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Author Topic: Women in Ministry  (Read 1547 times)
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« on: April 17, 2005, 10:06:30 PM »

Certain verses are used by those who hold that women should not be in ministry, or perform offices in church, such as prophet, evangelist, pastor, etc.  One such is 1 Tim 2:12, which is often used to indicate that women should not hold leadership positions.

Since neither leadership nor headship in the church are mentioned either in the verse or in the context of the verses surrounding this one, I disagree that they are specific to the "women in leadership". The leap in logic required is not as difficult for us since we have had years of teaching and preaching with this supposition until we find it easy to believe Paul was speaking of church leadership in these verses. But, as I've said on other forums:

1 Tim 2:12 reads "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." The word "usurp", though not actually in the manuscripts, apparently, lends a certain light in that the next word "authority" here is said to mean (again from the KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon):

1. one who with his own hands kills another or himself
2. one who acts on his own authority, autocratic
3. an absolute master
4. to govern, exercise dominion over one

This describes someone who is acting outside the bounds of 1 Peter 5:5 for instance, "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."

It seems clear, then, that it was in the cultural context spoken of by others, (NOT NECESSARILY HELD, BY ME, TO BE THE CORRECT OR ONLY REASON THIS VERSE WAS WRITTEN )whereby women are said to have been shouting across the church meeting rooms to ask questions, (or possibly to "teach" someone something) that there had to be some order imposed, that God's good name not be "blasphemed" (*) by the meeting attendees from among the "heathen" Greeks (who, per historical references, are said to have had their women shut up at home and incommunicado) or the "Jews" who still held to the law.
(*)-1 Tim 6:1 & Tit 2:5, for instance)

On a slightly different subject, 1 tim 3:4 says of a man who wishes to be a bishop, that he must be "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity". And again in verse 12 "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well".

Note that it doesn't say "wife and children".

At the very end of his speaking on the subject, Paul indicates he wrote it "..that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God,which is the church...", indicating that all that went before was written for that purpose. Note again, that he makes no mention that he wrote it to say women were not to be allowed leadership.

I think the reason these verses are interpreted as they are is that the MALE translators of the past were influenced by their culture to the extent that they truly felt the words they chose were the appropriate ones.   I have stated on other forums that oftentimes the words chosen, such as the word "silence" in the 1 Tim 2:12 reference, is actually stated by the Greek Lexicon, assumedly a very good interpreter of Greek prepared by scholars, to be (as a FIRST and therefore PRIMARY definition) "quietness" and is further defined as "description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others."  

So then the verse could be as easily and correctly interpreted, according to the same authority, as "And I do not permit a woman to teach or act autocratically but to do her own work, not officiously meddling with the affairs of others".

While, as a male poster was happy to point out, this still references women's behavior only, it is, in fact, part of a rather long passage on behavior fitting for church participants.

What it does not do is say women may not hold leadership postions in the church.   Nor does 1 Cor 14:34 "Let your  women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. "

I don't have time or patience at this late hour to itemize what this verse DOES NOT say, but let me point out that it is included in another long instruction by Paul on those who speak in tongues and what might be thought of it and so on.  Even a casual read of this entire passage should be sufficient to provide rebuttal of those who use this passage as saying that women cannot hold leadership, ie spiritually gifted, positions in the church.

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