Women in 1Ti
Paul was addressing a situation specific to Ephesus. We have
no idea if it was unique to them or not, although there seems to be certain
similarities with problems in Corinth:
The thrust of the letter, therefore, is corrective. Paul does
not need to spell out the truth because he is writing to a lifelong companion
who does not need such instruction. However, he does authorize him to take
- The primary reason for writing is revealed in 1Ti 1:3; 3:15. This reflects
Paul's prior warning in Acts 20:17-35 (esp v 30). The whole of the letter is
dominated by Paul's concern over people who were teaching false
- This false teaching was being presented as gnosis (1Ti 6:20) and
had an exclusivist and esoteric appeal. It included an asceticism (1Ti 4:3;
- The consequences of this false teaching were quarreling and strife
and controversy (1Ti 6:3-5).
- The false teachers had found a receptive
audience in some of the "house churches" and especially in certain women who
were going from house-church to house-church spreading this false teaching (1Ti
5:13; cp 2Ti 3:6-7 and 1Co 16:19). Apparently the young widows were a fruitful
field for these false teachers.
- Timothy's task, given him by Paul, was to
(a) correct the false teaching; (b) deal with the related behavioral issues; (c)
teach sound / healthy doctrine as the antidote; (d) reform the organization of
the Ephesian church by replacing the false teachers with new
Consequently, the reforms which Paul instructed Timothy to
implement were specifically related to this problem, including:
Paul appeals to Scripture (1Ti 2:13-14) first by noting that
Adam was formed first, then Eve. He does not elaborate on this, although he
makes a similar observation in 1Co 11:8-9 without any suggestion of
subordination. The Gen narrative implies no superiority based on the order of
creation, except that the creation of man and woman was the climax of creation.
Here in Genesis it is the LAST created (ie, man/woman) which are at the pinnacle
(insofar as they are in God's image). There is no suggestion that Eve was in any
way inferior because she was created after Adam.
- Stop those women who were instrumental in spreading the false teaching. In
particular, they are instructed to learn in quietness (1Ti 2:11,12) rather than
saying things about which they know nothing (1Ti 5:13). Paul wants them to
become occupied with other things, including marrying and raising a family (1Ti
2:15; 5:14) -- this is in contrast to the false teachers who were forbidding
marriage (1Ti 4:3).
- These women are to learn "with a quiet demeanour" (the
Greek does NOT mean "in silence"). The prohibition on women teaching was not
universal because in Corinth they prophesy (1Co 11:5) and teach (1Co 14:26) and
Paul elsewhere refers to women who co-laboured with him in preaching the gospel
and in the work of an apostle (Rom 16:3-5,7; Phil
Paul's second observation from Gen was that Eve was deceived
by the serpent. Elsewhere (Rom 5:12,19) he says that it was through the man Adam
that sin came into the world. Paul is no more suggesting that all women are
easily deceived than he is that all men are led into sin by women. The point of
his argument here is not to establish a universal "principle", but to use an
illustration relevant to the situation in Ephesus. In fact, in light of later
Gnostic writings, it is almost certain that part of this false teaching which
Paul is addressing was the heresy that Eve was created first (hence the
reference to the creation order in Gen), and that she was the originator of all
wisdom (hence the reminder that Eve was deceived and a sinner).
Paul's instruction to the Ephesian women, via Timothy, was
that they should marry, have children, and devote themselves to good deeds. This
is what he means by being "saved through childbearing".