Role of Women in the Church, 1 Timothy 2:12, Majority (2023)

Editor’s Note: This committee was formed as a result of a petition from the floor of the 2021 Conference. This report below was received by the 2023 Conference. A substitute motion/legislation was made from the floor. It did not pass. The majority committee’s legislation was presented and did not pass. The Role of Women minority report was received. Its legislation did not pass. At the 2024 Conference, the study committee reported that they were unable to come up with unified legislation. The committee was thanked for their work and dissolved. 2023 Minutes 2024 Minutes

Study Committee on the Role of Women in the Church (Majority Report)

Our committee was charged by BFC Conference to codify the prohibition against women teaching men in the gathered church from 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Based on our observations of the text, the Articles of Faith, and Scripture as a whole, our group believes Paul is prohibiting women from teaching authoritatively in the gathered church in a way that is reserved for elders.

Observations from the biblical text

Context of 1 Timothy 2: Gathered Church

The book of 1 Timothy is focused on warning the church, God’s household, to avoid false doctrine and false teachers.[1] Chapter 2 includes instructions on praying without anger or disputing, modest dress, and teaching and learning. Each of these instructions would only be worth noting in a setting of a formal public worship service of the gathered church.

Context of 1 Timothy 2: Authoritative Teaching

Paul flows from chapter 2 to chapter 3 without any transition words.[2] First Timothy 3 mentions that elders must be able to teach. In 2:12, Paul’s prohibition of women teaching has in view the kind of authoritative teaching which belongs to elders—which he is just about to mention. Paul’s prohibition of women teaching in the gathered church cannot include the type of general teaching or exhorting which Scripture expects from all believers, both men and women.[3]

Definition of “teach” in the New Testament

By basic definition, the Greek word for “teach” (διδασκω) means to tell someone what to do or to provide instruction in a formal or informal setting. It is used often in the gospels to describe Jesus’ public teaching ministry in the temple and on the streets, although there are times when it refers to Jesus teaching his disciples in a smaller group. There are a few times when it simply means giving instructions. [4]

By the time of Acts and the apostles, the word began to be used more specifically.[5] Luke uses the word 15 times in Acts, mostly to describe what the apostles do as they tell others about Christ in the temple, in public, and house to house (Acts 5:42, Acts 20:20). The word is also used to describe what false teachers do, so it is not always used in a positive sense.

In the Epistles, there are a variety of uses of teaching, sometimes referring to authoritative teaching that an elder does and sometimes meaning the teaching that is open to believers in general in the life of the church. For example, in Colossians 3:16 all believers are to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…”[6]

In the Pastoral Epistles, the word teaching (διδασκεῖν) narrows to convey authoritative instruction from the elders in a congregational setting. [7] It is apparent that the primary teaching in the early church comes from the elders. [8] Authoritative teaching also refutes what the false teachers are teaching.[9] In Titus and 1 Timothy, the qualifications of elders include holding firmly to the word as taught and being able to teach and rebuke those who contradict it.[10]

Part of this authoritative teaching is preserving and passing along the doctrine given from the apostles. In 1 Timothy 4:11, Paul tells Timothy to teach the things that he just taught Timothy. In chapter 6 we have the clearest depiction of how Paul views authoritative teaching. It is the instruction in doctrine that he gives Timothy and others, which ultimately agrees with the sound doctrine of the Lord and godliness.[11] In 2 Timothy, Paul’s instructions further describe how Timothy is to pass on the teaching that he has received from Paul in an authoritative way, differently than the way he describes laypeople teaching.[12] The teaching referred to in the Pastoral Epistles clearly suggests an authority that cannot be attributed in the same way to every use of the word teaching in the New Testament.[13]

Relationship between “teach” and “authority” in 1 Timothy 2:12

Although our committee was not charged by conference to study the issue of women and authority in the church, the issue of authority must be addressed because it also appears in 1 Timothy 2:12. Early Latin translations from the second through the fifth century AD translate the word “to domineer.” The 1599 Geneva Bible and the King James Version translate the word as “to usurp authority,” but most modern translations translate the word as “to exercise authority.” This particular Greek word for authority is only used this once in Scripture, so we rely on the biblical context and consult extrabiblical usages of the word in order to help determine its meaning. Unfortunately, the Greek word used for “authority” only appears five times within two hundred years after Paul writes Timothy.

Most of the books, articles, and sermons we researched referenced Dr. George Knight’s work when describing why the word means “to exercise authority.” To see further study on the meaning of the word “authority,” including an analysis of Dr. George Knight’s work, see the Appendix.

Our group sees the phrase “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” pointing to one service in the church: authoritative teaching which belongs to elders.[14] This phrase is not merely signifying the position of elder.[15] It is referring to one action, authoritative teaching, because of the way the grammar is structured in the verse. “To teach” and “to exercise authority” are joined by the word “or.” In the Greek, the word for “or” ties together the two infinitives into one idea. For a detailed analysis of the Greek grammar, see the Appendix.

Throughout 1 Timothy 2, Paul couples two related words. For example, Paul uses pairs of partly synonymous words or phrases in verses 1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4, 5, 7a, 7b, 8, 9a, and 9b, such as men should pray lifting up holy hands without anger or quarreling. Women should adorn themselves with modesty and self-control, not with gold or pearls. In every instance, the paired words are closely related and together form one single concept. This makes it overwhelmingly likely that in 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul is referring to one specific kind of teaching. [16]

How Paul uses Adam and Eve

The next two verses contain a reference to Adam and Eve that is connected to verse 12 only by the word “for.” “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” Because the Greek word “for” has multiple uses and Paul doesn’t clarify his intended meaning any further, there is a breadth of opinion among scholars (and, indeed, members of this committee) about the way this inserted narrative is meant to reflect on Paul’s preceding instructions. However, an interpretation of verse 12 as prohibiting women from elder-specific teaching, as outlined above, couples well with a variety of readings of verses 13 and 14, so that the harmony of the text is preserved even when viewed from a diversity of perspectives.

A review of the positions of respected scholars reveals broad interpretive trends as well as variations and outliers. The most common complementarian view says that Paul uses “for” in the sense of “because” in verse 13, rooting his previous command in creation order in that Adam, created first, sets the stage for men to carry the weight of spiritual responsibility. He asserts that Paul’s original audience, accustomed to the idea of primogeniture, would have found this idea quite sensible. The interpretive connection to the idea of headship is limited, however. For much of church history, 1 Timothy 2:14 (“and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor”) was taught to mean that women are inherently more deceivable than men. This view of women being inherently deceivable has “rightly been abandoned by virtually all complementarians as well as egalitarians.”[17]

While many scholars affirm the most common complementarian view in its entirety, others add nuances or take another approach altogether. One scholar follows much the same path but adds an affirmation of federal headship as an interpretive connection. The federal headship view says since the text tells us that Eve sinned first and yet we know that Adam carries the weight of humanity’s sin, we can infer that Adam is the spiritual head as well as the firstborn.[18] Yet another scholar’s view differs materially from these but is still compatible with the above interpretation of verse 12. The Old Testament reference does broaden the meaning of the passage, he says, but he takes “for” to introduce an explanation of its meaning by way of analogy. As Eve was led astray, so might his readers be led astray if they were not careful, and become sinners.[19] Perhaps most directly related to the present analysis, though, is another scholar’s observation that the Genesis reference stresses Adam and Eve’s “simultaneous unity and diversity” [emphasis original], which he links to the differing responsibilities of men and women—specifically, the limiting of pastoral teaching and oversight to qualified men.[20]

The reference to Adam and Eve in 1 Timothy 2:13-14 not only supports a reading that has Paul prohibiting women from taking on duties reserved for elders, but does so in a way that reinforces the strength of the interpretation and the unity of the text. The Genesis text is rich enough, and Paul’s use of it is apt enough, that readers can examine its application from a variety of angles without compromising the harmony of the passage.

 Observations from the Articles of Faith

The BFC Articles of Faith (Article 204-1) declare that the elders (qualified men) have “broad responsibility and authority” in the church. They are to govern well, so they are called elders. They are overseers having administration over the life of the church and they are shepherds to care for and feed God’s people. They serve so they are called ministers.[21] The BFC Principles of Order 401-1.2 says: “The Board of Elders shall have the general oversight of the life and work of the church, including worship, preaching, ordinances, evangelism, visitation, discipline, finances, and maintenance of the properties.”

The word “overseer” implies that the elders are not the only ones doing the work in the church. Although elders are to be able to teach and hold the ultimate teaching authority in the church, teaching is in no way exclusive to elders. Teaching is listed as a spiritual gift given to both men and women in the church.[22] The New Testament authors expect that more than just the elders will be teachers. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul tells Timothy to entrust what he has taught Timothy to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. In Hebrews 5:12, the writer expects that the readers ought to be teachers by this time. In Colossians 3:16, Paul expects men and women to teach and admonish one another in the gathered church, including via the use of song.

One example of “overseeing” happens when a qualified male is in the process of ordination or is a potential elder candidate and has an opportunity to teach in an authoritative way in order for the elders to determine if he is able to teach. In this instance the elders must validate him ahead of time, since the Word of God must be honored and handled carefully.

The term “overseer” shows us the authority the elders have over the church in regard to teaching and upholding the doctrine of the church. Although they aren’t to do all the work, they are responsible for making sure what is taught is correct. The buck stops with them.    

Observations of other parts of Scripture regarding women and spoken word ministries

When interpreting I Timothy 2:12, we must seek to understand Paul’s meaning about women and their service to the church in light of the teaching of all of Scripture. Although authoritative teaching in the church is reserved for elders, there are many instances in Scripture in which women were called on by God to share God’s Word with His people, including men, through a variety of spoken word ministries. First Timothy 2:12 does not prohibit women from all spoken word ministries[23] in the church today.[24] 

  • Genesis 1:26: God commanded both man and woman to rule over the earth and subdue it, and to be fruitful and multiply. Therefore, the prohibition cannot mean that men are always in authority over women in every circumstance. God designed men and women to rule over creation together. God designed men and women to be united, interdependent, and to be co-laborers for Him.[25]
  • Old Testament women: The Old Testament gives a few instances when God instructed women to declare the Word of God and to exhort men and/or women to follow it. For example, Deborah was a prophet, a judge over the nation of Israel, and commanded Barak in battle. She took God’s instructions and passed them along to the men under her charge (Judges 4-5). In addition, the angel of the Lord came to Manoah’s wife directly to declare to her that she would be pregnant with Samson and gave her specific instructions to follow. She told these instructions to her husband, Manoah. When Manoah asked the angel to hear the instructions for himself, the angel told him to listen to his wife (Judges 13). Also, Huldah was a prophet. After King Josiah found the book of the law, he sent Hilkiah the priest and four other men to Huldah to inquire of the Lord to verify that this was the book of the Law. She verified its authenticity and gave them instructions from the Lord (2 Kings 22).
  • New Testament women: Anna is called a prophet. She came up to Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus in the temple and “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38). After the resurrection, Jesus and the angels told the women to go tell the disciples that He was alive (Matthew 28, Luke 24, John 20). The women at Pentecost spoke to the crowd in Jerusalem. Acts 1:14 explicitly states women were in the upper room. Peter explains Joel’s prophecy to the crowd. He twice mentions both men and women in regards to prophecy and the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). Priscilla and her husband Aquila together explained to Apollos the way of God more accurately (Acts 18); Priscilla was then commended by Paul for her ministry (Romans 16).[26] Philip the evangelist had four unmarried daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). In Paul’s long list of greetings in Romans 16, he greets many men and women by name. He calls the women co-workers.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:4: When giving instructions about public worship, Paul mentions that women should have their heads covered when praying and prophesying. Therefore, Paul expected women to publicly pray and prophesy in the gatherings of the church. The head covering expectation tells us that this was a gathering of men and women.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:26: Paul expects men and women in the gathered church to give a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, and interpretation for the edification of the body of Christ. This expectation is for men and women in the gathered church. Later in the chapter, he expects the women to remain silent. This directive does not mean that women cannot speak in the church but that they should be silent when the prophecy is being discerned,[27] a function which belongs to the elders. 

These examples of women exercising various spoken word ministries creates hermeneutical grounds for closer examination of 1 Timothy 2:12. Although Scripture says women are not permitted to teach authoritatively in the gathered church, Scripture also says women read Scripture publicly (prophesy), pray publicly, evangelize, and explain God’s Word to individuals or smaller groups of people.


Paul is restricting women from exercising a specific kind of teaching—authoritative teaching in the gathered church which is reserved for the recognized elders of the congregation.

Proposed legislation

Whereas, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man” in 1 Timothy 2:12, referring to an authoritative teaching in the church reserved for elders, and

Whereas, Paul allowed, expected, and commended women’s participation in the early church, including public prayers (1 Cor. 11:5), public prophesying and teaching (1 Cor. 14:26), public learning (1 Tim. 2:11), and teaching and exhorting (Col. 3:16, 1 Cor. 14:26), and

Whereas, the BFC Principles of Order allows each particular church’s board of elders to decide for themselves how and where laymen and laywomen can lead, serve, and teach in their church, be it

Resolved, that we codify our existing position in keeping with 1 Timothy 2:12 by adding the following to Principles of Order Article 404, Choosing Leaders Other Than Elders and Deacons:

404-6 The elder board of each particular church will decide for itself what teaching opportunities are authoritative (which should be reserved for elders) and what teaching opportunities are not authoritative and are therefore available to laymen and laywomen.

Possible church applications

There are a variety of ways a particular church could apply this codification of 1 Timothy 2:12. Here are some examples:

  1. Limit all teaching in the gathered church to elders only. There are a few challenges with this approach. First, it will be difficult to provide opportunities for possible elder candidates to show they are “able to teach,” although exceptions could be made for possible elder candidates as well as guest speakers who are not local elders but are a trustworthy authority from a denominational setting. Second, if sub-groups of the church, such as high school Sunday School or small groups, are considered “the gathered church,” and the elders need to do all the teaching, there will be a big load on the elders’ plates. Third, it will be difficult to meet the directive to Timothy to teach others so that they may also teach, an expectation that is also mentioned to the readers of Hebrews.[28]
  2. Limit all teaching in the gathered church to men only. When we surveyed our churches for their existing by-laws about women teaching in the church, we discovered many churches have a modified version of this application, where women are not permitted to teach in any mixed group of men and women (and in some cases not even over teen boys), yet laymen are allowed to do so. If this approach is applied, care will need to be taken to provide a biblical explanation for how elders and not men in general hold the teaching authority in the church.
  3. Provide opportunities for laymen and laywomen to co-teach with an elder in the gathered church. This way the elder is the teaching authority in the room, yet a layman or laywoman with the gift of teaching is able to exercise his or her spiritual gift of teaching for the common good. There are many women in the BFC in the past and present who have co-taught adult Sunday School classes of men and women, Bible studies, conferences, small groups, etc.
  4. Provide opportunities for laymen and laywomen to teach in the gathered church while clearly communicating that the elders are the ultimate teaching authority in the church. This currently happens in most of our churches, where laymen are teaching Sunday School classes, small groups, Bible Studies, prayer meetings, etc. The laymen are teachers, but it is acknowledged that the elders have the ultimate teaching authority in the church. BFC churches in the past have used this approach for women to varying degrees.[29] This approach has also been applied in the gathered church to laywomen participating in other spoken word ministries, such as worship leading, reading Scripture, public prayer, sharing testimonies, or teaching a conference or special class.

Exactly how each particular church allows its laymen and laywomen to serve, teach, and lead will look different in every church because each local church has a unique context in which it is ministering. Our suggested legislation is intentionally broad in order to allow room for the Holy Spirit to guide each elder board in allowing its laymen and laywomen gifted with teaching to minister to the local body of Christ to God’s glory.

Further notes for elder boards

The committee strongly advocates the adoption of the proposed resolution; however, whether or not the legislation passes, each elder board is already free to create by-laws or policies for its particular church regarding women teaching in the gathered church. Here are some points to consider which have emerged during our study:

  1. The women in your church are not mind readers. Unless your elderboard clearly defines where and how women can teach, serve, and lead in the gathered church, women will be unsure about what they are allowed to do. Without a clearly communicated policy, women are left to navigate the unstated expectations of whatever men happen to be present at the time. Many who are willing to serve will not risk asking permission. Take initiative to make the boundaries clear so women know where they have freedom to build up the body of Christ.
  2. Guide out of hermeneutical conviction and not fear. Throughout this process we have heard some pastors comment that they will need to answer to the Lord about how they followed 1 Timothy 2:12 so, to be on the safe side, they decided not to let women teach in the gathered church. Remember, elders, you will also need to give an account for how you allowed the brothers and sisters in your churches who are gifted with teaching to serve the body of Christ. If you decide not to let women teach in the gathered church, let it be out of a strong hermeneutical conviction and not “to be on the safe side.” Be prepared to have a biblical answer to “why?” when asked. If you decide not to let women publicly read Scripture or pray or give an intro to a worship song or share a public testimony or co-lead a small group, be prepared with a biblical answer for why.
  3. The Danvers Statement and the work of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood[30] have not been adopted by BFC Conference. While elders are free to read these resources, remember that the BFC is not bound by these documents. They cannot be used as a standard by which to measure the orthodoxy of your brothers and sisters in the BFC. Also, while reading, be on your guard against the Eternal Subordination of the Son view of the Trinity, a view which some prominent members of the Council hold.[31]
  4. Train your women to teach and lead. This is the surprising context of our key verse. First Timothy 2:11 begins “Let a woman learn…” Regardless of where your particular church allows women to teach or lead, let them learn. Teach them doctrine. Teach them theology. Teach them how to teach. Your discipleship responsibility includes the women in your congregation. Too often BFC leadership and teacher trainings are reserved for men only. Women who are gifted to teach and/or lead are left in the dust, looking outside of the church for places to be invested in and to exercise their spiritual gifts.

Respectfully Submitted,

Study Committee on the role of women in the church (majority opinion): Aaron D. Smith, Ralph E. Ritter, Rachel Schmoyer, Jocelyn Scott, Dennis W. Spinney

Appendix 1

Authentein: A deep dive into the Greek grammar

The word translated “exercise authority” is a hapax legomenon, which means it is only used once in Scripture. The earliest versions of the Bible translates αὐθεντέω as “to dominate” and not “to exercise authority over.” Old Latin (second-fourth century AD): “I permit not woman to teach, neither to dominate a man [neque dominari viro].” Vulgate (fourth-fifth century AD): “I permit not a woman to teach, neither to domineer over a man [neque dominari in virum].” Geneva (1560 edition): “I permit not a woman to teache, neither to vsurpe authoritie ouerthe man.” Casiodoro de Reina (1560-61): “I do not permit the woman to teach, neither to take authority over the man [ni tomar autoridad sobre el hombre].” Bishop (1589): “I suffer not a woman to teache, neither to vsurpe auctoritie ouer yeman.” KJV (1611): “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurpe authority over the man.

More recent translations translate the word as “to exercise authority.” Most of the more recent books, articles, and sermons which we consulted referred to Dr. George Knight’s word study to determine the meaning of the word authority (αὐθεντεῖν). For example, in his monumental book on manhood and womanhood, reformed professor and counselor James Hurley says it was necessary to guess whether the word meant “exercise authority” or “illegitimately exercise authority” until Dr. Knight examined every use of the term and provided analysis of the history of the interpretation and translation of authentein.[32] Hurley doesn’t actually cite Knight but mentions in the footnote, “Dr. George Knight of Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri has done scholars the favor of examining every use of the term recorded in the current lexicons and of providing not only translations of those Greek texts, but also an analysis of the history of the interpretation and translation of authentein. At the time of the writing Dr. Knight’s work does not yet appear in print.” So, we wanted to know. Is Knight correct?

From the perspective of a reliable Greek lexicon, αὐθεντέω is described as “to control in a domineering mannerTo control, to domineer. It is often expressed idiomatically, for example, ‘to shout orders at,’ ‘to act like a chief toward,’ or ‘to bark at.’”[33] Elsewhere it is described as, “to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate. Practically in 1 Timothy 2:12‘tell a man what to do.’”[34] Those are two different ideas. Independent authority certainly can be a negative idea, along with barking at. But the idea of telling a man what to do would be much more positive or even neutral. Another definition that comes from outside the New Testament is to have full power or authority over or to commit a murder. [35] A lexicon that examines the usage in contemporary writings from the biblical times defines the word as being vulgar. It comes out of the word master or autocrat. It is related to the adjective meaning authentic.[36] There is a strong nuance of independence in the both the negative and positive examples. This independent authority idea will be of great necessity when Paul relates disorder to Adam and Eve.

After a study through lexicons, the meaning of αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Timothy 2:12 still has some vagueness to it based on the vast range of usages. Most of the usages provide a negative use of authority, but not all the usages even deal with authority. Fortunately, there have been a few studies that, with advances in computer technology, help to examine the usages of the verb in literature outside of the New Testament. The first study was by H. Scott Baldwin, who examined 82 different uses of the word αὐθεντεῖν.[37] Baldwin’s study revealed that many of the uses of this verb have different meanings than “mere authority.” Included in those usages are, “to act independently” and “to assume authority over,” which Baldwin often translates as “to act on one’s own authority.” In some of those situations a person is in the appropriate position to convey the actions of authority; in other cases, they do not have the authority to convey such actions. It is concluded that “to exercise authority” cannot be the basic semantic concept that accounts for all the uses of this verb.[38]

One of the concerns of αὐθεντέω having a negative meaning is that it is less prohibitive. If the word has a negative meaning, God’s Word is only prohibiting women from inappropriate authority. If the word αὐθεντέω simply means authority, then women would be prohibited from all authority in the presence of men. Some have even asked why only women would be addressed if such a prohibition speaks about a negative action of which a man could also be guilty. While that’s a valid question, the same question can be asked for a much clearer prohibition in the same context. In the same chapter, men were prohibited from anger and quarreling. Why aren’t women prohibited from anger and quarreling? The natural assumption is men were the ones struggling with this. Similarly, the women were the ones who had the problem with overstepping their roles in the worship service.[39] God’s directive was directed only toward the men in 1 Timothy 2:8. It also must be kept in mind that this prohibition to a woman is related to teaching and, more specifically, to teaching over a man.

In ancient literature, the closest known parallel usage of this word is a prohibition of a husband. This usage occurs in a writing of Chrysostom in his Homily to the Colossians 27-31. He says, “Μὴ τοίνυν, ἐπειδὴ ὑποτέτακται ἡ γυνή, αὐθέντει.” Westfall provides the translation: “Therefore, don’t be abusive because your wife is submissive to you.” Clearly the word in that context is negative and not a simple representation of the man’s authority in the home.[40] The strength of this example is that it deals with male and female roles while clearly showing that αὐθεντέω is used negatively. The weakness of this example is that it occurs much later (sometime in the 4th century) than the Timothy usage.

            Baldwin studied 82 different uses of the word αὐθεντέω. In all 82 uses, there was never a positive usage of that word in a ministry leadership context. It never referred to general authority in leadership. In the fifth century, Eusebius of Alexandria instructed the deacons to carry out the commands and intentions of the elders to meet the needs of the people ,but he prohibits the deacons from performing this verb. The context is the deacons overstepping their bounds in banishing and excommunicating people when the elders are present.[41] It is used in another instance, that of Bassianos complaining that he was made bishop by an illegitimate procedure, one in which he was pressed in by violence. This is another case where it’s used in a church setting and it denotes inappropriate force.[42] In an ecclesiastical context it addresses going against God’s divine order.

There are five known usages of the word αὐθεντέω within a century or two of Paul’s writing to Timothy. The first one is by Philodemus in Rhetorica 2.133, written around 110-35 BC. The word is translated as to rule, to reign sovereignly by Baldwin and Schreiner. Payne translates it as murders, or those who murder. The letter from Tryphon, BGU 1208.38, was written in 27 BC. Baldwin and Schreiner translate the word as to compel, to influence. Payne translates it as assume authority, “I assumed authority against him.” The third usage was by Aristonicus Alexandrinus in De Signis Iliadis 9.694 (27 BC-AD 37). Baldwin and Schreiner translate this usage as to be primarily responsible for, to do, or to instigate; “The one doing the speech.” Payne translated it as the one self-accomplishing the speech. The usage in 1 Timothy 2:12 is from the 60s AD. Baldwin translates it as assume authority over. Schreiner translates it as exercise authority. Payne translates it as to assume authority, or possibly to dominate. The next usage existed in Ptolemy in Tetrabiblos 3.13.10, written about AD 127-148. It is translated as by Baldwin/Schreiner as to control, to dominate. Grudem translates it as to control, to dominate and Payne translates it as to dominate. The final usage is from the 2nd century AD—a work by Moeris Attiista, Lexicon Atticum. Baldwin and Schreiner describe it as, to exercise one’s own jurisdiction. Grudem also translates it as to exercise one’s own jurisdiction; to have independent jurisdiction.[43] It is clear from the data that exercise authority or have authority over is not the obvious or regular meaning during the time of Paul. It is also clear that a positive view for αὐθεντέω is not the consensus. Through linguistic studies, through modern advances, and through discovering more usages, the conclusions are clear. The word carries a self-accomplished wielding of power and is most easily understood as a negative usage.[44]

While one of the prohibitions for women in 1 Timothy 2:12 is a negative action of self-promoted authority against God’s given order in the church, it is not independent of the main prohibition of teaching. Quite the contrary! Paul’s primary prohibition for the woman has to do with teaching, which is evidenced by the Greek word order. The first word in this sentence is the infinitive to teach, διδάσκειν. For the woman to teach in this way that Paul is instructing her not to, she would be acting in a self-promoting act of inappropriate authority. Paul’s prohibition is to keep her from doing that. After the two infinitives of prohibition, he describes a proper behavior with a single idea. To avoid those things is to, “remain quiet.”[45] It is difficult to see Paul providing two unrelated prohibitions for a woman and then describing the aversive in one simple term, “remain quiet.” She is prohibited from teaching in a self-promoted way against the authority in place in the church. As one studies the usage of this type of authority, one can see why Paul referenced the negatively nuanced (αὐθεντεῖν) rather than the commonly used (ἐξουσία) which refers to a general, neutral authority. Paul had a specific reason in mind when he chose to use the more nuanced word of (αὐθεντεῖν).

John MacArthur speaks on the definition of “authority” in a sermon, “Does the Bible Permit a Woman to Preach?” While using the King James version, he referenced the wording of the verse as “teach and usurp authority.” He speaks of a scenario in the church where women are discontent in their God-given role, and they seek for a place of prominence in taking authority over the man. Paul does not permit them to do that, even though that is their desire. MacArthur describes this scenario further as taking place in the duly constituted church. He acknowledges that when it comes together, it’s official worship. The one who speaks in this official worship service is the authoritative pastor-teacher role, the one who articulates the Word of God. Nowhere in the New Testament is any women presented as teacher in the church. He describes the woman who is trying to take that role as “usurping authority.”[46] After expounding on that verse, MacArthur changes directions and then provides a different meaning for the Greek infinitive αὐθεντεῖν, to simply “have authority over.” He cited a recent study by Dr. George Knight in New Testament Studies as the reason for this particular interpretation.[47] 

Appendix 2

Analysis of the conjunction οὐδὲ

There has been a back-and-forth debate between scholars as to whether “to teach” and “to exercise authority” form one prohibition or two separate prohibitions. The main advocate of the relation position is Philip B. Payne and the main advocate of the separate ideas position is Andreas Köstenberger. Many studies reference the work of these two scholars and draw conclusions from them. Payne sees the conjunction οὐδὲ tying the two elements of the prohibition together to form one single idea. He supports his claim with an example from Polybius, Hist. 30.5.8. Polybius’s syntax is completely parallel in this case to 1 Timothy 2:12, with a negative finite verb, an infinitive, the presence of οὐδε, a second infinitive, ἀλλἀ, and an infinitive reiterating the inclusio. Polybius’s statement after οὐδὲ provides clarity that “to run in harness to Rome” is to “engage themselves by oaths and treaties to Rome.” Together the two infinitives are connected with οὐδὲ to contribute to one idea of alliance with Rome. This stands in contrast to being in alliance with someone other than Rome. The next closest example found in literature comes from Josephus, Ant.7.127. In that case, two infinitives convey a single idea that stands in opposition to the statement following but (ἀλλἀ). The first infinitive is “to remain quiet” and the second infinitive is, “to keep the peace in the knowledge that their enemy was superior.” The contrastive statement is “Instead they sent to Chalamas.” [48]

After these examples from ancient literature, Payne shows examples in the New Testament where οὐδε ties two infinitives together to represent one idea and then contrasts them with ἀλλἀ and then provides the contrastive idea. These occur in Romans 2:28-29; 9:6-7; Galatians 1:1, 11-12, 16-17; 4:14; and Philippians 2:16-17. Payne provides one example from the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 7:12, that has the οὐδε but doesn’t tie the two words together and they are taken as separate ideas with a following contrastive. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, but he didn’t write for the sake of the one who did wrong, nor did he write for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but that your earnestness for us would be displayed. Payne recognizes the obvious: that even though it presents two ideas, they’re still united because they must contrast together with the single ἀλλἀ clause. At the very least, the two infinitives in 1 Timothy 2:12 are united in some sort of relation so that they contrast with the idea of remaining quiet.[49]

Payne shows historical merit for οὐδὲ showing one combined idea.

Origen wrote the first known commentary on 1 Timothy 2:12. After quoting the verse, he describes it as “concerning woman not becoming a ruler over man in speaking.” His use of “to become” implies entry into a position of authority over a man. Origen in this context affirms Priscilla, Maximilla, the four daughters of Philip, Deborah, Miriam, Huldah and Anna, suggesting that he received teaching by women that was authorized. Similarly, John Chrysostom, in Epistulam ad Titum. Homilia 4.10 (PG 62.683), sees 1 Timothy 2:12 as the sort of teaching he is not permitting women to do. Chrysostom says, “For this reason he added the words οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός so that they can instruct the young women.”[50]

Payne’s extensive analysis should not be taken lightly; he provides seven pieces of proof in his defense. First, Paul typically uses οὐδὲ to join two elements to convey a single idea. Second, the two closest syntactical parallels to 1 Timothy 2:12 join two elements to convey a single idea. Third in the overwhelming majority of Paul’s and the New Testament’s usage of a negative with οὐδὲ and a contrastive ἀλλἀ syntactical construction, which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:12, οὐδὲ joins two expressions to convey a single idea in sharp contrast to the ἀλλἀ statement. Fourth, in the earliest known commentary on 1 Timothy 2:12, Origen treats it as a single prohibition—as does Chrysostom. Fifth is the pattern that, when οὐδὲ joins together an infinitive that has a predominately positive connotation with an infinitive that has a predominately negative connotation, the author is conveying a single idea. Payne’s sixth proof states that only prohibited women in Ephesus couldn’t assume authority to teach men if they did not have rightful authority. Payne provides the example of Priscilla.[51] Seventh, the idea that 1 Timothy 2:12 conveys a single prohibition of a woman seizing authority best fits the context of the following explanation of the prohibition. In conclusion, Payne’s interpretation is that Paul was prohibiting women from seizing for themselves authority to teach a man. Given his body of work, his conclusion should be supported; however, with our previous understanding of teaching in the context of 1 Timothy, our interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12 is “Paul was prohibiting women from seizing for themselves authority to teach in the public worship service (where men are present).”[52] Even though Payne argues for the egalitarian position, this rendering does not necessitate an egalitarian conclusion, especially in light of other Scriptures. Perhaps the fact that he is egalitarian in his views is what keeps people from adhering to his scrupulous scholarship.

Köstenberger is highly quoted and well respected by commentary writers and books that have studied this topic. He has done his own study on the relationship between οὐδὲ and two activities and concepts. He has two prevailing views. The first view is that when two concepts are viewed positively in and of themselves, their exercise is prohibited due to circumstances or conditions adduced in content. His conclusion is that οὐδὲ only joins two words that are both positive or are both negative. Köstenberger presents his second view that two activities or concepts are viewed negatively, and their exercise is prohibited, or their existence is to be denied or they are to be avoided. Since all these cases are prohibitions of two items, it makes perfect sense that they are both negative from the author’s view. Köstenberger’s conclusion from his work determines two possible interpretations of 1 Timothy 2:12: (1) “I do not permit a woman to teach (error) or to domineer over a man,” or (2) “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” He correctly notes that οὐδὲ is a coordinating conjunction and not a subordinating conjunction. That means that one of the infinitives can’t be used adverbially in connection to the other. Furthermore, he states that the two concepts are never blended to the extent that they are no longer distinguishable, even though they might be perceived jointly in 1 Timothy 2:12. Köstenberger also concluded that διδάσκω was never used negatively in Timothy unless it was a compound word. From this conclusion Köstenberger supports his second view, where both infinitives must be positive and negated by the circumstances.[53]

            On the contrary, there are some negative usages of teaching in 1 Timothy, but not in the adverbial usage. First Timothy 4:1 speaks of those who, led astray, were devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. First Timothy 6:1 speaks of teaching that is reviled. Second Timothy 4:3 speaks of people acquiring teachers to suit their own passions. Köstenberger’s theory faces much scrutiny when one sees a clear negative usage of the verb διδάσκω in Titus 1:11, “They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” While he presents two possible translations from his conclusion, they are a bit too narrow of a perspective. He didn’t consider the fact that 1 Timothy 2:12 could be translated as “I do not permit a woman to teach in the public worship service in a role reserved for elders and I do not allow a woman to self-promote herself into an authoritative role reserved for elders.” It’s easy to see both words in 1 Timothy being used in a negative sense. In this context it also makes sense why Paul would prohibit these things for a woman during a worship service.

C.L. Blomberg notices a pattern that Paul uses in 1 Timothy 2, where he uses pairs of partly synonymous words or phrases, including v. 1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4, 5, 7a, 7b, 8, 9a, and 9b. He concludes that in every instance they are closely related and together form one single concept. This makes it overwhelmingly likely that in 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul is referring to one specific kind of teaching rather than two separate activities.[54] When one looks closely at the importance that Timothy puts on the role of teaching, it carries with it considerable authority as it is maintaining true Christian doctrine. Teaching in this way is representative of community leaders, including Paul, and the apostolic delegates of Timothy and Titus. Elders were leaders who “were able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2). The strong relationship of the function of teaching to the leaders in the pastorals clearly suggests that there is an authoritative element to it.[55] It doesn’t mean that οὐδὲ is a subordinating conjunction (e.g. authoritative teaching), but as a coordinating conjunction it still carries the idea of teaching and authority that are related to one another as part of a distinct and unique ministry function.

The idea of teaching and authority go hand in hand when it comes to describing leaders in the church. Galatians 6:6 shows a prominent teaching role in the church before the ministry of eldership was even fully developed.[56] In that setting, the congregants were to show honor by providing financial means to the teacher. While authority isn’t mentioned, the honor opens the door for teaching to be a respectable position in the body of Christ. On the other hand, in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, Paul refers to ones who labor (κοπιάω), who have a threefold role of προΐστημι, νουθετέω, and ἔργον. Ruling (προΐστημι) means to exercise a position of leadership, rule, direct, be at the head.[57] Vουθετέω means to counsel about avoidance or cessation of an improper course of conduct, admonish, warn, instruct.[58] The work is simply a noun that describes the ministry of the two verbs, ruling as the head with authority and admonishing. While one could say that admonishing is different than teaching and is even mutually done by everyone for a time in the congregation (Colossians 3:16), this is referring to a person in an authoritative role who has a clear role instructing people in the church. Paul performed this ministry in Acts 20:31 for three years while he was in Ephesus. It reflects the apostolic teaching when Paul references it of himself (Colossians 1:28, 1 Corinthians 4:14). It is very possible that this is the role that developed into the leadership and teaching role of eldership in the church as the church developed and organized. Furthermore, the household of Stephanas, who were the first converts in Achaia, gave themselves to the service of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15). The church leader is described as a coworker (συνεργέω) and a (κοπιάω) just like 1 Thessalonians 5:13. Likewise Paul reveals the authority that these leaders have by telling the Corinthians to submit to them and those like them (1 Corinthians 16:16). By the time we get to 1 Timothy 5:17, the ministry of eldership has developed and now it is clear that it is a two-fold role of ruling and laboring in preaching/teaching.[59] The word for “rule” is once again προΐστημι, the same word that Paul used for the role of the leaders in one of his earliest writings in 1 Thessalonians 5:13. And the word for “laboring” (attached to preaching/teaching) is κοπιάω, the same word used to describe the work of the leaders in 1 Thessalonians 5.

            It is clear from the very beginning of the church that leaders in the church developed into a two-fold ministry of ruling and teaching. Eventually these were the clear characteristics of elders. While teaching was the prominent function, ruling went along in proper alignment with it. This makes sense of 1 Timothy 2:12. Women were restricted from unilaterally and independently placing themselves into functions reserved for the elders in the church.

In a sermon on this topic preached in 1989, John Piper comes to a similar conclusion.  Piper notices the broadness of the word “teach” when addressing the passage. “Instead of letting the word ‘teach’ mean anything we want it to mean or think it might mean, it’s safer to say, it probably means a kind of teaching that somehow relates to authority. Teach and exercise authority go together. So at least one general thing we can say about women teaching is that Paul forbids it when it is part of the exercise of authority over men.”He then says, “The key that unlocks this door is a very interesting observation. When you read the rest of 1 Timothy about the role of elders in the church, what you find is that the elders had two basic responsibilities: they were to govern and they were to teach.” “Elders rule or govern, and elders teach or preach.” “He [Paul] is saying in essence: I do not permit women to fill the office of elder in the church. The elders are charged with the leadership and instruction of the church.” That’s a summary of their job. So when Paul puts those two things together and says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority,” the most natural sense is, “I do not permit a woman to assume the office of elder in the church.”[60]

[1] The book begins with this warning in 1 Timothy 1:3-5. Chapter 3, the center of the book, begins with the qualifications of elders who uphold/protect/teach doctrine with authority in the church. Chapter 4 exhorts Timothy to tell the people not to be persuaded by myths and false teaching; chapter 6 speaks about false teachers, and the book ends with Paul telling Timothy to avoid false teaching so he is not swayed.

[2] We also know that Paul has elders in mind because the qualification of elders in 1 Timothy 3 follows this section. Something in this discussion triggered Paul to discuss the qualification of elders without any transition words that would assume he was onto a new topic. Elsewhere in Pauline literature, he uses the same phrase “the saying”—ὁ λόγος—to continue to develop his point (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). Paul does the same thing in 1 Timothy 1:15 where he provides the words, “the saying”/ὁ λόγος to help validate his idea. He also uses this idea in 4:9, 4:11, and Titus 3:8.

[3] “Finally, given that 1 Timothy 3 will make mention of elders who must be apt to teach, Paul may have intended 2:12 to eliminate women from consideration by prohibiting them specifically from any official teaching within the church. In this way, Paul is seen not to be prohibiting the general sort of Christian teaching and mutual exhortation, much of which is to take place within the assembly, that the Scripture enjoins on all believers, male and female, in such passages as Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:13; 5:12; 10:24; 1 Corinthians 14:26; 1 Peter 3:15, among many others.” Gordon P. Hugenberger, Women in Church Office: Hermeneutics or Exegesis? A Survey of Approaches in Journal Evangelical Theological Society: 1 Timothy 2:8-15, September 1992, p. 344.

[4] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, University of Chicago Press, 2000, p. 241. The example shared is Matthew 28:15, where the soldiers were paid off and “instructed” to lie about what happened to the body of Jesus. They were told what to do.

[5] Rengstorf, K. H. (1964– ). διδάσκω, διδάσκαλος, νομοδιδάσκαλος, καλοδιδάσκαλος, ψευδοδιδάσκαλος, διδασκαλία, ἑτεροδιδασκαλέω, διδαχή, διδακτός, διδακτικός. edited by G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans. Electronic edition, Vol. 2, p. 144.

[6] w. acc. of pers. (SIG 593, 15; PLond I, 43, 6 [II b.c.] p. 48 παιδάρια) Hebrews 8:11 (Jeremiah 38:34); Matthew 5:2; Mark 9:31; Luke 4:31; John 7:35 al.; Colossians 3:16 w. νουθετεῖν; Israel B 5:8. Colossians 3:16 is the verse of interest. It reveals that a health aspect of believers interacting is to have opportunities to speak into one another’s lives in a smaller-scale or individualized setting. We need to admonish and teach one another. It a similar idea as Hebrews, where we are called to exhort one another so that no one would be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Exhort is the word παρακαλέω, which speaks of coming along someone in a less formal setting. Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2000, p. 241.

[7] Witherington III, B., Women in the Earliest Churches, Society of New Testament Studies Monograph Series 59, Cambridge University Press, 1988, p. 121.

[8] Fee, Gordon. New International Biblical Commentary: 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus. Hendrickson Publishers, 1988.

[9] Titus, like 1 Timothy, is set against the backdrop of false teachers. There is a rebuke of false teachers who are teaching with the wrong attitude (shameful gain) and what they ought not to teach (1:11). They are to be silenced! Titus is contrasted with the false teachers and is to teach sound doctrine. In his teaching he is to show integrity, dignity, and sound speech, and the result of his conduct is that the doctrine of God our Savior is to be adorned.

[10] Titus also mentions the older women are to teach what is good (καλοδιδάσκαλος), so that they can train (σωφρονίζω) the younger women to love their husbands and children, along with conducting themselves in godly character. The word for “teach what is good” (καλοδιδάσκαλος) is in an adjective form in this case—the only place the word occurs like this in Scripture. Since the verb deals with training rather than teaching, the usage of teaching in a compound word is different from the other usages in the Pastoral Epistles.

[11] This passing down is further revealed with the command to Timothy to guard the deposit that was entrusted to him (1 Timothy 6:20).

[12] Saucy, Robert L. Women’s Prohibition to Teach Men: An Investigation into its Meaning and Contemporary Application. Journal of Evangelical Theological Society, March 1994, pp. 79-97. Saucy points out that there were people called teachers only four times in the NT, including Acts 13:1, 1 Corinthians 12:29-29; Ephesians 4:11, James 3:1). God didn’t want the church to be divided by different lines of teaching, but under the unity of Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:10-17). The role seems to gain permanency and formality in the church (Galatians 6:6, Ephesians 4:11). These roles of teaching are distinct and separate for the role of teaching all church members have towards one another (Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 5:12).

[13] Ibid., 90.

[14] “This has reference solely to the function of the authoritative teacher of doctrine in the church. Dana & Mantey, in their Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, have this to say on the subject: “The aorist infinitive notes that which is eventual or particular while the present infinitive indicates a condition or process…Thus, didaxai (aorist) is to teach, while didaskein (present, 2:12) is to be a teacher. Paul, therefore, says, I do not permit a woman to be a teacher.” Homer Kent’s Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, p. 112-113

[15] “The words translated ‘to teach’ in verse twelve means to be a teacher. The text refers to official, doctrinal, biblical instruction for the church. It is not talking about dialogue in an informal setting, but about having authority over a man or over the church. God has designed the office of pastor/teacher to be reserved for men.” Moore, R. D. Cultural Commentary: Television Sex: Too Boring for Christians. Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 8(2), 2003, p. 59–66. Cf. Paul refers, then, with authentein to exercise of a leadership role or function in the church (the contextual setting), and thus by special application the office of episkopos/presbuteros, since the names of these offices (especially episkopos) and the activities associated with them (cf., 3:4, 5; 5:17; Titus 1:9ff.: Acts 20:17, 29ff). indicate the exercise of authority. It is noteworthy, however, that Paul does not use office terminology here. (bishop/presbyter) but functional terminology (teach/exercise authority). It is thus the activity that he prohibits, not just the office (cf. again 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35). Knight, p. 142.

[16] Blomberg, C.L, “Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian: Gender Role in Paul,” Two Views on Women in Ministry, edited by. J.R. Beck and C.L. Blomberg, Zondervan, 2001, pp. 329-72, 363.

[17] Craig Blomberg, “Women in Ministry, a Complementarian Perspective,” Two Views on Women in Ministry, Counterpoints Exploring Theology, edited by Stanley N. Gundry and James R. Beck, Zondervan, 2005, p. 171.

[18] Thomas R. Schreiner, “An Interpretation of I Timothy 2:9-15: A Dialogue with Scholarship,” Women in the Church, eds. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas Schreiner, Crossway, 2016, p. 215. Schreiner is drawing from Paul Barnett, “Wives and Women’s Ministry (I Timothy 2:11-15),” Evangelical Quarterly 61 vol. 3, 6 September 1989, pp. 225-238.

[19] Walter L. Liefeld, I & II Timothy, Titus. New International Version Application Commentary Series, edited by Terry Muck, Zondervan, 1989, p. 100.

[20] Robert W. Yarbrough, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, The Pillar New Testament Commentary Series, edited by D.A. Carson, 2018, p. 182.

[21] BFC Article 204-1.2 Elders, Deacons, Staff.

[22] Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28.

[23] “Second, since it is a public worship service that is the alleged immediate context of these exhortations [1 Timothy 2:12], it may be that Paul intends only to prohibit public teaching at such a formal gathering. In this way it is seen that Paul is not forbidding the kind of informal teaching within a private setting that is seemingly approved in the case of Abigail who taught David (1 Samuel 25), the wise woman of Tekoa who taught David (2 Samuel 14:1–20), the wise woman of Abel Beth Maacah who taught Joab (20:16–22), Anna who instructed all those ‘who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.’” Gordon P. Hugenberger, Women in Church Office: Hermeneutics or Exegesis?: A Survey of Approaches in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society: 1 Timothy 2:8-15, September 1992, p. 343

[24] John Piper was asked the question, “I’m a guy. Is it wrong for me to listen to a message by Beth Moore?” His answer was, “No, not unless you begin to become dependent on her as your shepherd.” Piper also said the same goes for occasional women Sunday School teachers. He said it is clear that woman cannot be the authoritative teachers of the church, though that does not mean that a man can’t learn from a woman or that she is incompetent. Piper, John, “Is It Wrong for Guys to Listen to Female Speakers?” in Desiring God, 2011. Accessed on January 21, 2023. Piper admits his own affinity to the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot.

[25] For a complete look at these concepts, read Beyond Authority and Submission: Women and Men in Marriage, Church, and Society by Rachel Green Miller, P&R Publishing, 2019. Miller maintains qualified men are to be elders and pastors in the church while challenging popular but unbiblical beliefs about the definitions of biblical manhood and womanhood in regards to marriage, church, and society.

[26] John Calvin also noted in reference to Priscilla and Apollos that “one of the chief teachers of the Church was instructed by a woman.” John Calvin, Commentary on Acts 18,

[27] Gary Shogren, 1 Corinthians, Zondervan, p. 454.

[28] 1 Timothy 2:2 and Hebrews 5:12

[29] From 1885-1898, when we were ruled by presiding elders, Lucy Musselman, Dora Rote, and Agnes Messinger were licensed preachers. In 1898, women were placed in the newly-formed Gospel Workers Society. Around the same time, Sarah Brunner was one of the main teachers of the Gospel Heralds, which was the church planting/new pastor training ground. She also occasionally preached in mission churches. Later in our history, after we became rule-by-elders, Ruth Hartman and Bea Koch were heralded as terrific Sunday School teachers of mixed men and women classes. Ruth Hartman’s class met in the sanctuary, but she taught from a lectern on the side and not the main pulpit which the pastor used for Sunday morning worship, thus communicating that she was not a pastor or an elder. Before each lesson, she reiterated that the elders were the authority in the church, not her. Source:

[30] The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released its Danvers Statement in December 1987. Its goal was to set forth the biblical view of manhood and womanhood, especially in the church and at home. In 1991, the Council’s popular book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was published. Find out more at

[31] In addition, as you study the resources from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, please be on your guard against the view of the Trinity called the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) which is held by some of the members of the council. This view of the Trinity places the Son as eternally subordinate to the Father in order to support a fixed relationship of authority and submission between men and women. For more information on ESS see Trinity without Hierarchy: a Response to Eternal Functional Subordination by Tim Bertolet in Fall 2022 OneVoice Magazine and

[32] Hurley, James B., Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective. Eugene, Wipf and Stock, 2002, p. 202.

[33] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, United Bible Societies, 1996, p.473.

[34] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. University of Chicago Press, 2000, p. 150

[35] Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English Lexicon. Clarendon Press, 1996, p. 275.

[36] J.H. Moulton and G. Milligan. “αὐθεντέω 831 in Vocabulary of the Greek Testament,” Peabody and Hendrickson, 1930, p. 91.

[37] Baldwin, Scott H., “A Difficult Word: αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12,” Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, edited by Köstenberger, Andreas J., Schreiner, Thomas and Baldwin, Scott H., Baker Books, 1995, pp. 65-80, and Baldwin, “Appendix 2,” in the same volume, pp. 269-305.

[38] Westfall, Cynthia Long. “The Meaning of αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12.” Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, ChJ 10, 2014, p.145. 

[39] Perhaps the men equally had trouble not permitting the women from taking on roles that she was not ordained to do (Adam was present when Eve sinned, since he was alongside of her to also partake of the fruit).

[40] Westfall p. 162. Westfall puts this example in the category of “forced authority” that is synonymous with abuse, including domination and other emotional, mental or physical abuse.

[41] Ibid, pp. 165-166. Westfall is citing examples from Baldwin’s great study.

[42] Ibid, pp. 166-167. Westfall is a linguist who quotes Concilium universal Chalcedonese anno 451 Westfall establishes a working description of the semantic range of αὐθεντέω. She describes it as the autonomous use or possession of unrestricted force.

[43] Hubner, Jamim. “Translating αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12a.” Priscilla Papers: The Academic Journal of CBE International, Spring 2015, Vol. 29, No. 2.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Marshall, I. H., & Towner, P. H. A critical and exegetical commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. T & T Clark International, p. 453. I agree with Marshall and various other commentators on the usage of ἡσύχιος. It is a term used to mean keep silent while someone is teaching, while showing deference to the teacher. It also allows for other forms of utterances that women are allowed to do in the church, such as praying, singing, prophesying, and encouraging in the church. I would add teaching to that in settings that would not deem it inappropriate or taking an authority that isn’t given, such as back-and-forth edification as seen in Colossians 3:12, where women aren’t eliminated from that activity and the same word for teaching, διδάσκω, is used in participial form.

[46] MacArthur, John. “Does the Bible Permit Women to Preach?” YouTube, uploaded by Grace to You, January 24, 2011,, accessed 1/11/2023. Up to this point MacArthur agrees with our paper. He sees the two prohibitions pointing to one service in the church, pointing to the Pastor/teacher or elder. He also agrees with the translation of the KJV as usurping authority.

[47] Ibid. MacArthur emphasizes that it’s not a prohibition against abusive authority or inappropriate authority, but it’s a prohibition of women taking this type of authority in the church. While his point is well taken, it could equally be argued that if a woman is not called to the authority of pastor or elder in the church, she would be taking on inappropriate authority.

[48] Payne, Philip B. “οὐδὲ Combining Two Elements to Convey a Single Idea and 1 Timothy 2:12 in Missing Voices,”, p. 24.

[49] Ibid, pp. 24-25.

[50] Ibid, p. 25.

[51] While I agree with Payne’s notion, there are several factors to consider. The authoritative teaching was reserved for elders/pastors/bishops/overseers only in the context of a worship gathering. Women did not have the authority to fill those positions. He uses the example of his interpretation allowing Priscilla to teach a man; however most interpretations of this verse would still allow for that scenario.

[52] Ibid, pp. 31-32.

[53] Köstenberger, Andreas J. A Complex Sentence Structure in 1 Timothy 2:12 in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger et al, Baker Books, pp. 81-103.

[54] Blomberg, C.L, “Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian: Gender Role in Paul.” Two Views on Women in Ministry, edited by J.R. Beck and C.L. Blomberg, Zondervan, 2001, pp. 329-72, 363.

[55] Saucy, Robert L, 88.

[56] Merkle, Benjamin L. The Elder and Overseer: One Office in the Early Church. Peter Lang, 2003, pp. 94-95. Merkle sees this as a class of instructors or catechizers who needed financial support.

[57] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, University of Chicago Press, 2000, p.870.

[58] Ibid, p. 679.

[59] It could be a three-fold role if preaching and teaching is separated as two separate functions. At the very least, for the sake of this paper, they will be kept in the same genre, since they are honored and rewarded similarly.

[60] Piper, John, from person preached on on June 18, 1989: Manhood, Womanhood, and the Freedom to Minister, accessed 1/23/2023,

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