Okay, so how does one handle "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence." (1 Timothy 2:12)?
Well, if that is meant "to be in silence" in all of an assembly of believers, then women would not be able to pray or prophesy in that gathering at all. And Paul, who wrote this passage also wrote, "every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved." (1 Corinthians 11:5a). If a woman can pray or prophesy in a gathering with her head "covered", then it means a woman is not to be in silence throughout a meeting.
What about teaching?
"I do not permit a woman to teach", that is clear, isn't it?
Paul also wrote, "older women" should be "teachers of good things" (Titus 2:3).
And Timothy's mother and grandmother are indicated as the ones who introduced the faith and the scriptures to Timothy "from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures" (2 Timothy 3:15) "the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice" (2 Timothy 1:5).
So, a woman can teach, but not in a certain part of gatherings.
Then there is, "I do not permit a woman to ... have authority over a man"
Laying aside for a moment the translation of this clause, Paul also said,
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:16
And that includes the scripture with the truth that Deborah is fully mentioned as one of the judges in Israel. She dispensed judgment for 40 years (Judges 4-5). And Paul also mentions Phoebe as a deacon (Romans 16:2) and in charge of stuff which he asks others to assist her with: so guys please help her do what she asks of you: that is exercising authority over men too (see Note below).
A woman can have authority over a man, but not in a particular setting (in Paul's practise).
So, we have 3 injunctions for a woman, not to speak, not to teach and not to have authority over a man (now) limited to a specific situation, but not as a rule about all church life nor throughout an assembly.
Out of context, Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 is misused to restrict a gender, if the reason and specific issue in hand is not observed.
What is this specific issue, situation or time in a gathering where these injunctions are to be observed?
This time is given us by Paul, this particular time for these injunctions, in the context.
Paul began and ended this set of instruction with EN HÉSUCHIA "in quietness/in silence", and he is specific as to the main action to happen in that quietness, it is (to) learn. It is within these two clear demarcations, 2 "book ends" only, that restrictions are given for the gender. Paul begins with GUNÉ EN HÉSUCHIA "a woman in quietness" (1 Timothy 2:11a JM) and he ends with EINAI EN HÉSUCHIA "to be in quietness" (1 Timothy 2:12b JM). Within these borders only, a woman is to be quiet, not teach and not exercise authority - authority of a specific kind [it is not "over a man" but "of a husband" (JM )…] - but she is (just) to learn.
This is a learning time. And the learning time in those days was a debating like time. We read in Acts of Paul's teaching in synagogues, local assemblies, and the interaction with the speaker as a normal activity in that "learning time". It is a very specific situation. Interacting, countering, debating with the main speaker was the norm in this learning section of a gathering.
This is the setting.
A good indicator that interaction with the main speaker was the norm is given us when Paul also wrote, "And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home..." (1 Corinthians 14:35a). You do not get to ask questions (for the one gender), if this is not the normal practise to enquire or interact further for all present when someone has just spoken/taught/preached.
This is no longer a regular practise of many churches.
The very injunctions for such a situation only, are they now to be imposed on a gender generally?
Of course not.
But, more importantly is why?
Why a gender restriction here?
Paul explains this with,
Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
1 Timothy 2:14
Women are deceived differently than men. Both do get deceived, but differently. The male make up means he is more task based. The female make up means she is more experience based. And Satan observing this has exploited this from the beginning.
Deception is the single issue that is missed or not fully and properly addressed in the literature about women in church leadership. Without deception in the centre of observation and expounded, no work on women in church is fit for purpose.
Article WOMEN AND DECEPTION
Book LEADERSHIP IS MALE?
Covers translation of 1 Corinthians 11:3 and 1 Timothy2:12
Phoebe is described by Paul in Romans 16:2 as a PROSTATIS, the female Greek word for PROSTATÉS. Since this is the only time this word appears in the New Testament (NT), Let us look at another word with the same gender difference in the form of the word whilst also retaining its meaning (irrespective of gender). In Luke 1:76 John the Baptist is spoken of as a prophet, a PROPHÉTÉS. In Luke 2:36 Anna is mentioned as a prophetess, a PROPHÉTIS. Both are full blown prophets. It is just that "É" is replaced by "I" in the word; nothing more: the office, the practice, the meaning of the word is identical irrespective of whom it refers to.
PROSTATIS then is no different than PROSTATÉS, except in gender.
This is useful to know so that all the mentions of a PROSTATÉS can shed light into what Phoebe was described as by Paul. We find PROSTATÉS 5 times in the Septuagint (LXX), the Bible Paul quotes in the NT. Our Old Testament (OT) is directly translated from the Hebrew original and, a few places which are in Aramaic. This was translated into the Greek of the conquered world of Alexander the Great. This was the most used language in the world when Jesus came and the church began and, it remained so, for at least 3 centuries, as all the proceedings of the Nicean Church council of 325AD shows. The LXX Greek reveals the use of words in the NT, as that bible was the OT for the early church for 3 centuries.
Of those 5 times PROSTATÉS is mentioned in the LXX, 1 is not a direct translation of a Hebrew word and the rendering of that clause is more like a paraphrase.
We are then left with 4 to look at (all emphases mine).
In 1 Chronicles 27:31b and 29:6b where PROSTATÉS translates the Hebrew word SAR, an officer, a controller as per Robert Young's Analytical (Ys): "the OFFICIALS over King David's property" and "the OFFICERS over the king's work".
2 Chronicles 8:10a translating NATSAB, to be set up (Ys) i.e. someone who sets things up "chief of the OFFICIALS of King Solomon".
And, 2 Chronicles 24:11b (11a is the "paraphrased") translating PAQID, an inspector (Ys) "the high priest's OFFICER".
All these point to someone in charge of stuff.
Sure, someone like that can be a helper (NKJV & NASB - "help" NIV) or succourer (KJV) of others, but that is not the meaning of the word.
The YLT thereby renders Romans 16:2 reasonably, as a LEADER.
that ye may receive her in the Lord, as doth become saints, and may assist her in whatever matter she may have need of you - for she also became a leader of many, and of myself.
Romans 16:2 YLT
Since Paul says, do what she asks of you, this means to submit to her authority in regards to what she is in charge of and thus, she had authority over men.
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