You are on page 1of 28


Should the NT Haustafeln

Argue for or against the 1
Ordination of Women, or Should the Current 2
Trends Open up the Opportunity? 3
Simon Bwambale, PhD 4
Lecturer, Bugema University, Kampala Uganda, Dec 2013 5
Abstract 7
The question whether to ordain women or not threatens the fabric of the Seventh-day Adventist 8
Church. The anti and the pro-ordination argument hinge on scripture, the only source of authority for the 9
Remnant Church. This paper has made a critical observation of the arguments and concludes that neither 10
of the camps is right. It has made a brief excursus into the backdrop that may have influenced the 11
prohibitions and observed that it (the backdrop) may not certify the prohibitions to be eternal interdiction 12
on women participation in ministry. The study realizes that the seeming interdictions are statements aimed 13
at setting the church in orderhaustafeln to defocus believers from their individual self in order to 14
refocus them to their divine calling as colabourers with Paul in Christ. Because the NT seems quiet on the 15
issue whether to, or not to ordain women, and because the texts used for or against seem to be read either at 16
an apparent level, or applied without a keen regard to the contexts, this paper suggests further study of the 17
verses that form the backbone of arguments before any action is taken by the world church. 18
Introduction 19
In the paper presented by the writer to the ECD Biblical Research Committee of 20
March 19-21, 2013, it was noted that "the practice of, or the mere prospects to the 21
of women is a wage that may soon or later break the cords that holds a 22
majority of the Christian denominations including the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) 23
"Conservatives" (hereafter, "exclusivists") perceive gender inclusiveness as 24
Houstafeln is a plural form of the German word Haustafel which may literary be interpreted as House
Table, denoting house or community decorum. Marshall H. Lewis categorises Haustafeln as first, Church
order regulations (1 Tim 2:8-15; 6:1-2; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Clement 1:3; 21:6-9). Second, haustafel may be in form
of wisdom (Did 4:9-11; Bar 19:5-7). Third, it may be station codes as exemplified by Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-
4:1; 1 Pet 2:13-3:12. Lewis observes that "early Christian station codes typically mention three station pairs:
masters and slaves, husbands and wives, parents and children, with the instruction that the latter are to
submit to the former." See Marshall H. Lewis, "The Petrine Haustafel: A Contemporary Interpretation," A
Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements of Ch 522 Theologies of the New Testament,
Chicago Theological Seminary, April 1995, 3.
Simon Bwambale, "Where is the Ordination of Women in the NT?: A Review of Views, and
Recommendations," A paper Presented at the Biblical Research Committee, Advent Hill, Nairobi, Kenya,
March 2013, 1.
The researcher conducted a simple survey to sample the perception on WO. The first group
comprised students of the School of Theology and Religious Studies, Bugema University. In attendance was
265 students out of the 326 students reflected in the records from the Registrar's office. The nationalities of
the students included Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. The survey question was "Should the SDA Church Ordain Women?
Yes, No. Give reasons for your answer." Out of the 265 students, 108 said "Yes," 146 said "No" and 11 had
contrary to biblical revelation. On the contrary, the pro-ordinationists (hereafter, 25
"inclusivists"), too, regard women exclusion from ministry as contrary to the biblical 26
perspective of the role of women in God's mission,
and are confident that time and 27
trends will take care of entrenched male prejudice that deters the progress. The above 28
views exhibit for each other a disdain that fails to acknowledge the bitterness and the 29
divisions generated by the debate.
This paper endeavours to make an additional excursus on the issue of women 31
ordination (hereafter, WO) to ministry by, first making a summary of the pull-and-push in 32
the SDA Church discussed in the previous paper. Second, the paper is an attempt to 33
exegetically elaborate the NT haustafeln that supply to the exclusivists the basis for rejecting 34
WO. Third, since, like the exclusivists, the inclusivists often seek the mandate of scripture 35
to advance their propositions, this paper seeks to further investigate the major texts 36
alluded to. Fourth, the paper recommends a way forward for the Seventh-day Adventist 37
Church leadership to deal with the challenge. 38
A Summary of Argument for and 39
against Women's Ordination 40
Though the voices for or against WO are equally strong and divisive in other 41
denominations, this section concerns itself with the phenomenon in the SDA church. 42
Percentage wise, the voices for and against WO cut the SDA church midway though there 43
might be varying concentrations on the globe. For the exclusivist camp, the Bible is 44
basically the foundation for the argument against WO
and maintain that biblical texts 45
that regulate women's participation are extremely clear, and need not be subjected to the 46
no position. The second survey was conducted after a devotional of the Uganda Union committee members
and staff. Out of the attendance of 45 people 15 said "Yes," 26 said "No," and 4 had no position. Apart
from those who had no position, both groups gave reasons that were based on Scripture. Though not
conventionally samples, the perception of the groups may, to some degree, a representation of the
perception in the Church in East Central Africa Division.
See Nancy Vyhmeister, ed., Women in Ministry: A Biblical and Historical Perspective, (Berrien Springs, MI:
Andrews University Press, 1998).
Gordon Wenham, "Ordination of Women: Why is it so Divisive," Churchman, 92(1978): 310.
Rodney A. Whitacre also observes that the ordination of women is not only a complex topic, it is also an
emotionally loaded topic because big issues are at stake. It is obviously such for women who feel called to
ordained ministry. More generally, for many folks it is seen as an issue of equality, and there is anger at the
injustice and oppression involved if women are not able to serve God as they feel led. See Rodney A.
Whitacre, "Reasons for Questioning Womens Ordination in the Light of Scripture," 2013, 2.
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, "Campaign for Women's Ordination: Role of Church Leaders and
Scholars," Excerpted and modified from Must We Be Silent?: Issues Dividing Our church, (Ann Arbor, MI:
Berean Books, 2001), xx.
exegesis that water down their prescription to the modern church.
They do acknowledge 47
their role.
A host of Adventists call for a return to Scripture to guide in the question and 48
sound a caveat that a firm stand on the "truth" may be at the expense of positions and 49
As the case is with the exclusivists, the inclusivists' voice are loud and firm from men 51
and women who aver that the Church has unnecessarily delayed to endorse WO, and 52
argue that because the trends have given a new perspective to human roles time has 53
come to stand up and be counted and truly act on what we believe, that God is no 54
respecter of persons and that, in Christ, there is no male or female.
A social argument 55
sticks out strongly and as Keren Katoske contends the Church's endorsement to WO 56
would not only follow biblical instruction but also to maintain credibility before our younger 57
members who are keenly aware of gender issues (emphasis supplied).
The endorsement is 58
sometimes viewed as heeding to the biblical-eschatological call to involve all co-laborers in 59
the thrust of the end-time proclamation; a heed to the call for justice (Micah 6:8), 60
egalitarianism (Gal 3:28) and selflessness (Matt 7:12).
Furthermore, Priesthood of all 61
believers is another factor fronted for WO for reasons that faith in Jesus elevates believers 62
to a common platform irrespective of gender.
Ray avers that ordaining women not only 63
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, "Answers to Questions about Women's Ordination" Adventist Affirm
(1987): 1-3.
Ibid, 2; This camp observe the conspicuous role of women in the OT and NT: Huldah who
counseled the prophets, (2 Kgs 22:13, 14), women who sang and attended to tabernacles and Temple (1
Samuel 2:22, 1 Chr 25:5, 6, Psa 68:24, 25), women who prayed aloud and prophesied in the church (1 Cor
11:5), and those who laboured with Paul (Phil 4:3). In the NT Paul strongly commends some, including
widows (Rom 16:1-5, 6, 12, 13, 15; Acts 9:39). Despite their importance, women did not serve as priests in
the OT (Exod 28:1, Num 3:1-13)(See Bwambale, 5). The camp studies the texts including 1 Tim 2:11-14;
3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1Cor 14:33-36) and conclude that women did not serve as leaders; nor did they serve as
teachers, elder, pastor in the New Testament (Ibid.)
Speaking against the decision at PUC, Christine G. Byrn, working in the Education Department at
the Conference, boldly assert that women are already active in ministry. It is unwise to create an impression
that would create schism within the Church (Bwambale, 5 ). See also Christine G. Byrn, to Elder Rothler,
March 26, 2012, an email as response to the Action of PUC on Womens ordination, accessed Feb 21, 2013.
Lourdes-Morales Gudmundsson, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the
action of PUC on the issue of womens ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013.
Keren Katoske, Walace D. Minder, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the
action of PUC on the issue of womens ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013.
Dan Smith, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the action of PUC on the
issue of womens ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013. On the point of equality, see also Randall I. Roberts
et al., Rob and Daphne Thomas, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the action of
PUC on the issue of womens ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013.
Courtney Ray, Gilbert M. Valentine, and Jared Wright, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an
email response to the action of PUC on the issue of womens ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013.
bears a witness to the world that God truly is not a respecter of persons, but it also shows 64
our commitment to the biblical concept of the priesthood of all believers!
The consequent tension ought not to be underestimated. The remark captured by 66
Gary Patterson that the GC has no authority over ministers and, thus, overstepped its 67
bounds in seeking to tell the unions
what to do on the matter, ought to be a signal of 68
the iceberg. "Objection to ordain, according to him, is interfering with the eschatological 69
mission work of the Holy Spirit to inspire sons and daughters" as stated in Acts 11:17, 70
Yes, in terms of percentage, the voices for and against WO in the SDA church are 72
equally strong , and each voice integrates scripture in the argument. The last paper 73
concentrates on identifying the textual challenges overlooked by each side as they employ 74
them (albeit sometimes eisegetically). The next section is dedicated to hermeneutical and 75
exegetical study of the common NT haustafeln texts that are often employed by exclusivists 76
to ground their argument in Scripture. 77
Some NT Haustafeln and Exclusivism 78
It may be proper to restate in this paper that "on top of the exclusivist views being 79
skewed to personal feelings, socio-cultural and psychological presuppositions, most of the 80
exegetical exertions have a GIGO tendency that goes into the biblical text using a 81
particular hermeneutic approach to scoop out information bent towards a premeditated 82
The Historical Setting of Some Haustafeln 84
The first century Christianity was operating in a contextual mix of a conglomerated 85
Gnostic philosophic structure which the NT interpretations earlier than our century have 86
not delved into. This may not be a surprise. The quiescence of Gnosticism might be 87
attributed the blow that buried the philosophy into oblivion. According to Gary C. Burger, 88
Orthodoxy Christianity struggled against Gnosticism in the fourth century and gave a 89
lasting blow to the philosophy by cutting it off from Christianity, ostracizing its teachers, 90
Gary Patterson, Six Points on the Ordination of Women Issue, at
@EbookBrowse (Feb., 13, 2013). 1
Bwambale, 6.
Bwambale, 7. For the meaning of 'GIGO' see Rod Short, "GIGO," The International Maritime Human
Element Bulletin 4(July 2004), dampier.pdf, (Accessed March 4, 2013).
and cracking down on their literature. This state of affairs continued until the 1945 Nag 91
Hammadi discovery of more-than-a dozen remaining scrolls that for over a millennium 92
had been hoarded. After unearthing the complex teaching and lifestyle advocated by this 93
philosophy, fresh light has been flashed on some statements of the NT thereby making 94
them clearer to the present age.
The convoluted structure of Gnosticism has precipitated debate among historians 96
over the cradle of Gnosticism. While Some observe Gnosticism to be a pre-Christian 97
philosophy that may be traced back to the Persian and Babylonian times, others associate 98
it with Zoroastrianism. On the other hand some have regarded it as an offshoot of 99
Judaism. In connection with this, Willis Barnerstone and Marvin Mayer observe that the 100
distinction between transcended god and the creator of the world might have been the 101
impact of the monotheistic affirmations of the Jewish Gnostics. Perhaps, they avers, the 102
Gnostic mythology of two far apart gods may have been a construct of a merge of the 103
Jewish apocalypticism and the reflections of the Hellenistic Jewish thinkers that emerged 104
after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 A.D.
The hue of the philosophy does bring in other speculations. In the introduction to 106
the book The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels advances that as early as before the first century 107
A.D., there existed trade interactions between the Greco-Roman and Indian communities. 108
Because of these links the Buddhist missionaries may have infiltrated and might have been 109
proselytizing in and around Alexandria. It may be precisely averred that the consequence 110
of this inroad may have caused a hazy divide between the Gnostic and the Eastern, 111
An overview of several of Paul's admonitions may be a foretaste that the Greco- 113
Roman world embraced the gospel with a worldview that challenged or, at best, 114
compromised some Christian doctrines. In an attempt to set the Christian "house" in order 115
Paul makes statements to check the inroads of the Gnostic mythology and practice into 116
the believing community. George E. Buttrick, too, avers that Paul strongly charged 117
Gary C. Burger, "The Gnostic View of the Feminine, 2. Available at, October 12, 2013.

Willis Bernstone and Marvin Mayer, Gnosticism, Gnostics, and the Gnostic Bible, (London, England:
Shambhala, 2003), 3.
Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, (New York, NY: Vintage Books Edition, Random Books, Inc.,
1989), xxi.
Timothy with the task of combating heresies in order to maintain orthodoxy. In the 118
epistles, Paul 119
"...flings an accumulated heap of epithets at his opponents denouncing them 120
with scathing and scorching language. They profess to know God, but actually know 121
nothing. Their minds are corrupt and depraved. They have rejected the truth. Their 122
knowledge is falsely so called. Their wrangling is only godless chatter, dispute about 123
words, godless and silly myths...Having departed from and missed the mark as regards 124
faith being disobedient, insubordinate and unbelieving, they have become subjects to 125
deceitful spirit and doctrines of demons, caught up in devil's trap."
All such as above were not from human revulsion of opponents,
rather it ought to 127
be viewed as a bid to inhibit the state of affairs that would gradually "orthodoxize" 128
heresies by popularizing them. Such common-placing in the believing community of the 129
amalgamation of the heresy-orthodoxy would produce an amorphous conglomeration of a 130
type of hybrid Christianity far removed from the cause of Christ to which Paul and his 131
fellow labourers were called.
Jacob E. Sofra and Jorge A. Caurz observe that "the Gnostics sects of the 2nd 133
century made use of the Hebrew and Christian religious writings, employing the allegorical 134
methods to extricate Gnostic meanings from them."
Conversely, some Christian 135
teachings owed much from the Gnostic philosophy to the extent that some Christians 136
practiced "quasi-Christian Eucharist and baptisms and others rejecting all aspects of 137
conventional worship including prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Notions of ethics likewise 138
varied widely."
In addition to Gnosticism, Buttrick mentions that Jewish and pagan 139
influences "were freely circulating and seeking incorporating themselves into the rapidly 140
growing Christian movement becoming. As the church was expanding and embracing 141
individuals, various points of view were being incorporated in the new faith. Commenting 142
on insinuation circum locution obtrusive simulation 143
Thus, whatever might have been its cradle, and whatever might have been its 144
constituent philosophies and teaching, Gnosticism had prevalent influences in the world in 145
which the apostle Paul did missionary work. It is, therefore, pertinent that this study 146
George E. Buttrick, ed., "1 and 2 Timothy, Titus," in The Interpreter's Bible, 12 vols., vol. 10,
(Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1956), 350.
See Andes Erickson, "'Women Tongue Speakers, Be Silent': A Reconstruction Through Paul's
Rhetoric," Biblical Interpretation, 6(1998), 82. Noteworthy is the fact that Paul's rhetoric in his epistles is
inclusive. The situation he addresses determines his rhetoric approach. While in 1 Cor 12-14 he employs an
insinuatio, in the text of our reference he uses imperatives to directly address the issues.
Buttrick, 351-7.
Jacob E. Sofra and Jorge A. Caurz, New Encyclopdia Britanica, 15 th ed. London, UK), 315.
discusses some scriptural references that are often approached subjectively with a mindset 147
that does not consider them as haustafeln within their sitz em leben, the situations that 148
prompted Paul to strongly address issues in those particular texts. This section intends to 149
point out the backdrops of certain texts that are used in the WO debate.
Women Submission in Eph 5:22 151
Even taken as a text that configure a family as a miniature Christ-Church relationship, 152
Eph 5:22 is explained out of its contextual gist and out of its possible background. Before 153
attacking this text as patriarchy driven, it may be pertinent to make a brief excursus into 154
what might be taking place in the background. 155
The Historical Setting behind Submission 156
Ephesians 5:22ff should not be confined in the bracket of men's subjugation of 157
women, nor should it be viewed as a family life text. Rather, Paul in this text seems to be 158
strongly airing an exhortations that particularly address waves that were negatively 159
impacting the believers' concentration on their spirituality. According to Edwin Yamauchi, 160
Gnosticism, a major philosophy prevalent in the first century, seriously perverted 161
Christianity to the extent that, as the second century reveals, almost hijacking the new 162
faith. Gnostics distorted the OT by reinterpreting it in terms of the Gnostic world view. 163
Yamauchi notes that Gnostic claim that the OT messianic prophecies were pointing to a 164
Gnostic Saviour.
They believed that "man was not a transgressor but a victim, and that 165
the fall was not man's but rather Sophia's. Man was alienated from a true knowledge of 166
himself and fettered to earth by malevolent ignorance described as sleep, drunkenness, 167
forgetfulness.... Man experienced a nostalgia, a homesickness for the lost paradise. 168
Salvation for the elect pneumatics consisted of a recognition of their true celestial origin."
Other doctrines of Gnosticism include the reservation of the pneuma since there is no 170
resurrection; a drive to get out of femininity since that state was considered sin. For any 171
woman to be saved, her femaleness must be transformed into maleness. Gnostics nullified 172
the cross and resurrection claiming that Christ had no physical body of flesh and blood (cf. 173
the text in 1 Tim 2:5)
and thus "neither the cross nor the empty tomb have any 174
Erickson, 17.
Edwin Yamauchi, "The Gnostics and History," Journal of Evangelical Theological Society, N.d, 34.
Ibid., 34.
1 Tim 2:5 reads: For (there is) one God, and (there is) one mediator of God and men (anthropon),
the man (anthropos) Christ Jesus. Note that, unlike the Gnostic teaching that Christ had no physical body
redemptive significance. As Christ had had only the resemblance of a body the suffering 175
on the cross was apparent not real."
The above sample of the Gnostic teaching argue for 176
the fact that the NT Christian mission was not a walk over. Rather it was a tread in the 177
thorns, as it were, and it was necessary for the apostles to draw out a clear line between the 178
gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ and the blossoming conglomerations of the Hellenistic 179
philosophies and teachings in the Greco-Roman. 180
Discussing the NT epistolary imperatives and exhortations ought to be done with a 181
keen sense to the external waves against true Christianity. This study strongly agrees with 182
Carl P. Cosaert who advances that our dependence on the scripture does not call for its 183
simplistic deduction, nor its disdainful dumping on the heap of its historical context. 184
Rather, a scrutiny of the background of the text upholds the principle that "our belief in 185
the authority of the scripture requires that we do all we can to understand what this 186
passage meant to its original audience so we can faithfully apply it to our setting today."
Most attempts to study the Pauline silence-submission texts often miss the mark 188
when they take the common misunderstanding that the NT generally portrays a rabbinic 189
picture of the woman. This perception, however, overlooks the fact that the Pauline 190
writings address a Hellenized Jewish woman whose social status is exalted above both the 191
Roman and the Jewish woman.
Narratologically analysed, the complexity of, and the 192
concern of Paul for the mission in Ephesus is portrayed by the amount of narrative space 193
(two chapters, 19 and 20) that Luke dedicates to the account.
Paul's and the narrator's 194
attention are justifiable because the status of men and women in Ephesus often interfered 195
with some tenets of the teaching of Christianity.
Witherington observes that 196
of flesh and blood, Paul underscores the fact that the mediator between man and God is also man, thereby
affirming a contrastive teaching peculiar to Christianity.
Yamauchi, 37.
Carl Cosaert, "Paul, Women, and the Ephesian Church: An Examination of 1 Timothy 2:8-15,"
Wala Wala University, June 2013, 1.
Cosaert, 10.
Philip A. Brown, Nehemiah and Narrative Order in the Book of Ezra, BS 162 (2005): 179. Luke's
narration of Paul's missionary activities appear to indicate a narrative temporal proportionation. Brown
describes that temporal proportioning in a narrative involves three elements: the total amount of time the
narrative covers, the distribution of that time across the narrative, and the relationship between the speed of
time inside the narrative and the speed of time outside it. Observation of the narrative time given to the
period of Paul's stay in Ephesus reveal that Paul gave a considerable amount of attention to issues in
Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, vol., 1 (Downers Grove, IL:
InterVarsity Press, 2006), 218. Witherington avers that the inscriptions in Ephesus facilitate knowledge into
the ethos of Ephesus.
Our concern here is with the public roles that women played, particularly in 197
religion in that city, and so with expectations that the high-status women might have 198
about the roles that they would play in the fledging Christian community in that place. 199
There can be little doubt that 1 Timothy is attempting to address some high-status 200
men and women, who, as the case was in Corinth, are creating some of the most 201
serious challenges to Paul's authority and mandate for the house churches there. The 202
critique about the love of money in 1 Tim 6, as well as the critique about the women 203
wearing expensive apparel or having too much time on their hands, are clear signal 204
that such high-status persons in Ephesus are a particular concern of the apostle.
Based on archaeological information, Ephesus, as the rest of the Hellenistic world, 206
had highly venerated women placed in public and religious life of society. Witherington 207
names Verdia Marcia, a woman who was a pytany
that served in the temple of Artemis. 208
The second woman, Aelia Ammia, was praised in terms similar to those Paul uses in 1 Tim 209
2:9; 3:11; Titus 2:3-5.
A third woman, Apollonis, was so exalted that at her burial all 210
shrines were ordered to be closed and a public mourning was declared. The fourth woman 211
character worth mentioning is Epiphania described as wealthy and a teacher of other 212
women. Though this character lived in the second century A. D., her position facilitates 213
history to envisage that the esteemed position of women and their leadership positions in 214
society continued after the apostolic era. 215
Given such a picture of the position of women and men in Ephesus, and generally in 216
the Hellenistic society, it may be appropriate to suggest that the Pauline haustafeln is in the 217
context of regulating the sense of self that undermined the Christian ethic of humility that 218
is modeled after Christ himself (see Phil 2:1-11). It may be based on this context that Paul 219
calls believers to shift from the worldly positions and lofty exaltations to focus on their 220
spirituality that causes in them actions that are redemptive in nature. With this in mind, 221
therefore the paper turns to an analysis of the text of humility in Eph 5. 222
The Purpose of Submission in Eph 5 223
Women's submission in Eph 5 is easily seen by an eye that is laden with the 224
emancipationist viewpoint. However, submission is not the major issue here. The 225
Ibid, 218.
According to Witherington, 218, pytany was a title given to a man or woman "who was the keeper of
the sacred fire of Hestia, but who also was one of the chief magistrates of the city , and official documents
would be dated by listing who was serving in this office at a particular time."
Ibid, 219. Noteworthy is that Some descriptive words like sophrosunes (good sense, sound
judgment, modesty, decency), semnos (serious; of good character, honorable, worthy, respectable), and
philathropos (loving one's husband) employed to describe the high priest Aelia Ammia also appear in 1 Tm
2:9,15; 3:11; and Titus 2:3-5.

submission motif here rhymes with the rest of the submission texts in the Pauline writings 226
that stem from spiritual piety that is opposed to the prevalent equalitarian world view. This 227
is evident, especially, in the event of viewing the word "submit" ('u:eacce.|et) in 5:21 228
as the fifth Greek participle that is connected to the imperative "be filled with the Spirit" 229
(Eph 5:18). A disconnection of this participle from the thread of the previous four 230
participles (aeu|.;, aee|.;, (ae|.;, and .u,atceu|.;) results in treating 231
'u:eacce.|et as separate command thereby exalting it instead of the substantive 232
command :euc. .| :|.uat (be filled with the Spirit). When this error is committed 233
Eph 5 becomes a text of patriarchal subjugation, or at best, a text that intended to instill 234
order in a family. The family viewpoint should be read here in the context of the church, a 235
body of believers, for whose redemptive unity, cohesion and mutual submission Paul 236
endeavours to ensure. The structure below gives the thought flow of the text in vv 18-22. 237
:euc. .| :|.uat 239
aeu|.;, 240
aee|.;, 241
(ae|.;, 242
.u,atceu|.; 243
'u:eacce.|et 244
Be filled (:euc.) with the Spirit 246
by Speaking (aeu|.;) to each other in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, 247
by Singing (aee|.;) and psalming ((ae|.;) in your own hearts in the Lord 248
by Giving (.u,atceu|.;) thanks to God the Father at all times ... 249
by Being submitted ('u:eacce.|et) to one another out of reverence for Christ. 250
Wives to your own husbands as to the Lord
It is notable from the above illustration that in the Greek text of Eph 5:22 the passive 253
participle hupotassomanoi (being submitted) is absent and most Bible translators of verse 22 254
adopt the implied passive participle (being submitted) from verse 21 to complete the verb- 255
less clause (wives to your own husbands as to the Lord). Since, normally, a passive 256
requires a subject or an agent, then the acting force on men (v. 21) and women (v. 22 ) 257
may be the impact of being filled by the Holy Spirit in verse 18. Verse 22, therefore, 258
appears to conclude the how-words (participles) describing the manner (or means) by 259
which the believers can be filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 18). 260
Participles are implied in the verb-less sentence wives, to your own husbands as to the Lord (v 22).







being submitted
The structure further illustrates that the popular family submission text, often 261
verbalized by the exclusivists, seems to deal with a reorientation of a community of 262
believers whose bona fide Christian coexistence is threatened by Hellenistic and other 263
dominant worldviews that exalts individual self image of both men and women. The 264
submission of women to their husbands is in the context of the general Spirit generated 265
submission of the believers to one another to foster in the community of believers a 266
redemptive harmony that results from the abounding of the in-dwelling Spirit 267
referred to in verse 18.
Examining Issues in 1 Tim 2:8-15 269
It is largely attested by commentators that the historical context of the letter to the 270
Ephesians is similar to that of 1 Tim 2:8-15. Francis D. Nichol advances that the 271
Ephesians is a pastoral letter that Paul wrote "to the church at Ephesus, a metropolis of 272
the proconsulate of Asia, with intentions that it should be sent also to other churches in 273
the area."
This letter was a follow-up epistle on the missionary work that the author 274
engaged in for three years. First and second Timothy were written later to Timothy an 275
elder who took care of the church in the same metropolis.
"Not to Teach, not to Domineer, 277
but Learn in Silence" (verse 11) 278
Paul's command prohibiting women not to teach, to domineer, and to learn in silence 279
(1 Tim 2:11, 12) is one of the Pauline commands that has provoked debate and has been 280
used by exclusivists as one of the arsenals to strongly knock out WO. However, like any 281
other text, this statement is often taken at face value neglecting the textual and historical 282
context based on which it ought to be interpreted. It may be suggested that the expression 283
"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection" (1 Tim 2:11) belongs to the larger 284
exhortative context that begins from 1 Tim 1:17. Here a transitional conjunction e. is 285
employed to change subject "to a new topic of discussion"
that continues to 1 Tim 2:15. 286
This is in consonance with Rom 14:15, 20, 21 and 1Cor 8:13 where, for the sake of unity and
mission, Paul restrains himself from eating what is generally permissible (See also Rom 9:7-18).
Francis D. Nichol, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, (Hagerstown, MD: Review
and Herald , 1980), 993.
Nichol, vol. 7, 285.
Daniel B. Wallace, The Basics of New Testament Syntax, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishers,
2000), 298-299.
Furthermore, the application of the present active imperative verb a|a|.a in 287
verse 11 may be said to suggest that there is a sub-pericope that is indirectly connected to 288
the previous one. This being the case, then verses 11-15 ought to be interpreted as one 289
block text with all the nerve-racking ideas: woman learning in silence with all subjection, 290
not teaching, not usurping authority over the man, learning in silence, being secondary in 291
creation, being one deceived, and being saved through childbearing. Focusing on the issue 292
of silence and neglecting the above other ideas is ignoring the conjunction gar (for)
in 293
verse 13 that apparently makes a logical connection between "silence" in verses 11 and 12, 294
and the order of creation and transgression in verses 14 and 15. 295
Many Bible scholars acknowledge that 1 Tim 2:12 and its preceding and subsequent 296
texts comprise one of the hard texts in the NT.
However, the earlier agreement with Carl 297
P. Cosaert still holds: "as Christians who believe that Scripture continues to be 298
authoritative for all of life, Seventh-day Adventists cannot simply disregard difficult 299
passages like this...."
The next section, therefore, is dedicated to probing into the 300
meaning of the "silence," with endeavours to find its meaning in collaboration with its 301
immediate, the larger context, as well as the historical context. 302
Why does Paul Stop Women from Speaking? There are few writings, if any, that crop 303
out without precedent and there are many propositions that suggest the precedent of this 304
statement. Carl P. Cosaert is one of the scholars who strives to make sense out of this 305
challenging text. Cosaert observes that "apart from the letter to the Romans, the rest of 306
the Pauline epistles were written in response to particular problems."
The difficulty of the 307
idea in which the silence command is embedded deserves special attention. Rebecca 308
Merrill Groothuis challenges the exclusivist interpretation of the text and asks: 309
If Eve's deception is somehow the reason why all women for all time are 310
forbidden to teach men, then why should women be forbidden only to teach men but 311
not women and children (who, presumably, would be even more likely than men to 312
be deceived by the deceived)? And if Pauls intended meaning is simply that women 313
are not to be pastors or elders, why doesnt he say just that? Indeed, why does Paul 314
The conjunction gar falls in the larger family of logical conjunctions "which relate the movements of
thought from one passage to another by expressing logical relationship between the connected ideas. See
Wallace, 298-299.
David R. Kimberly itemizes a number of scholars who testify to the fact that the Pauline text of 1
Tim 2:11-15 is problematic. For details see David R. Kimberley, "1 Tim 2:15: A Possible Understanding of A
Difficult Text" Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society 35/4(Dec. 1992), 481.
Cosaert, 1.
nowhere state clearly such a straightforward prohibition? Why, instead, all the 315
roundabout, analogical language here?
Based on the questions she asks, Groothuis argues that Paul wrote to Timothy to 317
address the issues of heresy in the Church at Ephesus and thus the statements in the 318
epistle ought not to be taken as an absolute prescription for the church today.
She 319
continues that the term authentein translated as "teach" is a harpax legomenon in the NT 320
and Paul may have used in the term to convey a special meaning that was particular to the 321
situation addressed in the Ephesian Church. The meaning of authentein in this text, 322
Groothuis further postulates, is based on the usage employed during the time of Paul and 323
may have included "usurping authority, dominating, prevailing upon, or instigating 324
Authentein, therefore, may not suggest a permanent injunction denying women of 325
the opportunity to participate in spiritual edification, as this may be contrary to OT 326
scriptural testimony and the testimony of the then praxis mentioned in Paul's other epistles 327
as well as those of his contemporary apostles. 328
The argument that the NT haustafeln texts are localized is attested when Paul issues 329
contradictory commands. In 1 Cor 11:5 he requires that a woman veils herself whenever 330
she is praying and prophesying, the actions that do go against "silence." Yet in 1 Cor 331
14:34, he commands women to "be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to 332
speak, but should be subordinate." Thomas Harvey's comment on this seeming 333
contradiction affirms the claim that haustafeln are not eternal prescriptions but relevant 334
within their context. He argues that aware of the semantic application of the term gynaiki, 335
the Corinthian church might have identified a shift in the application from the generic 336
woman to wives who have husbands. Harvey states 337
Pauls demand for silence fits with what we know of women in Greco-Roman 338
households. Sisters, single women and widows had a considerable degree of 339
independence and relative authority. Wives, on the other hand, had married into a 340
family and thus had a lower status. Given the hierarchical nature of Roman 341
households, wives speaking publicly in worship would bring shame on the husband 342
by upsetting proper household order and authority. On the other hand, widows or 343
unmarried sisters would represent no such indiscretion
Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, "The Bible and Gender Equality,"
resources/14-groothius-pdf.pdf , Accesses on October 9, 2013, 6.
Ibid., 6
Thomas Harvey, "The Biblical and Evangelical Justification for Women Serving as Ministers and
Pastors in the Church," available at, October
2013, 49.
Harvey observes that the unmarried women had a simple relationship as a redeemed 345
community and could easily interact within the saved community. However, this type of 346
flexible and free relationship could be detrimental for wives and husbands. This obliged 347
Paul to give strong exhortations to re-ground the deteriorating marital order in the 348
redeemed community. Harvey continues by saying that 349
In Roman society it was not uncommon for women to have positions of authority 350
and patronage. Thus for women to exercise power and authority in the church would 351
not have caused disruption or discomfort amongst Gentiles. Nonetheless, Greco- 352
Roman society was hierarchical and issues of proper subordination did loom large in 353
Pauls day. As converting and inverting message of the cross penetrated Roman 354
Society, it raised new issues with regard to social and familial decorum. Though Paul 355
recognizes the revolutionary nature of the Gospel, his letters are often at pains to 356
maintain those household and familial relationships necessary for sound order.
Ben Witherington, on the other hand, suggests another dimension that explains the 358
Pauline order for women to keep silent. Comparing this text with 1 Cor 11-14, 359
Witherington suggests that this silence imperative is embedded in the larger section that 360
calls upon both men and women to observe order in the "somewhat chaotic worship 361
This perception suggests that there is harmony in both of these passages, and 362
may become a case in point to derive the principle governing the rest of the NT 363
Based on this insight, the next section briefly deals with another of Paul's 364
statement in the pericope under study 365
Woman: Saved through Childbearing 366
As discussed in the previous paper, the Pauline elucidation that "For Adam was 367
formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and 368
became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing...." (1 Tim 2:13-15) is 369
one of the most difficult text in the Pauline corpus. David R. Kimberly concurs that "there 370
is no doubt that the passage raises numerous questions for the Biblical interpreters, all the 371
more so in a contemporary climate where reevaluation of the roles of both men and 372
women is taking place within society..."
Before a brief study of the text, it is pertinent to 373
spell out the interpretive difficulty the text presents when taken at face value. 374
Ibid, 47.
Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity
Press, 2006), 213.
Kimberly, 481.
The Interpretative Difficulty of 1 Tim 2:11-15 376
Andreas Kstenberger observes that apart from causing translational difficulties as 377
revealed in the diversity in different versions, the text has been a subject of contention in 378
church history. He notes the Church Fathers were divided on its interpretation: While 379
Augustine thought "Paul was here speaking of the bearing of 'spiritual children,' that is 380
good works," other ancient interpreters, such as Chrysostom and Jerome, thought 381
women's salvation was contingent on their (physical) children's perseverance in holy lives 382
of faith taking the later part of the verse ("if they continue in faith and love and chastity 383
with self-restraint") as referring not to the women themselves but to their offspring.
Some of these influences linger and influence our contemporary elucidation on the text. 385
According to Jeffrey J. Meyers the theological complication implied in the word 386
"saved" precipitate the translation of the word as "preserve," "keep safe" to keep Paul 387
from seemingly drifting into righteousness by works. The semantic application of the word 388
sozo ranges from spiritual including salvation from eternal death, to physical nuances that 389
include healing, preserving, keeping safe. Unfortunately, the use of this word often focuses 390
on an inappropriate application of the meaning in the text. Meyers makes efforts to 391
interpret the verb sothesetai (will be saved) in terms of the spiritual redemption and tags 392
it to the protoevangelium in Gen 3:15 claiming that the childbearing (tes teknogonias) is 393
in reference to the birth of Jesus.
This interpretation, however, falls short of satisfying 394
the unity of the sub-pericope that talks where silence and childbearing ought to be 395
interpreted together. 396
Koestenberger, on his part, avers that sozo in its passive application (be saved) "may in 397
certain contexts denote a person's physical or spiritual preservation from danger or harm." 398
Comparing the use of sozo in other texts like 1 Timothy 4:16, he finds the spiritual 399
salvation not implied because Paul charges Timothy to save his congregation by ensuring 400
that their ultimate salvation is assured on the last day. Regarding salvation through 401
childbearing, Koestenberger advances that childbearing connoted keeping in her feminine 402
domain assigned to her from creation. 403
It means, among other things, that she will not yield in her mind to false notions 404
of what it means for her to be a woman and in particular a woman of God. It means 405
that she will respect divinely set boundaries in the exercise of her spiritual gifts and 406
ministry calling in trust and obedience to God's Word. It means that she will find 407
Andreas J. Kstenberger "Saved Through Childbearing? A Fresh Look at 1 Timothy 2:15 Points to
Protection from Satans Deception," a summary of his article "Ascertaining Women's God-Ordained Roles:
An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:15," Bulletin of Biblical Research 7 (1997): 1-38.
Jeffrey J. Meyers, "How are Women Saved," Biblical Horizons 134 (October, 2000): 2
fulfillment in her domestic calling, in her relationship with her husband, in her role as 408
mother and maker of the home, and in proper ministry involvements in God's 409
"household," the church (see 1 Tim. 3:15). 410
He explains childbearing as the role given women from creation. The woman fell into 411
the snare of Satan due to disobeying the command to remain in her domain to be 412
constantly subordinate to her husband. Koestenberger's view, too, seems to overlook the 413
context in which Paul was operating. 414
Other exclusivist exegetes, grapple with the text and in a bid to get biblical mandate 415
for exclusivism find comfort in severing the idea in verse 13-15 from the silence section 416
(11, 12). To them, this is a prescription that throws women off the platform of pastoral 417
ministry. However, these proponents neglect the inevitable fact that the interpretation of 418
verse 13-15 ought to be in total conformity to the context of the pericope, the epistle as a 419
whole and the entire Pauline corpus and theology. This paper suggests that all dimensions 420
of biblical interpretation ought to be employed to seek the mind of Paul and what his 421
audience heard him speak through the text. If this is not done how can the apparent 422
contradictions be overcome, and how can the idea in the pericope be harmonized with 423
the rest of the context and the Pauline labour on the efficacy of the death of Jesus for 424
human salvation? 425
The difficulty still stands. As stated earlier that the silence section (1 Tim 2:11-12) 426
seems to be connected to the next text (verse 12-15) and the conjunctions involved attest 427
to the fact that it is one block text. The conjunction gar (for), according to Daniel B. 428
Wallace, fall in the larger family of logical conjunctions "which relate the movements of 429
thought from one passage to another by expressing logical relationship between the 430
connected ideas."
Additionally, the same conjunction belongs to a subfamily known as 431
explanatory conjunctions that announces the arrival of additional information. It may, 432
therefore, be proposed that gar in verse 13 announces the onset of additional information 433
that is logically related to the idea in the previous verses.
If this is the case then verses 11- 434
12 ought to be linked to the argument started, perhaps, earlier in verse 1 Tim 1:17. Thus it 435
would be an exegetical fallacy to make conclusion about the silence of women by a cursory 436
look at 1 Tim 2:11,12 in isolation of what might be Paul's overarching idea in the sub- 437
See Wallace, 298-299.
Wallace posits that the conjunction gar is described as an explanatory conjunction that announces
additional information. It is often translated "for," "you see," "that is," "namely." Wallace, 298-299.
Pauls total idea in the sub-pericope is constructed by the constituent 438
components: learning in silence, womans deception (not Adam's), and salvation through 439
childbearing. All of which components bound together in the function to elucidate on the 440
"silence" in verses 11 and 12. 441
In the above section it has been observed that first, the verses poise an interpretive 442
challenge. Second, it is insightful to note that the text of verse 11-15 is a sub-pericope that 443
advances a single idea relevant to the larger context that spans from 1 Tim 1:17-2:15. 444
Third, it has been realized that the idea in verses 13-15, taken at face value, stands contrary 445
to the Pauline theology that esteems the cross of Jesus as efficacious for human salvation. 446
The next section, therefore, endeavours to briefly discuss verses 11-15, in consideration of 447
its context, the historical setting and in the light of the unity of the Pauline rhetoric. 448
Guarding against Gnostic Influences 449
Commenting on the text, Kimberly proposes that "in order for this reading to 450
become definitive for 1 Tim 2:15, further research would need to document a significant 451
Gnostic presence in Ephesus during the apostolic era."
He notes that Gnosticism 452
intermingled with Christianity in the Mediterranean region during the first century.
This 453
proposition conjures up the need to reexamine the text 1 Tim 2:11-15 in light of other 454
factors. The study earlier observed that Paul's statement in verse 15 seemingly disagrees 455
with his gospel, and sounds incongruent with the rest of the text in the sub-pericope, 456
which according to the earlier discussion in this paper, is bound together with the 457
conjunction ,a in verse 13 as observed in the text of 1 Tim 2:8-15. To fully get to grips 458
with what Paul is concerned with, it may be pertinent to make a brief excursus into the 459
world that warranted him to restrain women from exercising authority over men and to 460
learn in silence, to strongly remind believers of the order of creationa teaching that was 461
popular with the harbinger of grace and faith, to emphasize that Eve was the subject of 462
Gordon Fee, New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors, (Luisville, KY: John Knox,
2002) itemizes some guidelines for getting in touch with, and evaluating the cultural background and data of
any text under study. He recommends that an exegete ought to first, "determine whether some cultural
milieu of your passage is basically Jewish, Greco-Roman, or some combinations of both" (Ibid., 102),
second, "determine the meanings and significance of persons, places, events, institutions, concepts, or
customs" (Ibid., 104), third, "gather parallels or counterparallel texts from Jewish or Greco-Roman sources
that may aid in understanding the cultural milieu of the author of your passage" (Ibid., 105), fourth, "be
aware of the background information" with which he is dealing" (Ibid., 109), fifth, "determine the date of the
background information" (Ibid., 109), and lastly "be aware of the diverse traditions in your background
material and weigh their value for your passage." Ibid.,110).
Kimberly, 486.
deception (contrary to his strong teaching on the two Adams), to argue that a woman's 463
salvation would be attained through
childbearing. This calls for a scrutiny of the text 464
below 465
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without 466
anger or quarrelling;
also that women should adorn themselves modestly and 467
sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire 468
but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion.
Let a woman learn in 469
silence with all submissiveness.
I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she 470
is to keep silent.
For Adam was formed first, then Eve;
and Adam was not deceived, but 471
the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
Yet woman will be saved through bearing 472
children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (RSV, emphases 473
supplied). 474
Several scholars advance propositions that address this dilemma apparent in the text. 475
Peter Baylis, observes that the first century Church was facing Gnosticismone of the 476
greatest apostasies. Baylis presents a synopsis of what would be the catechism on one of 477
the main strands of Gnosticism. The philosophy, according to Baylis, held that the 478
physical is evil, but the spiritual is good; salvation is attained when pure spirit escapes from 479
the evil body and ascends to heaven by means of gnosis (special knowledge); the OT god, 480
Yahweh, is evil because he created the evil physical world. The body is evil and ought to 481
be molested by fasting. In order to abrogates the law of the evil god, Gnostics glorified 482
sexual immorality and forbade marriage. However, childbearing was regarded as evil 483
because it creates more vile in the world, and all women involved were destined to 484
damnation. This quasi religion worshipped Eve as a "perfect, spirit-being who created 485
Adam and united with the serpent to enlighten humanity with gnosis. Knowledge of one's 486
origins via the family tree is vital for salvation because it links one to Eve the origin of all 487
creation and salvation. Gnosticism saw Christ as a being that did not have a physical body, 488
though he appeared to possess one. This particular teaching, Baylis observes, is the hue 489
behind John's statement: "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is 490
from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the 491
Antichrist (1 John 4:2-3).
Kimberly holds a similar view. According to him, Paul's strong assertion in this 493
pericope is a reaction against the Gnostic ideas that had impacted the perception of the 494
The preposition dia in this context may be interpreted severally. There is a strikethrough in the
preposition 'through' because this paper suggests an alternative translation of dia that seems to agree with
the context employed in the text and the historical circumstances in play in the text.
Peter Baylis, "Paul, Timothy, the Gnostics and Women," retreieved from,
October, 2013.
believers in Ephesus. He observes that this command is in concomitance with his other 495
warnings in the epistle that some believers were involved with "teaching different doctrine 496
(1 Tim 1:3)...myths and genealogies (1:4), misapplying the law (1:7), rejecting conscience 497
1:19)." Kimberly further observes that in chapter four Paul warns about those who 498
prohibit marriage (4:3), and who instruct people to abstain from foods (4:3), a fact that is 499
attested in the Gnostic philosophy.
Gnosticism had several strands that displayed divergent teaching that impacted the 501
life of the believers of Paul's time; one was exalting women, yet the other was misogynous 502
and denigrated femininity.
One strand taught that at creation man was created as a spirit 503
and woman as matter. Eve is viewed to have created Adam by breathing in him her life 504
(Zoe) and making him complete human by teaching him knowledge that belong to the 505
cosmic realm.
On the other hand, the philosophy had a negative perception of 506
Gnosticism, Kimberly further advances, prominently articulates that the 507
dichotomy between male and female was an error. Salvation, according to the philosophy, 508
was a result of a dissolution of the sexes into an androgynous union.
As a result of the 509
Gnostic teaching, there was no place for childbearing; women discarded childbearing as an 510
illegitimate occupation and sought to attain the androgynous status. 511
The above phenomenon inspired un-collaborative voices and perceptions in regard to 512
the status and role of a woman in the community of believers at Ephesus and in other 513
churches in the Greco-Roman world. Because women were on the fore front teaching this 514
Gnostic-oriented doctrine that seemed to confer a higher status upon them, Paul strongly 515
commands them to be silent and listen to their husbands who seemed less excited over the 516
Gnostic insights. Paul countered this teaching by articulating the order of the creation of 517
human beings: man first, then woman from man, and the subsequent blessing of 518
childbearing. Childbearing, on the contrary therefore, does not result in condemnation 519
upon a woman but even with
childbearing salvation is possible for a woman as long as 520
she continues in faith and producing the fruits of faith. 521
Kimberly, 484.
Cosaert, 14.
Cosaert, 15.
Cosaert, 15.
Kimberly, 485. Note that the term androgynous is a combination of two Greek words andros which
means "man" or "husband" and gune which often refers to "woman" or "wife."
This study notes that dia could be translated 'with.'
In addition to the Gnostic influence, Cosaert proposes three more factors that might 522
be key players in Paul's command in 1 Tim 2:11-15 and in other haustafeln texts: the cult of 523
Artemis, the perception of the Hellenized Jewish woman, and the perception of the 524
Romanized woman.
Cosaert avers that the community of Ephesus worshiped an all- 525
powerful female fertility goddess. According to Cosaert, "The influence of an all-powerful 526
female goddess was so strong at Ephesus that local legends at the time of the Apostle Paul 527
claimed that the city itself had been founded by powerful women, the mythical Amazons, a 528
group of dominant women warriors especially devoted to the worship of the mother- 529
Artemis. The worship of Artemis was mediated by women priests, a fact that 530
elevated the position of women far above men in religious matters. According to Cosaert, 531
Women's' "priesthood of the patron deity of Ephesus was important and one of 532
high public profile. With such a visible presence within Ephesus, Gentile converts 533
would not have needed to have been initiated members of the cult of Artemis to have 534
associated aspects of the role of women in the worship of Artemis along with those 535
of their new found faith in Christ. After all, the riot Demetrius the silversmith 536
instigated against the work of the apostle Paul in Ephesus indicates that we should 537
not assume that Christianity in Ephesus developed in complete isolation from the 538
worship of Artemis (Acts 19:23-41)."
Cosaert's second factor, the pomp that the Hellenized woman aired, should not be 540
underestimated in mapping the tapestry that form the backdrop of Paul's haustafeln 541
imperatives. Unlike the sketch that the rabbinic Judaism exposes, a Hellenized Jewish 542
woman was an emancipated public figure that displayed a wider range of community 543
Unlike a characteristic Jewish woman whose beauty was measured in terms of 544
humility, simplicity and rapidity at domestic chores, the Jewish woman in the Hellenistic 545
Diaspora was a smart daring personage that "occupied positions of influence in the highest 546
political circles...and sometimes "with an array of intriguing titles: leader, elder, mother, 547
father, and priestess."
Thus, the Hellenistic influences left none unaffected. The trends 548
evolved a construct of the classic Jewish woman into a status that inevitably demanded the 549
epistolary to constantly appeal to women to return to the nostalgic Hebrew woman (1 Pet 550
3:5,6) in order to maintain focus on the purpose of life and the mission of Christ generally 551
espoused in the NT. 552
Cosaert, 7-20.
Ibid., 7.
Cosaert, 9.
Ibid., 10
Ibid., 11
The third factor, Cosaert mentions is the prevalence of the impact of the 553
emancipation of women in the Roman Empire. The new form of governance instituted by 554
Augustus Ceasar brought with it an emergence of the new Roman Woman who moved 555
from a modest persona to a complex woman with styles, and lifestyle. This liberated 556
woman pursued trade opportunities, public ranks-including religious and social 557
positions. The Roman empire was so emancipating that laws on status, wages, property 558
ownership, and domestic supremacy, liberty to divorce and claim back her dowry, as well 559
as freedom to extramarital sex. On one hand, some aspects of this status was useful to the 560
ministry of the gospel as attested that "The pages of the New Testament also illustrate the 561
way in which these sorts of women contributed to the spread of Christianity" (Rom 16:1; 562
Phil 4:3; Acts 16:15; Col 4:15; 1 Cor 16:19). Yet on the other hand "some women used 563
their new freedom simply to enhance their own personal pleasure and 564
gratification...consumed with the beauty of the physical body, ...sensual attire, cosmetics, 565
expensive jewelry, and elaborate hairstyles...." Thus, much as it may be positively viewed 566
that Christianity flourished luxuriantly in the Hellenistic and other non-Jewish societal 567
mediums, in the light of the prophetic and redemptive nature of Christianity, there were 568
gross losses of the tinge of the orthodoxy and a gradual turn into "a wholly Hellenistic 569
What, in Brief, is Paul Saying in 1 Tim 2:11-15? 571
Prayer and Women's Deportment 572
After an excursus through the historical circumstances in Ephesus that form a 573
background of Pauline epistle to Timothy, it may be pertinent to deal with the meaning of 574
the text of 1 Tim 2:11-15 in the light of the discovery of the issues and factors in play. In 1 575
Tim 2:1-6 the apostle evokes all believers, men and women, to pray for all people because 576
God desires all of them to attain salvation and for that reason the apostle was called. The 577
apostle here makes a reminder to their noble responsibility despite their theological 578
squabbling " endeavouring, as Cosaert avers, "to change the orientation of the church 579
from being inward looking to outward looking" because the "theological infighting among 580
the believers had caused the church to lose sight of the reason for its existenceits 581
mission to share the gospel to a dying world."
Buttrick, 351.
Cosaert, 21.
The next section, verses 8-10, discloses Pauls endeavour to defocus the believers 583
from the infighting to prayer. Their hands are holy, consecrated to God by a calling they 584
received by the anointing of the spirit. Such hands ought not to be lifted contrary to 585
purposes related to the calling. Elsewhere, holy hands are used for healing, blessing, 586
fellowship and commissioning. In Gal 2:9 the apostles gave Paul and Barnabas the right 587
hand of fellowship. In Acts 26:1 Paul raised his hand as he was making his defense for the 588
rationale of preaching the gospel of salvation. In Acts 3:7-8 Peter's hand held and lifted the 589
paralytic to the experience of physical (and spiritual) wholeness. Hands can be wrongly 590
used to implement acts of anger and strife. So Paul, in 1 Tim 2:8-10, is striving to restate 591
the holy use of the handspraying for those who believe and those who do not and 592
praying for the peace needed for the propagation of the gospel. 593
The subsequent section turns to the deportment of women who, too, owing to the 594
trend of women's self image, overly paid attention to themselves instead of perceiving 595
themselves as instruments of the grace of God. Cosaert observes that "liberalizing cultural 596
trends had influenced a generation of women/wives to reject the traditional modest 597
attire....In an age when a woman's dress would 'signal either modesty and dignity or 598
promiscuous availability' the situation among the believers in Ephesus was hardly trivial." 599
Condoning the situation would not only "bring shame on the women's husbands, but it 600
also had potential of severely damaging the reputation of the church in the eyes of the 601
unbelievers in Ephesusthe very people that the church wanted to reach with the 602
Women's adornment would not be the only damage to the cause of the gospel but 604
also their ascetic outlook through whose lenses they looked at their Christian life. An 605
amalgam of asceticism and the emancipationist worldview would lead to uncontrollable 606
proportions if they were left to soak up the women's self definition in a community that 607
defined itself in terms of the supra-mundanea community whose mission task was 608
tasking believers to forfeit their freedoms and rights for the sake of saving souls. 609
Connecting Issues: Silence, order of Creation, 610
Transgression, and Salvation 611
As stated earlier, the silence text (1 Cor 2:11,12) finds explanation in the subsequent 612
text that deals with the order of the creation of Adam and Eve, Eve being the transgressor, 613
and woman's salvation through child bearing (verses 13-15). In the light of the discussion 614
Cosaert, 22.
in this paper, verses 11 and 12 may justifiably find elucidation in verses 13-15 when Paul is 615
taken to be addressing the two strands of Gnosticism that are part of the factors at play in 616
the medium saturated with the emancipation of the Hellenistic Jewish women, the Roman 617
women with their public status, and the priestesses of Artemis. 618
Thus Paul's call for women's silence (vv 11,12) does not suggests that women ought 619
to be eternally tight-lipped on issues of sharing their salvation but should be seen as a 620
temporary halt on their zeal to share what they perceive to be their new light which, to 621
Paul, was a miscellany of a high percentage of error and a minimum percentage of the 622
gospel. Some may have wanted to exert themselves based on the fact that they are perfect, 623
spirit-beings who united with the serpent to enlighten humanity, possess gnosis to impart 624
onto their husbands and men, and deserved higher community status even beyond that of 625
Timothy and Paul. 626
The order of creation (vv 13,14) that, connected by an elaborative conjunction "for," 627
fits here as an explanation to the silence. The conjunction seems to imply that Paul in 628
verse 13-15 is explaining the reason he calls for the silence of the women by emphasizing a 629
biblical teaching that is contrary to the Gnostic teaching they espouse. He explains that 630
Eve, a so called perfect spirit-being, did not create and give life to Adam, rather Adam was 631
created first and Eve was made from him. 632
Another conjunction e. that joins verses 13 and 14 to verse 15 is vital to make Paul 633
deal with two strands of the Gnostic teaching. The conjunction may be translated "but," 634
"to the contrary," "rather," "now," "then," "so." If the conjunction is translated as "then," 635
it would allow the connotation of the English "also" to make Paul address a strand of the 636
teaching that is misogynous and makes women shun femininity, child bearing and all 637
sexuality in order to attain masculinity, a perceived highest status through which salvation 638
is attained.
Since this teaching regarded childbearing as evil because it creates more vile, it 639
might have been pertinent for Paul to address it in order to reinstate the solemnity of 640
marriage, albeit with a redemptive hue (Eph 5:22-33), and in agreement with his other 641
epistles that emphasize marriage mutuality and complementarity.
The text in verse 15, "yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they 643
continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (NRS), is another text that has been 644
interpreted variously. To address the issues at hand, and to cooperate with the rest of the 645
Cosaert, 15.
J. Carl Laney, "Paul and the Permanence of Marriage in 1 Corinthian 7," Journal of the Evangelical
Theological Society 25.3 (Sept 1982), 284.
text to elucidate the silence idea in verse 11 and 12, an appropriate translation of the 646
preposition ought to be ascertained. This preposition, used with a genitive may be 647
translated as "through," "by means of," "with," "during," or "throughout." In the case of 648
the issue at hand the use of " throughout" would be relevant to render "also she will be 649
saved with childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with 650
modesty." Citing the text eet` ; |u-e; -e:taca|.; eue.| .ae.| "master, having 651
worked throughout the whole night we caught nothing" (Luke 5:5), Alga Thomas exposes 652
that the preposition is also employed to refer to a "period of time throughout or after 653
which an action occurs."
Following this, to get into the context of the text, it may be 654
suggested that Paul was attempting to undo the misogynous perception and encouraging 655
women to continue their God-given noble function of childbearing. Even as they continue 656
(throughout which experience) salvation is available to them. That is to say the saving 657
grace of God is available to a woman despite her life-long engagement in her duty to "be 658
fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1:28). 659
In sum, it may be proposed that verses 13-15 clarifies the silence in verses 11 and 12. 660
Paul does so to address, among other influences, the two strands of Gnosticism: one that 661
that overly exalted feminism and the other that played down on femininity. Paul strong 662
imperative that called for women's silence (vv 11,12) may not suggests a prescription but 663
was a temporary halt on women's teaching and domineering spirit that would have 664
bolstered errors and pride. The explication on the order of creation, the issue of 665
transgression of the woman, the childbearing indented to curtail the teaching that was 666
derailing the believers from biblical teaching. The proposition of this paper on the use of 667
the preposition eta used with a genitive may be contented, however, leaving the grammar 668
aside, the discussion of the background may justify the interpretation that Paul is 669
addressing the external trends. 670
Paul's Missional Rationale 671
Paul is belabouring with these issues setting in order the believing house in Ephesus 672
because the task of preaching the gospel cannot be accomplished when the community of 673
believers is fractured with strife resulting from external influences. His philosophy of life 674
constrains him to do things against his personal rights. In 1 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 675
he expresses the preference of the gospel to any of the rights he and any genuine believer 676
Olga A. Thomas, "Prepositional Systems in Greek, Gothic, Classical Armenian, and Old Church
Slavic," PhD Dissertation, Graduate Faculty of The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 2006, 32.
possesses as gospel worker. In his perspective, a genuine Christian has theological, 677
eschatological, and Christological ethical imperative that ought to summon him/her to 678
answer a call to a service of reconciling people to God. "The atoning death, and 679
resurrection of Christ possesses power and authority within the ethical dimension of 680
Christian living (cf. 2 Cor 2: 14 -15; Rom 6; 14:8,9: 15:30; Phil 2:5-11; Eph 5:25)."
In 1 681
Cor 8:9 he argues against cherishing too much on personal freedoms at the expense of 682
providing a growth experience of young believers.
Commenting about Paul's burden 683
regarding fractures in the Corinthian church A. Rahel Schafer avers 684
...members of the Corinthian church were apparently demanding the prerogatives to 685
exercise their individual rights, in accord with the then-current philosophy. The 686
disunity of the church thus weighed heavily on Paul's heart as he wrote 1 Corinthians. 687
But the factions and other problems in the church also give a clearer glimpse of the 688
struggles Paul faced in understanding how Christian freedom relates to societal 689
Thus Paul's concern in 1 Tim 2:11-15 is an endeavour to put the church community 691
"house" in order to defocus them from infighting and to focus them on the broader 692
gospel responsibility. He strives to reorient their life and aspirations in line with God's 693
desire to save all men, and that the cause of the gospel would be in jeopardy if they are 694
fractured along lines of philosophical teachings and individual freedoms fanned by secular 695
trends and external influences. The command for quietness is in agreement with his 696
personal philosophy to life and his conviction that love provides an ethical imperative that 697
summons every genuine believer to answer to a call to service of reconciling people to 698
God (2 Cor 5:14-21). So for the sake of the unity of the community of believers, and for 699
the sake of sticking to sound gospel doctrine, the women should abandon their lofty and 700
pompous preoccupation and cultivate humility and civility in the community of believers. 701
Conclusion and Recommendations 702
Conclusion 703
This paper started with a dilemma as to who is right: the conservative voices who 704
perceive gender inclusiveness as contrary to the teaching of the Bible, or the pro- 705
H. H Drake Williams, "Living as Christ Crucified: The Cross as a Foundation for Christian Ethics
in 1 Corinthians" Evangelical Quarterly 75.2 (2003), 117.
Ibid 129.
A. Rahel Schafer, "'Does God Care about Oxen?': Another Look at Paul's Use of Deuteronomy
25:4 in 1 Corinthians 9:9," Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 21.1-2 (2010), 115. See also E. Coye still,
"Paul's Aim regarding : A New Proposal for Interpreting 1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1," 334. A journal
available through ATLAS collections.
ordination camp who regard women exclusion from the clergy as contrary to the "biblical" 706
perspective of the role of women in God's mission. This paper observes that neither of the 707
camps is right. The NT seems quiet on the issue of the Ordination of Women. After 708
analyzing Eph 5:22 and 1 Tim 2: 11,12 as a sample of the texts often alluded to justify 709
positions, this study submits that the texts are either read from the surface level, or are 710
applied without a keen regard for the context and syntactical relationship. Prohibitions on 711
women in the NT are more on the contextual address of the haustafeln than on permanent 712
interdictions on women to speak and share their gospel experience in public and in the 713
church congregations. Importantly, the study on the above sample texts gives a clue as to 714
what ought to be done with other NT prohibition texts so that they are not taken and 715
applied out of their respective historical contexts. This study has discussed the first part of 716
the topic that asks whether the NT haustafeln should argue for or against the WO in the 717
SDA Church. The next task will consider whether the current trends should pressurize the 718
Church to do so. 719
Recommendations 720
Based on the observations above, and based on the understanding that the Seventh- 721
Day Adventist Church was raised for the purpose of proclaiming the end time message 722
enveloped in the Three Angels Messages, this paper proposes that the World Church may 723
halt the Ordination of women to pastoral ministry. The paper advances the following 724
observations and their corresponding recommendations. 725
Observation 726
As stated above, the NT seems quiet on Ordination of Women and the texts employed 727
seem superficially and subjectively analyzed to justify positions. Prohibitions on 728
women in the NT are not a permanent interdiction; and liberty texts refer generally to 729
the redemptive status attained in Jesus Christ. 730
Recommendation 1 732
Based on this observation this paper recommends a halt on the Ordination to 733
allow more study and to establish redemptive grounds for Yes or No. 734
Observation 736
The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes the role of women and their rich variety 737
of gifts usable in the mission of the Church. There are specialized services that women 738
may do well, such services may not be ably handled by men. These services, however 739
may not necessarily require that the servant be an ordained person 740

Recommendation 2 743
There should be a deliberate increase in women departmental appointments at 744
all levels. Women may be appointed elders as need arises, and as may be 745
socially and culturally acceptable. 746
Observation 748
To avoid the errors of studying the texts from goal oriented perspectives, the 749
Seventh-day Adventist Church should invest more in studies and researches on the 750
verses that both the pro-ordination and anti-ordination camps use. 751
Recommendation 3 753
All relevant hermeneutical principles ought to be applied in handling all 754
biblical passages that generate controversies. Themes and topics for GC and 755
Division Bible Conferences should be determined by issues on the ground, and 756
the main presenters should be people on the ground. BRI should listen to the 757
papers and advise, but not to be main presenters on issues they may have 758
limited experience. 759
Observation 761
The quinquennial theme Revival and Reformation, is relevant to refocus the 762
believers on their calling as the eschatological Remnant (Rev 14:9-12). The believers 763
should realize their status that they are not of the world (John 17:16) yet Jesus sent 764
then in the world (v 18) to be the rays of light given to them through the Lords 765
sanctification (v 19). 766
Recommendation 4 768
There should be decisive strategies to strongly address the over-domineering 769
secular influences that constitute the backdrop of pressures on the Church even 770
to the level of blurring her divinely assigned mission. This was Paul's burden, It 771
ought to be the church's and every believer's burden. 772
Observation 774
The Church should reemphasize her missional universality summed up in the 775
catchphrase Unity in Diversity. This reflects the NT operational structure 776
demonstrated in Acts 15:1-35 where the affluent Gentile church was is concord with 777
the leadership in the destitute Judean region. The settlement of theological and 778
missional issues at Jerusalem demonstrates Unity for the Diversity of mission that 779
Christ assigned the apostles. Further still, the modus operandi in the chapter 780
demonstrates Unity through Diversitythe Jerusalem Council observed the way the 781
Spirit had worked in divergent contexts and this became foundational for the 782
generation of a unity that flagged the expansion of Christianity. 783
Recommendation 5 785
Church in the western setting should benefit from the testimonies of the 786
conservative church in Africa by observing Gods works in the primitive 787
Adventism that is closer to the biblical culture. Let the West not only sing 788
Give me the old, old religion but come to Africa to practically see how the 789
Spirit works in the context of the old, old religion. 790
Observation 794
Patterson argues that ordination is, by General Conference policy, the purview of the 795
union level of governance. This being the case, the General Conference has 796
overstepped its bounds in seeking to tell the unions that they may or may not ordain 797
women to the gospel ministry.
If this is a subjective interpretation, it might indicate 798
that the GCs scope of leadership is not well articulated. If Patterson is right, then the 799
current church power scope may not adequately empower the GC to keep the 800
doctrinal and structural harmony that is foundational for the denomination to realize 801
its gospel mission. 802
Recommendation 6 804
For the Church to remain faithful to Scripture, and to its mission, the 805
leadership, mainly the GC committee and GC in session must be bold 806
especially on decisions regarding doctrine and unity. The power scope of the 807
GC should be strengthened. 808
Observation 810
Too much power is invested in a pastor against the warrant of the NT. It may be 811
postulated that the scramble for women ordination is not because women want 812
empowerment to ordain church elders, to solemnize marriages, or to baptize. The 813
reason could be more about the rights and privileges that the church has made to be 814
appertaining for a minister who is ordained. 815
Recommendation 7 817
Based on the NT concept of ordination, the SDA Church should make clear the 818
perceived difference between ordination to ministry and ordination to other 819
offices like eldership or deaconry. The church should give the biblical basis for 820
the elevation of the clerics vis--vis the position of other church servants in 821
other ministries like healing and education 822
Patterson, 1.