The prohibition of 1 Timothy 2:12
Some have wondered why “Chris” the complementarian stopped posting here. Apparently, he could not get his refutation of my work to stand in an interactive forum so he moved it over to a place where he could have the floor to himself. He has posted a claim that he has refuted me in his post called A Refutation of Cheryl Schatz on 1 Timothy 2:12.
Chris is now posting under the name Neopatriarch, and he describes his post as filling a need for those who are exasperated with me and my “associates.” (Paula I think he is referring to your excellent refutation of his logical fallacies.) This gives me an opportunity to examine Chris’ (aka Neopatriarch) claims that he has “refuted” me. Let’s have a look to see if what he has to say is worthy of his lofty claims.
The first thing that Neopatriarch states is that interaction with me is exasperation and he links to my second debate mp3 with Matt Slick. It is interesting that he fails to link to the first debate where I spent time affirming the ministry of Mr. Slick and telling him how he had helped me in a particular situation with a Universalist who was influencing a friend of mine. He also fails to state that Matt Slick was less than kind, choosing to treat me with disrespect as a heretic and as a hostile opposer even though I stated that I was not opposed to him personally. I strongly believe that these secondary issues of faith should not divide us as brothers and sisters in Christ. The second debate which he does link to has Matt Slick calling me a heretic and refusing to allow me to finish the discussion on 1 Timothy 2:15. Later Slick said he would allow me to come back on the show if I kept my answers to no longer than 90 seconds. I agreed, but he promptly removed the offer after I agreed to his conditions. Those who are unbiased may want to listen to both audio files. It was my very first time on radio, and I was sure that I would be dealing with a very hostile radio host who would be trying to twist my every word. I appeared quite cautious in my answers because of the antagonism. Slick had promised he would be kind but early on in the first debate had already lost his cool. However, I chose to respond to him with a respectful attitude rather than in anger or disrespect. If a respectful attitude is “exasperation,” then I am certainly guilty of that. Mr. Slick was not able to force me into a compromising position. Since that time and he has refused to engage in a written debate. I am not surprised. Neopatriarch writes:
Let us consider two views on the meaning of the anarthrous noun yuvaiki, “a woman”: the patriarchalist view that ??????? is an indefinite noun referring to any woman, and Cheryl Schatz’s view that yuvaiki refers to a particular woman in the Ephesian church. In the context of the immediately preceding verses, Paul gives instructions for men and women using the plural forms. Since context determines the meaning of a word, we begin with a plausible reason to favor the view that ‘a woman’ refers to any of the women whom Paul is addressing, rather than, cryptically, to just one particular woman. Rev. Lane Keister explains the reason for the shift to singular:
I believe that Paul has in mind already the reasons in verses 13-14, which require a singular to connect with Eve as a representative. Therefore, Paul is using a generic singular to make his point. Mounce argues that a general principle is being stated here, and that the singular is most apropos.4 I think this is borne out further by Paul’s argument in verses 13-14, which speak of Adam and Eve as representative of male and female.
No biblical proof
The problem that Neopatriarch has with the connection to Eve is that he makes both Adam and Eve as a representative of the male and female with no proof at all that Paul is using Adam and Eve in this way. If Adam is representative of all males, then are all males “not deceived”? How can that be possible when many males have been deceived and are deceived right now believing a lie. Is Eve representative of all females? Are all females “deceived”? This is also not true. The only thing that Paul brings out about Adam and Eve is that the order in which they were created is connected to the fact that one was deceived and the other one was not. While there has been much confusion regarding why Paul connect the order of creation with deception, we can be certain of one thing – the issue of deception and has nothing to gender. Instead, Paul links the fact that one was not deceived with what the “first” had that kept the first one created protected from deception. It is impossible for deception to be a generic characteristic of gender. Paul’s point is about order of creation, not gender. So I ask, what proof does Neopatriarch offer that Paul is making a generic statement about all males and all females? He makes a claim through Mounce that there is a general principle being stated, but he gives no data to back up such a statement. This statement is very poorly done and does nothing to refute my exegesis that “a woman” is a particular woman who was involved with false doctrine.
Next Neopatriarch argues that the “for” at the beginning of verse 13 should be taken in the causal sense so that Paul is giving a reason for his prohibition. Since this is exactly what I argue, it appears that Neopatriarch fails to understand my arguments. He then goes on to ask:
Also, how does the fact Adam was created first illustrate the claim that only one particular woman is not to teach false doctrine?
Apparently, Neopatriarch has not familiarized himself with my argument, and instead of trying to refute my exegesis, he asks questions as if he has never seen the argument. For one who is saying that he has “refuted” me, I am quite surprised that has missed my entire section on Genesis and Paul’s reference back to the creation account in Genesis that shows the first one created had experience with the Creator that the second one who was created, lacked. It was this lack of sound doctrine on the experience of creation that gave strong evidence on how the creation was different than the creator, that caused Eve to be deceived about the character of God. I would recommend that Neopatriarch first read one of my articles on the connection between Genesis and 1 Timothy 2:13, 14. My recent article is here. Neopatriarch goes on to state his presumption:
Therefore, we should understand verses 13-14 as reasons for Paul’s proscription in verse 12. Since presumption favors our initial conclusion that any man and any woman are meant in verse 12 and verses 13-14 function as reasons in Paul’s argument, the most natural reading takes Adam and Eve as representatives of any man and any woman.
The importance of grammar in interpreting Scripture
Neopatriarch’s presumption has not been proven. It is just that a mere presumption. In fact, his presumption makes it almost impossible to understand verse 15. Paul’s text connects verses 11-15 as one connected unit attached together with the conjunctions of: but, for, and, but. Also, the fact that Paul creates a definite shift in grammar from verse 10 to verse 11. Paul abruptly changes from the plural to the singular when the plural form would have continued the flow if Paul had meant all women. This change in grammar must be noted as important. While trying to make the passage about generic “woman”, his interpretation fails to account for the dramatic shift back to plural in verse 15. Remember that all of these verses are connected together so one cannot take verse 12 and remove it from its context that ends with verse 15. Without making sense of the entire passage, making Eve as a representative of all women without a single shred of evidence that she is to be considered representative of all women in the passage, is without merit. Neopatriarch continues:
In his first reason, I submit that Paul is alluding to the steward-helper relationship between Adam and Eve. In Genesis 2:7, God created Adam and gave him the garden mandate not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17). Adam was hereby entrusted with stewardship of God’s word and consequently of moral life in the garden.
Neopatriarch makes a false statement here that Adam’s stewardship was part of his relationship with his wife. There is not even one reference in Genesis to make this connection. God made Adam, as the first one created, the guardian of the garden not the keeper of a person.
Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
The Hebrew word for “keep” means to guard or watch:
guard, watch, i.e., limit access and movement of persons or objects in and out of an area, implying protection to or from the object being guarded (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew)
Note that God did not tell Adam to “guard” Eve. He told him to guard the garden. It was Adam’s responsibility as the first one created to guard what God made. It was Adam alone who was there during the time that God was still creating. God witnessed Himself as the unique Creator to Adam allowing Adam to see Him in the act of creation. Because Adam was created first, he was given an edge over his wife who had not had seen the Creator create. Adam was not deceived by the lie because he knew that God who creates. Adam knew that God alone is God and that he could not become as God. When the serpent told the first lie, Adam should have booted him out while the serpent still had the legs to run.
Adam was not created to be the steward of Eve
God did not make Adam a steward over Eve and the statement that Adam’s stewardship was part of his relationship with Eve is unfounded. Neopatriarch also fails to note that Eve was given equal stewardship of God’s creation including the plants and animals. This is a very unfortunate omission. Neopatriarch failed to state that Eve is an equal ruler of the earth. He also states that Adam was given stewardship of God’s word, however he gives no Scripture that that shows Adam alone was given the prohibition in the garden. Instead, Genesis 1:28, 29 shows that God spoke to both of them about what they could eat. God’s permission also indirectly reveals the prohibition. There is not a single verse in the Scriptures that records Adam alone was given the stewardship of God’s word. Neopatriarch writers:
Eve was not around when God gave Adam the garden mandate, but apparently he taught it to her because she repeated it, albeit not exactly, to the serpent (3:2-3).
Notice that Neopatriarch says “apparently”, Adam taught her the garden “mandate” but he has no proof of such a thing. It is not a fact in scripture. It is only “apparent” to him. Eve herself testifies that “God said…” Neopatriarch makes a huge error when he writes:
Eve, being created after Adam, was supposed to help him in his stewardship responsibilities. Consider an illustration of this idea: A father tells his first son to remove a boulder from the yard, but, seeing that his first son is unable to do it by himself, he sends his second son out to help. It is understood that the first son is still in charge of the boulder removing project and that the second son receives instruction from and is subordinate to the first. The second son does not take over the project. What this means for Paul’s proscription is that women are not to take over the teaching and leadership duties that belong specifically to the office of the steward of God’s word. Only other men are to be in the position of teaching and exercising authority over men.
In contrast, God’s word shows that God did not give the stewardship to Adam alone. God gave the mandate to “them” – the man and the woman.
Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Sole “steward of God’s word?”
Neopatriarch has also jumped to an unwarranted conclusion by Paul’s reference to the deception in the garden. He now adds things that the Scripture does not include, by saying that women are not to take over the teaching and leadership duties. Paul does not say that women cannot teach or that women cannot lead. If this was the case then women could not teach or lead other women or children either. They would have no leadership permission at all. Period. Once again Neopatriarch goes off track by adding to the word of God and substituting “women” for the singular “woman”. He also creates nonexistent sole “steward of God’s word” by reading into Genesis, and from there he takes a flying leap by transferring that conclusion into the teaching of God’s word today. Neither Paul nor any of the other apostles ever said that women were not to handle the word of God or that the handling of God’s word was for men alone. In fact, this is the exact position of the Jewish oral law which forbade women from even physically touching the word of God. This is the tradition of man, not the command of God. Jesus berated the Pharisees for their tenacious holding to their own tradition.
Mark 7:9 He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
Paul himself showed that all of us are free to handle the word of God and teach it for the common good. Paul allowed everyone to prophesy for the common good. However, there are many today who are “experts” at setting this command of God aside in order to keep their tradition. Man’s tradition makes men alone the “stewards of God’s word”. It also makes no sense at all if women are not to be “stewards of God’s word” that it would only include just one group of people (men). If women are not called to be “stewards of God’s word” then why should they be allowed to be “stewards of God’s word” to women? No one has been able to explain to me why Paul would forbid women from teaching God’s word to only men when according to this interpretation, men would be the ones who would be capable of correcting women’s errors. Yet we allow these same women to teach other women and children. Wouldn’t it be far safer to let women teach in the presence of men instead of just in the presence of the “easily deceived” women and children?
What was Adam steward over?
Neopatriarch goes on:
In his second reason, we see the consequences of reversing the steward-helper relationship. The first part of verse 14 says, “Adam was not deceived.” He was not deceived by the serpent. Instead, he listened to wife, and God faulted him for it (Genesis 3:17). The implication is that Adam should not have listened to his wife. Why? I think the best explanation is because she was not the proper steward of the garden mandate. She did not have the authority to instruct him.
While Neopatriarch has not established that the Scripture teaches that Adam was given stewardship over his wife instead of over the garden, he then tries to reverse this by stating that she took the stewardship of the garden mandate and instructed him. Huh? Where does it say that Eve “instructed” Adam? All that the Scripture says is that she gave the fruit to Adam who was with her. There is no verse or even a portion of a verse that says Eve “instructed” Adam. Neopatriarch is reading into the Scriptures something that is not there. He also adds into the mix an “authority” implying that Adam had an “authority” to instruct Eve. Where is this “authority” listed? It isn’t there. Adam and Eve were given authority over the earth and over the animals but neither one was given authority over the other one. I challenge Neopatriarch to prove his bold statement. Give the Scripture reference where Adam is given authority over Eve. Neopatriarch writes:
The second part of verse 14 says, “[T]he woman was deceived and has become a transgressor.” Andreas Köstenberger explains the meaning of this:
Eve, Paul implies, was not kept safe at the Fall; she was deceived. Why? Because she left her proper domain under her husband’s care. What happened as a result? She became an easy prey for Satan. How can women under Timothy’s charge (and in churches everywhere) avoid repeating the same mistake? By “childbearing,” that is, by adhering to their God-ordained calling, including a focus on marriage, family, and the home. 1 Timothy 2:15 thus turns out to be Paul’s prescription for women as a lesson learned from the scenario of the Fall described in the preceding verse.
Where is her domain?
Neopatriarch has a problem when he quotes Andreas Köstenberger who is out on a limb with his interpretation. I have personally written to Andreas about his errors. He was not able to answer my questions although I did find him to be a very cordial man. The first thing that is wrong is the statement that “she left her proper domain under her husband’s care”. The fact is that God never placed Eve “under the domain” of her husband. She had equal domain of the earth with her husband. He was given no domain over her. However we do see that Adam was given the responsibility to guard the garden. Eve was left vulnerable to the deception of the serpent not because she left any domain that she was given, but because Adam failed to exercise his command by God to guard the garden. Adam left the domain given to him by God as guardian. It was Adam who moved away from God’s command by allowing the serpent to lie to his wife. God held Adam to blame for his act of abandoning his post as a guardian. Because he failed to protect the garden, Adam is called a traitor in Hosea 6:7 in his act of treason. Eve did not become easy prey for Satan by abandoning any post under her husband that God gave her. Instead, she became prey because Adam abandoned his post.
A noun and not a verb
Andreas has also ignored the proper grammar of “childbearing” by treating it as a verb instead of its inspired grammar as a noun and making it a “calling” for all women when God hasn’t called all women to motherhood. Many godly women are not able to have children, and many of them serve God faithfully without a home or family. The “lesson” learned from the Fall is not that the woman left her post, but that the one who had full knowledge of the truth and who was responsible to speak forth that knowledge so that another person would not be deceived. Paul’s reference to Adam and Eve is a warning that the same thing that happened in the garden was also happening in Ephesus. The one who knew the truth was remaining silent and the one who was deceived was allowed to remain in her deception. Paul was putting a stop to this situation and encouraging Timothy to make a difference in the life of this woman when even her husband was doing nothing about her deception.
Eve was tricked by the serpent. The consequence was that she became a transgressor. The identity of womankind with Eve is expressed by Paul’s switch to “the woman” and the perfect tense “has come into transgression.” So what is predicated of Eve is predicated of womankind, through the typology. That is, any woman who is typologically represented by Eve has become a transgressor through deception and continues in the state of transgression.
Paul’s switch to the perfect tense proves that Paul is talking about someone who was alive at the time of his writing. Eve could not still be in the transgression since she was no longer alive at the time of Paul’s writing. All women are not in the transgression brought about by deception. It is impossible for this specific grammar to refer either to Eve or to all women. The only way that this specific grammar makes sense is for it to refer to a specific woman who Paul stopped from teaching because of her deception. Neopatriarch continues:
In verse 15, Paul shifts to speaking of any Christian woman who is typologically represented by ‘the woman’. John F. MacArthur says (regarding the future tense):
In verse 14 we read of woman being in sin. In contrast verse 15 speaks of woman being saved through childbearing. The salvation spoken of here is not salvation from sin. It cannot refer to Eve since the future tense is used (”she shall be saved”). Furthermore the use of the plural pronoun “they” indicates that more than one woman is in view. Some think this verse refers to Mary’s being saved by bearing Christ, but that is foreign to the context. The use of the plural pronoun clearly indicates that all women are in view here.
Eve is not “the woman”
While John MacArthur is correct when he states that verse 15 cannot be referencing Eve, “the woman” from verse 14 cannot be referencing Eve either. It also cannot be referencing every woman as I already showed above. The problem for patriarchists regarding the “she” and “they” from verse 15 is not answered from John MacArthur’s quote since he doesn’t even state who the “she” is. It is improper grammar for “she” to be called “they” so “she” must not be the same as “they”. Once again we have Paul’s specific grammar setting the stage and the arguments of the patriarchists falls flat. The problem is that those who hold this view do not have a noun to refer “she” back to especially since John MacArthur makes it clear that “she” is not Eve. Since “she” is not Eve and “she” cannot be the same as “they”, who is the “she”? There is no other single woman that can be referenced back to other than the particular “the woman” from verse 14 and “a woman” from verses 11 & 12. This shows that Paul is not stopping all women from teaching or that all women are deceived, but one woman is in mind who has fallen into error and her husband’s silence is akin to the silence of Adam. Just as Adam sinned with his silence, so too will sin and devastation occur in the Ephesian woman’s case if a stand for truth is not taken on her behalf.
Now we come to the crux of Schatz’s argument. Essentially, I believe her argument is this: In verse 15, either “she” refers to the particular woman and “they” refers to the woman and her husband, or “she” and “they” have the same antecedent. But “she” and “they” cannot have the same antecedent because the antecedent cannot be both singular and plural. Pronouns must agree with their antecedents in number. Therefore, “she” must refer to the particular woman Paul is correcting, and “they” refers to the woman and her husband.
There are a couple of problems here.
First, Schatz’s dilemma is false. The chiastic structure of verses 8-15 reveals the correct pronoun-antecedent relationships:
A (9-10) Christian “women” (plural)
B (11-12) “a woman” (singular indefinite noun) –it means any Christian woman.
C (13) “Eve” (generic / representative woman)
C’ (14) “the woman” (generic / representative woman)
B’ (15a) “she” has the antecedent “a woman”
A’ (15b) “they” has the antecedent “women,” Christian women in context
Neopatriarch has failed to prove that:
1. Eve is used as the generic/representative of woman (i.e. are all women deceived?)
2. That “the woman” is a generic/representative of woman (i.e. are all women in transgression after being deceived?)
3. That “she” can refer to a generic women or that “they” can be equal to “she”. This is improper grammar.
4. That the closest “they” should be “women” spoken of in verse 10. He has bypassed and ignored the closest logical “they” as being the couple from verses 11 & 12. He wrote:
Women are the topic of both “she” and “they,” but, grammatically, they have different antecedents. The pronoun “she” refers to “a woman”, and the pronoun “they” refers back to “women.” In other words, “she” refers to any woman, and “they” refers to every woman. Hence, “she” is not a particular woman, but any woman who is represented by the woman Eve.
No “she” is ever called “they”
This is not only unprecedented in scripture (no “she” is ever called the plural “they”) but it is illogical. How can “she” (any woman) be saved…if “they” (all women) remain in faith….??? Not only has Neopatriarch completely failed to prove his case that Eve is to be taken as a generic representative for women but he has failed to show how a woman’s salvation depends on what all women do? Please explain Mr. Neopatriarch how this is possible? Also please explain how the salvation of a man (represented by Adam) would be dependent on what all men do? It just doesn’t work. This explanation is nonsense in this passage. It makes perfect sense for Paul to show that the salvation of the particular woman who has been deceived will be dependent on what both of them (husband who has been silent and wife who has been in deception) do. If the husband will lead her into truth and walk with her instead of being silent, she will find salvation that came through the offspring of the very first deceived woman (Jesus the Messiah promised back in the book of Genesis.) Jesus is the one who rights all the wrongs and brings judgment to the one who deceived the very first woman. It was to be her seed alone that would defeat the original deceiver. This is what makes sense. A generic Eve and all women having to do things that will save those who Eve represents is nothing but gobblygook theology. It not only doesn’t make sense, but it makes Paul out to be confused and nonsensical.) Neopatriarch continues:
Second, Schatz’s view leads her to the untenable conclusion that a husband and wife are in view. But this conclusion has been answered by Michael R. Riley in his paper “The Proper Translation of Aner and Gune in the New Testament.”
In conclusion, Schatz’s view has several problems. Among them:
- 1. Schatz violates a basic principle of hermeneutics by making an interpretive key out of what many interpreters have recognized is an unclear verse (15). The clear verses should interpret the unclear.
- 2. Her conclusion that “she” refers to a particular woman and “they” refers to the woman and her husband follows from a false dilemma.
- 3. Her argument fails to take proper account of the context. Specifically, the verses that precede verses 11-12 where Paul is giving instructions for men and women (plural).
- 4. Her explanation of the summary citation lacks the explanatory power of the patriarchalist interpretation, especially with respect to verse 13.
- 5. Her position leads her into an untenable conclusion that a wife and her husband are meant. Riley demonstrates that the grammatical and contextual clues necessary to establish this conclusion are absent.
Every husband and every wife?
I do not say that Paul is talking about every husband and wife. My conclusion is that Paul is speaking about one particular woman and one particular man. The fact that the grammar is so specific that there is no other logical conclusion, supports my conclusion and not Neopatriarch’s.
Neopatriarch’s list of the “problems” of my view are no problems at all:
1. The “interpretative key” is the entire passage without contradiction and using the inspired words and the inspired grammar. The fact that “many interpreters” have recognized that verse 15 is an unclear verse should be a red flag that they cannot then turn around and say that verse 12 is clear. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is one package. It is one sentence and it is a logical and complete thought. The “key” is to be consistent with the entire passage and the correct understanding will make it work without error. I have done that and Neopatriarch has failed in his bid to refute my exegesis.
2. Neopatriarch has failed to disprove that “she” refers to a particular woman (from “the woman” in verse 14 and referring back to “woman” in verses 11 & 12) and “they” includes the “man” from verses 11 & 12. Calling it a “false dilemma is a classic overstating of his case which he has not proven at all.
3. It is amazing that I am being charged with failing to take proper account of the context, when Neopatriarch wants to dismiss verse 15 as unclear. He has also failed to account for the determined and deliberate change of grammar that Paul pens in verse 11. The grammar shift is not a mistake and the grammar shift back to the plural in verse 15 is not a grammatical error either. Neopatriarch has failed to prove that “she” and “they” can be referring to generic woman. When we take his explanation and use it to read the verse with that explanation, the reading becomes illogical and makes the passage unclear and confusing.
4. My reference to Paul’s citation back to Genesis is certainly without the patriarchalist interpretation because the patriarchalist interpretation is unproven in Genesis. I challenge Neopatriarch to prove his points in Genesis without reading into the text what is not there. He has a faulty exegesis and his view is properly called eisegesis (a reading into the text that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.)
5. Riley has not demonstrated that my exegesis is wrong regarding 1 Timothy 2:11-15. This is once again Neopatriarch’s overstating his case.
In conclusion, Neopatriarch has not only failed to refute my interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15, he has created a contradiction by reading into the text and presenting of his patriarchal tradition that contradicts the word of God. He is welcome to keep trying. I look forward to a “real” refutation if there is such a thing. I have been waiting since 2006 since the time my DVD “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” came out. Neopatriarch’s “refuation” is so full of holes, one could drive a Mac truck through it.
The moral of the story is that we must not disregard the inspired context, grammar or the word usage when we interpret scripture. When one reads into the text without regard for what God has written, that person will fall back on human tradition every time. We need to be faithful watchmen who stand faithful to God’s inspired word and who will not let the enemy steal and distort God’s word. Let’s also reach out to those who have been deceived by the man-made tradition that God does not give his Word into the hands of a woman.