If complementarians are right in their interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12, then God must have one completely unique law. This “law” forbidding women from teaching the bible to men is not like any other law in the bible.
All of God’s laws have several things in common. Every law is able to be traced back to its origin in the Old Testament.
All prohibitions that are God’s law written in the New Testament are traceable back to the Old Testament law.
But it is an odd thing about the law about women not teaching men-
It cannot be traced back to the Old Testament. There is no connection there at all! Now isn’t that odd? The 1 Timothy 2 “prohibition” about stopping women from teaching the bible to men is a unique law, the only”law” that cannot be traced back to the Old Testament!
Now because this “law” is untraceable back to the Old Testament, it cannot be tested. When Paul was teaching the Bereans, he commended them for testing everything that he taught them. What did they test his teachings by? In Acts 17:11 it says:
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
So where would the Bereans have tested out this new law from scripture? There is no scripture at all in the Old Testament that confirms that women are not to teach the bible to men!
What other options do we have to interpret 1 Timothy 2:12? We can interpret it in context as a prohibition against a false teacher teaching false teaching, (Paul had already told Timothy he left him in Ephesus to stop the false teachers from teaching false doctrines – 1 Timothy 1:3). If we used that interpretation, then we can find plenty of verses to confirm this prohibition from the Old Testament.
This interpretation fits perfectly with the Old Testament law.
In part two of “Does God have one unique law?” we will discuss another way that complementarians have made 1 Timothy 2:12 into a unique law that is not able to be tested by scripture. Click here to go to part two.
Since God is neither male nor female, some have suggested that the Messiah could have been born a female. I would respectfully like to differ with that view. In this post I want to show from scripture why the Messiah had to be a male.
The scriptures definitively say that sin came through one man.
Romans 5:12 NASB: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”
Paul carries the thought further by saying:
Romans 5:19 “For as through the one man’sdisobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
Although Adam and Eve both sinned, the willful disobedience of the man was what brought sin into the world.
1Timothy 2:14: “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”
The woman sinned and ate the fruit because she was deceived. She sincerely believed the lie of the serpent and ate the fruit fully believing that she would become like God. Adam on the other hand was not deceived. He did not believe that he could become like God. He did not believe that he would not die. Yet even though he was not deceived, even though he knew he couldn’t become like God, and he knew he would die for his disobedience, he willingly took of the fruit and in full disobedience with his eyes wide open to the consequences of what God had said – he ate.
Although Adam and Eve both sinned and both died because of their sin, only the man is charged with outright rebellion. Rejecting the word of God with deliberate disobedience is a very serious matter. Saul was another man who rebelled against God’s word. Samuel spoke a judgment against Saul when he said:
1 Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”
I would like to diagram the effects of what happened when Adam sinned. It would be helpful to get the full idea of what I am talking about by reading my previous post “Adam as Head of the family”.
Adam brought sin into the human family and his bloodline was tainted.
Yet when God confronted Adam and Eve, he did not leave them without hope because of their sin. God promised a kinsman redeemer, one who would come through the seed of the woman.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Now you will notice in this verse that the one who will bruise the serpent on the head is a “He”. The Hebrew shows that the one who is to come is a male. Why is it prophesied that the Messiah would be a male? It is because it was the man who brought sin into the world. Adam is a type of the one to come.
Romans 5:14 “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”
The Messiah was not just said to be human, he was also called the second Adam.
1 Corinthians 15:45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
The last Adam, Jesus Christ, was the life giver. It is through him that we receive back what Adam lost. Eve did not lose it for us, Adam did. Mankind did not need a second Eve because sin does not come through her bloodline.
It was through the first male that sin entered the world and the result of that inherited sin is death.
It is through the second male – the second Adam, that mankind is offered eternal life.
Now some might think that the fact that the Messiah was male is somehow important regarding his Godhood. It isn’t. God is neither male nor female. Scripture only speaks of the importance of the Messiah’s being male in regards to his taking the place of the first Adam who plunged mankind into sin. God turned Satan’s deception on its heels. Through the very one whom Satan deceived into sinning, God bypassed the sin of the first Adam and brought the second Adam into our world. It is by putting faith in this last Adam that we will find forgiveness and a restored relationship with God.
It is common for hierarchists to say that Adam was Eve’s head not because he was her source, but because he had authority over her. While the teaching that Adam was Eve’s ruler before the fall of man is unsubstantiated, the fact that Adam was the source of Eve is foundational to the doctrine of the kinsman redeemer.
Let’s see if we can draw out the important connection regarding Adam’s headship and the new head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. Adam was the first human creation and from his body, Eve was created.
The fact that Eve was created from Adam’s body and that he was the source of her flesh-and-bone-body is highly important because of what happened next. Although Eve was deceived and she sinned because of her deception, Adam sinned willfully without being deceived. Adam sinned with full knowledge of what he was doing. Adam was charged with bringing sin into the world. The following diagram shows how Adam’s blood line was tainted with sin.
The Redeemer from the woman
God, however, prophesied that the Redeemer, the Messiah, would come from the woman. It is vital that the seed of the woman alone would produce the Messiah because of the inherited sin nature that comes through the man. The diagram below shows that the Messiah is produced from a virgin woman.
In Genesis chapter 3 God speaks to Eve about her future. Unfortunately God’s words have been interpreted by male expositors in a way that makes God out to be a false prophet. In Genesis 3:16 in the NASB, God said “In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband”
After the fall, God speaks about the future. In the quote above, God says “you will”. This is a prophetic utterance about the future and about the desire that Eve will have for her husband. What is this desire? In the Hebrew the word desire means a stretching out for – a longing for. The Complete WordStudy Dictionary describes this as the strong feelings of desire one had for another, but it wasnt always a healthy one. So is the “desire” of Genesis 3:16 a healthy desire or not? The word translated as “desire” is only found three times in the Old Testament.
In Song of Solomon 7:10 it says “I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me.” This desire is a very healthy desire of a husband toward his wife. This desire is between a man and a woman.
In Genesis 4:7 it says “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” This desire is a figurative desire of sin wanting to control a person.
So which kind of desire is God prophesying about in Genesis 3:16? Is it like the figurative desire of sin to control and to destroy? Or is it like the longing of one person for another? Almost every commentary you read, the male commentator says that God gave a judgment on the woman so that she will desire to rule over the man. But is this true? Can scripture be properly interpreted that way? First of all the fact that the woman will desire her husband is not God’s judgment against her. It is a prophecy that would be shortly fulfilled and the desire for the man is the natural longing of the woman in spite of the pain that she experiences from having his children and in spite of the domination that the man has over her. She will long for him in spite of all the reasons for her to want to stay away from him.
In a recent bible study class the instructor brought up these verses and said that it was God’s judgment that women would desire to rule their husbands. When we broke up into groups for discussion, the first thing that the women said was “I have no desire to rule or control the man.” Every one of the women in our group said the same thing.
If we take the interpretation that the male interpreters have put onto this passage, then it puts God into dire straits because he has predicted something that on the whole simply is not true. Perhaps the male expositors should have taken the time to ask women what their desires are and then they would have known for sure the proper way to interpret this verse. So what do women really want?
Women want men to love them emotionally. Women long for their men to hold them and speak tenderly to them and to be treated as if they were the only woman on this planet. Yes women want sex too, but sex is an outworking of the emotional bond between man and woman. Women are not like men. Women do not use emotions to get sex. Women throughout the centuries have naturally used sex to get emotional love. So what is it that women want? Women want and desire emotional love. Women’s innate desire is not to rule men.
I have spoken to many women about this verse and most think the concept about them desiring to rule men is abhorrent. They can’t even conceive of it. Think about the women in all the third world countries. Do they desire to rule men? No. They dream about and long for freedom from being dominated and controlled. Women just want to be free to be themselves, they aren’t looking to rule the men, and above all they want to be loved.
So why have men chosen to believe that God said that the woman would desire to rule her husband? It is only because they are men who don’t know the internal nature of women.
Now think about it this way- if God’s intention was to punish women by making them want to rule their husbands, then why is it world-wide that women are not trying to rule their husbands? Why is it that the womanâ’s natural state is one of being easily controlled? It is because the woman’s natural tendency is to please the man and to want to do whatever will get emotional love from him. God’s words about her desire are not a curse on the woman, they are a prophetic statement concerning the innate longing that the woman will have.
And within a very short time, God’s prophetic words will come to life. Think about this – God kicks Adam out of the garden of Eden. He does not kick Eve out. Why is that? Because God knows that Adam in his rebellious state will desire to eat from the tree of life. Eve was deceived into eating the forbidden fruit – she did not eat because she was acting in a rebellious way. So God kicks out the rebellious one.
Genesis 3:23 and 24: therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
God kicks out the rebellious Adam and he is forced out of the garden. So if God doesn’t kick Eve out, then why did she leave? It is so simple. God has already told us. He prophesied what was going to happen. Eve left because she desired her husband.
With the push towards defining biblical manhood and womanhood, often men are pressured into a leadership role where they feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Probably none more stressful than the title given to them as “Priest of the home”. But is this position biblical?
Nowhere in scripture is there to be a designated “priest of the hom”. In Judges chapters 17 & 18 Micah, an idol worshipper, consecrated his son as a priest in his home (Judges 17:5) and he also persuaded a Levite to be his personal priest (Judges 17:7-13). This “priest of the home” was involved with idol worship (Judges 18:4, 14-20) and he was not set up as a “priest in the home” by God.
A priest is one who represents the people to God and offers sacrifices to God. Our High Priest is Jesus himself and he is both a mediator between mankind and God and the one who offered the ultimate blood sacrifice for our sins. Since we have Jesus as our High Priest, is there any need for a single priest in the home representing the family to God? Let’s see what scripture says. 1 Peter 2:5, 9 says that we are all to be priests to God in order to offer up spiritual sacrifices.
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
By removing the wife from a joint priesthood with her husband and making only the husband responsible for seeking God’s will in all family decisions, those who espouse the unbiblical position of the man as the sole priest in the home, relegate the wife’s participation to a secondary and subordinate position in the home. This dismantles the woman’s equality as joint-heir with her husband and threatens to limit her spiritual growth.
The ultimate goal of every believer is to be conformed to the image of Christ and to grow into a mature “son” of God. All believers are called “sons” of God because all believers are fellow heirs with Christ. Because we are fellow heirs with Christ, all believers are expected to grow to maturity by learning how to make spiritual decisions that conform to biblical principles. Paul said that in the next life we (men and women in the body of Christ) will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) so it is so important that we all learn how to make mature spiritual decisions in this life.
By believing in the faulty doctrine that men are the sole priest in the home, many women have been taught that their husband is spiritually responsible for them. They think that if they love God and follow their husband’s spiritual lead that they will have no responsibility in the decisions made by their husbands. However in two of the best known examples of a husband not making wise spiritual decisions, Adam and Ananias (Acts 5:1), the wife was judged for her actions equally with the husband. There is no example of a husband called to account for his wife’s actions or a wife freed from spiritual responsibility because her husband made the original decision as in the case of Ananias. God did not ask Adam what Eve had done even though Adam was there with Eve during her temptation (Genesis 3:6) and Sapphira was held equally responsible for her acceptance of her husband’s plan to deceive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:9).
As joint-heirs of Christ and partners in the holy, royal priesthood, husband and wife have equal responsibility to seek God’s will for the family and equal responsibility to work together to preform God’s will in the home.
With all of the talk on submission of a wife, we should at least grant that submission is not related to suppression of God’s gifts. In other words if a woman is gifted to teach, her submission to her husband and her desire to honor him should not be a means to stop her from using her God-given gifts. My husband’s position as my head is “worked-out” by his sacrificing for me. He gives up his life for me in order to provide me every opportunity to use my gifts and in turn I honor him by serving him and stepping outside my comfort zone in service to the body of Christ because of his encouragement. In my shyness in the past I have stepped back from using all of my gifts because of fear of man, but my husband has continually pushed me and prodded me to grow and mature. He has used his headship wisely for my good and my growth just as a physical head feeds the body.
True headship nourishes and encourages and lifts up the woman to be everything that she can be in Christ. True submission allows the head to nourish and sacrifice for her benefit. When my husband “works out” his headship in a godly way, it will always lift me up and will never suppress or hold back my God-given gifts.