Thursday, 22 September 2011

What does 1 Timothy 2:11-15 mean?

The 1 Timothy 2 passage in a nutshell:
  1. In context, Paul is dealing with false deceived teachers who are teaching false doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3, 7)
  2. Paul did not leave Timothy behind in Ephesus to stop the false teachers AND to stop all women who are teaching correct biblical doctrine. He only left Timothy behind to stop the false teachers from teaching false doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3)
  3. Paul says that he too had been deceived and he received mercy because of his fighting against the church was because he was ignorant of the truth and he had been deceived (1 Tim 1:13, 16)
  4. Paul differentiates between those who were teaching false doctrines because they were ignorant and deceived (1 Tim. 1:3, 7) and those who were deliberate deceivers (1 Tim. 1:19, 20)
  5. Paul names the deceivers (1 Tim. 1:20) but he does not name the ones who are deceived (1 Tim. 1:3, 6)
  6. Paul gives instructions to Timothy regarding how the men and women who claim godliness should conduct themselves in the church while they are in the midst of the false teachers (1 Tim. 2:1-10)
  7. All Christians should be praying for the lost even those who are lost in their midst - those who are embroiled in false doctrine (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
  8. The Christian men in the congregation are not to handle the false teachers with argumentation that might come out even in their prayers (1 Tim. 2:8)
  9. The women in the congregation who lay claim to godliness (1 Tim. 2:10) need to handle this false teacher situation with prayer as well (1 Tim. 2:9 "likewise" links back to prayer) and continue to produce good works (1 Tim. 2:10) and not expect that it is their appearance with elaborate dressing that will show forth the godly example, but their godly works (1 Tim. 2:8-10)
  10. Paul then abruptly changes from the godly men and women (plural) to the singular form of woman and man and deals with a problem of false teaching and a false teacher.
  11. Before Paul gives the prohibition, he gives the solution to one of the problems in the church. Paul instructs that "a woman" is to be given the opportunity to learn. This identifies the problem that she is not one of the deceivers, but one of the deceived. Paul never educates the deceivers - he names them, exposes them and shuns them. His solution to deception is education in sound doctrine and he never ever identifies the deceived.
  12. Paul tells Timothy that he is not allowing "a woman" to teach or authenteo "a man". It is out of context to even consider that Paul is here stopping godly women from teaching correct biblical doctrine. In context the prohibition can only be the stopping of false doctrine and stopping a false teacher. (1 Tim. 2:12)
  13. We know this is false teaching that is being stopped because Timothy's mandate to stop the teachers was only for false teachers. Also in the example given later of why the teaching is to be stopped, Paul ties the prohibition into the example of the first deceived woman (1 Tim. 2:14)
  14. Whenever gune and aner are mentioned together in scripture in any type of relationship, they are always translated as husband and wife. Verse 12 should be translated as a single wife teaching/influencing her husband.
  15. Paul has several times not identified people by calling them "a man" yet the context clearly identifies the "a man" as a specific person (2 Cor. 12:2, 5; 1 Cor. 5:1) 1 Timothy 2: 11, 12 follows that example as two people are called "a woman" and "a man" without naming them. They are not named because the wife is one of the deceived and Paul never identifies the deceived ones by name.
  16. Paul identifies the reason why the first man was not deceived and why the woman was. He refers us back to Genesis to discover the reason by stating that the man was created first and was not deceived and the woman was created second was deceived (1 Tim. 2:13, 14 and Gen. 2:8, 19) See Genesis 2:8, 19 in the Apostle's Bible which is the modern English version of the Greek Septuagint where it is quite clear the education Adam had before Eve was created.
  17. The grammar from 1 Timothy 2:15 requires the identification of a single female to refer back to "a woman" from verse 12. The "she" from verse 15 cannot be Eve because the tense is future and Eve is dead.
  18. The only "she" in this entire passage that verse 15 can refer back to is "a woman" from verse 12. "She" and "they" are given instructions regarding her salvation and it is future tense.
  19. 1 Tim. 2:15 gives the answer as to whether the deceived woman can receive salvation even though she has been deceived by false doctrine. She (refer back to verse 12 the deceived Ephesian woman) will be saved through the Messiah born of the woman (the childbearing which is a noun and not a verb), if they (refer back to verse 12 the deceived Ephesian woman and her husband) continue on in their faith in God, love for the Savior, holiness, and self-control to stay away from false doctrine. This is how one deceived woman will be saved (and is a pattern for the salvation of all deceived teachers).
  20. Summary: Paul was not making a universal prohibition that stopped godly women from teaching sound doctrine to men. He was stopping one of the false teachers in the assembly from taking her Christian husband down the proverbial garden path towards the forbidden fruit.

For a full media production of this passage along with the other hard passages of scripture on the women's issue, see our DVD called "Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?" available on

by Cheryl Schatz - December 2nd, 2006

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