What shall I do with 1 Timothy 2?

...time to study again. ...and I wonder what we can do academically with internet research and reflection when working towards a formal qualification.

I hope to write something on 1 Tim 2:11-15 - comparing interpretations from an evangelical perspective and interviewing people for how they arrived at their viewpoint with one particular focus: the practical ramifications for living out a particular interpretation within the church and the world (are there implicit theologies being constructed in the practical applications of particular interpretations?)

These verses seem to be a sticking-point for many. There has been much hermeneutical insight into the Corinthian passages but 1 Timothy 2:11-15 seems to make its meaning plain, plainer by its structure and is often the trump card played in the women in ministry debate. I can see where they are coming from - it all does seem pretty plain.

There are however those who have come to change their minds, even on a passage like this one.

My study will not promote a particular point-of-view, it will compare the range of interpretations that are out there and compare them for common themes and investigate how they are applied in the church and the world.

But, in the meantime, if you would like to contribute, be interviewed and tell me a little why the interpretation below differs to yours, do get in touch.

1 Timothy 2:11-15

English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)
11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Is Paul commanding that women learn? They need to in a context where false teaching abounds.

Is it that they are not to usurp the authority of a pastor more educated? There is no permanent prohibition.

What about that word authority? Is this not better rendered as a prohibition against stealing or usurping authority?

Is she to be silent, or is she to learn ...but to learn quietly?

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” Yes, in the Genesis account Eve is formed from Adam. What if formed also connotes informed - that is of God's commands (Gen 2:16). Eve was given second-hand teaching and is deceived. This is why women in this case, but moreover, all people must learn quietly first before they go on to teach. Eve, with her second-hand learning, added the prohibition that she was not to touch the tree or she would die. God didn't tell her she must not touch it. Being taught insufficiently or learning poorly, Eve was deceived - Paul must write to the church about the importance of learning carefully and humbly before being ready to instruct others. Paul knows that none of this is a salvation issue because all women will be saved (just as all men will) through the childbearing of the Christ (Jesus' life). Is Paul also hinting to us with this play on words that through woman, salvation has come. Jesus was born of a woman. Women will be saved through Jesus as they continue humbly to learn all about him in faith, love, holiness and propriety. Ultimately women are to learn, there is an appropriate way to do so and they can rest assured that in Christ salvation is theirs.


Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Where does it say it isn't permanent? It says she is to remain quiet but I can't see an 'until'. It also says that, given that she remains quiet, she will be saved through having children. She won't be saved through expressions of faith, but (having transgressed) by having children (not faith but works).

If you treat the passage as a rule, if you privilege scripture so, then it is as clear as day.

It has to be rejected. This rejection is assisted by the fact that although in the name of Paul he didn't write it, so the text is its own deception.

Even evangelicals are selective when it comes to biblical texts.

Anonymous said...

Believe it. Obey it.

Stop usurping man's role in creation.

Anonymous said...

"man's role in creation" - how interesting. What does this mean to you and how do you do your hermeneutics?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the gentleness of your response. I'm a historical-grammatical outcast, with no place among you. The sooner I defect to Geneva, never Rome, the better for everyone.

I had my guts ripped out by the person who converted me. She refuses to forgive me for liking her, after more than twenty years, despite her just being ordained. She excludes me very effectively from God's love, as far as the Church of England is concerned.

With apologies to all women clergy of sincerity, particuarly the blogger. God bless you for what you do,

Anglican Cain

Rach Marszalek said...

Anglican Cain
Please receive my apologies on behalf of the Church of England for the suffering that you experience. Remember that it was the Holy Spirit who converted you rather than a particular person and the Holy Spirit will not exclude you from God's love but rather chase you relentlessly with the passion of a God who truly loves you, who offers you adoption and transformation, eternal life that can begin right now and the promise of a glorious eternal future. God laments with you and will never let you go. Hang in there. Blessings Rachel.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rachel,
Thank you so much for your words.
They mean a huge amount to me and I am close to tears of joy.
God bless you,


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A little background reading so we might mutually flourish when there are different opinions