Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Translations of 1 Timothy 2:12

Linda L. Belleville, in her insightful and helpful essay, “Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11-15,” in Discovering Biblical Equality. Complementarity without Hierarchy. eds. R. W. Pierce and R. M. Groothuis, with G. D. Fee. (Illinois: IVP, 2004, 205-223) offers a list of the way bibles have translated 1 Tim 2:12, διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλ᾽ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ.  

With this she shows how the often debated word αὐθεντεῖν has been understood from the 2nd century, through the ages. 

Old Latin (2nd-4th cent. A.D.): "I permit not a woman to teach, neither to dominate a man [neque dominari viro]" 
Vulgate (4th-5th): "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, nether to vfurpe authoritie ouer the man"
Casiodoro de Reina (1569): "I do not permit the woman to teach neither to take [tomar] authority over the man/'
Bishops (1589): "I suffer not a woman to teach, neither to usurpe authoritie over the man.
KJV (1611): "I suffer not a woman to teach nor usurp authority over a man."
L, Segond (1910): "I do not permit the woman to teach, neither to take [prendre] authority over the man."
Goodspeed (1923): "I do not allow women to teach or to domineer over men"
La Sainte (1938): "I do not permit the woman to teach, neither to take [prendre] authority over the man "
NEB (1961): "I do not permit a woman to be a teacher, nor must woman domineer over man."
JBCerf (1973): "I do not permit the woman to teach, neither to lay down the law for the man."
REB (1989): "I do not permit women to teach or dictate to the men."
New Translation (1990): "I do not permit a woman to teach or dominate men."
CEV (1991): "They should... not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do!'
The Message (1993): "I don't let women take over and tell the men what to do!'

Belleville states that, "In fact, there is a virtually unbroken tradition, stemming from the oldest versions and running down to the twenty-first century, that translates authentein as to dominate rather than to exercise authority over."  The pedigree of this view is impressive.  Those who wish to argue that αὐθεντεῖν means to exercise authority, must offer some explanation for the history of how this term has been understood.  

For what it's worth, Sean du Toit (2012) translates it the following way: I am not allowing a woman to teach (nor/so as/and) to dominate a man; she is to keep calm/respectful (non-disruptive).  The brackets and slash's indicate where grammar and semantic range come into play, and require further comments and investigation.  

The Problem with Silence in 1 Tim 2:12

ἡσυχία is an interesting word, usually translated as "silent" in 1 Tim 2:12.  But this seems an unlikely translation, as a brief tour of the lexical data will show.  BDAG, #3463 describes the concept with the following: 
1. state of quietness without disturbance, quietness, rest (Diod. S. 4, 2, 2 opp. to accompaniment of thunder and lightning; 16, 13, 2 without any fanfare; 18, 9, 3 without experiencing disturbance; Diog. L. 9, 21 of a quiet scholar’s life w. implied contrast of being engaged in public affairs; Pind., P. 1, 70  ‘to harmonious peace’ among citizens; Jos., Ant. 18, 245 opp. bustle of city life)  Hm 5, 2, 6 (TestAbr A 1 p. 77, 3 [Stone p. 2]). Of living in a way that does not cause disturbance (Mel., HE 4, 26, 6) 2 Th 3:12; Sotades 6, 8f [Coll. Alex. p. 241]; in Diod. S. [s. above] and SIG 1109, 64f of an injunction to bit-players in a cultic drama not to overplay or ‘ham it up’; UPZ 8, 17 [161 BC]; BGU 614; Sir 28:16). to have respite from someth. ApcPt 17:32.
2. state of saying nothing or very little, silence (Pla., Ep. 2, 312c; Pr 11:12; Philo, Rer. Div. Her. 14; Jos., Ant. 3, 67) IEph 15:2. in silence (Philo, Somn. 2, 263) 1 Ti 2:11f; IEph 19:1. quiet down, give a hearing (cp. Jos., Ant. 5, 235; cp. Just., D. 115, 5) Ac 22:2 (is it prob. that here such concepts as ‘reverence’, ‘devotion’, ‘respect’ may have some influence? Cp. Dio Chrys. 68 [18], 10: Herodotus should be read ‘with much respect’). 21:40 D (cp. Dio Chrys. 13 [7], 26; Philo, Vi. Cont. 75).—Schmidt, Syn. IV 248-64. DELG s.v. M-M. TW. Spicq. Sv. 
Louw-Nida #3050 make similar comments:  ἡσυχία: a state of undisturbed quietness and calm - 'quiet circumstances, undisturbed life.'  

We should note that ἡσυχία is not usually used to refer to “silence” in Paul’s letters, but rather “calmness” and the absence of disruption (1 Thess 4:11; 2 Thess 3:12; 1 Tim 2:2; cf. 1 Pet 3:4).[1]  In 1 Tim 2:2, the community is encouraged to live a ἡσύχιον βίον, which certainly does not mean a muted life, but rather one that is calm and peaceful, not disruptive and causing trouble.  Thus, it seems that something similar to BDAG option #1 is being advocated in 1 Tim 2:12.  The women who are deceived, are to cultivate an ability to learn in a calm and non-disruptive manner, obeying what is being taught.  In this way, they will learn the truth, which will affect the way they live.  This knowledge combined with praxis will ultimately *save* them (1 Tim 2:15).  Even in the second option provided by BDAG, the word appears to refer to not strict silence, but the demeanour of quietness and respect, of listening carefully.  Thus, either way, our writer is advocating a position of calm, non-disruptive learning.  This is especially focussed on those who are deceived, and those who are sharing the false teaching in this Christian community (1 Tim 5:13-15).  This injunction is thus aimed directly at those women who have been causing trouble in the community, the men having already been excommunicated (1 Tim 1:20).  

It is not enough to merely read the various bold options given in BDAG.  We must carefully sift through how the word is used by various writers and understand the concept to which it refers.  And in this case, the concept does not strictly refer to pure silence, but rather the demeanour and character of those who are calm, non-disruptive, not making a fuss but learning respectfully.  

[1] When Paul does want to refer to “silence” he uses a different word, σιγάω, found in Rom 16:25; 1 Cor 14:28, 30, 34.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Adam in 1 Tim 2:13-14

The mention of these two figures in this passage has perplexed many interpreters.  While much of the focus has been on Eve, see here, I’ve recently been thinking through the function of Adam in this section. 

For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was wholly deceived and became a transgressor.

What does the temporal priority of Adam, that he was created first, have to do with anything in this passage?  And why is it important to note that Adam was not deceived?  If as we have suggested before, Eve provides us with a helpful paradigm for understanding the problem with some of the women in Ephesus, being deceived and thus transgressing, then I wish to suggest that Adam plays much the same role in this passage.  Keener provides a helpful insight by noting the following:
Paul intends to connect Eve’s later creation to why she was deceived: she was not present when God gave the commandment, and thus was dependent on Adam for the teaching.  In other words, she was inadequately educated – like the women in the Ephesian church.[1]  

Ben Witherington further comments on this issue by stating,
[T]he reason why Paul mentions that Adam was formed first, before he speaks about Eve, is to remind the audience of the context of the story in Genesis 2.  That story is quite clear that Adam alone was formed and was present for God’s original instructions about what was prohibited.  Eve was not there for proper divine instruction, and thus she was more susceptible to deception.[2]  

Both these writers hint at, though do not explore, the role that Adam plays in this story.  Adam provides another illustration of this situation in Ephesus, elders (those who were Christians for a long time, and thus temporally before others?), have not instructed the people well.  This has led to some of the women being deceived, which has led to transgressions.  The problem started with Adam, and his poor teaching.  Even though he was not deceived, it was partly due to him that Eve was deceived and transgressed. 

One may perhaps accuse this line of reasoning of reading too much into these two short verses, but that need not be the case.  Many commentators that I have consulted suggest two specific elements that need to be in play when reading this passage.  Firstly, that the story in Genesis 2-3 provides the matrix within which to read and understand these references.  Secondly, that Eve is an illustration or type of the women in Ephesus.  What I am proposing is that Adam is just as much in view in this story as is Eve.  I am proposing that the explanation offered for the prohibition in 2:12 accurately illustrates two central problems in Ephesus, bad teaching and deception.[3]  And this passage provides a warning to the Church in Ephesus, as well as an explanation for the prohibition offered in 2:12.  It is because of bad teaching and deception that Paul issues the injunction that women should not be teaching, but rather learning.  It also explains the insistence throughout these letters on "healthy" teaching, and "sound doctrine."  

Thoughts?  Comments?  Criticisms?  All welcome.  

[1] Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 116.
[2] Witherington, A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John, 229.
[3] “[T]he conjunction gar (“for”) typically introduces an explanation for what precedes, not a cause.”  Belleville, “Teaching and Usurping Authority,” 222.  Italics original.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Overseers and Instructions to Women in the Pastoral Epistles

Below is a brief table that explores the various qualifications for leadership listed in 1 Tim 3:1-7, and the instructions to women.  I sense, given the similarities of instruction, that this is caused by the problems Paul and Timothy are dealing with in Ephesus, especially by the false teachers who have targeted women. 

Qualifications for Overseers (1 Tim 3:1-7)
Instructions to Women
καλὸν ἔργον, “good work”
ἔργον ἀγαθὸν, “good work” (2:10); καλὸν ἔργον, “good work” (5:10)
ἀνεπίλημπτος, “above reproach”
ἀνεπίλημπτος, “above reproach” (5:7)
μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα, “‘one-women’ man”
ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή, “‘one-man women’” (5:9)
νηφάλιος,”clear-minded” (3:11)
σώφρων, “self-controlled”
σώφρων, “self-controlled” (2:9, 15)
κόσμιος, “dignified”
κόσμιος, “dignified” (2:9); σεμνος, “dignified” (3:11)
φιλόξενος, “hospitable”
ξενοδοχέω, “to show hospitality” (5:10)
τοῦ ἰδίου οἴκου καλῶς προϊστάμενον, τέκνα ἔχοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ, “must lead his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way” (3:4)
τέκνων καλῶς προϊστάμενοι καὶ τῶν ἰδίων οἴκων, “bear children, and manage their own households well,” (3:12); οἰκοδεσποτέω, “lead” (5:14)
ἵνα μὴ εἰς ὀνειδισμὸν ἐμπέσῃ καὶ παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου, “so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil” (3:7)
μηδεμίαν ἀφορμὴν διδόναι τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ λοιδορίας χάριν, “giving the accuser no opportunity to slander us” (5:14)
διδακτικός, “able to teach”
καλοδιδασκάλος, “teaching what is good” (Tit 2:3)
ἐπιεικής, “gracious”
ἐπιεικής, “gracious” (Tit 3:2) – referring to everyone.
ἄμαχος, “not quarrelsome”
ἄμαχος, “not quarrelsome” (Tit 3:2) – referring to everyone.

One will also note that there is nothing specific within the qualifications listed for leadership, that does not equally apply to women.  This should give pause to those who would not allow women to function as overseers in Christian communities/churches.  Even Thomas Schreiner has noted that,  “The requirements for elders in 1 Tim 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9, including the statement that they are to be one-woman men, does not necessarily in and of itself preclude women from serving as elders.”[1]  What this helps us to realise is what Fee has long noted, that these instructions to leadership are ad hoc in the sense that they are shaped by the specific issues in this community that Paul/Timothy is dealing with.  These are not timeless leadership qualifications, but rather a framework and grid for analysing potential leaders who will not fall prey to the situations currently faced.  

[1] Thomas R. Schreiner’s “Philip Payne on Familiar Ground: A Review of Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters.” JBMW (Spring 2010) 33–46, here, 35.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

False Teachers and Women in 1 Timothy

There seems to be a relationship between what is said about the false teachers in the Pastoral Epistles, and what is said about the women in these writings.  Below is a table that will help us to better understand the situation in Ephesus that Paul/Timothy is dealing with.  

The False Teacher’s Description
Similar statements concerning women
1:3: “certain persons (τισὶν) teach false doctrines”
2:12: “I am not permitting a woman to teach”

1:4: “myths” (μύθοις)
4:7 “myths” (μύθους) characteristic of old women
1:4: “promote controversies”
5:14  giving an enemy opportunity for slander
3:11  “women must … not be malicious talkers”
1:6 “some persons (τινες) want to be teachers of the law but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”
2:14  “the woman being thoroughly deceived”
2:11  “let a woman quietly receive instruction with submissiveness … without disruption.”
5:13  “going about from house to house… talking   nonsense, saying things they ought not …”
4:1: “some persons (τινες) will follow deceiving spirits of things taught by demons”
5:15  “already some [younger widows] have turned away to follow Satan.”
4:2: “hypocritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron”
6:20: “opposing arguments of what is falsely called knowledge”
3:11  “women must … not be malicious talkers [but be] … trustworthy in everything.”
6:21: “which some have professed (ἐπαγγελλόμενοι) and in so doing have wandered from the faith.”
2:10  “women who profess (ἐπαγγελλομέναις) godliness”
5:11  “they have set aside their first faith.”

While we must not conclude that the false teachers are entirely women, it is likely that the women have become the focus of the false teachers, and that some women have fallen prey to the false teachers and are now part of the problem that Paul/Timothy is to deal with.  These parallels are instructive as they help us to understand better why Paul was offering his injunction of submissive and non-disruptive learning in 1 Tim 2:12-15.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Luke and the Pastoral Epistles

Was Luke the amanuensis for the Pastoral Epistles?  This is a fascinating question that has vexed a few interpreters.  S. G. Wilson, Luke and the Pastoral Epistles, 117f. notes the following parallels:

  1. Paul looks back on his past career with some confidence, believing that he has fulfilled the tasks designated for him (Acts 20:18-21, 25-6; 2 Tim 4:6f.). Moreover, the striking metaphor of an athlete finishing his race is used in both Acts 20:24… and 2 Tim 4:7… At the same time he is deeply concerned with the fate of the church in his absence. This is indicated by the whole of Acts 20:17-35 and each of the Pastoral Epistles.
  2. The problem Paul foresees and warns of is heresy, which will assault the Church from within and without (Acts 20:29-30; 1 Tim 1:3f. 3:1f; 6:20f; 2 Tim 2:14f. ; 3:1f.). The heresy appears to be an early form of Gnosticism and its centre is in Ephesus (Acts 20:17f.; 1 Tim 1:3). Paul urges constant alertness (Acts 20:31; 2 Tim 4:2f.).
  3. The responsibility for resisting the false teaching is placed on the church leaders or on Paul’s assistants. The church leaders are, in both cases, elder-bishops (Acts 20:17-28; 1 Tim 5:17; 2 Tim 2:2; Tit. 1:5f.), and it is Paul’s example and instruction which will be their chief weapon (Acts 20:27, 30-5; 1 Tim 3:14; 4:11f.; 6:20; 2 Tim 1:8f., 13-14; 3:10f.; Tit. 1:5).
  4. Paul speaks of his own suffering for the sake of the gospel (Acts 20:19-24; 2 Tim 1:11-12; 2:3; 3:11) and indicates that for him a martyr’s death lies ahead (Acts 20:25, 37; 2 Tim 4:6f.).
  5. The ministers whom Paul appoints and exhorts are warned of the dangers of the love of money (Acts 20:33-5; 1 Tim 6:9-10; Tit. 1:11).
  6. Paul commits his successors to the Lord and his grace (Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 4:22).

Ben Witherington has advocated the case, concerning the authorship of the pastorals, that “the voice is the voice of Paul, but the hand is the hand of Luke” suggesting that “these letters reflect a combination of Pauline and Lukan style.”[1] C. F. D. Moule put it this way: “Luke wrote all three Pastoral Epistles. But he wrote them during Paul’s lifetime, at Paul’s behest, and in part (but only in part), at Paul’s dictation.”[2]
This should give us cause for serious reflection. What is the apparent relationship here? Either the writer of the Pastoral Epistles is aware of the Acts, or vice versa? Or is there a connection in authorship? If the plausibility of the “we” passages in Acts is historically probable, chronologically, it seems possible that Luke and Paul were together long enough for Luke to have acted as an amanuensis for Paul. However, the proposal of Lukan influence in these letters has been seriously critiqued by scholars, such as I. H. Marshall who notes, “The hypothesis of a Lucan origin for the PE should be dropped from consideration.”[3] C. K. Barrett on the other hand comments on Wilson's parallels, "That the author of Acts wrote the Pastorals has been argued with great force.  The parallels are real and substantial, and there can be little doubt that Acts and the Pastorals were produced in similar circumstances and at times not very remote from each other."[4]  Although hesitant in offering a definitive conclusion, Barrett does state that "it remains true that there is a clear relation between Acts and the Pastorals."[5]  When you have two giants in Lukan and Pastoral Epistles scholarship offering such diverse conclusions, it should cause everyone to be careful in their final conclusions.  

Thus, my mental jury is still out on the possible and/or probable connections between these documents and authors. I think it's possible, but the question remains: Is it likely?

[1] Witherington, A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John, 60.
[2] C. F. D. Moule, “The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles: A Reappraisal,” Bulletin of John Rylands Library 47 (1965): 434. Quoted in Witherington, A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John, 58.
[3] Marshall, The Pastoral Epistles, 88.
[4] Barrett, A Shorter Commentary on Acts, 312.
[5] Barrett, Acts 15-28, 965.

Bibliography of scholars who discuss Lukan involvement in the Pastoral Epistles:

C.F.D. Moule, 'The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles,' in Essays in New Testament Interpretation (Cambridge: CUP, 1982), 113-32 (= BJRL 47 [1965]: 430-52).

Jerome Quinn, ‘The Last Volume of Luke: The Relation of Luke-Acts to the Pastoral Epistles,’ Perspectives on Luke-Acts, ed. C.H. Talbert (Danville: VA: Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, 1978), 62-75.

S.G. Wilson, Luke and the Pastorals (London: SPCK, 1979).

Jean-Daniel Kaestli, ‘Luke-Acts and the Pastoral Epistles: The Thesis of a Common Authorship,’ in Luke’s Literary Achievement: Collected Essays, ed. C. Tuckett (JSNTSup 116; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 110-26.

Scripture in 1 Tim 2:13-14

1 Tim 2:13-14   For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

The common retort to many context-specific readings on 1 Tim 2:12, is that this injunction is grounded in a timelessly valid creation order.  However, this seems an odd reading of the passage, which fails to connect it to the specific context Paul has been dealing with throughout 1 & 2 Timothy.  

Firstly, it must be noted that Paul appeals to the same Scriptures of Gen 2-3 in 1 Cor 11:7-9, and most would concede that that is a context specific situation, and not a timeless teaching.  Further, as Paul Trebilco and Simon Rae in their commentary on the Pastoral Epistles note, "Teaching for a particular situation is often reinforced by appeal to Scripture (see e.g. Rom. 4:21-31; Gal. 3:16-19; 4:21-31; 1 Cor 10:1-4; 2 Cor 3:13-18)."  

Secondly, Eve is the perfect candidate as an illustration since the problems in this Christian community in  Ephesus have to deal with women who have been deceived, and the brutal consequences of such events.  Let me again quote Trebilco and Rae: 
The emphasis on Eve’s deception and that she became a transgressor is a polemical response to the situation in Ephesus… [T]hrough following the false teachers, who are themselves paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (4:1), the young widows have already turned away to follow Satan (5:15).  Hence, some women in Ephesus have been deceived by Satan (4:1; see also 2 Tim 3:6-7).  In this they are like Eve, who was equally deceived and became a sinner.  Eve is an illustration or example therefore of what drastic things can happen when people (in this case women) are deceived.  Her susceptibility to deception, and its subsequent result is thus a warning to the Ephesian women of the danger they face if they continue to follow the false teachers.  Christ Marshall comments here Paul “is not expounding the inherent meaning of the Creation-Fall narratives, but selecting aspects of the biblical accounts to illustrate and reinforce his specific ethical demands for the Ephesian situation.[1]

Trebilco has further analysed the problems in Ephesus as it relates to this community and the problems with women and the false teaching.  
Since the Pastor [author of the Pastoral Epistles] makes a link between the opponents’ teaching and women in 2 Tim 3:6 and since in 1 Tim 4:1 the Pastor connects the opponents’ teaching with “paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons”, this reference to straying after Satan suggests the women have done so by accepting the opponents’ teaching.  This in turn suggests that the “gadding about from house to house … saying what they should not” refers in part at least to some women spreading the opponents’ teaching.  Further, 1 Tim 2:12-15 also strongly suggests that some women were promulgating the opponents’ teaching, and were among the leaders of those opposed by the Pastor … However, exhortations against the opponents are directed to the whole congregation (1 Tim 1:6ff; 4:1, 6; 6:21; 2 Tim 3:2), which suggests both men and women were involved in the teaching.[2] 

1 Tim 2:8-15; 5:3-16 and 2 Tim 3:6-7 suggest that the opponents had a considerable impact among some women, particularly younger women, and some of these women have themselves been spreading the opponents’ teaching (1 Tim 5:13; 2:11-12).  The instructions given concerning women aim to counteract this so that some women are no longer key members of the opponents’ group.[3]

In this way, we can see that the appeal to Eve in 1 Tim 2:13-14 is entirely appropriate as an illustrative paradigm from Scripture which shows the consequences of deception, the need for theological education, and the specific situation into which this is written.  Just as Eve was ἐξαπατηθεῖσα ("seduced by deception"), so too other women in this Ephesian community have been ἠπατήθη ("deceived") by the false teachers.  

[1] Paul Trebilco and Simon Rae, 1 Timothy. Asia Bible Commentary Series. (Singapore: Asia Theological Association, 2006), 60-61.
[2] Paul Trebilco, The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius. (Grand Rapids Eerdmans, 2004), 213-14.
[3] Trebilco, 222.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Women, Leadership and 1 Tim 2:12

Andrew Wilson has written a post about women in leadership and 1 Tim 2:12.  It’s a helpful post outlining twelve interpretations of this verse, within the egalitarian vs. complementarian debate.  However, it is very unhelpful in giving a fair summary of the various positions arguing for an egalitarian position.  Which leads me to wonder whether this post is merely preaching to the converted (those who hold a complementarian view) or whether it is trying to be educational, helping people to understand the various views.  In fact, I’ve wondered (tongue in cheek) if I should not title this post, “How not to argue against an egalitarian position.”  What follows is an all too brief response. 

Wilson begins by describing the first three interpretations he’s listed as those sometimes cited in support of the egalitarian position, as: “Exegetically, the first three above have substantial problems, and are rarely supported in commentaries and scholarly journal articles.”  This is a strange comment to make, as it would be quite easy to list the commentaries of Marshall, Towner, Trebilco, and Fee, and the articles of Bellville, Payne and others to demonstrate that this is not true.  However, it is rhetorically effective in the absence of evidence for one’s view.  

Wilson then notes *Andreas Köstenberger’s argument concerning didaskein oude authentein has largely won the day.*  But this begs the question, who has he won over?  Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, (223-224) rejects his view, as do the recent commentators I’ve consulted.  To cite but one commentator, Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians Vol. I, *It is quite beside the point that the word “teach” does not have a pejorative or negative sense here.  It is the entire context that is negative, dealing with correcting problems, and this dictates that we should see 1 Tim 2:12 as correcting some sort of abuse of power and teaching privilege here.*  Furthermore, it should be noted that cognates of διδάσκω are used negatively in 1 Tim 6:3 and Tit 1:11, thus making it possible that he could be using the word negatively in 2:12, which the context suggests is the case (see 2:8f.). 

He then notes that “the grammatical arguments in favour of seeing the clause as a hendiadys are weak.”  How they are weak is never explained, just asserted.  For someone who thinks that they are not weak as Wilson asserts, see Philip B. Payne, “1 Tim 2.12 and the Use of ουδε to Combine Two Elements to Express a Single Idea“  New Testament Studies 54:2 (April 2008) 235-253.  

Wilson notes that, "Historically, it is simply not the case that all women were uneducated in the Greco-Roman world."  This appears to be a veiled reference to Keener's work, and perhaps others, which describe the situation in Ephesus as problematic due to uneducated women who are teaching heresy.  While Wilson is correct to note that there were educated women in the Greco-Roman world, and there were educated women in Ephesus, this does not automatically entail there being educated women in the Christian community to whom Paul is writing.  Furthermore, the problem is not strictly education, but rather which education.  Following Trebilco and Fee's reconstruction, the problem at Ephesus is women who have been educated poorly by false teachers, and whom Paul silences for the very purpose that they may learn!  

Then, I find it interesting that the one thing Wilson allows, is a women to teach, which is the one thing that Paul forbids in this passage, and the one thing Wilson does not allow, which is women to be elders, is the one thing Paul does not forbid.  In fact, Paul does address female elders (πρεσβυτέρας ) in 1 Tim 5:2.  

Based on 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, Wilson states that these qualifications prohibit women from serving as elders/overseers.  This is strange, as even Thomas Schreiner admits: “The requirements for elders in 1 Tim 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9, including the statement that they are to be one-woman men, does not necessarily in and of itself preclude women from serving as elders….” (Thomas R. Schreiner’s “Philip Payne on Familiar Ground: A Review of Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters. JBMW (Spring 2010) 33–46, here 35.  There is nothing in those two lists that prohibit women from functioning as overseers.  

The phrase, μις γυναικς νδρα (one-women man, 3:2) is akin to νς νδρς γυνή, (one-man women, 5:9) which is a reference to marital fidelity, and women can be faithful in marriage!  In fact, none of the *qualifications* (which appear to apply to all Christians (eventually), except perhaps for teaching) apply specifically to men, but could equally apply to women (children are taught to be submissive by their mothers; women are instructed to manage their households, 1 Tim 5:14; be above reproach, 5:7).  All of the qualifications listed for leadership in 1 Tim 3:1-7 are applied to women in the Pastoral Epistles.  And one would be hard pressed to make the case the elders in 5:17 are specifically male, as the context has clearly been referring to women and women elders since 5:2.  I am of course assuming that Wilson’s view takes “eldership” to be an official office and that it is used interchangeably with “overseer”.  For those who take this as a strict reference to age, both sides of the argument crumble. 

On hermeneutical issues, Wilson notes “as I have argued previously – it is a good rule of thumb to do what the New Testament says, unless there are clear reasons not to.”  One wonders then if there is a special ministry devoted to widows, and financially serving widows in his church, or any church that seeks to apply 1 Tim 5:2-16.  And if not, why not?  Why should one seek to apply 1 Tim 2:9-15 but not 1 Tim 5:2-16?    

Of course, much more can and should be said in response to this blog post, but enough has been noted here to at least make others aware of the issues, rather than opting for a rhetorical piece which lacks both evidence and argument.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Spirit and Moral Progress in the Pastoral Epistles

C. H. Talbert, “Between Two Epiphanies: Clarifying One Aspect of Soteriology in the Pastoral Epistles,” in Getting “Saved”: The Whole Story of Salvation in the New Testament. Eds. Charles Talbert and Jason Whitlark (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 58-71.  

In this excellent chapter on the moral dimension of salvation in the Pastoral Epistles, C. H. Talbert makes the claim that the view that "the Holy Spirit given at baptism enables the Christian's moral and spiritual progress between conversion and judgement is unproven."  Talbert however goes on to argue from 2 Tim 4:17-18 that there is a hint of the Spirit's work in delivering believers from present evil.  "At this point there is a reference to the Lord's saving activity of an individual in the between time in order to enable him to reach the heavenly kingdom."  

It is unclear to me as to why Talbert limits 2 Tim 1:6-7 to Timothy and his special ministry.  Firstly, the text does not tell us when Timothy received the Spirit, and so we cannot limit this to his commissioning for service.  Secondly, Paul notes that the Spirit was given to "us" (ἡμῖν), not just to Timothy.  We can either infer that Paul is talking about Christians in general, or that he is talking specifically about those called to a specific ministry.  We have no reason within the Pastoral Epistles, or the undisputed Pauline letters, to limit the Spirit's enabling to those with a specific ministry.  Thirdly, Paul here links the work of the Spirit with specific moral and ethical virtues, namely power, love and self-mastery (σωφρονισμος).  Furthermore, the genitives suggest that it is the work of the Spirit that aids or empowers Christians to develop such characteristics as love and self-mastery (this also seems to be a polemic against the opponents who love themselves, money and pleasures, 2 Tim 3:2-5, and lack self-mastery and love for others).  

Even if we limit the work of the Spirit to Timothy and Paul in this passage, as Talbert does, Talbert specifically notes that both Timothy and Paul function as exemplars in the Pastoral Epistles, and thus as Tim and Paul rely on the empowering work of the Spirit in their own lives, by following their example, Christians must do likewise.  

Thus within these writings there is an emphasis on the work of the Spirit between the two epiphanies, and this Spirit enables and empowers "good works" and moral reasoning as Christians seek to navigate through the difficult situations of life.  

For a more helpful and detailed analysis of the work of the Spirit in the Pastoral Epistles, see the helpful study of Paul Trebilco, “The Significance and Relevance of the Spirit in the Pastoral Epistles,” in The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins. Essays in Honor of James D. G. Dunn. eds. G. N. Stanton, B. W. Longenecker and S. C. Barton (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 241-256.