What Does 1 Timothy 2:12 Mean?

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

1 Timothy 2:12(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

"Let everything be done decently and in order" is a fundamental principle, which was implemented by God, when He created the world and made everything after its own kind. The same maxim is clearly displayed in the call of Abraham; the giving of the Law; the responsibilities of the Aaronic priesthood; the design of the sacrificial Feasts; the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the building of Solomon's Temple.

The same, underlying formula, for order and symmetry, is also seen in New Testament writings. In his first letter to the Corinthians, when worshippers were abusing the gifts of the Spirit, Paul made a clear statement - "all things must be done decently and in an orderly fashion", for God is not the Author of confusion, but the Architect of peace.

When instructing Timothy concerning church conduct; the necessary qualities in elders and deacons; the responsibilities of pastors and teachers; the roles of men and women in the Body of Christ.. and in their home environment, and the need to challenge false teachers and  insubordinate church members, Paul lays out an established, God-given order that should be adopted within every Church community. In this verse we read, "I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man - but to remain quiet."

Although this verse appears contentious, Paul is simply stating that women should not behave in a disorderly, noisy or hyperactive manner, but that their outward behaviour, in Church and at home, should mirror an inner virtue and grace. He is simply reminding these believers of the fundamental principle of decency and order, both at home and within a church gathering - as implemented by God in the beginning.

Many misinterpret this verse to say that women should never be permitted to teach - particularly with respect to adult men, but once again this contradicts other passages of Scripture. We read in Acts that Pricilla instructed Apollos... and that women like Phoebe, Junia, Chloe and others were engaged in certain responsibilities and service within the Church body. However their ministry should always be  overseen by responsible men - elected elders. 

It is not the specific act of 'teaching' that is in question here. Such service can be of great encouragement to men and women alike, and is encouraged elsewhere in scripture. It is women who illegitimately assume eldership roles and claim unscriptural control within a Church community. It is women with a controlling spirit, who claim to being independent of clear, church protocol - as laid out in scripture, and assume unbiblical leadership and authority over the clearly laid out instruction given - through Paul.

This passage teaches that women should not exercise authority over the Church's eldership, which should consist of correctly qualified and biblically appointed male-leaders... including its pastor. Just as Adam was the federal head of the human race and Christ is the Head of the Church, so husbands are to exercise authority within their own families and correctly appointed men - elders, deacons, overseers and pastors-teachers, are to exercise authority within a Church Fellowship.

Today we live in a society that has become fanatical about 'women's lib" and women's rights. This unbalanced and unbiblical attitude has caused havoc world-wide.. within families, communities, churches and every strata of society. When the fundamental principle of decency and order is implemented - which was instituted by God, in the beginning, we would not be subjected to the destructive confusion that has sent the world into its current frenzied behaviour, that seeks to elevate women above men!

May we seek to read God's word, recognise His fundamental principles, carry out His instruction at home and in our Church communities wisely... and behave reverently, discreetly, soberly and in the fear of the Lord.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, forgive us for the current, frenzied mindset of 'women's lib" and women's rights, which has caused complete confusion in many of our Churches and Christian communities. Forgive us for interpreting Your Word with liberal glasses - which consider biblical truth to be outdated and irrelevant... or for teaching it with a legalistic mindset - where women are either elevated into unbiblical roles within the Church or prevented from engaging in any form of service to God and others. Thank You that You determined an order in creation; in our homes; in the wider community and within our Church fellowships. May the people Who are called by Your name reject the world's mindset and return to reading Your word in spirit and in truth - this we ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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