching


    I’ve just spent the last few hours reading through Isaiah, Malachi, and Zechariah. They certainly seem to teach — although they do more than teach. I would be very interested to know the distinction you see between prophecy and teaching in the contemporary church.

  21. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    Let’s consider Gen 3:16. You are right that the verb in the LXX is “apostrophe.” But look at how it’s used in other passages —

    (Gen 4:7 ESV) f you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.

    (Deu 22:1 ESV) “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother.

    (Deu 31:18 ESV) And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.

    In each case, the connotation is strongly negative. The word simply does not mean “turning toward in submission.”

    In Gen 4:7, if refers to a desire to dominant. In Deu 22:1 is refers to leaving. In Deu 31:18 it refers to turning away or hiding.

    The Hebrew is even stronger, as shown by the nearby parallel of Gen 4:7. In both cases “desire” refers to a desire to dominate.

    John T. Willis explains in his commentary on Genesis that the Hebrew does not support your reading.  We should not allow the Septuagint’s uninspired translation to overrule the Hebrew.

    You argue —

    So that Eve turns to Adam in submission is normal and God pleasing.

    This is supposed to be a curse, you know. Otherwise death is also normal and God pleasing. Normal, yes, but not God pleasing.

    Is pain in childbirth also God pleasing? You know, less than 200 years ago, physicians refused to give women painkillers in childbirth because they saw pain in childbirth as God’s intention for women — and hence saw it as sin to interfere with God’s punishment of women for Eve’s sin.That’s the sort of thing that happens when we forget that the curse of Genesis 3 is the enemy of God.

    (1Co 15:26 ESV) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

  22. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    It’s a common argument that the power to name is a sign of authority over the person or thing named. But I don’t find that argument in scripture. It doesn’t really hold up. Some human named the moon. Did that mean he had authority over the moon? For $19.95 you can name a star after your wife or girlfriend. Does that indicate authority?

    Eve was deceived, but Adam made the fall of mankind complete. Therefore, he gets the blame in other passages —

    (Hos 6:7 ESV) But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.

    (Rom 5:14 ESV) Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

    (1Co 15:22 ESV) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

  23. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Alexander wrote,

    But what does Peter say is a good example for godly women? 1Pe 3:5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 1Pe 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

    I thought I was the one arguing that 1 Tim 2:11-15 is about wives and husbands, not men and women in general. 🙂

    I have argued several times that wives are called to be suitable helpers to their husbands, and believe the New Testament repeatedly teaches that.But that does not mean that all women are subject to all men.

    We cannot put clear commands and approved precedents aside by pointing to single historic events or persons like Deboraj that are completely disconnected from the New Testament Church and its order.

    Seriously? Paul is citing the Old Testament as authority for his teachings. The Old Testament is not “completely disconnected from the New Testament Church and its order.”

    Deborah’s story is a story caused by the will of God and recorded by the will of God for us. Not everything God has done is recorded, but he chose to be certain Deborah’s story was preserved.

    (2Ti 3:16-17 NAS) 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

    When Paul wrote this, “scripture” meant the Old Testament. We can’t write Deborah out of the text.

  24. Price says:

    Bruce, where was the "assembly"…in their homes!! But more importantly, where does it say that women can teach outside the assembly versus in the assembly? It seems that conclusion is one that is made up to accommodate present traditions… and does the location really matter? She was correcting a misunderstanding of Truth to a man to whom she was not married. I find it a real stretch to say that it's OK to preach on the lawn but not in the house… What would a "tent meeting" be ? Does a tarp and poles prohibit a woman from teaching?

    Alexander…Head coverings..?? How do you differentiate between head coverings and not wearing pony tails? Jewelry. Don't you think that the head covering thing might have been a cultural thing? Also, not defending sarcasm as a discussion trend but relegating women to the pew is pretty frustrating to most "progressives"…I would suggest that doing it in the first century would have frustrated Paul. Really, Paul was a Progressive in his day. Given that the Jews had no female Rabbi's or whatever, allowing a woman to speak by the Holy Spirit or to sing a solo, or speak in tongues or interpret tongues in a gathering of believers was pretty progressive if you ask me…..I just don't agree on the head covering thing..It would seem to me that the intent of the head covering might be…might be…a nod to the male leadership's approval…for whatever reason…perhaps culturally… Again, I know you hate to have it in there but there is no mention of Deborah's need to have her husband's approval…She was a spokesman for God Himself so apparently HE approved. Was Paul acknowledging that God Himself through the Holy Spirit was using women to teach, to edify, exhort, and equip by allowing their participation? Seems reasonable. How would one do that today?

    Now, in terms of the term "leadership" you said women weren't allowed to participate in… How do you deal with Phoebe…If being a Deacon is an office, then she held that position.. Junia, by most authorities was likely an Apostle…If not an Apostle she was a tremendous leader in the church…Both of these examples speak to women holding some "position" in the church.. Now, it does appear that the Eldership is a male ONLY position…but Deacon, if it is an office, was held by at least one woman, perhaps more… Phoebe was a "patron" indicating she was wealthy and/or a successful biz owner. Paul told the Elders in Rome to do what "she requested" as opposed to her serving as a messenger for something he needed…She apparently directed the men to help her accomplish some task, either for the church where she served or perhaps for a personal matter. It seems Paul confirmed her ability and authority rather than allowing her to act on his behalf…Thoughts ??

  25. Bruce Morton says:

    I see this:
    "I’m not aware of anyone arguing that the restrictions on female authority found in 1 Tim 2 are limited to the assembly. May a woman have authority over men in church affairs but outside the assembly?"

    Hmm? Jay, as I have said before in posts, the setting of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 represents the Christian assembly. I have read numerous studies (both egalitarian and complementarian that announce such.). So, yes, I am one of those people you are not aware of! And if by "church affairs" you mean teaching others, then perhaps you are forgetting a post you asked me about days ago. Yes, I believe 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 reveals that the prophetesses were teaching by the will of God beyond the assembly. Do you know of anyone who has issues with that notion? I do not.

    What other "church affairs" beyond an assembly do you have in mind?

    You are misreading the role of Deborah as you draw Creation order beyond the boundaries the Lord has revealed. Please point to Scripture that announces God has extended His Creation order beyond the home/marriage relationship and beyond the spiritual community. Clue: There are none.

    But it is clear from your posts that you believe you are justified in the "stretching" — like some kind of human logic that says, "It must be like this." I have appreciated greatly your studies of Galatians — where you have critiqued well exactly that kind of thinking. Now you face the "Galatian challenge" yourself.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  26. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Alexander wrote,

    there is no definite article here and no indication that this is limited to her own husband. For example in 1Co 14:35 Paul speaks of “their” husbands. If that was on Paul's mind here as well, I'd expect him to make that clear by using the same wording. He does not.

    English and Greek are very different languages, especially when in comes to articles. Greek has definite articles (corresponding to the English “the”) but no indefinite articles (corresponding to the English “a”). Definite articles are usually translated “the” but the absence of the definite article does not always mean the translation should be “a.” http://www.ibiblio.org/koine/greek/lessons/eimi.h

    Now, regarding context, consider —

    (1Ti 5:9 ESV) Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife [gune] of one husband [aner],

    There is no definite article, but the translation is “the wife of one husband” not “a wife of one husband.” And both “wife” and “husband” are the same words used in 1 Tim 2:14.

    (1Ti 3:2 ESV) Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

    (1Ti 3:12 ESV) Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.Again, there is no corresponding definite article in Greek. The words translated “husband” and “wife” are the same words used in 1 Tim 2:14.

    (1Ti 2:14-15 NAS) 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

    In v. 15, “women” is not in the Greek. Rather, the Greek borrows the subject from v. 14. And v. 15 obviously is a reference to wives, not women (Paul doesn’t anticipate single women being saved by giving birth!). Therefore, gune in v. 14 should also be taken as a reference to “the wife” rather than “the woman.” It’s literally the very same word.

    Regarding 1 Tim 2:9 —

    (1Ti 2:9 ESV) likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,

    — I refer you to Bruce Winter’s Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and Pauline Communities (2003).Winter translates “gune” as “wives” in 2:9.

    Part of his rationale is that during this period of history, Rome was struggling with immodest behavior and dress by married women. Wives were seeking to gain the same “right” to sex outside the marriage that their husbands had traditionally been granted. This led to wives wearing seductive clothing rather than the traditional garb of the married woman — and wearing jewelry, etc. in order to advertise her availability in cultural terms.

    Not surprisingly, this immodest, seductive behavior became fashionable, and many Greek and Roman writers worked to encourage wives to return to their traditional roles.While, in the abstract, single, divorced, and widowed women should dress modestly, the controversy prevailing in society at the time was about married women.

    In the late Republican period and the early empire another type of married woman began to emerge, designated by some ancient historians as the “new” woman. She differed from the “modest” wife; indeed the latter was epitomized by that one cardinal virtue. Some of the “new” married women began to wear provocative clothing similar to that of the hetairai, the high class prostitute, who “entertained” at dinner parties. Others felt the social pressure of their peers to adopt this latest trend in dress.

    In the 40’s AD Seneca the Younger, a contemporary of Paul, with his usual elegant turn of phrase wrote in a letter to his mother, “Never have you fancied the kind of dress that exposed no greater nakedness by being removed” (Seneca the Younger, ad Helviam, 16:4). The whole letter is enlightening because in it Seneca notes that pressure was on his mother and other married women of his day to dress and live as the “new” woman did.

    You also “were what you wore” in terms of jewelry and hairstyles. In Greek, “dresses and gold” was the standard phrase used of the accoutrements of an hetairai. Pliny recorded that “women spend more money on their ears with pearl earrings, than on any other part of their person.” Seneca also noted of his mother in the same letter, “Jewels have not moved you, nor pearls. You have never defiled your face with paints and cosmetics” (Seneca the Younger, ad Helviam, 16:3).


    In short, in the context of 1 Timothy, “gune” is repeatedly used to refer to wives, not to women in general, both immediately before and immediately after 2:13-14.

  27. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Bruce asked,

    What other “church affairs” beyond an assembly do you have in mind?

    Could a woman head a church’s campus ministry if she took no role in the assembly? Could she oversee the Sunday morning Bible classes — if she took no role in the assembly?

    You are misreading the role of Deborah as you draw Creation order beyond the boundaries the Lord has revealed. Please point to Scripture that announces God has extended His Creation order beyond the home/marriage relationship and beyond the spiritual community. Clue: There are none.

    Bruce, I’m the one arguing that the creation order is limited to marriage. Gen 2 says wives must be suitable helpers to their husbands. It does not say they are to be suitable helpers to all men or all Christian men or all Christian men in their congregation — other than to the extent we must all be submissive to one another.

    Paul founds his argument in Genesis 2. What in Genesis 2 limits the relationship of men and women found there to the internal affairs of the New Testament church?

    But it is clear from your posts that you believe you are justified in the “stretching” — like some kind of human logic that says, “It must be like this.” I have appreciated greatly your studies of Galatians — where you have critiqued well exactly that kind of thinking. Now you face the “Galatian challenge” yourself.

    Really? Are you accusing me of teaching a different gospel because we disagree on the role of women?

  28. Price says:

    Bruce…I Tim 2:8 men should pray "everywhere"…is that everywhere in the building? Paul was instructing them to go into each and every room in the house and pray? Surely, he was referring to everywhere as in….everywhere…
    2:9 Women should dress modestly…only in the home when people were assembled for worship ?? 2:10 Good works, only in the building ?? 2:11 Wives should listen to their husband's instructions ONLY in the building? 2:12 A wife should not attempt to control her husband or be contentious and argumentative only in the assembly but it's OK at home around the kitchen table or at a place of employment? 2:13 God's intention that man should be head of his household is only in the worship services ? 2:14 Interesting that EVE was deceived..Adam willfully and with full knowledge chose to disobey God.. Sin entered in through Adam.. Interesting to me that the Sinful Nature that permeated our souls from that point on was the result of Adam's willful disobedience rather than Eve being tricked. Which would you rather offer as an excuse…Hey God, I just chose to ignore your rules or…look it was a talking snake !! 2:15 Procreation in the building??

    I find it strange indeed that one could read this text and find that all of these instructions were limited to when believers were gathered to worship…

  29. Randall says:

    It is says "Deborah’s story is a story caused by the will of God and recorded by the will of God for us. Not everything God has done is recorded, but he chose to be certain Deborah’s story was preserved."

    This is really off subject, but I just can't resist; did you just place emphasis on "caused by the will of God?" That seems to place the sovereignty of God above all else. It is so easy to talk like a Calvinist, at least until someone points it out – then we may choose to back off it a bit.

    Yeah, I know it was off subject so I'll go back to lurking now.

  30. Alabama John says:

    The very first New Gospel message was not Peter as we hear and teach so often.

    It was the women who were at the empty tomb when the Angel told them to "go and tell" and they did go and tell the men the Good News.

    Al Maxey made that point.

  31. Bruce Morton says:

    Your position regarding Creation order had genuinely confused me. But now I think I finally “got it.” Yes, and I see that you are not facing the “Galatian challenge” in all of this. You think that only the marriage relationship is in view in all of the teachings about Creation order. Correct? But that also makes the example of Deborah not applicable in all of this. Correct? “Judging” did not interfere with her submission in her marriage, so why even bring her up, given what you believe? (You were actually arguing “on two fronts”, weren’t you? Did you go to debate school?) 🙂

    So, a key question surfaces (that Alexander well raised, as have many NT commentators). What do you do with 1 Timothy 2:9? Only talking about wives? No, Jay, that does not fit the context. And there is nothing in the text to suggest that Paul “switches gears” from all women to only talking about wives. And while this is no “proof,” I think you have seen that no NT translators have followed your suggestion.

    And, tackling some specific questions: You ask about “overseeing” a congregation’s Bible studies. Isn’t that part of the work of an overseer/elder? Overseeing the teaching that is happening?

    I do believe a woman can wear the title “campus minister.” And I believe many already do such work (whether with the title or no), teaching others one-on-one, both men and women. The limitation comes in group studies that are part of the congregational assembly. But as believe you are aware from some of the content of a recent publication, I have argued that one of the most neglected areas of congregational work is women-only study groups. I believe they are greatly needed, and too rarely developed. And I believe that is much of what the Christian prophetesses were doing in the first century. They were moving where men were not allowed — among groups of women associated with the powerful mystery religions throughout the Mediterranean. congregations need to develop more womens ministries to reach out specifically to women — and that includes on college campuses.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  32. Bruce Morton says:

    You want to argue that the early Christians could see themselves as "free" in terms of ethics and marriage to do what they wanted once they left the assembly? And that is the import of what I suggested by a narrowed scope to 1 Timothy 2:8-15? I will let you walk that trail by yourself.

    You still have not gotten to a crucial question: Are you willing to apply 1 Timothy 2:8-15 to our current assemblies? That question has not gone away however much you talk about "everywhere."

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  33. Charis says:


    The text does not call it a "curse". The only "curses" so named in the text are upon the serpent and upon the ground. God did not curse humanity. The consequences upon the man and woman are redemptive.

    Pain in childbirth and the rule of husband over wife is a redemptive thing, just like sweat and thorns in work (and death). They are intended to reveal a hunger in the heart which can only be met by Christ. Nevertheless, I don't think we err to do what we can to reduce the pain of any of these consequences.

    Tractors, epidurals, and equality for women are all fine with God.

  34. Charis says:

    Adam was charged with "keeping" the garden. (Gen 2:15) The Hebrew is shamar and it means watch/protect.

    Perhaps Adam's failure to KEEP the garden was the original sin?

  35. Price says:

    No, Bruce, I'm arguing that the instructions given in this passage are not exclusively for the assembly. You said…"as I have said before in posts, the setting of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 represents the Christian assembly." We disagree on this point. I think I just pointed out that if would be a stretch of the imagination to limit that passage of scripture to the assembly…In fact, the only reason to try and limit it to the assembly is due to the difficulty and total rejection of the application of the interpretation applied to any area of life other than the assembly. Which makes it even that less reasonable to say that God loves a woman to be the best she can be; to be fully utilizing her spiritual gifts; to be the Proverbs 31 woman…OUTSIDE the assembly…and yet they must keep their mouth shut and submissive and kept in line and in their place during worship time… I can definitely understand the need to try and make this passage limited to the assembly but for more and more Christian women, and Christian men with daughters, the way this is being applied by the conservative groups of the CoC is totally repulsive.

    I believe the proper interpretation of this passage should be applied to us 24-7…except for the obvious cultural restrictions which should not be restrictive today. Wives should allow their husbands to lead. Men should encourage their wives to be all that God intended them to be. ALL THE TIME !!

  36. Charis says:

    On "desire", you've said that before that you think its about women trying to control men. Doesn't sit right with me: it's not my experience of living in a woman's skin, nor does it explain the history of the way women have been (mis)treated. Strikes me as a projection of the "male rule" part of Genesis 3:16 onto the woman.

    Anyway, I googled it and found a journal article on which makes the case that the usage in (Canticles) Song of Solomon 7:10 is a much better parallel than Gen 4:7. In a comment to follow, I quote a couple paragraphs from the article which I have linked at the end of the quote FYI.

  37. Charis says:

    QUOTE: Third, similarity in grammar need not demand similarity of meaning. Verbal parallelism may be only coincidental. As shown above, the context of Gen 3:16 does not indicate that the woman desires to dominate her husband. If it is to be found in Gen 3:16, it must be imported from Gen 4:7. However, the context of Genesis 3 must be given the primary role in determining the meaning of "desire" in 3:16 rather than the linguistic resemblance between 3:16 and 4:7. . . . .

    It appears that the usage of qUw in Canticles is closer to that of Gen 3:16 than is Gen 4:7, notwithstanding the latter's grammatical similarities and textual proximity. First of all, the plain must be employed to interpret the obscure and difficult if there are contextual reasons to believe that both usages are similar. Such is the case between Gen 3:16 and Cant 7:10[11]. The abundantly clear meaning of "desire" in Cant 7:10 [11] should be given priority in the determination of the meaning of "desire" in Gen 3:16. {source}

  38. Bruce Morton says:

    Whatever the disagreement of scope, it sounds like we do agree that the scope includes Christian assemblies. Correct or no? You seem to argue that limiting the scope is "convenient" for complementarians and then offer passionate critique (I like passion; "repulsive" seems to me to start looking at hearts — and that is something I will avoid). But laying aside the critique of my beliefs, I still am confused as to what you positively conclude.

    So, as a next step here, are you suggesting that the "women should be able to fully utilize spiritual gifts" discussion (that saturates egalitarian thought) invalidates 1 Timothy 2:13? That remains the watershed question in numerous egalitarian-complementarian discussions I have seen/read/heard. It is the one questions that rests at the heart of all of this — because Paul states with clarity that a Creation order is in view — and therefore is teaching that what he writes transcends culture — U.S. egalitarianism included.

    And so the broad egalitarian conclusion has been to dismiss the teaching because Paul is limiting women in the text. Whatever else people have concluded, a consensus has developed that he is indeed limiting them in a teaching role. Correct? And this has led to two views among egalitarians of late: 1. Paul is mistaken and 2. Paul did not write it. These represent the dominant choices from what I have read.

    So, what is the "obvious cultural restriction" when Paul is looking back to Adam being formed first, then Eve?

    Genuinely attempting to listen to your take regarding 1 Timothy 2:13 in all of this.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  39. aBasnar says:

    I think you overlooked my comment on Gen 4:7 in the text. THe change in the gender is important. Sin is a SHE, but the one "desirig" is a HE. This puzzles most translators, so they schange it. ESV is wrong it traslating "<srong>Its</stong> desire".

    The only other "HE" is this story is Abel.


  40. aBasnar says:

    <blocklquote>But that does not mean that all women are subject to all men.

    Not in the sense tzhat my wife should submit to another wife's husband. But in church, leadership is defined male. So all women and all men (!) in church have to submit to a male leadership.

    And women are not called to teach the whole church, also not in the sense of a mixed Sunday School Class (I can't find that in the Scriptures anyway). But – as is written – older women shal teach younger women what it means to become and be a godly woman (see Titus 2).

    Deborah has nothing to with with these instructions, Jay. Or shall we conclude from David that polygamy is OK? After all God blessed him in spite ofthat and never addressed his polygamy as an issue. I think we'd both agree that a marriage in God's Will is One man and One woman. It's the same here; Yes there was a (one!) incident in the OT, in the confused times of the judges when a women judged Israel. But this does not rule out God's Will that he confirmed and stressed even long after this one-time-event.


  41. aBasnar says:

    There is no definite article, but the translation is “the wife of one husband” not “a wife of one husband.”

    Come on Jay! There is a "one" in the text! An numerical word – Don't bve silly here! ε?νο?ς α?νδρο?ς γυνη?, It seems to me that you are clinging to straws here. BTW in my German Bible there is no definite article – but it could be put there because of the meaning if the sentence.

    But this does not allow to understand 1Ti 2:12 as a wife-husband relation.

    And of course when coming to verse 15 and childbearing we have to thnk of married women. But the whole point there is soteriological not relational. It is a statement that women – inspite of Eve's transgression – have the same salvation.

    In fact the creation order is valid both in familiy-relations and in church relations; thus they texts sometimes overlap. Yet in 1Ti 2:8-15 it is about order in the church and NOT about order in Christian homes.

    Your input from Seneca is intersting, but I donät see why this is limited to married women. Fashions and hairstyles always had great impact on ALL women, not only the married ones. And again, mabe a little more pointed:

    in verse 8 Paul addresses the men. In verse 9 he addresses the women (likewise also …). If verse 8 is not limited to married men (to claim that would be nonsensical), then verse 9 is not limted to married women either. And if verse 9 is not limited to married women, then the following verses aren't either.

    Of course we could make a poimt that basically all women were either married or still living at home unde the "rule" of their fathers. But since Paul recommends staying single in 1Co 7 we have to assume that there were quite a number of women in the churches who followed that advice. Now, ifthere was a distinction in these rules (1Ti 2:9-15) between married and single women, Paul would have addressed it. But in fact, nowhere can we find a passage that allows single women to become church leaders or teachers in the assembly.


  42. aBasnar says:

    I reject any argument predicated on the notion that the Christian assembly is a type of the temple. We’ve covered that ground many times.

    That's sad to hear, Jay. Because you certainly miss apoint. I won't gio into it again, becauise that would be off topic, but I'd like to know if you at least see a clear distinction between the church and the society/culture/world.

    Or more: Are we – when we strive for a political office – doing something within or outside the realm of the Kingdom of God? I'd say outside – otherwise the wihitre house needed to be included in the house of God, and then 1Ti would apply there as well. Even – and that#s a whole theology – we would have to Christianize the world, put iut under a Christian Government; that#s what Calvin tried is is one of the consequences of a- and postmillenialism (and the main reason why I reject both eschatological systems).


  43. aBasnar says:

    The separation of church and state is an Enlightenment concept that the ancients would have found incomprehensible.

    That's BTW historically wrong. It is not only a key-issue in the Anabaptist theology (Articles of Schleitheim 1527, about 200 years before the Enlightenment). But even more so: the whole Ante-Nicene Church was strictly opposed to any involvement of Chrisitians in politics and government. They saw the difference between the Kingdom of God and the World and its empires clearly.

    This got lost after Constantine, and theology got rewritten by Augustin. Both Luther , Zwingli and Calvin mixed church and state sometimes in a very gruel manner (for people with other beliefs). So the whole protestant movement – except the Anabaptists and the early church of Christ until David Lipscomb – has an insufficient understanding of the Kingdom of God.


  44. aBasnar says:

    Well, Jay, I just wrote these lines to Bruice in private, so I copy and paste this answer here:

    I do see a difference between prophecy and teaching. For a few reasons:

    a) It is part of the New Covenant Prophecy that men, women and even children will prophesy – the context in these prophecies is the people of God (Acts 2:17-18)
    b) all are encuoraged to seek the gift of prophecy in order to edify the church (1Co 14:1)
    c) prophecy is mainly characterised as encouraging, comforting or exhorting others (1Co 14:3)
    d) Prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers (1Co 14:22)

    The gift for teaching and even the office of a teacher a distinct from that of prophecy:
    a) Not all are encouraged to become teachers (Jas 3:1)
    b) Women are not allowed to teach in the assembly (1Ti 2:12)
    c) Teachers are listed under the offices of church leadership prior to the ordination of elders (1Co 12:28; Acts 13:1), which means in young churches. You can check that out yourself BTW: See which kind of leadership in the various letters is mentioned and try to estimate when the letter was written and how "evolved" a congregation was.

    Another interesting observation from 1Co 14:26-33:
    All may prophesy, BUT two or three Prophets shall speak.
    There is a distinction between prophesying that all are encouraged to and the in put of two or three prophets.
    Prophets were part of the church leadership. God has given (Paul says in 1Co 12:28) first apostles, second prophets, third teachers. So these two or three prophets are responsible for the teaching in the church. I'd like to add that Corinth was a rather young church. During her early years this church had no elders yet, but was let by apostles, in their absence by prophets or teachers.

    This in short why I see a distinction between prophecy and teaching. I could add more to this, but I don't want to make it too long.


  45. Alabama John says:

    I'm curious how some of you could handle Charis posting.

    Is she teaching men? Is it OK on a mostly men blog like this?

    If you, a grown man, were reading her post, (being taught) in a church building would you have to go outside or would it be OK to be taught by her inside the church building?

    Would her posting and teaching be ignored by you as a man regardless, outside or inside or any location, since she is a woman?

  46. aBasnar says:

    In fact that's easy, Alabama John:

    a) This is not a church setting, but an open discussion like a Bible Study
    b) Charis is not leading this discussion, it's Jay's Blog


  47. Alabama John says:

    What exactly is a church setting today and what has it been throughout history?
    Forget buildings and think WHERE two are more are gathered together.

    She would be welcomed to teach in my presence and hopefully yours. If she did start teaching the two of us, would you leave?

    I have been in many church settings that were certainly not a building.

  48. Price says:

    Interesting question Bruce…you leave two options to choose from, both decided by you. 1. That Paul was Wrong or 2. Paul didn't write it…I suggest a third option…You're wrong…

    The creation order isn't in doubt. I believe that man was in fact created first and woman to help the man. I believe Eve was tricked by the Devil's cunning and Adam willfully disobeyed.

    But, what you are attempting to do is apply the passage of I Tim to an assembly of people as if they met then like they do today. Please, anybody, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't read of any Main Street Church of Christ in Ephesus…It was more like small groups today…I don't think that Timothy would have understood Paul's words as you suggest.

    So, to clarify..no I do not believe that this passage is for the assembly alone. I find nothing in the passage that suggests that the instructions he gives are limited to a gathering of people to worship. To the contrary, everything that is mentioned in the instructions would be proper for both men and women in every day life INCLUDING THE ASSEMBLY. In fact, the only thing I see that would cause one to believe that it is the assembly in mind is the desire to proof text in order to find scriptural authorization to control or limit the role of women in leadership positions. I think this passage clearly speaks to wives of husbands and not all women to all men.

    Besides, it would be fairly silly to suggest that women could speak for God through the Holy Spirit to encourage, edify and exhort…but just not inside..outside maybe, but not inside a building.. Bruce..sorry man, but that just isn't logical. And it wasn't some Ephesian goddess influence..It was the prophet Joel, speaking the very words of God Himself that said GOD would empower women to prophesy…The Bible speaks of women speaking under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and never once limits their ability except by order and respect for their husbands. Like God can't use a woman in a building…That's just plain silly. Besides, whether in our out of the building it was the word of God..Are you saying that the words of God Himself can't be used by a woman to instruct a man? Or that it can only instruct a man outside of a building? Please..

    In my opinion a real man of God would be finding ways to lift up his wife and encourage her to use her spiritual gifts rather than finding new ways for her to submit to his ego.

  49. wjcsydney says:

    ISTM that the major difference between 1st century Christians and Christians today is that their Christianity was much more a 24/7 thing whereas we have ritualised it and focussed on the assembly. Very little of the NT is about THE assembly. It's about day to day walking with Jesus and other Christ-followers. We make assembly rules because we like to compartmentalise our faith. And yes, I am generalising.

  50. wjcsydney says:

    Alexander – where in the Bible is there a differentiation between a "church" setting and an "open discussion like a Bible Study"?

    One does not have to be leading a discussion to be teaching.

    Aussie Wendy

  51. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    So women can teach men in the Wednesday night Bible classes?

    And you regard Sunday morning classes as part of the assembly? Does that mean they can’t speak in their Bible classes but must ask their husbands at home?

  52. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    You pose an unusual theory. I think the apostles would disagree —

    (Rom 8:19-23 ESV) 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

    What is Paul talking about if not the curse of Genesis 3? When was the creation subjected to “futility” and “bondage” and “corruption”?

    The “redemption of our bodies” is plainly a reference to our resurrection, the moment that Christ defeats his final enemy: death. And that, again, is a reference to Genesis 3.

    In each case, Paul uses strongly negative words. We are redeemed from these things. Indeed, “redemption” means to be freed from “bondage” — a word referring to slavery. “Bondage” and “redemption” are exact antonyms.

    (Rev 22:3 NIV) No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

    The Eschaton is all about the end of the curse.

    (1Co 15:21-26 NIV) 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

    Adam is the source of death — which is part of the curse of Gen 3. Death is an enemy of Christ.

    Now, there is a sense in which the curse might be called redemptive, the argument being that it’s part of God’s plan to restore the world to rights. And perhaps that’s true. One can argue that. But the NT plainly speaks of the the curse in negative terms, as a thing to be defeated by Christ. And so, whether or not it’s part of God’s redemptive plan, we should think of it in negative terms as well. It’s still a curse.

    And it’s not something to be obeyed. It’s something to be defeated.

  53. Bruce Morton says:

    I want you to know that the conclusions I mentioned about 1 Timothy 2:13 have not been mine. They are what I have read from numerous egalitarians. I can provide the citations if you want me to.

    I think I should wrap up my chat with you regarding 1 Timothy 2:13. Perhaps you see yourself as answering the question I have raised, but you have not. You keep critiquing my scoping and then you counter with:
    "everything that is mentioned in the instructions would be proper for both men and women in every day life INCLUDING THE ASSEMBLY. In fact, the only thing I see that would cause one to believe that it is the assembly in mind is the desire to proof text in order to find scriptural authorization to control or limit the role of women in leadership positions. more than the assembly." And then you go back to the subject of women being empowered. But you still do not answer where Paul's counsel for wives in 1 Timothy 2:13 does apply.

    What I hear instead is that 1 Timothy 2:8-15 does not apply because our assemblies are different. Whoa! So, I think one question that surfaces out of that is whether any of Paul's teachings apply to our 21st century assemblies and if so why? So much for Paul telling Timothy to pass on the teachings to others.

    I take issue with some of the statements you make from your passion, such as "a real man of God would be finding ways…." To my mind you are judging the hearts and actions of many "complementarians (including myself) who love our wives. And my wife, for one, (complementarian also) believes the stance you take ignores apostolic teaching. She thinks you and Jay (and others) are "barking up the wrong tree" and not listening to the Word of the Creator through Paul. And she thinks she is plenty busy doing the work the Lord has set out for her to do and does not feel "slighted" in any way by Paul's counsel to Timothy and the Ephesian congregation. And yes she believes Paul's words in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 apply to our assemblies today just as much as they applied to first century assemblies.

    As for "wives" being the proper translation (as Jay has suggested), no, that does not fly. It clashes with verse 9.

    I think I should stop now; I will not ask you about 1 Timothy 2:13 again.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  54. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    The article you reference is mistaken. The Canticles were written something like 540 years after Moses wrote Genesis. 540 years before today is 1471 AD — before Columbus sailed for America! Language can change quite a lot in that period of time. Here’s a selection from William Tyndale’s tranlation of Genesis, published about 1530 —

    1 But the serpent was sotyller than all the beastes of the felde which ye LORde God had made and sayd vnto the woman. Ah syr that God hath sayd ye shall not eate of all maner trees in the garden.
    2 And the woman sayd vnto the serpent of the frute of the trees in the garden we may eate
    3 but of the frute of the tree yt is in the myddes of the garden (sayd God) se that ye eate not and se that ye touch it not: lest ye dye.
    4 Then sayd the serpent vnto the woman: tush ye shall not dye:

    Therefore, the argument that the sense of teshuwqah in Gen 3:16 should be borrowed from the Canticles rather than Gen 4:7 is indefensible. Gen 3:16 and 4:7 are written by the same author, at the same time, in the same historical context, in the same piece of literature. And the two verses have other similarities, as you note in your second comment. Moreover, the Canticles are a very different kind of literature from the Torah.

    Just as importantly, if “desire” in Gen 3:16 is a reference to the sexual desire of a wife for her husband, then that desire becomes a curse — a consequence of sin and fall from grace. That interpretation is contrary to 1 Cor 7 and … the Canticles themselves, which celebrate sexual desire among spouses.

    His view is criticized at http://graceinabundance.com/userfiles/Command%20or%20Curse.pdf and is a distinctly minority view among contemporary scholars. It was more popular during the Victorian age.

  55. Bruce Morton says:

    Glad to dive in further, but I am expecting the same candor from you regarding 1 Timothy 2:13 as you expect from me. So, let's try again. While your translation of "wives" in 1 Timothy 2:11 does not fit verse 9, let's apply it:

    Was Paul then limiting teaching by wives in the assembly's mixed adult classes/studies (including Wednesday night Bible classes)? And if so does his teaching apply to today? And if no, why is 1 Timothy 2:13 not applicable since it is a look back at Genesis 2, as you have noted? To confirm, I believe Paul's words do apply to wives and to all women (based on verse 9, which has led to the almost universally accepted translation of "women" in the text).

    The second question made me laugh. Did you just fold letters to two different congregations together? :-). Are you saying that Ephesus was not a unique situation and that we can and should read it together with 1 Corinthians 14? Hmmm. Glad to respond to your question once I know that you and I are synced up at that point (which will be a change for you, given what I have read). A hint before we tackle further: the publication you have from me discusses the specific use of "silent" in 1 Corinthians 12-14. I believe Paul is speaking specifically about prophetic speech in the context.

    Enough for now. Looking forward to the two answers to my questions.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  56. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    My Hebrew knowledge is not to my Greek. But the translators are agreed —

    ESV Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

    KJV Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

    NAS Genesis 4:7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

    NIV Genesis 4:7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

    NRS Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

    RSV Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

    (Gen 4:7 TNK) Surely, if you do right, There is uplift. But if you do not do right Sin couches at the door; Its urge is toward you, Yet you can be its master.” [Jewish Publication Society]

    YLT Genesis 4:7 Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.’

    In each case, they translate with the subject of “desire” being “its” referring back to “sin.” The exception is the KJV. And even there, “Abel” is so far removed from the pronoun “his” as to be an unlikely antecedent.

    I refer you to http://19thpsalm.org/Lectures/SciBib/SciBib19/Foh-WomansDesire-WTJ.pdf as well as Beyond sex roles: what the Bible says about a woman’s place in church and family By Gilbert G. Bilezikian (http://books.google.com/books?id=dTa5IF67iawC&pg=PT181&lpg=PT181&dq=genesis+4:7+desire+feminine&source=bl&ots=ar54sd-u6s&sig=F9NbwwUIdBHjqc9L2u60qqrREJA&hl=en&ei=26qrTYWSII-w0QHuxd35CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=genesis%204%3A7%20desire%20feminine&f=false), which says, “Moreover, the mixture of genders in 4:7 (“at the door sin [feminine] is lying [masculine] and toward you his [masculine] desire and you will rule over it”) suggests an illicit situation that justifies the translation of the New International Version … .”

    Ultimately, it’s just hard to see how it make sense to translate 4:7: “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. [Abel’s] desire is for you, but you must rule over [him].” It just doesn’t really fit the story, whereas the majority translation does.

  57. Bruce Morton says:

    You are certainly correct that we focus on the assembly and it appears some apostolic teaching does give attention to such. But appreciate your post that emphasizes that most of the NT is about all of life — including our gatherings.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  58. aBasnar says:

    In my German Bible the "old Elberfelder" the transaltors kept the tension. And there is more to this. Naftali Herz Tur Sinai – one of the best Hebrew scholars of the recent past – put a possible translation in brackets that is stunning. Actually I don't know how he got it, maynbe it has to do with putting different vowels between the consonants:

    Towards the door, Sin, crouching.
    (or: To the sale, on wheat, crouching.)

    One might ask what that shall mean. But there is a good reason. The LXX explains (or gives at least a clear hint) why Cain's sacrifice was rejected:

    (Gen 4:7 LXX/Brenton) Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? Be still, so to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him.

    There is BTW no sin crouching at the door in the LXX. But let's think that through. God did not reject Cain's sacrifice because it was not bloody enough, but because he sinned by not dividing righty. You see, Abel was a shepherd, but Cain a farmer. Meat was not allowed to be eaten before the flood, so Abel was dependent on Cain for food.

    So Abel is crouching at the door waiting top buy wheat from Cain, but Cain does not share rightly.

    Now God accepted Abels offering and rebuked Cain because of his hardened heart. But he also makes clear that this does not mean that Cain lost his rights a firstborn. No, Abel will submit to him – Be still, Cain, don't worry! Calm down! – and Cain will rule over him.

    It was this study in the LXX text (a 30 pages paper) that convinced me that my earlier understanding "desire" means a wish to "dominate" was wrong. The same then applies to Eve and Adam. Eve will return to submission again.

    As for Charis' comment:

    The text does not call it a "curse". The only "curses" so named in the text are upon the serpent and upon the ground. God did not curse humanity. The consequences upon the man and woman are redemptive.

    Pain in childbirth and the rule of husband over wife is a redemptive thing, just like sweat and thorns in work (and death).

    I think this is a good observation. It is true, the Lord does not call it a "curse", but it seems to be a chastisement rather. In the sense that it reminds us on our fall and drivesus back into His arms, we can see that the means of these punishment is not destrctuion or alienation, but reconciliation.

    As so often, Jay (and this was a new thought for me, too), we tread words into a text that aren't there because we follow a tradition that sounds right, yet it's "close but no cigar".


  59. aBasnar says:

    Whenever and Wherever the church assembles, Jay. Our distinction between sunday morning and wednesday night is artificial and not based on the NT.


  60. aBasnar says:

    Actually nowhere – we make the distinction.
    BUT there is a difference between leading such a group and participating in such a group.
    We don't allow sisters to lead a Blible Study, but they may give their input and suggestions when the teacher asks questions or opens the topic for discussion.

    If you define "giviung an answer" as "teaching", I'd say we have a different understanding of what it means to "exercise authority". I also diosagree with those who say whoever prays aloud is "leading" the congregation. If just opening your mouth (or typing) is exercising authority, then even little children at the kitchen table are leaders. And yet it's clear they are not, Or pupils in the class suddenly turn into teachers – which is simply not true.


  61. steven says:

    There's another explanation for Jay's "B" that clears away all the confusion and disputes about whether it's women or wives, whether it's in or out of the assembly, and whether the creation order affects what women can do in serving the church.

    The women in Ephesus were trying to dominate the men and teaching falsely that Eve was created first, not Adam, and that Adam was deceived, not Eve, and Paul is correcting this. This false teaching would have come from those coming out of the fanatical Diana cult, whom also believed that it was Diana who protected women through childbirth, which Paul also deals with in the same passage.

    It's all about context, which is sometimes murky to us, but we always need to let that which is clear illuminate that which is unclear. And it is clear that God's greatest and highest is for Christians to be equal and free in Christ, and for there to be no limits on Spirit-led edification. Cultural and circumstantial issues sometimes get in the way of this, but these issues need to be dealt with and cleared away to get back to God's ideal for the church.

  62. Bruce Morton says:

    You may be correct about some of the background to Paul’s teachings and what is happening in Ephesus. Jon Zens has drawn similar conclusions. We cannot know for sure, but it is certainly possible.

    But here is the point that sometimes gets missed. Whatever the specifics of Ephesus, what Paul writes sounds a more-than-specific message. The overarching note comes when Paul writes 1 Timothy 2:13 (not just verse 14). That is the place where all of this discussion finally boils into great emotion: Genesis 2. What Paul writes challenges the often-held conclusion in our day that equality in Christ equals no limitations on the role of women. That is not what Paul has written.

    That is why 1 Timothy 2:13 represents the challenge it has to many over the last two generations of America. It is not a matter of “proof-texting” or straining-at-gnats. Paul is saying that his teaching about limitations on the role of women is based on God’s creation — not culture and not just the specifics of a situation in the Ephesian church. Nothing less than Adam was formed first and then Eve. So, we can discuss background, context, et.al. But we need to ask: Is 1 Timothy 2:13 a matter of the Spirit guiding the Ephesians in a specific struggle (obviously yes) by showing them the Lord’s will in a Creation order from the beginning? Now THAT is one tough question in the middle of a dominantly egalitarian culture.

    If we think we are far removed from the specifics of Ephesus, we are greatly deceived. Their society was as religiously egalitarian as ours is in the 21st century.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  63. steven says:

    The assumption by almost everyone so far has been that the reason Paul says, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” after saying, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” is that the creation order and Eve’s deception IS THE REASON that women should not teach. I’m challenging that assumption. I think it makes more sense that he brings those facts up to challenge and correct WHAT the women were teaching: that Adam was formed second and it was Adam, not Eve who was deceived (and in the next verse he corrects the notion that Artemis-influenced women had that something other than faith, love, and holiness saves a woman through childbirth). Scholars have pointed to both Artemis worship and early Gnosticism (“what is falsely called knowledge” 1 Tim. 6:20) as likely roots for these kinds of ideas.

    What Paul is doing here is responding to a specific problem of false teaching and un-Christian behavior in the Ephesian church, but without stating what the false teaching was, for the simple reason that Timothy was all too well aware of it. Throughout the letter we have references to false teachings without it always being clearly laid out what they were exactly.

    1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.

    1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

    4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

    6:20b Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge

    Lers say two preachers evangelise a city. They spend time there together and later one of them leaves. They are both aware of the problems in that church. One of them writes the other a letter to encourage him and give advice on dealing with those problems. Because they are both aware of the problems, sometime the letter writer gives advice, instruction, correction, etc. without laying out exactly what he’s instructing/correcting about, because he knows what the first preacher is aware of. Now a third party is reading that letter. Or imagine listening in on a phone conversation, only hearing one side of it. In every New Testament letter, the writer is responding to things going on with the original readers that we don’t have all the information about. In 1 Corinthians Paul makes reference an earlier letter which we don’t have, for example.

    But this should not frighten us. We simply need to keep this in mind and understand the larger principles of the New Covenant, and let the nuances of scripture be illuminated by those. We are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. That faith is to be living and active. The church is Christ’s body on the earth, and He is the head. The assembly is for mutual edification of the body, etc. So when we come to a confusing passage that seems to contradict these larger principles (we are to mutually edify one another but women can never teach because of Eve? Whaaat?) we need to take a closer look and realize that this only seems to contradict the greater principles because we don’t understand something or don’t have all the contextual information.

  64. Price says:

    Bruce, you're a respectable man and if I have acted like you aren't my brother in Christ then please forgive me…But, you continue to puzzle me…You just made this observation from my posts…"But you still do not answer where Paul's counsel for wives in 1 Timothy 2:13 does apply. " This was immediately after you pasted an earlier post in which I clearly stated …"everything that is mentioned in the instructions would be proper for both men and women in every day life INCLUDING THE ASSEMBLY." So exactly what is it that you don't understand about my position. You copied it and pasted it quite nicely… Let me see if I can clarify further so there is no misunderstanding…I don't believe this passage is LIMITED to some sort of worship service..I firmly believe that it applies to a man and a woman's EVERY DAY life… One thing that causes me to believe that is the lack of the words "in the assembly."

    The other reasons I believe it to be true is the arguments that Jay made that started this post.. If you have something to offer that would argue successfully against the logic presented, then I'm all ears…

    I am not inclined to offer any correction to your wife's understanding of her role in the church's affairs. I'm sure she is a very Godly woman and doing her best to be all that she believes God called her to be. I would be interested in hearing anybody on this blog begin to speak about what CAN be done by a woman instead of always trying to show what they CAN'T do…

  65. Alabama John says:

    Well Price, here goes.

    We have a young woman at the church of Christ we attend that teaches at a private school that has in her classes big children that are of different bloodlines and some are Jewish.
    She is an expert in the old testament maps, movements and locations, Jewish, Israel, etc. history and teaches that in school.
    Our Shepherds set up a class room and posted she would be teaching a class on that subject.
    Anyone could attend so my wife and I attended. The class room is big and was full of couples and singles of both sexes and ages

    She was the best I've ever seen or heard on that subject.

    We both thanked her after the class.

    Jesus said to take care of the orphans, poor, hungry, fatherless, widows, those in prison. Women excel at doing as Jesus asked.

  66. aBasnar says:

    What Paul is doing here is responding to a specific problem of false teaching and un-Christian behavior in the Ephesian church, but without stating what the false teaching was, for the simple reason that Timothy was all too well aware of it.

    Well, what kind of false teaching? Paul is quite specific about the false teachings in his letters. He specifically addresses Gnosticism (1Ti 6:20-21), Asceticism (1Ti 4:1-5) a “spiritualized” understanding of the resurrection as in the errors of Hymenaeus and Philetus (2Ti 2:17).

    The teachings the Artemis/Diana cult are not mentioned, not even alluded to in these two letters. So your explanation is in fact highly speculative. What do we know about the “theology” ofthis cult anyway? There is no “Bible” ofthe Artemis cult, but scattered references here and there. Anywa, Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. So, actually, the whole cult is embedded in the Greek Pantheon, which is dominated by Zeus. If you could dig out the source where in Greek Mythology women were created before men, we’d have something at hand to talk about.

    But the overal reaons I question this whole approach are as follows:

    a) This is a letter that is describing church order (1Ti 3:15) – the purpose is general in nature, not local.
    b) The basic reasoning of tracing back the man-woman-relationship to Genesis 2 and 3 can be found in 1Co 11:7-10 and Eph 5:31-33. So it is NOT a reaction to some (unknown) local Ephesian errors.
    c) That women must submit is further confirmed by Peter (1Pe 3:1-4) and Col 3:18
    d) That women may not speak in the church (I understand that in a teaching way – not as absolute silence). is confirmed in 1Co 11:33-38 and there are two important remarks there:
    d-1) This applies to ALL churches
    d-2) is is based on the Law (and the only passage in the Law of Moses addressing the submission of women is – again – Gen 3).

    If you look at all of these, you can clearly see that we don’t have to speculate about a doctrine Paul does not even mention. Rather the creation order is something we should know, understand and practice:

    1Co 11:3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

    And Paul’s final words on this subject are as clear and harsh as anyone could wish for:

    1Co 14:37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.
    1Co 14:38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

    Now, does that mean that we are not allowed to debate these issues? In fact, even this question is answered:

    1Co 11:16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

    Quite strong words. We could also say: Churches in which women are serving as teachers and elders are not churches of God. Why? Because churches of God don’t have that.

    You see, Steven (and Jay et.al.), this is very definite. Who are these innovators? You know what a question mark is? A snake over a “period” God has put at the end of His word. Those who put snakes over such “periods” are definitely not led by the Spirit of God, but follow the first snake who did this.


  67. Larry Short says:

    I briefly stated this in the original "buried talents" discussion and will amplify it here. Christ is head of the church, like the husband is head of the wife. You can analyze Genesis to pieces but the Christ connection is more appealing. How do we submit to Christ? How does he lead? Is His divine authority make women submitting a divine act? How Christ like must the authority man be?
    Submitting is not only spelled out for women, slaves submit to masters, children to parents, all to authorities. Let's finish the NT line: submit like you would to Jesus. To me, there is the chain of order: Jesus in all things obedient to God, church to Jesus, all those others (women to man, child to parent, slave to master, everyone to civil authorities).
    We are such a rights orientated culture that we don't look at life from the other end; submitting to please the ultimate top to the chain, God on the throne of heaven. Submission is a badge of honor in the new kingdom; Jesus is the worthy Lamb of God, emptied Himself, and submitted even unto death.

  68. Larry Short says:

    By the way, my mother really liked the men serving communion because at least in church service women get to sit while men work, unlike most other parts of life. Guess the traditional communion is men submitting to the women.

  69. Bruce Morton says:

    Let'e make this easy. If Paul's words in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and limitations to women/wives apply everywhere, does that mean they also apply to Christian assemblies — in our day (which are included in "everywhere")? There, I think that gets at the question I have been asking. I think I have heard you say "no" in another part of your post (because Timothy would not have heard the instructions as we do). Correct?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  70. Bruce Morton says:

    I understand what you are saying, but let me highlight that you are assuming you understand all of the specifics at Ephesus — even when Paul does not describe the specifics. I will leave at that for now.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  71. Bruce Morton says:

    Your assessment of our "rights-oriented culture" is on target; appreciate your posting such. We have been drenched with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" being "unalienable rights." But that is not what the Lord has revealed.

    The Lord has revealed that life, liberty and happiness are expressions of His grace, and therefore subject to His authority — and His counsel.

    That is exactly where egalitarianism parts ways with the Gospel. And exactly why in our day I read multiple people attempting to retranslate "submission" to be "respect," for example. Many seemed determined to make the NT According to the Americans.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  72. Price says:

    Thought this was interesting….God to Abraham…."Hey, Abraham, stop the belly-aching…Whatever Sarah tells you to do…DO IT !! " Gen 21:10-12 paraphrased…

    Sarah was right, Abraham was wrong. Abraham was certain he was right…Abraham was insisting that Sarah submit. God was displeased and told Abraham to submit to Sarah before he made matters worse….. But, of course this wasn't within the "assembly."

  73. Alabama John says:

    1Timothy 2:8 Every where is a location/direction not a time frame.

    At that time there were people on many continents that had not heard of Paul nor he them.

  74. aBasnar says:

    So, Price, that's the proof that women my become elders and preachers in Christ's church? ????


  75. Price says:

    Bruce…my man…you make the simple complicated. I said it applies to the assembly…not JUST to the assembly…There is no mention of an assembly..it is instruction regarding conduct…at all times…including the assembly..People aren't different people because they walk into a building…or out of it…If a woman is to defer to her husband's judgment it is an instruction to do so at all times. If a man is to love a wife as himself, it is at all times… There is no caveat for whether it is in a building or outside in the yard.

    My personal opinion is that some would like it to apply JUST to assembly so that they can grant women greater authority in their day to day roles in the world but then restrict them in church… Why else would there be such determination to insert "assembly" into the text when it is not present ??

  76. Ramona says:

    If we all have the Spirit and we all have a Bible, what's the point in "teaching" anyway? I don't care if you're a man or a woman, or if you're standing up in front of me or not, I have my own faith and a mind of my own and I don't have to agree. Yes, it's cool if I learn something new (from a man or a woman), but what some of you seem to be saying is that the only ones who can give their own personal interpretations of Scripture in a public setting are men. Ultimately, it doesn't change a thing for me and my own faith (just as it doesn't in a setting such as this). Have at it.
    Also, several of you have made the point that the assembly is not the setting being discussed here, at least it's not explicitly mentioned. The context does seem to be referring to everyday life (doing good deeds, how to dress, etc).

  77. steven says:

    I’d like to respond to your implication that the devil has led me to my conclusions. I speak only for myself here, since it is certainly possible that there are indeed some who simply want women to participate in assemblies out of a spirit of rebellion, having no regard for whether or not it is something that pleases God. In those cases you would be right that the devil has led them, not the Spirit.

    Here are some things that have led me to my conclusions, over a period of many years growing up in the church:

    1. Realizing that many women have spiritual insights and things to share that are just as edifying as any man, and in some cases, more edifying than any man I know, including preachers. There have been many cases in Bible classes where it was obvious to me that one of the women students understood the subject better than the teacher.

    2. Realizing that our assemblies in traditional churches are nothing at all like what they did in the first century (this realization also helped me break free of the bonds of legalism, since the claim of coc’s is that we are the only ones saved because we are the only ones who have fully restored the NT practices). I realized that the assembly is meant to be the main place and time when mutual edification is to take place, building up a glorious temple to the Lord together as a royal priesthood, expressing the life of Christ on the earth. Mutual edification does not mean that we are all edified by the preacher, mutual edification is when we are all free to edify one another, whether in song, teaching, revelation, or anything the Spirit has gifted us with. So if anyone has a song, they are free to share it. If anyone has a teaching they are free to share it. If anyone has anything that will edify, they should be free to share it. Instead we have a song leader who picks out all the songs he wants and we all sing them towards him. And we have a preacher who is allowed to talk at us unchallenged week after week. And the best way (I wouldn’t say the only way) to accomplish God’s ideal for the assembly is in open meetings of small groups in homes.

    3. Realizing that the Bible speaks of many women leading, teaching, prophecying, laboring in the gospel, or having their words recorded as scripture. Deborah, Huldah, Miriam, Elizabeth, Mary, Anna, Jesus’ female disciples, Phillip’s daughters, Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia, Mary (in Romans 16), Euodia, Syntyche, and the women in 1 Corinthians 11.

    4. Realizing that the Biblical writers were not bound to explain in detail the full context of everything they wrote. We are never going to know all the details of the ancient world in which they lived and were affected by, or all of the circumstances surrounding the people they wrote to. Realizing that differences in culture, whether we like to admit it or not, lead us to sometimes following scripture differently than the original readers did. Given anyone a holy kiss lately? Anointed or been anointed with oil? Washed any feet?

    And so I realized that whatever the explanation is for 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12, it cannot mean that God wants 50% of the body to be unable to edify the whole. There must be better explanations. And indeed there are.

  78. Ramona says:

    It is refreshing, by the way, to see men with what I assume are Church of Christ backgrounds questioning and re-thinking the traditional interpretation of this passage. I am impressed with your humility and your honesty. I wish there were men like you in my congregation!

  79. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    I think you’ve put your finger on an important distinction. In what sense is teaching in the contemporary context authoritative? Do we tell our members that they are obligated to agree with the teachers in their church? Perhaps in a few churches. But in most churches, it’s well understood that the teacher is sharing his opinions and not demanding agreement by the students.

    Carroll Osburn takes “exercise authority” to mean “domineer” and 1 Tim 2:12 as a hendiadys, a Greek construction where two words are joined with an “and” and the first word modifies the second. Hence, women are prohibited from teaching in a domineering way. Today, of course, there are in fact domineering teachers, but most are not.

    This raises the question at to the correct interpretation of “exercise authority.” Thayer’s defines the Greek as to be “autocratic” or “exercise dominion.” Louw-Nida defines it as “to control in a domineering manner – ‘to control, to domineer.'” The VGNT dictionary says “the use in 1 Tim 2(12) comes quite naturally out of the word “master, autocrat.” The Gingrich Lexicon says, “have total authority, domineer over.” The Friberg Lexicon says, “have control over, domineer, lord it over.” Vine’s says “to domineer over.” Zodhiates says “to domineer.” Strong’s Dictionary says, “dominate, usurp authority.”

    That’s all the dictionaries I can lay my hands on.

    So consider the phrase “teach or domineer.” The two verbs hardly seem parallel unless the women were guilty of teaching in a domineering manner or, in the local culture, teachers were given much more authority than is typical in church today. Hence, Osburn’s argument makes sense. If it’s a hendiadys (teach in a domineering way), then the passage makes sense. Gen 2 plainly teaches that wives are to be suitable helpers to their husbands, and this fact would forbid a domineering wife in any setting at all.

    For example, wives with unbelieving husbands should not teach them from a domineering perspective, as this will drive them away from the church. They should certainly share the gospel with their husbands, but do so in a submissive, quiet manner.

    I am married and have been many years. My wife has taught me much — and I can’t imagine that Paul told her never to teach her husband anything! (I would be much less of a man if that were the case.) On the other hand, to domineer is to act in the way of a fallen world and not in the way of Christ.

    You’ll notice that I’m not assuming that this passage is about the assembly, for reasons previously stated. The idea that we are governed by one morality at chuch and another elsewhere just can’t be right.

  80. Price says:

    Steven…well said..

    Romana…God once chose to teach a man once through a donkey…surely He didn't relegate a woman below that !! Of course it wasn't in the "assembly." LOL But, have patience. Old traditions are hard to overcome when one approaches the Covenant of Grace with legalistic patternism. Fortunately, that bond of legalism is slowly being broken down. Hopefully, we will hold true to the core principles of Grace and sound instruction and won't throw the baby out with the bath water. "Where the Spirit of God is, there is Freedom" "It was for Freedom's sake that God set us Free."

  81. Bruce Morton says:

    Perhaps part of the issue here is that we see "edification" almost always from a starting point of speech. Read 1 Timothy 2:8ff. again and what you will see is something else associated with edification beyond speech. Notice how Paul points men and women to different means of edification. Paul's distinction in verses 8 and 9-10 seems to get dismissed at warp speed in much of American thought. But there it is for our listening and counsel if we have ears to hear.

    And for my two cents one of the most powerful teachings that gets too often ignored in our day is Ephesians 2:6. It announces that we are priests and priestesses. And though one may be leading the assembly in prayer, we need to see as Heaven sees. The Lord sees what we too rarely see.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  82. aBasnar says:

    Dear Steven

    You got my point – although I did mean it in general, as a theological development within the churches of Christ. And I am aware that many sincere brothers and sisters are simply misled without seeing it.

    As or your points:

    Number 1 is clearly pragmatic in nature; but even more: being male alone does not make you a teacher or leader. It is also a question of calling and gifts. So there is a threefold condition tied to being a leade: It’s for men only, who are called and gifted. I see no exception to this in the New Testament.

    Number 2: Here I fully agree with you. But instead of bemoaning the situation we should change it / restore it. We did that in Vienna and meet in small groups every other sunday in living rooms throughout the city. Most of the discussion here centers about the idea of women standing in front of the assembly speaking to the crowds in the pews. Since everything is done from there (Songs are led from the pulpit, prayers are spoken from the pulpit …) all of this has the “aura” of authority. The one praying is “leading in prayer” or praying “on behalf of” the assembly. The same applies to the song leaders.

    But in a NT assembly we sit around a table. Here 1Co 11:2-16 shows the freedom to speak and pray for both sexes. There is room for mutual edification, yet there is also a difference between prophecy – which all are encouraged to practice – and teaching (the 2 or three prophets/memberof the church leadership) shall also have a chanmce to speak to the assembled church (that’s in 1Co 14:26-33).

    Number three: These OT references are out of place, and their permanent repetion bothers me, Steven. Context matters!

    Number 4: Well, I do get warm hugs (comes close to the holy kiss), we do anoint the sick with oil, and in our hause church we also practice foot washing. What’s the big deal? It’s written, so it should be done.

    I think it’s our inconsistencies that gives the Devil a foothold. Yeah, the Devil, the destroyer and confuser of Christ’s Church. It is a spiritual battle, and some are standing on the wrong side, Steven.


  83. aBasnar says:

    “Where the Spirit of God is, there is Freedom” “It was for Freedom’s sake that God set us Free.”

    Freedom does not mean that we are free from doing God’s express will, Price. As I tried to point out in my first reply to Steven, these issues are not even open for debate in Paul’s mind! Paul goes so far as to say, who does recognize this will not be recognized. Think that through what that means: It is a way of disfellowshipping oneselves, if we take such words at face value. So your kind of freedom (if I don’t misunderstand your use of these words) leads straight out of the door … it it that you really seek after?


  84. Alabama John says:

    Paul wrote letters to cities and peoples that had specific problems and he is telling then how to solve them. Paul is not creating laws, but giving loving and inspired advice.

    We, the modern day Pharisees, orphan haters, Cambellites, as we used to be called in my day, are real good at taking the higher road, meaning self imposed superior, and making laws out of almost all the words of the NT, even the Gospels which we still call 'The Good News".

    If we read the New Testament with the Good News in mind so much of the arguing would disappear. There will not be a written exam given to get in heaven. Most of the people that will be there never had the opportunity to learn how to read.

    its a book for the average Joe and BELOW, its the super educated that gets it all confusing and creates the arguments.

    Look at history and see the splits, denominations, 25 church of Christ all pointing their fingers at one another as all wrong and going to hell but me and see who is the head of each faction. What is their education level? Some of the earlier ones even have colleges named after them.

    What denomination has anywhere near 25 like we do?

    My point is: WE are the problem, not denominations, not the word and this bickering must stop before our Lord will care what we think. He may ask, what did you DO???

    Depart I never knew you, are words none of us wants to hear even if we have verses written all over our clothes, have many memorized, and constantly coming out our mouths.

    We better wake up and start doing more, helping each other save the lost and arguing less. After a while it gets pretty boring. To our young people it has gotten to be a joke so they leave until we, the educated and most spiritual can agree.

    At a youth rally, different churches sent their YOUTH GROUPS as did many others, but one church had to have their youth be called a GROUP OF YOUTH since youth group was not scriptural. No wonder our youth are leaving, we are crazy.

  85. Ramona says:

    Yes, the Greek word is "authentein" or something like that. Not used anywhere else in the NT, if I recall correctly. The other words translated as "authority" come from another Greek word. Like you said, it is thought to have violent connotations, and probably means more than just simply having authority. Rather, it's a negative kind of authority. Of course, it wouldn't be right for a man to have this kind of violent, domineering authority either would it? Because of that, I think that there is probably a specific instance going on here where the women (actually in this case the woman is singular, which can start a whole new argument) are out of line. It's been a while since I've studied this – I might have to go back and refresh my memory.

    And yes, I doubt that the kind of "teaching" that goes on in most churches today resembles NT teaching. Your interpretation of Scripture doesn't mean any more than mine just because you are a man.

  86. Doug says:

    Regarding women serving commmunion, a wise Elder once told me with a twinkle in his eye that "we let women pass the communion emblems horizontally but not vertically". If that's too obtuse, horizontally is down the pew and vertically is pew to pew.

    The big struggle for the Church these days is how to be relevant and still hold to the truth. Is it really that relevant if a women passes the emblems vertically?

  87. Bruce Morton says:

    Your suggesting that a complementarian view of Scripture approaches "the Covenant of Grace with legalistic patternism" misrepresents many (including many beyond the churches of Christ). And it misrepresents me. I understand legalism; I am not there.

    But I do embrace Jesus' words in John 14:30-31. And that can seem "legalistic" to some/many. But it is quite the opposite. I believe complementarians are obeying the Father in hearing apostolic teaching. I will suggest that we do not "shelve" 1 Timothy 2:8-15 as in some way not applicable to where we do not want to apply it.

    This weblog has worked very hard in the past week plus to avoid the distinctions in 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Paul's counsel and teaching cannot be dismissed as "unique situation" only and it cannot be ignored as somehow not applicable. You, Jay and others offer Ramona and others a misreading of Scripture that avoids a "simple reading." Amazing how we will counsel people to take up the Gospels and read Jesus' teachings, but we then want to "explain away" the risen Lord's teaching through His apostle in 1 Timothy 2;8-15.

    Are you also suggesting that we not follow the "pattern" of Jesus love… and obedience to His Father? Oops, that will stir things up.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  88. Bruce Morton says:

    Alabama John:
    Your suggestion of arguing less sounds good… until I see what you are arguing for…. I suspect that all who post to this weblog are evangelistic/missional. And in that I think you misrepresent. From what I can see you are willing to argue with the best of us — when you think others are misreading the Word. Correct?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  89. Alabama John says:

    Around here, if you differ with me, you are going to hell is the prevailing attitude..
    I want us to put more emphasis on the first two commandments Jesus gave and love one another even if we do differ in some subjects.
    The teaching and act of separating from one another over some difference has made us look foolish to the world and hurt bad our being able to teach the lost. The lost now look at you when you say you are a member of the church of Christ and ask, "Which one". How we differ, and on what?
    I hope I've heard my last, "well, I am not saying they are going to hell, its the word, or the Holy Spirit that says they are lost, not me" and point down the road a piece in both directions while both the ones down the road are doing the same pointing back toward your meeting place.
    Some need to get out more among the lost and see just how that teaching of "I have it right, they don't" has hurt us and of course the Lords Church, but, most important how its hurt those that could of been saved that now are gone.
    Concentrate on saving the lost, even if you differ on some subject as you differ with some on 1 Tim 2:8-15, but don't let it cause you to declare all that differ with you on that one scripture lost and tell it to the outside world.
    Too many times I've seen a person wanting to learn and being taught by someone I disagreed with on some subject run off by two members of the church pointing out their differences, both trying to bring the lost soul into their camp and ultimately the person just leaves as the picture painted by both is just too hard to understand and too complicated.
    We make it way too complicated and in doing so make our Lord and the writers of the New Testament look like they can't write a simple book of instruction and encouragement that all can understand. It is not a book of law.
    Unknowingly we make our Lord, when you really think about it look pretty dumb as He gave us a book to strictly go by, verse by verse or in some cases, word by word, if that is your belief, (its not mine) but wrote it in such a way it causes all the differences the devil loves.

    Do we differ? yes, and we humans always will, even in the same assembly we differ on some subjects but it should be something we can live with and move on to the greater good for ourselves and the world around us.The inability to do so is our downfall.
    This is a site to differ on and hopefully the words spoken here are kept here and surely not presented to the lost if two of you that disagree here were together in a living room of a lost soul wanting to be saved.

    I do see it changing fast among us, and that is so encouraging to so many of us.

  90. guestfortruth says:

    Alabama John,

    Is she leading the disccusion? I thought Jay was leading the topic. Who post the topic.? This is like a Bible Class. Not a worship service.

  91. Bruce Morton says:

    I, for one, appreciate your question and the goal of embracing both relevance and the Word of the risen Lord. Yes, it makes a great difference that we look closely at apostolic teaching that has been the focus of this webchain, but not apply it where Paul did not — as in serving the Supper.

    I am the author of a work published by 21st Century Christian that tackles some of this and will offer a copy to you. If an interest you can email me at MortonBLBL7 at Earthlink dot net.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  92. Bruce Morton says:

    Make that MortonBLSL7 at Earthlink dot net.

  93. Bruce Morton says:

    I have been waiting for an answer to the question I posed to you, but have not seen such. You have pressed me previously in your weblog for candor; now I am requesting the same candor from you.

    I asked (embedded above), how you would apply your reading of "wives" in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 to today? When we look at the words before 1 Timothy 2, we do not see the specifics that you have been arguing for. And beyond that we see that Paul is looking to Genesis 2; he reveals that his teaching as the Word of the risen Lord transcends a given culture. So, if you do not apply the teaching to wives in our day, what is your rationale?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  94. Alabama John says:

    I don't know if Jay will post Al Maxeys last months posting on womens roles and especially this months on women Deacons.

    It is very relevant to this study and I think would be very helpful to us all in understanding this. Deacons and Elders are not an office like in a corporation but duties only. Where I attend now, they are called sheperds

    Al and I agree the KJV and its political motivations of the times when it was written has caused a lot of disagreements among us on this subject and women in general that should not be.

    It will also help you understand my impatience with the slow changing among the churches of Christ teaching and among the members I have worshiped with and loved my whole life.
    I personally would respect and love to hear your comments after reading his last two months postings and next months also on women.

  95. aBasnar says:

    It is sometimes a little hard, Price to understand what you mean. I have the impression that your sentences thet end witr the dots (…) remain unfinsihed thoughts, and I have a hard tiome to deal with this.

    Especially: "it just hasn't been very convincing if I understand that you prefer women be prohibited from anything other than an Eldership"

    What do you mean with this? When I get the grammar right, you mean I think women could be elder but not be allowed to teach? That's nonsense. But that's what you wrote.

    So let me clarify:

    No, women may not become elders, bishops, overseers, teachers or leaders of a local congregation of Christ's Church.

    They may pray and prophesy (which is NOT the same as teaching – and sonme debate whether this gift still extsts, but that's not my concern here) for the edification of the church; but they may not teach a mixed congregation or Bible Study. And they are to cover their heads.

    In these few sentences, I think I summed up all relevants scriptrures, without adding nor taking away from them.

    Jay so far failed to prove his case, and when confronted with facts and arguments, he evades and changes the subject. He presented his opinions clearly, that's true, but I cannot agree with them.


  96. Ramona says:

    Seems like what a lot of us are doing with this verse is what we do for a lot of other things. We discount (so to speak) one passage in favor of another passage instead of looking at everything in context. For example, 1 Timothy 2 cannot contradict 1 Corinthians 11, where women prayed and prophesied aloud in the church…and vice versa. What are the specific circumstances? We may never know. I do think it's sad that some are making this a salvation issue.

  97. Price says:

    Bruce…saying the same thing over and over again doesn't make it any more correct that having said it the first time. You say that you don't want scripture used to avoid it being applied in an area that it is uncomfortable. That's what I'm saying too. If you are saying that the I Tim passage only applies to the assembly then you do so without having any authorization from the passage itself to do so. It is a simply a matter of your personal opinion. Therefore, according to your understanding of the passage, all women everywhere should refrain from instructing men about anything at anytime… I can easily understand how you would wish to limit that instruction just to the assembly as it would be rejected outright by most women. David Lipscomb and Tolbert Fanning tried to maintain that platform (excluded from even public or corporate positions of authority) in their writings in the Gospel Advocate and other writings but it was later rejected by the church as a whole. Google David Lipscomb and women's rights and read all about his discourse with Silena Holman, et al.. and especially his dislike of the idea of women voting… based in part on the I Timothy passage you cited.

  98. aBasnar says:

    For example, 1 Timothy 2 cannot contradict 1 Corinthians 11, where women prayed and prophesied aloud in the church…and vice versa. What are the specific circumstances? We may never know. I do think it's sad that some are making this a salvation issue.

    That's sad, if God's word cannot be understood anymore. In fact I see no disagreement between 1st Corinthians 11 and 1st Timothy 2 because one passage speaks about prayer and prophcy and the other one about teaching and having authority in the church.

    Let me explain briefly:

    All are encouraged to seek the gift of prophecy, i.e. speaking to the brothers and sisters in an encouraging, exhorting and comforting way for their edification – yes: in the assembly! (1Co 14:1-3). But this must be understood in the context of house churches, not in the setting of modern day mega-churches (which are not according to the pattern). Still, not all are encouraged to become teachers in the church (Jas 3:1), and teachers are part of the church's leadership (1Co 12:28).

    So what we have to get rid of is the distorted view that each and every verbal utterance is an expression of leading authority. This is simply not the case. Prophecy (in the context of 1Co 14) is not authoritative, but edifying – and it's up to the listeners how to deal with it. Teaching however has to be obeyed, since we have to obey our leaders (Heb 13:17). I don't know who brought up the idea that a woman praying is exercising authority. Prayers are directed to God not to humans. The others may or may not confirm a prayer with Amen (again, it's up to the listeners).

    OK, so there is no tension between these two passages. The only tension there is, is that the pracice of both conservative and progressive churches of Christ is not in line with scripture. Neither churches have preserved the practice of headcovering (which was undisputed for 1900 years throughout the whole Christendom!!). The progressives are wrong in allowing the women everything, even to become elders; the conservatives are wrong in forbidding them even to pray aloud.

    Sin is everywhere! But all are so proud and self confident it is terrifying!

    A Psalm from Alexander
    to be sung to the tune "Do not destroy"

    No, the scriptures are not to blame,
    the scriptures are still plain and the same.
    But people add and take away
    and thieves have stolen the sheep away.

    This will become a salvation issue for those thieves who added and took away from scripture (Jas 3:1), and it may also endanger the souls of those who were misled by them. since we all have access to God's word in contemporary English (or German). Where are the Bereans today (Acts 17:11)?


  99. Price says:

    Alexander…I can't believe you pulled it off but you managed to be an Ultra-Conservative and a Flaming Liberal in the same post…

    You said Prophecy wasn't authoritative and yet teaching from leaders was…Really. The very words of God delivered by the Holy Spirit are LESS informative than the musings of a mere mortal ?? I guess it depends on what you mean by authoritative. I shouldn't presume but that sounds awfully right wing conservative…

    You said that somebody somewhere began this thing on preventing women to pray in the assembly.. Really… That's so progressive of a thought I wondered if somebody had hacked your computer !!

    I actually agree with part A of your first comment. The words of prophecy were for edification, exhortation, etc., but universally were not binding nor were they necessarily binding on the individual… I just don't agree that some fallible person's view of scripture must be accepted by all in toto just because he holds a position of leadership. Must I discard my mind and leading of the Spirit where I think a person is wrong ? Hardly. Should I be flippant..Never.

    I totally agree with your suggesting that prayer by women in church should be allowed…Just curious…what else that is currently forbidden would you allow ??

  100. Ramona says:

    1 Corinthians 12:28 seems to suggest otherwise. Prophets are ranked higher than teachers and administrators:
    "And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues."

  101. aBasnar says:

    What I thought to be interesting in this verse is the "numbering":
    First – Second – Third

    First Apostles
    Second Prophets
    Third Teachers

    We find them again in Eph 4:11

    Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,

    This shows that the fisrt-second-third was not meant to be exhaustive, but it is a description of the leadership.

    Apostles are men who are chosen and sent out by God to be missionaries. In this broader sense apostles are still around, we may call them "church planters". In the limted sense of the eye witnesses of Christ and the founding members of the church we don#t have them now. Our missionaries today have also limited authority compared to the original Apostles.

    In Ephesians 2:20 we see Apostles and Prophets together:

    Eph 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

    This raises the question whop these prophets were. They are always named after the apostles (see Eph 4:11 por 1Co 12:28). They were men with authority and revelation, who were leading the churches in the absence of the Apostles and before a local eldership was established. And normally they worked togerther with the teachers, as in Acts 13:1:

    Act 13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

    It is not clear who of them was a prophet and who a teacher, but Paul was not an Apostle yet. Anyway, both groups of gifted men were serving together in a leading function.

    We have an example of one prophet a few chapters later, who fulfilled an important task:

    Act 15:32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.
    Act 15:33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.

    Silas then became a co-worker of Paul.

    We can also think of Agabus, who – as a prophet – foretold the famine in Judaea and Paul's imprisonment.

    So, as a short summary: We see this first-second-third in 1Co 12:28 perfectly in line with the other passages, and apostles, prophets, teachers as the first leadership in local churches – in later years, when the churches matured, elders were ordained who took over the leadership. But even when there are elders, teachers still assisted in leading the church – see e.g. the letter of James that mentiones elders and teachers.

    As a very general term – and this is an answer to Price – we can use "leader" which applies to all types of church leadership (describing the function "to lead"). And we are clearly exhorted to obey them. Not that they are infallible. But they are responsible.

    Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

    These are plain words, Price. And you see, that#s one of the key differences between general prophecy that all encouraged to exercise and the burden of leadership (which includes teaching) that is not everbody's calling. It is not that we were dependent on my or anyone else's "musings", but the Word of God is highly informative if we start listening and stop repeating our church traditions.

    You may be right: On one hand I sound like an Ultra Conservative and on the other like a Flaming Liberal. That's maybe because the conservatives aren't conservative enough, and the Liberals aren't liberal enough. Or: Both are right and both are wrong in different areas.


  102. steven says:

    Could you describe a typical meeting of the church you are a member of? I'm very interested in this and am especially wondering what modern day prophesying by both men and women is like.

  103. Price says:

    Alexander…there is a lot to agree with in your last post…seriously… And, I actually prefer to agree than disagree with you….But here's the rub… What do I do if I seriously disagree theologically with a group of leaders? We all must admit to having great difficulty in doing something we think is theologically incorrect…and submitting to that is almost offensive when one believes that they are violating their conscience…What would you recommend to someone who has a strong disagreement with the leadership..??

  104. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    The answer is found in Eph 5, and you know my understanding if you’ve read Buried Talents. But I’ll give a brief overview.

    1. Paul repeatedly alludes to the role of Eve as the “suitable helper” for Adam in speaking of how wives should relate to their husbands. This is sometimes more explicit than others, but it’s a recurring theme.

    2. Therefore, Paul argues, wives may not act in ways that bring shame to their husbands. They must be supportive, not embarrassments. What brings shame will vary from culture to culture. In this culture (likely in all), wives should not speak ill of their husbands to others, for example. That’s just not helpful.

    3. Wives, therefore, must submit to their husbands. Paul is explict in Eph 5:22.

    4. Husbands must relate to their wives as Christ relates to the church. The church is the bride of Christ, and Christ is the church’s husband. This metaphor is taken from the prophets, who frequently spoke of God as the husband of Israel.

    5. Christ is, of course, a king. But he is a different kind of king. He is a king who empties himself.

    (Phi 2:5-8 ESV) 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    6. Husbands must, therefore, for the sake of their wives make themselves nothing (empty themselves), take the form of a servant (doulos = slave), humble themselves, even to the point of death — just as Jesus did for the church.

    (Eph 5:25 ESV) 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

    The Greek word translated “gave himself up” is also found in —

    (Eph 5:2 ESV) 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

    It’s a plain reference to the crucifixion. We husbands are to be like Christ in his crucifixion, not like the ascended Christ on his throne.

    Society and culture gives men the throne — just as Jesus had a throne. Paul calls on us, like Christ, to surrender our thrones and to instead wrap a towel around our waists to wash our wives’ feet. This is the nature of true authority and kingship —

    (Joh 13:3-4 ESV) 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.

    We get confused on the role of women, not because we are confused about women, but because we have a flawed understanding of Christ and what it means to be Christ-like. If we truly understood, we would flee those who promise men power.

    (2Co 12:9 ESV) 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    (Mat 20:25-28 ESV) 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    So, yes, husband get to be “great” and “first,” and therefore they must be slaves and servants.

    Thus, Jesus reverses the curse of Gen 3:16 — by radically redefining “rule” — a word used of kings.

  105. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Alabama John,

    I take a different tack on deacons, with much the same result as Al reaches. A summary is at http://oneinjesus.info/2009/07/organizing-your-church-what-the-bible-really-says-about-deacons/

  106. aBasnar says:

    What do you find in the scriptures?
    I only find submit – unless it is something that is agains God's clear words.

    In fact, I have been in that situation for almost 20 years.
    I was the only one in my first church who showed any interest in 1Co 11. The elders there brought forth the typical non convincing arguments. What did I do?
    I still uncovered my head, and I submitted. I served and tried to be fruitful.

    After our marriage we changed to a different congregation. Back then i believed in "Once saved Only saved" and "Dispensationalism" (now I see that I was in error) – the leaders did not. They eveninvited me to make a two part sermon on Mark 14 – I could present my understanding and one of the elders theirs. I did not take the offer, because I felt it was not right to start a debate with an elder on issues like that.

    Then I joined the Church of Christ, and sensed more openness to rediscover what it written. I could bring into practice a lot of convictions together with Scott, our main preacher.

    Now I am part of the church's leadership, and the situation is quite different:

    Here's another question – the other way round:

    What, if the teachers of a church, after diligent study of – as it was – 1Co 11 and the role of women in the church, face fierce opposition by church members who are not willing to follow, but not willing to put in an equal effort of study on the subject? It could be any topc, Price, BTW. But this is hat we experienced a year ago.

    What is your answer to this, knowing that the Lord has entrusted the Teachers to enforce (not only to mention or to suggest) His whole counsel?


    What d

  107. aBasnar says:

    Our meetings are simple. We start of with a children's devotion. Then everyone is invited to suggest a song or offer a prayer. When someone suggests a song, he can say a few words as to what it is that made him or her choose it. There is time for personal testimonies. two or three brothers may bring a short teaching. Then we sit down to eat together, where table conversations are considered as part of or assembly, and at the end we break the bread and share the cup of wine (mixed with water).

    What is prophecy in this? Well, anything the Lord puts on our hearts for the benefit of others. Not all that is being said is prophecy, but we strive to be beneficial in what we say.

    Our meetings last for about two and a half hours. The atmosphere is not really church-like.


  108. Pingback: One In Jesus » Elders: May an Elder Serve with No Children? Discerning Whether a Command is Temporary or Permanent, a Reply re Parts 1 and 2

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