Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

I was honoured to write a guest blog post recently for Michael Bird’s blog “Word from the Bird.” Dr Bird is a prolific author, an ordained Anglican priest, and Academic Dean and Lecturer in New Testament at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia.

In the guest post, I argue that there should be a consensus on the general sense, if not Paul’s precise meaning, of the Greek word authentein which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not allow a woman to teach, or authentein a man; rather, she is to be in quietness.” And I briefly outline three reasons why I believe authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12 refers to self-centred, domineering behaviour.

You can read the article here.
A Spanish translation is here.
A short report on the article is on the Eternity News website.

More articles on authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12 are here.
All my articles on 1 Timothy 2:12 are here.

Image credit

The papyrus bird is part of the logo of Michael Bird’s blog. Used with permission.

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3 thoughts on “Authentein as Bad Behaviour in 1 Timothy 2:12

  1. Thanks for this.
    I’m including this concept in my core theology (and philosophy of life in general), along with similar items. The title of that category is “Why You Shouldn’t Be A Butthead.”
    I avoid, as much as it is possible, people who thrill at causing controversy and enjoy fussing at folks, but it’s helpful to have good citations when the inevitable happens.

  2. what about the teach part of the verse?

    1. Hi Kia, I don’t write much about didaskein (“to teach”) because this word is reasonably straightforward and easier to understand than authentein. I don’t believe Paul used didaskein in an especially technical or restricted sense and that it usually refers to teaching doctrine or to instructions about behaviour in his letters.

      Paul uses didask– words about 20 times in the Pastoral Epistles in the context of both good and bad teaching or instruction. Bad teaching was one of Paul’s main concerns when writing to Timothy in Ephesus and to Titus in Crete.

      Bad Teaching

      There are several instances in the Pastoral Epistles where the verb didaskō and its cognates are used for corrupt, inadequate, or “other” teaching. Note that most of these are from 1 Timothy.

      heterodidaskalein (infinitive) “to teach” other doctrines in 1 Timothy 1:3.
      nomodidaskaloi (concrete noun) [unqualified] “teachers of the law” in 1 Timothy 1:7.
      didaskaliais (noun) “doctrines/ teachings” of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1.
      heterodidaskalei (verb) “teaches other doctrines” in 1 Timothy 6:3.
      didaskalous (concrete noun) “teachers” that cater to itching ears in 2 Timothy 4:3.
      didaskontes (participle) “teaching” things that shouldn’t be taught in Titus 1:11.

      I believe didaskein (infinitive) “to teach” in 1 Timothy 2:12 should be included in this list.

      Sound Teaching

      False teaching was such a problem at Ephesus and Crete that Paul often uses positive descriptions to qualify “teach/ teaching/ teacher” words to distinguish good teaching from the prevalent false teaching.

      didaskalos (concrete noun) a “teacher” of the Gentiles in faith and truth in 1 Timothy 2:7.
      didaskalias (noun) good/ fine “teaching ” in 1 Timothy 4:6.
      didaske (vocative verb) command and “teach” these things [the things Paul had just taught Timothy] in 1 Timothy 4:11.
      didaskalia (noun) pay attention to the [public] reading of scripture, to exhortation, and to “teaching” in 1 Timothy 4:13.
      didaske (verb) “teach” and exhort these [correct] things in 1 Timothy 6:2.
      didaskalia (noun) sound/ wholesome/ healthy “teaching” in 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 1:9; Tit. 2:1. (“Sound words” occurs in 1 Tim. 6:3 and 2 Tim. 1:13. Logos is used frequently with the meaning of Christian teaching in the Pastoral Epistles).
      didaskalia (noun) godly “teaching” in 1 Timothy 6:3.
      didaskalia (noun) my [i.e. Paul’s] “teaching” in 2 Timothy 3:10.
      didachē (noun) “correct, rebuke, and encourage with complete patience and “teaching” in 2 Timothy 4:2.
      didachēn (noun) the “teaching” of the faithful word in Titus 1:9.
      kalodidaskalous (noun) “teachers” of good things in Titus 2:3.

      Didaskalia, which can mean instruction or teaching, occurs several more times in the Pastoral Epistles.

      I suggest a woman in Ephesus was teaching a strange version of Genesis 2 and 3, so Paul tells Timothy that she needs to learn like a good student (1 Tim. 2:11) and is not allowed to teach (1 Tim. 2:12a).Paul then provides a correct summary of Genesis 2 and 3 in 1 Tim. 2:13-14.

      She also needs to stop domineering a man/husband: authentein andros.

      I have more on 1 Timothy 2:12 here: https://margmowczko.com/category/1-timothy-212/

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