I Timothy 2:12-14 may be the most frequent passage used in Scriptures to deny women and men are equal in God’s eyes when comes to spiritual authority: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” There are several hints that this passage and the Bible do not make such a declaration and God believe roles depends on gifts not gender.
Is our interpretation of the Bible the only way to understand God?
Who should be the CEO or preach? The most qualified or gifted in my mind. It seems doubtful an all-knowing God would suggest women to be under the authority of men when history has proven men are prone to dominate women anyway. The Bible cannot be our only source for discerning God’s true nature, because there are different interpretations of the same passage. It is best to question an interpretation that doesn’t make rational or moral sense to us.
Why would a biblical writer contradict themselves about God?
Many think the Apostle Paul wrote or served as editor for I Timothy as well as letters to the Corinthians and Romans. Paul affirmed and didn’t condemn women praying and prophesying (I Cor. 11:4-5). Paul mentions in practically the same breath that roles are according to one’s gifts and doesn’t mention gender (I Cor. 12:4-11). Romans 16 is only one of many chapters in the Bible that speaks of women in leadership roles, similar to both Priscilla and Aquila teaching Apollos (Acts 18:26). Doesn’t this presuppose that women can teach men, that it depends on the situation if a man or woman should lead?
Does I Timothy suggest advice given due to circumstances existing?
Paul could have in a different culture encouraged men to be silent for the sake of peace. Paul in this same passage advises women to avoid certain hairstyles or jewelry (I Tim: 2:9), but seldom do churches make the same prohibitions as they do women teaching. Paul gave a list of rules for widows but they are ignored as assumed to be cultural (I Tim. 5). Paul likely used the first couple as an example of what to avoid – Eve prevailing upon Adam to go against God’s ways. But, if such a sin keeps women from preaching for eternity, maybe men shouldn’t preach either. Paul says Adam was responsible for what happened in the garden (Rom. 5: 12).
What if suggested the Bible teaches roles according to the color of a person’s skin?
I hope you would take a stand if someone suggested God advocated racism or favoritism. Concerning women I am going to stand on the side that is potentially less abusive to half of God’s creations. Interpretations are not infallible! Do we really want to suggest that God doesn’t trust women to handle the Truth? Many men prove they can’t handle the Truth! Our beliefs are important because they shape actions. When a husband assume spiritual leadership over their wives, many men assume leadership means making final decisions in an impasse. I have never had an impasse in marriage that cannot be solve creatively without one partner making all such decisions.
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