Questions on 1 Timothy 2:12-15


A comment on another post came in regarding some of the 1 Timothy 2 posts.

I have moved the comment to the bottom of this page for an easier flow of thought.

There where three considerations mentioned:

I have been taught much of what you wrote. These last several years I have been challenged by three considerations.
1. Eve was deceived and still in a state of innocence, whereas Adam was not deceived and acted in rebellion.

Those points are interesting to say the least.
Certainly Adam was not deceived and Eve was. Rebellion is the only other option. I talk about that in 1 Tim 2:14 No headship in sin.

2. There seems to have been a problem in Ephesus with women in the church who would claim to speak for God, yet would give “words of knowledge” different or in opposition to the instructions their husbands had spoken. The text seems to favor the relationship of husband /wife rather than generic male and female. I cite the reference in 1 Tim to Adam and Eve, not just male and female.

Concerning 2.
While I believe it is pure conjecture to draw out the “words of knowledge” statement I would agree that something problematic was happening. More than likely given the context the issue was women seeking eldership/pastoral positions in the church. Embedded in Paul's statement "I do not permit…" is the concept that some were seeking what he was therefore stopping. Several commentators have commented that they believed something like this. But there is no concrete way to determine what it was that these women might have been teaching, or if they were even teaching just yet.
Others have conjectured that the women were falling prey to the false teachers in Ephesus and thus were themselves beginning to teach the errors. But would this not have occasioned another rebuke of the false teachers? Aside from the book of Galatians Paul does not often attack those who have been led astray, he chooses rather to empty his ammo on those causing the problem and then to merely direct everyone else with proper theology.
As far as the text potentially concerning husband and wife more than generic male female relations, there may be some important points related to that as well. Certainly the "parallel" texts in Corinthians would indicate that husband headship is a key issue. But Paul has also taught that singleness is better than married life if you have the capacity to handle it (1 Cor 7). Could it be equally probable that some women were not married in Ephesus and these were seeking to lead? That being the case there is room in 1 Timothy 2 to interpret the women generically and thus it seems more probable that the generic sense is intended in the instruction. It seems probable to me that if husband/wife relationships were at issue Paul would have included some call to the husbands as well. (Though an argument from silence like this is notoriously a weak one.)

3. The Word of God was not yet completed. The silence was instructional to young Timothy to bring harmony and growth to the church at Ephesus. Since the authority of all we teach, male or female is now written, we are all under it's authority. The concern over conflicting “words of knowledge” went out the same door as the sign gifts.

Concerning 3.
While the new testament was not yet complete the old testament was and it was considered to be completely sufficient (2 Tim 3:16). I think Paul would have considered that true still in 1 Timothy. Thus the argument falls apart somewhat.
As far as the concern over conflicting words of knowledge going out the door, I disagree. What is delivered in pulpits all over America if not the world around is one style of "words of knowledge" and we'd have a far fewer number of denominational schisms if more and more pew sitters would turn into Bereans who dared to check the scriptures themselves instead of relying upon what is often faulty exegesis from a pastor who many times is merely stating what he heard in school or experienced growing up rather than he himself checking the scriptures.
To that end, I have taken the almost painful choice to encourage the people at my church* to question and search whatever I teach against the scriptures and I intentionally set aside Sunday nights for dialog and occasionally even disagreement if need be concerning the morning message. It has not yet failed to be a very instructive time for everyone.

* It's God's church. Don't mistake that phrase for ownership. It's just too unwieldy to repeatedly say "God's church at which I serve."