“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety”
(1 Timothy 2:11-15, NIV)
First, keep this in mind: the context of these verses is Paul’s instructions on worship service. And, remember that throughout the New Testament, the Christian home – husband and wife – is a picture of the union between Jesus Christ and His bride, the church (refer Ephesians 5:22-33). The man is the type of Christ and the woman is a type of the church. Ephesians 5:24 says, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” This context and text are reasons why for the strict instruction in these verses.
If you read 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, you’ll understand that women during Paul’s time were creating a disturbance or disorder in the public worship services by “speak in the church,” which I assumed that they questioned negatively about what was being preached. Some commentaries say that these women of Ephesus were new converts and thus have little experience. And due to Jewish male-dominated society of the time, the women were not allowed to study and thus having little knowledge of the truth (that was why if you study false teachings, cults or ancient religions, most of the leaders were women. See 2 Timothy 3:1-9). Here Paul outlines two main theological reasons why he “do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man”:
#1 First, the order of creation gives headship to the man (Genesis 1-2). “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” This doesn’t mean man is superior to woman in creation, but man was given the place of priority, and God intends that it should remain so. #2 Secondly, the woman was the one who fall into sin first. “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” The fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) was disastrous as a result when the woman first took a place of leadership that was never meant for her. Had Eve remained in place of “quietness and full submission” to Adam, the fall might never had taken place. Therefore, the woman is instructed to take the place of a learner (quietness) and one of subjection (full submission) to the man.
Now, now… we are clearly told in the Scripture that the woman is not to teach or exercise authority over the man and remember this is part of Paul’s instructions for worship service. This doesn’t eliminate women from teaching at all or writing books that help men or being in full-time ministry or to teach their children. I learned great deal about Christian living, knowledge of the Scripture and examples of lives from women in my life like Annette, Kim Cheng and my mother. Timothy was taught about the faith from his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). Among Paul’s own co-workers were great women like Priscilla, Euodia and Syntyche. Most of them held positions of responsibilities in the church. And are you not amazed by faithful women like Ruth, Esther and Deborah in the Old Testament? Superb! After many years, I came to a conclusion that in salvation, discipleship and status as God’s children, we – men and women – are equal. But in matter of headship and leadership men should take the lead. If family, church or organization doesn’t work properly, men are to be the first to take responsible not women!
About the last verse (v.15), I have to admit, I’m still confused and don’t know which interpretations or believes I should hold. For sure the woman should continue to “live in faith, love, holiness and modesty” (NLT).
Readers, either you agree with me or not,
Lord, I try to be as faithful to your Word as possible.
I’m not afraid of men, but forgive me if I put errors in your Word. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.