Doesn't 1 Timothy 1:3 list only males as false teachers?

Doesn't 1 Timothy 1:3 list only males as false teachers?

Q: In WIM you say that 1 Timothy 1:3 “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” means people male or female. However isn’t the technical grammar of “some” as singular masculine?

A: This is an excellent question and I am glad that you asked this. Although 1 Timothy 1:3 has a generic meaning of male or female, the fine points of the grammar show that the Greek is singular masculine. However this grammar does not exclude females.

You see this exact same grammar is used multiple times regarding salvation and the general body of Christ and although these passages are also singular masculine, they include both male and female. Let me give you an example. 2 Timothy 3:17 says:

“so the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Who is the man of God? The Greek word is anthropos which means human being and it is again a generic term, but the technical grammar is also singular masculine. Now we ask, does the church believe that this verse is only for men or are women included too? Women are included of course and the singular masculine form of the generic word for human being in no way excludes women. Here is another. John 6:51 says:

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…”

Who is the anyone that Jesus says can partake of him? The Greek term for anyone is a generic term again meaning male or female, and once again the technical grammar is singular masculine. Now we ask, are only males allowed to partake of Jesus? Of course not! The singular masculine again in no way excludes women. So when we go back to 1 Timothy 1:3 we see that the generic term for human beings with the singular masculine is not restricting the false deceived teachers to men. In fact we see a false teacher who is female in chapter 2 and this one Paul says is deceived as Eve was.

One last example. Matthew 9:38 says:

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”

Now who is it that we are to pray for? Are there only to be male laborers in the harvest field? The Greek term for laborers means “workmen”. The Greek is in the plural masculine. The church has always believed and taught that all Christians – male and female are part of the laborers. Should we now say that the plural masculine term here excludes women? Never! I rest my case.

3 thoughts on “Doesn't 1 Timothy 1:3 list only males as false teachers?

  1. FWIIW, this is my (admitedly limited) way that Greek works. Male terminology sometimes includes females, like 1950’s English. The plural male forms in Greek (and Hebrew) can include females. (It can also be all male, but is a judgement call.) As the group gets larger, one should assume females are included unless there is a reason to think it is all male, for example, the Twelve apostles of Jesus.

    This is one reason we are called “brothers” in Christ, what it really means in current English is “brothers or sisters” in Christ and is the way some current translations are translating it. This is one of the fundamental flaws of the thinking of those in CBMW, they simply do not know some basic Greek, because they wear “blue-colored glasses” they insist that some male Greek terminology be translated to EXCLUDE women, but this is simply not how Greek works in some cases.

  2. I agree. If we are going to insist that some male Greek terminology be translated to EXCLUDE women, then we would also have to EXCLUDE women regarding salvation. I wonder how many people know that the salvation passages are written this way? I wonder how many people think that only males can be saved? The Greek simply cannot be made to work this way and CBMW needs to own up to these facts.

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