The case of the battling proof texts Part Two

The case of the battling proof texts Part Two

In part one, we discussed the fact that the Bible does not contradict itself so when a complementarian has a “proof text” that is used to prove that women are not allowed to teach the Bible to men, they must also deal with the apparent contradictions of this view. Here are some of the contradictions that need to be answered:

1. 1 Timothy 2:12 is the only verse in the Bible that seems to suggest that women are not allowed to teach men. Since Paul commended the Bereans for checking his doctrine by the measuring stick of the Old Testament, what Old Testament scripture would they have turned to that confirmed the prohibition disallowing women from teaching the bible to men?

2. If 1 Timothy 2:12 is a universal prohibition, why would Paul word God’s universal law with the words “I do not allow”? Where else did God ever give a universal prohibition with the words of a man saying “I (the man) do not allow”?

3. If women are said to be more susceptible to deception than men, why are women allowed to teach other women (who by their nature would also be susceptible to deception) and young children (who by their age would also be susceptible to deception)? Why would they only be stopped from teaching men (who would be the very ones who would be able to correct them if men are the ones who are not susceptible to deception)?

4. Since Paul’s concern in leaving Timothy behind in Ephesus was to stop the false teachers, what reason did Paul give to stop godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men? Why would Paul have not mentioned in chapter one that he left Timothy behind to stop the false teachers and the women from teaching men?

5. If God does not want the teaching gifts of women to be used for the benefit of men, then doesn’t this make women’s teaching inferior to men’s teaching? How can a woman’s gifts be equal to a man’s gifts if he cannot benefit from her spiritual gifts?

6. If a group of men are not allowed to be taught by a woman, why is a single man allowed to be taught by a woman? Can you explain why Paul’s prohibition stopping “a woman” from teaching “a man” is not applicable for a single woman teaching a single man?

7. In Acts 18:26 Priscilla is said to have taught Apollos and corrected his doctrine. What scripture explains why Priscilla was allowed to teach Apollos? Was the universal prohibition to stop women from teaching men given before Priscilla taught Apollos or after she taught him?

2 thoughts on “The case of the battling proof texts Part Two

  1. Cheryl, I am very grateful for your work! In trying to address potential questions from my comp. friends (I am egal.), I have a question about 1 Timothy: When it says ‘I do not permit a woman to teach a man’, in our English vocab and grammar, this could easily be taken as meaning ‘any woman to teach any man’ as in a teacher saying, “I do not permit a student to leave the room without a pass”. That is easily generally synonymous with “I do not permit any student to leave the room without a pass.” I agree that it is readily evident that woman is singular, and in your dvd teaching, you confirm that is the case in the original language as well. What I wonder is what the original grammar says about the article ‘a’ in front of woman and man. Does it necessarily exclude the possibility of the meaning ‘any’ woman/man? Does the singular form of the word ‘woman’ or any other aspect of the grammar prevent the possibility of the phrase ‘a woman’ being used as a referant to more than one woman, as it could in our language?
    Also, per the phrase a bit further in 1 Tim. 2:15, when it says ‘women shall be saved by the childbirth’, does the word saved definitely refer to eternal salvation as opposed to some other kind of salvation? When I looked it up in Strong’s, it had several possible flavors of the meaning ‘salvation’. I realize context has much bearing on this passage, but still wondered about my question.
    Finally, with versions of the bible having varying ways of saying things, which is the best version to use when searching for accuracy of meaning? Or, which several versions? This is daunting because it seems to mean we all need to study Greek and Hebrew, at least, and rather in depth, to clear up biblical misconceptions, or to even know where they are. Do you recommend any commentaries or other helps for the person beginning to study out this subject or others from the bible?
    Thank you very much for all you do!!!!!

  2. Truthseeker,

    Welcome!!
    Regarding the “a woman” words of Paul’s in 1 Timothy 2:11, 12. There is nothing in the way that “woman” is written that would stop it from being either a single woman or women in general. The only way that we can know for sure is to check the context. There are two compelling clues that stand out. The first clue is that Paul switches from the plural in 1 Timothy 2:9 to singular in verse 11. If Paul had meant to continue with women in general, it would have been so easy to continue with the plural word women.

    The second compelling argument is that verse 15 has both the singular and the plural. The only possible “home” we can find for the “she” in verse 15 is “a woman” in verse 11 & 12. At this point it still could be generic woman because “a woman” as generic woman would also be called “she”. But verse 15 doesn’t just have “she”, Paul also says “they”. It is grammatically wrong to call “a woman” as “they”. You can say “a woman” = “she” OR “women” = “they”, but you cannot say “a woman” = “they”. Once we have identified that “she” refers back to “a woman”, then we can also identify “they” as the man and woman found in verse 12. There is no other identifiable solution unless one disregards the singular “she” in verse 15.

    There have been many complementarians who have examined my argument from 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and I have challenged them to find a hole in my argument or at least point out who else the “she” and “they” could be that are found in verse 15. I have not had anyone who could poke a hole in my argument. One lady tried by saying that the old testament talks about women in general and man in general by calling them “they”. The problem is that it is “a man” and “a woman” called “they” and never “a woman” as generic woman ever called “they”. Many who have been honest enough to consider the grammatical evidence have said that it is the best explanation of this hard passage they have ever seen.

    You also asked:

    “Also, per the phrase a bit further in 1 Tim. 2:15, when it says ‘women shall be saved by the childbirth’, does the word saved definitely refer to eternal salvation as opposed to some other kind of salvation?”

    CBMW who is the key organization who promotes the complementarian view has admitted in their book “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” admits that Paul never uses the word “Sozo” (saved) in his epistles for anything other than spiritual salvation. This is a very important fact. Since Paul only uses this word for salvation in this one way we can be sure that 1 Timothy 2:15 is also used in this one way.

    As far as versions of the bible I use the NASB, the NKJV and the ISV have been quite helpful to me. I use e-sword bible software (e-sword.net) which is mostly free. There lots of free resources that you can download and use and I find this very helpful. I hope that helps!

    Cheryl

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