1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

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Homer
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Homer » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:06 pm

Danny,

Considering "Junia - the First Woman Apostle", pages 34-35, I am surprised to find that someone found enough information to write even 10 pages about him/her. Apparently the only solid information we have is:

Romans 16:7 (New King James Version)
7. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.


Apparently we have no other data than this that is not much later and disputed, and even some of this statement of Paul is disputed as to what he meant.

If we admit your contention that Paul referred to her as an apostle, that still is of little help to your cause. Look at the definition of apostle:

Strong's Number: 652 a)po/stolov
Original Word Word Origin
a)po/stolov from (649)
Transliterated Word Phonetic Spelling
Apostolos ap-os'-tol-os
Parts of Speech TDNT
Noun Masculine 1:407,67
Definition
a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders
specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ
in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers
of Barnabas
of Timothy and Silvanus

We see it is a masculine noun. What does this mean? Probably nothing, as a mixed group may be referred to with a masculine noun.

Was he/she a person with authority or a delegate delivering a message?

If Junia/Junias was a woman, did she speak authoritatively to women only (as in a women's ministry) or to men and women?

Was he/she an apostle in the general sense or narrow sense as Paul and the twelve were? As Steve mentioned Jesus never thought to include women in the twelve plus Paul, and they were all witnesses of the resurrection. If you maintain that there are/were apostles of the order of the twelve and Paul, you have a bigger problem than women pastors (think Pope).

How could you do any more than speculate on the above questions? I suspect the practice of women in roles of authority came before the justification of it, as it did with infant baptism.

Blessings, Homer

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Danny
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Danny » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:40 pm

I was thinking last night about how much I've enjoyed this discussion so far. I truly appreciate the feedback and criticism. As one who aspires to become a better writer and theologian, it is helping me tremendously. This particular topic is one that can generate a lot of passion and I knew when I posted the essay that I would get some heat for it. I just want to say thanks to Steve, Apollos and Homer for the discussion so far.

I am trying to find time to complete the second part of my response to the objections raised so far, as well as to some additional points raised by Steve and Apollos.

In the meantime...

Hi Homer,

You wrote:
Considering "Junia - the First Woman Apostle", pages 34-35, I am surprised to find that someone found enough information to write even 10 pages about him/her. Apparently the only solid information we have is:

Romans 16:7 (New King James Version)
7. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Apparently we have no other data than this that is not much later and disputed, and even some of this statement of Paul is disputed as to what he meant.
Perhaps you should get a copy of "Junia - the First Woman Apostle" to see how Epp managed to write 160 pages about her. It is an extemely dense, well researched and scholarly work (Epp is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Literature at Case Western Reserve University and former President of the Society of Biblical Literature).

It seems like a silly line of argument you are taking. Couldn't you say of Jesus that the "only solid information" we have is in the four Gospels and bits & pieces from the epistles? Yet how many millions (billions?) of pages have been written about Him? Or how about Paul? I have at least five books entirely about Paul on my bookshelf--far more pages in total than the entire New Testament. What "solid information" do we have about Timothy or Titus or Luke or Peter or Jude, et al, compared to what's been subsequenty speculated and researched and written about them?

Though the information we have specifically about the person Junia is limited to Romans 16:7, we have a great deal of information relating to Junia. We know, for example, that:

1. Junia was not an uncommon female name in the 1st century Roman Empire. Here's yet another example I recently stumbled upon: A work by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 BC – ca. 54 BC) entitled "The Wedding of Junia Aurunculeia and Manlius Torquatus": http://ablemedia.com/ctcweb/consortium/ ... ngs14.html

2. There is no record from that time period--not a single shred of evidence--that the male name Junias ever existed.

3. When Greek copyists began using accents, they used feminine accents in Junia's name.

4. Early church theologians such as Origen, Chrysostom, Ambrose and Jerome understood Junia to be a woman (the exception being Epiphanius who also thought Prisca was a man).

5. The phrase episemoi en tois apostolois which Paul applied to Junia (and Andronicus) has been understood by native Greek speakers of antiquity as well as modern scholars fluent in Greek to mean that she (and he) were considered by Paul to be apostles, and esteemed apostles at that.

If we admit your contention that Paul referred to her as an apostle, that still is of little help to your cause. Look at the definition of apostle:

Strong's Number: 652 a)po/stolov
Original Word Word Origin
a)po/stolov from (649)
Transliterated Word Phonetic Spelling
Apostolos ap-os'-tol-os
Parts of Speech TDNT
Noun Masculine 1:407,67
Definition
a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders
specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ
in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers
of Barnabas
of Timothy and Silvanus

We see it is a masculine noun. What does this mean? Probably nothing, as a mixed group may be referred to with a masculine noun.

Was he/she a person with authority or a delegate delivering a message?

If Junia/Junias was a woman, did she speak authoritatively to women only (as in a women's ministry) or to men and women?

Was he/she an apostle in the general sense or narrow sense as Paul and the twelve were?
Ah, there it is. The third argument that I mentioned previously. It was bound to eventually come up.

Since, as you say, the only "solid information" we have about Junia is what Paul said, why don't we look at what Paul said about apostles elsewhere? 1 Corinthians 15:5-9 is a good place to start:

"...and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

Paul lists a group called "all the apostles" which is distinct from the Twelve but which received a visitation and commission from the risen Lord. After Cephas (Peter) and the rest of the Twelve, Paul lists James (see also Gal 1:19), then "all of the apostles", then lastly, himself--all of whom received such a visitation and call. Obviously Paul is not speaking about a low-level group of ad hoc message couriers here. He equates this group "all the apostles" with the Lord's brother and with himself. No, strike that, he actually puts himself as least among them and not fit for the title. It appears that Paul did not call someone (even himself) an apostle lightly.

Let's look at 1 Corinthians 12:28-29: Whether one assumes that Paul's list is hierarchical or chronological, he still puts apostles first: "And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?"

In 1 Corinthians 9:1,2, Paul again demonstrates the importance he attaches to the word apostle: "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord."

In 2 Corinthians 12:12, Paul defends his ministry by saying, "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles." Hmmm, he seems to be setting the bar pretty high. Especially if he considers himself the least of the apostles.

Then, of course, at the beginning of Romans--the same letter where Paul commends Andronicus and Junia--he writes, "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God..." (1:1) Paul seems to equate the calling as an apostle with being set apart for the gospel of God.

Given the lofty and rarified way in which Paul speaks of apostles, it would seem quite incongruous that he applied the title to Andronicus and Junia in order to designate them as mere delivery people.

It seems to me that, given Paul’s description of his own apostolic ministry in his letters, Junia and Andronicus were people of considerable authority in the early Christian community. They were probably missonaries and founders of churches, and their apostleship had begun with a visitation by the risen Lord and the charge to become apostles of Christ. That the Greek Orthodox church refers to Andronicus as "Andronicus of the Seventy" would indicate that the couple (I think it's safe to assume they were husband and wife) were among Jesus' early followers.

One other point: If a group that is in power wants to squelch a dissenting minority group, they will naturally try to silence its leaders. Thus the Jewish authorities arrested and tried to intimidate Peter and John, and had Stephen stoned to death and had James executed. According to Acts 9:1-2, the high priest gave Saul of Tarsus letters to the synagogues in Damascus so that he could arrest followers of the Jesus, both men or women (the text is explicit about both genders) and bring them back to Jerusalem. Was Saul sent to arrest both men and women because both men and women were leaders of the Damascan church?

Back to Junia and Andronicus: in Romans 16:7 Paul points out that both had been in prison with him. Is it not quite possible that Andronicus and Junia had been in prison with Paul because they had been doing apostolic work and had been recognized (like Paul) as leaders and, therefore, were considered a threat by those in power?
As Steve mentioned Jesus never thought to include women in the twelve plus Paul, and they were all witnesses of the resurrection. If you maintain that there are/were apostles of the order of the twelve and Paul, you have a bigger problem than women pastors (think Pope).
We don't know what Jesus did and didn't think to do. I suspect that Jesus chose Jewish males for the Twelve in part to fulfill Jewish typology (Twelve tribes/patriarchs and all that) and in part in order to not unnecessarily alienate the culture He was trying to reach out to (and no, I don't think that means He was intimidated--just smart) and, perhaps, to protect the women (since in that culture, as single women, they might have been labeled as whores for traveling around for three years in the company of a group of men). As I said, I don't know. What I do know is that just because Jesus designated twelve Jews as His original apostles, that didn't mean that only Jews could be apostles thereafter. Why should we think any differently in regards to women? I'm not aware of anything Jesus said or did that excluded women--quite the contrary in fact (think about the woman at the well or who the very first people were to encounter and proclaim the risen Christ).
How could you do any more than speculate on the above questions? I suspect the practice of women in roles of authority came before the justification of it, as it did with infant baptism.
You just asked how I could do any more than speculate, then in the very next sentance you speculated! Just about everything we do on this forum is speculation (after all, according to Webster, to speculate is "to meditate on or ponder a subject : reflect : to review something idly or casually and often inconclusively). We're dealing with people, events and writings that are nearly 2,000 years old; in an entirely different language (which most of us don't understand); from an entirely different culture (which we barely understand); with socio-economic-religious-political dynamics that we're largely ignorant of. I think it might have been N.T. Wright who once said something like, "I know enough to know that there are things I'm probably wrong about. The problem is, I don't know which things they are."

At the end of the day, we apply our God-given intellect, we pray for wisdom and guidance, we learn from one-another and from those who have dedicated years to study, and we hope we're getting it right a fair percentage of the time. And, most important of all, we hopefully allow His love to expand our hearts, we bear fruit of the Spirit, we follow Him faithfully, we act justly, love mercy, walk humbly and we love others. And we speculate.

So, to summarize regarding Junia:

1. Was Junia a woman? The evidence would indicate "yes".
2. Did Paul consider Junia (and Andronicus) to be an apostle? The evidence would indicate "yes".
3. Did Paul mean by "apostle" a position of leadership and authority ascribed to one who had been commissioned by the risen Lord? The evidence would indicate "yes".
My blog: http://dannycoleman.blogspot.com

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.”
-- William Blake

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Danny
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Danny » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:22 pm

This is the continuation of my response to Steve's initial reply to my essay. As time permits I will also respond to subsequent posts by Apollos and Steve.

Steve wrote:
Those of us (you and me, at least) who do not identify the institutional church with the real thing should know better than to buy into the carnal notion (held by institutionalists) that church leadership is a “privileged role,” and that those restricted from it are being somehow “held down.” The church began thinking this way after it began to mimic the pagan institutions (Matt.20:25). Before that, being a church leader usually meant becoming a lion’s lunch. Your feminist writers are institutional church people. If they are not allowed to become “professional pastors,” they feel that men are hoarding all the “status” and “privilege,” and locking the women out. Good heavens! I would be horrified to be a part of a church where being “the pastor” was viewed as a profession and as a status symbol! Those demanding equality of "rank" have two problems: first, they mistake leadership for rank; and second, they have not the mind of Christ, who did not count equality a thing to be grasped.
I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Are you saying that if I'm not part of the "institutional church" I shouldn't worry about it? Are you saying that all "institutional" churches view leadership as a "privileged role"? Are you saying that all "feminist writers" are "institutional church" people? You seem to be making some pretty broad generalizations here!

Many non-institutional churches, such as house-church networks, also prohibit (or limit) women from teaching, participating in decision-making or other leadership roles. I would venture (though correct me if I'm wrong) that if you oversaw a house-church or group of house-churches you would have restrictions on women as well, based on your understanding of scripture.
Danny wrote: We live in a day and age where women are police officers and pilots and neurosurgeons and CEOs and leaders of nations, yet within the walls of many churches, they are still told they must be submissive followers of men.

Steve replied: We live in a society where good is called evil and evil is called good. It is a society that has rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them? The proper relationships of husbands to wives, of children to parents, of church leaders to saints, of man-to-man and woman-to-man, have all been lost to our culture. The institutional churches are following hard after the world in this respect, hoping to totally release their grasp on the distinctive truths that the Bible affirms in plain language, but which our society despises. There are not many steps downward from where our society now stands. I do not see any reason to allow the norms of such a society to move us away from clear biblical standards of right and wrong. The church is supposed to differ from the world in at least one important feature—obedience to God.
Again, I'm not sure what you're getting at here. My statement was about equal opportunities for women in the workplace and how women have proven to be competant in a multitude of careers that were once primarily the domain of men. You responded by talking about "evil" and "sin" and rejection of "the word of the Lord" and moving away from "clear biblical standards". Are you opposed to women in the workplace?

Every society is a society where good is called evil and evil is called good. As far as there not being "many steps downward from where our society now stands", do you think our society was better as a whole when it oppressed blacks with Jim Crow laws? Or was our society better during those hundreds of years when it enslaved millions? When we dropped atomic bombs on two civilian targets in Japan, or intentionally carpet bombed cities in Germany, was that our "Christian" society at a higher point?

Personally, I can't think of a time I'd rather be alive and participating in the expansion of the Kingdom!

Regarding 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Steve wrote:
It is good to have thorough knowledge of historical backgrounds and cultural pressures under which the original readers lived. Since the ancient societies were not monolithic any more than are modern societies, one can easily identify any number of independent movements, philosophies and subcultures in a given region at a given time. When someone is looking to prove a certain thesis by appeal to a particular scriptural passage, there are many items in the historical background from which he/she can pick and choose to make a novel interpretation appear to be tailor-made to fit the circumstances. I appreciate your honesty in using the phrase, "One can only imagine..."

I am not suggesting that the presence of the Cybele/Artemis cult (a mystery religion) and of Gnosticism (an entirely different philosophical system) had no impact on the Christian church, nor would I deny that some of their beliefs may have concerned Paul in writing to Timothy. However, there were many other religious factors in the culture that were also disagreeable with Christianity—e.g. statism, Judaic legalism, Christian heresies (teaching that the resurrection was past), etc., whose influence might as easily (and as arbitrarily) be invoked,...


I think you're disproportionately understating the importance of the cult of Artemis and Jewish Gnosticism to that particular locality at that particular time in history. Imagine if, many years from now, a letter was discovered which was written in 2009 from a missionary who had previously been stationed in Saudi Arabia to a younger missionary who had recently arrived in Saudi Arabia. The letter provided practical advice and encouragement. Do you suppose that the religious and cultural climate of Saudi Arabia circa 2009--particulary as it relates to Islam--would have a bearing on what the older missionary was saying to the younger missionary? Or would you think that to seriously consider the effects of the Islamic culture in Saudi Arabia circa 2009 on the content of said document would be to make an "arbitrary" invocation?
...if our agenda was to prove some alternative thesis, which required such an appeal. It is mostly speculative, in a passage that makes no direct allusion to any particular cultural factor, to suggest that Paul’s instructions should not be taken at face value, but should be informed and restricted in meaning by some cultural factor of our choosing. This is particularly unnecessary when Paul’s own reasons for giving his instructions are stated within the passage itself.
You seem to be assuming that I first chose to have an egalatarian stance, then arbitrarily sought out a "cultural factor" that would support my stance. This is not the case. Rather, it was by educating myself about the "cultural factors" in Ephesus (as well as Corinth, Rome, Judea, etc.) that I began to realize the degree of prominance such "factors" as the cult of Cybele/Artemis and Gnosticism had in that time at that place. Based on this information (not a pre-determined agenda, as you suggest), I began to have a greater understanding of 1 Timothy then I previously had had.

1 Timothy 2:11-15 does not exist in a vacuum. It is a piece of a whole. It is clear throughout the epistle that Paul has the "cultural factors" of Ephesus in mind.
Danny wrote: Next Paul writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man…” The word Paul used here, which is translated “have authority over” is authentein. It is not the word normally used for authority in the New Testament…]Authentein is a compound word made from the Greek word auto, meaning “self” and hentos, meaning “thrust”. Literally, it means “to thrust oneself forward”.

Steve replied: I am hearing Catherine Kroeger here. In 1979, she theorized that authentein was an erotic term which meant “to thrust oneself.” Three years later, Carroll Osburn demonstrated that Kroeger’s claim was “more curious than substantive.” Then, in 1992, Kroeger and her husband Richard published an acknowledgement that this word has “a wide range of meanings,” including “(1) to begin something, to be responsible for a condition or action, (2) to rule, to dominate, (3) to usurp power or rights from another, (4) to claim ownership, sovereignty, or authorship.”
I didn't say anything about authentein being an erotic term. I would agree with Osburn that Kroeger's claim in this regard is not substantive. This is why, a few sentences later I used the example of "thrusting the dagger". Are you disagreeing with the etymology being based on the words auto and hentos? My primary source on that was the 2nd century Greek etymologist Phrynichus. Do you have an alternate etymology to offer?

I'm quite sure I covered the various meanings of authentein in its verb and noun forms. In fact, this was the essence of my point: That authentein was a word that carried rich overtones ("a wide range", as you say) of meaning.
There has been much scholarly interest in authentein, since it is a hapax legomena (a term meaning “a word found only once in scripture”). In the extra-biblical literature, a large number of meanings have been attested. Rather than trusting the claims of one scholar, who has proved herself by her intellectual dishonesty to be a mere ideologue, one can consult the full range of lexical studies on this word (there is no general agreement as to its primary meaning). Here are some of the ways that various respected lexicographers have rendered its meaning:

Sophocles: 1. To be in power, to have authority over 2. To be the originator of anything 3. to compel 4. mid: to be in force.

Preisigke: 1. beherrschen (= to rule, control, dominate) 2. Verfügungsberechtigt sein (= to have legitimate authority to dispose of something) 3. Herr sein, fest auftreten (= to be master, to act confidently )

Lampe: 1. hold sovereign authority, act with authority 2.possess authority over 3. Assume authority, act on one’s own authority 4. Be primarily responsible for, instigate, authorize.

Moulton and Milligan: 1. From the word “master, autocrat.’

LSJ: 1. to have full power or authority over 2. To commit murder.

Mayser: 1. Herr sein, fest auftreten (= to be master, to act confidently)

BAGD: 1. have authority over, domineer

Louw and Nida: 1. To control in a domineering manner—‘to control, to domineer.’

DGE: 1. tener autoridad sobre andros [como algo prohibido a la mujer] (= to have authority over a male [as something prohibited to a woman])
First off, I take exception to your charge that I was "trusting the claims of one scholar". Perhaps making a false inference like that is an acceptable tactic in a debating situation, but I don't find it honorable. I would have expected a higher standard here on these forums.

I used some (though not all) of the same resources you have listed, and others you have not. I see the same patterns in the examples you have provided as I encountered in my own research: Domineer. Control. Commit murder. Be primarily responsible for or originator of something. As Kostenberger wrote, "...consensus on the meaning of the rare word authentein has proved elusive." And as you yourself admitted "...there is no general agreement as to its primary meaning." This is why I dealt in my essay with possibilities.
After surveying 82 occurrences of authentein in the available literature of the period, H. Scott Baldwin concludes that, among the twelve possible meanings attested in that sample, only four could possibly fit the grammar and context of 1 Timothy 2:12. Those would be:

1) To control, to dominate
2) To compel, to influence
3) To assume authority over
4) To flout the authority of

It seems from this information that there can be no compelling reason to object to the rendering of the standard translations— “have authority over” ( NKJV, RSV, NIV) or to “exercise authority” (NASB, ESV).
So, now who is "trusting the claims of one scholar"? I am familiar with Baldwin's study in the appendix of Grudem's book. It was not, however, the final word on the matter. The core meaning of authentein is clearly "to dominate" but, again, I would posit that it carried overtones of the other definitions which you provided earlier (from multiple sources). Thus (as I mentioned in the essay) Jerome translated authentein into Latin as dominare (dominate) in the Vulgate (Jerome also used “dominari” in his translation of Luke 22:25, where Jesus instructs his disciples that they are not to do this).

Even if we were to go with the watered down "exercise authority" translation, the emphasis is on action rather than position. There is a world of difference however, between "exercise authority" (or "have authority") and "dominate". If Paul had intended the former, he simply could have used exousiazein or, for that matter, proistemi. Paul is clearly intending something stronger than that. As John Jefferson Davis (Professer of Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell) noted of authentein, "It is clear...that a neutral meaning such as 'have authority' is not in view."
Danny wrote: In the oldest examples we have, the word was used to describe someone who committed murder or suicide by planning the action and then carrying it out with their own hand (thrusting the dagger forward themselves). The word came to be used to describe the mastermind of a diabolical scheme to overcome and murder someone. It was not just the action itself, but the authoring of the plan also.

Steve replied: The parts of this that are not demonstrably incorrect are mere speculation. There is one known instance of the word meaning “to murder,” but it is found only in a document from the tenth century AD. There is no evidence that the word had any such connotations in or near New Testament times.
"In the earlier usage of the word it signified one who with his own hand killed either others or himself. Later it came to denote one who acts on his own authority; hence to exercise authority, dominion." - W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (1940)

I assume the disconnect here (and I take responsibility for it due to my poor wording) is that I was referring to authentein in its verb and noun forms (authentein/authentes/authenteo), whereas I assume you are strictly referring to the verb authentein. I'm sure you would agree that my statement is neither incorrect nor speculative if one includes all forms. For example, Wolters in his study of authentes found 24 instances of the word in the 5th and 4th centures BC to mean “murderer” and 16 additional instances between the 4th century BC and the 2nd century AD. L.E. Wilshire, who isolated 314 references to authentein/authentes/authenteo going back to the 7th century BC, described the evolution of the word's meaning this way: "Sometime during the spread of koine [300 BC - 100 AD], the word authenteo went beyond the predominant Attic meaning connecting it with murder and suicide and into the broader concept of criminal behavior. It also began to take on the additional meaning of 'to exercise authority/power/rights' which became firmly established in the Greek Patristic writers [100 AD - 450 AD] to mean 'to exercise authority'".

Wilshire, by the way, came to the conclusion that the most likely sense of authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12 had to do with "instigating violence."

Even if we stick strictly with the verb form, Belleville has pointed out the following five examples which predate or are contemporaneous with Paul.

1) The Scholia (5th century BC) to Aeschylus’s tragedy Eumenides: “commit acts of violence”
2) Aristonicus (1st century BC), “the author“ (of a message)
3) A letter of Tryphon (1st century BC), “I had my way with him”
4) Philodemus (1st century BC), “powerful lords” (or "tyrants")
5) The poet Dorotheus (1st or 2nd century AD) in an astrological text, “Saturn … dominates Mercury”.

My statement was neither "demonstrably incorrect" nor "mere speculation."
Danny wrote: So what is Paul really saying here? Here are two possibilities: ...

Steve replied: I accept your suggestions as genuine possibilities. However, in understanding the mind of the apostle on a subject of such vital interest to such a large number of believers, we need to beware of settling for “possible” meanings (of which there are myriad) and neglecting the “probable” ones.
Ok, I was trying not to be dogmatic. But, let me re-phrase. Here is the probable meaning:
1. “I do not permit a woman to teach nor utterly dominate a man…” This is pretty much how the verse was translated in the Latin Vulgate up through the King James Version – a period covering about 1200 years. If we think back about Ephesus and its Amazons, Cybele, Artemis, Diana, castrated priests and powerful priestesses worshiping the mother goddess, suddenly Paul’s use of the word makes a lot of sense.
The verse is intelligible without invoking reference to these local religious beliefs. I don’t think that appeal to such things causes Paul’s statement to “suddenly” make sense, as if it previously did not. I think the only thing that these considerations “suddenly” do to Paul’s words is to raise doubts about their relevance outside of first-century Ephesus. This is the intention of the egalitarians, who have come up with this (and several other, competing scenarios) to neutralize the impact of Paul’s teachings for modern Christians.
You have misstated my words. I'm surprised and disappointed to find you stooping to such tactics. It betrays a lack of objectivity on your part. I did not claim that Paul's statement is unintelligible without invoking references to local religious beliefs. Nor did I say Paul's statement makes no sense. What I said is "...suddenly, Paul's use of the word makes a lot of sense." (The underlined bits are the parts you left out).

You seem to be downplaying the value that historical and cultural context has in understanding scripture. If that is your position, then we work from very different hermeneutical frameworks and it's no surprise we come to different conclusions. I made my hermeneutical methodology clear in the essay when I wrote, "One of the most important lessons I ever learned about studying scripture is to ask this question: 'What did it mean to the original hearers?' That simple question opens up a world of discovery." This methodology has nothing to do with egalitarianism. I believe that endeavoring to understand the historical and cultural context of scripture is foundational. Once we have an idea of what a given text meant to the author and to the original hearers within their original context, we can then extrapolate how it applies within our context. Otherwise, if we untether the scriptures from their historic-cultural context, we become prone to all kinds of goofy interpretations (like those who try to interpret Revelation "literally" without any awareness of the Jewish Apocalyptic literary genre). At that point, we might as well claim that the Bible fell intact from the sky.
Danny wrote: It is interesting to note that a couple of sentences later, in verse 15, Paul says “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” Here Paul is directly addressing the custom of pregnant women appealing to Artemis to save them during childbirth.

Steve replied: On this view, there could be such an allusion. There is nothing that compels the paradigm, however. Historically, Bible commentators have seen these words as an allusion to the “pain in childbearing” that woman incurred through her involvement in the fall (an event prominently featured in Paul’s immediate context).
Actually, there has been quite a bit of theological debate over the last 2,000 years as to what Paul was getting at here. Most decent commentaries will point out the competing interpretations that have been put forth. I believe that the interpretation I've presented is the simplest, most obvious and most natural if one takes the historical and cultural context into consideration.
Danny wrote: 2. “I do not permit a woman to teach nor claim to be the author of man…” This interpretation directly addresses the Gnostic teachings about Eve being the one who gave life to Adam and received saving knowledge from the serpent. This would explain why, in verse 13, Paul says “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Paul is directly contradicting Gnostic teaching, which he rails against throughout the letter to Timothy.

Steve replied: What is evident about these two possibilities (and becomes even more evident when additional possible scenarios are introduced) is that no one of them can make a strong claim to being the correct one. In other words, if Suggested Meaning #1 is correct then Suggested Meaning #2 is not, and vice versa. I know you raised the possibility that Paul may have ingeniously intended both meanings, but this is an unlikely suggestion, and only serves to obscure the fact that the existence of two alternatives strips both of them of any reason to be particularly trusted as unchallenged truth.
This indicates to me that you missed the entire point of what I was trying to put forth. I'll blame it on my writing skills. Meaning #1 and Meaning #2 are not mutually exclusive. It's not "either/or", it's "both/and". It may be your opinion that this is an unlikely suggestion, but your opinion seems to be based on an a priori rejection of anything that might lend creedance to a more "egalatarian" view.
This illustrates well my earlier point about the selective (and opportunistic) use by some scholars of “historical backgrounds” in establishing the author’s meaning. The two suggestions each select a different cultural factor, and each uses its selected factor of choice to put its own unique spin on the passage. The really significant context of Paul’s instructions in any given passage—more than one or another aspect of the historical setting—is the whole corpus of Paul’s writings on a subject addressed in many settings.


Again, you're arguing "either/or" when the solution is "both/and". You bring up the "whole corpus of Paul's writing" yet seem to be one of the few serious Bible students I've encountered who is unaware of difficulties in reconciling the Pauline corpus as it relates to women in the church. What "historical backgrounds" and "cultural factors" would you consider of value? Those that don't challenge your current position?
That Paul regarded the issue of male headship to be a divine institution is, frankly, indisputable (1 Cor.11:3/ Eph.5:22-23)—and the egalitarians' attempts to re-translate "head" (kephale) as "source" is an example of how far into blatant dishonesty an ideologue may go when the agenda is all that matters (see Grudem's excellent appendix on the subject of kephale, in "Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)! Neither Jesus nor Paul (both of whom esteemed women very highly) ever were known to appoint or acknowledge any women as primary leaders in the congregations. Add to these considerations the reasons Paul gives for his instructions in 1 Timothy 2:12ff, and you have a pretty good reason to stick with the most obvious and plain meaning of his words—at least until compelling evidence arises to favor some alternative.
I see that you are trying to preemptively "head" off any discussion of kephale. I won't go there, purely for the sake of brevity, other than to say this: Of course kephale means "head". That isn't the question. The question is, what does "head" mean besides a physical head. What are the acceptable metaphors? Was "head" (kephale) used in ancient Greco-Roman culture as a metaphor in the same ways that we use it now? Did it denote a "position over" someone/something? Did it denote the "source" of someone/something? This has long been a matter of serious but cordial debate among serious scholars. That you would characterize fellow Christians and Bible scholars who disagree with you as "ideologues" who commit "blatant dishonesty" and to whom "the agenda is all that matters" is very disturbing. Rhetoric like that is typically used by those who want to prevent honest dialog and examination. It seems a long way from the calm and even-handed voice that so impressed me when I first read the Introductory chapter in Revelation: Four Views.

Danny wrote: All the evidence put together strongly suggests that Paul’s statement to Timothy about women was very specific to the situation in Ephesus.

Steve replied: In fact, almost all of Paul’s instructions to any churches were addressing specific situations or problems in their churches. This realization must never be permitted to obscure the fact that all of Paul’s instructions were, in those situations, simply the local and particular applications of larger principles of the kingdom of God that informed his theology. Since Paul speaks about women in numerous places and contexts—sometimes as virgin daughters, sometimes as wives, sometimes with reference to their roles in the community or in the church—we have more than adequate opportunity to discover his overall beliefs about male and female functions and relations. To take 1 Timothy in a traditional manner is consistent with Paul’s general teaching and behavior concerning women, and it is consistent with the attitudes and behavior of Christ as well.
So now you are saying that "historical backgrounds" and "cultural context" matter? Hmmm, but I thought a minute ago...

Of course Paul's instructions were local and particular applications of larger principles. Who has said any different? The point of disagreement lies in determining what those larger principles are. I believe Paul is consistent with a larger Kingdom principle that bends towards restoration of equality and justice and is consistent with the words and actions of Jesus.
Danny wrote: There are several difficulties with [1 Corinthians 14:34-37]. The first is the previously mentioned contradiction between this statement and Paul’s other statements and praxis. ... The second has to do with the placement of this statement in the discourse. Some scholars posit that it was cut and pasted in awkwardly from another letter by Paul.

Steve replied: This difficulty has been acknowledged by traditional scholars as well as egalitarians. However, it is a problem of structure rather than of content, and need not detain us long in our consideration of Paul’s overarching theology of women’s function in relation to men in the church.
Yes, structure. That is what I meant by "placement". But to say it "need not detain us long in our consideration of Paul’s overarching theology of women’s function in relation to men in the church." sounds as if you are trying to avoid something. There is a legitimate difficulty in the text and it has something to tell us. I don't think we should be quite so cavalier about brushing it aside if it is not useful to the interpretation we've decided upon.
Danny wrote: There is a solution to these difficulties which causes this portion of scripture to flow very naturally and eliminates the apparent contradiction: What if verses 33 and 34 are a quote from the Corinthian’s letter and verse 36 onward is Paul’s response?

It would read like this:

Quote from Corinthian’s letter: “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 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.”

Paul’s response: Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Someone in a Corinthian house-church has laid down a rule that women must remain silent. They have invoked the Old Testament Law to back it up (which is a clue that maybe the person is a Judaizer).

Steve replied: I have never found this line of reasoning to be very convincing. The problem is that it requires us to view an entire paragraph as Paul’s summary of the position of an objector. It is reasonably uncontroversial to observe that Paul sometimes does quote the objections of others, and then answers them. However, in every other case, the quoted line is very brief, never more than a sentence, and usually only a few words. This would be a unique case if Paul were here to rattle-off three consecutive, lengthy sentences as representative of the view of an objector, without providing a clue that he is doing so—that is, without including some indicator like “Someone will say…” (1 Cor.15:35) or “some affirm…” (Rom.3:8). To me, it is counterintuitive.
You seem to be saying that Paul didn't use lengthy quotes because Paul didn't use lengthy quotes. The reasoning of your objection seems circular.

Also, you didn't engage the point about the appeal to "the Law". There is no such command in the Torah. Whoever made this statement is most likely referencing the oral law. As Gordon Fee writes:
"Real problems for Pauline authorship lie with the phrase 'even as the Law says.' First, when Paul elsewhere appeals to "the Law," he always cites the text (e.g., 9:8; 14:21), usually to support a point he himself is making. Nowhere else does he appeal to the Law in this absolute way as binding on Christian behavior. More difficult yet is the fact that the Law does not say any such thing. Gen. 3:16 is often appealed to, but that text does not say what is here argued. If that were the case, then one must admit that Paul is appealing not to the written Torah itself but to an oral understanding of Torah such as is found in rabbinic Judaism. A similar usage is reflected in Josephus, who says, "The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her accordingly be submissive." This usage suggests that the provenance of the glossator was Jewish Christianity. Under any view this is difficult to reconcile with Paul.

The author of this piece seems intent on keeping women from joining in the vocal worship of the churches. The rule he wishes to apply he sees as universal and supported by the Law. It is difficult to fit this into any kind of Pauline context."

"Commentary on The First Epistle to the Corinthians"
Yet your view is:
If Paul was simply trying to restore order in a tumultuous Christian assembly, there would be nothing in taking these instructions at face value...
The only explanation I can fathom for not seeing contradictions or difficulties is a refusal to look at them.
Those of us who have made a career of criticizing traditional and man-made aspects of institutional Christianity need to beware of the slippery slope. When we see real faults in the churches, and find validity in the criticisms of unbelievers against much of the institutional church’s policies, it is easy to acquire a default attitude of siding with the world against the church, without adequate discretion.

However, not every unpopular thing that Christians have taught throughout history has been wrong. Some of it has arisen from the most responsible possible exegesis of scripture. In sorting out the sacred from the profane in religion, we need to remember that the most authentic form of Christian faith and practice is still offensive to human egos and invites hatred, anger and persecution. We must not embark on a mission of smoothing over the genuine differences between the call to discipleship and the sympathies of the flesh and the world.

Christ calls every man and woman to deny themselves and carry a cross. The world will always object to this. The denial of hierarchical demands is a reaction that anyone could have predicted to arise from unbroken sinners. While we desire that no injustice come upon them, yet we must answer that sinners are not the best arbiters of what constitutes justice:

“Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all things.” Proverbs 28:5

Again you seem to be making the assumption that those who differ with you do so because they have different (and less noble) motivations than you do. Rather than "siding with the world against the church" and "smoothing over the genuine differences between the call to discipleship and the sympathies of the flesh and the world" maybe--just maybe--those like myself, Gordon Fee, N.T. Wright, Stanley Grenz, et al, who come to different conclusions than you do, are every bit as dedicated to learning and following Biblical truth as you believe yourself to be.

Steve, you know I don't shrink from vigorous debate, but I really was taken aback by the rancorous tone in your post, as well as some of the questionable debating tactics that I might have expected from others, but not from you.
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Danny » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:00 pm

This is a reply to the post by Apollos on Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:25 pm:

Hello Apollos,
Danny wrote: It is these two scriptures in particular which I want to look more closely at, because it is these two scriptures—more than any others—that have been used to limit and marginalize women in the church. We live in a day and age where women are police officers and pilots and neurosurgeons and CEOs and leaders of nations, yet within the walls of many churches, they are still told they must be submissive followers of men.

Apollos replied: How will you reinterpret this verse?:

Tit 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teaching what is good, Tit 2:4 so that they may urge the young women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children,
Tit 2:5 temperate, pure, homemakers, good, submitting to their own husbands, lest the word of God be blasphemed.

or this?:

1Ti 5:14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows to marry, to bear children, to manage the house

Sorry, I'm not going to throw this out because it goes against the tide of the world as it is now.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand how your question relates to the topic at hand. There is nothing controversial or problematic about these verses, unless one attempts to misuse them to subjugate women.

Danny wrote: 1 Timothy 2:11-15

One of the most important lessons I ever learned about studying scripture is to ask this question: “What did it mean to the original hearers?” That simple question opens up a world of discovery.

Apollos replied: Well I'm quite sure that the original hearers would have been quite shocked at this politically-correct 21st century version of the meaning you are putting on the words! Judging from unanimous and universal tradition in the early christian churches for centuries afterward, it was understood by its original hearers quite easily. Unless you believe the culture and world back then changed drastically within a century or two of Paul penning it, then the interpretation of these verses has never been in doubt.
Although you are making some very emphatic statements, you are offering nothing to back them up. In fact, "the interpretation of these verses" has long been puzzled over and debated; moreso in modern times since the level of scholarship and access to resources has never been greater.

You also seem to have missed the point about seeking to understand what a scripture meant to the original hearers. The point is to not read the text in a vacuum or impose our pre-suppositions (or traditions) onto it but rather understand it for what it meant in the original place & time and to the writer and original hearers. Once one understands the original intent, one can begin to see how that intent applies to one's own context. This is sometimes called the "historical-critical method" (although that term can mean different things to different people) and it is nothing radical or unusual. It is really just basic exegesis: drawing out from the text the meaning what was intended by the author, rather than reading into the text our own assumptions.

Think of this as a two-step process:

1) Exegesis: What did the text mean to the original hearers?
2) Appliction: What does it mean to us?

It's not rocket science.

So yes, the original hearers of 1 Timothy might be shocked. They would certainly be shocked at 21st century America, where slavery isn't legal, where equality between races and genders is sought after, where there is free exercise of religion and speech, where there is representative government, etc. They might find more familiarity in modern-day Saudi Arabia in terms of attitudes about women, as that would more closely resemble 1st century Greco-Roman-Judeo culture than modern Western culture does. The question then becomes, are the principles of the Kingdom locked into a 1st century cultural context, or do they apply in a multitude of cultural contexts? Do we need to try to recreate the 1st century in order to be faithful to the text? Or can we be faithful to the spirit of the text in our own cultural context without legalistically trying to adhere to the letter? I believe the correct approach is the latter, but we begin by understanding the former.
Danny wrote: 2. “I do not permit a woman to teach nor claim to be the author of man…” This interpretation directly addresses the Gnostic teachings about Eve being the one who gave life to Adam and received saving knowledge from the serpent. This would explain why, immediately following in verse 13, Paul says “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Paul is directly contradicting Gnostic teaching, which he rails against throughout the letter to Timothy.

Apollos replied: Are there any Greek scholars who admit this translation? It doesn't seem possible to me from reading the Greek, though I'm willing to submit my opinion to higher authority. are they claiming that oude is wrong in the text, and it should be hoti?
I'm disinclined to expend the time and effort to answer your question because you made it clear in a subsequent post what your response will be: "Yes, and many other scholars have said the other way."
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Danny » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:23 pm

This is my reply to the post by Apollos on Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:30 am

Hi Apollos,

Regarding ordination, you wrote:
Well ordination is in the NT. When the apostles appointed elders, they did so by the laying on of hands. Ordination is implied in 1 Timothy...
I'm sure it has been discussed elsewhere on this forum (or on the old forum). I'm not going to bifurcate this thread by going down that road. Suffice it to say that what we call "ordination" today is probably quite different from the "appointing" (kathistemi) of elders (presbuteros) that was done on the early church. As you said yourself, "Ordination is implied..." You appear to be eisegetically reading the much later church practice of ordination backwards into the text.
But it would seem to me that you are not willing to admit that this inference can be made, for the reason that we are not told on every occasion and in every case that there was a formal ordination. From this, you suggest that perhaps some were ordained, some weren't, and that therefore it is an irrelevant question. From this you then express the view that there were no 'vertical' relationships in the early church. We must define 'vertical'; there were those with more authority than others; there were some set apart and given the care of others; some were authorized to disciple and remove elders, and some were not. Some were authorized to teach, and to set things in order in the church: some were not.
Regarding "vertical relationships":

"Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." (Mark 10:42-44)

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,a and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:4-12)

There is no hierarchy in a body. There is no hierarchy in the Kingdom of God other than Christ as the King and us as His servants. That is our "vertical relationship." Any legitimate gifting or authority a man or woman might have comes from God and is intended for the purpose of serving the Body of Christ.

You are correct when you state that we "...are not told on every occasion and in every case that there was a formal ordination." In fact, we are never told of any such thing as a "formal ordination."
Those given these special responsibilities we see being ordained by the laying on of hands. But because we do not have an exhaustive list, this all means as much to you as if nothing were said about it in the NT. Was Titus ordained? Was Timothy? Yes! Therefore, was Titus? Or were just some people ordained, and not others, and it just depended upon the particular mood of the church leadership on any given occasion? So I reject your view that it is unprovable extrapolation to say that Titus and Silas were ordained, because we know that elders were ordained, that Paul was ordained, and that Timothy, whose work paralleled that of Titus, was ordained.
What you have there is an inference. You are making certain assumptions and then drawing a conclusion.

I would love to continue to discuss the topic of ordination, but it would probably be best to start a new thread.
Danny wrote: As far as "vertical relationships", I don't think there was ever meant to be any such thing in the church or the Kingdom of God.

Apollos replied: A Kingdom is about as non-egalitarian as one can get. Jesus delegated his authority to apostles, who delegated it to others. The kingdom doesn't become an egalitarian democracy once one goes a step lower than the king: 2 Cor. 2:8
We're not taking about "a kingdom." We're talking about The Kingdom. In The Kingdom there is one mediator between God and human beings: Christ Jesus. In The Kingdom we have direct access to the Father and can be taught and led directly by the Holy Spirit. In The Kingdom men don't lord it over others. In The Kingdom we stand in Jesus together on equal ground and none of us is above the other.
Apollos wrote regarding Junia: Perhaps it wasn't intentional, but your presentation skipped over the fact that there is disagreement, and instead suggested that "it is understood". Your rather cynical and all-too-easily supplied 'hmmm' comment suggested a motive of deliberate misrepresentation on the part of translators. I stated that your comment bordered on dishonesty. Perhaps it was unintentional. Your characterization of the motives of the translators wasn't.
Unlike you, I don't claim to know people's motivations. One can, however, look at people's actions. As previously stated, it appears that the translators brought their own presuppositions to the text. I don't think they had nefarious intent. It is a well known axiom that to translate is to interpret.

I think I've shown pretty conclusively, from multiple sources and using various criteria, that Junia was a woman. If you want to cling to Epiphanius and take the minority position, go right ahead. I assume then that you are also willing to argue that Prisca was a man?
Danny wrote: Your assertion, Apollos, that "The only biographical information we have from the early church states that Junia was actually Junias, a man, and a bishop of a certain town." is flat wrong, as I have already demonstrated in a previous post to Steve in this thread. However, I'd like to learn more about this bishop named Junias that you refer to. Where can we find his "biographical information"? What town was he bishop of? Did the other kids make fun of him for having a girl's name?

Apollos replied: It's not 'flat wrong'. The only writer to provide biographical information is Epiphanius, who says that Junias was a bishop of a certain city in Syria, which he names. Perhaps you view the gender as biographical information, but there is no indication that any of the commentators you mentioned had any biographical information beyond the verse itself.
I thought you had meant credible biographical information, not Epiphanius again, who by this time in the conversation, had already been refuted and left behind.
I would be very inclined to think it a woman if not for Epiphanius.
Your quixotic loyalty to Epiphanius is admirable, but seems misguided.
Danny wrote: A.T. Robertson (author of the massive "A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research", and a man who is considered by many to be one of the greatest Koine Greek scholars of the 20th century) stated that the phrase en tois apostolois "naturally means that they are counted among the apostles in the general sense of Barnabas, James, the brother of Christ, Silas, and others."

Apollos replied: Yes, and many other scholars have said the other way. To settle this, I think we would need to have a good listing of the usage of this particular construction, presented for both views, to see which holds up. Daniel Wallace provides a clear example of the view Robertson opposes in Ps Sol 2:6, where the Jewish captives are a spectacle among the Gentiles. What evidence does Robinson have for his meaning? Is someone going to sit down and look through all the evidence, and sift it through, or are we going to play my scholar vs your scholar? You haven't given a single example of this construction used unambiguously of your way of taking it, and even if you did, we would still have both possibilities.
What you seem to be saying here is that no matter what evidence is presented, you still will not accept it as conclusive.
There isn't a simple and obvious conclusion. There are lots of possibilities. Therefore the possibilities have to be presented. But you want them off the table so that you can have a female apostle, and you are not happy that others won't follow suit and concede this to you.
Quite the contrary. What I want is all credible views to be given a fair hearing. For a long time the "feminist" views (as Steve characterizes them) were not given a fair hearing. Judging by the responses in this thread, one still has to battle to try to get them heard. I quite enjoy the vigorous debate, though I enjoy it even more when people can remain civil.
I overstated the case. However you also over stated it when you claimed that the word was 'servant' when referring to Phoebe, and 'minister' with regards to Paul, in the English Bibles. I think it's better to say that 'minister' is used when speaking of serving in the church, being a minister of the word, and servant elsewhere, though even this doesn't hold up all the time.
This is another example where you are reading later church tradition and structure backwards into the text. You are actually doing exactly what I believe some translators did. I concur with Steve's point that it really should be consistently translated as "servant."
Danny wrote: So yes, Paul is saying that men, women, slaves, free, Jews and Gentiles are all equally saved and justified in Christ.

Apollos replied: Yes, precisely - nothing to do with differing gender roles, and therefore cannot be used to prove egalitarianism. If there is no distinction, then there really is no distinction - if there is no male or female, there is no necessity for heterosexual marriage. I don't think the point is hard to grasp.
Since you grabbed one sentence of mine out of context, I'll provide my entire statement, which already addressed the point you're bringing up here.
So yes, Paul is saying that men, women, slaves, free, Jews and Gentiles are all equally saved and justified in Christ. As N.T. Wright puts it: "The point Paul is making overall in this passage is that God has one family, not two, and that this family consists of all those who believe in Jesus; that this is the family God promised to Abraham, and that nothing in the Torah can stand in the way of this unity which is now revealed through the faithfulness of the Messiah."

Paul's statement in Galatians 3:28 is directly rebutting those who wanted to impose Jewish regulations (and Jewish ethnicity) upon Gentile converts. The family of Abraham, in Christ, will no longer be able to pray that morning prayer. The "us/them" divisions are now irrelevant. To quote Wright again, "What Paul seems to be doing in this passage, then, is ruling out any attempt to back up the continuing male privilege in the structuring and demarcating of Abraham’s family by an appeal to Genesis 1, as though someone were to say, ‘But of course the male line is what matters, and of course male circumcision is what counts, because God made male and female.’ No, says Paul, none of that counts when it comes to membership in the renewed people of Abraham." (http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Wome ... Church.htm

Paul was not just a theoretical theologian however. He was intensely practical, as his epistles demonstrate, and was concerned about how all of this played out within the churches and the world at large. I think it is interesting that Luke's account of Paul's ministry in Philippi (Acts 16) has him ministering first to a woman (Lydia), then to a slave-girl and then to a Gentile man (the jailer). Paul's words to the Galatians aren't simply "...nothing more than assurance that we are all considered to be sons (although adopted) for the purpose of the promised inheritance.", as Homer suggests. The ramifications go far beyond that into what prayers we pray each morning, how we live each day, how we interact with one-another and how we function when we gather "in Christ" as a church.
Apollos wrote: That's as much as I wish to say on this. I'll leave others to continue if they wish. I don't think there is much sense carrying on because I feel there is an agenda beyond just what does scripture say.
That accusation of "having an agenda" has been thrown around a lot in this discussion. It seems that if someone has an opinion and argues for it, they can now be accused of "having an agenda" by those who clearly are just as opinionated in the opposite direction. As I stated previously, we all come to the text with presuppositions. I took pains to make mine clear at the beginning of my essay. To claim to hold the objective high ground when it is blatantly obvious that one is not at all objective only makes one appear less credible and less likely to be taken seriously.
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Danny » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:18 pm

This is my reply to Steve's comment on Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:52 pm.
Danny wrote: This is a question I was saving for later, but I'll ask it now. It is a question that no one has been able to satisfactorily answer for me. What is it about women that you think excludes them from leadership? I'm not looking for the easy "because scripture says so" answer. I'm asking why does scripture say so? Why do you think Paul, and by extension God, wanted women to "remain silent" and not "teach or exercise authority"? Is it a flaw in them? Some early church fathers seemed willing to tackle the question. They believed that women were weak and easily deceived. What say you?

Steve replied: The scriptures (Old and New Testaments) speak with one voice about the complementary roles of women and men. That the husband is head of the wife is unambiguous in scripture. The head is not the oppressor of its body, but it is its leader. A woman who holds a leadership role in the church thereby holds a leadership role over her husband—unless he is either not in the church, or is himself also an elder. The reason for placing men in the leadership positions (if such positions must exist) is the maintenance of the divine order—not the punishing of one class of Christians for the circumstances of their birth. Craving positions of leadership over people is not a mark of Christian maturity—nor even of being a Christian at all!

A Christian woman should be eager to model for other women the norms for godly womanhood, just as men and children should be eager to do the same for their peers. Love does not seek its own things and privileges.

There is no room in the Body of Christ for the concept of special privilege—all are equally privileged, but not all are assigned to the same service. In the body, one member cannot get by without the others—nor does one member covet the role of another. When you come to Christ, you deny yourself, take up a cross, and do your best to acquire the same mind that was in Christ. Jesus had no interest in privilege, but in laying down His life in service to others. The institutional church has violated this principle in its views of leadership for centuries. It is only within that institutional paradigm that the complaints of the feminists make any sense. I am not desiring to regulate the professional clergy in institutional churches. Let them ordain women, homosexuals, or whatever they wish.

That is not the movement I identify with—because it is not the movement that I think Jesus identifies with. God does not dwell with those seeking lofty offices, but with the broken and contrite ones, who tremble at His word. Among these, there is no talk of one's own "rights."
I appreciate your thoughtful answer, even if it didn't really answer my question. I was hoping you would go beyond "the maintenance of the divine order" to explaining why you believe this "divine order" exists in the first place and in the form that you think it exists.

The interpretation you subscribe to about male "headship"--and the practical implications of it--are, of course, hotly debated amongst scholars and devout Christians. And, of course, practices vary both within institutional churches and in non-institutional ekklesias. I know Godly women in both settings who are gifted and called to lead and to teach and who do so with excellence, humility and self-sacrifice. I also know women in other churches (both institutional and non) who are likewise called and gifted but are told that they are not permitted to function in their gifting and call within their faith community.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that Christ doesn't identify with the institutional church. I think Christ identifies with people, regardless of what "movement" they're in. Institutions often get in the way of people encountering God, but they are not utterly bereft. I think Christ works through institutions in spite of their many shortcomings.

But I can't help noticing the loaded terms you used to imply that when a woman is gifted and called to lead she is "craving positions of leadership" and seeking "special priviliege" and "covet[ing] the role of another." Would you use the same terms to describe a gifted and called man? Or do you simply believe that women cannot be gifted and called by God to leadership and so if one claims to be, she is de facto "coveting" and "craving?" I'm sure there are both men and women who sinfully covet and crave positions of leadership, just as there are Godly, humble men and women who answer God's call to lead and do so as sacrificial servants. They may even do so within the confines of an institutional church.
My blog: http://dannycoleman.blogspot.com

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.”
-- William Blake

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steve
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by steve » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:49 pm

I have been wanting to post something here for a couple of days, but I got locked out of the forum. That happens once every few months. My automatic log-in fails and then I can't remember my password (I use it so seldom, because I depend on the automatic log-in). That means I have to go through the process of requesting a password reset. Once I receive the new password, it doesn't work, and I am still locked out. Eventually, after pulling out much of my hair, I end up writing to Jarrod, and he sends me a new password that actually works. I have just been readmitted to the forum this afternoon.

In the time of my exclusion here, Danny has posted a great deal. My impressions of our dialogue are:

1) Since neither of us are Greek scholars, our discussion of Greek terms has devolved to what some call a "battle of the lexicons." We both have our preferred scholars to quote, and, until one set of scholars is shown to have the greater competence and the greatest objectivity, this part of the discussion can hardly progress beyond a stalemate;

2) We both believe that the other is motivated (albeit, not consciously) by cultural factors and preferences that prevent clear and objective treatment of the texts relevant to the topic under consideration. This appears also to result in a stalemate, since such motive-assessments must inevitably be subjective judgments which cannot be verified until one or the other party admits that he has been influenced by less than objective considerations;

3) We both feel that there has been too much negative emotionalism expressed in the debate, and that the emotionalism and adamance has been one-sided. We simply do not agree as to which side of the aisle this is coming from;

4) The discussion began with the expression of a perceived injustice and a perceived contradiction between Paul's writings and praxis. We do not (and apparently are not able to) agree even as to whether such perceptions have any merit—without which, the discussion would never have arisen, since there would be no complaint to address;

5) We do not have the same concept as to what the church is, nor of what church leadership is. Yet, this is the foundation for the entire controversy. Danny raised a couple of questions at the end of his last post:
But I can't help noticing the loaded terms you used to imply that when a woman is gifted and called to lead she is "craving positions of leadership" and seeking "special priviliege" and "covet[ing] the role of another." Would you use the same terms to describe a gifted and called man? Or do you simply believe that women cannot be gifted and called by God to leadership and so if one claims to be, she is de facto "coveting" and "craving?" I'm sure there are both men and women who sinfully covet and crave positions of leadership, just as there are Godly, humble men and women who answer God's call to lead and do so as sacrificial servants. They may even do so within the confines of an institutional church.
Would I use the same terms in describing the aspirations of a male who was demanding equal access to church offices? In a heartbeat! I have done so on many occasions (and even, by implication, earlier in this thread). As for my beliefs about a woman who is "gifted and called by God to leadership," I have no new thoughts on this other than the ones I have often expressed, and which I expressed earlier in this thread. Since the thread is long, I will summarize: I do not believe that leadership is defined by holding a recognized position in a Christian gathering. That there may be some recognized overseers is a circumstance that has some biblical precedent. However, people like Philip and Stephen were wonderful "leaders" without holding any leadership office in any church (the "seven" were not appointed to spiritual leadership, but to attend to mundane practical matters). Priscilla and Phoebe were also, in some sense, capable ministers, though neither of them can be said to have held overseer positions. Junia and (probably) her husband apparently served as a team (as did Priscilla and Aquila), and may have been regarded as an apostolic team at that. All of Paul's principal team members were called apostles—for no other obvious reason than that they were extensions of Paul's own apostolic ministry. I believe (as I said earlier) that Peter's wife, who traveled with him, was probably regarded, with him, as "an apostle." No such considerations, however, would suggest that she held a leadership position in a local congregation, nor that she was regarded as having any leadership role viewed separately from her husband.

While some of these thoughts are somewhat speculative, they are no more so than would be the suggestion that any of these women held an overseer's role in any church—nor that their activities would present a conflict with the normal and standard interpretation of Paul's instructions in the two passages named in the title of this thread.

6) While I am willing to let other Christian assemblies do whatever their conscience may dictate, I am not willing to misrepresent scriptural teaching on topics that I am asked to address. My worthy opponent in this debate will apparently not be satisfied until every Christian assembly adopts a view of scripture that is contrary to the beliefs of most conservative Bible scholars on a key ecclesiological controversy.

7) I engage in many debates, when they are brought to me. However, my own spirit recoils from a spirit of controversy—especially controversy that seems destined to be endless. I have stated my case, as best I know how and as my time will permit. Danny (and others) may well not be persuaded. Nor do I require him (or them) to be. If the arguments I have presented are inadequate, then let another bring forward better ones, or else, let every reader simply weigh the case as it stands, and reach his/her own conclusions. If I find the time, I may contribute further to the discussion, but I do not have any answers that will satisfy my present correspondent, and have no desire unnecessarily to perpetuate controversy simply by keeping the argument circling. I can only say that I stand by my chief arguments (with the exception of my original comments about Junia, which I am thankful to Danny for correcting), and have read nothing in the interim to persuade me that there is something in my reading of the passages under consideration that fails to satisfy the available data.

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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Apollos » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:10 am

I'm disinclined to expend the time and effort to answer your question because you made it clear in a subsequent post what your response will be: "Yes, and many other scholars have said the other way."
Think about what you have just said a moment, and then answer this - Am I supposed to just accept what your scholars say, and just ignore the scholars who disagree, and pretend that they don't exist? Yes, that is the implication of what you are saying. You expect me to assume that yours are right, and to take them as the authority, while you reject mine.
Last edited by Apollos on Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:59 am, edited 3 times in total.

Apollos
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cont'd

Post by Apollos » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:00 am

What you seem to be saying here is that no matter what evidence is presented, you still will not accept it as conclusive.
You quote a scholar, and I must accept his (or her) verdict. Do I quote my scholars and say you must accept them? No, I note that there isn't scholarly consensus, and I say that we must search the original language to see how the construction was used, and with what meaning, in order to settle it, and you become the victim whose words are being constantly rejected! No, sorry, I'm not the bad guy, nor am I the one saying that you have to accept my scholar, or else it's evidence that you won't accept any evidence.
Last edited by Apollos on Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Danny
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Re: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 revisited

Post by Danny » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:15 pm

Hi Steve,

I very much appreciate your last post, in terms of both content and tone. Regarding the seven points that you made:

1) Agreed.

2) Agreed.

3) Agreed.

4) Agreed.

5) I think we have similar, though not identical, views about what church is and what church leadership is. I essentially view leadership (and therefore authority) from a functional paradigm rather than a positional one. As an example, the Quakers do not ordain ministers; they record them. The idea being that they observe what God is doing in and through a person (male or female) and simply acknowledge it. This requires group discernment and consensus and implies ongoing relationship.

6)
While I am willing to let other Christian assemblies do whatever their conscience may dictate, I am not willing to misrepresent scriptural teaching on topics that I am asked to address. My worthy opponent in this debate will apparently not be satisfied until every Christian assembly adopts a view of scripture that is contrary to the beliefs of most conservative Bible scholars on a key ecclesiological controversy.
Not at all. My goal is not to have everyone fall into lockstep with my view of scripture (God forbid!). My goal in posting the essay (and in vigorously defending various points within) is to present an alternative (and admittedly not conservative) viewpoint. In particular I hope that some women read it, along with the subsequent debate, and are encouraged to explore the gifts and calling that God may have for them. Additionally I hope that some men, especially those with a modicum of influence, might be encouraged to make room for gifted women or at least explore the possibility further.

7) What is a controversy to one person might be a legitimate questioning of the status quo to another person. Other than that, agreed!


Hi Apollos,

I think we long ago reached the point where we are talking past each other (maybe that's where we began!). I don't really see anything new in your last post that we haven't already bandied back and forth repeatedly. We are not going to change each other's views and those who read our exchanges can formulate their own opinions. I for one have enjoyed the opportunity to hash out the various aspects of this topic in a public forum. It has given me a great opportunity to re-examine and test my views against the very different views of Steve, Homer and yourself. For that, I thank you.

-Danny
My blog: http://dannycoleman.blogspot.com

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.”
-- William Blake

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