Re: 1 Tim 2:12

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Mon Jun 29 1998 - 20:21:52 EDT

B-greekers all:

At 04:04 98/06/29, Larry Swain wrote:


>1) First, anyone, any side of this question must it seems to me deal with
>the fact that in the first 7 verses of this chapter, the author uses the
>word ANTHRWPOS-for he wished to save all ANTHRWPOS (v4) and there is one
>mediator between QEOS and ANTHRWPOS, hO ANTHRWPOS XRISTOS IHSOUS and then
>in verse 8 and after he uses ANHR and GUNH. Why the change? Stylistic?
>Then prove it. A change because he is here talking not about humanity,
>but specifically husbands and wives? Prove it.

Paul's use of ANQRWPOS actually commences in verse 1 of 1 Tim 2. When each
of these uses is examined it will be noted that both men and women are
being referred to - that is, ANQRWPOS means "person", "human being", and
not "male" (or "husband") to the exclusion of "female" (or "wife"). Thus
(verse 1) prayer is to be offered for all people; God desires all people
(not just males) to be saved (verse 4); there is one mediator between God
and people of both sexes (verse 5). Even when Christ Jesus is referred to
as ANQRWPOS rather than ANHR (verse 5), it is because what is in view is
his humanness not his maleness. The point is emphasized in verse 6, "who
gave himself as a ransom for ALL". This is brought out in the NRSV, which
translates ANQRWPOS in this passage as "everyone", "humankind", and the end
of verse 5 as "Christ Jesus, himself human".

The change thereafter to the use of ANHR and GUNH is then indeed most
significant, for what follows is a discussion of the differences between
the roles and calling of men and women (or, husbands and wives, depending
upon one's understanding of these verses).

>Does Paul use ANHR and
>ANTHRWPOS interchangeably in other places, particulary in Timothy? If not,
>what does it mean to these verses?

There is no doubt that the areas of meaning of ANQRWPOS and ANHR do overlap
in meaning. But I cannot bring to mind any place where Paul uses them
interchangeably. Rather, he appears (IMHO) to choose the one word or the
other with care. Notice, for example, 2 Tim 2:2, "what you have heard from
me through many witnesses entrust to PISTOIS ANQRWPOIS, who will be able to
teach others (hETEROUS) also". If indeed Paul held the view, and laid down,
that only males could teach [other males], it is in my judgement
inconceivable that he would here use ANQRWPOS. He would have guarded his
teaching by using ANHR, so as not to leave any possibility of being
misunderstood. But what he has said in this verse is, "entrust to faithful
PEOPLE" - of both sexes - who will be thus enabled to teach DIFFERENT
PEOPLE i.e., of both sexes also. (Cf. the difference in meaning between
hETEROS and ALLOS, and its significance in this verse.)


The other issues that Larry raises here are dealt with in considerable
detail in my "The Ministry of Women in the Church". It would be difficult
to answer them concisely here, and would move too far from a consideration
of the Greek. I would only mention that Phoebe (Romans 16:1) was a
DIAKONOS, that that word is used in the NT with reference to a role and
office open to both men and women equally (and without distinction - there
are no more "deacons" and "deaconesses" in the NT than there are
"Christians" and "Christianesses"), and that the deacons were not leaders
in the sense of exercising authority but operated under the jurisdiction
and authority of the elders.

>5) Finally are the canonical questions:
> a) Some have stated that Timothy (i. e. the Pastorals) is
>deutero-Paul and therefore have explicitly or implicity cast doubt on their

I myself am firmly convinced of the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals,
but I acknowledge how widespread is the contrary view. I do not see any way
in which what I have said about the understanding of the meaning of
passages in the Pastorals (deriving as it does from a consideration of the
Greek text) will be negated solely by a rejection of Pauline authorship of
these epistles.

> b) Others have merely claimed that Paul is a product of his time,
>and therefore misogynist, and these verses did really have the modern world
>in mind

The view of Paul as a misogynist is sadly in error, and does Paul a great
wrong. Following upon (I would take it) the example of Jesus, Paul was well
ahead of his contemporaries in his recognition of the role and ministry of
women, and many examples could be adduced of this. However, this is not to
say that Paul regarded the roles and ministries of men and women as being
As always, in all of the foregoing take an implicit IMHO as being adduced
in each paragraph.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email:

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