Women Must Learn in Quietness: A Short Instruction on 1 Tim. 2:11-15

Today in my AGTS Hermeneutics class we were discussing the genre of “epistle” or “letter” and the ways in which elements of “occasionality” and “rhetoric” fit into good readings of the New Testament letters. I always expect students will have questions about “women” and “ministry/preaching/teaching/eldership”. While I have written on the subject pertaining to other texts of the Bible elsewhere (in blogs and in publication), I offer here a short 6 minute 50 second student recorded audio of my end of class discussion on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in answer to a student’s pointed question about this text. Apologies as the recording was begun about 30 seconds into my reply. The student had decided to record the discussion for a friend and when I found out, I asked for a copy to share as well. So here it is for whatever it is worth. 🙂

Here is the text in the New English Translation:

11 A woman must learn[r] quietly with all submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow[s] a woman to teach or exercise authority[t] over a man. She must remain quiet.[u] 13 For Adam was formed first and then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was fully deceived,[v] fell into transgression.[w] 15 But she will be delivered through childbearing,[x] if she[y] continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.

(and HERE is the hyperlink to the text on Bible Gateway that includes the helpful footnotes as well)

I wrote four short phrases or words on the white board as the student had read these verses:

  • “learn in quietness”
  • “teach or exercise authority”
  • “deceived”
  • “saved through child-bearing”

You will hear the audio pick up where I’ve already begun discussing “learn in quietness”. I have offered that this phrase is the precise expected posture and response of a disciple or student rather than intended as a censure against. It is a call for entering into discipleship directly.

I know this short response does not answer all manner of questions you may have about the text (or that I still have about this text). It is not comprehensive of the passage. I say these things recognizing there are numerous other readings of this text and its possible function and intent. Yet all these caveats aside, I have offered here a brief reply for those who have wondered about this pivotal passage for those arguing that women cannot be pastors or preach.

And I say, not only can women preach and teach the good news of King Jesus … they MUST do so … as we all must do so!

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3 Responses to Women Must Learn in Quietness: A Short Instruction on 1 Tim. 2:11-15

  1. Hi Dr Rick, though it was a short response… it’s thoughtful!

  2. Kelly Joy Williams says:

    Recently God asked me to read first Timothy when I came to second Timothy I was kinda like -what do I do with this information-because of recent topics I have addressed in my church recently. Now I have a church planning and evangelism decree from North Central University. I know I’ve gone over this text several times and I put it in a different compartment until now because of women not being able to serve on the board at my assemblies a God church. I recall going to a Christian high school getting into an arguments with my biology teacher, letting him know I’m going to be a preacher teacher pastor someday as he would argue with me telling me, no, you cannot do that. So I’ve always fought for women preachers and teachers because I feel like they don’t always get the platform that they rightfully deserved. But then I look at society today and I see how some of the roles have been reversed and that bothers me. So I read first Timothy chapter 2 on a Tuesday before I went to work and my first reaction was I am not really happy about reading this right now. As the day went on I prayed God if there’s something that I missing , if there’s something that I need to change in my attitude in my views, please let me know. I ran across this article from a previous North-central Professor Dr. Amy Anderson. I knew it was God that put this in my path and I really do appreciate this discussion it helps me continue to stand my ground , as far as fighting for women, pastors and teachers to keep the stage. But it also has helped me in understanding it’s not just for women it’s for all and I appreciate that.

    • Rick Wadholm says:

      Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your journey. I pray you find the goodness of Jesus going forward at every turn!

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