Now we are going to take a look at 1 Timothy 2:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Here Paul says to Timothy that he wants the people there to pray for all people, and lift them up to God in many ways. Included in this are those in authority, like kings. In this there is hope God will guide those in authority so that the people under them can have lives that are quiet and peaceful.
Paul makes clear that God wants all people to be saved, and come to the truth, who is Jesus Christ, who is the ransom for every person. And this truth, the Gospel message, was intended to be testified of in due time. The word here for testified “martyrion” refers to a person giving witness or testimony of Jesus Christ. It also refers to anything which is done so that a person may have a witness or proof that God has worked. One example is the lepers Jesus healed going to the priests to give the mandated offerings, as a witness to the priests that God had worked and healed them.
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Now, for the reason of giving testimony of Jesus Christ, Paul says he had been ordained as a preacher, apostle, and a teacher to the Gentiles. The word here for ordained is “tithemi” and in this case it also means “appointed”. Paul uses the same word in Acts 13:47, in the same way,
For so hath the Lord commanded us, [saying], I have appointed thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
When used this way the word refers to God appointing someone to do something. In this case, Paul was appointed to be an apostle, preacher, and teacher, giving the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, to all men, but the Gentiles in particular.
So here we see reference to the instructions that all Christians have to share the Gospel, the testimony of Jesus Christ. And we also see reference to the particular appointment or calling that Paul has, including being an apostle, preacher, and teacher.
The word for preacher is the noun form of the verb for “to preach”. The verb is used in Luke 24:47 when Jesus said, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
And which Peter used referring to Jesus’ command in Acts 10:42
“And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead.”
and also as Jesus said in Mark 16:15-18
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
So here is a question. Can women be preachers? Yes, all Christians are told to be preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the Biblical meaning of the term “preacher”. And in fact all Christians, women and men, are told to be preachers by Jesus. It is not a gift of the Holy Spirit per se, but the most basic appointment given to all Christians. We are all appointed by God to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the same as Paul was appointed to do.
Paul also says he was appointed as an apostle and teacher.
These words are all also found in 1 Cor 12:18, 28
But now hath God appointed the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
And God hath appointed some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
And the same term of apostle and teacher are used in Eph 4:4-8,11-12
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto people. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
So Paul’s appointment to being an apostle and teacher comes from him receiving these gifts of the Holy Spirit. Just as he was appointed to preach, as all believers are, in his case he was also particularly appointed to be an apostle and teacher, because he received these gifts of the Holy Spirit. This was his particular “calling”, a broader term for all he was appointed to do. And while Christians may each have a slightly different calling from God, we all share the same hope, each in our individual callings. And the Bible also says in Rom 11:29, For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.
And so what gifts and calling of God a person has cannot be repented of nor should be repented of.
Who chooses what gifts and calling a Christian has? God chooses. The Bible also says earlier in the same chapter as quoted above, 1 Cor 12:4-14,18
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
God, the Holy Spirit, Himself chooses which gifts to give to each person. It is not the choice of any person, male of female, as to which gifts God chooses to give that person. Indeed, the language here in 1 Cor 12 “Jews or Greeks, slaves or free” is very similar to what Paul also says in Gal 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And so Paul expresses the same concept in 1 Cor 12, that everyone in Christ has the same Holy Spirit inside of them, who gives gifts as He chooses, without any regard to the person being Jew or Greek or slave or free or male or female.
And the Bible records quite clearly that the Holy Spirit does choose to give the gift and calling of apostle to women, mentioning Junia, a woman apostle; and this name in Greek is a female name:
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Romans 16:7
And the Bible says “first are apostles” which some take to mean this is the “first” gift to receive. As such if a woman can receive the gift of apostle, it would make sense she could receive any of the other “following” gifts as well.
Even in the Old Testament, both Miriam (sister of Moses) and Deborah (Judge of Israel) are called prophetesses. (Ex 15:20, Jud 4:4) And they both were servants of God. Under the same covenant, there was Anna who praised God for Jesus as a newborn baby and told people of him (Luke 2:36). In the New Testament among Christians, in Acts 21:8-9 we read
And the next [day] we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
And so God’s Word makes clear that Christian women can also have the gift of prophecy, the 2nd gift.
The last gift that is listed is the gift of tongues, which was the first gift given by the Holy Spirit to Christians on the day of Pentecost. Women were also given this gift on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 1:4-5,8-14; 2:1-4
And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And so here we see the women who followed Jesus, and Mary His mother, also received the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost.
As women can have the 1st and 2nd gifts of being an apostle and prophet, and were also among those given the original gift of Tongues, which Paul lists last, it therefore make sense that women can have any gift in between, from the first to the last, which the Holy Spirit chooses to give her.
As for the 3rd gift listed, which is to be a teacher, the Bible records of Priscilla and Aquila, a married Jewish couple. In some instances Priscilla’s name is listed first when they are mentioned in Paul’s letters, and in Acts, which some people say shows she was the more prominent of the two. (Acts 18:18, Rom 16:3) In any case, they both traveled with Paul to Syria in the Lord’s work, after he apparently converted them to becoming Christians. Then he parted ways with them in Ephesus, and they stayed there on their own. There is reason to think they were both teachers, as they are described as teaching Apollos, a Jew who already was already well familiar with the scriptures and also the Baptism of John.
In Acts 18:24-28 we read,
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
What this says is that both Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos. He already was “mighty in the scriptures” but they had more to teach him, as they had learned from Paul. And so they expounded to him the way of God more perfectly. In Acts 28:23 Paul is said to have “expounded” (the same word):
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom heexpounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening.
Apparently, expounding includes teaching out of the scriptures in both instances. And both Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos from the scriptures, who then went on to “mightily convince the Jews” showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. He already knew the scriptures well, but they had more that they taught him, and then he became a Christian, and he then did well, and with what they had taught him. So while it is not specified, Priscilla is described as someone who was a teacher, and likely had the gift of the Holy Spirit gift of teaching.
Getting back to Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2,
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Because of God’s will that the Gospel be testified of, Paul has been called to preach (as we all are) and his calling and gifts are that of an apostle and teacher.
And also for the cause of preaching the Gospel, testifying of Jesus Christ, Paul says next,
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Paul wants the men, as part of testimony of Jesus Christ, to pray publicly where-ever they go, lifting up blameless or holy hands to God, without showing anger or doubt. Imagine a man in a marketplace, praying and lifting his hands to God, a man that shows no anger, nor doubt. This is a man who seems to have faith. This is a man that perhaps other men will seek to talk to, or listen to, wondering about the peace he has. And I think this is what Paul is encouraging here, because this is public behavior that seemed likely (at least at the time, perhaps today also) to have the men be a beacon in public that others would come to, to stand out, so that the Gospel could be preached. And both men and women would likely find a man who acts like this in public interesting to talk or listen to.
And in like manner, for the same reason,
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Here Paul encourages woman to stand out, for the same reason. But for them it is different. What is going to make them stand out in a crowd, so other women and men might find them interesting and talk to them or listen to them, is for them to be modest, seemly, and simple in appearance.
The word “shamefacedness” also means reverence, and refers to an internal feeling of what would make you feel shame or not, or should. In any given culture, this will vary, as to what clothing a woman feels is modest or seemly enough that she feels no shame to wear it. The word “sobriety” means “soundness of mind, self-control, sobriety”. Which seems to indicate apparel that reflects these qualities.
Some examples of what is not considered modest is wearing gold, pearls, costly (very expensive) apparel. Also mentioned is “broided” hair. Note the “o”. This word does not necessarily mean “braided”, but is defined by Thayer’s as, “woven, plaited, twisted together, a web, plait, braid, ringlets, curls”. Which basically encompasses everything a woman might do to style her hair, whether a weave, twists, plaits, braids, curls, ringlets, or some complicated web design. Perming your hair would probably be included in this, as well as straightening it. And it might also include anything which takes a long time to do, like brushing it into feathers with a blow-dryer, using a curling iron, etc. Though the Greek here still places the emphasis on telling women to “modest themselves” and the apparel, hair, jewelry, and expensive apparel are all included in this. Women are indicated to do this themselves, not for anyone else to determine it for them. The emphasis is still for a woman to wear what she feels shows “shamefacedness” or “reverence” and “sobriety”. And in any given culture, this may vary. What are the clothes of a rich person in one country, might be standard common wear in another, and a hair style in this time that is plain for the culture, might in another culture be considered excessive. But what women themselves are to do, is to be determined by their internal feeling of what they feel is self-controlled, sober, shamefaced or reverent, of a sound mind.
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
But rather than adorning herself with all that above, a woman is to adorn herself with good works, which becometh women professing godliness. The terms here also means ‘promising reverence toward God’s goodness’. And all of this ties into Paul’s previous theme of what is helpful to women preaching the Gospel or out in public with such an aim.
The next couple of verses are translated in the KJV to read: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
For anyone who is not aware, there is much debate about this verse and it’s meaning. First of all, people seem very uncertain as to what the word for “usurp authority” means, which is the word “authentein”. It is only used here in the Bible, and rarely in extra-Biblical literature of that time, or in other time periods. Secondly, the order of the words in this verse are different in different manuscripts. The KJV uses the “Textus Receptus” from the early 1500s, a project which used various manuscripts had at the time, with a pick-and-choose process when it came to variants in the text of the copies, with some apparent influence from the Latin Vulgate, of which the earliest manuscript we have containing it is from the early 700s.
In the mid 1800s the discovery was made of the Codex Sinaiticus in a monastery in Sinai. In 1911 the New Testament of this Codex was first published. It has been firmly dated by scholars to have been written between 325-360AD. Even Wikipedia states,
“With only 300 years separating the Codex Sinaiticus and the original manuscripts of the New Testament, it is considered to be very highly accurate, as opposed to most later copies, in preserving obviously superior readings where many later manuscripts are in error. For the Gospels, Sinaiticus is generally considered among scholars as the second most reliable witness of the text (after Vaticanus); in the Acts of the Apostles, its text is equal to that of Vaticanus; in the Epistles, Sinaiticus is the most reliable witness of the text.”
And 1 Timothy 2 is one of those Epistles, which the Codex Vaticanus does not contain a copy of.
So I went to the “most reliable witness” of the text, to make sure I understood 1 Timothy 2:12 correctly.
I got these pictures from http://www.scribd.com/doc/14129399/Codex-Sinaiticus-01-Scripture-Index and checked them against the original, as the entire Codex is online to read(!), at http://www.codex-sinaiticus.net/en/
What you see here is the oldest, most ancient, copy of the original 1 Tim 2:11-12. This is the best anyone has to work from. The first thing I would like to point out to you is the blue lines. Do you notice the letters that stick out to the left, over the blue line? These mark the beginning of a verse, as they were understood then, back in 325-360 AD. And what this says here is that verses 11 and 12 as we know them, used to all be considered one verse. Which means the Greek from these 2 verses should not be divided under critical study. Another important thing to note is that 2 words here have switched their order, versus how they are ordered in Textus Receptus (1500s) which the KJV uses.
Put into Greek type, the above equates to this:
γυνὴ ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ μανθανέτω ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ διδάσκειν
δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός ἀλλ᾽ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ
a-woman in quietness she-must-learn in all subjection to-teach
but the-woman not I-allow neither to-authentien the-man but to-be in quietness
Let’s figure out what this means.
Based on how the Greek γυνὴ is usually translated, the singular woman here is best rendered “a-woman”, not “the-woman”.
ἡσυχίᾳ Means stillness or quietness and is also used in 1 Thes 3:10-12,
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
The Strong’s states, “description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others”. And it comes from an adjective which means “quiet, tranquil” and is translated as “peaceable”. So this word does not refer necessarily to any level of speech, whether loud or quiet, but rather the state of life of an orderly, reserved, content to work, quiet tranquil peaceful person, and in context means that someone works without being a busybody or disorderly.
μανθανέτω here means to learn, and it is a verb in “Third Person Present Active Imperative Singular” form. As Paul is speaking to Timothy, this means Paul is telling Timothy (as a church leader) that he must have her learn. The same verb form, for a different verb, is also used twice in 1 Cor 14:28-30, and the force of the verb is well rendered in the NASB, as this is imperative, which means it is a command, for a verb that means to keep silent:
But if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent.
And so this verb here means “she-must-learn”. Another way to put it is “have her learn” And the meaning is “you Timothy (as a leader of your church there) must have her learn”.
ὑποταγῇ or subjection here is Hupotage which means “under” + “arranged in order, series” in a way that implies a time series, or ordered by highest rank first. It is a word made from the combination of “upo”(under) and “tagma”(order). The type of “order” here is determined by the word “tagma”, of which the Thayer’s says, “that which has been arranged, thing placed in order… a body of soldiers, a corps… a band, troop, class”. So what is being referred to here with subjection in this verse is the kind of subjection found in a class or learning situation. Which is very fitting.
So what or why must she learn?
διδάσκειν means “to teach”. This is the verb form of the noun which means “teacher”, and is used of the gift of teaching in the passages above referring to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So far this reads “A woman in quietness must learn in all subjection to teach”
The next word is δὲ which means “but”, a conjunction that shows we are moving on to the next thought.
γυναικὶ means “the woman” or “the wife” based on how it is usually translated.
οὐκ means “not” ἐπιτρέπω means “allow” and is in the first person, so Paul is saying what he personally does not allow οὐδὲ means “neither”.
These 3 words combine together to form a construction which is a double negative negation in Greek. In English someone might say, “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no stinkin badges!” or “We don’t need no education, We don’t need no thought control”. The same sort of double negative negations are also present in Greek. And if one looks in the Thayer’s under the word in question “oude” it reads:
“3. not even… Gal 2:3 in a double negative for the sake of emphasis, οὐκ…οὐδὲ… Matt 27:14; Luke 18:13; Acts 7:5.” And the same sort of double negative is used here for added emphasis in 1 Tim 2:12.
Let’s look at some of the other verses which contain this same construction, so as to better understand how it works.
καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ πρὸς οὐδὲ ἓν ῥῆμα ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ἡγεμόνα λίαν
not answered to him neither in word (not even a word, not never a word)
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Matt 27:14
καὶ ὁ τελώνης μακρόθεν ἑστὼς οὐκ ἤθελεν οὐδὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν ἐπᾶραι ἀλλ᾽ ἔτυπτεν εἰς τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ λέγων, Ὁ θεός ἱλάσθητί μοι τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ
not willing neither his eyes (not even his eyes, not never his eyes)
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18:13
καὶ οὐκ ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ κληρονομίαν ἐν αὐτῇ οὐδὲ βῆμα ποδός καὶ ἐπηγγείλατο αὐτῷ δοῦναι εἰς κατάσχεσιν αὐτὴν καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ μετ᾽ αὐτόν οὐκ ὄντος αὐτῷ τέκνου Acts 7:5
not give him inheritance in the land neither space-of foot (not even a foot, not never a foot)
He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. Acts 7:5
And so this double negative construction generally means “not even” or “not never”, and places emphasis on the negation.
Back to 1 Tim 2:12, based on the examples above, how should it read?
οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός
not I-allow neither to-authentien the-man
but the woman “I allow not even” or “I allow not never” to-authentien the-man.
As such, Paul places great emphasis that he does not allow the woman to-authentien the man.
In any case, the word “neither” here does not refer to the verb teach, at all. It is part of a double negative construction centered around the verb of ”I allow”, referring to Paul.
So far this all reads,
A woman in quietness must learn in all subjection to teach. But the woman I allow not never to-authentien the-man, but to be in quietness.
αὐθεντεῖν means, according to both the Strong’s and the Thayer’s “one who with his own hands kills others or himself”. This is the primary usage listed, and as such a large concept is built into this one compact verb.
ἀνδρός is usually translated “the man” or “the husband” and also means just a “person”.
ἀλλ᾽ is “but”
εἶναι is “to be”
ἐν is “in”
ἡσυχίᾳ is “quietness”, as is used above
All of this together reads:
A woman in quietness, you must have her learn in all subjection to teach.
But the woman I allow not never to be-one-who-with-her-own-hand-kills the man, but to be in quietness.
And the next verses are:
For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived became in the transgression.
So what does it mean?
A woman in quietness, you must have her learn in all subjection to teach.
The first thing it says is that a woman in quietness must learn in all (classroom-type submission to authority) subjection to teach. This indicates that a woman who is going to teach, must first learn before she can teach. Timothy as a leader of the church is charged with this, that before she teaches she must first learn. So Timothy must have her learn. The woman is in quietness, stillness, “description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others”. This is the state she should be in as she learns, meaning she needs to do her work, not be meddlesome, and learn also, in all classroom-type subjection. The main emphasis in the New Testament on teachers is that they teach the Word of God, the Bible, doctrine and concepts and truths found in the Word of God. While someone may have the gift of teaching, before they will have anything to teach, they first will have to learn the Word of God. And here Paul is telling Timothy to see to this, that she learns, so that she can teach. In short, Paul makes it clear to Timothy that a woman needs to learn so she can teach, and Timothy as a leader of the church needs to see to it that this is happening. And Timothy needs to make sure she learns before teaching.
A woman in quietness, you must have her learn in all subjection to teach. But the woman I allow not never to be-one-who-with-her-own-hand-kills the man, but to be in quietness. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived became in the transgression.
Paul makes a clear reference here back to the story of Adam and Eve. It is in this story that we can understand why Paul used the word “authentein”, as in context he is trying to convey to the reader the entire concept of Adam and Eve eating from the fruit of the tree, and what happened. Because (not having been taught the true Word of God) as Eve with her hand gave Adam the apple, with her hand she took part in the action of him eating the fruit, that both resulted in him dying, and also herself dying. In tempting him to eat she became “in the transgression” (in the one singular transgression of Adam eating). The verb “authentein” means “one who with his own hands kills others or himself”. So this verb “authentein” is actually a perfect verb to use to describe this.
And here Paul (who wrote Romans 5 which explains all die because of 1 sin committed by Adam) goes into a further explanation of what he means. Which is not that the woman is responsible for killing the man, but rather that being deceived, she became in the singular transgression, became part of Adam’s sin, because she tempted him. And by Adam’s choice to sin, he killed himself and her. So this is balanced, as Paul recognizes their deaths were ultimately because of the 1 sin of Adam (Rom 5), and so it is fairly balanced here to reference to Eve’s part in it. Paul is by no means blaming Eve by using the word this way, but rather it is referential to his points which relate the story.
Paul is making a couple of points here.
Paul is making the point that a woman is trusting, and this can make her easy to deceive, and a woman who teaches something could lead others astray. For instance, after Adam lied and did not teach her the true Word of God, the serpent “taught” Eve a deception, which she believed, and after she ate from the tree, she thought she had something to “teach” Adam, and handed him the fruit. That is what “authentein” references to here, to convey the meaning that a woman can be potentially dangerous if she teaches without first being taught the truth of the Word of God. (The same obviously being true of a man also.)
As such the second point he makes is that Paul is speaking of his own responsibility, leading by example, trying to convey to Timothy as a church leader that he absolutely does not allow a woman to get into the situation of the same sort of thing happening again. What happened with Adam and Eve is an important reason why it is important for her to learn before teaching, in which Paul points out to Timothy a woman must (imperative command) learn in all subjection to teach. She must be a student, of a true teacher, before she is a teacher herself. Otherwise, a situation in which she has been deceived or is incorrect might arise, and she could end up helping to hurt others or herself unintentionally.
And Paul makes it clear he as a church leader absolutely never allows this to happen, but rather for her to be in quietness, which is referencing back to her being in a state of learning, “but to be in quietness (learning)”. Paul conveys to Timothy that he considers it his responsibility to make sure the women learn before they teach. In other words, he does not want women to teach until they have learned, because someone could get hurt, someone else, or herself, and he does not want any responsibility on himself for that. In essence, Paul does not want to do as Adam did, by withholding the Word of God from a woman, leaving her in ignorance, and references to the consequences.
Who she could hurt with a false teaching could be anyone else, as the “the-man” here is more likely just a word used as an example that fits the reference to the story. In other places this word “the-man” which is “andros” can refer to someone of either gender. So a woman teacher who has not learned first, potentially could hurt another woman with her teachings, and that is also a possibility which is implied here. Paul says he never allows that to happen, leading by example to Timothy with the responsibilities of a church leader, and giving instructions likewise. Paul makes sure that women do learn before they teach. Paul instructs Timothy as a church leader to make sure this happens, and also writes so the women of the church understand this themselves, that “she must learn in all subjection to teach”.
And this references well back to Paul’s student Priscilla, who he led to Christ, and taught her and her husband, and they both later taught Apollos. Paul himself taught a woman, and Acts recognizes this same woman taught Apollos, and there is no problem mentioned with any of this. In this story, it is in fact very clear that the Bible says it is fine for a woman to teach a man, and in this case her actions were part of how he was led to salvation in Jesus Christ.
These verses do not restrict women from teaching men, or a woman from teaching a man. These verses do not at all refer to a woman “usurping authority” over a man. Neither of these concepts are present in these verses.
These verses instruct a church leader to make sure that women learn, and specify this as a necessity in order for her to teach, and make this a church responsibility. Rather than restrict her from teaching, these verses acknowledge, affirm, and accommodate women as teachers. And this is done especially keeping in mind both that her trusting nature makes her potentially vulnerable to being deceived, and that the women in that time in general were not as educated as the men. The emphasis in this aspect is bringing her up to speed.
These verses say a woman should learn as a student, with proper respect for the teacher. These verses say she should learn co-currently with doing her work and not being meddlesome in the affairs of others, being tranquil. And so in this women are instructed by Paul, through Timothy, to themselves consider Paul’s words and have the self-control and wisdom from God to acknowledge that they must guard themselves from being false teachers, and be responsible, and themselves make sure they are well-learned before they teach. These are the guidelines, pointed out to the women through his letter, that they are to follow. But having accepted the responsibility to learn first, and having learned first, they are in no way restricted from teaching after they have learned.
The women only appeared to be singled out here because firstly they needed to be brought up to speed, and reminded to guard against being gullible or being deceived, and to recognize their own need to be educated with the truth first, before they taught others. And this is as much common sense for women as it should also be for men, and is equally true for men, but the men at this time were more likely to be able to read and be familiar with the scriptures. But the heaviest emphasis in this verse is directed to Timothy or any church leader that responsibility falls upon, to facilitate the women to learn, or they will bear some responsibility for negligence.
In fact, Paul was fighting against sexism in the church, so that it would (as Jesus or he does in so many other places) open up new doors for women that were far greater than they were accustomed to in the Pharisaical Jewish culture and religion they had been in.
And Paul cautions Timothy that he never allows a woman to get into a situation of accidentally hurting herself or others because she tried to teach while being unlearned in the truth of God’s Word. And Paul further emphasizes that women have a trait of being deceived due to being trusting, and so this is a very good reason for Timothy to make sure the women learn before they teach.
Furthering into a correct understanding of Genesis 3, and Romans 5, another point made here is that not teaching a woman the truth, the Word of God, was also a mistake made by Adam. So Paul further points to Timothy’s responsibility to teach the women the Word of God, lest it prove disastrous for the church. The way that Paul never allows a woman to potentially hurt anyone else or herself is the way of prevention. Paul makes sure that women learn before they teach, so they will know God’s Word, and the situation will be prevented. Knowing God’s True Word, they will not be easily deceived, and will not accidentally hurt someone else or themselves in trying to teach.
An ounce of prevention (teaching her the truth of the Word of God) is worth a pound of cure (her and others being hurt), is basically what Paul says here.
After referencing to Eve’s part in the 1 transgression, which was her tempting Adam to eat, Paul then references here to the punishment she received for her part in the transgression, but in a very positive redemptive way:
But she shall saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with sobriety.
This is a most strong and excellent promise to Christian women, saying that she will be kept safe through her childbearing, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with sobriety. This is an excellent promise to claim, too.
In summary, 1 Tim 2:11-14 is actually one of the strongest passages in the New Testament that shows the church’s need, and the requirement on church leaders, to recognize women as teachers and make sure to meet their needs to be taught. And while making clear that the church must make sure to accommodate and facilitate women to learn and be taught before they teach, it places no restrictions whatsoever on who women can teach once they have been taught. There is no difference here between the women and the men, both must learn to teach, but emphasis is placed on women here as many at that time were not yet educated. Ultimately, the gift of teaching is given by the Holy Spirit to whomever He wills, including women, along with any of the other gifts that comprise one’s calling from God. And it is the responsibility of the church to provide for and facilitate women as students and as teachers in the body of Christ.
And besides this, women may be apostles, prophets, or have any of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit as well. And the church needs to facilitate a woman in whatever calling, whatever gifts, she may have.
In 1 Timothy 2, after covering points helpful to men and women in preaching the Gospel, Paul spends a brief but powerful time covering women as students and teachers, before a full transition into covering the qualifications for the offices of elder and deacon, in the next chapter of 1 Timothy 3.