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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6 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.

      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 be a teach other doctrines” in 1 Timothy 1:3
      nomodidaskaloi (concrete noun) [unqualified] “teachers of the law” in 1 Timothy 1:7
      didaskaliais (abstract noun) “doctrines/teaching” 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.

      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.

      “a teacher (didaskalos) of the Gentiles in faith and truth” in 1 Timothy 2:7
      “good/ fine teaching (didaskalias)” in 1 Timothy 4:6
      “command and teach (didaske) these things [the things Paul had just taught Timothy] in 1 Timothy 4:11
      “pay attention to the [public] reading of scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching (didaskalia) in 1 Timothy 4:13
      “teach (didaske) and exhort these [correct] things” in 1 Timothy 6:2
      “sound/ wholesome/ healthy teaching (didaskalia)” 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)
      “godly teaching (didaskalia)” in 1 Timothy 6:3
      “my [i.e. Paul’s] teaching (didaskalia)” in 2 Timothy 3:10
      “correct, rebuke, and encourage with complete patience and teaching (didachē)” in 2 Timothy 4:2
      “the teaching (didachēn) of the faithful word” in Titus 1:9
      “teachers of what is good (kalodidaskalous)” 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). (She also needs to stop domineering a man/husband: authentein andros.) Paul then provides a correct summary of Genesis 2 and 3 in 1 Tim. 2:13-14.

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

      1. Marg,

        Brilliant teachings + brill website!!

        According to the new testament, (Apostle peter + others(?)) , all believers in Jesus are priests! ( men + women). The Greek word, when it came to teaching + preaching is the verb, “to dialogue” not “to monologue”. The disciples ( all of us men + women) as well as Elders ( men + women)who were, and still should be Senior Citizens, were and still should be dialoging the scriptures with one another!

        To say that Women can’t preach or teach in the body of the Messiah?……don’t make me laugh!!

        1. Hi John, I’m glad you like my website.

          You left this same comment on another blog post about a month ago. I responded then and listed over a dozen verbs used in the New Testament for teaching and disseminating the gospel message. Didaskō (“teach”) and kēryssō (“preach”) are two of them.
          My comment is here: https://margmowczko.com/women-eve-and-deception/#comment-70996

  3. Hi Marg,

    Also, as I stated previously, if one looks into and does analysis and comparison on the Priesthoods of other religions and even the Roman, and Anglican priesthood, they are men ( not all),now to “Priesthood of all believers in Jesus, it goes to show that all priest of the “Lamb” are to teach + preach, as the above non biblical + RC + Anglican do likewise.

    So, there we have it. Case closed. Women preach + teach!

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