1 Timothy 2:11-12 – May Women Teach Men?

In January, 2021, Bammel Road Church of Christ in Houston, TX, asked me to share my understanding of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 with them. This is the ZOOM video for January 31, 2021.

This presentation suggests that Paul is addressing a confused situation in Ephesus where some deceived women were influencing the whole church, and consequently Paul encourages them to learn before they teach. These women had been deceived just as Eve had. This is not a universal prohibition against women teaching men. Rather, it is Paul’s response to a specific situation where Paul uses Eve as an analogy rather than as the basis for some kind of created order that ranks the authority of men and women in the church.

The Powerpoint slides are available here.

Another video on 1 Timothy 2:12 (“Three Problems with a Soft Complementarian Reading of 1 Timothy 2:12”) is available here.

For a summary of my perspective, see this essay.

For a more extended presentation of my understanding, see my book: Women Serving God.

3 Responses to “1 Timothy 2:11-12 – May Women Teach Men?”

  1.   Ron Morgan Says:

    My niece was an urban missionary among the Hmong in St. Paul. They had a couple of men there with the title preacher. Both left. It was either my niece preach or let the ministry dissolve. She preached.
    A recently retired elder from the supporting congregation came to visit, and he fell in love with the ministry. He didn’t seem it necessary to report every tiny detail back home.

  2.   Jay Sellers Says:

    How much weight do you give to a text out of 1 Timothy that we have good Textual criticism and historical reason to suspect wasn’t written by Paul vs text from other places such as Romans 16:1-7 where clearly Paul commends women in leadership roles including those who are clearly are spreading the gospel and teaching to broad audiences that surely included men?

    •   John Mark Hicks Says:

      If one thinks Paul did not write 1 Timothy (based on rhetorical/literary/theological reasons), then one could give it a secondary function unless one also thinks “canon” has a theological function and 1 Timothy is part of the canon of the historic church. I don’t know any text-critical (as in textual criticism, that is, manuscript evidence) or historical reasons to doubt Paul’s authorship of 1 Timothy. The argument is usually about grammar, vocabulary, themes, etc. that are not common in Paul’s unanimously received letters.

      The point would be to think about the complexity of Paul’s world in male-dominated Greco-Roman culture, the specific situations he encountered and addressed, and the theological agenda Paul has for the witness of the gospel (a witness where he wants the gospel to get a hearing rather than dismissed). I agree with your point about Romans 16, and I think there is a way of reading 1 Timothy 2 that does not undermine that point if we think about Paul addressing a particular situation rather than stating a general practice.

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