Friday, May 9, 2008

The Mistranslation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12

"Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression."--Paul, 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Paul's letters are already difficult to interpret because they are like listening to one side of a telephone conversation, but faulty translations only further complicate our understanding of his words. There are a few key words that are conveniently mistranslated in 1 Timothy 2: 11-15.

Hesuchios/Hesuchia: Traditionalists normally translate this word as "silence" (at least in passages concerning women), but the word in all other places is translated as "peacefulness" "Peaceable" or "quietness." The word does not carry the meaning of literal silence or absence of speech, but of an atmosphere or presence in which learning should take place. Strong's Greek Dictionary defines hesuchios/hesuchias as "properly, keeping one's seat," "stillness" "undisturbed," "undisturbing," and "peaceable."

When Paul has absence of speech in mind, he uses the term "sigao." The same word is used just nine verses earlier and is translated as "peaceable," 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Hesuchios/hesuchia is translated as quiet/quietness in 1 Thess. 4:11, 2 Thess. 3:12, 1 Peter 3:4. None of these verses are about silence, as in the literal absence of speech, but a tranquil quietness or peaceable presence/environment. This fits the context much better than a literal silence, since Paul just rebuked the men in the congregation for praying while angry and quarreling. Obviously, this would NOT be the optimum environment for anyone to learn in. Thus, Paul tells Timothy to make sure the woman can learn in quietness or peacefulness, and not amid the chaos that was taking over church meetings.
Paul also instructs that women should learn in full submission. This is not a unique request asked only of women, but men are also suppose to learn in full submission to the gospel and sound teaching. The reason this command is directed toward women here is only because teaching women in the same way as men was still a revolutionary practice and still repulsive to many men, believers or not.

Now, onto the grand-daddy of mistranslations and controversy....

"...nor to have authority over [authentein] a man..."

Exousia is the normal word used for "authority," a carrying out of one's official duties. But this is not the word Paul uses here. He instead picks the word authentein and it is the ONLY time this word appears in the New Testament. Exousia, however, appears over 100 times. Other uses of authentein from the same time period show that this word does not simply mean legitimate or routine authority, but carries violent, sexual, and dominating meanings.

It cannot be stressed enough how unusual this word is, especially for Paul. Paul writes about authority quite a bit and he never uses authentein as a synonym for legitimate, godly authority. For most mentions of authority, he uses exousia. Louw and Nida's Lexicon lists 12 common ancient Greek words that are synonyms for routine or legitimate authority, exousia being the most common throughout the new testament. There are 47 words that are synonyms for legitimate "rule" or "governing." Yet Paul uses none of these words in 1 Timothy 2:11, he chooses the unusual authentein.

We do not find any evidence that authentein, in any of its forms, connotates a routine or legitimate authority until the late third to fourth centuries, far too removed from Paul's era to provide relevant meanings and contexts. And even once the word took on a less severe meaning in later centuries, THIS passage was ALWAYS been understood as Paul forbidding women to dominate a man, not simply exercise legitimate Christ-like authority. Consider these early translations:

Old Latin Version from the second - fourth century translates this verse as "I permit not a woman to teach, neither to dominate a man {neque dominari in viro}.

The Vulgate, from the second to fourth century, translates this verse as "I permit not a woman to teach, neither to domineer over a man {neque dominari in virum}.

"There is a basically unbroken tradition, stemming from the oldest version and running down to the twenty first century, that translates authentein as "to dominate" and not "to exercise authority over."-Linda Belleville

It is not until the 1500s that the verb authentein used in this verse changes from the drastically negatively-charged "to dominate/domineer" to a slightly water-downed phrase, "to usurp authority" (thanks, King James). Still different from exercising legitimate authority, but much less forceful than the violent and even sexual connotations of the original authentein. The King James version asserts that women are not to wrestle authority or seize it from men. No believer is permitted to usurp authority or act in self-interest over others. It is not until after World War II that authentein really gets the botched-translated: "to exercise/assume authority over." That's right, less than 80 years ago! So, the notion that women may never exercise godly authority within the body based on this verse is completely unbiblical, both logically and historically.

Exegetical Fallacies in Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11–15
This is by far the best article I've read on 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Linda Belleville, a new testament professor, put together a thorough and compelling paper on 5 exegetical fallacies concerning 1 Timothy 2:11-12 : Contextual/historical, Lexical, Grammatical, Cultural, and Doctrinal. She provides a thorough survey of the early uses of authenteo, in all its forms. This is a MUST read to gain a proper understanding of the egalitarian position.

Catherine C. Kroeger also put together a brilliant survey of authentein (and all it's sister-nouns/adjectives) uses from before Paul up until the third and fourth centuries. I would particularly challenge Tonya and Catrina to read these articles in full before giving me CBMW rebuttals. :)

These combined articles find that early uses of authentein (in its noun, verb, and adjective forms) collectively mean "criminal mastermind," "a perpetrator," "one who slays with his own hand," "self-murder," "women who can command domestic and sexual services from their male concubines," "incestuous sex and murder," "religious sexual orgies," "to dominate," "to control," "to restrain," and "to domineer."
Hardly the meaning we find in modern translations of 1 Timothy 2:11.

One of the earliest meanings to authentein is the act of murder or the act of violence.

Wisdom of Solomon 12:6, an apocrypha book translated into ancient Greek, considered "scripture" by both Jews and Christians until the second century AD, uses a form of authentein.

"With their priests out of the midst of their idolatrous crew, and the parents, that killed with their own hands [authentas] souls destitute of help."

Ancient Greek grammarians and lexicographers define authentein as "to dominate," "to control, restrain, and domineer." It is also classified as a "vulgar" term, possibly because of it's sexual uses.

Other notable uses of the word include:

Josephus, the famous Jewish historian from Paul's own time, used the noun form, authenten, to describe the "author" of a poisonous drink. Diodorus of Sicily wrote about the "sponsors" (authentas) of daring plans and the "perpetrators" (authentas) of a crime. John Chrysostom, an early church father, used the same word, authentia to express “sexual license” or perverse sexual practices. Clement, another early church father, linked the word with women involved in sexual orgies.

Catherine Kroeger makes an excellent analysis of the implications of the original meaning of authentein:

"Chrysostom [the early church father] uses autheritia to denote "sexual license." If the word in this context refers to sexual behavior, it puts a quite different interpretation on the entire passage. For instance, if we were to translate the passage, 'I forbid a woman to teach or discuss higher algebra with a man,' we would understand the prohibition to be directed against instruction in mathematics. Suppose it read, 'I forbid a woman to teach or talk Japanese with a man.' Then we infer that the injunction applies to the teaching of language. 'I forbid a woman to teach or dangle a man from a high wire' would presuppose that the instructor was an aerialist. 'I forbid a woman to teach or engage in fertility practices with a man' would imply that the woman should not involve a man in the heretical kind of Christianity which taught licentious behavior as one of its doctrines. Such a female heretic did indeed 'teach to fornicate' in the Thyatiran church mentioned in Revelation 2:20 (cf. 2:14f.; Num. 25:3; 31:15f.).

Too often we underestimate the seriousness of this problem for the New Testament church. A passage in 2 Peter expresses concern not only for those drawn into this error but also for the illegitimate children which it produced:

'But Israel had false prophets as well as true; and you likewise will have false teachers among you. . . . Having eyes full of adultery, that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls, an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children which have forsaken the right way ... following the way of Balaam.... They utter big empty words, and make of sensual lusts and debauchery a bait to catch those who have barely begun to escape from their heathen environment (2:1,14f.,18).'"

Others have conducted in depth word studies on authentein with similar results...

Dr. David H. Scholer sites Leeland Edward Wilshire's exhaustive study of the word authentien.

"Wilshire is the first to use the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) computer database, which contains virtually all three thousand ancient Greek authors from Homer to A.D. 600. The database showed that authentein and its cognates occurred about 330 times and over a large number of centuries almost exclusively meant “a perpetrator of a violent act, either murder or suicide.”

But there is no evidence from the first century that authentein means ordinary or legitimate authority. Nothing exists until the late third and fourth centuries to suggest other meanings, and even then, the verse in question still translates authentein as "dominating men" or "domineer over men."

Paul is not allowing a woman to teach others to dominate men, to teach the domination of men, nor to dominate a man themselves, but to be peaceable (heshucias). This verse has nothing to do at all with mature, trained christian women exercising their spiritual gifts and serving the body through teaching, preaching, or leading. These were women led astray by false teaching, whom Paul is correcting in these verses and who must start at the beginning with full submission to the gospel and sound teaching.

He ties in the creation story to draw a correlation between Eve being deceived by the voice of false teaching and these women. It is a reminder to the church of the devastating effects of false teaching and deception.

I know someone is going to say, "Well, if Paul is forbidding dominating others as opposed to holding mere authority and it's wrong for all believers to dominate each other, why does Paul only address this to women?" Consider that HERE IN THIS LETTER, Paul is correcting the ones exhibiting specific behaviors. Consider that Paul only tells the men to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger or disputing. Now, just because he only directs the men here in this verse, does that mean women shouldn't lift up holy hands? Does it mean women are free to be angry and constantly disputing in or out of church? Of course not. But the men in the body were the ones exhibiting this behavior, so Paul only addresses them, even though it's inappropriate for all believers to behave that way. Likewise, he only addresses the women about dominating and seizing authority through false teachings, possibly sexual ones, because they were the ones doing it in this instance.

Consider this reality of ancient Greek culture pointed out by Catherine Koeger:

"Virtually without exception, female teachers among the Greeks were courtesans, such as Aspasia, who numbered Socrates and Pericles among her students. Active in every major school of philosophy, these hetairai (high-class, intellectual prostitues) made it evident in the course of their lectures that they were available afterwards for a second occupation. But the Bible teaches that to seduce men in such a manner was indeed to lead them to slaughter and the halls of death (cf. Prov. 2:18; 5:5; 7:27; 9:18). The verb authentein is thus peculiarly apt to describe both the erotic and the murderous."

It becomes overwhelming clear from the the well-documented culture of Ephesus coupled with the original word meanings used in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, that this mandate is not a prohibition against all women teaching/preaching/leading in the church. It's simply absurd to keep gifted and qualified women from teaching the truth of the gospel, leading church bodies in the ways of Jesus, or simply contributing their gifts by vocally participating in the gatherings of the entire body because of a verse that was originally a disciplinary action against women at Ephesus. who were lead astray by false teaching.


Tonya said...

Words change meanings very quickly, don't they? Think about the word "gay", even in the time since I have been alive. Or the word "bad", which can also mean "cool", which can also mean "neat". I think you said, and I agree, that the only writings you can use to define the word "authentien" are ones from the first century, when 1 Tim was written. Unfortunately, this doesn't work well for your point. Belleville's examples (in the article you cited) don't make the point she is aiming for. In fact, you have to read a lot into every example she gives to get "dominate" in a bad way out of those exerpts.

"Belleville quotes four examples of the word authenteō to answer this question:

1. Scholia Graeca in Aeschylus, Eumenides 42a (first century B.C.): "The murderer, who had just committed an act of violence [authenteō ]," where authenteō (perfect participle) means "to commit violence" or "to murder."

2. BGU 1208 (first century B.C.): "I had my way with him [authenteō ] and he agreed to provide Calatytis the boatman with the full payment within the hour."

3. Philodemus, Rhetorica II Fragmenta Libri [V] fr IV line 14 (first century BC): "These orators ... even fight with powerful ( authenteō ) lords." (This is a hypothetical reconstruction of a fragmentary text.)

4. Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos III.13 [#157] (second century A.D.): "Therefore, if Saturn alone takes planetary control of the soul and dominates (authenteō ) Mercury and the moon ..."20

But the first example should not be considered relevant for this discussion, since the comments on Aeschylus, Eumenides found in the Scholia Graeca are from a 10th century A.D. manuscript.21 Belleville gives the reader no indication of why she claims a date of "first century B.C." for this 10th century A.D. reference.

The other three texts provide no clear examples of the meaning "misuse authority." In the second, the speaker simply "exercised authority" over the person. Baldwin gives the translation, "I exercised authority over him."22 It would make little sense to say, "I misused authority over him and he agreed to pay the boatman." In the third (the fragmentary manuscript), the meaning, "authoritative lords" makes good sense, and it would be impossible to demonstrate the meaning "lords who misuse authority." Baldwin's gives the translation, "those in authority."23 In the fourth example, Saturn rules or exercises authority over Mercury (the text is talking about the influence of the planets and no sense of "misuse authority" would be appropriate: Saturn does not "misuse its authority" over Mercury). Baldwin gives the translation, "Saturn ... dominates Mercury and the moon,"24 which is an appropriate way to speak of the relative influence of planets, but once again we find no meaning like "misuses its authority." " (CBMW)

I do agree with you that the word for silence here means "hold peace" and all that, but doesn't that mean "be quiet"? The entire verse denotes quietness and sitting and listening.

And since your arguement is being made on the assumption that 1 Timothy was written primarily to combat Artemis worship, even though we know FROM THE BIBLE that Jewish myth and genologies were afoot, I think you are really reaching on this one.

The word "teach" means teach. That's not disputable. The only thing you can do with it is say it was only for this congregation and that, IMO, is a very weak argument, especially since Paul says (vss 3:14-15)" I write these things to you so that if I am delayed, you will know how people of God ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar of foundation and truth".

I think you are building on a shaky foundation here. You have to take into consideration the TIME of the riot in Ephesus, the arrival of Aquilla and Priscilla, the time Paul spent with these people and all sorts of other factors told of in the BIBLE. They have to take precedence over historian's guesses about what was happening in the CHURCH in Ephesus at that moment in time.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


1. Disposed of, I agree.

2. This is within a hostile context. Baldwin classifies it in the category of compel. Check the appendix and footnotes of Grudem's Ev. Fem. and Biblical Truth. If someone can find that page 676 to 680, I think.

3. All we know is about this citation is that the word authenteo most likely occurs in this text and that it might possibly refer to rulers of some kind in some way. It might be a citation of an older document, we really don't have enough of the fragment to translate it.

4. Yes, this one should be considered. I argue that the Hebrew mashal in Gen. 3 has a similar meaning, "to dominate." It was considered a curse that a man will dominate his wife, and likewise a woman is not to dominate a man.

Jerome translated both Gen. 3:16 mashal and authentein as "dominari." Both refer to astronomical bodies.

Chrysostom forbids a man from authentein his wife.

catrina said...

You didn't do anything with the word teach, and like Tonya I thought Bellvielle examples left much to the imagination. Authentein clearly has other meanings.

Paul gives 2 reasons for his assertions that have no relevance to the culture or times, or false teachings.

First, Adam was formed first, then Eve. Here he is citing the creation order as reason for this.

Second, Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. Adam sin was that he listened to his partner, the serpent didn't deceive him. Is it possible that because Eve crossed the line that all woman are punished? Too me the answer is an obvious yes. She sinned and would have pain in childbirth, and no matter how much blood was shed on the cross, it hurts like the dickens to deliver a baby.

If this was the only verse that spoke about this, I could see why some people could come to the conclusion that you have arrived at, but in light of all the other passages that set the stage for how and when a woman is to speak make it hard for me to swallow this one.

This verse is pretty clear about woman not teaching "over" a man. The are parameters in scripture for when and how she is to teach, because all the gifts were given to all "men", so woman definitley has a place as a teacher, just not in an authorative role of church leader.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

It doesn't really matter what the context is. The examples of authentein are almost entirely very negative. This is the lexicon entry.

to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to (BDAG)

And this is how it is explained. Both comps and egals agree that the later verb explains the context of the earlier verb and makes it specific.

So, comps say that it means that women can teach but not in authoritative roles.

And egals say that women can teach but not if they are assuming a stance of independent authority.

Everyone agrees that this is how it works.

Comps say that there is not enough evidence for any meaning of authentein at all, so context is king.

I think it is clear that the word has a meaning as given in the BDAG and it is negative.

The facts are pretty straight forward.

Do you think that women must suffer from the fall, that man must dominate woman. Should women suffer pain in childbirth, no anaesthetic for women with C sections. Maybe no C-sections, should they die?

But the scriptures only say that because of sin these things happen, it does not say that woman was created in order to be dominated by man and die in childbirth. .

Suzanne McCarthy said...

There are a couple of technical errors in this post but I agree with the conclusions. Erasmus introduced authoritatem usurpare and Tyndale translated that as "to have authority." Usurpo basically meant anything from "to have" to "to usurp" which had a very strongly negative meaning at that time.

So the meaning "to have authority" has been around since Tyndale but has experienced a resurgence in popularity in this century. However, there is no data to support it. That does not exist.

Just for fun, we should collect in one place all the verses that tell Christians to exercise authority over other Christians and discuss them.

musicmommy3 said...

Suzanne said:
Do you think that women must suffer from the fall, that man must dominate woman. Should women suffer pain in childbirth, no anaesthetic for women with C sections. Maybe no C-sections, should they die?

But the scriptures only say that because of sin these things happen, it does not say that woman was created in order to be dominated by man and die in childbirth
No, I don't think that most complimentarians are saying those things. I think what is being said is that, in an unmedicated state, birth is still a painful experience for most women. If God were going to take away all of the consequences of the fall why oh why would He not have taken away that one. I don't think He looks down and thinks, "I LOVE seeing them in pain." I do know that in the pain of childbirth I cried out to God, I leaned on Him. Would I have been happy if He had taken away all the pain?- OH YEAH! (especially because I had long labors) However, He didn't.

I also don't think men are supposed to DOMINATE women. They are leaders over us but that doesn't give them the right to dominate, just as you are saying that giftings don't give women the right to donminate men. I think we are all (hopefully) in agreement that neither men nor women are not supposed to DOMINATE. They are supposed to humbly lead, and husbands are to "lay down their lives" for their wives.

Also, if the curse on women were automatically removed by the cross then why wasn't the men's curse removed as well. Men still have to toil. If the curse was completely removed then they would need to toil no longer...but they do. Just some thoughts to think about. I haven't been commenting lately due to a lack of time but I have to say that I am enjoying all the different thoughts that are being brought to the table. I love that it is challenging what I always believed to be true.

catrina said...

Tia, your strawberriers are molding in my fridge, I have to throw them out. (sorry!)

The verse still says "to teach or have authority over a man", certainly teach doesn't have some negative connotation. That wouldn't make much sense, "I don't permit a woman to teach or sexually dominate, or murderously dominate a man. Talk about two ends of a spectrum.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

It is a certain English translation which says "to teach or have authority over a man."

But all comps and egals agree that the second verb qualifies the first.

Otherwise, a woman could not teach a man anything at all. Since most comps allow women teach a man how to write better, or how to do his taxes, or how to cook, this is seen as a specific kind of teaching. For comps it is authoritative teaching and for egals teaching with domination.

I think that one could possibly say that there are two possible interpretations of this verse. But there is no way to prove the comp interpretation is true. So, it comes down to this. Does one really want to be either comp or egal if you knew that egals base their beliefs directly on the scripture as it is.

Christy Fritz said...

thank you for you insights.
i was wondering if you could also provide some original language info for the phrase in the passage...

"a woman should learn in quietness and submission"

is this instruction in the original translated as,
"all women should..." like a universal command for women in general, or is it interpreted as instruction just for "a" woman who is unlearned and therefore in the process of learning. i am just wondering cause my NIV says "a" woman should learn, and sounds to me like "while a woman is learning she needs to be quiet and in full submission to her teacher" if it said, "all" women need to be quiet, i would maybe take it differently.
just wondering if you have some insight. it seems to me that maybe those who were already educated were not being instructed to be quiet...just those who were not learned.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I think the word submission is misunderstood.

It can be used of Christians to each other. Here is Clement.

1Clem 38:1
So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject (ὑποτασσέσθω)unto his neighbor, according as also he was appointed with his special grace.

1Clem 38:2
Let not the strong neglect the weak; and let the weak respect the strong. Let the rich minister aid to the poor; and let the poor give thanks to God, because He hath given him one through whom his wants may be supplied. Let the wise display his wisdom, not in words, but in good works. He that is lowly in mind, let him not bear testimony to himself, but leave testimony to be borne to him by his neighbor. He that is pure in the flesh, let him be so, and not boast, knowing that it is Another who bestoweth his continence upon him.

1Clem 38:3
Let us consider, brethren, of what matter we were made; who and what manner of beings we were, when we came into the world; from what a sepulchre and what darkness He that molded and created us brought us into His world, having prepared His benefits aforehand ere ever we were born.

1Clem 38:4
Seeing therefore that we have all these things from Him, we ought in all things to give thanks to Him, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

And here is another occurrence,

2 Macc 13.23,

”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded (ὑπετάγη) and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”


So clearly submission can be

1. to each other

2. to someone who is under you

3. to someone who is over you

4. to the general situation

The Greek word hupotasso simply has a wider range of meaning than the English. It does not say that women should be in a state of subordination. It clearly says that women should be "in submission" which is the attitude required of all Christians.

We may believe that there were no women elders in the epistle to Timothy. Maybe there were and maybe not. But there is no universal command to keep women in a subordinate position under male authority. That command does not exist in the scriptures. It simply is not there.

In my view subordination of women is a teaching of some Christians, it is not a Biblical mandate.

Christy Fritz said...

again, thanks for your comments here. that was helpful

Suzanne McCarthy said...


I did not see your comment earlier, sorry about that. We do agree on lots of things.

But you write,

"They are leaders over us"

First, half of women are single and many support children. Many married women also support their family. Actually more than half of women support themselves. Why are men leaders over women?

Lydia was the leader of her household. The members of her house were baptized when she became a Christian. She was the leader of her household, as no doubt, were Chloe and Nympha.

The Bible does not say that men are leaders over women, and many women are the heads of their own household.

Second, you write,

"Men still have to toil. If the curse was completely removed then they would need to toil no longer...but they do."

But around the world there are many places where women are the ones who till the soil. Didn't God write the Bible for the women of Africa? Cursing the ground was not solely a curse on men, but on all humanity.

But is work itself a curse? No, it is a great blessing.

It is the difficulty involved in tilling the soil by hand that is a curse. This has been remediated for men in the western world. They do not till by hand. They do not suffer the direct consequence of this curse.

Michelle said...

Suzanne, please don't take this accusatory, but could you please explain your purpose for quoting the books of clement and maccabees? I'm just trying to understand. I am not at all as well studied in any of this as you and this post officially went WHEW- well over my head, I admit. I am barely following along here, to be honest, there is so much else going on in my life that my brain is tired by the time I read this, but I am trying to keep up because I am interested and I sense the importance of this discussion.

catrina said...

I just wanted you to know that I read every article you linked in this post, except for the culture of ephesus one. I am not just reading what supports my position, and although interesting, believe it or not I am still not convinced (scandoulous I know) because of the counter arguments that I have found, and not just on cbmw. Also I am taking into context the rest of the NT stuff that hasn't been discussed, and I wasn't satisfied with the explanation for 1 corth 14. If it is translated as you say, wouldn't he have wanted to man or woman to use authetein over anyone?

Michelle said...

I am clearly either some kind of serious enigma or just certifiably schizophrenic... I don't know. I know that I am very much a "both, and" kind of person, maybe I indulge in that to a fault... but only I could enjoy BOTH the concept of christians for biblical equality (though I'm not won over on all the details of every verse the grande theme seems right to me when I consider all of Scripture and the Gospel and sit quietly with it before God) and at the same time love to read Elisabeth Elliott, consider her one of my personal heroes along with Amy Carmichael, and quote great things from her as I did on my blog today (see post: profanity and motherhood). I don't see where the idea that Eric and I are one in Christ as equals (a concept he holds more so than I am ready to, interestingly enough) has to make that post by EE (who I just noticed is quoted on the CMBW site, I had to chuckle) any LESS true or beautiful. I don't have to have my husband as my head or be submissive to all men to completely LOVE my role as a mother and wife and homeschooler. I find femininity to be beautiful and unique and of God's nature and RICH... I have zero desire to be "like a man" or to go out into the world of careers or even pastorship, yet the truth of all people being one in Christ without hierarchy makes my role as a wife/mother/teacher seem MORE true and real and valuable, not less... or maybe, like I said, I'm schizo and need a straightjacket. :)

feel free to set me straight... I mean that!

Michelle said...

ignore this - I'm only reposting because i forgot to check the "email follow up comments to me" box and really wanted to :) thanks!!

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I quoted Clement and Maccabees to demonstrate that the Greek word hupotasso has a wide range of meaning. There have been those who claim that Eph. 5:21 means that some Christians must submit to other Christians, but, in fact, the Greek says quite clearly that Christians are to submit to each other. "Submit" does not mean that you acknowledge that the other person has authority over you. It siimply means that you yield or cooperate. So the submission in 1 Tim. 2:12 would mean that women were to behave properly, but it does not say that they must acknowledge men as an authority over them.

I don't think this has any impact on how feminine or motherly one is. One can be completely feminine and 100% a mother, and still believe oneself to be equal in authority to a man. That would be the best way, because as a mother one has important decisions to make and one should be able to participate on par with one's husband. There should be an equal partnership in making decisions.

Christy Fritz said...

i know you, michelle, your not crazy.
this whole discussion began with alot of complementarians not knowing what an egalitarian was. that says alot about where the conversation is going to start and finish IMO.fear or maybe i should say suspicion is going to creep in, (we're human) when anything unfamiliar to one's personal experience is introduced. especially if it messes with what we have always believed the bible to say, and i think if it differs from our experience we are wary and cautious.

i think the thing that is different for you,(why you may feel more both/and) is that the whole egalitarian relationship is NOT unfamiliar to you. maybe the term was,but IMO, you've lived and breathed it in your marriage. you and eric have been best friends from the get go, even at a very young age, and had a beautiful marriage where each of you have valued, respected, and submitted to one another...even when strong opinions are involved, without a whole lot of trumping going on from either side. you have complete freedom without ever feeling controlled or needing to control. i know you have very human moments, but overall,your marriage has been a VERY positive aspect of your life, correct me if i am wrong.

personally, i've felt strongly drawn to the complimentarian view (of marriage) as a fix it solution. i had good experience with following it to help with some rocky marriage issues. i can say that lots of it's tenants have helped me to value respect and submission in relationship with my spouse and are extremely valuable. i also felt that if these were the perameters God set up, I surely didn't want to disobey, as I am a really good rule keeper. and yes one can find freedom in boundaries.
sometimes boundaries change as we grow though, and so can our perceptions. which i'm not thinking is a bad thing. the truth doesn't change, but eventually we may have gain deeper understanding, that allows for more freedom.
sometimes it is hard to let go of the fact that maybe the answer to the problems, and the reasons why things got better isn't because of following a certain doctrine or submitting to a God-ordained heirarchy of authority, that i think is protecting me. maybe the problems changed because i changed and grew and matured, through the vehicle of just plain submission to my Father.

if you've never lived that journey, it is hard to understand why one may feel if they let go of some exact perameters they may (or society may) be in danger.
i know you experience this stuggle in other areas, so maybe you know what i mean.

i think for you the perameters (heirarchy, authority) in marriage, haven't been the answers to problems. you've just always had a really good relationship based on many egalitarian values.
so while you can value submission, respect,etc. you don't need to hold to heirarchy in relationship to find those things. it hasn't been your experience.

i don't think it's one or the other, either.
i think all of it is a profound mystery.:)

Tia Lynn said...

Wow. Lot’s of great conversation going on. I’ve withheld from commenting because I wanted to let all the reactions unfold first. :)

Suzanne, thank you so much for all your input, it’s just wonderfully intelligent, yet easy to understand.

Michele and Christy, I love you girls. Next time you come to GA Christy, bring Michele! We’ll play cards and chat! Thank you both for being honestly curious and weighing all of this out in your own minds.

Angela, I miss ya! When ya coming over again? I’ll get to the childbirth thing in my answer to Catrina’s.

Tonya, Tonya, Tonya, where to begin?

Well, even I have read better rebuttals than the one you posted from CMBW. That little article makes NO mention of Josephus’ (37 A.D. -100 A.D) use of the word and is extremely unfair to Belleville who explicitly lists (in her book and in footnotes in the article) when and where every example comes from. She also does not share earlier and later uses of the word to “prove” that authentein means those exact meanings in this verse. No egalitarian thinks Paul is forbidding the women from literally murdering men. She is showing the vast range of meaning this word has carried, nearly all severely negative.

Your analysis makes no account for the rarity of this word in Paul’s writings. If he meant ordinary authority, why does he not use the word exousia, like he does 25 other times in his letters. He has used the word exousia to describe all types of authority, both legitimate and corrupt. He uses it to describe God’s authority, man’s authority, and civil authority, whether good or bad. What was it about this situation that needed such a rare and strong word?

You also have made no mention of the fact that earlier translations of the bible (up until King James) understood this word IN THIS VERSE as “to dominate” or to “domineer.” How do you account for nearly 1200 years of THE BIBE, you know that book that can’t be wrong, reading this word as “to dominate” or “to domineer”? Do you really believe that we just NOW (in the 1940s) got the meaning right, and for 1200 years it was wrong. People who lived much closer to the original time than us, just made up this understanding of it? The earliest Latin translations (second-fourth century) understood this word in this verse to mean “to dominate” or “to domineer.” To “exercise or assume authority over” did not appear until after Word War II. And “to usurp authority over” (which is much different than having a legitimate authority over someone) only began in the 1500s. How do you account for this? How can you say that a translation that has been around for less than 80 years and totally contradicts the historic translation is correct without a doubt? Is it not AT LEAST a possibility for you?

Why do you assume Priscilla is still in Ephesus at this time? How do you know she is still alive or didn’t move on with Aquila to plant churches elsewhere? Or if the problem was indeed new pagan women converts believing they were superior to men, is it not reasonable to think she willingly refrained from teaching while her baby sisters in Christ renewed their minds? We have no idea who these women were at this church at this time. There is no indication that Priscilla is still there at this time. Paul gives disciplinary instructions to a church, that is without question, deceived and angry, cannot be applied to all people everywhere. And why are braided hair, gold and pearls considered ungodly? Are they ungodly for all times or just in this time/place? Could it be because that’s how temple prostitutes and priestesses dressed? And if women in the church were emulating their dress, is it that far of leap to think they may also be emulating their mindset, such as the domination of men? (thanks Marcus).

Also, I never said the whole of 1 Timothy was about Artemis, the whole of 1 Timothy is Paul trying to save this church on the verge of complete chaos. False teaching and constant battles between members were ripping this church a part. It doesn’t sound like anyone, especially women, were receiving proper teaching. And they must be learned before they can teach.

Catrina said:

“Adam sin was that he listened to his partner, the serpent didn't deceive him. Is it possible that because Eve crossed the line that all woman are punished? Too me the answer is an obvious yes. She sinned and would have pain in childbirth, and no matter how much blood was shed on the cross, it hurts like the dickens to deliver a baby.”

This is disturbing on a number of levels. First off, Adam’s sin was not the listened to his partner, but they he willfully disobeyed God, where Eve was tricked into thinking it was OK, Adam knew this was not what God had commanded them. All the physical consequences of the fall remain, such as death, pain, and work. No one disputes that and no one claims that Jesus’ death on the cross removes that now. But his death RESTORES RELATIONSHIPS. Human beings can now live in harmony with God and each other. But at least you admit that if women are to ALWAYS remain silent and never vocally participate in the gatherings of a church, then it is indeed a PUNISHMENT from the fall.

Paul’s mention of the creation account can be seen as either him combating false teachings at the time that were challenging those facts OR him drawing a correlation between Eve’s deception and what was happening at this church with these women. He uses a similar analogy where he compare the entire church at Corinth to Eve, because of their being prone to deception.

You said if there weren’t so many other passages about this then you could maybe see the argument. As far as outright “limiting” women in ministry there are only two verse, 1 Corinthians 14, which has so many linguistic and contextual problems, and 1 timothy, which was understood as forbidding women to teach the domination of men for nearly 1200 years. All other verses about men and women are in the marriage relationship, which we’ve already established if one believes men are “over” women in the marriage relationship; this is far different from ALL men being “over” ALL women in the church.

You also asked about why this prohibition of domination was only given to women. I thought I answered this in the post, but I’ll elaborate. First, why does Paul only tell the men to lift up holy hands in prayer and not while being angry and quarreling? Are we to believe that this principle is only FOR MEN? Are women free to pray while angry and fighting? Ofcourse not. Paul only addresses the men here because the men in THIS CHURCH were the ones praying angry and disputing. Likewise, the women in the church were the ones trying to dominate men or church meetings, so he addresses them.

We can see throughout Paul’s letter that no one is supposed to dominate another. Ephesians 5:21 says we should submit ourselves one to another. And Christ says our authority will not be like the worlds, we are not to lord it over others. We are suppose to esteem each other higher than ourselves. The idea of mutual submission and preference to each other is woven all throughout the new testament. So Paul, does in effect, tell men not to dominate women. Here, we see him telling women not to dominate men, because this was the situation at hand.

PHEW! Keep the conversation going. I’m really enjoying this.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I have two concerns. First,

“Adam sin was that he listened to his partner, the serpent didn't deceive him. Is it possible that because Eve crossed the line that all woman are punished?"

We all work. All over the world women bear the burden of labour and providing for children. There is no reason why women should bear two burdens - the burden of providing and the burden of subordination. The burden of subordination is just that, an extra burden put onto women, but by men not by God. It is a result of sin that men try ot subordinate women. God does not bless the results of sin. Subordination, belonging to to lesser functioning class of humans, is not a joy, it is not something women were designed for by God.

Women share the burden of men by working hard, and men share the burden of subordination by living in mutual submission and sharing the difficulties of life with their wives. These are just my thoughts.

Second point.

Tyndale, translating the Bible in 1525, used "to have authority." He was using Erasmus' Greek text along with Erasmus' Latin translation. It was a bilingual edition with Greek on the left and Latin on the right. Erasmus translated authentein as "authoritatem usurpare." From this, Tyndale translated "to have authority" and the KJV "to usurp authority."

The only change since the 1940's is that the KJV has lost its precedence and other interpretations of authentein such as "to have authority" have become more popular.

However, for 1500 years before that, the word authentein was translated as "dominari." Erasmus and Tyndale had no new evidence. I believe we must go back to "dominari" since no new evidence has ever become available since Jerome translated the Bible into Latin.

Tia Lynn said...

Thank you Suzanne. Excellent points.

Please continue to come by. The next portion of this study will on the marriage relationship. So, I will need the help. :)

Tonya said...

The reason we need new translations of the Bible is because words take on new connotations as language evolves. You can only use the meaning from the first century when trying to nit pick about the meaning of a word used in the 1st century. The way Tyndale and the translators of the KJV used the word doesn't mean it had the exact same connotations several hundred years ago that it has today.

Pricilla is still alive and in Ephesus, Tia. Read 2 Timothy 4:19. And you also need to realize that even if Priscilla had NOT been there, there were plenty of women who sat under Paul's teaching (for 3 years) 7 years earlier. Then Timothy had been left in Ephesus to carry on. As far as we can tell, up till now, Paul has not had the need to write him to give him instruction on how to handle things.

Another thing that makes it totally ridiculous to think that Paul would have quieted Priscilla and the other godly women of this church up would be the fact that THEY of all people would have been the ones who could have spoken most easily to their decieved-Artemis-woman-power younger sisters (were this the case). It would have seemed most plausible for Paul to say "have the older women teach the younger women to behave properly" but instead he says " YOU tell the ladies dress like women who profess to honor God and remember that they aren't to be teaching or holding authority".

The only point I was making about authentien is that translating it "excercised authority" is a very good translation of this word from 1st century writings. It does not have to mean "dominate" in a negative way. And given the fact that we know there were godly women in Ephesus at the time, highly capable of teaching younger women who were struggling with woman-power issues, it seems plausible to think that Paul would have put them in positions to teach in order to help the younger sisters if it was something allowable in church meetings. And even if he didn't, he certainly wouldn't have told them they needed to be quiet while not mentioning the men false teachers who really WERE teaching heresy.

The history here really helps understanding but your interpretation takes things further than I think the Bible allows.

Greg Anderson said...

In future you may want to include how the Hebrew word teshuqua in Gen. 3:16 morphed from the Greek Septuagint translation of "turning" into the word "power" as rendered in the Latin Vulgate around 382 A.D.

From there, teshuqua got rendered as "desire" in the English Bibles, and carried through the era of Calvin and Luther right up to present day.

The word "turning" makes more sense to me because when one examines the original text, it was Adam who was kicked out of the garden, not Eve, she only followed him out.

And yes Tonya, I have seen 1 Cor. 14:34-36 from your point of view. For the record here, I spent quite a few years in a fundamentalist mega-church here in Southern Cal.

Like many former complemetarians, I didn't dare and question what the pastoral leadership taught concerning gender roles. I just accepted it as God's mandate.

Things began to unravel when I investigated this stuff for myself under the lens of scripture interpreting scripture. I found that complemetarian theology could not hold up under the rigor of the whole of scripture, any more than Ptolemy's geocentric epicycles could hold up under the rigor of Kepler's mathematics.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

The only point I was making about authentien is that translating it "excercised authority" is a very good translation of this word from 1st century writings.


There is an argument for supporting authentein as "to have authority over" but there is
no evidence for this. Everyone agrees that there is no lexical evidence. But some do say that the context proves it.

This would be an interpretation. So, a complementarian can say that they have an interpretation to support their view as a possible understanding. However, there is simply no proof for this.

Therefore, the best that complementarianism can ever be is a possible interpretation. It cannot be proven to be the only one. That is technically impossible.

Egalitarians are in much the same situation, I think, although they have more lexical evidence. But this evidence should be reopened. Scholars on both sides see it as "case closed" so I don't think this will happen.

Maybe you could read this post and comments. Dan Wallace argues for the complementarian side. However, he does not offer lexical evidence.

Tia Lynn said...

If Paul is forbidding women from teaching in a dominating way or from teaching the domination of men, as early translations of the bible confirm, but to be in peace and learn in full submission (as all christians should), then there is no reason to believe that Priscilla was not allowed to teach during assemblies, as long as she was not doing it in a dominating way, which I’m pretty sure she would not. However, if the problem was that women believed themselves to be superior to men, it would make sense that Priscilla refrain from teaching in the assembly to set an example that she did not believe herself to be superior and would gladly receive teaching from her brothers. There are so many different scenarios of how this all could have played out. How much time passed from 1 Timothy – 2 Timothy? Between 7 and 10 years? We don’t know that Priscilla didn’t travel or endeavor on missionary journeys herself. Paul sent Phoebe, as well as other believers, on missionary journeys or sent them out as letter delieverers and so forth. Who knows what role Priscilla was playing at this time? She could have been in Ephesus at the time of 1 Timothy, she could not have been. I don’t think it matter either way. I’m sure there were plenty of women who sat under Paul, but that doesn’t mean they were exempt from being led astray by false teaching, or any number of sins. From this letter alone, we know that church elders and leaders were in continuous sin and either gave into false teaching or started false teachings themselves. Do you think none of these false teachers or habitually sinning leaders didn’t sit under Paul or know of his teachings?

Another thing to consider is that the verb epitrepo for “permit” is actually in its present indicative (permitting) here, which can connotate a temporary restriction. Paul could be implementing a temporary ban as a disciplinary action to put a stop to all women teaching until the weaker sisters were taught properly. Plus, Paul’s very clear use of “I do not permit...” (Or I am not permitting...) suggests this is not an all-time mandate straight from the Lord, but a personal leadership decision tailored to solve a specific problem at Ephesus. There are other times within his letters that Paul says he has not heard from the lord on a matter, so he gives his own advice or he says, this is I speaking and not the Lord. Usually when Paul uses “I,” he is indicating that this is his own opinion on a matter. Yes, even the apostle Paul held independent opinions that were not necessarily divine. However, I think here he is not restricting all women from exercising the gift of teaching in the body, but teaching in a dominating way, as the earliest translations of the bible read.

If the Ephesian church meetings were as chaotic as Paul describes, this whole passage is trying to put an end to the madness and establish sound teaching that leads to peace among the congregation.

As we have already covered, when Paul talks about false teachers, he uses gender neutral pronouns and calls some out by name, presumably the ones who KNEW what they were doing. Paul himself has more grace for those deceived because he was once deceived himself (1 Timothy 1:13). Paul says he has handed over specific false teachers to Satan, so it’s safe to say they were “silenced” and not permitted to teach or take part in the fellowship of church meetings, whether they were men or women. :)

Oh Tonya, here is an article from CBE that refutes some of Baldwin’s analysis of early uses of authentein. I thought you might want to read it.

catrina said...

Well I knew my comment would get a rise out of people, and I knew I should have stated where I was coming from. This whole thing about Adam and Eve reminded me of a study that I had done on sin. In regards to David we consider his sin as adultery with Bathsheba, which it was, but we fail to recognize the "smaller" sin that led to his adultery. II Samuel 11:1 states-"Now it came to pass in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go to battle......But David remained in Jerusalem. Because David was not doing what his "job required", was not acting in the parameters of what was established for kings to do, he found himself bored and discovered Bathsheba.

It made me think of Adam standing there, watching Eve, and instead of listening to God, he listened to his wife. In chapter 3:17 we clearly see that God says "BECAUSE YOU HEEDED THE VOICE OF YOUR WIFE, and have eaten of the tree"... I don't think that I was grasping at straws in my assesment. Further on we see that God establishes authority for man over woman by stating that a man is to leave his father and mother, and that he is to be joined
with his wife. He was responsible for his wife. He was called out by God, not Eve, he was kicked out of the garden and not to mention all the other things that we talked about earlier, like Adam being made first and residing and naming animals before Eve arrives on the seen, woman being created for man, Adam naming Eve twice, and woman being made subject to her husband, etc......

So Paul referencing the creation account in the same breath as addressing woman teaching over man totally fits. I agree that the word for authority may be stronger here than at other times, but who knows if this wasn't the third or fourth time he had to address them, so he was hammering it in, or that the fact that women were teaching over men at all was so bad that he used the strongest language for authority. You can suppose contrary for your argument, but you are having to rely on ancient writings that are very few and pick the definition that fits your theroy, and I really don't think I am doing the same thing. Even if it means in a domineering way.

You are probably going to lose me since this is going too much to ancient writings and thoughts and suppositions, these are unreliable sources to me. Helpful, and interesting, but they don't trump anything in the word for me.

The OT prepares the way for the NT and it all lines up, guidelines are given to how woman are to teach and to whom, the headship in man is confirmed through the NT in case people got fuzzy through the law, and Christ lived it out among us by submitting to the fathers will, the church submitting to christ.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

he used the strongest language for authority. You can suppose contrary for your argument, but you are having to rely on ancient writings that are very few and pick the definition that fits your theroy, and I really don't think I am doing the same thing. Even if it means in a domineering way.

First, authentein, as a word, is not in any way related to authority as a word.

Second, if there was a definition that fit the complementarian teaching on this word, you could read about it in articles.

Third, the only way that we have of knowing what a word means is if someone reads the ancient languages.

Its best to say that both interpretations are valid and then ask which overall paradigm fits the sum of the law and the prophets - that you should love your neighbour as yourself - mutuality or hierarchy.

Which of these two paradigms did Christ bring to earth? Or did he not bring a new paradigm but came to soften patriarchy?

Michelle said...

Catrina, I'm actually going to sympathize with you because while I find all the language stuff fascinating it doesn't do a whole lot for me as far as convicing or not convincing... I think Suzanne was really fair in pointing out that it can't really prove anything for either side.

However, whereas you are looking at all this from the lens of the OT and how you see creation laid out, I am looking at it all - as I try to do with all of scripture - through the lens of the cross. I see that as the high point of all scripture and all time, for that matter, as the reality which sheds its light on all before and after, making sense of it. And so for me, the idea that "as in Adam all die, so as in Christ all live", and the idea that we are all "IN Christ" and the idea that "there is now neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free"... everything else that I read in the Bible falls into that somehow, in some way, though to my limited knowledge/experience every single verse may not be perfectly clear to me.

I'm going to throw something else out there that came to me while in the tub (yes, I'm a geek, most folks relax in the tub, I ponder...). You know, the whole male/female and slave/free was rolling around in my head, I was chewing on that... this is total speculation so just grant me a moment here if I sound nuts... but in the curse, God says man will have to WORK. Do any of you think at all, or has this come up, that the idea of slavery might have been involved there? I only ask because slavery has existed in every time and culture, it is awful and not of the Lord's ideal plan, and yet he has used it to work his purposes ... that doesn't make it His "will". Slavery is something Paul talks about a lot, commanding slaves to obey their masters, but that doesn't make it "right". I just wonder if slavery wasn't a natural consequence, AS IS the idea that man will always try to dominate woman. It is not unique to any time or culture, that women are dominated and mistreated. Our country is blessed to have overcome both slavery and unjust domination over women, but both exist all over the world in heinous ways even as we speak. I don't know... I just wondered about this... the way Paul addresses them both in the New Testament, commanding slaves to obey their masters so that the masters may be won over to the gospel, and the way he is inconsistent in praising women who lead in the church but then telling them things that seem contrary, singling them out from men... but then in Galatians turns around and says that IN CHRIST there IS no male/female or slave/free. Interesting to me that he would do this, makes me wonder about those consequences of the fall and whether slavery and mistreatment of women are at all connected as consequences of the fall... regardless, any view that makes the cross MORE meaningful, makes redemption MORE victorious, makes grace MORE amazing, that is the view I'm going to lean toward, hands down.

Okay I know this is long but permit me one more thing... Eric made a really interesting comment when I was talking to him earlier. He is incredibly logical whereas I tend to be more feely sometimes and want to chew through things, he just arrives at no-nonsense conclusions. He has a simple question: why is it that all are one in Christ, on a level as equally submitted to FAther and Spirit and Jesus as Christians... until marriage. Then all of a sudden we become subordinate. Now, I know that some (like John Macarthur for one) believe the unpopular view that in fact ALL women are subject to ALL men, marriage changes nothing. I don't see the comp's represented here believing that (correct me if Im' wrong). So maybe you all would be able to answer Eric's question. He is not trying to argue a point, he is just very dry and matter of fact when he asks this.

okay, this comment is long enough for sure... I'm done. :)

Michelle said...

Tia, I'd so LOVE to play cards with you!!! :)

Michelle said...

me again.. I know yall wish I'd just shut up right? aren't blogs great... I could just keep going and going.. .I won't, I promise this is it.

I wanted to comment on Christy's comment. I think there is a lot of truth in what you said. I neither feel ruled by my husband, nor do I feel tempted to rule him. At all. The thought is so foregin to me. Human? Of course. But power just has not ever been an issue for us, actually my relationship with Eric and our marriage has been one of the defining peaceful/restful aspects of my life. I have struggles - YES - of course, I've had dreadful struggles in my life, but my relationship with him has not been one of those. If that colors my view at all, or allows me to see things clearly, either one - I do not know, but I thank you for pointing that out because I am extremely blessed and grateful to agree with you. :)

Tia Lynn said...

Michelle, feel free to ramble here! I have wrestled with all the same issues, especially the bible's "endorsement of slavery..." But I think you know which side I've come out on. :)

Catrina, you make my brain hurt. :)

1. Yes, Adam heeded the voice of his wife. The lesson is not that Adam should never heed the voice of his wife, but that he must choose to obey God first. Eve’s voice was telling Adam to disobey God. He put Eve before God and sinned. In another story Sarah instructs Abraham and God tells him, “whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her...” Here Abraham is told directly by God to do as his wife told him. It’s not WHO is instructing, but WHAT they are instructing that determines whether it is a sin or not. King Josiah heeded the voice of Huldah. Barak heeded the voice of Deborah. Even a pagan king heeded the voice of Ester.
2. If Adam was solely responsible for the fall, then Eve would not have been punished at all. But we know this isn’t the case. They are both held accountable for their part in sinning.
3. A man leaving his father and mother and cleaving to his wife is not about authority, it’s about unity and oneness. That whole passage is dealing with Adam’s ALONENESS. It’s about meeting the need of human interaction. To read this beautiful verse about the intimate relationship of marriage as a tale of Adam’s authority over his wife is terrible distortion.
4. The topic at hand is women in church leadership, not women in their marriages. Your use of Adam’s relationship to HIS WIFE cannot be applied to all men over all women, as we have already discussed.
5. No one disputes that after the fall, women were for the most part ruled by men, but this is descriptive truth, not prescriptive truth. It is not the ideal in the least.
6. If God never wants women in leadership over men, how is it that he called Miriam to lead Israel, along with Moses and Aaron (Micah 6:4)? Or that He chose to speak through Deborah, who was judging and leading the entire nation of Israel and exercised authority over Barak? She summoned him, informed him that God had said for him to go into battle and he heeded her word, reluctantly so, but it was because of God speaking through her that Israel had victory and peace for forty years. Now if having authority over men is an evil, sinful act, then why does God choose to call her one of HIS prophetesses and speak his truth to her and use her to direct the entire nation of Israel? When other evil rulers arose in Israel, God raised up outside voices to challenge them and deliver Israel.
7. Catrina, you have gotten up and spoken at least two times at church recently, once to announce the adoption fund and share your own experience with adopting and at the other at the bridegroom fast. Should Nathan have been the one to speak? Should you have remained silent? While I am wordy in person and with the “pen,” I hate public speaking. LOATHE IT. In the three years I’ve been at grace, I have never gotten up to speak, except for last week. I fought it the whole time. My heart was racing, my hands were sweating, and my head was pounding. I sat in defiance for almost twenty minutes, telling God that I wasn’t going to get up there to share what God was clearly showing me. The prompting to go up there was so strong, I had never experienced anything like it. I felt like God gave me a chuck-norris-kick to the back. I hated being up there the whole time, but I know I was suppose to share that. I know other women who hate speaking in front of people, but have had the same experience. Why do you suppose that happens, if God wants women to remain silent in the presence of men?
8. If you are now convinced that 1 corinthians 14:33-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 are universal mandates for all women, will you refrain from speaking in church now? And be completely silence as those verses supposedly demand?

Anonymous said...

tia lynn--Thank you for your posts. I am most grateful for the study you have put into this subject.
Catrina--"Adam was not decieved...Adam's sin was that he listened to his partner." When did Adam listen to the woman? She did not talk directly to him. She did not argue with him or urge him to eat what was forbidden. Instead he over heard her conversation with the serpent and said nothing. Adam's sin was disobedience. I also do not believe that Adam or the woman were cursed. The ground, yes. The serpent, yes. But not humanity. Rather God simply explained to Adam and Eve what the consequences of their sin would be. Death. And because of death the woman would experience pain in childbirth. Yes physical but even more importantly emotional gut wrenching pain. And still, her desire would be for relationship with the man. Man would experience the physical stress of labor, failed crops and dry ground. But even more telling, he would be faced with continually wanting to make up for what he had failed to do in the garden when he listened to but did not interceed in the conversation between the woman and the serpent. Now Adam would "rule over Eve" because before he had failed to interject the truth he knew. God is not commanding these things; He is explaining them.
But, that's just my two cents as I try to understand a loving God in a fallen world.

Tia Lynn said...

Wonderful thoughts minnowspeaks. :) Come by again. :)

tilly hester said...

Catrina said:

“You are probably going to lose me since this is going too much to ancient writings and thoughts and suppositions, these are unreliable sources to me. Helpful, and interesting, but they don't trump anything in the word for me.”

As far as I can tell, no one is inferring that pagan writings trump scripture. We are trying to determine a meaning of an ancient word that is only used once in the New Testament. How do you suppose we do that without consulting outside works? But if anything, it was early church fathers who understood this word has having violent and sexual tinges to it. That is why the oldest translations of the bible ALL translate this word as “to dominate” and not “to have authority over.” So, when you say such alternate meanings don’t “trump anything in the word,” what you really mean is that you are not going to let anything trump your preferred-relatively-new-translation-of-the-word. Because “the word” translated this verse radically different from what you have in your New King James or NIV. You can side with recent translations that tinkered with this verse, but you cannot say “the word” is clear on the meaning of this word, for there is a split history within the Word itself on what it means.

catrina said...

Sorry if this is going to come across as rude, but I am really busy and distracted for this conversation.

1. When you say I hurt your brain, that is condescending, like I am so thick headed I can't possibly see reason. I am not mad or offended, I'm totally fine but I did want to point out.

2. You are not really listening or in this case reading what I am saying. YOu are taking things I write and adding your own thoughts to them. If you read the actual Bible in Genesis God says "because you listened to your wife and ate" he didn't say you didn't listen to me.

3. I have expressed numerous times that I don't think women should remain silent at all times in church. We discussed this before and I don't have time to reiterate now.

4. I have no problem with the strong lang or the word, but you still have to suppose a lot to get to the place where you think it is ok for women to have authority over man.

Gotta run

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Is it okay for a man to exercise authority over a woman?

Where do the scriptures instruct anyone to exercise authority over someone else and for what purpose?

Tia Lynn said...

Catrina. The brain hurting remark was a joke, and not meant to insinuate your lack of intelligence, but was kidding about the repetitive nature of this debate about creation. You are very smart. You and Tonya spur me on the most. So no low blows about stupidity were intended. :)

You had said earlier in one of the comments that 1 Corinthians 14 was not dealt with in a way that could account for an alternate interpretation and the other day on your porch, you said you started out on this debate as a moderate, but were swinging more to the complementarian side. If 1 Corinthians 14 has no other valid interpretation for you, then how is it that you think women do not always have to be silent in church? How is it decided when they can speak? And is this view not itself an “alternate” interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14?

Again, Eve’s “voice” was telling Adam TO SIN AGAINST GOD. God FIRST asks Adam, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" and then later says to Adam the he heeded his wife’s voice, which was telling him what? To disobey God’s command. This has nothing to do with her “voice” itself, but the nature of what her voice was persuading Adam to do. The context is the Eve’s voice contradicted God’s command. Of course, Adam should have listened to God over Eve, when the two are in contention. But it would be the same if Adam told Eve to disobey the command. She should not listen to the voice of her husband telling her to sin against God, but obey God’s commands. This is not a gender issue or a human authority issue.

Quite the contrary, as Suzanne pointed out, I don’t think women should have “authority over men,” nor do I think men should have “authority over women.” I think women have a place in leadership in the church, where they can exercise the authority of the gospel, not over people, but in service to both men and women, and exercise their gifts for the benefit and building up of the entire church. It’s not about hierarchy. Women shouldn’t be in leadership so they can be “over” men. Christian leadership is about serving the body, submitting to each other, and being able to exercise the truth of the gospel through teaching, preaching, leading, prophesying, and so forth.

Anyway, I love ya. You can have Luke trip me next time I’m over, k? Then we’ll be square. :)

catrina said...

I'm thinkin that we are getting our wires crossed. I don't know about a lot of things that are brought up. I am not claiming to have my position nailed down with an entire outline of proof. I corth wasn't answered definitively for me, so I think that there is a place for complete silence by woman at times. However, we have verses that speak about prophesying and praying, and I believe that is in a "church" setting. So for me to speak in a church setting or pray in public does not mean that in any way I am in a place of authority over that body. My pastor is, and he is a man. He and the other leaders in our church tells us what is happening, assign us to homegroups, preach, teach in the corporate meetings, etc.....I submit to their authority all the time, so yes, I believe these men have authority over me. I go to any homegroup they put me in, I participate in the ministries that they have decided they want our church to go in, whether or not I like it. Of course my husband submits to me as well, in a number of ways.

I can't really answer the ? about where in the Bible does it say to exercise authority over anyone else. Those exact words are probably never used, but the concept is used all the time in the OT and NT. The scriptures talk about govts that rule over the people. All the priestly acts of the OT, Paul, in all his dealings with the early church. These are all instances of authority. Stories like Ruth and Boaz, Esther, Jesus over his disciples, are other examples.

It is absurd to assume that gifted women can't teach, but that is not the parameters for teaching. Women are instructed to teach younger women, and I totally believe that women teach men in group settings oustside the church, or when couples disciple other couples, but that is still done under the authority of the leader or husband. I think that it was a very big deal when they got out the written text and someone taught from them. People didn't have their own copies, many couldn't read. "Church" was happening before and after the reading of the word.

I do not only read or listen to what suits my fancy. I've expounded on that before. I just am not going to take authentein and try to give it a "meaning" that I TRULY don't see. I read all the articles that were linked to, and then I read the counter ones, and some of the counter were weak, but frankly I thought Bell (sp) was also.

Tia, I wasn't assuming you thought I was an idiot, it was just that strangers reading it could possilby deduce that if they don't know us. No worries whatsoever.


Tonya said...

Yikes. I've been out of here too long to address everything I would like to here and even if I did, it wouldn't do a bit of good:):):). Not ONE person has changed their stance since the beginning of this conversation. LOL! The Egalitarians are still egalitarian, the complementarians are still complementarian and the fence sitters probably have sore bums:):):).

Truth be told, we are arguing what the experts have argued for 20+ years and getting nowhere. And I don't even think there is a real understanding about how most complementarianish type people function. HOWEVER, I'll bet all of us have been studying our Bibles a lot more lately (hopefully not to prove a point, but to understand what God's best is for us) so that's always a plus:).

I just want to say that I love you all and I am really thankful for the new friendships I've formed during this conversation. I may be back in here and there, but I'm done making the big cases for the time being because life, right now, is not allowing me the time to sit down at the computer to keep up with this.

Prayer, study and a heart open to God are all that we need. It'll all come out in the wash:).

Tia, for the record, most complementarians probably don't believe that a woman has to be quiet from the second she steps inside the meeting building doors until the time she leaves. I personally think the Bible allows for womans speech as long as it isn't during the message, either as a participant or the person leading the study. Prayer, prophecy, praise, singing, announcements, we see precedence for these coming from women in the Bible. As long as she isn't causing dissention or delivering a harangue during any of this, she's fine. If you want to know what Paul meant, use scripture to interpret scripture, but don't go further than it allows to the point of having to stretch to make your point. And do try not to put an all or nothing mantle on all complementarians:). I know it's tempting because it makes such a good case for Egalitarianism, but that would be taking verses and asking them to interpret themselves instead of using the rest of the Bible to interpret them. Truth is, there is NO precedence in the NT for women teaching men or holding positions of authority such as elder or apostle in the formal assembly of the church. You have a POSSIBILITY of women prophecying in the formal assembly (if 1 Cor 11 refers to public worship), however that is not teaching, but direct communication from God. If you want to call that cultural, that is fine with me, but it's a stretch and I personally prefer to cling to the scriptures. I'm not comfortable with too much assumption when it comes to the Bible because I feel like God gave us what we needed. I do, however, feel perfectly at ease in saying that how the complementarian chooses to apply the quiet verses is up to the individual congregation. Some may prefer total silence (like Gareth of a few posts back), some may prefer silence during the message only (my personal belief) and some may prefer participation in the sermon (like my church does) as long as it isn't argumentative or too wordy. Like I said, it'll all come out in the wash:).

Tia Lynn said...

Tonya, that was wonderful. I agree, for the most part. :)

I have spent my whole life in complementarian churches, so I know that they DO indeed vary in the amount of participation afforded to a woman. But that is exactly my point, and all or nothing IS ridiculous, but it’s a valid point, because the way certain verses are worded in English translations, it IS total silence in churc, which for except on special occasions was in homes, at house churches. There is no distinction between what we would consider a “formal gathering” and the 1 century church, which looked more like our bible study home groups. I know people who think women should be silent during those, too. They mostly met in houses. It was like a big bible study for the most part. You should read this fabulous book called “Pagan Christianity?” by Frank Viola and George Barna about the early church. I would recommend it over Misquoting Jesus. The early church was NOTHING like how we “do church” now. There was no “message,” as in one “pastor” getting up and “preaching” to an audience. Meetings were highly participatory and spontaneous. BTW this isn’t an “egalitarian” book, it’s has nothing to do with women in ministry or “proving” either side, it is simply an exquisite record tracing most of our church traditions back to their pagan roots and highlighting how the early church actually operated. The footnotes alone blew my mind.

Anyway, we’ll get to the rest on women in ministry during other posts.....

Anonymous said...

Tonya--The reason I as an egalitarian "make the case of all or nothing" against the complementarian position is because for the life of me I can not figure out how complementarians take verses like 1 Timothy 2:9-15, "...And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence..." split them in half and say part A applies but part B doesn't. I'm left thinking well, I guess they needed nursery workers or greeters or something and no man wanted to "lead" that particular area. Tia Lynn, I appologize for my sarcasm on your blog. You are so much more gracious then I am. Keep up the good study and teach, woman teach. God has gifted you it is very apparent.

Melody Joy said...

Sorry it took me so long to get to this one, Tia, it's been a crazy week. Before I look back at comments and stuff, I just want to say, way to do your homework. This is so very well documented. I think it speaks for itself that Paul had so many words to choose from if simple, godly "authority" had been what he wanted to convey. I also find it interesting that "teach" is interpreted into that verse when didasko is not even present anywhere near the text. Anyway, you make your point very well and very clearly that what is being conveyed here is a need for women to not use their femininity to subvert men, and not to take by force or violence the authority they use.

Tonya said...

Tia, There also were meetings weekly in the temple courts where the apostles and elders stood up to expound on the scriptures. Maybe this is the "when you all come together" time. Other times, the church of the city met in small groups in homes. Maybe that WASN'T "when you all come together" time. Just a guess. IN our case, we just have to go with what we have knowledge of and make sure that our consciences are clear before God (which is why I am so insistant on trying to find that place of neutrality):).

Minnow:), I don't think the church in that day ran anything like ours do now. There probably wasn't a nursery worker, greeter or sunday school teacher in sight. If we want to have those things in our modern churches, then we are on our own in how we handle them. Biblically, our church leadership positions are Overseer and Elder. Deacons aren't even leadership. They are "table waiters" and some of the GREATEST men (Philip and Steven) were deacons. Even the apostles were servants (teachers too). Servanthood in the church is for everyone. If you want to consider nursery workers and greeters as authority positions, then I will agree with you that women are biblically allowed to "lead" in those cases:).

David Rudel said...

Hi all,
I stumbled onto this post in the midst of a discussion happening at two worlds during which I made my own blog on the matter.

The "teach" idea has come up several times, and I would like to point out that in the early church the "teaching" was evangelism, the only "message" was to the unconverted. Since there is biblical precedent for women as evangelists, that requires that they are also teachers [and teachers of (though not necessarily over, for the men came voluntarily) men]

Also, contrary to a remark made by Tonya, prophets also taught and preached in church [see Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 1 and chose church leaders.

Finally, most translations indicate that Paul is called Julia an apostle in Romans 16:7. Apostles were clearly in positions of authority and teaching.

If we are going to take the Timothy passage at all, it seems that the most Biblically compatible way of reading it is to refer to wives not exercising authority over their husbands. (see my blog for a discussion of this).

David Rudel said...

One note about the word under discussion. While it is true that the examples given of that particular word do not show clearly it being used in a "negative" way [in the sense often described], those texts as well as others utilizing different forms do indicate its use as "taking authority into one's own hands." That meaning is sufficient for the egalitarian side of the argument because it suggests Paul is simply warning women not to speak "out of turn" so to speak.

I would also point, with regard to the sexual component of this, at the many admonitions both before after these verses. In particular 2:9 and 2;15. Paul manages to warn women 3 different ways to be "proper" so to speak (depending on how they are read.)