“In honor of Christ, I want to avoid teaching men through this blog without avoiding my responsibility to substantiate my assertions (or, when necessary, recant them) with Scripture. Sometimes, I may cross the line, in which case I’ll eagerly repent. If I had a way to guarantee an all-female readership, believe me, I’d be teaching a lot more boldly! Alas, I can’t control who reads this blog.”
“In the forum that we were in with Naomi’s Table, it was made clear that this was intended for women not men. Could I stop a man from listening on the radio? No. But, especially when teaching anything that directly related to men (i.e. husbands love your wives…) I put so many disclaimers around anything I said, pointing any men listening back to Scripture, re-stating that I was not trying to teach them, that they should not be using me as their teacher, etc.”
“Vince is the leader of this ministry and Lori serves in a supportive role helping with the administrative aspects of organization of materials, responding to women who email the ministry…and any other help-mate role that Vince needs in fulfilling other aspects of the ministry. Lori will never be speaking in front of a group that consists of a mixed audience of both male and females.”
What saddens me about these statements is that these women feel limited in how boldly they can publicly proclaim gospel truth because a man might choose to listen in. And this limitation is occurring because of a gross misunderstanding of 1 Timothy 2:12.
I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
Now, all of the women claimed that this verse was written in the context of teaching within the church. But while 1 Timothy 2 does address worship, it doesn’t explicitly state or even imply that said worship is occurring only within corporate gatherings. To say that Paul is only addressing worship within the church is to read something into the text that isn’t there. When he says in verse 8 that “I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing,” should we believe that’s an instruction limited only to corporate gatherings? When he says in verse 9 that women should dress modestly, without “gold or pearls or expensive clothes,” is that only for Sunday morning? Of course not. We don’t stop worshiping God once we leave a church building.
Obviously, this does a demolition job on those who want to limit 1 Timothy 2:12 to corporate settings only. But the verse’s universal context is necessary to really unlocking its power.
You see, there appears in 1 Timothy 2:12 a unique word that does not appear anywhere else in the whole Bible. That word is authentein. It is the Greek word translated into English as “authority.” Complementarians teach that this authority is a type of spiritual authority–or headship or leadership–granted to men only. But they are wrong about that, too.
Authentein is a difficult word whose meaning has evolved slightly over time. But a close study of the word reveals that it is an abusive type of authority, where one person dominates and oppresses the other. Its meanings include “to usurp,” “to murder” (both others and one’s self) and possibly even “to instigate violence.” Historically, it also has a sexual connotation, which could be translated as “to seduce” or “rape.” The noun form of the word means “master” or “autocrat.”
So here are some other, more accurate ways of reading 1 Timothy 2:12:
- “I do not permit a woman to teach or dominate a man.”
- “I do not permit a woman to teach violence against men.”
- “I do not permit a woman to teach a man licentiousness.”
- “I do not permit a woman to teach a man to kill himself.”
Any of those things would be inappropriate for a Christian woman to do, inside or outside of the church. And guess what? They’re inappropriate for men to do as well!
Authentein refers to a form of authority that no Christian is permitted to exercise. Just because Paul says he doesn’t permit it for women doesn’t mean that it is, by default, authorized for men. Jesus had a lot to say about authority, and he was pretty clear that domination, murder, abuse and licentiousness were off the list.
No, women teaching scripture on the Internet does not violate the spirit of 1 Timothy 2.
Women teaching scripture in church does not violate the spirit of 1 Timothy 2.
Women teaching scripture to men does not violate the spirit of 1 Timothy 2.
Authentein is an abusive, ungodly authority. All believers, male and female, are equipped by God’s Spirit to lead the way to righteousness. So, ladies, don’t be afraid to speak boldly. There shouldn’t be any disclaimers put upon the gospel simply because it came from a woman’s mouth. Truth is truth.