Church Life

Women In Ministry? - 1Timothy 2:8-15

1 TIMOTHY 2:8-15

8 'I desire therefore that the MEN pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;

9  in like manner also, that the WOMEN adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,

10 but, which is proper for WOMEN professing godliness, (adorn themselves) with good works-

(11 Let a WOMAN (singular = WIFE) learn in silence (QUIETNESS) with all submission.

12 And I do not permit a WOMAN (WIFE) to teach or to have authority over (dominate) a MAN (HUSBAND), but to be in silence (QUIETNESS, MEEKNESS).

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

14 And Adam was not deceived, but the WOMAN being deceived, fell into transgression.

15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing) -if they (the WOMEN) continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.'

 

It is crucial to know whether Paul is speaking to the Divine Institution of Marriage or the Church. 

To follow his thought notice the change from women-woman-women.

In v 8,9,10 its clear that men and women generally in the church are being spoken to.

Then in v11-15a Paul goes on a side journey (parenthesis) signified by the change to 'the woman' (which should be translated THE WIFE) In Greek Husband/man and wife/woman is the same word.  It is clear that he is now discussing the marriage relationship,not church ministry -references to Adam and Eve, childbearing and the use of the singular) 

Again 'the man' (singular) should be translated 'the husband'

This makes possible an understanding of the strange switch from plural to singular in v15.  The plural pronoun 'they' by rules of grammer must refer back to the last plural noun-the women (of the church) in v10. After saying 'she shall be saved in childbearing' Pauls side-journey on marriage ends and he completes his thought in v10.

Thus Paul's word to the women in the church-life is v9,10,15b: 

'Women are not to make their first priority their adorning of clothes etc but adorning themselves with good works which is done by continuing in a spirit of faith,love and holiness (walk by the spirit--ie these works must flow from the inner-man.) Thus women must first cultivate their inner life before outward show.

As for v11-15a this is Pauls word to the WIVES - which agrees with the biblical teaching on submission and a quiet, gentle spirit. v11 should be translated 'quietness' not 'silence' (c.f 1Pet3) 

v12 is the controversial verse: 'I suffer not a WIFE to teach, nor to usurp authority (dominate) over THE HUSBAND (its clear this is a specific man-not all men-all women are not to submit to all men) (the present continuos tense for 'teach' implies she is not to hold an authoritative teaching position over her husband-obviously we all teach each other) but to be in quietness.' Unlike the Jews Paul encourages women to learn the word(v11) but warns wives who are spiritually ahead of their husbands not to use that to be dominant in their marriage but stay submissive.

However this passage makes no restrictions on women's ministry in the church. (Although some may deduce a possible conflict and problems for a senior-Pastor to be a woman even this is not forbidden)

This passage is clear once you appreciate the Divine Institutions (authority structures) and the grammar of the passage.

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