The Husband of One Wife: “Enough Said” (Part 2)

John Mark Hicks (Outline, Harbor Lectures, Pepperdine, May 4, 2023)

Audible Available Here

My Contextual Understanding of 1 Timothy 2-3

  1. The Gender Inclusiveness in Paul’s Letters. For example, in Romans 12:6-8 there are no male pronouns though masculine gender is used throughout in an inclusive way. Paul regularly says, “brothers” but includes women.
  2. Context in Ephesus: False Teaching and Deception. Understanding 1 Timothy 2:11-15. A response to soft complementarian readings, click here. My understanding of 1 Timothy 2:8-15, click here. Or, this 60 minute presentation on 1 Timothy 2:8-15, click here.
  3. The Connection Between 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Timothy 3. Let the women learn, and “she” will be saved as long as they continue in faith, love, holiness with modesty. Desiring to be a bishop is a noble task. Therefore, “if anyone” . . .

An Inclusive Understanding of 1 Timothy 3:2

1.“If anyone” is gender neutral, inclusive of both male and female.

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone desires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Tim 3:1, ESV, italics=added text).

2. There are no male pronouns in the virtue list.

Idiou (one’s own; “his own” in ESV in 1 Tim 3:4[2x], “their own” in 3:12) is used instead of male pronouns.

3. There is nothing explicitly male in the virtue list.

Teaching, violence, and managing a household are not exclusively male behaviors.

4. The named virtues are also explicitly expected of women in 1 Timothy.

5. Deacons, including female deacons, must be “one-woman men.”

Their wives, likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own (idiōn) households well” (1 Tim 3:11-12, ESV, italics=added text; underline=interpretative).

6. “One-woman man” is an idiomatic exclusion of infidelity.

7. “One-woman man” functions as a generic masculine for marital fidelity.

The generic masculine is the default practice of the NT in accordance with Greek grammar (“brothers, sons of the family” [Acts 3:25], “love your neighbor as yourself (masculine)” [Gal. 5:14], “blessed is the man (aner) who remains steadfast under trial” [Jam 1:12], “double-minded man (aner)” [Jam 1:8], “for the anger of man (aner) does not produce the righteousness of God” [Jam 1:19], “if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man (aner)” [Jam 3:1], “those who desire to be rich” [1 Tim 6:9], or “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” [Luke 9:23]).

Reading with New Lenses: Seeing What Was Previously Obscured

  1. Gifts of Pastoring/Leading/Teaching (Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:6-8)
  2. Female Household Leaders (Lydia, Nympha, Mary in Jerusalem, Elect Lady of 2 John; Prisca and Aquila; Philemon and Apphia)
  3. Female Presbyters (probably Titus 2:1-5; possibly 1 Timothy 5:1-2).
  4. Ordained Female “Office-Holders” in Early Centuries of the Church.[1]

[1] See Ilaria L. E. Ramelli, “Colleagues of Apostles, Presbyters, and Bishops: Women Syzygoi in Ancient Christian Communities,” in Patterns of Women’s Leadership in Early Christianity, eds. Joan E. Taylor and Ilaria L. E. Ramelli (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 26-58; Ute E. Esien, Women Officeholders in Early Christianity: Epigraphical and Literary Studies, trans. Linda M. Maloney (Liturgical Press, 2000); Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek, Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2005), and Lynn H. Cohick and Amy Brown Hughes, Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second Through Fifth Centuries (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2017). For brief introduction, see Marg Mowczko, “Women Elders in Ancient Christian Texts (Part 1),” “Women Elders in Ancient Christian Texts (Part 2),” “Women Elders in Ancient Christian Texts (Part 3).”