Women in Ministry: I Timothy 2:11-15

Women in Ministry: I Timothy 2:11-15
Talmadge French

The Context of Ephesus

– Timothy 1:3
– False Goddess Teachings: Glorification of Eve and the Serpent!
– How to Deal with New Members Previously Immersed in False Religion.

I Timothy 2:11: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.”

Silence = ?s???a (Noun) cf. ?s????? (Adj.)

– cf Acts 22:2 = Volume
– II Thess. 3:12 = Demeanor
– I Tim. 2:2 = Applied to Men
– cf I Pet. 3:4

The Attitude of the Learner– Harmonious, Teachable, Receptive Seeking Peace, Not Rebellious

Let a woman learn with a receptive attitude in all submissive humility. (tlft)

“I Suffer Not a Woman”: In the Light of the Dominance of Goddess Worship in Asia Minor

1. Ephesus = 4th largest city in the Roman Empire
– The Gateway to Asia Minor
– Primary deities = female
– Artemis (Diana) = most worshipped
– Her Ephesian temple = one of the seven wonders of the world (Acts 19:19, 28, 34)

2. Goddess Worship
– The oracle at Delphi = The high priestess of Isis. The maternal goddess concept synchronized distortions of Eve cf. I Cor. 16:8-9, Acts 19:37; 20:28-30

3. Gnosticism- Syncretistic Distortion of Gen. 1-3 (cf. I Tim. 6:20 “so-called knowledge”)
– False teaching concerning creation, the serpent, Adam & Eve
– Eve = Origin (Genealogy) of Man! I Tim. 1:4 Titus 2:9)
– Claims of feminist superiority and claims of special revelation = Myths (Titus 1:14; I Tim. 1:7; II Tim. 3:6)

I Timothy 2:12: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

Theories of Interpretation: What Is Forbidden? What’s Required?

1) Women can’t teach or be over men (preach, lead, “authority…in matters of doctrine and interpretation” Wuest)
2) Noisy, disruptive women in church; No interruptions (I Cor. 14:35)
3) Women never preside over business; Men conduct business
4) A woman can’t hold the actual position of “the teacher = the bishop? The pastor?
5) Not allowed “to teach” certain things, i.e. false ideas about female religion (cf. Rev. 2:20 -Jezebel)

Why Teach, Usurp, Silent?

(1) Is this forbidding women to “teach” at all, or just men?
(2) Is teaching usurping authority?
(3) Does this forbid women to speak at all, or only with men present?

Cf. I Cor. 14:34-35 “keep silence-shame for a woman to speak (?a????)” [Women certainly “pray and prophesy” (11:5)]

(4) Why forbid teaching, but not mention preaching? Why does it not say “preach (to) men”?

Women in the Old Testament

Genesis 1:26; 5:2: Man and woman are given dominion. Both are made in the image of God – Equally!

Wisdom of Women

– Proverbs 1:20-33; 8:1-9:6; 14:1
– Proverbs 31:26; “in her tongue is the law” (or teaching, truth)

Unnamed Women Leaders

– II Sam. 20:14-22; Ps 68:11; Isa 40:9; Micah 6:4


– Judges 2:16; 4:4-5, 9, 21-22 (Deborah’s Song – 5)
– She was the instrument of victory, a woman of wisdom and resourcefulness.


– II Kings 22:13-20; 11 Chronicles 34:22-28
– Triggered the great revival experienced under King Josiah.


– Esther 4:14; 9:11-12, 29-32 “words of peace and truth”
– God brought her to the kingdom, given authority, “For such a time as this” (9:11-12, 29-32)


– I Samuel 25:33-35
– “I have hearkened unto thy voice.”

New Testament Women

Acts 2:17-19; Joel 2: 28-29 – All Proclaim!

“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy… ”

“And on my servants and on my handmaidens (?p? t??? d?????? ?? ?a? ?p? t?? d???a?) I will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy.” (p??f???s??s??)

a) Primary meaning: telling forth (preach) the divine counsels; Example: Matt. 7:22; 26:28, I Cor. 11:4-5; 13:19; 14:1, 3-5, 24, 31, 39; Rev. 11:3.
b) Foretelling the future; Example: Matt. 15:7, John 11:51; I Peter 1:10; Jude 14.


– Luke 2:36 “And there was one Anna, a prophetess”

– Prophetess  p????t??

– Thayer – to prophesy…, speak forth by divine inspiration; to predict…

The four daughters of Philip

– Acts 21:8-9 “… and the same man had four daughters…which did prophesy.”

Unique New Testament Ministry of Women

– “… there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:28

– I Corinthians 12:4-11, 28 – Spiritual and service gifts are nowhere limited with respect to gender.

– Romans 16:1-16 – Paul lists 29 prominent individuals, 10 of which are women.

Priscilla (Aquilla)

– Acts 18:26 “Expounded (instructed, taught) unto him the way of God more perfectly.”

– Cf. Rom. 16:2 “all the churches”, Phil. 4:2-3, I Cor. 16:16, 19

Phebe (F????)

– Rom. 16:1 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at

– d??????? = (Thayer) 1. Servant 2. Deacon

– [The Roman letter was sent by Phebe to the Roman church.]

Junias = Junia (fem)

– Rom. 16:7 Lit “my relatives… noteworthy among the apostles”


– I Cor. 1:11 Lit “by those of Chloe…” = Chloe’s church?

– (cf. Col. 4: 15, “the church… in his house”)

The Elect Lady

– II John 1:1, 13 “to the elect lady and her children” – ????a (a lady? or figurative of a congregation?)

(1) He is not greeting a church, but a leader and her church (members/ “children”).

(2) The leader of a church is known as a pastor

To Teach = d?d?s????

…”to teach” only authentic teaching, i.e. the truth… a corrective regarding a common false religion involving the origin of male and female…specifically, he prohibits teaching that creation is of female origin

Things to Be Taught and Things Forbidden to Be Taught:

– Titus 2:3 – “the aged women likewise… teachers of good things;

– II Timothy 3:14-15 (1:5) – Timothy was taught by women, not when or as a child, but ?p? ??????, from infancy.

– I Corinthians 14:31 (11: 5) – “prophesy… that all may learn”

– I Timothy 3:11 – “Wives” = Lit. Women (Deacons)?

Usurp Authority = a????t???

– ???a??? d? d?d?s???? ??? ?p?t??p?, ??d? a????t??? ??d???, ??? ???a? ?? ?s???a.

– (Thayer): (a) to kill (b) to be the author (be responsible for), to act in one’s own authority (c) to exercise dominion over

– Author, Authentic, Authority – Origin = no female creation/ no female superiority
– [cf. “claim as one’s own” (legal)]

– I do not permit a woman to ever teach that she is the origin (or the originator/ author) of man. (tlft)

– [2nd infinitive = indirect discourse]

I Timothy 2:13

– “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”

– Not male superiority, for both are given dominion (Genesis 1:26; 5:1-2).

– Adam Is The Origin of Eve.

– c.f. I Corinthians 11–Headship = Origin/Source

I Timothy 2:14

– “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

Paul Is Not Implying…

(1) Female Gullibility or
(2) The punishment of women by forbidding them the role of leadership.

– For Adam wasn’t deceived (first), but the woman became entangled in the sin (first) when she was deceived. (tlft)

Adam was not let off the hook!

– Adam wasn’t deceived first, but shared equal.

– Guilt, being deceived by Eve. Genesis 3:16-17

– “The Transgression of One” = Adam

– Romans 5:12-19; I Corinthians 15:21-22

– The Point: Paul is repudiating the perversity of the superiority of goddess worship and priestess leadership.

I Timothy 2:15

– “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

– “In” = d?? – through/ How is she “saved”?
o From the deception of false doctrine
o From physical harm or death
o “She” (Eve, Gen 3:15) is saved and brings salvation by birthing the Son (i.e. His progenitors) – Who bruises Satan’s head!

– Pagan/ Gnostic opposition to marriage and childbirth as inferior (I Tim. 4:3; 5:14)

– Paul Is Praising the Virtue of Childbearing = the most feminine of distinctions = the ultimate affirmation of the woman

– Salvation is available to men and women! Yet their distinctions are maintained. I Corinthians 11:11-12

The Scriptures allow for no perpetual condemnation which the Gospel cannot remedy! I John 1:9

– We each must answer for our own sins (Ezekiel 18:17-20, 21-22).
– Men are as much the descendants of Eve as are women
– Why wouldn’t men pay perpetually for Adam’s sin? Genesis 3:17 – Toil!


Neither male nor female is punished in the curse by limiting his or her ability to lead or minister.

This article “Women in Ministry: I Timothy 2:11-15” was excerpted from: Personal Bible Study notes from Talmadge French. Used by permission. This article may be used for study & research purposes only.