To some this issue may seem strange to be discussing in church. If you haven’t grown up in a traditional church setting, then you probably don’t even know this is a discussion in the church. To some of you however, even questioning this concept seems heretical. People with this argument usually accuse one of ignoring, or watering down scripture in order to conform to our culture. What they seem to fail to recognize is the culture bias they are reading into scripture. The traditionalist view in the church has held that the Bible clearly teaches that women should not teach or have authority over men. This after all, was the cultural norm in the USA until recent history. It wasn’t until 1980 that there were equal numbers of men and women enrolled in college. The culture out of which this traditionalist view came out of was one which supported the interpretation that women shouldn’t be leading. So to then accuse current teachers of conforming scripture to culture is not a very honest argument, because it assumes one has no cultural bias and the other does.
So how do we decide which position is correct? This is where we really need to do a thorough and honest study of scripture and determine what is really being taught. This Sunday, we will be diving into a couple passages of scripture to determine what is being taught. One of these passages is 1 Timothy 2:12,
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”
We will go into depth this Sunday to find out what the Apostle Paul was addressing here. Here are just a few things about the word authenteo, translated here as “authority”.
- Paul uses a different word for authority (exousia) over 20 times in his writings in the Bible. This passage in 1 Tim. 2:12 is the only place in the entire Bible where this word is used. Why did Paul choose this word instead of the other one he typically used to say authority?
- Since this word isn’t used in the Bible, we can look to other Greek literature from the same time period and see how they used the word. Here is the way this word is used: “The recipients of this action are abused, unloved, harmed, coerced, brutalized, destroyed, disrespected/dishonored, killed and arrested.”
The correct interpretation of this word really changes how we read this text. Is Paul laying down a mandate for all mankind, that women should never teach men? Or is he correcting a situation in the Ephesian church where a woman was domineering and abusing men in her teaching?
Join us this Sunday as we dive into this a bit and find out what is being said in God’s Word.