Bible Study Moment

The events in Ephesus in Acts 19 got me to remembering a publication I read several years ago about 1 Timothy 2:12-15. So I’m interrupting Acts to write about it.

I don’t allow a woman to teach or to control a man. Instead, she should be a quiet listener.  Adam was formed first, and then Eve.  Adam wasn’t deceived, but rather the woman became the one who stepped over the line because she was completely deceived. But a woman will be brought safely through childbirth, if they both continue in faith, love, and holiness, together with self-control.” (CEB, adjusted).

The paper pointed out that Timothy is in Ephesus (from 1 Timothy 1:3) and that Ephesus is a major center in the worship of Artemis, a female deity (from Acts 19, but I never picked up the extent until I read this paper).

The main thing this paper mentioned is that in the original Greek is a word that appears in the New Testament only once and in wider Greek writings from the time period is very rare. So knowing precisely what it means is difficult thus making translating it even more difficult. The writers offered another possible understanding of this passage; that Paul is writing to Timothy about specific women who had been very involved in the worship of Artemis before becoming Christians, and that they had a tendency to continue to teach ideas that were more about Artemis and not Jesus. Thus Paul was advising Timothy not to let these specific women teach. He was not making a blanket statement about all women.

What prompted me to read this paper was that one of the authors had died and Christianity Today had reported her death since she was a notable evangelical Christian. And seeing a woman recognized by CT without being closely related to a more notable man is rare.


Mark Phillips