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Av Prof. Douglas Moo 

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What Does It Mean Not to Teach or Have Authority Over Men? 

1 Timothy 2:11-15 

The New Testament makes it plain that Christian women, like men, have been given spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:7-11). Women, like men, are to use these gifts to minister to the body of Christ (1 Pe 4:10); their ministries are indispensable to the life and growth of the church (1 Cor 12:12-26). There are many examples in the New Testament of just such ministries on the part of gifted Christian women (see Chapter 5). To be true to the New Testament, then, the contemporary church needs to honor those varied ministries of women and to encourage women to pursue them. 

But does the New Testament place any restrictions on the ministry of women? From the earliest days of the apostolic church, most orthodox Christians have thought so. One important reason they have thought so is the teaching of 1 Tim 2:8-15: 

8*I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. 9*I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10*but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 11*A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12*I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13*For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14*And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15*But women will be kept safe through childbirth, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. 

Has the church been right to think that this passage imposes certain permanent restrictions on the ministry of women? Certainly this is what the passage, as translated above, seems to say. Women are not to teach or to have authority over men. They are not to do so because of the order in which God created man and woman and because of how man and woman fell into sin. However, many in our day think this passage does not require the contemporary church to limit the ministry of women. Others think it may limit only certain women from certain ministries in certain circumstances. 

Many people refuse to apply this passage to the church today because they question whether it has authority over us. For example, non-evangelical New Testament scholars generally believe that all three pastoral epistles (1 Tim, 2 Tim, and Titus) were written by an unknown person in Paul's name long after he was dead. While this unknown author admired Paul and wanted to use his authority, he also contradicted Paul. In such cases, if anyone is to be able to speak to the church today with authority, it is the "true Paul," not the "pseudo-Paul" of the pastoral epistles. And the "true Paul" taught that in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal 3:28). 

We are not, however, concerned here with those who hold this view, or others like it.(1) For such a viewpoint can only be refuted at a basic critical and theological level. We would want to show why Paul should be considered the author of the pastoral epistles; how the teaching of these epistles, although different in tone and emphasis from other letters of Paul, is nevertheless compatible with their teaching; and, most basically, why Christians should accept whatever Scripture says as holding unquestioned authority for the church today. 

Yet there are many sincere Christians who agree with everything we have just said but still do not think that 1 Tim 2:8-15 puts any general restriction on the ministry of women in the contemporary church. Are they right? Has the position of the Christian church on this issue for twenty centuries been the product of cultural conditioning from which we finally are able to free ourselves? 

We do not think so. We think 1 Tim 2:8-15 imposes two restrictions on the ministry of women: they are not to teach Christian doctrine to men and they are not to exercise authority directly over men in the church. These restrictions are permanent, authoritative for the church in all times and places and circumstances as long as men and women are descended from Adam and Eve. In this essay, we will attempt to justify these conclusions. In doing so, we will be concerned particularly to show why the arguments for alternative interpretations are not convincing. 

The Setting 

Paul writes this first letter to his disciple and coworker Timothy to remind him "how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God" (1 Tim 3:15). Paul must send this reminder because the church at Ephesus, where Timothy has been left to continue the work of ministry, is beset by false teaching (see 1:3). Certain people from within the church have departed from the true teaching of the gospel, have become quarrelsome and argumentative, and are propagating doctrines that are erroneous. Many interpretations of 1 Tim 2:11-15 rely heavily on the nature of this false teaching at Ephesus in explaining what Paul means in these verses. There is nothing wrong with this in principle; good exegesis always takes into consideration the larger context in which a text appears. However, Paul tells us remarkably little about the specifics of this false teaching, presumably because he knows that Timothy is well acquainted with the problem. This means that we cannot be at all sure about the precise nature of this false teaching and, particularly, about its impact on the women in the church-witness the many, often contradictory, scholarly reconstructions of this false teaching.(2) But this means that we must be very careful about allowing any specific reconstruction-tentative and uncertain as it must be-to play too large a role in our exegesis. 

We will, then, take a cautious approach to this matter. In our exegesis, we will use only those aspects of the false teaching that may be clearly inferred from the pastoral epistles and related New Testament passages to shed light on the text. Some of the aspects specifically relevant to 1 Tim 2:11-15 are: 

1. The false teachers sowed dissension and were preoccupied with trivialities (1 Tim 1:4-6; 6:4-5; cf. 2 Tim 2:14, 16-17, 23-24; Titus 1:10; 3:9-11). 

2. The false teachers stressed asceticism as a means of spirituality. They taught abstinence from certain foods, from marriage, and probably sex generally (1 Tim 4:1-3). In keeping with these ascetic tendencies, they may also have stressed physical training as a means of spirituality (4:8). 

3. The false teachers had persuaded many women to follow them in their doctrines (1 Timothy 5:15; 2 Timothy 3:6-7). 

4. The false teachers were encouraging women to discard what we might call traditional female roles in favor of a more egalitarian approach to the role relationships of men and women. This is not stated explicitly as a plank in the false teachers' platform anywhere in the pastoral epistles. Nevertheless, it is an inference with a high degree of probability for the following reasons: 

First, an encouragement to abstain from marriage, which we know was part of the false teachers' program, is likely to include a more general denigration of traditional female roles. 

Second, the counsel in 1 Tim 5:14 to young widows "to marry, to have children, to manage their homes"---i.e., to occupy themselves in traditional female roles-is issued because some "have . . . turned away to follow Satan" (verse 15). Since Paul labels the false teaching as demonic (1 Timothy 4:1), it is likely that this turning away to follow Satan means following the false teachers and that they were teaching the opposite of what Paul commands in 5:14. 

Third, the false teaching that is besetting the church at Ephesus sounds very similar to the general problem that seems to lurk behind 1 Corinthians. In both situations, the problem arose from within the church, involved the denial of a future, physical resurrection in favor of a present, "spiritual" resurrection (see 2 Tim 2:18; 1 Cor 15, coupled with 4:8), and led to incorrect attitudes toward marriage and sex (1 Cor 7; 1 Tim 4:3), toward food (1 Cor 8:1-13; 1 Tim 4:3, although the specific issues are a bit different), and, most importantly, to a tendency on the part of the women to disregard their appropriate roles, especially vis-a-vis their husbands (see 1 Cor 11:2-18; 14:33b-36; 1 Tim 2:9-15; 5:13-14; Titus 2:3-5). 

While we cannot be sure about this, there is good reason to think that the problem in both situations was rooted in a false belief that Christians were already in the full form of God's kingdom and that they had accordingly been spiritually taken "out of" the world so that aspects of this creation, like sex, food, and male/female distinctions, were no longer relevant to them.(3) It may well be that these beliefs arose from an unbalanced emphasis on Paul's own teaching that Christians were "raised with Christ" (Eph 2:6; Col 2:12; 3:1) and that in Christ there is neither "male nor female" (Gal 3:28). What Paul would be doing in both 1 Cor and the pastoral epistles is seeking to right the balance by reasserting the importance of the created order and the ongoing significance of those role distinctions between men and women that he saw rooted in creation. Whether this specific interpretation of the data of 1 Corinthians and the pastorals is correct or not, the similarity between the battery of problems in the two situations strongly suggests that in Ephesus, as in Corinth, a tendency to remove role distinctions between men and women was part of the false teaching.(4) Very likely, then, Paul's teaching about the roles of men and women in church ministry in 1 Tim 2:11-15 is occasioned by the need to counter the false teachers on this point. 

Appropriate Behavior for Christian Women-Verses 5-11 

In order to understand 1 Tim 2:11-15, we need to back up and begin with verse 8, where Paul requests that "men everywhere . . . lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing." The word everywhere would be translated better "in every place" (en panti topo). Paul is probably referring to the various "places" (house-churches) in which Christians at Ephesus met for worship. With the word likewise (hosautos, verse 9), Paul connects this verse with his admonitions regarding the deportment of Christian women. This may suggest that Paul wants the reader to carry over from verse 8 both the verb want (boulomai) and the verb pray; hence: "Likewise, [I want] women [to pray], in modest dress. . . ." But it is more likely that we should carry over only the verb want, making verse 9 an independent exhortation directed to women: "Likewise, I want women to dress modestly . . ." (see the NIV). This reading is to be preferred both because of syntax---since both pray (verse 8) and adorn (verse 9) are infinitives, it is natural to think they both depend on the verb want---and context---at the end of verse 8 Paul's focus has shifted to appropriate behavior ("without anger or disputing"), and he does not come back to the topic of prayer. 

This caution about anger and quarreling during prayer is almost surely occasioned by the impact of the false teaching on the church, for one of the most obvious results of that false teaching was divisiveness and discord (see 1 Tim 6:4-5). The exhortation of verses 9-10, in which Paul encourages Christian women to "dress modestly, with decency and propriety," with "good deeds" rather than with elaborate hair styles and ostentatious clothes, might also be directed against the impact of the false teaching in Ephesus. For ostentatious dress, in the ancient world, sometimes could signal a woman's loose morals and independence from her husband. These connections are clear in a passage from the intertestamental Jewish book,(5) The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Reuben 5: "Women are evil, my children, and by reason of their lacking authority or power over man, they scheme treacherously how they might entice him to themselves by means of their looks. . . . They contrive in their hearts against men, then by decking themselves out they lead men's minds astray. . . . Accordingly, my children, flee from sexual promiscuity, and order your wives and your daughters not to adorn their heads and their appearances so as to deceive men's sound minds."(6) The problem addressed in 1 Cor 11:2-16 is of the same general nature, in which the Christian women were adopting a style of dress (or hairstyle) that implicitly proclaimed their independence from their husbands. And, as we have seen, the situation at Ephesus is very similar to that at Corinth some years earlier. 

Having reminded Timothy that Christian women are to adorn themselves with "good deeds," Paul now warns them about certain activities that do not fall into this category. In verse 11, he commands them to "learn in quietness and full submission." That Paul wants Christian women to learn is an important point, for such a practice was not generally encouraged by the Jews. But this does not mean that Paul's desire for women to learn is the main point being made here. For it is not the fact that they are to learn, but the manner in which they are to learn that concerns Paul: "in quietness" and "with full submission." The situation may be compared to my saying to my wife: "Please have the children watch TV quietly and without fighting". My wife or I might or might not already have given permission for the children to watch television, but in this sentence, the stress falls not on the command to watch it, but on the manner in which it is to be done. 

How, then, were the women to learn? First, Paul says, "in quietness." The word Paul uses (hesuchia) can mean "silence," in an absolute sense, or "quietness," in the sense of "peacableness" (a cognate word, hesuchion, is used in 1 Tim 2:2: ". . . that we may live peaceful and quiet lives . . .").(7) Although the point is much the same in either case, there is good reason to think that the word should be translated "silence" in this context, since its opposite is "teaching." Clearly, Paul is concerned that the women accept the teaching of the church "peaceably"---without criticism and without dispute. Certainly, as Aida Besançon Spencer argues, Paul is encouraging the women at Ephesus to be "wise learners."(8) But the encouragement does not come in a vacuum---almost certainly it is necessary because at least some women were not learning "in quietness." These women had probably picked up the disputatious habits of the false teachers, and Paul must therefore warn them to accept without criticism the teaching of the properly appointed church leaders. But there is probably more to the problem than this. There is good reason to think that the underlying issue in verse 11 is not just submission to the teaching of the church but the submission of women to their husbands and, perhaps, to the male leadership of the church. This is suggested by Paul's use of the word submission (hypotage). Submission is the appropriate response of Christians to those who are in authority over them (e.g., to government [Titus 3:1] and, for those who were slaves, to masters [Titus 2:9; the intention of Eph 5:21 is debated-see Chapter 8 of this volume]). The word (or its related verb) is a consistent feature in passages dealing with the appropriate response of wives to husbands (see Eph 5:24; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pe 3:1, 5; perhaps 1 Cor 14:34). The facts that this verse is directed only to women and that verses 12-14 (and perhaps also 9-10) focus on the relationship of men to women incline us to think that the submission in view here is also this submission of women to male leadership. (Reasons for thinking that this submission in this context is not just to husbands but to male leaders in the church generally are given below.) In light of our suggestions about the nature of the false teaching at Ephesus, we may surmise that women at Ephesus were expressing their "liberation" from their husbands, or from other men in the church, by criticizing and speaking out against male leaders. (The basic issue may, then, be roughly the same as in 1 Cor 14:33b-36.) This tendency Paul encourages Timothy to counter by enforcing the principle of submission of the women to the appropriate male leadership. 

Spencer further argues that the very fact that women were to learn implies that they should eventually teach, since many ancient texts emphasize that the purpose of learning is to prepare one to teach.(9) But two replies may be made to this reasoning. First, we can grant the point without damage to our interpretation of the text, since we think Paul is only prohibiting women from teaching men. For women to be prepared to teach other women (see Titus 2:3-4), they would naturally need to learn and learn well. But, second, can we really conclude that learning must lead to teaching? Certainly if we mean by teaching an officially recognized activity of expositing and applying a section of Scripture, this is not the case. Neither do the texts cited by Spencer prove this. All Jewish men were encouraged to study the law; did they all become rabbis? Similarly, all Christians are encouraged to study the Scriptures; but Paul expressly limits "teaching" to a restricted number who have the gift of teaching (cf. 1 Cor 12:28-30). Of course, if we define teach in a broader sense---the communication of Christian truth through private conversation, family devotions, etc.---we may conclude that all Christians do indeed "teach." But this is not the kind of teaching Paul is talking about in this context. Neither does it seem to be what Spencer means, for her point is that this verse validates women as teachers even in positions of authority in the church. It is manifest, then, that the encouragement to women to learn gives no reason to think that they were also to be engaged in expositing and applying Biblical truth to men. 

Prohibitions on the Ministry of Women-Verse 12 

The phrase full submission is the hinge between the command in verse 11---"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission"---and the prohibitions in verse 12---"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man." The word that connects these verses is a particle (de) that usually has a mild adversative ("but") force. But, as so often with this word, its mild adversative force arises from the transition from one point to another rather than from a contrast in content.(10) In this case, the transition is from one activity that women are to carry out in submission (learning) to two others that are prohibited in order to maintain their submission (teaching and having authority). We may, therefore, paraphrase the transition in this way: "Let the women learn . . . with full submission; but [de] 'full submission' means also that I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man." 

Verse 12 is the focus of discussion in this passage, for it is here that Paul prohibits the women at Ephesus from engaging in certain ministries with reference to men. There are six distinguishable issues that must be decided at the exegetical level: (1) the significance of the verb permit (epitrepo), which is in the present tense; (2) the meaning of teach (didaskein); (3) whether the word man (andros) is the object of the verb teach; (4) the meaning of the verb translated in the NIV "to have authority" (authentein); (5) the syntactical and logical relationship between the two words teach and have authority (they are connected by oude, "neither"); and (6) whether the Greek words gyne and aner mean, respectively, "woman" and "man" or "wife" and "husband." 

A. The Word Permit 

Paul's use of the word permit---instead of, for instance, an imperative---and his putting it in the present tense are often taken as indications that Paul views the injunction that follows as limited and temporary.(11) The fact is, however, that nothing definite can be concluded from this word. No doubt Paul viewed his own teaching as authoritative for the churches to whom he wrote. Paul's "advice" to Timothy is the word of an apostle, accredited by God, and included in the inspired Scriptures. As far as the present tense of the verb goes, this allows us to conclude only that Paul was at the time of writing insisting on these prohibitions. Whether he means these prohibitions to be in force only at the time of writing, because of a specific situation, or-as in Romans 12:1: "I urge [present tense] you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices . . ."---to be applied to any church at any time cannot be known from the verb permit, but must be decided by the context in which it occurs.(12) It certainly is not correct to say that the present tense in and of itself shows that the command is temporary; it does not. 

B. The Meaning of Teach 

In prohibiting women from teaching, what exactly is Paul prohibiting? And is he restricting them from all teaching or only from teaching men? The word teach and its cognate nouns teaching (didaskalia) and teacher (didaskalos) are used in the New Testament mainly to denote the careful transmission of the tradition concerning Jesus Christ and the authoritative proclamation of God's will to believers in light of that tradition (see especially 1 Tim 4:11: "Command and teach these things;" 2 Tim 2:2; Acts 2:42; Rom 12:7). While the word can be used more broadly to describe the general ministry of edification that takes place in various ways (e.g., through teaching, singing, praying, reading Scripture [Col 3:16]), the activity usually designated by teach is plainly restricted to certain individuals who have the gift of teaching (see 1 Cor 12:28-30; Eph 4:11). This makes it clear that not all Christians engaged in teaching.(13) In the pastoral epistles, teaching always has this restricted sense of authoritative doctrinal instruction. As Paul's own life draws to a close, and in response to the false teaching, Paul is deeply concerned to insure that sound, healthful teaching be maintained in the churches. One of Timothy's main tasks is to teach (1 Tim 4:11-16; 2 Tim 4:2) and to prepare others to carry on this vital ministry (2 Tim 2:2). While perhaps not restricted to the elder-overseer, "teaching" in this sense was an important activity of these people (see 1 Tim 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9). 

At this point the question of application cannot be evaded. What functions in the modern church would be considered teaching in this sense? Some have suggested that we have no modern parallel to it since, as the argument goes, the New Testament canon replaces the first-century teacher as the locus of authority.(14) However, it does seem right to claim that we have teaching that is substantially the same as what Paul had in mind here as he advised the first-century church. The addition of an authoritative, written norm is unlikely to have significantly altered the nature of Christian teaching. Certainly the Jewish activity of teaching that probably serves as a model for the early Christian teaching was all along much dependent on the transmission and application of a body of truth, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the developing Jewish tradition.(15) Before the New Testament Scriptures, early Christian teachers also had authoritative Christian traditions on which to base their ministries, and the implication of passages such as 2 Tim 2:2 is that teaching, in the sense depicted in the New Testament, would continue to be very important for the church. Moreover, the Scriptures should be regarded as replacing the apostles, who wrote Scripture, not the teachers who exposited and applied it. Certainly, any authority that the teacher has is derived, inherent in the Christian truth being proclaimed rather than in the person of the teacher. But the activity of teaching, precisely because it does come to God's people with the authority of God and His Word, is authoritative. 

In light of these considerations, we argue that the teaching prohibited to women here includes what we would call preaching (note 2 Tim 4:2: "Preach the word . . . with careful instruction" [teaching, didache]), and the teaching of Bible and doctrine in the church, in colleges, and in seminaries. Other activities-leading Bible studies, for instance-may be included, depending on how they are done. Still others---evangelistic witnessing, counseling, teaching subjects other than Bible or doctrine---are not, in our opinion, teaching in the sense Paul intends here. 

C. Is Every Kind of Teaching Prohibited, Or Only Teaching of Men? 

Is Paul prohibiting women from all teaching? We do not think so. The word man (andros), which is plainly the object of the verb have authority (authentein), should be construed as the object of the verb teach also. This construction is grammatically unobjectionable,(16) and it alone suits the context, in which Paul bases the prohibitions of verse 12 on the created differences between men and women (verse 13). Indeed, as we have argued, this male/female differentiation pervades this passage and comes to direct expression in the word that immediately precedes verse 12, submission. Paul's position in the pastoral epistles is, then, consistent: he allows women to teach other women (Titus 2:3-4),(17) but prohibits them to teach men. 

D. The Meaning of Have Authority 

The verb translated in the NIV "have authority" (authentein) has generated a great deal of discussion. We will confine ourselves to three points that we think are most important. First, the frequent appeal to etymology-the roots that make up the word---in explaining this word is understandable, given the limited number of relevant occurrences, but must always remain a precarious basis for conclusions. Not only is the etymology of the word debated, but also the usage of words often departs, in unpredictable ways, from their etymological meaning (e.g., the word butterfly). Second, the occurrences of this word---the verb---that are closest in time and nature to 1 Tim mean "have authority over" or "dominate" (in the neutral sense of "have dominion over," not in the negative sense "lord it over").(18) Third, the objection that, had Paul wanted to say "exercise authority," he would have used the word exousiazo(19) does not bear up under scrutiny. Paul's three other uses of that verb hardly put it in the category of his standard vocabulary, and the vocabulary of the pastoral epistles is well known to be distinct from Paul's vocabulary elsewhere. For these reasons, we think the translation "have authority over" is the best English rendering of this word. 

Again, we must ask the question of application. What kind of modern church practice would Paul be prohibiting to women in saying they are not to have authority over a man? First, we must, of course, recognize that it is not a question of a woman (in the New Testament or in our day) exercising ultimate authority over a man; God and the Scriptures stand over any Christian in a way no minister or human authority ever could. But, within these spheres of authority, we may nevertheless speak legitimately of a governing or ruling function exercised under God by some Christians over others (see 1 Thess 5:12; Hebr 13:17). In the pastoral epistles, this governing activity is ascribed to the elders (see 1 Tim 3:5; 5:17). Clearly, then, Paul's prohibition of women's having authority over a man would exclude a woman from becoming an elder in the way this office is described in the pastoral epistles. By extension, then, women would be debarred from occupying whatever position in a given local church would be equivalent to the pastoral epistles' governing elder (many churches, for instance, call these people deacons). This would be the case even if a woman's husband were to give her permission to occupy such a position, for Paul's concern is not with a woman's acting independently of her husband or usurping his authority but with the woman's exercising authority in the church over any man. 

On the other hand, we do not think Paul's prohibition should restrict women from voting, with other men and women, in a congregational meeting, for, while the congregation as a whole can be said to be the final authority, this is not the same thing as the exercise of authority ascribed, e.g., to the elders. Nor do we think Paul would intend to prohibit women from most church administrative activities. But what about women teaching or having authority over men in other activities in society generally (for example, in government, business, or education)? While this broader issue is addressed in another essay in this volume (see pages 50-52, 88-89, and 388-393), it is appropriate to note here that Paul's concern in 1 Tim 2:11-15 is specifically the role of men and women in activities within the Christian community, and we question whether the prohibitions in this text can rightly be applied outside that framework. 

E. Are Teaching and Having Authority Two Activities or One? 

Thus far we have spoken of Paul's prohibiting women from two specific activities: "teaching" men and "having authority over" men. It has been argued, however, that the two verbs should be taken together, in a grammatical relationship called hendiadys, such that only one activity is prohibited: teaching in an authoritative (authentein) way.(20) If the meaning of authentein is "exercise authority," this interpretation would not materially change the first prohibition identified above---for the teaching Paul has in mind here has, as we have argued, some authority in itself---but it would eliminate entirely the second prohibition (against having authority over a man). We do not, however, think this interpretation is likely. While the word in question, oude ("and not," "neither," "nor"), certainly usually joins "two closely related items,"(21) it does not usually join together words that restate the same thing or that are mutually interpreting, and sometimes it joins opposites (e.g., Gentile and Jew, slave and free; Gal 3:28).(22) Although teaching in Paul's sense here is authoritative in and of itself, not all exercising of authority in the church is through teaching, and Paul treats the two tasks as distinct elsewhere in 1 Tim when discussing the work of elders in the church (3:2, 4-5; 5:17). That teaching and having authority are "closely related" is, of course, true, as it is true that both ministries often are carried out by the same individuals, but here and elsewhere they are nonetheless distinct, and in 1 Tim 2:12, Paul prohibits women from conducting either activity, whether jointly or in isolation, in relation to men. 

F. Are Only Husbands and Wives in View? 

The final item on our list of exegetically significant issues in verse 12 is the relationship intended by the words gyne and aner. The difficulty arises from the fact that these words are used to describe both the marital relationship (wife/husband) and the larger gender relationship (woman/man). If, as many think,(23) Paul is here using the words in the former sense, then what he is prohibiting is not the teaching or exercising of authority of women in general over men in general, but only of wives over their own husbands. However, the wording and the context both favor the broader reference. If Paul had wanted to confine his prohibition in verse 12 to wives in relationship to their husbands, we would have expected him to use a definite article or possessive pronoun with man: "I am not permitting a woman to teach or to exercise authority over her man." (Paul readily made a similar distinction elsewhere in writing of male/female relationships. Women, he said, are to submit to "their own [idiois] husbands" [Eph 5:22, NASB; cf. Col 3:18.) And the context (verses 8-9) clearly addresses men and women generally as members of the church, not (as in Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19) as husbands and wives, as members of family units; it is not only husbands who are to lift holy hands in prayer, but all the men, and not only wives who are to dress modestly, but all the women (verses 9-10). Therefore, the prohibitions of verse 12 are applicable to all women in the church in their relationships with all men in the church.

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