Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

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In my previous post, I argued that 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as straightforward as many believe it to be, and I looked at six factors that should be considered when reading this verse. How we understand the following verses, however, also influences how we understand verse 12. So in this post, I look at 1 Timothy 2:13: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

A Little Word with Big Implications

Verse 13 has been used by many to argue that the created order of Adam first, Eve second, is one reason why a woman cannot teach and lead a man. In this interpretation, the Greek word gar, often translated into English as “for,” is understood as meaning “because.” The preacher I mentioned in my previous post simply states that “for” means “because” in 1 Timothy 2:13.

Gar is sometimes used with a sense of “because.” However, gar has more senses and nuances, and in careful translations of the New Testament, it is rarely translated as “because” in the hundreds of verses where the word occurs.[1] Gar is often used in the New Testament to introduce additional, background information. This information is often from the past and sometimes from the Old Testament.[1]

Here is a small sample of verses where gar is used to introduce additional, background information, rather than a reason. (There are numerous instances where gar is used in this kind of way in the NT.) I encourage you to read these verses in your own Bible so you get a sense of their contexts.

In Matthew 3:2–3, gar occurs in verse 2 to give a reason why people should repent: “for (gar) the kingdom of heaven is near”. But in the following verse gar occurs again to introduce information from the Old Testament relevant to John the Baptist: “For (gar) this is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke …” Here we have two uses of gar in consecutive verses. Note that most English translations leave gar in Matthew 3:3 untranslated.

Gar is also left untranslated in some English versions of Matthew 15:27, or it is translated as “yet”, “but”, or occasionally “for”. In this verse, the Syrophoenician woman agrees with Jesus’ statement in Matthew 15:26, and then gives additional information regarding his statement. This information does not come from the Old Testament in this instance.

Gar is used in Acts 13:36 to introduce the information that David, having served the will of God in his own generation, died and was buried and is not “the holy one who will not see decay” mentioned in the previous verse, Acts 13:35 (cf. 1 Kings 2:10). Verse 36 does not give a reason for why “the holy one will not see decay.”

In Acts 15 we read about the Jerusalem council. Immediately after James gives his judgement in Acts 15:19-20, he says, “For (gar) the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21). Gar doesn’t introduce the reason for James’s judgement. Rather, verse 21 tells us that he thinks his judgements will be understood by the Gentiles because the law of Moses has been preached in every city, etc. James is providing additional information in verse 21, not a reason for his statements in verses 19 and 20.

In 1 Corinthians 10:4 we are told by Paul that all Israel “drank the same spiritual drink”. He then gives more information: “For (gar) they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” Paul is not giving the reason why they drank—presumably the reason was that the Israelites were thirsty (Exod. 17:3). Rather, Paul is giving more information about the event originally recorded in Exodus 17.

Gar is even used in 1 Timothy 2 to introduce additional information rather than a reason. The statement in 1 Timothy 2:5–6 about Jesus being the mediator between God and humanity begins with gar, but is not the reason for the previous statement in 1 Timothy 2:3-4 that God wants all people to be saved.

In John 4:43 it says that Jesus left for Galilee. Verse 44 then states: “Now (gar) Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country” (John 4:44 NIV). The NIV, ESV, NRSV, and NET put the information in verse 44 within parentheses. Furthermore, the NIV translates gar as “now”, while a few other translations, such as the NLT and HCSB, leave gar untranslated here. Verse 44 does not give a reason why Jesus went to Galilee (John 4:43–35 NIV).

How would it change our understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12 if verses 13–14 were put in parentheses? How would it change our understanding if gar was translated in verse 13 as “now” or “yet” instead of “for”? Or if gar was left untranslated? A lot is riding on how we understand and translate the Greek word gar in verse 13.[2]

I propose that Paul did not mention the created order as a reason for his prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12, but that he wrote a correct summary of Genesis 2–3 to counter faulty teachings circulating in Ephesus about Adam and Eve.[3]

Paul and the Created Order

Apart from Genesis 2, the created order is only mentioned in the Bible in two Pauline letters: First Corinthians and First Timothy. In 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 we find that Paul did not regard the created order, or the fact that the first woman came from the first human, as especially important. Bear with me as I explain.

In a passage that is about origins and worship, Paul refers to the creation of man and woman in Eden in verses 8-9 where he writes: “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man (cf. Gen. 2:21–22); neither was man created for woman, but woman for man” (1 Cor. 11:8–9 cf. 1 Cor. 11:3).

1 Corinthians 11:2–16 is written in two parts as a chiasm, and the corresponding verses to 8–9 are 11–12: “Nevertheless (or, except that), in the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman (cf. Gen. 4:1 NIV). But everything comes from God” (1 Cor. 11:11–12).

Rather than placing importance on the created order, Paul points out that even if the woman’s (Eve’s) source was man (Adam), every other man since has been born from a woman. According to Paul, who came first doesn’t matter because, ultimately, we all have God as our source. Moreover, we are mutually interdependent on one another, regardless of our gender.

Paul nullifies any significance of the created order in the second part of 1 Corinthians 11:2–16, particularly for us who are “in the Lord.” (More about the two halves and two contexts of this passage, here.) Nevertheless, some maintain that the created order somehow disqualifies every woman from teaching and leading any man for all time.

The Biblical Record of Men Who Were Guided by Godly Women

Alluding to 1 Timothy 2:13–14, respected scholar New Testament Douglas Moo writes, “these restrictions [in verse 12] 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.” (Source: Bible.org)

If the created order of Adam and Eve really does provide an impediment for a woman teaching and leading a man, then this impediment extends beyond the church because, presumably, everyone is “descended from Adam and Eve.” Yet the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, give numerous examples of men who were guided by women for their betterment and the betterment of the community of God’s people.

These men include Abraham (Gen. 21:12); two Israelite spies (Josh. 2: 8–11, 23-24; 16, 22); Barak (Judg. 4:4–6, 8); King David (1 Sam. 25:2–42); Joab (2 Sam. 20:14–22); King Lemuel (Prov. 31:1–9); King Josiah (2 Chron. 34:19–33, etc); Mordecai (Esth. 4:17 NIV); those who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:37–38); the men (and women) of Sychar (John 4:4–42); Jesus’ “brothers” (John 20:17–18); Apollos (Acts 18:26); etc. (More about these men, and the women who taught and led them, here.)

In all these examples, and others, there is no hint that the men were doing anything amiss by following the advice and direction of women. In fact, there were good, even great, outcomes when they heeded the women’s words.

Furthermore, we see in the Bible that there was a respected place for prophetic women among the Israelites and, later, the Jews. Female prophets were sought out and heeded by people including kings and army generals. These women taught oracles and doctrine and made important decisions. There was also a respected place for female prophets in the very early church. But in many churches today, women are denied a voice, except perhaps in backrooms where only women and children are present.

What kind of outcomes are the church, and the world, missing out on because godly women are being restricted and denied the opportunity to teach and lead both men and women? And what is it about the created order, precisely, that supposedly disqualifies a woman from teaching and leading a man?

© Margaret Mowczko 2016
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[1] Philip Towner states, “The connecting particle (gar) can emphasize logical reasoning or simply introduce something more on the order of an explanation.” Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 225.
See also Sarah H. Casson’s 2019 book Textual Signposts in the Argument of Romans for an in-depth investigation on gar, here.

[2] The Greek word that more commonly and more precisely means “because” is oti, sometimes transliterated as hoti. This word does not occur in 1 Timothy 2:13. (Oti has other meanings and uses too.) In careful English translations,  gar is not usually translated as “because” in the hundreds of NT verses where it occurs.

[3] The two verbs in 1 Timothy 2:13–14a are borrowed directly from the Septuagint’s version of Genesis 2:7–8, 15 and 3:13 (plassō: “form, mould” and apatatō: “deceive”). More about plassō in the comments section.

Postscript: March 18 2021
1 Timothy 2:14 and Male False Teachers in Ephesus

I like what Sean du Toit, a New Testament scholar based in New Zealand, recently said in an informal online conversation regarding the idea that 1 Timothy 2:14 somehow indicates that women are more easily deceived than men.

How people could argue that women are more prone to deception, from a letter where the false teachers are men (1 Tim. 1:19–20) and have been excommunicated, is beyond me. The male false teachers have been targeting the women (2 Tim 3:6). The false teachers were the ones who were deceived first!

Postscript: December 4 2021
1 Timothy 2:13-14 as a Correction of Pagan Ideas

Peter Jones believes wrong ideas about creation are behind Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:45. In this context he writes,

Paul engages in such a long discourse on creation because there are false notions about creation—whether Philonic, proto-Gnostic, or purely Hellenistic pagan—held by an influential group at Corinth, which affects their understanding of anthropology, soteriology, eschatology, sanctification, and resurrection.

A somewhat parallel situation occurred at Ephesus under the pastorate of Timothy. Hymenaeus and Philetus teach that τὴν ἀνάστασιν ἤδη γεγονέναι [“the resurrection has already happened”], because they affirm that the glorious future of believers has already occurred (2 Tim 2:18–19), just as in Corinth (1 Cor 15:12; cf. 1 Cor 4:8). They are, in essence, affirming some kind of “spiritual resurrection.” Of this Paul will have nothing.
Jones, “Paul Confronts Paganism in the Church: A Case Study of First Corinthians 15:45,” JETS 49.4 (December 2006): 713–737, 730. (A pdf of this paper is freely available here.)

I believe wrong ideas about creation and the resurrection are behind Paul’s corrections in 1 Timothy 2:13–15.

Postscript: October 26 2022
1 Timothy 2:13–14 do not indicate the natures of men and women

1 Timothy 2:13–14 is not about the nature of Adam or Eve, or the nature of men and women today. Being made first does not encapsulate Adam’s nature, especially since a chunk or side of him was taken out and became a part of the woman (Gen. 2:21–23). And Eve’s momentary failure does not encapsulate her nature. She wasn’t named “deceived” or “fallen”; she was named “life.” (“Eve” means “life,” a positive name.)

Alsoe, let’s not forget that Adam also failed by eating the forbidden fruit and “was in transgression.” (The Greek word parabasis, meaning “transgression,” is used for Eve in 1 Tim. 2:14 and for Adam in Rom. 5:14.)

Furthermore, Adam being made first and Eve being deceived says nothing about broader humanity. No man today has been made first. Rather, as Paul accurately points out in 1 Cor. 11:12, “For as woman [Eve] came from man (cf. Gen. 2:22–23), so also man [Cain and everyone since] is born of woman (cf. Gen. 4:1 NIV). But everything comes from God.” Every man today has come from his mother’s body! And both men and women have God as their ultimate source.

Paul does not say that being deceived is a feminine trait. No verse in the Protestant Bible says or suggests this. The Bible says good things about women, overall. (See here.) God loves his daughters and did not design them with a gullible nature.

1 Timothy 2:13–14 is not about the nature of man and woman. And these verses are probably not the reason why a woman in Ephesus (who needed to learn) was not allowed to teach … (1 Tim. 2:11–12).

Part One

6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seems

Explore more

The Significance of the Created Order, in a Nutshell
1 Timothy 2:12, the created order, and Bible men who were guided by godly women
Many women leaders in the Bible had this one thing in common
Adam and Eve in Ancient Gnostic Literature (cf. 1 Tim 2:13–14)
Partnering Together: Paul’s Female Coworkers
All my articles on 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 are here.
All my articles on 1 Timothy 2:12 (and surrounding verses) are here.

40 thoughts on “1 Timothy 2:13: Another reason 1 Tim. 2:12 isn’t as clear as it seems

  1. More New Testament verses that contain gar and don’t convey reasons.

    Acts 16:37c
    In Acts 16:35ff, the Roman authorities want Paul and Silas to leave prison. Paul tells the officers about the unjust treatment he and Silas have received. He then says “no” (ou) and also uses the word gar: “ou gar.” Gar seems to function to intensify “no” in this verse.

    The word gar is followed with what Paul wants to happen. He wants to be escorted from prison.

    Gar does not introduce a reason. It does not have a sense of “because.” Gar is left untranslated in English translations of Acts 16:37 that I’ve seen or it is translated as “indeed,” “absolutely” or “certainly.” Compare translations here.

    How would it change the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:13 if gar was translated as “indeed”?: “Indeed, Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

    Ephesians 5:9
    Gar occurs 7 times in Ephesians 5:5-14. Each time, gar introduces extra information. It can be argued that some of these “gars” also introduce reasons, but there is at least one sentence introduced by gar that does not give a reason. This is Ephesians 5:9.

    The ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV, and other translations put this verse in parentheses: “Walk as children of light (for (gar) the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)” (Eph 5:8-9 ESV).

    How would it affect the meaning if 1 Timothy 2:13-14 was placed within parentheses? (cf. John 4:44 NIV.)

    Hebrews 11:32
    In Hebrews 11:32ff, the author asks a rhetorical question and then responds to it. Gar occurs at the beginning of the response. The ESV, KJV, NASB, NET, NRSV and other Bible versions translate gar here as “for,” but other translations, including the CEB, CSB, NIV, and NLT, leave gar untranslated. Compare translations here.

    The response doesn’t give a reason, it does not have a sense of “because.” Rather, as in 1 Timothy 2:13, it gives information derived from the Old Testament.

    I started noting all the times gar is used in Galatians with a meaning other than “because.” But there are s many examples of this, I gave up to devote my time to something more productive.

    1. For me the translation of ‘gar’ as ‘because’ is not an issue if the previous verse is correctly translated. When one correctly understands what Paul is addressing in verse 12 then the connectedness with verse 13 and 14 is clear within the context of his encouragement to Timothy to exercise discipline in regards to this woman in the Ephesian church who has been deceived by false doctrine and is displaying ‘belief based behavior’ which is negatively impacting on the gospel. I have taken the liberty of defining authentein as ‘behavior predicated on the preeminence of a woman over a man’. In this way the verses which follow verse 12 are then seen in the context of Paul undermining the false belief that the woman had concerning her preeminence in creation.

      1. I can’t see that an accurate translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 will help to explain 1 Timothy 2:13 or how to translate gar.

        A correct interpretation of verse 12 with an understanding its backstory will help, but verse 12 has its own challenges. And whose interpretation of the myriads offered is the correct one?

        By the way, I did get your study. I’ve been swamped with reading this month. I hope to get to it soon.

  2. Interesting take on the possible translation of ‘gar’ in these verses. Will have to give some further study to that.

    In my view, even if Paul is saying, “for (because) Adam was created first, then Eve” as a reason for what he says prior, that still does not imply a universal prohibition as Moo and others think. As you note, it did not prevent women prophetesses teaching men (e.g., Huldah). It did not prevent Deborah from instructing Israel. It did not prevent women being witnesses to the resurrection and passing on Jesus’ instructions to the disciples (which is essentially what teaching/preaching in a church setting should be doing).

    It seems to me a strong case can be made that in v.13 Paul is using the Adam/Eve situation as a reason mitigate against, and humble, women who were seeking a more domineering role over men at Ephesus (and the corresponding authentien which may best be translated ‘domineer’). As I. Howard Marshall put it in his commentary on 1 Tim. 2, “The ‘order of creation’ is a reply to some specific aspect of the false teaching which has influenced women to behave in the church meeting in a way that threatens the dignity of men.” This is a classic move by Paul. He is constantly seeking to humble his church audiences so as to prevent hierarchical thinking of any kind (m/f; Jew/Gentile; Rich/Poor; etc.).

    Bruce Winter offers this observation in Roman Wives, Roman Widows, “… certain married women had a … desire to dominate in the Forum and the courts. Was there a concern that a comparable attitude might creep into the Christian community with the desire to use power to control, this time in the context of public instruction?”

    So, Paul may simply be – I think is – using the creation argument as a means of reigning in women/wives, influenced by the culture of ‘new women’ seeking to domineer their husbands or the assembly itself, who also were perhaps caught up in the Artemis cult at Ephesus. As if to say, “Time out, don’t think you have permission to dominate men in this instruction – for Adam was created first, and the woman was deceived” – but that would not preclude humble, non-authoritarian instruction (and such non-authoritarian instruction would apply to men as well – as it is the cruciform way of Paul for everyone). Paul regularly employs scriptural or nature based arguments even when he is (as I strongly suspect is the case in 1 Tim 2) offering an ad hoc ‘fix’ to mitigate against some practice that would otherwise undermine the gospel.

    Thanks for your writings. Peace.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      I agree with I. Howard Marshall, at least in part, that 1 Timothy 2:13-14 and even verse 15 were written to address specific aspects of the heresy in Ephesus. Certain verses in 1 Timothy also reveal that the wealthy Christians were causing problems in the Ephesian church. My guess is that all the problems addressed in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 were caused by high status, rich members of the church who needed a dose of humility and “reining in” as you say.

  3. Considering how often God passed by the first born and choose a younger child to do His work, I could never see how anyone would make a hard and fast rule out of the creation order in I Tim.

    I also could never understand that if it was wrong for a woman to teach because Eve had been deceived by the father of lies, why was it OK for a man to teach, when Adam willingly made the choice to sin “with his eyes wide open.”

    But then, I am just a “foolish, easily deceived woman” and do not have the ability to understand such things. Or so I have been told when I have asked comps to explain it to me.

    1. We are all children of Eve. All of us, men and women, are stupid and gullible in varying degrees, and most of this has nothing to do with Eve who is so remote from us.

      As I wrote somewhere else: “In Jesus’ kingdom the humble are exalted, the lowly are the greatest, the last are first, and the first are last. We still haven’t grasped and applied these basic kingdom principles; and we corrupt these principles when we try and make primacy and hierarchy a part of relationships in Christian communities.”

      Sometimes we Christians really are thick and slow. Why can’t we see that equality and mutuality is what Jesus taught and demonstrated. It is a very great shame and outright tragedy that Christians are ignoring the big picture of the kingdom and are being tripped up on 1 Timothy 2:12 which was written about a specific and local situation.

      1. I have often challenged men about why do they isolate the Scripture about what women should do and give them more weight that things about men. How many churches restrict women “gar” I Tim 2, but won’t allow men to “lift holy hands in prayer?”

        But then people falsely pride themselves in being inconsistent, don’t they.

        1. And I have never heard a sermon where women were told not to braid their hair and to stop wearing pearls, gold, and expensive clothes (1 Tim 2:9).

  4. I wouldn’t worry too much about the pastorial letters (1, 2 Tim. and Titus). Almost no modern scholar believe these were written by Paul. In fact, they date much later. We see this in that there exists the presumption of an established church with an internal structure to govern the church; a condition which Paul predates by many decades. The authentic Paul wrote in the 50’s and is our earliest writings after the crucifixion, beginning about 20 years after the death of Jesus.

    So read these letters with a generous bit of salt 😉 These non-authentic Pauline letters are often best understood as attempts to modify and rein in Paul’s radical positions. One such radical position was the proposition that we are all equal – slaves, women, etc: that was Paul’s position.

    Context must always be considered: who wrote, when, in what circumstance (personal and social), to whom, and for what reason?

    1. Hi Erik, There are lots of scholars who, for very good reasons, do not believe the Pastorals were written by Paul. On the other hand there are many scholars today that see Paul as their author. Whatever the case, these letters have been included in the canon of Holy Scripture, and there’s lots of great stuff in them.

      The contents of these letters seems to indicate that they were written late in the first century, after, tradition says, Paul was executed. (Some scholars even place these letters in the early second century.) I wonder, however, if we’ve got the date for Paul’s death wrong. The details of his death are very sketchy. Furthermore, quite a few early Christian writers indicate that Paul went to Spain, which would be hard to fit in with the current understanding of Paul’s ministry timeline. What if Paul died in the 80s instead of during Nero’s reign? (More about Paul and Spain here.)

      Anyway, this is all conjecture. I’m happy to consider the Pastorals as Holy Scripture.

      1. Brilliant. I never listen to people in posts if authority unless they can thoroughly justify their view and it makes sense.

      2. “Anyway, this is all conjecture. I’m happy to consider the Pastorals as Holy Scripture_. Why are you happy to do this? That seems a very random position to hold!!

        1. To be clear, the conjecture is about the date of Paul’s death.

          Regarding the Pastorals as Holy Scripture is hardly a random position to hold. The Pastoral Epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, have been included in the Bible, in various canons of scripture, for centuries. For this reason and others, I consider the Pastorals as Holy Scripture.

          In case you’re interested, here are the results of a survey of just over 100, mostly British, Evangelical, New Testament scholars, taken in 2011, regarding the authorship of the various Pauline letters. http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2019/04/pauline-authorship-according-to-british.html

  5. I run a cattle ranch in mountainous eastern Tennessee. It’s quiet but never lonely. Nature is all around you here – and it doesn’t take long to figure out that everything God made is good. I won’t even kill a rattle snake. They are in the food chain and do their job nicely. Some people don’t like children; others don’t like the obese; and some don’t like women – period. But who runs things? Father. And He loves children and He loves women and he made everything good and decent. Now I have over 20 bibles and I’m into the Word double digit hours a day – but I always approach things from a simple point of view. Why in the world would anyone wish to see either gender as anything but a gorgeous creation from God? In the living and breathing Body of Jesus Christ, each of the brothers and sisters is an integral and vital “cell” – and we all need to function “pedal to the metal” to beat back the horrible sin and immorality that grips society – notice that the first thing the devil always does to ruin us all is degrade women, then the family, then our institutions. Women are the linchpin to holiness – once they go south – we’re toast. Men and even children then fall like dominoes. We need our women for holiness; for strength and guidance in tough times. And for the clean and clear thinking they always provide as all of us journey down our paths to Father and salvation. Bossy women? Bossy men? Bossy kids? Heck, I’ve got bossy cows! Meekness and humility and love will solve all that “bossy” stuff. We are all in this together – and we need our wonderful women as equals to the best that men have to offer. Have you noticed that 1 + 1 = 2. But when you put a good man and a good woman together ….you get 1 + 1 = 5. Five for grace – and it comes from the deep integrity and love within ALL of us. Heck, I’m so old, I even learn things from little kids! Praise the Lord.

    1. Hi Ray, Thanks for your very interesting perspective on things. I don’t get a lot of comments like this one. 🙂

      There’s lots here that I agree with. Meekness, humility and love are excellent virtues which can ease and solve many problems. And I don’t know anyone personally who has a negative view of sex (gender) differences.

      I’m thankful that the Father is one running things in my world. I’m also thankful for the people he has put around me, both men and women. We all need each other and our unique gifts, abilities and temperaments.

  6. Whenever I see the created order thing brought up I keep thinking about all of those non first born sons in the old testament, and how they were chosen by God to do great things while their elder brothers were skipped over because they were unfit for the job God required, and/or because God wanted to show his power through those considered weaker.

    Like, the list of these people is big enough to throw at someone and do them some injury. I feel as though women are also like these non first born sons, and should not be ignored when God gives them spiritual gift and their calling, especially now when women are considered in Christ to be the same as a first born son.

    1. Just had to say AMEN!

    2. Yes, with the exception of Jesus being first in a few things, being first means nothing whatsoever in God’s ideal for society.

      I’ve written about this here: https://margmowczko.com/adam-created-first/

      1. Many years ago I wrote a piece about being a little sister. It always seemed that my older brother had the best of everything. I got his hand me downs. He got his way more that I did. He got paid more for doing the same jobs I did. I was constantly compared to him and came up short. The things that I did do better than he did, and there were a lot of those things, were discounted. I was not like my brother and still am not! To the day my mother died when we were in our late 50s, my mother simply could not deal with the idea that we were not the same, or that we had different ways or doing things, or that there were somethings that I was just plain better at. Mum referred to me as “torture, torment and aggravation.” Really! I was always the source of trouble, blamed for things, held responsible when anything went wrong, even to the point of being made to feel it was my fault that my dad had a heart attack. Needless to say, this was NOT good for me!! My dad ruled the family like a tyrant and changed his mind as he wanted, usually to apply some restriction to me but not to my brother.

        We were not Christians, but I met Jesus when I was 14. Wow, I was part of a big family where I was loved, wasn’t a little sister……. HA! What a jolt when I found out that as a woman, I would only ever be second best again. I would get the left overs, the hand me downs, all the things that the men were done with or didn’t want. I would not be allowed to do the things that the big boys did, and if I did, I would get no credit and little help. If I could do something better, it wouldn’t matter.

        I was so depressed. Then I learned that the second born was so often God’s top pick. He didn’t seem to care about birth order, but about attitudes or abilities, and even better, He cared about what He could do with someone with bad attitudes and bad abilities!

        It is even harder for me to put up with churches where I was a “little sister” than it was for me to deal with my family. At least my parents were honest, where churches still hide behind the “equal but different” excuse. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father and my Savior for the truth of equality.

        1. Hi Cassandra,

          I’m so sorry for your childhood. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be thought of that way. And how sad that many women like yourself were, and are, getting the leftovers because the men are getting privileged treatment.

          It’s almost a pattern that God looks over the firstborn and chooses the second born, or even a son further down the line (e.g. David and Joseph), to be a leader. Being first means nothing.

          1. Eh, it makes good object lessons now! The parallel between how I grew up and the attitudes I found in churches has always mystified me. Somehow, I thought of churches as places where people were nice to each other, helped them, were glad to get each other’s help, etc. When someone tells me that church is a “family,” I always think what a dysfunctional family it is. Aynt supposed to be that way!

      2. Jesus has the first place (preeminence) in everything and was the firstborn (speaking of his resurrection) of all creation (Colossians 1).

        But, he was the last Adam and the second man (1 Corinthians 15). So, we Jesus as the second man preferred over Adam as the first man.

        I believe this is why the Bible is full of things like the younger will rule over the elder and the second (or later) son repeatedly being chosen over the first son

        1. That’s interesting, Steve. 🙂

  7. 1Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobermindedness (KJ21)

    What about woman without child?

    In French, two translations say: if children persevere in the faith.

    Bible Pirot-Clamer © 1938-50 Réédition Cardinal Liénart (1Thimothée 2:15) elle sera sauvée par l’enfantement, si ses enfants (children)demeurent dans la foi (continue in faith) …

    Bible Lemaistre de Sacy • 1759 (1Timothée 2:15)Elle se sauvera néanmoins par les enfants qu’elle aura mis au monde, s’ils (children)persévèrent dans la foi, (continue in faith) …

    Question: if child(ren) does not persevere, woman is not saved?

    In the past, casuistry allowed annulment of a marriage, if a couple had no children. The woman was considered barren. Always and only the woman. A man could not be infertile. It is inconceivable to think that a man could be infertile …

    And Today ?

    1. Hi Bereenne,

      the KJV translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 is literal and correct. The Greek text of verse 15 does not mention children, except for the noun “child-rearing” or “child-bearing”.

      The Greek verb translated as “s/he will be saved” is singular, whereas the Greek verb translated as “they continue” is plural, but I can’t see that “they” refers to children. That would be a strange theology.

      Furthermore, I do not think that any of the advice or information in 1 Timothy 11-15 refers to men and women generally. Rather, I strongly suspect that Paul had a specific woman and man in mind. This is why Paul changes from plural (“men”, “women) in verses 8-10 to singular (“man”, “woman”) in verses 11-12.

      I also suspect that the woman was of high status, and so Paul speaks about her diplomatically and anonymously.

      I believe “she will be saved” refers to the woman mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, and “they continue” refers to the woman and man (the couple) mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:12.

      I have more about context of 1 Timothy 2:15 here: https://margmowczko.com/equality-and-gender-issues/chastity-salvation-1-timothy-215/
      And more in this comment here: https://margmowczko.com/equality-and-gender-issues/what-must-a-woman-do-to-be-saved/#comment-136900

      1. Interestingly, I think Chrysostom held to the interpretation that “they” refers to the children. I agree, that is a somewhat odd theology. In addition, I’m not sure if this is the best place to ask this, but I noticed that in Chrysostom’s homily on Titus 2:3-5, he maintained that by adding authenteō man, Paul was keeping women for publicly coming foward and presiding and holding discourse at length. However, I also know that he used authenei as a negative activity elsewhere. I was wondering what you thought about this seeming contradiction in his usage of the word?

        1. I was just rereading Chrysostom’s ideas of salvation through childbirth yesterday. It really is odd theology.

          In his comments on the Greek word kalodidaskalous, which means “teachers of what is good” (Titus 2:3), Chrysostom quotes the middle phrase of 1 Timothy 2:12 twice: “nor to authenteō a man.” But he doesn’t elaborate on what authenteō means. Rather, as you indicated, he offers this: “But to women it is allowed to instruct by discourse at home. But they are nowhere permitted to preside, nor to extend their speech to great length.” Homily 4 on Titus.

          Chrysostom uses the verb authenteō in his comment on Colossians 3:19. It is translated as “act the despot” in this translation of Homily 10 on Colossians.

          In both these homilies, Chrysostom’s meaning is that women and men should not do this, but I can’t see that a woman (or man) either presiding or speaking at length in an edifying and friendly manner comes close to the meaning of authenteō.

          In his 11th homily on Colossians, Chrysostom warns against self-centredness: “… the time is not yours, but theirs. Do not then wish to have your own way (authenteō), but redeem the time” (re: Col. 4:5).

          In all three cases, Chrysostom says not to do this. Authenteō was not, and is not, acceptable behaviour.

          1. Thank you for your thoughts. I do think that authenteō is referring to some activity that is not acceptable in the church, though I’m not sure what specifically Paul meant. I find it odd that Chrysostom brought authenteō up in his homily on Titus; I’m not sure what his exact thoughts were. Though I also find Moeris comparing it to autodikēn confusing since “acting on one’s own” doesn’t seem to fit some of the other examples of authenteō I’ve seen. Either way, it does seem to imply someone trying to get their own way. But speaking of kalodidaskalous, what do you think teacher of good means in Titus 2:3? Do you think it refers to the admonishing Paul talk about in Titus 2:4, or something else? Again, thank you for your thoughts. I’ve learned so much useful information from your website, and I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles.

          2. Yes, authenteō is unacceptable in the church. According to Chrysostom, it is also unacceptable in marriage and in relationships with unbelievers. It is unacceptable behaviour across the board. At the heart of authenteō is the idea of selfishly getting your own way at the expense of others. How this exactly played out with a certain couple in Ephesus is unclear, though I have my theory. 🙂


            Paul often used adjectives such as “sound”, “fine”, “godly” (e.g., Titus 2:1), to distinguish the good teaching he was encouraging in the Pastoral Epistles from the prevalent false, or “other” and even demonic, teaching that was a problem in the churches at Ephesus and Crete.

            In Titus 2:3, Paul uses the adjective kalos (“fine, good”) as a preposition and he joins it to didaskalos (“teacher”). It is not clear what the content was that these “good-teachers” should teach. At the very least, it included basic moral instruction and training as per verses 4-5.


            Titus 2:4 begins with the verb sōphronizō which has the sense of “to train in the art of self-control, moderation, modesty, decorum.” The Greco-Romans would have known exactly what this verb means–sōphrosunē was an important virtue for both men and women in first-century society. But the verb is difficult to translate succinctly into English, so many translations just have “to urge” or “to encourage,” but “to train” is better. Cognates of this verb occur in 1 Tim. 2:9, 15; 3:2; 2 Tim. 1:7; Titus 1:8; 2:2, 5, 6, 12. Instructions concerning self-control and respectable behaviour are a feature of the Pastoral Epistles.

            1 Timothy 2:12 and Titus 2:3-5

            It’s not really accurate to say that Chrysostom brings up authenteō in his homily on Titus 2:3. Rather, he brings up 1 Timothy 2:12 which contains the verbs didasktein (“to teach”) and authentein plus various other words.

            Chrysostom uses 1 Timothy 2:12, not authenteō as such, in order to limit the teaching of the women “good-teachers,” probably because 1 Tim. 2:12 is the only other verse in the Bible that mentions the female sex and a “teach” (didask-) word.

            I’ve written about 1 Timothy 2:3-5 here: https://margmowczko.com/busy-at-home-how-does-titus-24-5-apply-today/
            You may be interested in footnotes 7 and 8.

            … and you’re very welcome, Taylor. 🙂

  8. Hello Marg,

    Thank you for your recent post on Huldah.

    I recently gave a power point presentation and a story telling of the cultural context on 1 Timothy 2:9-15, in my small group, complementarian church. The teaching I gave was totally an egalitarian approach. I was thankful that no one could argue any of my points. I have an understanding of all the 9-15 verses. My only question is: How can scholars say Eve was not educated? She was told later, after Adam, not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
    Genesis 3:3 New International Version (NIV)
    3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

    Therefore, she was taught. Wasn’t she? Can you tell me what I am missing here?

    “Eve was deceived because she hadn’t been taught. Adam on the other hand sinned deliberately, disobeying the direct command from God.”
    Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/03/18/the-bible-and-that-women-question-rjs/#Xi4qH3VBG4dhurk1.99

    1. Hi Donna,

      I think Eve knew the command about the forbidden fruit perfectly well. This is evident in what she says to the serpent. In fact, I come up with different scenario altogether, one which, I admit, is speculative.

      I explain this idea here: https://margmowczko.com/eves-statement-to-the-serpent/

  9. Late to the party — just found your comments on the “created order” argument.

    1. Hi Jeanine,

      Do you mean my new article here?: https://margmowczko.com/the-created-order-nutshell/

  10. Paul’s use of Adam and Eve has always been a tripping point for me. While I have been able to understand egalitarian interpretations of 1 timothy 2:12, 1 Timothy 2:13-14 has always been more difficult for me to understand, from either perspective. This article is helpful. However, I ran across this article linked below that talks about gar, and the author mentions 1 Timothy 2:13 and talks about how gar is used to strengthen previous assertions in 1 and 2 Timothy. It is long, but I was wondering if you could take a look at it and share your thoughts? I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. I’m super busy at the moment, Taylor. But if I have the time and energy, I might take a look at the article.

      I started making a note of every time Paul uses gar in Galatians in a way that introduces additional material to support a previous statement, rather than a reason, and I got tired of it, because uses gar this way a lot.

      Off the top of my head: The idea that gar “strengthens” a previous statement is valid because it introduces additional material or reasons. Without gar, the statement is passed by more quickly.

  11. It seems to me that the English word “Indeed” could be inserted for the word ‘Gar’ in many of those NT verses where ‘Gar’ is NOT giving a rationale for the sentence prior to it but rather introducing supporting information?

    1. “Indeed” does seem to work in many sentences that contain gar (γάρ). Smyth gives the three main senses of gar as “in fact, indeed, and for,” and he notes that gar is made up from ge and ara.

      From Smyth’s Greek Grammar (2803) (I’ve added the italics.)
      “γάρ is from γέ + ἄρ (= ἄρα), γέ originally giving prominence either to the word it followed or to the whole clause, while ἄρα marked this prominence as due to something previously expressed or latent in the context. The compound γάρ originally emphasized a thought either as the result of existing circumstances or as a patent and well known fact. In most uses of the word, however, the force of its component parts cannot be distinguished nor is it clear in many cases whether γάρ is a conjunction or an adverb marking assurance.”

      Still, the use and meaning of gar can be difficult to pin down in some verses.

  12. Paul borrows language from the Septuagint in 1 Timothy 2:13-14. I’ve written the following note in response to discussions on the verb plassō which occurs in verse 13.


    The verb plassō, which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:13, occurs four times in Genesis 2. It is used in Genesis 2:7, 8 and 15, about the human God made or formed out of the ground, and in Genesis 2:19 about animals that God made or formed out of the ground.
    See here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4111/lxx/lxx/0-1/

    Elsewhere in the Septuagint, plassō is also used for God making people (e.g., Job 10:8–9; Psalm 119:73 118:73LXX; Jer. 1:5).

    In many verses, plassō is paired with the verb poieō, which commonly means “make,” including passages where the rhetorical device of parallelism is used. For example, in Isaiah 43:1 in the Septuagint, plassō and poieō are used almost as synonyms.


    The Greek verb mostly used for God making or creating in Genesis 1, 2 and 5 is the common verb poieō. It occurs 12 times in Genesis 1, 5 times in Genesis 2, and 4 times in Genesis 5:1-2.
    See here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4160/lxx/lxx/0-1/

    Poieō is used many times in the Septuagint, and over 500 times in the New Testament, in many different contexts. (Mark 10:6 quotes from the Septuagint: “He made them male and female.”)

    A Greek word meaning “built” (oikodomeō) is used for the woman in Genesis 2:22. But poieō is used in Genesis 2:18 where God says, “I will make a help(er) suitable/compatible with him.”
    More on this expression here: https://margmowczko.com/tag/a-suitable-helper/


    Another Greek verb, ktizō, has a range of senses to do with building, making, creating, and producing. It is usually used in the New Testament in the context of God as maker and creator. However, this verb is not used in the creation accounts in Genesis 1, 2 or 5. (At least, not in the versions of the Septuagint on Blue Letter Bible, BibleWebApp.com, or the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft website.)

  13. […] In 1 Timothy 2:13–14, Paul provides correct summary statements of Genesis 2 and 3. We do not know why Paul brings up Genesis 2 and 3,[4] but it may have been to provide a rebuttal to the faulty teaching of a woman in Ephesus. In the NT, additional information from the OT is sometimes introduced with the Greek connective gar (“for”), as in 1 Tim 2:13. More on this use of gar here. […]

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