Re: 1 Tim 2:12

From: B. Ward Powers (
Date: Sat Apr 29 2000 - 06:44:40 EDT

B-greekers all,

At 01:57 PM 000427 -0400, Jim West wrote:
>At 10:16 AM 4/27/00 -0700, you wrote:
>> The question comes with regard to the relationship of the two
>>clauses and *oude*. Does the not allowing "a woman to teach" only relate
>>to the "man," [that is the sentence is stating that the woman cannot teach
>>a *man* but can teach women and children] could it be that the first
>>clause stands independently, and thus a woman is simply not allowed to
>>teach. He is affirming the latter, but I cannot figure an objective way
>>to either deny or affirm his exegesis.

I would urge that if we are to understand this pasage aright, and see the
meaning intended by the author, we must carefully notes the exact words
used, and their context in this passage (and other parallel passages, if any).

What is significant here, it seems to me, is the fact that the words GUNH
and ANHR, here rendered in most translations as "woman" and "man"
respectively, are also the normal Greek words for "wife" and "husband".
Which would be the intended meaning here? It is highly relevant to note the
passage which in many ways parallels 1 Timothy 2:8-15E, that is, 1 Peter
3:1-7, where the same words are uniformly translated as "wife" and
"husband", for the passae there is clearly refering to a "home and family"

But the whole passage 1 Timothy 2:8-15E is, similarly, referring to a "home
and family" situation: women getting dressed (vv.9-10); the situation with
Adam and Eve, which is used as validation for the author's comments
(vv.13-14 - they were husband and wife); and a woman giving birth to a
child (v.15 - an event which in NT times took place in a home situation).
These things would thus indicate that, as in 1 Peter, the translation here
for GUNH and ANHR should be "wife" and "husband".

>> I am well aware of the ramifications of this question and I am
>>quite aware of the other passages that relate to this question. I am
>>concerned with the syntax of the sentence.
>Since its syntax that "taxes" you here (pun intended) Blass-Debrunner
>suggest (in the 17th edition of their grammar), p. 374-5, that "oudh am
>Satzanfang oder nach ou innerhalb desselben Satzstueckes = 'auch nicht',
>'nicht einmal'. But since the phrase you wonder about doesnt "begin" with
>the word-- this is not necessarily applicable.
>Perhaps oudh here could be rendered "not even".... (see Robertson, p. 1185).
>In any event this in not a very politically correct way to render the
>verse-- but I think that the author of 1 Tim meant just that-- that women
>should be silent and not teach, and not even have any sort of authority---
>over men.

Here I would respectfully but totally disagree with Jim. He has switched
the grammatical number of these words into the plural, making the comment
refer to women in general in relation to men in general. Bu that is not
what the text says. It is singular in the Greek, referring to the
relationship of ONE woman to ONE man: and, in context, to the relationship
between a wife and her own husband.

This must determine our approach to the meaning. And we see that what is
under discussion is the question of whether the wife is the instructor and
authority over her husband in the marriage relationship. What is said in 1
Timothy 2 is that she is not; and this is completely consistent with what
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:4, "the husband is the head of his wife"
(NIV), and Ephesians 5:21-33E, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as
to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife . . ."

In these passages the same Greek words GUNH and ANHR are used. Notice the
word "own" with "husbands" in the Greek (IDIOS) - a woman is NEVER in the
NT instructed to be in submission to any man other than her own husband,
and a man is NEVER said to be in a headship role to any woman other than
his own wife.

What is meant by "headship" is of course very relevant to this discussion,
but that goes beyond our present concern.

Numbers of scholars have linked the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2 with the
passage in 1 Corinthians 14:33-35; but that has a different setting - in
the congregation - and is considering different issues.

Because of continuing interest in the interpretation of this passage in 1
Timothy, and other passages to which I have referred, I would draw the
attention of any who are interested in these questions to the fact that I
have discussed all these passages plus others, at length, with reference to
the Greek, in my book "The Ministry of Women in the Church" (S.P.C.K.
Australia, Adelaide, 1996, 224 pages, available through any Christian
bookshop or direct from me for $US20 postage included).

>Over women and children??? Who knows. The passage doesn't seem to
>address that issue at all.
>Jim West, ThD

If we see that 1 Timothy 2 and other related passages are discussing the
relationship within a marriage, as set out most fully in Ephesians
5:21-33E, then this will keep up from drawing an invalid and unjustified
conclusion to the effect that Paul affirms a requirement for all women to
submit to all men, and never to teach them. Realizing this will in turn
show that the question of a restriction upon women to teaching other women
and children simply does not arise: Paul says that reliable people (men and
women) are to be entrusted with the ministry of teaching others (men and
women) - see 2 Timothy 2:2 (in the Greek).



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AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College

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