Man vs. Husband; A War of Words

Man and Husband in 1 Timothy 2:11-12: A War of Words

Kurt Dahlin December 22, 2002

 
Hermeneutical Issues and Women in Ministry
 1 Timothy 2:11-12

11   Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. 

12   I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to       keep silent. RSV

 
In 1 Timothy 2:11-12 the Greek words behind the English text must be analyzed carefully. In eight different English versions of the NT the Greek words gune and aner are translated as woman and man or men. However, the English rendering of 1Timothy 2:11-12 refracts the meaning in a wrong direction. Is Paul issuing a universal ecclesiological principle limiting the ministry of women or is he describing a marital order between husband and wife? Should gune and aner be translated as wife and husband instead of woman and man? The correct application of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 depends on the proper and fair definition of the Greek words involved.

 

Both Greek words used in 1 Tim. 2:11-12 for man and woman are many times translated as husband and wife.  In fact, aner/man and gune/woman are the only words used in the New Testament for husband and wife (ref. Young's Analytical Concordance).  Aner is translated as husband 50 times in the King James Version New Testament and as man 156 times (ref. Young's Analytical Concordance).   Aner, when translated man, is often used as in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; 1 Timothy 5:9; Ephesians 5:28 and many other places in the New Testament for a married man.  Anthropos, the usual Greek word for man is used 561 times in the New Testament.  Anthropos is never translated as husband. Aner is the only word for husband. Aner has a specific and limited use. Woman/gune is translated as wife 92 times in the King James Version New Testament and as woman 129 times (ref. Young's Analytical Concordance).  Paul used the usual Greek words for husband and wife in 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Paul did not use anthropos the universal word for man. Earle Ellis states:

 

It is not always clear whether it should be translated wife or woman....Several considerations support the conclusion that 1 Timothy 2:9-3:1a, like 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 and 14:34f, is the application to a church situation of a principle of the household codes and that its teaching is primarily concerned with a married woman's obligations to her husband (72). 

 

There is nothing prohibiting the translation of aner and gune in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 as husband and wife.  No linguistic rule would be broken.  It would not damage the context or content.  In any case, Paul is not negating God’s power and prerogative to bestow spiritual gifts to women in 1 Timothy 2:11-12. It is the judgment of the translators that render the Greek words man and woman instead of husband and wife.

 

Paul's use of Adam and Eve and the reference to childbearing responsibilities as the basis for this teaching thrusts the context of this passage into a marital and household arrangement. Ellis suggests the following translation of 1 Timothy 2:12:  “I do not permit a wife to teach or have authority over a husband” (74). This is the typical view of the marital relationship as taught throughout the epistles of Paul (Eph 5: 21-28; Col 3:18; 1 Cor 11:1-8).

 

We cannot escape the possibility that Paul is giving typical advice concerning a husband and wife relationship in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and not developing a policy of church structure limiting the ministry of godly women. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is about marriage not about ministry. After all Adam and Eve were husband and wife.  If Eve were to defer leadership to anyone, it would have been to her husband.  Eve was to serve her husband as a result of her deception. Paul used the fall of Adam and Eve as an example of failed male leadership. Adam was created first. He should have taken his position to guard and protect Eve. Adam failed to rise up and lead his wife.

 

Though George Knight agrees that the Greek words aner and gune are used particularly for husband and wife he maintains, however, “there is no evidence in the larger context that the terms are meant to be restricted in the passage” (Role 30).  Yet, the Greek words themselves are restricted and limiting. Ignoring the usual definition of the Greek words and the marital context supplied by Paul's use of Adam and Eve, Knight concludes: “Thus the prohibition of the apostle has to do with maleness and femaleness, not just with the married state or relationship” (Role 30). Yet, where is aner ever translated into English as maleness? If Paul meant maleness he would have used arrhen (NT: #730), the Greek word for male.

 

We must exegete what the Bible says not what we wish it said. Knight goes beyond the clear marital context and common meaning of the Greek words to create a stone wall keeping godly women from viable ministry. The interpretation that Knight presents here is a necessary stepping-stone toward his final restriction and limitation of women in ministry.  His purpose is to prohibit any woman from teaching or leading men in the church.  Knight decrees, “In 1 Timothy 2:11-14...what is prohibited is women teaching men” (Role 37). However, Ellis and many other scholars form a different conclusion from the inspired Greek words and marital context not the English translation.  1 Timothy 2:11-12 deals with marital roles not a limitation of godly women in ministry roles.

 

What is Knight afraid of? Many men have been brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through the witness of a godly woman. Many men have been prayed into the kingdom of God through the prayers of a godly woman. Many fruitful men have been strengthened, encouraged and instructed by godly women. Are we to believe that God can’t use a godly woman to preach or teach salvation to a man? The facts are against Knight. God has used godly women to win male souls and to disciple them to be godly men. To construct an artificial obstacle prohibiting the ministry of godly women is to limit God and cripple the advance of the kingdom of God. Don’t we need more laborers in the harvest field—not less? Why take away the gospel scythe from godly women? Who would be behind such a theology that would sideline a vast portion of the army of God?  It does not serve the best interest of God to remove women from the harvest field.

The early church had a similar debate about the full inclusion of Gentiles. There were those who were militantly opposed to allowing Gentiles full access to ministry. There was a long and heated debate about the Gentiles. Peter defended the Gentile inclusion based on the word of God and God’s gifts of salvation and Spirit baptism. It would be futile to argue a prohibition of Gentile ministry based on race. Perhaps, Gentiles should only minister to Gentiles. However, do spiritual gifts have racial boundaries? There are no boundaries to God’s gifts. Then why do some scholars create a gender boundary for spiritual gifts to woman? If the Gentiles were cleansed of their sins and filled with the Holy Spirit then God had accepted them to full partnership in the ministry of the gospel. To contest the facts of history and the evidence of divine intervention would be to oppose God himself. Peter reminded the gathered elders,

 

Acts 11:15-17

15 "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" NIV

 

In other words, God saved the Gentiles and filled them with the Holy Spirit in order to use them fully in the work of world evangelism and discipleship. To deny God the right to include whomever he chooses—even Gentiles—is to oppose God. To restrict and prohibit Gentiles full access to spiritual gifts would oppose God and hinder the mandate of world evangelism. Thank God Peter prevailed. Likewise, God has saved women and given them the same Spirit as men in order to include them in the global harvest. Why, then do some scholars continue to oppose God? Are women still unclean? Do they receive the same salvation as men? Are women fully accepted by God? Do they receive the same gifts as men? Do women receive the same Holy Spirit as men? Then why do some scholars maintain a gender distinction? A godly and gifted disciple could lead men to Christ but not a godly and gifted female disciple. God forbid that a godly woman should lead a man to Christ. God is not served by this manmade distinction. We should apply the same principles to women in ministry that Peter applied to the Gentiles. Women are made clean by the shed blood of Jesus. The curse is removed by the resurrection power of Jesus. Women receive the same salvation and the same Holy Spirit as anyone else irrespective of gender. What are we afraid of? The issues are the same. The conclusion should be the same: full inclusion. Let godly women fully serve their Lord.

Acts 11:9-10

9 "The voice spoke from heaven a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' NIV

Acts 11:17

17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"  NIV

Acts 15:8-10

8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. NIV


Acts 15:12-13

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. NIV

 

Knight and others work hard to maintain the ministry distinction between male and female. Women can be saved but they cannot receive the same gifts as men. The female gifts are only for women. Women cannot minister their spiritual gifts to men. However, the male gifts are for both men and women. A woman’s gifts are limited. A man’s gifts are unlimited. A woman’s salvation is limited. It is not the same as a man’s salvation. A woman has an additional flaw resulting from Eve’s deception that is not removed by the blood of Jesus. Supposedly, the primordial flaw prohibits women from full inclusion in Christian ministry. Adam is the head of a fallen race. Eve is the head of a flawed gender.

 

Is Paul mandating the exclusion of women from teaching and ministry if men are involved? Should 1 Timothy 2:11-12 be used ecclesiologically restricting women or as an admonition for married couples? Should 1 Timothy 2:11-12 be interpreted as a prohibition against all women everywhere teaching any man anything? Or should 1 Timothy 2:11-12 be understood as a typical Pauline passage concerning the husband and wife relationship? How can we judge the language properly? The final conclusion is important for the health of the church, the family and women in ministry. What if the evidence undoubtedly supports a marital context for 1 Timothy 2:11-12? If the meaning of gune and aner are restricted in the passage to husband and wife the prohibition against women teaching, supposedly mandated by Paul, no longer applies. A marital context for 1 Timothy 2:11-12 would ruin Knight’s attempt to restrict, limit, confine, obstruct and prohibit the ministry of godly women.
 

THE WORDS
 

Aner (NT: #435 an-ayr'): a man (properly as an individual male):KJV - fellow, husband, man, sir.

 

Anthropos (NT: #444 anth'-ro-pos): man-faced, i.e. a human being: KJV - certain, man.

 

(New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.1994)

 

NT: #435  aneer, andros, ho,

1. with a reference to sex, and so to distinguish a man from a woman

                     a. either as a male: Acts 8:12

                     b. or as a husband: Matt 1:16,a betrothed or future husband: Matt 1:19

2. with a reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy: Matt 14:21

3. universally, any male person, a man Luke 8:41

4. when persons of either sex are included, but named after the more important: Matt 14:35

 

NT: #444 anthroopos, anthroopou, ho

It is used:

1. universally, with reference to the genus or nature, without distinction of sex, a human being, whether male or female: John 16:21 a. with the article, generically, so as to include all human individuals: Matt 4:4 b. so that a man is distinguished from beings of a different race or order

                     a. from animals, plants, etc.: Luke 5:10

                     b. from God, from Christ as divine, and from angels: Matt 10:32

c. with the added notion of weakness, by which man is led into mistake or prompted to sin 1 Cor 3:4

                     d. with the adjunct notion of contempt John 5:12

                     e. with a reference to the twofold nature of man soul and body: Rom 7:22

f. with a reference to the twofold moral condition of man Rom 6:6 g. with a reference to the sex, (contextually) a male: John 7:22 f

2. Indefinitely, without the article a. someone, a (certain) man, b. where what is said holds of every man, Rom 3:28

3. in the plural is sometimes (the) people,

4. It is joined: a. to another substantive -- a quasi-predicate of office, or employment, or characteristic a merchant (-man), Matt 13:45 b. to a gentilic noun Matt 27:32 5. with the article, the particular man under consideration, who he is being plain from the context: Matt 12:13 6. Phrases: 2 Thess 2:3

 

(Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

 

Aner is used individually for man, a specific group of men or husband but is not used of all men universally. Anthropos is used for mankind, human beings and men universally. Aner and anthropos are not synonymous. They are different words that are used in different ways. The difference between the words is substantial and impacts the reading of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Aner is specific, individual and marital. Anthropos is universal.

 

 

ANER (Strong’s # 435) TRANSLATED AS HUSBAND
Matt 1:16

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. NIV

 Matt 1:19

19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. NIV

 
Luke 2:36-37

36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. NIV

 John 4:18

18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true." NIV

 ANER USED TO TRANSLATE A SPECIFIC MAN

Luke 5:12

12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." NIV

Luke 5:18

18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. NIV

Luke 8:27

27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. NIV

Luke 8:41

41 Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come to his house NIV

Acts 5:1

5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. NIV

Acts 8:9

9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. NIV

Acts 8:26

 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, NIV

Acts 9:12

12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight." NIV

Acts 10:22

22 The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say." NIV

 
ANER TRANSLATED AS A SPECIFIC GROUP OF MEN


Matt 12:41

 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. NIV

Matt 14:21

 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. NIV

Acts 5:35

35 Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. NIV

Acts 2:22

22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. NIV

Acts 6:3

3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them NIV

 

ANER AS USED BY PAUL

1 Cor 7:3

3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. NIV

1 Cor 7:14

14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. NIV

 1 Cor 14:33-35

As in all the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. NIV

 
    * Women as used here clearly are in relationship with husbands and not men in general. They are the wives of their husbands.    * Wives should be quiet and submissive learning the new Christian teaching. If they have questions they should ask their own husbands as home.
    * It would be considered a disgrace for a disgraceful woman to disrupt a church service. However, Godly women could pray and prophesy in church as we read in 1Corinithians 11:5; 14:3-5,29,31; Acts 21:9.
    * It was not disgraceful in Corinth for a godly woman to speak prophetically or pray in church.
    * Scripture must be balanced by scripture. Scholars must be balanced by scripture.

 

Eph 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man (anthropos) will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."  32 This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  NIV

 

1 Tim 2:8-15

8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing-if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. NIV

    * Not all women are married. Not all married women have children. If all women everywhere are saved through childbearing then many childless women are automatically excluded from salvation. A virgin cannot be saved. A little girl cannot be saved.
    * It is common sense that this verse is not a universal principle, which governs a woman’s access to salvation.
    * 1 Timothy 2:15 only applies to those specific women who are married with kids.
    * What does childbearing have to do with an ecclesiological principle limiting women in ministry?

 

1 Tim 3:2

 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, NIV

    * Timothy was single. Paul was single. Mark was single.
    * The general principle of the marriage requirement for leadership could be adapted to include single men. The rule was flexible to the will of God.
    * Paul, as a single man, violated his own requirement for leadership.
    * Paul wrote to Timothy, a single man, that overseers should be married while Timothy was the overseer of the church in Ephesus.

 

1 Tim 3:12

12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. NIV

    * Phoebe was a deacon Romans 16:1. I don’t think she was a husband.
    * The general principle of male leadership could include godly women as well.
    * The rule was flexible to the will of God not the letter of the law.
    * There is a bigger Biblical picture than the words in one verse.
    * Scripture must be balanced by scripture.
    * Paul is recording a guiding principle not a law.

 

1 Tim 5:9

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, NIV

Titus 1:6

6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. NIV

Titus 2:3-5

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. NIV


PETER, PAUL AND ANER

 1 Peter 3:1-7

3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. NIV

The comparison between 1 Peter 3:1-7 and 1 Timothy 2:8-15 is striking. The words, the themes and lessons are identical. Peter unmistakably is dealing with the marital relationship. Why then is 1 Timothy 2:11-12 interpreted as a universal injunction against women serving in ministry? Certainly the roles and relationship between husband and wife flow over into church; yet 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is not a teaching restricting godly women from serving Jesus Christ. A godly woman would learn the great doctrines of the Bible quietly. A godly woman would be submissive to her godly husband.

Both Peter and Paul utilize two Old Testament examples of marriages to emphasize marital roles and responsibilities. Adam is married to Eve. Abraham is married to Sarah. Paul directs a woman toward childbearing, which is the fulfillment of the divine prerogative of married fruitfulness. Adam is a married man. Eve is a married woman. A childbearing woman is married. Aner is the Greek word for a married man. Chapter divisions in the Bible are manmade and arbitrary. The end of 1 Timothy 2 flows directly into 1 Timothy 3.The overseer in 1 Timothy 3 should be married/aner. The deacon also should be married/aner. What kind of husbands should they be? The same kind of husband as described in 1 Timothy 2:8. Paul says that men’s/aner hands should be raised holy in prayer without anger and disputing. Anger and disputing are both typical marriage problems. Likewise, Peter says that men/aner can hinder their prayers by lack of respect for their wives. Husbands should not be quarrelsome or violent with their wives or children. Instead, they should be gentle and able to manage the home. These family values spill over into the church but do not in any way restrict women access to spiritual gifts or subject them to an additional and indelible curse.

According to Peter, wives should not try to teach their husbands in word only but in pure and reverent action. Their silence and submissiveness are powerful examples of real faith that can win an unbelieving husband. Many eloquent words and even prophetic authority are not a wife’s most effective tools to reach her husband. Fancy clothes and flashy jewels may catch his eye but a quiet and gentle spirit will catch his heart. How much more will wives honor God by being a quiet learner from a godly husband?

There is no hint of an ecclesiological infrastructure restricting the ministry of godly women mandated by 1 Peter 3:1-7. Why then is 1 Timothy 2:11-12 used as the primary source for creating a church structure that ostracizes women? Both passages are concerned with the husband and wife relationship not church polity.
 
A COMPARISON BETWEEN 1 PETER 3 AND 1 TIMOTHY 2

1 Peter 3:1-7

1 Wives (1135 gunaíkes), in the same way be submissive (5293 hupot- assómenai) to your husbands (435 andrásin) that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet (2272 heesuchíou) spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive (5293 hupotassómenai) to their own husbands (435 andrásin),

6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7 Husbands (andres), in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives (gunaikeíoo), and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers (4335 proseuchás). NIV

1 Tim 2:8-15

11 A woman (1135 guneé) should learn in quietness and full submission

(5292 hupotageé).

12 I do not permit a woman (gunaikí) to teach (didáskein) or to have authority (831 authenteín) over a man (andrós); she must be silent (2271 heesuchía).

9 I also want women (gunaíkas) to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,

10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women (gunaixín) who profess to worship God.

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman (guneé) who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing-if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

8 I want men (ándras) everywhere

to lift up holy hands in prayer (4336 proseúchesthai), without anger or disputing.

ANTHROPOS AND PAUL

1 Cor 7:7

7 I wish that all (pántas) men  (anthroópous) were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. NIV

1 Cor 15:19

19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.  NIV

 

Titus 2:11

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. NIV
Titus 3:1

3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. NIV

James 5:17-18

17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. NIV

 

    * Elijah was an unmarried man.

 

1 Tim 2:1-6

2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all (3956 pántoon) that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men (pántoon, 444 anthroópoon),

2 for kings and all (pántoon) who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all (3956 pásee) godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men (pántas anthroópous) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men (anthroópoon), the Man (ánthroopos) Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all (hupér pántoon), to be testified in due time, NKJV

 

In 1 Timothy 2:1-5 Paul used anthropos 4 times. Paul shifted from the general use of anthropos to the specific use of aner at 1 Timothy 2: 8. Paul intentionally switched his use of Greek words for man from anthropos to aner. Aner is the only Greek word used by Paul for husband. Why did Paul change from the universal man of anthropos to aner the Greek word for husband at verse 8?

 

Paul used the Greek word NT: #444 anthropos 11 times in his short epistle to Timothy. Paul used NT#: 3956 pas, the Greek word for all, any, every, the whole: 23 times in 1 Timothy. He used NT: # 435 aner only five times in 1 Timothy and in three cases aner is translated into English as husband. The context for aner in 1 Timothy is clearly husband and wife. Paul knows that the Greek word anthropos is used universally for all men. Paul was inspired not to use anthropos in 1 Timothy 2:8-12.  Instead, Paul used aner. 1 Timothy 2:8,12 are the only verses that translators chose to use the English word men instead of husband. The translators’ choice of English words does not change the meaning of the original Greek words. Paul knows the Greek word pas for all. He was inspired by God not to use pas/all in 1 Timothy 2:12. He wrote instead, “a woman” and “a man” both singular. Pas/all is never used together with aner in the NT. Paul knows that exousia is the ordinary word Greek word for authority. Paul was inspired not to use exousia. Instead, he chose a word shadowed in negative meanings: authenteo. Paul knows that ekklesia is the Greek word for church. Paul was inspired not to use ekklesia in 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Why then do some commentators add ekklesia to the biblical text?

 

The words that Paul did not use show us that he intended to restrict and limit the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 to a marital context. Paul switched back to the use of anthropos after he finished this section. Paul was not discussing ministry roles for men and women in churches universally. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 do not prohibit a godly woman from teaching a co-ed youth group, children’s church, a For Couples Only or a mixed gender Bible study. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 do not prohibit a godly woman from singing in the choir or calling the congregation to worship. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 do not prohibit a godly woman from prophesying in the church or witnessing or doing missionary work among mixed genders. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 should not be used to determine that a godly, trained, wise and gifted woman cannot lead a mixed gender mission team to bring souls to Christ. 

 

If Paul meant to exclude all women from all teaching and having any or all authority over all men universally in the church he would have used the Greek words pas, anthropos, ekklesia and exousia. However, he didn’t.  If Paul meant to exclude all women from teaching or having any authority he would have written the verses differently. Yet, even though Paul did not use pas, anthropos, ekklesia or exousia some interpreters stretch the meaning of the English translation to read as if he did. Those men opposed to women in ministry believe that 1 Timothy 2:11-12 should be translated this way:

 

I do not permit all women by gender to teach anything or to exercise any authority over all men in all churches universally. After all Eve was deceived.

 

There supposedly remains in all women an additional flaw that cannot be overcome by the redeeming blood of Jesus or the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, we know that Priscilla, Junias, Phoebe, Euodia, Syntyche, Lydia, Mary, Elizabeth, the daughters of Phillip etc., were very good teachers, pastors, witnesses, prophets, apostles, evangelists and servants of Jesus Christ. The words of women are recorded in scripture and become our teachers and the highest authority in the church. All men must bow before the prophetic utterances of Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary’s words are canon of scripture suitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness so that the man of God is completely equipped (2 Tim 3:16-17). Mary’s words are our highest authority. Her words could be read in church to instruct men yet Mary could not speak them herself? Should men turn their backs on Mary simply because she is a woman? How did Luke obtain the gospel information from Mary? Luke was humble enough to learn from Mary. Luke was led by the Holy Spirit to learn from Mary. Luke was inspired by God to include her prophetic words in scripture. All men should learn from Mary. All men should learn from Luke. His masculinity was not threatened by receiving valuable information about Jesus from a woman. I certainly would love to have Mary speak at my church. Like Luke I would be interested in anything Mary would teach about Jesus. If Mary cannot and should not teach men—her words should be remove from the Bible. Apollos learned from Priscilla. All men should be as humble as Apollos to learn from pastor Priscilla as well as from Aquila. Is there any room for Deborah in the church? Scripture must be balanced by scripture. The full testimony of God’s word does not support a universal injunction against godly women serving Jesus according to the will and gifts of God. Where is the balance?

 

THE FIVE USES OF ANER IN 1 TIMOTHY

1 Tim 2:8
 
8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. NIV

1 Tim 2:12

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. NIV

1 Tim 3:2

2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, NIV

1 Tim 3:12

12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. NIV

1 Tim 5:10

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, NIV

 

Good scholars who believe in the plenary verbal inspiration of an inerrant scripture change the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 by forcing common Greek words to have a different meaning. Gune becomes all women everywhere. Aner is defined as anthropos. Aner becomes all men universally. The Greek words all/pas and church/ ekklesia are added to the text.  Authority/authenteo is changed to mean exousia. Instead of this passage speaking to the husband and wife relationship it becomes a universal injunction against all women being used by God to teach in the church. However, Paul did not use the words that would legitimize Knight’s universal restriction of female Christians. Why do good scholars contort a typical biblical teaching about the husband and wife relationship into a major doctrine about church structure, ecclesiology and ministry? The tortured interpretation of Paul’s letter represents an agenda driven by a cultural bias against women. No one is served by this restrictive interpretation. Well, almost no one.

 

Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy in Ephesus about A.D. 63 just a few years after he had written the epistle to the Ephesians. Paul’s admonition to husbands and wives in Ephesians chapter 5 is repeated in abbreviated form in 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Timothy is a pastor. He doesn’t need the expanded version. Paul briefly wrote to Timothy while in Ephesus about the same issues in the same words as in the Ephesian epistle.

 

 

A COMPARISON OF ANER AND GUNE IN PAUL’S EPISTLES

 

Eph 5:22-24

22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. NIV

 

Col 3:18-21

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. NIV

 

Col 3:18       Wives                         NT # 1135 gunaíkes               

                     Submit yourselves      NT # 5293 hupotásses

                     Husbands                     NT # 435 andrásin

 

               

Col 3:19

                     Husbands                      NT # 435 ándres              

                     Love your                     NT # 24 agapáte  

                     Wives                            NT # 1135 gunaíkas

                     Do not be harsh            NT # 3361 meé; 4078 pikraínesthe                                                         

 

Eph 5:21

                     Submitting yourselves   NT# 5293 hupotassómenoi                  

                     One to another               NT# 240 alleélois                

 

Eph 5:22

                     Wives                              NT# 1135 gunaíkes                                           

                     Submit yourselves  9999 (NIG)

                     Unto your own        NT# 2398 idíois                  

                     Husbands                NT# 435 andrásin             

 

Eph 5:23

                     Husband    NT# 435 aneér              

                     The head    NT# 2776 kefaleé            

                     The wife    NT# 1135 gunaikós              

                     Christ         NT# 5547 Christós                               

                     The head    NT# 2276 kefaleé

                     The church NT#  1577 ekkleesías   

 

 

Eph 5:24

                     The  church                 NT# 1577 ekkleesía             

                     Subject                     NT# 5293 hupotássetai         

                     Wives                          NT#1135 gunaíkes

                     Husbands                     NT# 435 andrásin

                     Everything                     NT# 3956 pantí          

 

Eph 5:25

                     Husbands NT# 435 ándres               

                     Love    NT# 25    agapáte

                     Wives  NT# 1135 gunaíkas               

 

1 Tim 2:11

                     Woman     NT# 1135 guneé            

                     Subjection NT#  5293 hupotageé

                     All             NT#   3956 pásee

1 Tim 2:12

                     Woman              NT# 1135 gunaikí 

                     Usurp authority  NT# 831 authenteín                                      

                     Man                   NT# 435 andrós 

                           

 

Titus 2:4

                     Young women          NT# 3501 néas                  

                     Love their husbands NT# 5362  filándrous   

 

Titus 2:5

                     Obedient    NT# 5293 hupotassoménas             

                     Their own  NT# 2398 idíois              

                     Husbands   NT# 435 andrásin

 

 

1 Cor 14:34

                     Women               NT# 1135 gunaíkes

                     Keep silence       NT# 4601 sigátoosan                 

                     Churches             NT# 1577 ekkleesíais              

                     Under obedience NT# 5293 hupotassésthoosan             

1 Cor 14:35

 

                     Home        NT# 3624 oíkoo              

                     Their         NT# 2398 idíous               

                     Husbands  NT# 435 ándras              

                     Women     NT# 1135 gunaikí              

                     Shame       NT# 149   aischrón             

                     Speak        NT# 2980 laleín  

                     Church      NT# 1577 ekkleesía       

 

In Romans, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy and Titus aner is consistently translated as husband or married man. In the Pauline epistles aner is used 62 times and translated in the KJV 32 times as husband. Paul used the word anthropos 139 times in his epistles. Anthropos is never translated as husband. Anthropos is never used to describe the husband and wife relationship. The only word that Paul ever used to describe the husband and wife is aner. It is leap of faith for good scholars to go beyond the clear and common use of inspired words to disfigure a simple teaching about marriage into a universal policy about church structure, spiritual gifts and ministry. In every case when hupotasso, gune and aner are used together by Paul they are always translated as husband and wife with the one exception in 1 Timothy 2:12. No woman is ever called to submit to all men universally. She is to submit to her own husband. The combination of hupotasso, gune and aner are always used by Paul in a marital context. Why should 1 Timothy 2:11-12 be any different? Simply because translators’ were inconsistent in their choice of English word does not change the Greek definitions, context and Paul’s intent.

 

There is no difference in Paul’s use of words and topics in regard to the marital relationship. The only place in Paul’s epistles where aner is translated into English differently is in 1 Timothy 2:8,12. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is consistent with the marital advice he gives everywhere in his epistles. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is a mirror of the marital section elaborated by Peter in 1 Peter 3. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is a succinct reminder of the larger marital discussion already recorded in Ephesians 5: 21-28. Why should 1 Timothy 2:8-15 be interpreted so radically different than every other similar Pauline passage? Any fair minded person should be convinced by the mountain of unequivocal data that clearly shows the marital context of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Knight’s prohibition, limitation and restriction of godly women from 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is not based on careful exegesis but on ex cathedra.

 

Paul issued no restriction on godly women teaching or having ordinary authority in Thessalonica, Galatia, Philippi, Rome, Corinth or Crete. His epistle to the Ephesians has no mandate limiting the ministry of women. If the muzzling of women was so important to the global Christian movement, why didn’t Paul stress the issue in every letter? Only later in Ephesus, when Paul wrote to Timothy, does there appear to be some restriction placed on some women. 1 Timothy 2:12 is understood by many to mean that women by gender are not to teach or lead men. Why didn’t Paul limit the ministry of women in his first letter to the Ephesians? Why only now in A.D. 63 and only in Ephesus and only in one verse does Paul proclaim the so-called universal principle limiting ministry opportunities for women? If Paul was so adamant about restricting women—why not teach it in every Epistle? Why praise Priscilla and Junias, Euodia and Syntyche as fellow workers in the gospel?

Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus about the same time. Yet in Titus 2:3-4 godly women are mandated to teach proper biblical doctrine to younger women. However, there is no contradiction between 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and Titus 2:3-4—if 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is dealing with marital roles. It is the marital role that Paul discussed in Titus 2:3-4. Jesus taught women. Now women are called to take the place of Jesus and instruct others. The teaching of women was an all male position. This male position is given to good women.

 

If women are allowed to teach anything to anybody it is a modification of the ironclad prohibition issued in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.  The modification that allows women to teach women shows that the supposed command in Ephesus was situational or specific to the circumstances in that city. As soon as one other verse is interjected into the debate and any modification of the so-called universal prohibition is made; 1Timothy 2:11-12 is no longer a universal ecclesiological principle. There are many other inspired texts that could further modify 1 Timothy 2:11-12. However, 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is a universal marital principle that does not limit or restrict godly submitted women from using their spiritual gifts from advancing the kingdom of God.

 

A variant and disputed interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 based only on the English words should not be used to override everything the Bibles teaches about the changes made in church structure by Pentecost; the radical inclusion of women by Jesus; gender free access to all spiritual gifts; the removal of the curse in Christ and the redeemed position of women as sons of God. We need every laborer in the harvest field. Even God can use a woman to advance his kingdom. Christian men should equip godly women to serve and not stand in their way and block their efforts to serve the One who bought them with his own blood.

 

Matt 23:13

13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” NIV


Open the way for godly women to serve God with their gifts. Let then enter fully into the kingdom of God. There is no curse on the female gender.  Women chosen by God have the same salvation and the same Holy Spirit as the apostles. Some scholars still oppose God.

 

Acts 11:17

17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"  NIV