Philip B. Payne. Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters. Zondervan, 2009. (511 pages)
To the degree my thirty-six years of research on this topic has led me to understand correctly the message God intends to communicate through his Word, I pray that this book will bring about a consensus on the primary exegetical issues that have divided the church on women’s equal status and freedom to minister. Just as the church has come to unanimity in rejecting “separate but equal” rights for whites and blacks, I trust that this book will help bring a truly biblical unanimity to the church in rejecting the view that God established “separate but equal” leadership roles for men and women in the church. It is my prayer that one day soon the church with substantial unanimity will affirm that woman and man are not separate in status or privilege from one another in the Lord, but are, indeed, one in Christ. (463)
Beginning with the assumption of the reliability of the Scriptures can lead to the discovery of new insights that elucidate the meaning of the text and resolve apparent contradictions. (28) My belief in the inerrancy of Scripture has led to many of the insights in this book, which in turn have brought me to the conviction that, properly understood in their original context, all of Paul’s teachings on man and woman are internally consistent. (28)
1 Backgrounds to Paul’s Teaching regarding Man and Woman
HELLENISTIC CULTURE. Hellenism…had a broad misogynist streak… (32) Many of the pagan roles for women, however, were repugnant to Christian morality, not just because they were sexually immoral, but because they did not treat women as full persons. This left Paul with a thorny problem: How could women demonstrate Christian liberty and equality in Christ without bringing offense to the gospel? He does this by honoring women as fully human even though this clashed with cultural conventions, and he affirms prophecy by women if done with modest deportment (1 Cor 11:4-5) (34-5)
GAMALIEL AND CONTRASTING JEWISH CULTURE. With few exceptions, such as the adulation of Sir 26:13-18, the overall picture of Jewish tradition from around the time of Paul is fairly consistent in its low view of women. (38)
HOLY SCRIPTURE. In summary, none of the eleven alleged indications that God put man in authority over woman stand up to scrutiny, and several of them are, if anything, more likely to suggest the opposite. (52) God uses women to communicate several key portions of inspired Scripture: the son of the prophetess Miriam (Exod 15:21), the song of the judge Deborah (Judg 5:2-31), the prayer of Hannah (1 Sam 2:1-10), and in the NT, the Magnificat of Mary (Luke 1:46-55). …These examples of God appointing women to leadership positions prove that God does approve women to exercise authority over men, at least in certain circumstances. (56) Christ’s example in all his deeds and words was to treat women as persons equal with men. (57) Jesus gives no hint that the nature of God’s will for women is different than for men. He made no distinction in the righteousness demanded of both. …There is no close parallel to Jesus’ overall treatment o women as equal to men in the records of any of his Jewish contemporaries. (58-9)
2 Women Paul Names as Ministry Leaders
Yet reading his letters reveals, instead, a man deeply invested in relationships with both men and women. He accepts women as ministry leaders and respects and honors women who labor for the Lord, not as his subordinates, but as his partners and equals. (61)
PHOEBE. Rom 16:1. …the bearer of Romans…(62) προστατις a term that almost always refers to an officially recognized position of authority. (63) Since her leadership was in the church it would entail spiritual oversight. (63)
PRISCILLA. Acts 18; 1 Cor 16:19. Priscilla’s name is listed first before her husband’s. Contrary to Greek and Hebrew custom…This makes it virtually certain that she played a significant, if not the dominant, role in these actions. (64) Regarding Apollos, …Since Scripture speaks with approval of a woman instructing him, it is hard to imagine any man who would be above being taught by a woman or any theological topic that would be out of bounds for a woman. (64)
JUNIA. Romans 16:7. There is simply no basis for the seemingly arbitrary change from “Junia” to “Junias” (66) How great the wisdom of this woman that she was even deemed worthy of the apostle’s title. (67)
MARY, TRYPHENA, TRYPHOSA, AND PERSIS. Romans 16:6, 12. “worked hard.” These four women are the only people in this chapter to whom Paul gives this commendation. (67)
EUODIA AND SYNTYCHE. Phil 4:2-3. …Paul associates them not simply with other devout women, but with his own fellow ministers of the gospel. The words “along with” and especially by “and the rest of my fellow workers” indicate their equality in standing with Paul’s male fellow workers in the gospel. (67)
OTHER NOTABLE WOMEN. Lydia of Thyatira, the first recorded European believer, in whose home Paul and Barnabas stayed (Acts 16:14-15); the leading women of Thessalonica and Berea, who were among the founding pillars of those churches (Acts 17:4, 12); Damaris, “follower of Paul” (Acts 17:34); Nympha (Col 4:15) and Apphia (Phlm 2), in whose homes churches met; the mother of Rufus, “who has been a mother to me” (Rom 16:13); and the four virgin daughters of Philip the evangelist, “who had the gift of prophecy” (Acts 21:8-9). Their virginity suggests special consecration to the work of the Lord (1 Cor 7:34).
Over two-thirds of the colleagues whom Paul praises for their Christian ministry in Rom 16:1-16 — seven of the ten — are women [The men are Aquila, Andronicus, and Urbanus.] … The extent of Paul’s affirmations of women in his circle of ministry stands in stark contrast with the typical attitude toward women in Paul’s day. Paul’s teachings about women in the church ought to be interpreted in harmony with Paul’s actual practice. Since Paul’s own affirmations of colleagues who are women are so extensive and their range of ministries is so broad, one ought to expect corresponding affirmations of women in his teaching. (68)
3 Paul’s Theological Axioms Imply the Equality of Man and Woman
- Male and Female Are Equally Created in God’s Image (Col 3:10; 2 Cor 3:18)
- Male And Female Equally Received the Creation Mandate and Blessing (Gen 1:26-30; 1 Tim 6:17; 1 Cor 10:23-30)
- The Redeemed–Male and Female–Are Equally “In Christ” (Rom 10:12-13; Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:11)
- The Nature of Church Leadership as Service Applies Equally to Male and Female (1 Cor 1-2; Rom 1:1; 1 Cor 9:19; Gal 1:10; 1 Cor 16:16; Matt 20:25-28; Luke 22:25-27)
- Mutual Submission in the Church Presupposes the Equal Standing of Women and Men (Eph 5:18-21; 1 John 4:13; Gal 5:13; Roman 12:10; Eph 4:2)
- Mutual Submission in Marriage Presupposes the Equality of Men and Women (Eph 5:21-22; Col 3:18-19; Titus 2:4)
- The Oneness of the Body of Christ Presupposes the Equality of Men and Women (1 Cor 12:25)
- The Priesthood of All Believers Presupposes the Equality of Men and Women (2 Cor 3:12-18; Col 3:16; 1 Cor 14:26)
- The Gifts of the Spirit Manifest the Equality of Men and Women (1 Cor 12:7; Rom 12:6-8; 1 Cor 12:11, 31; 14:1)
- Liberty in Christ Presupposes the Equality of Men and Women (Gal 3:28; 5:1; 1 Thess 2:7)
- Inaugurated Eschatology Requires the Equality of Men and Women While Affirming that the Sexes Complement Each Other (1 Cor 7; 1 Tim 4:3; eph 2:11-22, etc.)
- In Christ, Male and Female are Equal (Gal 3:28; Jam 2:1-13)
Part I – Exegesis of Paul’s Statements about Woman: Earlier Letters
4 Galatians 3:28: Man and Woman: One in Christ
Galatians 3:28 opposes the exclusion of all members of a class of people from full participation in the church simply because they are Gentiles, slaves, or women. Such exclusion is discrimination and is a denial of equality in Christ. … Since the barriers of the law did severely restrict access of Gentiles and women, and to some degree of slaves, from full participation in the social life of the people of God, this contrast implies that the removal of those barriers in Christ will result in freedom to participate fully in the social life of the church. (97)
Being heirs of Abraham entails not only what they receive, including freedom, status, and standing in the church, but also in what they contribute to fulfilling the Abrahamic blessing to all nations. (99)
God repeatedly overrode primogeniture in the founding of the nation of Israel. (101)
The natural implication of the equality of male and female in Paul’s teaching is that the gifts of women for ministry in the church should be recognized, welcomed, and exercised in all areas of church life, including teaching, pastoring, and church leadership. Dare we exclude women from offices of leadership and teaching to which God has gifted them and called them? (104)
5 1 Corinthians 7: The Equal Rights of Man and Woman in Marriage
What he [Paul] affirms for man, he affirms equally for woman, often with exactly parallel expressions (1 Cor 7). (105)
Against a cultural backdrop where men were viewed as possessing their wives, Paul states in 7:2, “let each woman have her own husband.” Against a cultural backdrop where women were viewed as owing sexual duty to their husbands, Paul states in 7:3, “Let the husband fulfill his marital duty to his wife.” (107)
6 1 Corinthians 11:2-16: Introduction
First, it was generally regarded as disgraceful for men to wear long effeminate hair. Effeminate hair was commonly ridiculed as disgraceful because of its association with effeminate homosexual relations. Second, in Hellenistic, Roman, and Jewish cultures for centuries preceding and following the time of Paul, virtually all of the portraiture, sculpture, and other graphic evidence, depicts respectable women’s hair done up, not let down loose. (110)
7 1 Corinthians 11:2-3: Head/Source Relationships
Paul introduces each of the three key foundational relationships that these actions affect, and in each one he uses the word “head” (κεφλη) metaphorically. (115)
WHAT DOES “HEAD” (κεφαλη) MEAN? Fifteen key reasons favor interpreting κεφαλη as “source” rather than “authority” here.
- The Greek OT (LXX) shows that most of its translators did not regard “head” (κεφαλη) as an appropriate word to convey “leader.”
- “Authority” is not a well-established meaning of κεφαλη. The ancient Greek world, exemplified by Paul’s use of “heart,” commonly believed that the heart, not the head, was the center of emotions and spirit, the “central governing place of the body.” (123)
- In contrast, “source” is an established meaning for κεφαλη listed from the earliest Greek lexicons to the present.
- Paul refers repeatedly to Christ as κεφαλη in the sense of source of life or nourishment: e.g., Col 1:18; Col 2:19; Eph 4:15-16; Eph 5:23
- The items listed in 1 Cor 11:3 are not listed in a descending or ascending order of authority, but they are listed chronologically: man came from Christ’s creative work, woman came from “the man,” Christ came from God in the incarnation.
- All attempts at interpreting each of these references to κεφαλη as “authority over” end up with three quite different authority relationships.
- “Source” fits better than “authority” as the meaning of κεφαλη in “the Christ is [εστιν] the κεφαλη of every man” (1 Cor 11:3)
- “Source” fits better than “authority” as the meaning of κεφαλη in “the man [with an article] is κεφαλη of woman.” The “authority interpretation does not fit the creation accounts of Genesis, since they do not teach that God gave Adam authority over either Eve or women in general. (131)
- “Source” fits better than “authority” as the meaning of κεφαλη in “God [with an article] is the κεφαλη of the Christ.”
- κεφαλη as “source” is perfectly suited to understand 1 Cor 11:3 as setting the theological stage for Paul’s ensuing arguments.
- This passage discusses disgraceful head-covering practices in prayer and prophecy, not hierarchical roles.
- Verses 8 and 12 affirm women’s source from (εκ) man. Verse 12 also affirms man’s source through (δια) woman and both from (εκ) God.
- This passages says nothing about man’s authority but rather affirms woman’s authority.
- First Corinthians 11:11-12, which Paul introduces as his central concern, repudiates a hierarchy of man over woman, as chapter 11 of this book argues.
- Much of the early Greek commentary on 1 Cor 11:3 specifically interprets κεφαλη to mean “source.”
Since the contextual support for κεφαλη meaning “source” is clear, any translation of this passage should convey this sense to the reader. In English, however “head” does not convey “source,” but rather “authority over,” so it is misleading merely to translate “head” here. The best solution is probably to translate κεφαλη as “source” and add a note, “literally, ‘head.'” (137)
The statement “the man is the κεφαλη (source) of woman,” “is bracketed by two statements that mention Christ and that are so formulated that the name of Christ forms, as it were, an inner bracket” around the creation of woman. …This bracketing suggests that Paul desired the Corinthians to view the relationship of man and woman in light of two pivotal events, creation and redemption. these two pivotal events are the keys to understanding natural and special revelation. The creation of humankind in the image of God and God’s provision for redemption through his very Son provide the two pillars that uphold both the value of human life and the respect people should show to each other. (139)
8 1 Corinthians 11:4: The Disgrace of a Man “Having Down from the Head”
Greek, Roman, and Jewish literature of Paul’s day frequently speaks of men wearing long effeminate hair as disgraceful, especially when done up like a woman’s hair. “Effeminate,” from Latin effeminatus, “made womanish” (ex-“out” + femina, “a woman”), entails a man presenting himself as a woman. (142)
9 1 Corinthians 11:5-6: The Disgrace of a Woman’s Head “Uncovered”
It is nearly universally acknowledged that prophesying presupposes a public church meeting. …Prophecy addresses community; it is horizontal. …Thus, the terms “prayer” and “prophecy” suggest the entire scope of leadership in worship. ” (149-150)
This widespread convention that women should wear their hair done up as a modest covering makes perfect sense of Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 11:15 that long hair is given to woman “as a covering.”
DIONYSIAC DEBAUCHERY GAVE HAIR LET DOWN LOOSE DISGRACEFUL ASSOCIATIONS
Men mingling with women and the freedom of darkness added, no form of crime, no sort of wrongdoing, was left untried. … If any of them were disinclined to endure abuse or reluctant to commit crime, they were sacrificed as victims. To consider nothing wrong, she continued, was the highest form of religious devotion among them. – Diodorus of Sicily 2:346-47
Given the popularity of the Dionysiac cult, especially in Corinth, it is not surprising that Paul would write against women letting their hair down. (164)
IT WAS DISGRACEFUL FOR JEWISH WOMAN TO LET THEIR HAIR DOWN. Hair unbound was the sign of the accused adulteress. (Num 5:18)
CONSENSUS AMONG THREE CULTURES: LOOSED HAIR DISGRACES A WOMAN. Hair done up is a sign of her dignity and honor.
So, WHY WOULD WOMEN LET THEIR HAIR DOWN IN THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH? Women would let their hair down for the same reason it was popular in the Dionysiac cult. (169) By letting her hair down in public, a woman places on herself the accusation of adultery. (172)
10 1 Corinthians 11:7-10: Theological Reasons for Head-Covering Rules
It is striking that Paul approaches the Genesis narrative in a completely different way than Philo. Philo distinguishes between the earthly man and the separate incorporeal man made in God’s image, but here, the earthly man is God’s image. Philo describes woman as intellectually inferior; Paul does not. Philo assigns the public affairs to man and the affairs of home to woman; Paul does not. Philo tries to explain the meaning of the Genesis account based on his perception that women are not equal to men in honor. Paul cites the Genesis account as a guide for conduct that applies to both man and woman without assigning higher honor to man. Indeed, 1 Cor 11:11-12 explicitly argues against such a misapplication of Gen 1-2. (178-9)
WOMAN IS THE GLORY OF MAN. Woman is depicted as the crowning glory of creation made specifically to be man’s partner. Most men would agree that of all creation, woman is the most beautiful. … When husbands treat their wives as their glory, marriage is beautiful. (179)
Although “to exercise control over” necessarily implies possession of authority, it is clear from the context that Paul’s central point is that a woman ought to exercise control “over her head” (επι της κεφαλης) by wearing her hair up. (183)
The model of worship by angels who do not marry (Matt 22:30; Mark 12:25) implies that women should have authority to pray and prophesy. With that authority comes the obligation to exercise it responsibly, so Corinthian women had a moral obligation to exercise control over their heads by not letting their hair down, since that symbolized sexual looseness. (187)
11 1 Corinthians 11:11-12: The Equal Standing of Woman and Man in Christ
To summarize, the normal meaning of χωρις virtually demands that this statement to be understood as an affirmation that in Christ there is no separation between woman and man. (194)
Paul immediately defends his affirmation of the equality of the sexes, “For just as woman came from [εκ] man, so man comes through woman.” … In order to make it clear that his point is not that man as the source of woman has priority over woman, Paul highlights that in giving birth, woman is man’s source. (195)
Paul is the first writer known to derive theological significance from the fact that every man is born through [δια] woman. (195)
12 1 Corinthians 11:13-16: Shameful Head Coverings Explained as Hair
…we can be confident that the custom Paul described as disgraceful in 11:5 was, in fact, regarded as disgraceful in Greek society. (200)
13 1 Corinthians 11:2-16: Conclusion and Application
Men’s effeminate hair attracted homosexual liaisons, and women’s hair let down loose symbolized sexual freedom in the Dionysiac cult, which was influential in Corinth. Both were disgraceful and undermined marriage. Consequently, both men and women may pray and prophesy in church but should do so in a way that does not undermine marriage or the sexual differentiation God created. (211)
This passage may be properly applied today, however, against leaders in worship who adopt hairstyles, dress, or demeanor that symbolizes homosexual relations or that undermines fidelity in marriage by being sexually suggestive. (214)
14 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: Did Paul Forbid Woman to Speak in Church?
The central issue is whether these verses are an interpolation not in the original text. (217)
Proposal 1: Paul Required Silence of All Women in All Church Assemblies.
Proposal 2: Paul Required Women to be Silent in Some Qualified Sense.
Proposal 3: 14:34-35 Cites a False Prophecy by a Self-Proclaimed Corinthian Prophet.
Proposal 4: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Is an Interpolation. Understanding 1 Cor 14:34-35 as an interpolation, namely, a passage that was not originally in the text but was inserted later, makes perfect sense of the entire passage and resolves all the problems of the above three proposals. …and it does so on a factual, not speculative, basis. (225)
I now firmly believe that anyone looking at the data with an open mind will acknowledge considerable evidence for interpolation. Furthermore, much of the crucial evidence that 14:34-35 is an interpolation is unique to this passage and so does not undermine the reliability of any other passage. Viewing verses 34-35 as an interpolation in fact bolsters the authority of Scripture, in that it resolves what would otherwise contradict other teachings by Paul as well as other affirmations of women’s ministry throughout Scriptures. (227)
The thesis that 1 Cor 14:34-35 is an interpolation fits the external and the internal evidence far better than any other thesis. If 1 Cor 14:34-35 is a non-Pauline interpolation, it does not carry apostolic authority and should not be used as such to restrict the speaking ministries of women, nor should it influence the exegesis of other NT passages. (267)
Part 2 – Exegesis of Paul’s Statements about Woman: Later Letters
15 Ephesians 5:21-33 and Colossians 3:18-19: Husband-Wife Relationships
[These passages] say nothing about creation, and the passages that do mention creation, both in the OT and the NT, do not teach a hierarchy of authority based on them. (273)
DID PAUL’S VISION OF MARRIAGE DEVELOP AS FAR AS MUTUAL CONSENSUS AND LOVE? …egalitarian relationships in marriage are the logical implication of Paul’s teaching and that fidelity to Paul’s principles requires this. (274)
Paul’s use of the reciprocal pronoun in 5:21, “submitting one to another,” indicates that he is not endorsing hierarchical social structures. (275) Why, then, does Paul call women to “submit” and men to “love”? Paul highlights for women and men what each tends to need to hear most. (277)
The word “headship” never even occurs in the NT. (285)
The note for Eph 5:23 could be, “Paul explains that ‘head’ means ‘savior’ here, for Christ is the source of life, love, and nourishment for the church as husbands should be for their wives. ‘Source’ is better established as a meaning for ‘head’ in Hellenistic Greek than ‘leader’ or ‘authority.'” (290)
16 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Introduction: The Ephesian Church Situation Addressed in 1 Timothy
…the meaning of the word sometimes translated “have authority over” (αυθεντειν) is debated and occurs nowhere else in Scripture… (291)
Of all literary genres it is the epistolary genre that is most conditioned by the coordinates of time and space, historical and relational circumstances… They are ad hoc compositions whose essential import relates immediately and directly only to the situation that dictated their composition. – Raymond Collins
Paul’s primary purpose in writing this first letter was to advise Timothy how to overcome false teaching. (294)
The obvious reason why Paul bases his argument for limited teaching by women on Eve’s deception (1 Tim 2:14) is that false teaching had deceived women in Ephesus. (301)
First Timothy’s many statements regarding problems caused by women depict a situation where women had become central to the false teaching that was dividing the church. (304)
Paul’s solution may be paraphrased: “Let them learn so that eventually they may fulfill their teaching aspirations, but this privilege requires responsible study first.” …Paul’s goal is to establish women in the true faith so they will not teach the church error. (310)
17 1 Timothy 2:8-11: “Let a Woman Learn in Quietness and in All Submission”
The one grammatical imperative in this passage is “let a woman learn in quietness and in all submission.” This command for women to learn contrasts with the absence of women from any list of students in Ephesian schools of that time. (314)
The Genesis account of the woman’s deception deals entirely with the serpent’s distortion of God’s word, not the man’s authority. …Paul always uses παραβασις (“transgression”) to refer explicitly to transgression of God’s law, never against male authority, and the same is true of the entire NT. (316)
18 1 Timothy 2:12: Part I: “I Am Not Permitting a Woman to Teach”
DOES THE GRAMMATICAL FORM “I AM NOT PERMITTING” FAVOR A PRESENT OR UNIVERSAL PROHIBITION? The English translation of επιτρεπω in 1 Tim 2:12, “I do not permit” conveys an ongoing universal prohibition, but this Greek verb and its the grammatical form is better suited for a present prohibition. (320)
…their error was not in desiring to be teachers of the law, but rather in teaching without adequate knowledge. (335)
19 1 Timothy 2:12: Part II: Does ουδε Separate Two Prohibitions or Conjoin Them?
The conclusion to be reached, therefore, is that this verse does not prohibit women such as Priscilla from teaching men, as long as their authority is properly delegated, not self-assumed. It simply prohibits women from assuming for themselves authority to teach men. (338)
1 Tim 2:12a viewed as a single idea does not prohibit teaching in itself, nor does it prohibit taking authority into one’s own hands, though, like “hitting” in “hit ‘n run,” taking authority into one’s own hands is negative in most public situations, whether by a woman or a man. Instead, it prohibits women from teaching combined with assuming authority over a man. (345)
To interpret ουδε in 1 Tim 2:12 as separating two different prohibitions for women, however, one against teaching and the other against having authority over a man, does not conform to Paul’s customary use of ουδε. it does not even have a single close parallel in the entire Pauline corpus. (348)
Thus, understanding 1 Tim 2:12’s ουδε construction as conveying the single prohibition of a woman assuming authority to teach a man fits its literary context perfectly. (353)
Addressing a church situation where women were deceived and spreading false teaching, 1 Tim 2:12 prohibits women from assuming for themselves authority to teach men. (359)
20 1 Timothy 2:12: Part III: Does αυθεντεω Mean “Assume Authority”?
Not even one instance of the later ecclesiastical use of αυθεντεω with the meaning “to have authority over” or “to exercise authority” has been established before or near the time of Paul. (373)
On this interpretation, Paul is not permitting a woman to assume authority that she had not been properly delegated. “Assume authority” fits naturally with the following reference to Eve’s deception and fall. Eve took it on herself to eat the forbidden fruit and to offer it to Adam. (391) [VIA: It almost feels like a “demanded” authority]
Grasping for authority was also part of the temptation “to be like God” (Gen 3:5). It is this grasping of authority for oneself that Paul prohibits. (392)
What Paul says is this: “I am not permitting a woman to teach and assume authority over a man,” namely, to take for herself authority to teach a man without authorization from the church. (393)
Therefore, lexically, contextually, and theologically by far the most natural reading of 1 Tim 2:12’s prohibition is: “I am not permitting a woman to teach and [in combination with this] to assume authority over a man.” …Paul first commands that women learn in quietness and full submission in order to turn deceived women away from the false teaching and to encourage them to embrace the true gospel. Combined with this, he institutes a present prohibition against any woman seizing authority for herself to teach a man. Paul’s goal is to exclude any unauthorized woman from teaching men in the church. (396)
Although one might properly apply this prohibition in analogous situations of deception and improper assumption of teaching authority by women, it is not worded as a universal rule and should not be treated as though it is one. (397)
21 1 Timothy 2:13-14: The Need for Respect, the Danger of Deception
Paul’s addition of “then Eve” is the first-documented occurrence that Eve as well as Adam was “formed” by God. By including Eve as also “formed” by God, Paul affirmed the essential equality of men and women. Thus, if Paul here alludes to an argument for the superiority of male over female since Adam was formed by God, his addition of “then Eve” undermines the argument by affirming that woman, too, was formed by God. (404-5)
…it is possible that Paul intended 1 Tim 2:13-14 to refute false teaching about the relationship of Adam and Eve. If the false teachers had taught any of these myths exalting Eve, it would explain part of the special appeal their message had to women. It would further explain Paul’s specification that Adam was formed first, especially if it contributed to women’s unauthorized or domineering teaching. (405)
Paul draws on the example of Eve’s deception and fall to explain how disastrous the consequences can be when a woman is deceived and conveys her deception to a man. (406)
In every Pauline usage, “transgression” refers to the breaking of a commandment of God. (409) Nothing in Genesis or Paul’s letters says that Eve was deceived to take initiative over Adam or that God had prohibited Eve from taking initiative in her relations with Adam. (410)
The text of 1 Tim 2:14 emphasizes the deception of Eve, providing a warning to Eves in Ephesus not to be similarly deceived by the false teachers or to spread their deception. As Satan deceived the woman leading to the fall, so Satan had already deceived some women in the Ephesian church (1 Tim 5:15). The example of Eve provides an excellent explanation and appropriate support for the command in verse 11 that women learn lest their deception lead to their fall from the faith. It directly supports the prohibition in verse 12, warning lest women teach their deception in the assembled church and threaten its fall. This logical relationship between verses 11-12 and 13-14 supports the view that Paul restricted teaching by women because false teachers had deceived women in Ephesus. It also supports the most natural reading of the present tense “I am not permitting” in verse 12, namely, that these are temporary requirements in light of the influence of the false teaching among women in the Ephesian church. Eve’s deception vividly illustrates the danger when a woman is deceived. Consequently, there is no need to attempt to find here a cryptic appeal to gender-based hierarchy established at creation. (415)
22 1 Timothy 2:15: Salvation through “the Childbirth”
Her salvation stands in contrast to the rupture in her relationship with God that occurred at the fall and so must indicate a renewal of that relationship. …Unless 1 Tim 2:15 is the only exception, each of the twenty-nine occurrences of the verb σωζω in the Pauline corpus refers to spiritual salvation from sin that comes through Christ. (418)
Thus, the evidence overwhelmingly supports that “she shall be saved” refers to ultimate spiritual salvation, not merely that women will be kept “safe” in childbirth or “kept safe from seizing men’s roles” or “will escape (or be preserved) [from Satan].” (423)
Thus, based on the stylistic tendency of 1 Timothy, it is far more likely that the article in 1 Tim 2:15 identifies a specific childbirth, not childbirth in general. (430) All occurrences of this word prior to Paul focus on the event, not the process, of childbirth, and the key feature of the event is the resulting child. (433)
1 Tim 2:15 should be, “She shall be saved through the childbirth.” (433)
The expression “her seed” fits the virgin birth of Christ perfectly. It is sufficiently exceptional in contrast to the usual association of seed with males that there is ample textual basis for regarding this as a Messianic prophecy, especially with the emphasis on the singular male seed overcoming “the” serpent in the context of hope in spite of the fall. (435)
Rather, “saved through the childbirth” parallels “saved through faith” and “saved through the gospel,” both of which also literally mediate salvation to believers. (437)
First Timothy 2:15 is not simply a call to a role; it is a call to the Savior. Mary’s bearing of the Christ was the highest role any human has ever taken. (440)
THE CONDITIONS OF 1 TIMOTHY 2:15 FIT SPIRITUAL SALVATION. Paul is not advocating legalism to the women of Ephesus: bear children, be good. Instead, he is pointing them to ennobling the life in Christ, who alone saves. (441)
23 1 Timothy 2:8-15: Conclusion
Paul is prohibiting women from doing exactly what the false teachers were doing, namely, assuming authority to teach in church assemblies. (443)
24 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9: May Woman Be Overseers and Deacons?
In Greek, however, there is not even one masculine pronoun or “men only” requirement for the offices of overseer and deacon in 1 Tim 3:1-12 or elder in Titus 1:5-9.
Most scholars, however, understand [“one woman man”] to exclude polygamists…and probably adulterers… (445-6) Polyandry was rare, if practiced at all in Ephesus, and husbands were regarded as more likely to be sexually unfaithful than their wives. (446)
It is bad hermeneutics to isolate a single word (“man”) from a set phrase (“one woman man”) that functions as an exclusion (of polygamists and probably adulterous husbands) and to elevate that single word to the status of an independent requirement (that all overseers be men). (447)
The use of so much identical terminology in the verses explicitly about women in 1 Timothy is statistically so improbable that it makes sense that Paul deliberately described women with these words, presumably to show that women could and should fulfill these requirements. (451)
Some object that the NT nowhere identifies by name any woman in the church as an overseer. But, apart from one reference to Christ as “the Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet 2:25), the term for “overseer” used here (επισκοπος) is never used with the name of any man other than Christ (1 Pet 2:25), either. (453)
Ancient interpreters nearly universally regarded verse 11 as identifying women in church office, as do most modern scholars. Romans 16:1 shows that the NT makes no distinction between “deacons” and deaconesses,” a word used in the church only later. (454
It is, therefore, more likely that verse 11 designates a group within the larger category of deacons, namely, deacons who are women. (455)
Nowhere else in the qualifications for overseer, elders, or deacons in 1 Tim 3:1-12 or Titus 1:5-9 does Paul mention “man,” “men,” any masculine pronoun, or any expression that excludes women from church office. (459)
— VIA —
In addition to the above notes, Payne has addressed some of the most well-known commentators of the topic, and provided direct and substantive responses to their propositions directly (Moo, Grudem, etc.) often calling their claims simply “false.” References and citations abound providing scholastic details for the reader to “double check.”
For additional discussion, see Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, Grudem’s Response, The Meaning of κεφαλη, Beyond Sex Roles, and a slew of other materials available in book form and article form.
Personal note: My sincere gratitude to Dr. Payne for his kind and gracious dialogue providing extra clarity and explanation to my reading and understanding.