True Power

True Power

Monday, July 12, 2010

I Timothy 2:9-15: Women, study the word thoroughly Part 1.


From my manuscript: When Will Eve Be Forgiven?
I Timothy 2:9-15:

“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 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.”

The King James Version, which uses different terminology than the NIV states a woman is not to “usurp authority” over a man.

The word “usurp” is used only once in the entire Bible in I Timothy 2:12. It is a Greek word authenteo (aw-than-the-o) which means to act of oneself, i.e. (fig) dominate. It means “to exercise authority on one’s own account, to domineer over.” The word “authority” as it is used in the verse, does not have its own definition. The word “authority” and “usurp” are used interchangeably.

Within the New Testament there are six uses, with definitions, of the word “authority.” Various definitions of authority include: a ruler or officer of great authority, mighty, Potentate (a high officer), in the sense of ability, privilege, force, capacity, competency, freedom, mastery, delegated influence, power, authority, right, liberty, jurisdiction, strength, to control, bring under the power of, have power of, commandment, an injunction or a decree, to have full privilege over, prominence, superiority, and excellency.

Of all of the above definitions, none were sufficient or able to define what God meant by a woman having “authority” over a man. If we are to understand Scripture we must allow the Scriptures to speak for itself. The word “usurp” means the woman should not act or teach a man on her own behalf. She is not to exercise authority of a man on her behalf. I find this to be sound advice for any teacher. Males should not teach males on their own behalf. Adults should not teach children on their own behalf. We teach the Gospel on behalf of God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, and those that are lost. Teaching the Word of God has nothing to do with exercising our authority over another on our own behalf. Can anyone disagree with putting oneself secondary to the Word of God?

The use of the word "or" between teaching and usurp authority should also be taken into account. What soes the conjunction "or" Mean?
a. To suggest that only one possibility can be realized, excluding one or the other: "You can study hard for this exam or you can fail."
b. To suggest the inclusive combination of alternatives: "We can broil chicken on the grill tonight, or we can just eat leftovers.
c. To suggest a refinement of the first clause: "Smith College is the premier all-women's college in the country, or so it seems to most Smith College alumnae."
d. To suggest a restatement or "correction" of the first part of the sentence: "There are no rattlesnakes in this canyon, or so our guide tells us."
e. To suggest a negative condition: "The New Hampshire state motto is the rather grim "Live free or die."
f. To suggest a negative alternative without the use of an imperative (see use of and above): "They must approve his political style or they wouldn't keep electing him mayor."
If example "c" is applied a woman will not wrestle control from a man for her own good to teach them as in teaching a corrupt doctrine. So, a woman should not forced teach or authority of a man. Simple huh!

One may say the need to address the issue of a woman being silent should come before any discussion about a woman teaching a man. Well, what did Paul mean by the statement “a woman needs to be silent and submissive in the church?”

The complete verse (34) reads as follows: “women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says (NIV has “law” capitalized)” In my religious studies, one of the first things I learned is when the word law is capitalized as in Law, the Law of Moses is the law being addressed. During the missionary journeys of Paul, Christians were no longer under the Law of Moses, but under the teachings of Jesus.

The usage of the Greek word nomos (nom-os) means law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), gen. (regulation), spec. (of Moses) or fig. (a principle) law. We must ask to which law Paul was referring. Was he speaking about Roman law, the Law of Moses, or an understood law of the Gospel?

In Paul’s educational background, he studied with a leading teacher of his time named Gamaliel, the son of a top Jewish scholar, Hillel. He was quite familiar with the laws of Moses. Paul described himself as a zealous person when it came to honoring God. Can Paul’s statement in regards to women come from his prior education? Was Paul privy to Jesus sending the first missionary woman at the well to spread the news regarding the living water? And how can we reconcile Paul’s treatment of Phoebe and the honor he showed to her in his writings?

The bigger question is the statement Paul made in regards to Eve. Women must not be in positions of authority due to the fact of Eve being deceived first and also due to the fact she was formed second. Did Paul consider Eve of less importance because she was created after the man, Adam?

The main question we should ask ourselves is do we believe that God, in the totality of his revealed nature in Scripture, view all women on the basis of Eve’s sin as Paul suggests? What role did Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection play in the forgiveness of Eve in the eyes of man? Did Paul really mean a woman could be saved from the sins of Eve in bearing children as stated in I Timothy 2:15? Does the act of giving birth redeem the woman? What happens to the woman who does not have any children?

Stayed tuned for part 2 of this discussion on how childbirth could save a woman as Paul suggests in Scripture.

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