Q: It also seems that 1 Timothy 2:15 is crucial for your interpretation. The word ‘she’ is a definite point in your favor. However, without this verse (being that it’s very difficult historically) do you think you’d have the strength in your argument as you do now?
A: Yes, 1 Timothy 2:15 is a very strong point in our argument. It is very important because Paul draws all his conclusions that he has systematically defended in the previous verses, and ties them all together in this one verse. Many Pastors will be blunt and say that they have no idea why Paul put this verse in the passage. When tradition is held to instead of a systematic verse-by-verse exegesis, this verse sticks out like a sore thumb. The fact that one cannot find any person to attach the â€œsheâ€ to from verse 15 unless one interprets verses 11 & 12 as a single woman in the congregation is highly important. You are correct in the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired both the â€œsheâ€ and the â€œtheyâ€ in verse 15 and this has been ignored in church history. Without this understanding verse 15 has been deemed confusing and out of place in the context. However when we can find a person to attach the â€œsheâ€ to, the passage all of a sudden starts to make perfect sense in the complete context of chapters 1 and 2 of 1 Timothy.
However with all of that said, the question you asked is if our argument would not be as strong an argument without the grammar from verse 15. Without this verse (the conclusion that Paul draws to his previous statements) we would have to rely solely on the fact that the traditional interpretation of ‘a woman’ being generic woman, or all women past, present and future, causes the passage to contradict other clear passages and it has caused a very unhealthy tradition or attitude in the church. John Piper brings it out very succinctly. He says that up until about 15 years ago, this passage was interpreted as meaning that women were created as ones who are easily deceived. Yet, that is not even holding to the passage in the proper literal sense. Paul didn’t say Eve was deceivable. He said that Eve was deceived. Therefore to hold to the literal interpretation, if Paul meant ‘a woman’ to be ‘all’ women, we would have to hold to the teaching that all women are deceived and therefore not to be relied on for doctrinal integrity. If Paul meant deceivable he certainly would have said that. The key point is that scripture is talking about someone who is deceived not someone who is defective and thus could be easily deceived. I say let’s just stick to scripture and not make it say what we want it to say. It says ‘deceived’ and the Holy Spirit gives us the end result of this deception, as far as the salvation of the deceived goes, in verse 15.