Go Home or At Home?

Go Home or At Home? October 21, 2019

In his recent article at RNS, veteran reporter Bob Smietana summarized John MacArthur’s recent conference in which he took aim at the Southern Baptists and at Beth Moore:

(RNS) — Evangelical pastor John MacArthur, speaking at a celebration of his  50th year in pulpit ministry this week, weighed in on an ongoing debate in the Southern Baptist Convention over women preachers, claiming the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has lost faith in authority of the Bible.

He claimed the SBC had taken a “headlong plunge” toward allowing women preachers at its annual meeting this summer.

That, he said, was a sign the denomination no longer believed in biblical authority.

“When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority,” said MacArthur.

The most controversial moment went like this:

Asked to respond to the phrase “Beth Moore,” the name of a well-known Southern Baptist Bible teacher, MacArthur replied, “Go home.”

I hear that statement as “a woman’s place is in the home” and “women aren’t to teach” because a man’s place is in the pulpit and behind the teaching lectern. Women he says, “are not allowed to preach.”

It can be said that his position is, in fact, the one that may well be denying the authority of Scripture. Here’s a list of names to think about:

Miriam, who interpreted the exodus itself in glowing poetic terms.

Deborah, who ran the whole of Israel in all its branches, and not a little of it was speaking and exhorting and teaching and prophesying.

Esther, who saved the nation as a leader who in some sense redeemed the nation from disaster.

Huldah, who was chosen above other (male) prophets.

Mary, who handed to us a prophecy-shaped song about her Son and what he would accomplish.

Priscilla, who taught Apollos.

The daughters of Philip, who prophesied the words of God.

Phoebe, who (probably) read and interpreted Romans to the house churches there.

Nympha, who may well have been a house-church leader (at some level).

Junia, who was a great apostle (church-planting, evangelizing, church-instructing, discipling, etc).

Euodia and Syntyche, “who struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers.”

We can quibble about who was doing precisely what, but what we can’t quibble on is that these women used their voices to utter words from God for the people of God in the locations where the people of God heard the word of God. That’s called preaching, that’s called teaching, that’s called God using their voices to speak the words of God for the people of God.

To deny a woman to preach is to deny what the Bible teaches. To tell a woman to go home is to tell a woman not to do what the Bible teaches would could do.

We could easily list hundreds of women who are using their voice to speak words of God, at home and not at home but often in the church, God’s home for all of us.



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  • LT

    >>>We can quibble about who was doing precisely what<<<

    Quibble? Why not say something like, "Let's be precise …"? You know that none of these examples are what 1 Timothy 2 is talking about. There might be one exception. There are no clear examples of what you claim they teach. Why does that continually get ignored? Using your voice for the people of God to hear the word of God is not teaching in the sense of 1 Timothy 2.

    Whether or not MacArthur should have said it the way he did, and Todd Friel should not be given an audience by anyone, Scripture is clear that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church. The reason why volumes have been written to explain why it doesn't mean that is because it takes volumes to construct an argument about why the text doesn't say what it says.

    We have to ask the question, If women teaching and exercising authority over men in the church is correct, why are there no clear biblical examples of it? The Bible did not hesitate to buck the culture at every point along the way. So why not here? Might it be that there are no examples because it didn't happen?

  • scotmcknight

    I’m sorry but I have explained 1 Tim 2 in Blue Parakeet, and I join many others in a similar type of explanation, and that rules out the presumption you have in your first paragraph. My point is that women did teach and did exercise authority, and those names represent that, so that reading of 1 Tim 2 is not as accurate as it could be.

  • josenmiami

    good post! Short, concise and to the point

  • Well, at least he’s finally admitting he wants to keep the power for men.

  • Tucker

    Well, it’s sure news to me that the SBC is becoming egalitarian. This is obviously a preemptive strike to keep all the authoritarian male leaders in that denomination in line.

  • The most illuminating part for me was the discourse about, “Women don’t want equality. They don’t want to be plumbers. They want to be senators, etc. They don’t want equality; they want power.”

    If women just wanted to be plumbers, that would be fine. But once you want positions of power, like men already enjoy, that’s totally unacceptable. But not just that. It -calls your motives into question- that you want the same positions of power men enjoy. For some reason, to J-Mac and Da Boyz, that isn’t a pursuit of equality.

    That told me volumes more about a man who is consistently wrong about virtually everything else.

  • Why didn’t the Bible buck slavery?

  • Christiane Smith

    “27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise”

    Galatians, chapter 3

  • David Moore

    It will be interesting to see what evangelical leaders say who seem to appreciate various things about both MacArthur and Beth Moore. Other than J.D. Greear, I wonder if the fear to not offend friends will bring a collective quiet and so lack of comment on this controversy.

  • stevecuss

    Thanks for this, Scot. What is your take on Lydia’s role? Pastor at Philippi?

    Everything about the video is sad to me – the tone, mockery, response, condescension and yes, as you point out, the accusation of ‘power play.’

    Plank and speck.

  • LT

    Thanks Scot. I have read your explanation and heard you talk about it orally. It is not convincing to me because it doesn’t deal with the text of 1 Tim 2 or the theological context of Scripture. I have a high respect for you and your scholarship. I have benefited from you on multiple fronts even when I don’t ultimately agree with you. Which is why this is so odd. I don’t think you, as a professor, would let a student get away with that kind of argument on anything else.

    Where does Scripture show women teaching and exercising authority over men in the church? Those names most certainly do not show that and it is abundantly obvious just by reading the texts. None of those texts show any of those women teaching or exercising authority over men in the church. It is at best silent about that. You have to assume your conclusion. You can’t derive it from the text.

    My appeal, as always, is let’s go back to the text. What does the text say?

    Again, I say all that as one who greatly appreciates your work in many areas.

  • NathanMichael

    I’m curious as to why MacArthur is identified as an “Evangelical” rather than a Fundamentalist. His theology and behaviour clearly points to the later more than the former.

  • scotmcknight

    House church sponsor/benefactor and leader?

  • Realist1234

    Hi could you clarify – given that Paul goes back to the creation story to justify his reasoning, similar to how Jesus justifies His reasoning regarding marriage by going back to the same story, how could his instructions be understood as purely local and temporary/cultural in extent?

    Is it possible that Paul meant what he said, ie women are not to teach or have authority over men etc, but he was wrong and is reflecting his own Jewish cultural norms at the time incl referencing the Jewish creation story to justify his views? Or else the text is specifically referring to married couples in a church (I understand the Greek can mean husband/wife as well as man/woman) – this would perhaps make sense given the creation reference?


  • AndrewBartlett

    After telling Beth Moore “Go home”, Pastor MacArthur said: “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preaching; period, paragraph, end of discussion.” Statements like this make it difficult for faithful Christians to advance in mutual understanding on this topic. When I looked into it for my recent book (which Scot has been writing about), I found there was a considerable case to be made, requiring careful assessment, and that the complementarian position had less biblical support than I had expected. I now think the central question is whether one reads 1 Tim 2:8-15 fully in context or without sufficient regard to the context.

  • scotmcknight

    Thank you Andrew, and I’m glad to hear the blog posts have caught up to you. Wonderful book.

  • Eagle_Eyed

    The scripture teaches this plainly, yet you choose obscurity over clear doctrine. Here’s what the Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul write about women preachers.

    “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 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.”

    Why do you hate God’s word? Why must you twist the acts of the faithful women mentioned in scripture into something they are not? These women were nothing like Beth Moore, they were humble and faithful to God’s calling. They’d be appalled you are using them to further your agenda. Paul is writing in the context of post-resurrection church gatherings, therefore whatever Miriam or Deborah did is academic. But it isn’t that God contradicts himself here. For instance Deborah’s time as judge was a rebuke to the men of Israel who were faithless; it was not set forth as an example of leadership for us to follow. Esther was the epitome of submission in how she went about saving the Jews.

    Mary offering a song of praise in Luke is neither teaching nor assuming authority over a man. She is not leading corporate worship in any way. Priscilla is never held up as a teacher, but rather as someone who (under the authority of her husband) had the believers gather at her home and privately discussed the gospel with Paul. Not once is she described as leading any congregation. Junia (assuming this a she) is mentioned following her husband’s name, meaning that once again whenever NT women in the church are praised they are praised as working under the headship of their husbands.

  • scotmcknight

    Got a name? Anonymity doesn’t breed conversations.

  • scotmcknight

    Got a name? Anonymity doesn’t help to produce conversations.

  • Was your “sweet cheeks” comment to me? If so, you know nothing about me theor personal comments are not welcome. Condescension does not help your argument and is highly offensive.

  • scotmcknight

    Kate, I’m sorry if he meant that for you but that comment was deleted.

  • scotmcknight

    I do not understand how you can possibly say I don’t deal with the text of 1 Tim 2 in Blue Parakeet. We probably aren’t going to agree here, but to take but one example, Priscilla taught Apollos. No one, brother, no one knows for sure what authentein means, so I see no reason to get into “exercising authority” when it might not even mean that. But teaching is done by women … Prophecy is “ranked” higher by Paul than teaching and women were prophets, and it is obvious that prophetic language is simultaenously instructional. But again, I have covered this in Blue Parakeet and there are so many good books on this.

  • Realist1234


  • Realist1234

    I dont think prophetic language is necessarily ‘instructional’. Many in the charismatic movement would probably agree such ‘words’ can often be summed up in ‘i love you’.


  • Thanks Scot. Some people…

  • Deborah Downs

    I’m pretty sure “I love you,” is the gospel. But then we’d be back to preaching the gospel again. Love you, brothers. Let us fairer folk know when you get this all sorted out. We’ll be out spreading the gospel in the meantime.

  • LT

    It did.

  • Elca

    Yes Scot, you have indeed explain 1 Tim.2 in the “Blue Parakeet”. But I hope you can appreciate equally qualified scholars disagrees with your explanation on that verse and others in the Book.

    ” My point is that women did teach and did exercise authority, “ Who were these women? And what authority did they exercise in the Assembly of Believers.?

    Please do not reference Phoebe.

  • Elca

    Your view of Slavery is the American type of Slavery which was evil and racist.
    But the NT does give instructions to the “Master ” how he is to treat his “Slave” and it does give instructions to the “slave ” how to be a good worker.

    If we owe the bank money, we are “Slaves” to the Bank. And if we are employees we are “Slaves” to our Employer.
    And the Bible gives instructions to both parties. And NONE of the instructions are abusive and evil, and not base on Race or color of skin.

  • Elca

    “…but one example, Priscilla taught Apollos.”
    The text said,“So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” [Acts 18:26]
    Does, “taking aside” means Aquila and Priscilla were teaching or Explaining the Scriptures in the same manner as Apollos was in the Synagogue?
    Apollos was Preaching in the synagogue.. are you suggesting both Agillia and Priscilla were Preaching simultaneously as they explain to Apollos? This is strange reasoning.

  • Thank you Scot. Just “wow” is my response here in 2019. I offer this amazing theologian and godly thinker to support your ideas: https://juniaproject.com/towards-a-deeper-theology-of-women/

  • How so?

    Also from 1 Timothy:

    All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.

    1 Tim. 6:1-2

    That looks a lot like instructing slaves to honor their masters. If slavery is wrong, why didn’t the Bible buck that social trend? According to you, the Bible is full of bucking social trends, and if it doesn’t, then it’s at least an implicit commandment for the social trend to be that way.

  • LT

    You apparently don’t know what first century slavery was. It was not the chattel slavery that is condemned in the Bible such as 2 Tim 1 and other places. Buying and selling slaves is forbidden. But slavery was a desired state for most, much more (though not entirely) like our modern employment situation than the slavery most people think. It was a desired state for the same reason that many people today prefer to work for someone rather than run their own business or freelance. It included doctors, teachers, house stewards, etc. The Bible also commanded slave owners to be kind and fair to their slaves and reminded them that they too had a master in heaven. That was completely countercultural.

  • LT

    You apparently don’t know what first century slavery was. It was not the chattel slavery that is condemned in the Bible such as 2 Tim 1 and other places. Buying and selling slaves is forbidden. But slavery was a desired state for most, much more (though not entirely) like our modern employment situation than the slavery most people think. It was a desired state for the same reason that many people today prefer to work for someone rather than run their own business or freelance. It included doctors, teachers, house stewards, etc.

  • I’m not entirely sure how 2 Timothy 1 condemns slavery, but that aside –

    I’m quite familiar with the fact that first century slavery often looked different than, say, the slavery practiced in America over the past few centuries (it was not based on race, for example), although you are the first person I’ve heard claim that most people wanted to be slaves in the first century and I’m very curious as to what your sources are on that. Whatever your sources are, it is most definitely not first century Roman slave legislation.

    That notwithstanding, what you said above does not constitute the Bible “bucking slavery.” You first said that it did, then you established this by essentially arguing that first century slavery was pretty great. So, which is it? Or is it both? How do you know the difference between the Bible speaking out against bad slavery and endorsing good slavery?

    OR is it possible that the biblical writings of a given time assume slavery is a typical social institution of the time and, rather than challenging it, advises patterns of behavior within it that will not bring scandal or danger to the cause of Christ, such as slaves being obedient and respectful rather than rebellious because of their newfound Christianity?

  • Barb

    There may have been slaves like that, however these passages were used by Christians to justify slavery as God-sanctioned in our our country. And they were not in a happy desired employment.

  • JohnM

    Phil, I agree with you, that looks a lot like instructing slaves to honor their masters. Consider the question the other way around: If the Bible doesn’t “buck that social trend” why is slavery wrong?

  • JohnM

    How the passages may have been misused in our country is irrelevant to LT’s point.

  • Realist1234

    And yet here you are commenting. You must also have time on your hands…n’est pas?

    I would also add, we are just trying to understand Scripture, without which you wouldn’t have a gospel to preach.


  • I don’t really expect the Bible to provide a definitive list of social ills. Any given writing was produced at a given point in history where certain historical circumstances were in place, and that includes culture, worldviews, scientific knowledge, etc.

    When Paul is writing his letters, Christians are an endangered species. They do not enjoy widespread approval or political power. Paul and the other apostolic writings show a big concern with the survivability of their established faith communities – both in credibility and in actual physical survival. They urge communities away from behaviors that might provoke the wrath of political powers unnecessarily (obviously, the testimony of Christ would be a necessary reason) or bring scandal or shame to the movement.

    So, in the case of 1 Timothy, even assuming Paul is the author, Paul encourages Christians to be virtuous within the social order in which they find themselves. For instance, Paul states that women should pray and prophesy with their heads covered because society at the time would interpret a woman refusing to do so as scandalous. Nowadays, nobody would think twice about a woman praying without a veil or a hat on.

    As Christianity spreads in the West and we see Christians obtaining political power, you start seeing more of a reaction against slavery. Augustine speaks against it for example. John Chrysostom identifies slavery as evil, but cites the very passage above as grounds for slaves and masters treating each other with love.

    In the fourth century, the Church successfully obtained legislative power to use manumission on slaves by a church rite, and this grew into full blown emancipation under Justinian.

    Why is slavery wrong? Because a human being in the image of God is being treated as an object. I don’t need a specific verse that spells out that this is wrong. We are not led in ethics by the Law but by the Spirit.

  • Why do you hate God’s word?

    Hilarious. Yes, obviously people trying hard to understand the Bible must hate it. This is classic.

    “What? You’re questioning my understanding of Scripture? Obviously you hate God’s word.”

  • I realize that first century slavery did not look exactly like, say, American slavery over the past few centuries, but could you cite your sources that establish that most people in the first century wanted to be slaves?

    Also, how does “slavery used to be awesome” prove that the Bible bucks slavery?

  • Kishy

    IMHO, there is a problem bigger than the complementarian/egalitarian discussion. It is the judgmental and nasty way in which some, perhaps most, complementarians respond to those they disagree with. , I don’t condemn people who have a comp theology. I once had it, too. I don’t agree with it, now but I try to be kind, even when i must disagree if they are sincerely living according to their conscience and who can only see scripture in that way. The problem with McArthur and many others who believe in patriarchy (let’s call it what it is), is they are not kind qne their unkind, sometimes viscous attitudes do not reflect the love of the God i know. Both Jesus and Paul were faced with people who were “out of order” in their preaching. Jesus’ reaction when His disciple complained was, basically, to tell them to mind their own business and that people doing things in the Name of a Jesus they didn’t fully know, would at least not be speaking badly of Him. Paul went a step further and said when people were preaching out of envy and competition, we should still rejoice because Christ was being proclaimed. Besides, although an organization might have the right to set it’s doctrine out, we are mostly, if not all, Protestants here. I can’t find a scripture where John MacArthur or any of the so-called Biblical Manhood & Womanhood folks were given papal authority over all evangelicals.

  • Janice Bowlen

    Excellent reply, given from a heart that has been molded to know the love of God above all else.

  • Malissa

    “We can quibble about who was doing precisely what, but what we can’t quibble on is that these women used their voices to utter words from God for the people of God in the locations where the people of God heard the word of God. That’s called preaching, that’s called teaching, that’s called God using their voices to speak the words of God for the people of God.”
    You spend so much time trying to keep women beneath you. Is that your “service to the Lord”? You need to get a hobby or something.

  • Malissa

    I think I heard somewhere that he’s a Calvinist. Is that correct? I’m not clear on how one can be a Calvinist and an evangelist/Evangelical at the same time, since Calvinists believe that we have no control over whether or not God’s grace chooses us.

  • Janice Bowlen

    Hi Scot. I’m new here so please excuse my ignorance. What is this ‘Blue Parakeet’?

  • Malissa

    Complementarians have different definitions of “teaching” that they use at different times to derail discussions. They’re like, “Oh but it wasn’t THAT kind of teaching.” Then they read between the lines, breaking their own “plain reading” rule, to insist that no women in the Bible had any authority. Then they’ll reference a verse that has already been explained to them a thousand times, just to waste our time, I think.

  • Malissa

    She spoke the words of the Lord, and the people heard it and learned something. But it’s not like she was teaching or anything. LOL

  • NathanMichael

    Yes. He is a Calvinist, but a fundamentalist cessationist Calvinist. There are a number of different types of Calvinists. How one defines ‘Evangelical’ is certainly a topic of debate. I like what Dr. Roger Olson has to say about defining evangelicalism. He also has some sharp insights into the differences between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism and how the later has in some ways co-opted the former. I’d suggest searching up some of those posts on his patheos forum.

  • Barb

    It’s the title of a book that Scot wrote.

  • LT

    They were wrong to do that, just like people are wrong to use the Scripture to justify women teaching and exercising authority over men in the church. You don’t get to pick a few passages, read them in the most beneficial light while ignoring clear passages.

  • Roger Morris

    Mac Arthur is a toxic relic, best viewed in a museum with the rest of American Evangelicalism.

  • Roger Morris

    Here’s another relic for the museum of toxic religious credulity.

  • LT

    I messed up my previous comment and didn’t catch it until now. The “most” was supposed to go with the next phrase, as in “most like.” In writing it I changed some things around and didn’t catch it.

    What is should have it this: But slavery was a desired state for many, most like (though not entirely) like our modern employment situation than the slavery most people think of.

    I changed the “most” to “much more” and apparently deleted “many” instead of “most.”

    And yes, I could document that but it would take me a bit to find it in my notes and I have to get the kids on homework and instrument practice and the like so that will have to wait.

    I didn’t say slavery was awesome. I said it was different than most think of.

    And remember, the Bible tells slaveowners (both in the OT and NT) to treat their slaves with dignity and respect because they too have a master in heaven.

  • LT

    Can you give some examples of this?

    I have been pretty clear and consistent and most complementarians I know are as well. What the Bible prohibits is women teaching and exercising authority over men in the church. It does not necessarily prohibit that elsewhere. In fact, it gives examples of it elsewhere. The Bible never gives evidence of a woman teaching or exercising authority over men in the church that I know of. I am willing to be corrected on that if you can show us one.

  • LT

    Thanks again, Scot. A quick reply: Saying you don’t deal with the text is poorly stated. I was writing quickly and without precision. I should say I don’t think you deal fairly with the text (which is probably no more satisfactory for you). The text outlines two reasons for the prohibition and I don’t think you give them due weight. It also outlines an alternative that I don’t think you give due weight. There is no indication in the text (or the NT) that the issue was local and contemporary only to the first century. The reasons go back to the beginning and it stands to reason that the prohibition based on a fact is a prohibition as long as the fact is true. Paul could have easily said something about the local context (as he does elsewhere in 1 and 2 Timothy, Philippians, and others places), but he doesn’t. He instead appeals to something that is still true.

    I don’t think authentein is difficult. It does have to do with authority. The alternative to teaching and authentein is to keep silent and recognize that a woman’s part in redeeming the curse is childbearing. The opposite of “teaching and authentein” is not “to teach” but “to keep silent.”

    Your example of Priscilla is a great one. When you read that text, it is quite clearly not in the church. They took him aside, and the text doesn’t even tell us what Priscilla’s role was as opposed to Aquilla. Your appeal to this is based on something the text does not say. And that is the difficulty in all the other passages. They simply don’t say what you need them to say. You have to assume your conclusion.

  • brian david

    A muse for consideration from my limited “text in context” journey – If Paul is the guy (through the spirit of course) making all the new rules amongst the early gentile inclusive ecclesias, (which I don’t think is the case but a common idea here in modern western American churchianity?) he seems to be only speaking to women chilling out in two places – Corinth and Ephesus. Corinth has huge influence from cult of Aphrodite – Ephesus from cult of Artemis – cultures heavily influenced by worship of their goddesses – likely both have huge presence of women in leadership in their social, political and religious practices. If Paul calling out these specific churches to not look like their local pagan counterparts – be set apart – maybe the women need to play it down some for awhile. But maybe not universal edicts for all ecclesias for all eternity.

    This is a prophet providing correspondence trying to help these Jesus following communities reflect on and put on display this new God in Jesus reality played out in the lives of the people who are struggling with specific issues in specific places. No women issues anywhere else that I can see and he lauds so many women throughout the other letters (especially in Rome of course), tough time coming to a place where these are some kind of universal edicts from King Jesus (who also was supported by and regularly supported women).


  • JohnM

    Paul wrote his instructions to masters as well as slaves. Even if we hold that slaves were obligated to service and obedience in order to avoid the wrath of political powers were Christians ever *obligated* to be masters? Slaves were freed all the time; nothing scandalous about that. Certainly Paul never urged Christians toward a little idol worship in order to fit in and not attract negative attention, so I have a hard time believing the avoid-trouble explanation.

  • Jason Carpp

    I’m not against a woman being a church pastor. I’ve known two who have been awesome preachers. What matters to me is his, or her preaching style, and what they preach.

  • Cindy Westfall

    It is informative that you only see slavery from a male point of view, but was it really that great for men? For men, there was some potential for upward mobility and emancipation, but an enslaved man had no personhood (he was not a human being) nor control over his own body. He had no control over his wife and children. Everyone and anyone had sexual access to all of them.Your master or superiors in the household could sexually beat you and yours like a drum if they chose, and, of course, evidence and human nature (#metoo) would indicate that they did. Furthermore, your master had control of life and death over you, your wife, and your children–if you were valuable to him, he might not abuse you. But do you really think that any enslaved males would be spared from same sex abuse in a culture that turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of their own sons in the gymnasium? Welcome to the Greek/Hellenist culture–if you are against same-sex relationships between men, you are in a hostile counter-culture.

    For the women, it wasn’t good at all. If you were a slave past the age of 3, you were automatically not considered to be a virgin–oh, wait, not because your masters, etc, weren’t raping you as an infant, but because they thought that your hymen grew back until the age of three. But for any woman who was enslaved as a girl, adolescent or woman, you were sexually accessible to the males in the household by definition. There were no laws or cultural standards that would protect you until Christianity came along. There was virtually no upward mobility. The only road out was to manipulate your master whom you were having sex with to marry you. Otherwise you would be used up and quickly grow old with little value. Wake up.

    You are parroting a fiction and essentially believing propaganda about how slavery was like contemporary employment. Maybe a slave who pleased his master would have the benefits of food and shelter, but I have been taught as a woman that woman doesn’t live by bread alone–what would I have paid for food and shelter? Everything that you would say was my value.


  • “took aside” is one of many possible translations of proslambano. It can simply mean “taking” food (see Acts 27:33,36), but it also frequently means to receive or accept someone (see Acts 28:2, Romans 14:3, Romans 15:7). It’s not about location, as in taking Apollos out of the synagogue setting and bringing him to the home setting. It is about taking him into their lives for the purpose of instructing him. The relevant matter is not the location, but whether or not Priscilla exercised spiritual and doctrinal authority over Apollos and taught him. I think that is precisely what happened in this story, and for me that is reinforced by the fact that after training Priscilla and Aquila, and bringing them along for his missionary journey to Ephesus, then left P&A to oversee Ephesus while Paul went to Galatia.

  • Yes, but masters aren’t threatened by anything. There’s nothing worthy of retribution or scandal if a master is kind to slave. But there definitely is if a slave revolts. I don’t think Paul telling masters and slaves how they should conduct themselves is an endorsement of slavery, anymore than telling the Roman church to be submissive to the Roman Empire was an endorsement of the Roman Empire. It was keeping the witness of the Church without blemish and keeping them out of trouble with the government, not a commentary on how godly the institution of the Caesar-worshiping Roman Empire was.

    There are plenty of things that we know are wrong, not because the Bible specifically points them out, but because they are contrary to the Spirit of Christ. The Bible doesn’t say not to call people racial slurs, but Jesus did tell us the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourself.

  • SD

    It is indeed sad and harmful testimony that someone who has preached the Gospel for 50years has lost his way and misled 1000s of others on this basic point. I wonder what MacArthur would say about women being doctors, teachers, accountants, administrators and… Does he have a list? And what would this list say about his understanding of mission? My suspicion is that his is dichotomised. Sexism and a dichotmised gospel make for a toxic formula.

  • Kenneth Litwak

    I have two things to say. First, John MacArthur, as he often does, picks and chooses verses to meet his need and the apparent need he and other men have to be in charge and demean women, made in the image of God. Besides that, hos comment about Beth Moore is disgraceful and inexcusable. If he is going to be that much of misogynist, he has no business preaching to anyone.

    Second, I don’t pay much attention to John MacArthur. I though his idea about Lordship salvation had some merit. However, I don’t consider him a CHristian anymore. Jesus said there is exactly one sin that cannot be forgiven. It is the attribution of the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. His Strange Fire confernce showed him repeatedly attributing the work of the Spirit to Satan. If you want to talk about denying biblical authority, his refusal to accept clear biblical teaching that the Holy Spirit is divine and sovereign and can do whatever he wants by badly misreading a few verses, MacArthur is a poster child for denying biblical authority. MacArthur’s sin is unforgivable. No one should listen to him on any subject.

  • scotmcknight

    For me the reason to seek an alternative to your reading, LT, is that your view contradicts what women were doing. There’s nothing in 1 Tim 2’s text that says this is “only” in a church while Priscilla is “outside” a church (and I doubt your interpretation very much on that anyway). Women prayed publicly; women prophesied in church contexts in 1 Cor. So I would have a question: Do you not see any tension between 1 Tim 2 and what women were doing in Pauline circles/churches or between 1 Tim 2 and what women do in the Bible (including Huldah, Junia, etc)? I think the view I espouse, which is hardly mine alone, is generated in part by the attempt to give some coherence to the evidence of the Bible.

  • josenmiami

    snarky. Does that qualify as “mansplaining”?

  • Realist1234

    Did you not detect the sarcasm in her comment?

  • Elca

    Yes, you are right, proslambona(#4355) is just one of many translation for “took aside”.
    #5298. hupochóreó is also one, as used in Luke 9:10 and has everything to do with a different location.
    #2398. idios id’-ee-os of uncertain affinity; pertaining to self, i.e. one’s own; by implication, private or separate:–X his acquaintance, when they were alone, apart, aside, due, his (own, proper, several), home, (her, our, thine, your) own (business), private(-ly), proper, severally, their (own). Is also one translation.
    Therefore the context determines the meaning of the word, chose wisely the correct one.

    However, even if we apply #4355.( proslambano pros-lam-ban’-o from 4314 and 2983; to take to oneself, i.e. use (food), lead (aside), admit (to friendship or hospitality):–receive, take (unto).)
    It does not imply that Aquila and Priscilla had ‘authority over ‘ Aposlos as Scott is suggesting.

    Secondly, the reason for ‘taking aside’ is not to eat food, but to explain, to impart knowledge.
    Thirdly, it was both Agilia and Priscilla doing the “taking aside” and NOT Priscilla alone, as Scott is implying.
    Fourthly, to take to oneself does not suggest that Aquila and priscilla were doing the explaining in the official assembly of believers. They were NOT on the pulpit as Apolos was.

    “The relevant matter is not the location, but whether or not Priscilla exercised spiritual and doctrinal authority over Apollos and taught him.” Sorry, the issue is both “location” and “authority” for Scott is saying that Priscilla did exercise authority over Apolos.
    Well, the word you gave does not have anything to do with ‘authority’ but it does suggest ‘location’.
    They ‘took him unto themselves’ it suggests he moved from point A ( the pulpit and the doctrinal error that he was in) to point B, to where they were, both physically and in doctrine. There was a moving of ideas and locale.

    It is also a convenient oversight to overlook the fact that it was both “aquila and Priscilla ” doing the explaining and NOT priscilla alone.

  • Elca

    Well said…

  • Kenneth Litwak

    Since you want a plain reading of 1 Tim 2:11-15, here’s one: 1 Tim 2:15 states unequivocally that if a woman has a baby, she will experience salvation, apparently salvation by “birth.{ That is what the text says. If the plain reading of that verse is wrong, why not of the other verses? I would ask you to explain what in the world was going on in Ephesus to prompt such a paragraph. If women never that, why would Paul say that they should not authentein? Something rather odd has to have been going on there and therefore, it’s not appropriate to cite those verses as if Law that is perfectly clear. They are not. Perhaps it is in the category of 1 Cor 11:2-16, something specific to a particular situation, unless of course you think it is sinful for a woman to be in a church services sans veil. In other words, I don’t want to apply any passage that seems plainly context-specific, when we don’t know the context, as a binding teaching of Paul. Otherwise, we should start baptizing for the dead.

  • LT

    As I am sure you are aware, that is a really simplistic post (and somewhat confusing. It seemsand i think you probably intended it that way. But nonetheless, a quick answer:

    1. The Bible clearly teaches that women are not saved from sin by childbearing. There are others verses that make that clear so this verse must mean something else. That has a direct correlation to the problem at hand. The Bible clearly teaches that woman are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church so verses that seem to indicate that (and there are none) must mean something else. The principle is that the clear always interprets the unclear.

    2. 1 Cor 11 is a great illustration of the issue. That passage identifies a particular historical and cultural thing with meaning (headcoverings) and draws an application from it. 1 Tim is the opposite. It identifies a longtime and transcultural reason (creation and fall) and draws an application from it. Both passages apply when the issues identified apply. 1 Cor 11 applies in all times and all places when headcoverings mean what they meant. 1 Tim 2 applies in all times and places when creation and fall means what it meant. This is first year hermeneutics. In 1 Cor 11, so long as headcoverings are an indication of authority, that passage is to be applied and obeyed. In 1 Tim 2, so long as man was created first and woman was deceived that passage is to be applied and obeyed.

    3. We know the context of 1 Tim 2: creation and fall. Paul tells us that that is the basis for his instruction about how we ought to conduct ourselves in the church.

  • LT

    1 Tim 3:15 says the book was written so that “1 Tim 3:15 one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
    That seems to clearly identify the context, that the teaching is about what goes on in the church. There are things in 1 Tim that apply outside the church, but it was written to Timothy for instructions about how the church should do things.

    Similarly, Acts 18:26 says that Priscilla and Aquila “took him aside” which is in contrast to the synagogue (public). How is “took him aside” the same as “in the church”? I don’t know how you sustain that from the text. So again, it seems to me that the text answers the questions on both counts.

    I don’t think there is any tension because I don’t see the evidence that women taught and exercised authority over men in the church. You read those and say there was a tension because what they were doing was teaching and exercising authority over men in the church (yet you haven’t demonstrated that from the text itself; you assert it based on what is not said). I read them and say there wasn’t because whatever they were doing is not teaching and exercising authority over men in the church (because it isn’t in the text; it has to be imported from our imaginations).

    Huldah was not in the church. Junia is not said to teach or exercise authority over men in the church (we can read the text and see it’s not there). Neither are any of the others. Such teaching/authority over men in the church has to be assumed and the text that forbids it based on creation and fall has to be explained away. I don’t think that is good methodology. I see no conflict unless one is determined to find justification for something.

    I realize your view is not yours alone. My view is not mine alone. The question comes back to the text: What does the NT say? Where does the NT unequivocally show women teaching or exercising authority over men in the church?

    I know of no place it does. And I would argue that your evidence indicates that you think the same thing. If you had a verse that unequivocally showed this, I imagine you would lead with it, just as complementarians lead with the clearest verse that makes their point.

  • Realist1234

    Scot – Id appreciate if you could respond to my comment below or point me in the right direction of another posting.

    thanks Peter

  • Kenneth Litwak

    No, I did not intend it to be simplistic nor is it confused in my eyes but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I tried to make a long response but I had to do it under the ID of another person and it seems to have not shown up. While I reconstruct it, as I consider it important, I have two questions for you.

    1. Do women pray and prophesy in your church services? 1 Corinthians 11:5 indicates that Paul knew this went on in church services or at least in one house church’s gatherings. That text is fairly explicit. If not, you are failing to follow Paul’s expectation of how things should be done in a church service. You probably also know that 1 Corinthians 14 assumes that multiple people speak in tongues and prophesy during church services. Since those who are Cessasoinists have a way they use to get around such texts, which definitely involves eisegesis–reading into the text what is not there–perhaps what the text “clearly” means in 1 Tim 2:11-15 is amenable to considering other texts as well. What do you think? This is not a question about what 1 Tim 2:11-15 means. It is a hermeneutical question about legitimate approaches to interpreting Scripture.

    2. In your church service, do you let women pray, sing, greet people, talk to family members, or in any other way produce sounds with their mouths? If so, you are, I assume awae that this is in violation of Paul’s explicit instruction for women to remain are to remain silent in the church gatherings (1 Cor 14:34). That’s pretty clear too. It is also a stark contrast to 1 Cor 11:5. I don[‘t know what you do with that but I find it difficult. I disagree with Fee that it is a textual corruption because the evidence for that is so meager but that’s another discussion. So, what does your church do?

    The essential point here is that Paul said some things that are hard to understand, according to Peter, including in texts that have a “clear” meaning. What do you think?

  • LT

    1. Yes women pray. They do not prophesy because no one prophesies. Prophecy is a sign gift that is no longer for today. I have found no eisegesis in the cessationist position but this isn’t the place for that.

    2. Yes, women pray, sing, greet people, talk to family members, etc. That does not seem to violate 1 Cor 14:34, even if we assume that is authentic.

    Yes, Paul said some things that are hard to understand. Not sure why you say that is true in texts that have a clear meaning, but whatever. What is hard to understand about “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over men”? “Hard to understand” is not the same as “don’t like” or “wish it was different” or “doesn’t fit in modern society.”

    Let me ask you this: If God had intended to make it clear that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church, what could he have said to make it more clear than 1 Tim 2?

  • Kenneth Litwak

    Then you are either saying that 1 Cor 14:34 is not plain in its meaning or that your church doens’t care? Which is it?

    Calling prophecy a “sign gift” is a Cessasionist argument and it is invalid. Paul does refer to it in 1 Corinthians 14 functioning that way. That is not at all equal to “prophecy is only a sign gift” and where not needed that way, it does not happen. That, my friend, is eiseggsis., not first-year hermeneutics.

  • LT

    Thanks but no. I am not aware of anyone who thinks that 1 Cor 14:34 is plain in its meaning in context. Perhaps there are some, but it would be hard to imagine since to get to v. 34 you have to read at least some of the previous. And I certainly would not agree that my church doesn’t care. Far to the contrary. 1 Cor 14:34 might not even be Scripture. But there are clear and undeniable passages that show women using voices in church that means that verse must be considered in its context. There are no such passages concerning 1 Tim 2:11-15. That’s what keeps getting missed here. Nothing in Scripture shows any woman disobeying 1 Tim 2:11-15. Every argument involves things the text doesn’t say. That’s a major problem. One of the interesting parts of this has always been the willingness to overlook both text and context.

    Calling prophecy a sign gift is not an argument at all. It is a statement. As I said, this is not the place to engage the cessationist argument, though I find it sound. If you don’t agree, God gave me a prophecy for you: Prophecy has ceased. But that is foundational to understanding my position. If you disagree, fine. But you still have to deal with the text and show us a place where Scripture indisputably shows women teaching or exercising authority over men in the church.

  • Chris Brooks

    To deny a woman to preach is to deny what the Bible teaches.

    Scot, you’re better than this. You can disagree with these people, but you can’t pretend they’re doing their best to follow what they think the Bible teaches. You think they’ve got it wrong, fine — convince them of that.

    This topic is wearing out my patience because both sides talk past each other and, amazingly, seem to quote the exact same NT passages to prove their points. Someone is wrong, but you guys have to work out who it is.

  • Realist1234

    Although I am unsure about this issue, if you were to substitute male names for those females, would you have any doubt of the sort of role they undertook?


  • Realist1234

    If I was to tell Robert that ‘John and Betty took LT to one side and explained X to him’ would Robert not reasonably conclude that they both spoke to you?

  • scotmcknight

    Sorry, but I find what MacArthur said to be egregious incivility. Of course I know they are serious with the Bible and I have said so many times, but I disagree, and I think that list of women establishes the very point he denies.

  • scotmcknight

    I’m complaining now about Patheos’ system with Disqus on approving and disapproving comments. More and more are being blocked or held in reserve for the use of “Restricted Word,” and so far I’ve seen comments blocked for “Hitler” and “kill” and “slave” and “slavery” and “oral” (as in oral tradition”) … this is over-the-top monitoring. Please complain as you can to Disqus and BeliefNet. I’m sorry but this could make conversation impossible. This includes blocking a comment quoting Gal 3:28!

  • scotmcknight

    And my own comment about restricted words was blocked for using restricted words!

  • a r tompkins

    more likely the bible was not written by gods at all, but by old, male,
    jealous, paranoid, insecure misogynists, hell bent on keeping their
    wives, concubines, mistresses, and slaves in perfect ignorance and
    submission. Try reading the bible from beginning to end, in that order.
    What a confused mess of philosophy, “wisdom”, ignorance, narcissism,
    treachery, adultery, deceit, and, well, you name it. Hardly a thing in
    there that is both consistent and useful.

  • LT

    I don’t know. I think the same questions would have to be asked: What does the text say? It still doesn’t say. So I suppose the answer would yes, I would still doubt the role they undertook.

    But I think at least one difference is that one would require disobedience to Scripture and the other would not. I don’t think God would forbid something and then approvingly show someone doing it.

  • LT

    Perhaps. But perhaps not. But so what? I am not sure the relevance. I wouldn’t dispute that Priscilla spoke to him. That would not violate the Scripture at all.

    But as has happened in the past. my wife and I have taken someone aside and one or the other has done all the talking. The other of us was just there for support.

  • NorrinRadd

    In light of my kitty’s name, I must gently upbraid you for neglecting Phoebe. 🙂

  • NorrinRadd

    If you want a detailed “list” like that, Wayne Grudem produced an excruciatingly exhaustive one several years ago. Now very difficult to find online.

  • NorrinRadd

    The fact that you “don’t think authentein is difficult” suggests you are not very familiar with these discussions. I haven’t read Scot’s book, so I’m not sure of the extent to which he addresses it. Online, you can find, for free, good presentations by Ben Witherington and Phillip Payne on some of the translation issues in that passage.

  • NorrinRadd

    This involves different hermeneutical presuppositions, which are often not spelled out. Some of us believe the epistles are specifically “to” the churches or individuals to whom they are addressed. They apply elsewhere to the extent that the situations are analogous.

    It also assumes a particular translation of “authentein,” “didasko,” and the conjunction, “oude.” Does it mean, as you seem to believe, “teach or exercise authority”? Or does it mean something more like “teach with seized authority,” or “teach in a domineering way”?

  • NorrinRadd

    Why not reference Phoebe?

  • davidt

    The new testament piviots on a man rejecting the Bible it’s authority and at the same time he flips religion, culture, everyone off. That’s actually to be a man. Without that there is no new testament. He was a sole carpenter, he is the saint of Carpenters today his name is Joseph.

    From.that action to not alloe Mary to be stoned to death a child was born. Who turned and flipped the entire culture off, the religious community and everyone by asking a simple question what is love? That’s a man question. Little boys fawn over nonsense men ask. The apple did not fall far from Joseph and that rejection of the word of God and nonsense became the word of God.
    Little boy learn how to read like a man instead of a church fanatic.

  • Malissa

    Going back to 1 Timothy 2, I believe it is referring to Artemis worship. The “murderous authority” (authentein) may have something to do with the legends of Artemis preemptively killing peeping Toms before they had a chance to try to rape her. And the “salvation through childbirth” obviously refers to physical safety, not soul salvation. Artemis was a fertility goddess and women prayed to her for safety for themselves and their infants. As for the part about creation order and deception, the early Gnostics believed that Eve was created before Adam and that God actually wanted her to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (because Genesis only says that God forbade Adam, it doesn’t say whether He forbade Eve or not.)

  • Elca

    Many have imported authority into the text , because she was a “Deaconess” or Servant to the saints and Paul.
    But the context of what Paul referenced is in respect to her care for the Physical well being of others and Paul.
    quote,“…for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.” Yet many falsely interpret that Phoebe was in an official position of authority in the Assembly of believers. The Text does not support that.

    In this article, Scott said, quote,“Phoebe who (probably) read and interpreted Romans to the house churches there. Scott is NOT sure if Phoebe did what he is crediting her with for the text does not say so.
    A deliverer of Messages does not open the mail and read it.
    But you are conferring to her what the text does not.

    Martha was a Servant to Jesus and those who she welcomed into her home… do you also confer authority over Jesus because she Served Jesus and the disciples?

    So why do you want to reference Phoebe ?

  • LT

    Or perhaps you missed the point. No matter what “authentein” means, the alternative is “keep silent.” I have read both Witherington and Payne, and probably most other major contributors.

  • LT

    I think all of us believe that the epistles are specifically to churches or individuals and apply elsehwere to the extent that the situations are analogous. I don’t know how you would read it and believe anything else. I don’t think I have ever encountered people who believe otherwise, but admittedly, I only have a DMin and half a PhD, so perhaps it is in the other half of the PhD that we encounter those folks. 🙂

    Seriously, the only way to teach is determine what it meant to the people to whom it was written and then determine what is analogous to that today. That’s the bridge between the two worlds.

    The phrase means “teach or exercise authority.” And the alternative is to “keep silent.” Why does that keep getting missed? Whatever “teach or exercise authority” means, it is forbidden based on creation and fall, and the alternative is not “teach differently” or “teach with a man’s permission” but “keep silent.”

    It is ironic that in a discussion about egalitarianism and the equality of women, there are some who think women need men’s permission to teach.

  • LT

    But 1 Timothy 2 doesn’t speak of Artemis, so there is no textual reason to believe that. Therein lies the issue: Either we accept what the text says or we don’t. You want to believe something the text does not say and does not reference and something for which there is no biblical historical reason to believe. But it allows you to make the text mean something else. I don’t find that a convincing way to deal with Scripture.

    Once we leave the text, what makes your view better than mine? If the text is not a guide to what we are to understand, then why is any understanding better than another? I would suggest your methodology is completely unanchored. We have no reason to believe it other than you.

  • Elca

    Good to know. Thanks

  • NorrinRadd

    If you’re familiar with their work, then you know that the “clear” alternatives you present are matters of your interpretation, not of Scripture per se. Both Payne and Witherington note that the alternatives are not “authentein” and “silence,” but rather “authentein” and “quietness” (in the sense that the cognate term is used several verses earlier). Both Payne and Witherington note that the tense of the verb translated “permit” does not suggest a permanent, universal instruction. Payne in particular notes that the “authentein” is grammatically linked to “teach.”

    Not knowing Scot’s argument, I have to say that the meaning of “authentein” DOES matter. Is the instruction, “I am not permitting a woman to self-assume authority to teach a man” (or “I am not permitting a woman to teach a man in a domineering way”), “but rather she must remain peaceable,” or is it as you say?

  • NorrinRadd

    Given that in the early days, believers gathered in homes and various other places in groups of various sizes, what does “in the church” (or “in the household of God”) even mean? Did only certain “special” gatherings in “special” places count? Or was pretty much any assembling of believers considered “church”?

    Where do we see specific examples of *men* “exercising authority” when “in the church”? I’m sure there are some, but I can’t think of them off hand. I know unnamed elders are to be rewarded when they “rule well” (1 Tim. 5:18). The same word occurs in Rom. 12, and a form of the word is used in regard to Phoebe in Rom. 16. Some of us would see her as an explicit example of a woman who “ruled” (although IMO, the NT standard for *all* church “rulers” is that “service” is emphasized far above “authority”).

    Some of us would also see the natural sense of Col. 4:15 as implying Nympha hosted and presided over a house church.

  • NorrinRadd

    A D.Min. and half a Ph.D. Congrats. Is that your attempt at mimicking Paul’s rhetorical boasting? I have a B.S., and FTR you are quite welcome to joke about the implications of that. 🙂

    Perhaps in contrast to you, I have spent most of my Christian life among “regular” (non-academic) believers of the Evangelical and Pentecostal variety. There can be a tendency to believe virtually everything was written directly “to” us today, just as much as to the original recipients.

    Elsewhere in the discussion, you asserted familiarity with scholars taking the view contrary to yours. If true, you should not so glibly and unambiguously assert that “the phrase means ‘teach or exercise authority,'” and “the alternative means ‘keep silent,'” because you know there are experts who dispute both of those points. It is not that your assertion is “getting missed,” it is being challenged.

    Likewise, we don’t all agree Paul’s instructions were “based on” Creation and the Fall (and thus universally normative, per the view common to your side of the debate). Some see the allusion as an illustration, others (probably most notably Linda Belleville) see it as a direct refutation of an actual heresy extant in Ephesus.

    I’m not sure where you got the idea that some of us egalitarians “need men’s permission to teach.” If it relates to the likely definition of “authentein” as “assume independent authority,” per BDAG, we also don’t believe Paul would have condoned *men* assuming independent authority to start teaching in a church he founded.

  • NorrinRadd

    For the reasons you cavalierly dismiss. 🙂

    You seem to be willing to grant that Phoebe was the courier of the epistle. Keener (Paul, Women, and Wives, p. 238) explains that as such, she would have been expected to be able to read and explain it to the recipients; whether or not that is the convention TODAY is irrelevant. “The text” occurs in a particular language and a particular cultural context.

    Keener, Witherington, and others discuss the translations of “diakonos,” “prostatis,” “paristemi,” and other relevant terms. Payne (Man and Woman, One in Christ, pp. 61-64 is particularly thorough.) Briefly, “prostatis” is a leadership term, and is related to “proistemi,” “rule” or “lead” in 12:8 of the same epistle; every occurrence of a related word in the NT suggests some sort of leadership. The context is that the Romans are supposed to provide physical aid to her, but not that that was the sort of aid she provided. Keener notes that a likely reason for citing such qualifications is to establish her credibility as courier and expounder of the letter.

    [Edited to fix formatting tags.]

  • Elca

    Based on the cultural and social milieu in the first century, and the investigation of the meanings of diakonos and prostatis, it leaves no doubt that Phoebe could not have been the pastor or a leader alongside men in the Cenchrean church, nor was she occupying the office of a deaconess in the official sense.
    Nevertheless she played an active role in the church and has touched the lives of Paul and the people there through her faithful service. Thus by identifying her as a diakonos and a prostatis, Paul was giving her a title of honor and esteem and presenting her to the people at Rome as one who is fitting to be received in to the church because she was a faithful servant of the church.


    I did ask you about Martha, was she too in authority over Jesus and the Disciples.? She too , like Phoebe did serve (#1248) and was known for her service to Jesus and the brethren.

    You are applying conjecture to interpret Phoebe’s role as having exercised “authority” or was in Authority position in the House Church, even though it was her home. The Church of Jesus Christ has Order, set forth by Jesus Christ Himself.
    Good to know that Phoebe knew her role and did not seek to be in roles forbidden of her. She was not an Egalitarian or a feminist.

  • baroquenspirit

    How about Anna who told anyone who would listen about the child, Jesus?

  • NorrinRadd

    That was an interesting essay you linked. I could pick at a few points, but ultimately all it achieves is proving what we already knew: Expert opinions are divided. Ms Lam’s conclusions are not conclusive.

    Regarding Martha: My apologies for not responding to your question. I took it as rhetorical, as it should have been. No, she was not in “authority” over Jesus. Contrary to your self-evidently frivolous claim, there is no evidence the kind of “service” she was performing was akin to Phoebe’s.

    OTOH, Keener has noted that the behavior of Martha’s sister Mary in Luke 10, while annoying to Martha, was like that of the other disciples, and consistent with one in training to become a teacher.

    Of course I am “applying conjecture.” *Everyone* trying to understand and apply texts thousands of years old is applying conjecture.

    Finally: The more of these discussions I participate in, the more I am dismayed by the emphasis on “authority.” Hierarchy in and of itself seems to be a major focus on the patriarchal side. I’m aware that there was some sort of power structure in the early Church, that apostles expected churches, especially ones they founded, to obey them. But several of the NT words relating to leadership and authority are rarely if ever explicitly used in regard to believers relating to other believers, and some of the words that are used — proistemi and its relatives, for instance — have a sense of “care for” as much as “rule.” That seems in keeping with what Jesus (Matt. 20:25) and Peter (1 Pet. 5:3) said.

  • LT

    No, I give that as evidence that I am not a neophyte who, as some suggest, has never read or interacted with anything I disagree with. Most of my Christian life has been spent among regular believers of the evangelical variety. I have not come across people who think the Bible was written directly to them.

    I am not glibly or unambiguously asserting anything. But the only way of determining what something means is the words. And that is what the words mean. You know that. I realize that not all agree, but the words still mean something. I realize not all agree that Creation and Fall are the basis for the command, but it’s what the words mean.

    Your view would enable me to assert that you, NorrinRadd, is a fundamentalist complementarian. After all, if word don’t mean what they say and can instead mean something directly opposite, your meaning is whatever I say it is.

    As for the idea that egalitarians need men’s permission, it is bound up in the common view that women are allowed to teach under the authority of elders, i.e., if a man or group of men give them permission to.

  • LT

    “Matters of your interpretation” is a common way of avoiding the issue. It enables one to assert their own authority over that of the text. At the end of the day, we must read what the text says and obey. We are not to try to make it fit into some preconceived notion about what it can or cannot say. Payne and Witherington are not convincing for multiple reasons. Authentein is linked to teach. That’s what teaching is: An authoritative declaration of what God has said with the resultant obligation to believe and obey. There is nothing about “self-assume” or “domineering” in the word that is obvious. That is a common ploy to, IMO, reach a predetermined conclusion. Egalitarians cannot accept the text because they could no longer be egalitarians. They must find a way around it and one way they do so is by asserting meanings that are unattested. But they work.

    I dare say that if people were not trying to find a way for women to teach men in church, no one would ever have read the passage that way.

  • Elca

    I am please you did read the link…hopefully you were enlightened.

  • NorrinRadd

    1) Cavalierly dismissing “matters of interpretation” is a common way of showing oneself to be both condescending and ignorant; specifically, ignorant of the fact that *everyone* interprets Scripture.

    2) Have you read anything by either Payne or Witherington, or do you merely wave them away based on my brief references to them?

    3) Payne shows that the passage only prohibits “teaching” when it is done in an “authentein” way — by self-assumed authority, and/or in a domineering way. That’s the grammar of the Greek, whether or not any common English translation properly reveals it.

    4) I dare say that if people read the passage on its own and at face value in most common English translations, they would agree with you that women are never to teach men. They would also believe that women are to remain totally silent, and that they must bear children in order to be saved. OTOH, if they came to this passage in 1 Tim. only after having already encountered the previous books of the canon, they would have seen men and women as emphatically equal in the Spirit-empowered speaking in carrying out the Great Commission (Acts 2); they would have seen Priscilla participating in teaching Apollos in Acts 18; they would have seen Phoebe as a deacon and leader in Rom. 16; they would have seen Junia as an apostle in Acts 16; they would have seen men and women explicitly put on equal footing in Gal. 3; they might have suspected Nympha to be overseer of a house church in Col. 4; they would have seen women expected to both pray and prophesy in 1 Cor. 11, but then (apparently) silenced in 1 Cor. 14. With that varied background, if they have even a smattering of good sense, they would *not* just “read what the text says and obey,” but rather would probe issues of translation and yes, “interpretation.”

  • LT

    1) Not all “matters of interpretation” are equally valid and it is neither condescending nor arrogant to point that out, not did I cavalierly dismiss it. If I were to point out that you were claiming here that women were prohibited from teaching and exercising authority over men in the church, you would rightly object. If I said, “That’s a matter of interpretation,” you would rightly object again, and you would point to your words as evidence of what you were saying. And you would be right. So why is pointing to the words God used dismissed so easily? Why is it arrogant and condescending to say that we can determine what someone means by reading the words they use? It is not condescending and arrogant to point out that words carry meaning.

    2) Yes, quite a bit of both.

    3) Payne was not successful in that argument. It failed on several different points.

    4) Partially correct. First, no one is suggesting we isolate this passage from the rest of Scripture. Far to the contrary, I am saying we should use the rest of Scripture to interpret it, beginning as God does in Genesis. It is others here who I can’t get to actually read the text. Second, everyone agrees that both men and women are equal in carrying out the Great Commission. That, like so much here, is a red herring. Third, Phoebe was a deacon, but if you actually read Rom 16, you see nothing about her being a leader. That is why I continually say that we should read the rest of Scripture. Don’t isolate verses. Actually read them. You will see Junia, though there is debate about whether she was an apostle or simply highly regarded by the apostles. But more importantly, you will see nothing in the text about Junia having teaching or authority over men in the church. You have to make that up. Gal 3 says that we are equal in spiritual standing before Christ. The text says nothing about teaching and exercising authority over men. And so on.

    In fact, if you actually read the Bible and pay attention to what it says (not what it doesn’t say), you will see no clear examples of women teaching o r exercising authority over men in the church. Why do you think that is?

  • NorrinRadd

    1a) Having reread your post to which I replied, and those leading up to it, I stand by my assessment.

    1b) I agree that not all interpretations are equally valid. But I note that we have no authoritative inspired “extra Scripture” to tell us with certainty how to interpret Scripture.

    1c) You are babbling gibberish. The difference between looking at what Scripture says and looking at what you and I say is that you and I are directly speaking English to each other. Part of the disagreement we are having is that we have not agreed on the best English rendering of this passage of Scripture.

    2) Ok, good to know.

    3) Whether or not Payne failed is a matter of opinion, of course. He clearly failed to persuade YOU.

    4a) Beginning in Genesis, I see the original Creation showing equal partnership of man and woman, with no hierarchy until the Fall. This helps frame what I see in the New Creation which comes with the New Covenant instituted by Christ, the Second Adam.

    4b) I suspect I see “equal in carrying out the Great Commission” in a more thoroughgoing way than you.

    4c) I don’t rely only on “deacon”; I see “prostatis” as a leadership term.

    4d) If Junia was an apostle — I grant there is still some lingering debate about that — there should be no need to assume she did NOT do the sorts of things associated with being an apostle, whether or not they are stated in the passage… that is, unless you want to “make up” such a notion.

    4e) Gal. 3:28 says nothing about “spiritual standing.” That is your INTERPRETATION. My interpretation considers the context, and concludes that in Christ, the ideal is that the class distinctions that existed under the Law are no longer in effect.

    5) I see examples of women teaching and leading men, I do not see clear prohibitions against such. I see that much more commonly men were the leaders. I consider this DEscriptive, not PREscriptive. I consider Acts 2 and Gal. 3:28 to be more PREscriptive, even if they could not be fully realized during the time the NT documents were recorded.