If I may, I share here two articles about the female pastorate. An interpretation of I Timothy 2:11-15: https://vidaemabundancia.blogspot.com/2013/04/consagracao-feminina-ao-pastorado-i.html And a discussion about the "order of Creation" referred to in I Timothy 2:13: https://vidaemabundancia.blogspot.com/2024/05/porque-primeiro-foi-formado-adao-depois.html (Both articles are in portuguese, but you may activate the automatic translation at the right top menu.)

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Jan 8, 2022·edited Jan 8, 2022

This was a nice article and I learnt some new stuff about early translations of this word into other languages. Thanks for that!

On the broader egalitarian v complimentarian debate I am reminded of the calvinism v arminism debate. Calvinists mostly focus on Romans 9 plus a verse here and there whereas arminists draw on broad themes from many parts of scripture where the language of choice and UR is used. Both sides argue that the other is taking an awkward reading of a certain set of scriptures where Molinism is a 3rd option that tries to accept a straight forward reading of both scriptures

In this case, 1 tim 2 is the equivalent of Romans 9 and complimentarians seem to read many other scriptures like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRnyfVgQbXk

Is the analogy of molinism to this debate pentecostal complimentarianism?

In this case passages like 1 tim 2 are interpreted to be a husband and wife context like other complimentarian passages (my wife isn't expected to submit to all men this is based on the use of aner and gune). Also we similarly note the use of authentin and also the unusual word used for silence here.

But in submission/headship we note the example of Jesus and the church referred to in Ephesians and look at when Jesus talked about washing the feet and mentioning that is the job of a slave. Jesus explicitly said that whoever wants to be leader must be slave to all. Therefore in pentecostal premarriage counselling we were instructed on how to have a fair labour division of household chores and all different strategies to achieve that.

Many also reject Tim Keller's model that leadership means we make decisions in a tie-breaker sense. Jesus doesn't claim a decision making role in secular matters e.g. Luke 12:14. We also aren't called into an aristolean model of superiority because we "there are no male or female..we are one in Christ".

Jesus clearly had some sort of leadership role over his deciples dispite being the servant, not claiming priveledges or superiority (phillipians 2) or control (Luke 12). Even many radical feminists accept a complimentarian role in the area of romance. The man pursues, buys flours, organizes dates, makes the first move. In the same way, there is a spiritual initiator role men are called into. "Let's have a Bible study, let's worship, let's pray". That doesn't mean I call foul if my wife does that any more than I would if she organizes a date. But this is the role God is calling husbands into and it is no different when Paul (or even pseudo paul for the skeptics, still inspired imo) calls us into that than if a pastor encourages men to buy flowers for their wives.

Incidentally, I see this as subversive of the patriachy rather than promoting it. Women are traditionally stereotyped to be more spiritual, even today women almost double the number of men in the church. Yet men are called into traditionally feminized roles and women in romans 16 and other places are called into masculinized roles of teaching and apostle ship (the dangerous job of being sent) as well as financier. This is because we are not conformed to societies culture of what is male or female, but both genders are to immitate Christ emphasizing areas of traditional weakness.

Of course someone could pushback by pointing out examples of sexist pentecostals, fair enough we can't generalize. But as far as I presented it, pentecostal complimentarianism does the least violence to scripture or conscience much like molinism does in the free will/predestination debate in my opinion

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Interesting analysis. However, I noticed the author doesnt deal with the 'I don't permit a woman to teach a man' part of the same sentence. Understanding the meaning of a single word does not explain that.

Also It doesnt seem to take into account Paul's very next sentence, in which he seems to be using the order of creation of man first then woman to justify his instructions. The distinct impression being given is that because God has ordained certain things, that determines how people should behave within the church. Paul's words do not appear to present himself as a total egalitarian when it comes to men and women in the church.

I would be very interested in Michael Bird's or others responses. I often think Paul is, like the rest of us, a product of his own generation and culture and we therefore should not assume that everything he wrote in the first century is God's word for all generations and cultures.


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You are right that 'authentein' is only one word and we need to look at 'I don't permit a woman to teach'. But we also need to look at 'let the women learn' in verse 11. Interestingly this is the only use of the imperative (i.e. command tense) in this section. Paul commands that the women learn and then in the next sentence moves away (and it is a fair assumption given his careful use of language, that he does this deliberately) from the imperative to the much weaker present tense when he says 'I'm not permitting them to teach'. He doesn't even use the aorist which could more easily be seen as 'on a regular basis I don't'. So there is at least an implication that he is deliberately limiting the extent of this statement. It seems strange that verse 11 is often seen as grudgingly giving permission for women to learn (partly because English does not have a 3rd person imperative so it is not so easy to translate accurately) whereas v12 is seen as a definite command! I have seen it argued that the explanation given in vv13-14 is more likely to be giving the reason for the command, ie why the women must learn, than supporting the secondary statement that she is not at present to teach. I think I would prefer to say 'might be seen as' rather than 'is more likely' however it is a possibility that needs considering! Again it is worth noting that if the argument is supporting 'Eve' not teaching, you would have expected it to read "Adam was formed first 'not' Eve" rather than the "Adam was formed first 'then' Eve" which could be seen as suggesting that those who were not at first permitted to teach could later be given permission. At the very least these things show that this whole section is not quite as clear cut as is so often assumed.

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Jan 18, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

The imperative is a mood not a tense. There is no such thing as the “imperative tense.” And Paul does not “move” from the imperative to the “weaker” present. The command μανθανέτω (manthanetō) in v. 11 is in the present tense too; they are both in the present tense. There are no changes going on here. But even if there were, assuming that an author was intentional about tiny changes in grammar is dubious psychologizing.

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I appreciated your rebuttal here. Your conclusion was a bit troubling since it opens the door for other culturally contextually implications such as, sexual ethics in the Bible.

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This post is about relating the language to the cultural context at the time the letter was written, and the century or two afterwards. That, surely, is a good thing. The reading of the word as a general prohibition of women in authority in the church is reading which is conditioned by a culture which it seems is at odds with the text.

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Thanks. I dont view my comment as a 'rebuttal', Im just trying to understand Paul, and whether or not it still applies today. Explaining a single word contained in 4 sentences does not explain those 4 sentences. As for 'culturally contextually' I think we always have to have that at the back of our minds simply because we cant assume everything is relevant today. They were, after all, emerging from Judaism which can hardly be said today. We take it for granted that slavery, common in Paul's culture, is immoral in today's culture, though of course we have to remember slavery then was not necessarily similar to the slavery of black people in more recent times. Nevertheless, Paul never condemned slavery at the time.

As for sexual ethics, personally Im confident that Jesus' own teaching regarding marriage still stands, and it seems it went without saying in Jewish circles that gay sex, for example, was wrong/inappropriate in God's eyes, hence why Jesus never explicitly addressed it- he was not asked about it because it was a settled issue. I have seen no persuasive arguments for changing that view.

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Hi Peter. This is a short blog post and I've chosen to focus only on one word.

However, I link to other articles where I look at the whole verse, 1 Timothy 2:12 and it's context.

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Captain Pedantic notes that it's not "it's," it's "its." ;-)

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Since I am not an evangelical Christian I am not bound to the restraints of literalism or that all things in the Bible must be the product of divine inspiration. Nearly 2000 years of scholarship has provided the Bible student with an enormous advantage over first century believers. Our advantage includes having the canon of the Christian scriptures and a long history of interpretation and application and observed consequences. We have a great advantage over our Christian ancestors. The modern, free world Bible students experience democracy and egalitarianism as the first century Christians never could. Freed from the shackles of religious fundamentalism, modern Christian can understand the divine revelation better today than even the composers. God's Holy Spirit continues inspiration. It is up to the Church to correctly affirm the truth.

"Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15 NLT).

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You're right. We have more advantages now, more tools to help us understand the Bible, than ever before, and we should use them. God bless.


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Those who tout they are a New Testament Church will not agree with us. I wonder if they desire to be like the congregations in Corinth or Sardis?

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