How Do You Interpret 1Tim 2:15?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Ulsterman, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Ulsterman

    Ulsterman
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    I have always had difficulty explaining this verse, "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." (1 Timothy 2:15).

    Do you have a view on this verse?
     
  2. Matt Black

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    You have to take the verse in the context of the passage, and the passage in the context of the situation 1 Tim 2 is addressing.

    1. Timothy was in charge of the church at Ephesus at that time

    2. Ephesus, we know from Acts 19, was a big centre of the Diana cult.

    3. The church there had been infiltrated to an extent by that cult and also a form of gnosticism that blended to form an 'Eve cult'

    4. Essential tenets of this 'Eve-cult' were as follows:-

    a. Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge first, therefore women were endowed with greater spiritual wisdom than men

    b. This superior spiritual knowledge was passed on through the women teaching and having sex with the men in the church.

    5. Paul, in this passage, addresses each point of error:-

    a. Eve was deceived first, not enlightened first, by the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge

    b. Therefore the women had to stop teaching and learn in submission so that their errors could be corrected and stop having sexual authority ( authentein ) over men

    c. 1 Tim 2:15 is also a reference back to Eve, specifically Gen 3: 15-16, which is in itself a reference forward to Jesus; therefore salvation through a particular child-bearing, rather than through so-called knowledge

    Thats my take on it anyway!

    Yours in Christ

    Matt

    [ October 08, 2003, 06:03 AM: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
     
  3. Matt Black

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  4. Taufgesinnter

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    Don't forget they were also teaching that Eve was created first, and gave birth to her husband Adam without any intervention by a male deity.

    Anyhow, yes, there were several related reasons why at Ephesus Paul had Timothy reverse Paul's usual position on women in the church (which is seen in 1 Cor. 11 when he commanded they be allowed to preach, in 1 Cor. 14 when he used the rhetorical eta to refute his opponents who'd been commanding women to be silent, or in Rom. 16 when he commended women who were deacons, apostles, and expounders of the Bible to men). All the reasons centered on the peculiar pagan religious milieu of Ephesus.
     
  5. Don

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    Okay, Tauf, I'll bite: How do you get "in 1 Cor. 14 when he used the rhetorical eta to refute his opponents who'd been commanding women to be silent"?
     
  6. Taufgesinnter

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    Paul directly taught against the silencing of women in the church that the Corinthians were trying to impose on them.

    Obviously 1 Cor. 11:2-16 says that women may pray or prophesy as long as they're veiled, but many believe 1 Cor. 14:36 tells them to shut up. It seems like a contradiction, doesn't it? But the two passages don't actually contradict each other. Gilbert Bilezikian, then a professor at Wheaton College, wrote a few years ago, "It is worth noting that in 1 Corinthians more than in any of his other Epistles, Paul uses the é particle to introduce rebuttals to statements preceding it. As a conjunction, é appears in Paul's Epistles in a variety of uses. But the list below points to a predilection for a particular use of é which is characteristic mainly of 1 Corinthians."

    The verses he listed I've listed below, in the order they appear, with a notation indicating the appearance of the é particle, in most cases translating it as "Nonsense!"--as Bilezikian did--to indicate its flavor:

    1 Cor. 6:1-2--"If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?"

    1 Cor. 6: 7-9--"The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

    1 Cor. 6:15-20--"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.' But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from fornication. 'All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.' (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

    1 Cor. 9:5-10--"Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? (é Nonsense!) Is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? (é Nonsense!) Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.' Is it about oxen that God is concerned? (é Nonsense!) Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest."

    1 Cor. 10:21-22--"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. (é What nonsense!) Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"

    1 Cor. 11:13-14--"Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? (é Nonsense!) Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering."

    1 Cor. 14:34-38--"'As in all the congregations of the saints, let the women remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law also says. If they want to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.' (é Nonsense!) Did the word of God originate with you? (é Nonsense!) Has it reached only you? If anybody thinks he is a 'prophet' or 'spiritual,' let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored."

    Bilezikian notes that in each and every one of the cases above, there is the same pattern. First Paul cites a declarative statement containing some element of incongruity or asks a rhetorical question, then introduces his counter-statement in the form of a question introduced by the particle é, expressing his disapproval and rejection of the prior statement.

    The understanding of Paul's use of the particle é in 1 Cor. 14:33b-37 to refute the command for women to be silent is that, as he did over and over again throughout the letter, he had been quoting the Corinthians' letter to him or citing their practice, then criticizing it. Read 1 Cor. 11:2-16 then 1 Cor. 14:36 right afterward, and try to explain them both as Paul's commands. It just doesn't work, does it? At the very least, it requires all kinds of interpretive contortions.

    What do the verses in chapter 14 say, again, exactly? "As in all the congregations of the saints, let the women remain silent in the congregations. They aren't allowed to speak, but must be subordinate, as the Law also says. If they want to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is shameful for women to speak in the congregation." First of all, this is the only place in the entire New Testament that the phrase "congregations of the saints" appears. It's also an appeal to a custom observed by all such churches, despite Paul's teaching that veiled women may prophesy. Furthermore, 'the Law' meant only one thing to Paul, ever: the Torah, the Law of Moses, and he never, ever quoted it to support Christian teaching--instead, he cited it for examples of opposition to Christian teaching. Next, notice that if Paul is the one giving the command, he's assuming all the women are married, and married to Christian husbands. Women married to heathen husbands, widows, and unmarried women, would have nobody at home to answer their questions!

    Well, you know which Law said, almost word for word, that it is a shame for a woman to speak in the assembly? The oral Law--that's right, the Talmud! And who followed Paul everywhere on his missionary journeys, trying to get the people in the churches he planted or visited to accept circumcision, start obeying the kosher regulations, and conduct church the way they did back home in the synagogues? Yup, the Judaizers! Palestinian Jews converted to Christ who thought every Christian believer, including Gentiles, had to keep the Torah and the Talmud. In Palestinian Judaism, it was assumed that every woman was married, as that was normal practice, and Paul's advocacy of celibacy was unknown for them. In Palestinian Judaism, as required by Talmud, women were not only forbidden from speaking in the synagogue services, but it was unconventional for a woman to even want to learn Torah or Talmud; women were normally considered both unteachable and uninterested. And possibly the clincher? Although the term 'saint' had a wider meaning even in Paul's writings, 'saints' often referred to the church at Jerusalem, so it's consistent with the rest of this argument that "all the congregations of the saints" referred to the non-Gentile churches back in Judea, which, we know from history, had patterned themselves after the synagogues.

    So after Paul quotes the Judaizing influence, possibly the prophets or spiritual men who were causing so much dissent and trouble at Corinth, trying to domineer over the rest of the congregation, he rebuts their position. Alluding to an Old Testament passage that predicted women would preach the gospel (I'll get you the verse if you'd like me to look it up), as well as his own authority as an apostle--which they had questioned--he demands whether the word of God came out of them, one of those questions that anticipates a negative answer. His next rebuttal, which also begins with the particle é, asks whether the word of God only reached them.

    Now, check this out. The word of God came to prophets (such as those who claim to be prophets or spiritual whom he's rebuking) through prophesying, and he's already said that women may prophesy if they're veiled. The verse is usually translated something like, "Did it come to you only?" Again, expecting a negative answer. But this is a cool point in the grammar: the word 'only' is monous, a masculine adverb--it may indicate that the prophets and spiritual people he's rebuking--the people he's accusing of thinking that only they could receive and speak prophecy--were males. Only males. He wrote, in effect, and this is still a very literal translation: "It (the word of God, prophesying) did not come to just you men, did it? No!" Then, in response to the Corinthian leaders' appeal to the Talmud as authority, Paul tells them that his rebuttal of their restriction on women's prophesying is the command of the Lord. Whoa, talk about being shot down!! Then he nails it shut even more by following that up with, anybody who remains ignorant of this fact will himself be ignored. Ooh...
     
  7. rlvaughn

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    I don't believe such a concept can be universal. I Corinthians 9:8-14 would appear to be an exception to this "rule".

    I Corinthians 9:8-14 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
     
  8. Nomad

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    Although Taufgesinnter is surely very learned and well-informed, I would point out that many other scholars disagree with his (and Bilezikian's) interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:36.

    To specifically address the issue of the disjunctive particle, the noted NT scholar D.A. Carson has this to say (the italics are his): "The brute fact is this: in every instance in the New Testament where the disjunctive particle in question is used in a construction analogous to the passage at hand, its effect is to reinforce the truth of the clause or verse that precedes it." (This is found on p. 151 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood; a similar point is made in his commentary Showing the Spirit.) In other words, Paul is not overturning the statement about women being silent, but reaffirming it. (The same principle applies to the other verses cited above.) It is mere speculation to insist that vv. 34-35 are a quotation of the flawed Corinthian view, which Paul then refutes. This is possible, but far from certain. Carson also points out that although women were allowed to pray and prophesy, they may not have been allowed to interpret, which could have been seen as a teaching role. If Paul is saying that women cannot teach men, then he is simply being consistent with what he says elsewhere (1 Timothy 2:12).

    I don't claim to fully understand the meaning of 1 Corinthians 14. Any reconstruction involves speculation. I only offer that more than one interpretation is possible, and that it is often easiest to endorse whatever view is consonant with our own. Neither Bilezikian nor Carson is the final authority on this matter.

    [ October 08, 2003, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: Nomad ]
     
  9. Terry_Herrington

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    Here is an interesting note, found in the King James Study Bible for 1 Tim. 2:15:

    This verse is amphibological, that is, it means two different things concurrently, both of which are correct. She shall be saved has a soteriological and an ecclesiastical meaning. The former means that although Eve fell "in the transgression" (v.14), women can be spiritually saved from sin, provided they persevere in faith and charity (love) and holiness with sobriety (chastity). The ecclesiastical meaning indicates the woman "shall be saved" from having no role or significance in the local church. Her primary ministry is that of childbearing and the rearing of children who will become godly adults and leaders. "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."

    I have not studied and thought about all of this so I cannot say that it is absolutely true, but it is something to look at.
     
  10. HankD

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    Terry,

    My view is very similar if not the same as you have presented on this passage.

    "Soter" is a word of wide scope for the NT human authors including or sometimes focusing on one or all of the three aspects of salvation (Justification, sanctification, glorification-via the resurrection).

    IMO, This passage focuses in on the aspect of sanctification .

    The sanctification of saved women primarily is in the realm of child-rearing/training either in the home or the Church.

    My opinion on this passage.

    HankD
     
  11. Bartimaeus

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    Tauf,
    My only question is: How on earth did the good Lord figure us to get along without the all knowing high priests of Greek? Aren't we all just blessed through our teeth to have them along for our benefit and learning? I am just amazed that a poor old hillbilly preacher from the Ozarks in Arkansas has the wonderful mediation of the scriptures from the hallowed halls of scholarly intelligencia!

    Thanks -----Bart "The dueling society was a polite society".
     
  12. HankD

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    The Lord included them.
    Without these "high priests" of Greek we would have no English Bible of any kind, KJV included.

    In fact if it weren't for men like these "high priests" of Greek you and everyone else would have to learn this Greek to know the Word of God.

    HankD
     
  13. Bartimaeus

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    Hank,
    So as to not hijack this forum I will start another on this subject of the Greek scholors. Please join me there.

    Thanks ------Bart “The dueling society was a polite society”.
     

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