The Mistranslation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12

July 4, 2008

(this is merely one post in our biblical series that addresses 1 timothy 2:11-12. for the others please see: are women allowed to teach men?backdrop of 1 timothywomen: more easily deceived than men?, and forbidding women teachers or false teachers? . for the entire biblical series on women in leadership please go here)

“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”–Paul, 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Paul’s letters are already difficult to interpret because they are like listening to one side of a telephone conversation, but faulty translations only further complicate our understanding of his words. There are a few key words that are conveniently mistranslated in 1 Timothy 2: 11-15.
Hesuchios/Hesuchia: Traditionalists normally translate this word as “silence” (at least in passages concerning women), but the word in all other places is translated as “peacefulness” “Peaceable” or “quietness.” The word does not carry the meaning of literal silence or absence of speech, but of an atmosphere or presence in which learning should take place. Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines hesuchios/hesuchias as “properly, keeping one’s seat,” “stillness” “undisturbed,” “undisturbing,” and “peaceable.”
When Paul has absence of speech in mind, he uses the term “sigao.” The same word is used just nine verses earlier and is translated as “peaceable,” 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Hesuchios/hesuchia is translated as quiet/quietness in 1 Thess. 4:11, 2 Thess. 3:12, 1 Peter 3:4. None of these verses are about silence, as in the literal absence of speech, but a tranquil quietness or peaceable presence/environment. This fits the context much better than a literal silence, since Paul just rebuked the men in the congregation for praying while angry and quarreling. Obviously, this would NOT be the optimum environment for anyone to learn in. Thus, Paul tells Timothy to make sure the woman can learn in quietness or peacefulness, and not amid the chaos that was taking over church meetings.
Paul also instructs that women should learn in full submission. This is not a unique request asked only of women, but men are also suppose to learn in full submission to the gospel and sound teaching. The reason this command is directed toward women here is only because teaching women in the same way as men was still a revolutionary practice and still repulsive to many men, believers or not.
Now, onto the grand-daddy of mistranslations and controversy….
“…nor to have authority over [authentein] a man…”
Exousia is the normal word used for “authority,” a carrying out of one’s official duties. But this is not the word Paul uses here. He instead picks the word authentein and it is the ONLY time this word appears in the New Testament. Exousia, however, appears over 100 times. Other uses of authentein from the same time period show that this word does not simply mean legitimate or routine authority, but carries violent, sexual, and dominating meanings.

Authentein.It cannot be stressed enough how unusual this word is, especially for Paul. Paul writes about authority quite a bit and he never uses authentein as a synonym for legitimate, godly authority. For most mentions of authority, he uses exousia. Louw and Nida’s Lexicon lists 12 common ancient Greek words that are synonyms for routine or legitimate authority, exousia being the most common throughout the new testament. There are 47 words that are synonyms for legitimate “rule” or “governing.” Yet Paul uses none of these words in 1 Timothy 2:11, he chooses the unusual authentein. We do not find any evidence that authentein, in any of its forms, connotates a routine or legitimate authority until the late third to fourth centuries, far too removed from Paul’s era to provide relevant meanings and contexts. And even once the word took on a less severe meaning in later centuries, THIS passage was ALWAYS been understood as Paul forbidding women to dominate a man, not simply exercise legitimate Christ-like authority. Consider these early translations: Old Latin Version from the second – fourth century translates this verse as “I permit not a woman to teach, neither to dominate a man {neque dominari in viro}.

The Vulgate, from the second to fourth century, translates this verse as “I permit not a woman to teach, neither to domineer over a man {neque dominari in virum}.

“There is a basically unbroken tradition, stemming from the oldest version and running down to the twenty first century, that translates authentein as “to dominate” and not “to exercise authority over.”-Linda Belleville
It is not until the 1500s that the verb authentein used in this verse changes from the drastically negatively-charged “to dominate/domineer” to a slightly water-downed phrase, “to usurp authority” (thanks, King James). Still different from exercising legitimate authority, but much less forceful than the violent and even sexual connotations of the original authentein. The King James version asserts that women are not to wrestle authority or seize it from men. No believer is permitted to usurp authority or act in self-interest over others. It is not until after World War II that authentein really gets the botched-translated: “to exercise/assume authority over.” That’s right, less than 80 years ago! So, the notion that women may never exercise godly authority within the body based on this verse is completely unbiblical, both logically and historically.
Exegetical Fallacies in Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11–15
This is by far the best article I’ve read on 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Linda Belleville, a new testament professor, put together a thorough and compelling paper on 5 exegetical fallacies concerning 1 Timothy 2:11-12 : Contextual/historical, Lexical, Grammatical, Cultural, and Doctrinal. She provides a thorough survey of the early uses of authenteo, in all its forms. This is a MUST read to gain a proper understanding of the egalitarian position. (update: this article is no longer free but has a small charge)
Catherine C. Kroeger also put together a brilliant survey of authentein (and all it’s sister-nouns/adjectives) uses from before Paul up until the third and fourth centuries. I would particularly challenge Tonya and Catrina to read these articles in full before giving me CBMW rebuttals. :)
These combined articles find that early uses of authentein (in its noun, verb, and adjective forms) collectively mean “criminal mastermind,” “a perpetrator,” “one who slays with his own hand,” “self-murder,” “women who can command domestic and sexual services from their male concubines,” “incestuous sex and murder,” “religious sexual orgies,” “to dominate,” “to control,” “to restrain,” and “to domineer.”

Hardly the meaning we find in modern translations of 1 Timothy 2:11.

One of the earliest meanings to authentein is the act of murder or the act of violence.
Wisdom of Solomon 12:6, an apocrypha book translated into ancient Greek, considered “scripture” by both Jews and Christians until the second century AD, uses a form of authentein.
“With their priests out of the midst of their idolatrous crew, and the parents, that killed with their own hands [authentas] souls destitute of help.”
Ancient Greek grammarians and lexicographers define authentein as “to dominate,” “to control, restrain, and domineer.” It is also classified as a “vulgar” term, possibly because of it’s sexual uses.

Other notable uses of the word include:

Josephus, the famous Jewish historian from Paul’s own time, used the noun form, authenten, to describe the “author” of a poisonous drink. Diodorus of Sicily wrote about the “sponsors” (authentas) of daring plans and the “perpetrators” (authentas) of a crime. John Chrysostom, an early church father, used the same word, authentia to express “sexual license” or perverse sexual practices. Clement, another early church father, linked the word with women involved in sexual orgies.
Catherine Kroeger makes an excellent analysis of the implications of the original meaning of authentein:
“Chrysostom [the early church father] uses autheritia to denote “sexual license.” If the word in this context refers to sexual behavior, it puts a quite different interpretation on the entire passage. For instance, if we were to translate the passage, ‘I forbid a woman to teach or discuss higher algebra with a man,’ we would understand the prohibition to be directed against instruction in mathematics. Suppose it read, ‘I forbid a woman to teach or talk Japanese with a man.’ Then we infer that the injunction applies to the teaching of language. ‘I forbid a woman to teach or dangle a man from a high wire’ would presuppose that the instructor was an aerialist. ‘I forbid a woman to teach or engage in fertility practices with a man’ would imply that the woman should not involve a man in the heretical kind of Christianity which taught licentious behavior as one of its doctrines. Such a female heretic did indeed ‘teach to fornicate’ in the Thyatiran church mentioned in Revelation 2:20 (cf. 2:14f.; Num. 25:3; 31:15f.).
Too often we underestimate the seriousness of this problem for the New Testament church. A passage in 2 Peter expresses concern not only for those drawn into this error but also for the illegitimate children which it produced:
‘But Israel had false prophets as well as true; and you likewise will have false teachers among you. . . . Having eyes full of adultery, that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls, an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children which have forsaken the right way … following the way of Balaam…. They utter big empty words, and make of sensual lusts and debauchery a bait to catch those who have barely begun to escape from their heathen environment (2:1,14f.,18).'”
Others have conducted in depth word studies on authentein with similar results…
Dr. David H. Scholer sites Leeland Edward Wilshire’s exhaustive study of the word authentien.“Wilshire is the first to use the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) computer database, which contains virtually all three thousand ancient Greek authors from Homer to A.D. 600. The database showed that authentein and its cognates occurred about 330 times and over a large number of centuries almost exclusively meant “a perpetrator of a violent act, either murder or suicide.”

But there is no evidence from the first century that authentein means ordinary or legitimate authority. Nothing exists until the late third and fourth centuries to suggest other meanings, and even then, the verse in question still translates authentein as “dominating men” or “domineer over men.”

Paul is not allowing a woman to teach others to dominate men, to teach the domination of men, nor to dominate a man themselves, but to be peaceable (heshucias). This verse has nothing to do at all with mature, trained christian women exercising their spiritual gifts and serving the body through teaching, preaching, or leading. These were women led astray by false teaching, whom Paul is correcting in these verses and who must start at the beginning with full submission to the gospel and sound teaching.

He ties in the creation story to draw a correlation between Eve being deceived by the voice of false teaching and these women. It is a reminder to the church of the devastating effects of false teaching and deception.

I know someone is going to say, Well, if Paul is forbidding dominating others as opposed to holding mere authority and it’s wrong for all believers to dominate each other, why does Paul only address this to women?” Consider that HERE IN THIS LETTER, Paul is correcting the ones exhibiting specific behaviors. Consider that Paul only tells the men to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger or disputing. Now, just because he only directs the men here in this verse, does that mean women shouldn’t lift up holy hands? Does it mean women are free to be angry and constantly disputing in or out of church? Of course not. But the men in the body were the ones exhibiting this behavior, so Paul only addresses them, even though it’s inappropriate for all believers to behave that way. Likewise, he only addresses the women about dominating and seizing authority through false teachings, possibly sexual ones, because they were the ones doing it in this instance.

Consider this reality of ancient Greek culture pointed out by Catherine Koeger:
“Virtually without exception, female teachers among the Greeks were courtesans, such as Aspasia, who numbered Socrates and Pericles among her students. Active in every major school of philosophy, these hetairai (high-class, intellectual prostitues) made it evident in the course of their lectures that they were available afterwards for a second occupation. But the Bible teaches that to seduce men in such a manner was indeed to lead them to slaughter and the halls of death (cf. Prov. 2:18; 5:5; 7:27; 9:18). The verb authentein is thus peculiarly apt to describe both the erotic and the murderous.”
It becomes overwhelming clear from the the well-documented culture of Ephesus coupled with the original word meanings used in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, that this mandate is not a prohibition against all women teaching/preaching/leading in the church. It’s simply absurd to keep gifted and qualified women from teaching the truth of the gospel, leading church bodies in the ways of Jesus, or simply contributing their gifts by vocally participating in the gatherings of the entire body because of a verse that was originally a disciplinary action against women at Ephesus. who were lead astray by false teaching.

30 Responses to “The Mistranslation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12”

  1. julie Says:

    Excellent article, thanks! Having spent quite a few years in a group of churches that taught patriarchal complimentarianism very heavily, I’m still wading through these issues trying to understand my freedom to use all my gifts as a woman in the church. I really appreciate your blog and am finding it very very helpful!

  2. Fred Harrell Says:

    Well put, well argued, and I believe right on the money. One other key word would be the word for “permit”as in “I do not permit a woman to teach”
    The verb here is actually “I am not now permitting” (*hat tip to Ben Witherington). There is not a single instance in Greek literature where this verb form means “I will never permit”. Paul could easily have said, “I will never permit” but he does not. Is he correcting a local problem? Yes.

    Is it possible, given the tense of “permit”, the loaded word “authentein” and the injunction to learn in “quietness” (specifically targeting women for that learning), that Paul here is not talking about appropriate instances where women may teach and have authority (which they do elsewhere) but about an issue in Ephesus, where women who are seeking to teach or take authority (domineer) over men, without first being quiet and learning about the faith? Yes.

  3. Gloria Says:

    Wow, really great article – I recently discovered this blog and I wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading it. I especially love that you use scripture and good logic to make your points.

    Thanks for posting this!

  4. Tia Lynn Says:

    Why thanks. :)

  5. Don Johnson Says:

    Just found this blog and it seems really great. I am egal and always looking for the latest insights and this blog seems to have many, so I need to investigate it further.

  6. linda Says:

    welcome don to you and all our other new readers! :)

  7. […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by coty on 2008-08-19 The Mistranslation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 – […]

  8. Israelite Says:

    1 Timothy 2:12 clearly states “I suffer not a woman to teach.” This entire blog failed to address that, for OBVIOUS reasons… Feminism is the devil!

  9. […] The Mistranslation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 via christian feminism […]

  10. Ray Says:

    A very insightful description. My appreciation to the researchers. I found this blog after reading ‘Misquoting Jesus’ by Bart D. Ehrman. There is a section ‘Women and the Texts of Scripture’ that your readers may find interesting and very much on a par with the evidence shown here. Thanks.

  11. JPW Says:

    I believe you are coming to this issue from completely the wrong direction. You have made up your mind and are looking to the Bible to back you up (and in some places looking beyond the Bible). And as such going against the command of Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”

    How you should attack this issue and every other spiritual issue you come across is to have no opinion! Then read the Bible and let God speak to you through your open and ready to learn heart!

    God can not speak to you if you come to him with closed ears, a symptom you are clearly displaying through out this blog page.

    If you were to look through the Bible carefully I think there is only one conclusion you can truely come to. That being that women should not have an ultimate position of spiritual leadership within the church (pastor, preacher or elder) however their leadership can come in more practical areas (including the area of deaconship).

    I think the you have already discovered the verses that are clearly speaking against women in spiritual leadership. However I would point you to the story of Deborah, Barak and more importantly Jael (Judges 4). Here Barak is told (by God, through Deborah) to go to war and that if he does then he will win. However because of his indecion and frankly cowardness Jael took the responsibility of killing the leader of part of the Canaanite army.

    This to me is how the church should be displayed.
    Men are first and foremostly given the order to be incharge of the church until Christ’s return. However there are very rare times when the chosen men simply do not step up to the plate! In that case their will be women on hand to point the church in the right direction (back to God) but eventually they should lead the church back in to male leadership!

  12. linda Says:


    we engage in respectful dialog on this blog, not contentious debate. if you continue in the manner you have displayed in your previous comments please know you will not be allowed to comment further. disagreeing with a post is fine but being rude and disrespectful will not be tolerated here.

  13. Karl VanTassel Says:

    Could you provide how you would translate the greek and add paraphrasement for the scripture verses 1Timothy 2:11-12.

  14. Julie Says:

    Praise the Lord! I’m glad I came back to this website. This article is magnificent. Frankly, it
    makes me want to study the original Greek and Aramaic. It’s amazing to me what people want to put
    in the Lord’s mouth; it’s horrifying how people won’t go back to the actual languages, cultures, and
    histories to actually find out what was being said.
    I really needed to read this article. Thank you,
    and I’ll be back! God bless you.:)

  15. Josh Says:

    This could very well be true of AUTHENTEIN in that the women of the time were teaching (primary job) and taking a (second job) on the side “sex” or “domination of men” etc according to the history of the time by Catherine Koeger. But a critical word of verse 1 Timothy 2:12 is “or”. Paul could have used “and” but he used “teach OR authentein”. 2:12 “I do not permit a woman to teach or ‘to exercise authority over'(Authentein) a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Therefore these were two seperate things not necessarily being done in combination. Same as for the verses for men, not all would have been both angry and and verbaly quaralling again the use of OR was used. Paul was simply not permiting women to teach (primary job) or if this translation of Authentein is correct, seduce/sexually dominate men (second job). Paul then continues in 1 timothy 3 by giving a checklist for overseers and deacons.

  16. Justin Says:

    Often times the true point is made clear not in what is said or written rather what is not said and not written. The message that jumps off of this page is “The Bible Cannot Be Trusted!” This of course is the rouse of the evil one because if the Bible can be found inaccurate on one account, even mis-translation, then the entire infallibility of the Scriptures can no longer be assumed. This is dangerous ground you are treading and is counter-productive to the advancement of the Kingdom that is in Jesus Christ our King.

  17. Erik Says:

    Linda, where exactly was JPW being rude? You said it’s ok to disagree with the article, so how in the world is he supposed to express that on here? Perhaps everything is rude and disrespectful to theists? Is it instances like this that created the word “blasphemy”? Is this another one of those “anti-opposition” cesspools of unchallenged christian knowledge? I think he actually hit the nail on the head with Proverbs 3:5. “Don’t think for yourself! Just close your eyes, put in your earplugs, and obey.”

    Anyways it’s to bad the latter part of the verse about eve being formed second after adam, and that she was a fool for being deceived rather then Adam wasn’t really touched on because now it sounds like decisions/opinions were already decided before this article was even made and that the author put on the holy tap shoes to dance around this enigma.

    Even if you changed the first verse to “Yahweh loves all the beautiful woman of the world and thinks they are just awesome!”, it still doesn’t change anything. Why would he bother mentioning that Adam came first, and eve’s faults unless he was saying something negative about woman beforehand? It’s like your trying to change it from saying “Stupid woman should keep their mouth shut and submit to men’s will, because they are less then men and are at fault of it because adam came first as well as eve screwed up and adam didn’t.” to “Beautiful woman that should learn in a peaceful environment are less then men because adam came first and because and it’s their fault eve screwed up and adam didn’t.” You can sugarcoat the adjectives all you want but it’s still mentioning retardation due to Eve.

    Now if JPW’s post was considered somehow rude and disrespectful then my post must be the work of the devil. Push this under the rug and hide it if you’d like, not my problem. Just proving my point if so.

  18. Tia Lynn Says:

    Hey Everyone! So sorry for my absence. Motherhood has severely cut into my computer time! Ok I have a few things to say in response to some of the comments.

    JPW. Hello. Let me tell you the quick version of my story. I was raised in a VERY complementarian church. Women did not address the congregation, let alone lead it. Like most complementarian churches they were regulated to leading women only ministries, children ministry, or singing on the worship team. The first time I encountered an egalitarian argument (in a book by one of my favorite authors) I threw it across the room in disgust! I set out originally to disprove his claims—not affirm them. But once I studied BOTH sides, looked at the whole of scripture, the heart of scripture, the original language of these texts, the unique cultural settings in which they were written, I became convinced of the egalitarian position. So rest assured, I did not just decide one day to be an egalitarian and then search for evidence to affirm my already existing view. I hope that helps.

    Josh, I would recommend you checking out Linda Belleville’s analysis of the grammatical construction of this verse, in which she shows the EXACT opposite is true of what you are saying. There original greek uses a correlative construction, neither/nor (ouk, oud). The usage does not imply separate ideas, but interwoven ideas—most examples we have of this construction are used to convey the same ideas or a pair of synonyms (neither sleep, nor slumber, or neither despised, nor scorned). antonyms (neither greek nor jew), or moving from the general to the specific (wisdom neither of this age, nor the rulers of this age), but the flow is always related, where as teaching and dominating are not related ideas at all. If I said the sentence, “I do not permit you neither to study nor to read the Kamasutra,” you would not think I was forbidding you to study or read in general, but only to not study or read the Kamasutra. This is the case with these verses. Paul is not forbidding women to teach the message of Jesus or the truth of scripture, but is forbidding them to teach in a domineering way, or forbidding them to teach the actual domineering of men. This reading fits both the grammatical construction, the larger context of 1 Timothy, and the historical context in Ephesus, in which the cult of Artemis taught the SUPERIORITY not equality) of women to men.

    Justin, God’s word is reliable, but not all versions convey what is in the original texts. That is why we have the body of Christ, so we can study and ensure we stay as close to the originals as possible.

    Erik, since you have come to the conclusion that all women have suffered some form of retardation as the result of Eve’s deception, I doubt my words will have any affect on you. I believe Linda thought it was rude of JWP to assume that I, the author of this article, started with an egalitarian view and THEN studied to find only the evidence that supported my view. It is a little rude to assume you know someone’s motives or personal story, instead of just dealing with the information presented.

    As for you, I address extensively in a previous post about Paul’s words about Adam being formed first and Eve being deceived. The quick version: Gnostics of the time taught Eve was created FIRST and that by eating the fruit she gained secret knowledge. They painted her as a hero. Women in Ephesus, who coming from an Artemis infested culture already believed women were superior to men, so once they joined the church, it would not be so hard for them to embrace Eve has some sort of hero. Paul is simply correcting a false teaching, not degrading all women. The fact of the matter is that Adam was formed first (and he was insufficient alone and NEEDED Eve) and Eve was deceived, not some beacon of knowledge and power. She sinned. I am surprised you are insinuating that Adam didn’t “screw up.” On the contrary Adam willingly and KNOWINGLY disobeyed God’s command, he was not tricked into it, but did it out of pure rebellion, where as Eve was deceived into it. So the original man and woman both messed up. Paul is using the example of Adam and Eve to correct a prevalent false teaching and to call for the learning of women (who up until now were forbidden to learn the sacred scriptures the way men were allowed to, so that was quite liberating) and for them to do so in a quiet atmosphere (free from the disruptive angry arguments the men were having) with full submission to the true word of God, not cult legends or gnostic fairytales. To take this verse written for a specific situation and try to use it to silence all women for all time is just ludicrous. As the late great Katharine Bushnell once said “”If women must suffer domestic, legislative, and ecclesiastical disabilities because Eve sinned, then the Church must harbor the appalling doctrine that Christ did not atone for all sin.”

    Stop all the power struggles. Men and women submit yourselves one ton another, esteem each other higher than yourselves and let’s work together to bring about God’s kingdom!

  19. linda Says:

    erik, you asked where jpw was being rude. it was in another comment of his that i deleted because i found it to be quite rude. i left his other one up. as the admin of this blog that is my call. i have no problem with people disagreeing but it must be done with gentleness, respect, and love. people will know us by our love for one another…

  20. Melody Hanson Says:

    As a woman struggling to understand all this I am grateful for the work here, this article in particular. I too want to study it for myself, and I am well served by your scholarship. I can’t thank you enough. Bless you. Melody

  21. PB Says:

    1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
    1Co 14:35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.

    Gen 3:16 To the woman He said:
    “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
    In pain you shall bring forth children;
    Your desire shall be for your husband,
    And he shall rule over you.”

  22. Sonia Says:

    PB- please note that there is a difference between a woman submitting to her husband and a woman being allowed to use her gifts to preach the word of God.

    For 1 Corinthians 14:34, this article already disputes the word “silence” as we see it could mean “peacefulness”.

    For 1 Corinthians 14:35, may I ask what translation you are using? In my translation (NIV), the verse says “If they want to inquire about something…” rather than “And if they want to learn something…”.

    You also have to understand the seating arrangements of the early church. Rather than family-focused seating as we do in modern times, seating was back then separated between men and women. So for a woman to yell across the church at her husband to clarify a teaching- that was disgraceful. Instead, if they were curious, wanted to ask, or “inquire” about something, they were to ask their husbands at home, where they wouldn’t disturb the service.

  23. Noah Says:

    Or…it means what it says.

    The Bible was a document written for a people living in a male-dominated society. You are justifying your gender-equality position based on a 21st century ethos that is unfair to apply to the document.

    I believe that women should be equal about as fervently as the average feminist, but any argument for their equality using the Bible is by definition without merit.

  24. jane Says:


    I hate to say it, but I’m coming to this conclusion as well,

    “I believe that women should be equal about as fervently as the average feminist, but any argument for their equality using the Bible is by definition without merit.”

    because all I can find, that gives women ANY value other than being a penis ashtray, in the Bible,

    is her ‘ability to have children’

    nothing more.

    I am afraid, you might be, right. And if that be the case, it leaves a LOT to be questioned, doesn’t it? Kind of where I am at right now.


  25. Jane Says:

    “I am afraid, you might be, right. And if that be the case, it leaves a LOT to be questioned, doesn’t it? Kind of where I am at right now.”

    Noah [and others],

    after reflecting on this, and I still see where yes, adding a modern day ethos to the Bible of that day, does present problems, where scriptures around women are concerned, not only that,

    Unless one is a scholar and KNOWS to research the ancient texts…which MOST women, and men do not, they read the Bible and usually take it literally,

    to ‘rely’ on scholar digging, etc., simply is NOT enough, to address the harmful misinterpretations, and this is where there is a gap.

    But that does not mean, that there isn’t other scriptures in the Bible that cannot refute the ‘literal’ interpretations, and it is through THOSE, that the Holy Spirit does and can show, the ‘balance’, how I call it, that the ‘literal’ interpretations that misogynists use, etc.,

    simply DO NOT WASH. Because to on one hand, claim the entitlement to subjugate based on gender, etc., to condone abuse, mistreatment, male superiority, and then to claim on the other hand the Spirit of Christ,

    is an oxymoron if there ever was one. So, taking the whole debates aside, if one reads the WHOLE BIBLE, and reads the over thousands of Commands of God against

    oppression, exploitation of the weaker, including the numerous commands against oppression of widows [and this one is extremely important, see note at bottom], of the fatherless, against exploitation of labor, of the immigrant, etc., AND the Harsh ‘punishments’ that will come, when one is adament and insistent on their rights or entitlements to exploit, abuse, abuse power, etc., and how God really feels about these things, in Both the Old and New Testament,

    then, one doesn’t NEED to dig for correct translations or debate, because the Character of God, is clearly evident, that we are to be servants, humble, regardless of gender, and that in no way, are we to seek power, or to seek to abuse that power, we are NOT entitled to ‘special rights’ based on gender or class or race, and God’s ‘government’ and ‘laws of Heaven’ simply do not work along those lines of hierarchy–

    the Bible makes this Very clear–and any who deny this, in no way, and I’ll be very vocal on this, know who God is. Because the apostles, Paul, stated, time and time and time again, how ‘he’ suffered, in Christ, how ‘he’ worked so not to be a burden to anyone Though he had every right to be paid, how ‘he’ laid down his rights so that OTHERS MAY COME TO KNOW CHRIST,

    and any deviance of that or Teaching of deviance of that, and the writers of the New Testament were very vocal on this, from James to Peter to Jude, that they are ‘false prophets’. Its as simple as that,

    in No where, in the New Testament or the Old, were ‘men’ given special entitlements to micro-manage or abuse their power over women or children. In fact, there are scriptures that are very ‘strong’ against these abuses…and to not take heed to them, is very dangerous.

    And I do find it interesting, how those who are obsessed with using scriptures about submission to women, will and do REFUSE to look at the thousands of scriptures against greed, exploitation For that greed, which is coveting, idolatry, etc., and against seeking vain glory. [which is, seeking leadership, prestige, and power over others…in fact, we are not to seek to lord it over others.] James referred to those of this nature as ‘brute beasts’, well, brute means, just that, brutal…

    Bottom line–IF we Center, the focus Around Jesus Christ, there IS no room–in Any way–for power, for abuse of that power, for insistence in micro-control freak managing or controlling another human being,

    be they male, Female or Child.

    Because to Know Christ, is to Know His Will, and that is to SERVE, as Unto the Lord. NOT–insisting on ‘being served’.

    Take that with all the other thousands of scriptures where God clearly stated and even Punished, numerous times those who oppressed and brutalized Women–that is correct, Women,

    in Kings, about Samuel, Saul and King Agag, Agag was cut into pieces, not for going against Israel–but for ‘having women raped with sword’ because it says, that Samuel told King Agag, that ‘because women were made childless with sword’ his mother would be childless–and then, Agag was cut to pieces, IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

    That’s pretty serious business–and the thing is, these women weren’t ‘killed’, they were raped with a sword and made childless [like what is going on in the Congo] and that was the First and very Vocal thing the LORD GOD said–after Agag said, ‘oh, the bitterness of death is passed’ because women were seen to have no ‘value’, and notice, it doesn’t say, Israeli women, it says, Women.

    Another example is the rape of the concubine, how many men died because of that–by the hand of the LORD GOD,

    and what happened to Abigail’s husband and there are other examples–including against ethnic cleansing and mass rapes for the purpose of ethnic cleansing, the LORD GOD punished nations for these crimes AGAINST WOMEN.

    Where you really See how God views the treatment of women, is also how He refers to the treatment of Widows, because ‘widows’ were viewed, due to their ‘age’ [and we still have ageism today] and due to their being past age to bear children [book of Ruth], much like it is today, widows were invisible, somewhat discarded, because they were of no SEXUAL VALUE, in patriarchal society [and I should say, tribal patriarchy–not this andro-centric one male patriarchy we have today which is a result of capitalist individualism].

    Anyway, God was very Vocal, against the oppression and exploitation of widows, and insistent that these women, were NOT invisible to God and that they did NOT lose value, because they could not produce child or were not of ‘sexual value’, and that right there, discloses A LOT, and to oppress a widow–God punished, Severely.

    He didn’t mess around, and still doesn’t, same goes for ‘fatherless’. Just Those two examples right there, and Jesus is the Same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever, pretty much closes the case–

    in no way, does God condone nor tolerate nor wink at, men who insist on their right to rule, abuse, oppress women, wives, children, etc. And God will, Repay…make no mistake about it, [though God is also merciful and wants men to Repent].

    So really, one does not need to dig up ancient words-texts and all that, because the Spirit of the Bible–clearly, shows, to any Heart who is truly wanting to Love God, the Truth, that Spirit, the Holy Spirit,

    does lead us into all truth.

    I would say, over half of the doctrines spewed by most churches, ministries today, are False and Apostate. Stay in the Word and on your knees long enough–you will see it,

    clear as day.

    What the enemy does though, is he comes in, with all the doctrines [his lies] and you see through those lens of men’s traditions and through


    yesterday, the Lord opened my eyes, the Root word, to Culture, is


    What we are seeing today, is the CULTURE, that is yes, the World–we are not to be ‘conformed’ to Culture, but we are to be transformed, in Christ. And it must be noted, that our Culture in this nation, is based and founded, mostly on Hellenistic ideas,

    and the root word to Hellenistic, is not Helen of Troy, its HELL. [and if you read history, of the Hellenistic influences/empire on Israel-Maccabbees revolt, Alexander–the Greeks-Romans, then it makes sense], and the city on the hill, Washington D.C. with its temple spire [that looks just like the spires on top of the temples that worshiped Marduk and Bael, etc of times of old], was named, after the city on the hill, of Rome.

    Its a ‘myth’ that the government-legal system was based on Bible–wrong—sure, the Puritan influence was there, but the Founding Fathers were adament, about not ‘having a state mandated religion’, and in the forming of Constitution, government, so forth, they had decided on a secular form of rule–with no absolutes–taking Greece and Rome as example. [see Hannah Arendt’s “On Revolution”, its one of the best detailed and indexed/research books on this and the chapter is “The Lost Treasure”], she really digs and goes into the whole framework there, of the Republic. [Republic, btw, from Roman influence].

    So, anyway, my point is, the influences of Hellenism have a lot to do with our development in Culture, which is a ‘materialist’ culture, that insists on ‘unification’ of the Powers of the world, etc. [where the dominion movement, has a lot in common with the Hellenistic Ideology]

    Sure, they have some ‘good’, but we must never forget, the devil, can transform into an angel of light too….

    bottom line–the insistence on ‘special rights’ because of gender–hierarchal order, is NOT of God, its of our Culture, its of the pyramid–the desire to be ‘gods’. Satan’s lie to Eve [and Adam took of that fruit with no argument, and the King James version says, that Adam, was ‘with Eve’ at the time] so I have wondered, did Adam, sit there and wait, the whole time, waiting to ‘see’ if Eve would physically ‘die’ and when she didn’t, then he took of it too????? Because the serpent told Eve–that they would become like the ‘gods’,

    not God, like the ‘gods’, Why did he say that? And why did Eve AND Adam, desire that? Good question,

    lust of the eyes, the tree looked good and so forth, the ‘desire’ was already IN them, not After they ate…and there is something really important there–and we can’t just say, oh, that Adam and Eve,

    because guess what, we ALL do the very same thing–every time we are tempted, see James–when we are tempted, our ‘hearts’ desires draw us, etc.,

    there is Something to that–we are tempted to ‘eat’ off that fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil every day–we desire knowledge, to have Power–we desire Power–to be like the ‘gods’,

    just something, to really ponder over.



  26. jane Says:

    Off topic here, but I wanted to pass this along to you. Some of you may be aware of her, I wasn’t, found her blog while looking for quotes [women missionaries] and she has some really Good writing, such as on Predatory Preachers and Sexual Discrimination, etc. [look to the side bar for her mini-blogs]

    this blog, is called Egalitarian Eve, thought you’d enjoy.

    Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  27. PB Says:

    (1 Cor. 14:34) The Greek word here for silence is NOT “hesuchia” it is actually “sigao”

    Heres a link for the definition of the word using the site you like:

    And it means to keep silent…as the (NIV) says…

    (1Co 14:34) women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.

    It doesnt matter what translation you use…inquire…learn…the fact is “it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (1 Cor. 14:35) its not discraceful because of a seating arrangement, this explaination isnt even worth a discussion.

    It’s disgraceful because “the Law says” it is (verse 34).

    (1Co 11:3) Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

  28. linda Says:

    i’ve deleted some of the comments because i’m not allowing this sort of rudeness from either side. if you can’t discuss civilly then please go elsewhere. i’m going to close comments for awhile.

    what some of you don’t understand is that when addressing an issue we must look at what the whole counsel of scripture says on the issue rather than pulling one verse in isolation out of the bible and trying to apply it universally to all situations in every time and place. the bible is a narrative book that is written with context and that context must always be considered. it is precisely how we resolve apparent contradictions in the text. tia lynn has examined on this blog the full sweep of scripture concerning the issue of women in ministry from genesis through the new testament. for those of you who insist on using one or two verses to create a theology i strongly recommend you read her entire series. it is when we insist on interpreting scripture without context and every verse literally that the bible in fact contradicts itself. when we interpret scripture in context and look at the full counsel we see it is both true, internally coherent and edifying.

  29. […] of the Bible into English from Greek, and the subsequent misinterpretation of this passage (, 2008). It puts forward the argument that 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is ‘originally a disciplinary action […]

  30. […] Christian Feminism (hereafter CF) presents an argument about the mistranslation of the Bible into English from Greek, and the subsequent misinterpretation of this passage (, 2008). It puts forward the argument that 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is ‘originally a disciplinary action against women at Ephesus who were lead astray by false teaching’. This contradicts what Paul mentions second letter to Timothy about the validity of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16, mentioned above). […]

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