This passage seemed to come up much more often than the previous ones in this discussion, so I decided to go ahead and get this part of the discussion rolling. There is more to discuss re:1 Corinthians 14 Women speaking in church, but given that there is little difference of understanding being presented there, we'll go ahead with this one.
1 Timothy 2:1-15Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not withbraided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
Before we jump into the study of the last 5 sentences,above, let’s take a look at the immediate context, set by the preceding verses, and a word meaning.First, Paul first urges all to live quiet and peaceable lives. The word, peaceable, translates the Greekword hesuchios. This is the sameword that is translated as silent in the latter part of the passage. Hesuchios does not meansilent…it means tranquil, peaceable.
Second, men are instructed to lift holy hands in prayer. The Jews of that day prayed looking skyward, with hands raised, palms opened upward. It was their custom. Many today lift hands, but it is not a universal thing and is frowned upon, even forbidden, in certain churches. This is not a universal command from Paul, rather, he was simply writing about the cultural customs of the day.
Third, women are instructed regarding modest dress, yet in today’s churches, women wearing expensive finery are very common. The command is not against nice clothing, instead, it is given regarding modesty and simplicity…something that varies from culture to culture.
With these three points in mind, let’s look at the last bit. Women may not teach or have authority over a man, but must be in submission and silence. We’ve already seen a poor translation, above-silence, for the word that means peaceable, tranquil. So there are about 3 possible interpretations:
1) Paul’s words forbid women from teaching a man in public.
2) Paul forbids women in Ephesus from teaching or exercising authority because certain false teachers were taking advantage of the ignorance of some of the Greek women in order to spread false teachings.
3) Paul forbids any wife from teaching her husband in a domineering, non-submissive way that contradicts her role as his complement.
That should be enough to get ye olde conversational ball a rollin'. And since I'm outta time tonight, I'll see y'all tomorrow!