Re: 1 Tim 2:12

From: Paul R. Zellmer (
Date: Mon Jun 29 1998 - 00:43:58 EDT

Paul Dixon wrote:

> Ward:
> Thanks for your input on this. I'd like to consider your claim that
> ANHR and GUNH refer to the husband and wife relationship. Perhaps
> after reading your paper, I'll do just that.
> However, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that ANHR and
> GUNH in 1 Tim 2 do refer to husband and wife, respectively.
> Furthermore, let's assume that the instruction of the passage then
> relates specifically to the husband-wife relationship.
> If so, then it seems to me that the most we could possibly infer is
> that this passage does not explicitly forbid a woman from teaching
> or holding authority over a man who is not her husband in a different
> arena, such as in the church, or in a small group setting, and that
> the door, then, might be open for them to do so.
> I have two observations to make. First, is there any precedent for
> saying that a woman was forbidden from treating her husband
> in a certain way, but where she could treat other men that way?
> I don't think so, but that may be neither here nor there, as this
> could a unique situation. In line with this, however, how plausible
> is it that a woman who properly obeyed this directive toward her
> husband would feel she comfortably do otherwise to other men?
> It seems most incongruous.
> Second, the reasons Paul gives (the order of creation, and the order
> of the fall) do not seem to be reasons that pertain to the marriage
> relationship exclusively. Paul does not use ANHR and GUNH in
> these reasons (vv 13-14). Rather, he uses ADAM and hEUA. These
> names are normally taken as representative of men and women
> respectively, Adam as the first man and Eve as the first woman.
> In summary, if we think that taking ANHR and GUNH refer to
> the husband-wife relationship only, and conclude from this that
> the woman may teach or hold authority over another man or men,
> then we have gone too far. It seems the burden of proof would be
> upon those who would wish to posit such an incongruous behavior
> of women.
> I am not saying you have concluded this, just making an
> observation in general.


I cannot state conclusively that I agree with Ward's proposition, since
I have not studied it out enough. However, assuming he is correct, that
does not imply the conclusions you have stated in the quoted post.
About the most correct thing that you said is, "this passage does not
explicitly forbid a woman from teaching or holding authority over a man
who is not her husband...."

Just because such an item is not explicitly forbidden does not require
it to be allowed. Yet that is the basis for your remaining points.

What is it about either the topic or these verses that cause you to put
forward that they *must* refer to men and women in general? We see Paul
singling out other specific relationships in other passages in his
discussions of yielding to authority, i.e., fathers-sons,
overseers-slaves, governors-citizens. Can this not be another case of
this type of treatment?

Even your discussion of Adam and Eve seems flavored toward requiring
this passage to be universal. If you were Paul and wanted to use their
case as an example, what would you call them? If it were I, I would
probably use their names, just like we see here.

So I repeat my question, which is very much related to the original
question of this thread: Why does it *have* to be universally "women"
as opposed to "wives"?



Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
Ibanag Translation Project
Cabagan, Isabela, Rep. of Philippines

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