For the semantic difficulties in 1 Tim 2:8-15, recognize the interpretations of the following words that indicate Paul permitted women to assume roles of pastoral ministry: “in quietness,” “be quiet,” “full submission,” and “assume authority.” (Sect. 16.4.3)
“in quietness,” or meekness, en hesychia. This should be interpreted as a “quiet spirit” or “respectful attitude,” as Paul uses the term elsewhere: vv. 1-2; 1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:12. When Paul wants to say “silence,” meaning absence of speech, he uses sigao (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 14:28, 30, 34). Therefore, “in quietness” “does not mean “silence.”· Her learning is further qualified as being in “full submission” (i.e., respectful submission), offsetting the insubordination of certain women.· v. 12 “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority (authentein) over a man.” (This word appears only once in the Greek NT.) We need to know how this word was used before and after NT times. In doing so, it was commonly used to describe someone dominating, controlling or dictating, rather than merely exerting authority. This is according to Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, 2nd ed. (N.Y.: United Bible Societies, 1988-1989), 91; Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T. and Other Early Christian Literature, 3d ed. (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2000), 150. Wayne Grudem et al contest this.William Mounce, who embraces a restrictive view of women in this passage, concedes, “If it [authenteo] means ‘to domineer’ in a negative sense, then it is prohibiting a certain type of authoritative teaching, one that is administered in a negative, domineering, coercive way, thus leaving the door open for women to exercise teaching authority in a proper way over men.” Pastoral Epistles, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 46 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000), p.128.The cultural and historical background of the text indicates that one of the Ephesian church’s problems was false teachers. Some women were unstable and vulnerable to certain patterns of sin in the church. False teachers would mark and train them as their mouthpieces. Paul wants these women to stop being influenced by false teachers and learn the truth in quietness/calmness and in full submission to those teaching them.· The NIV wrongly renders the Greek einai en hesychia as: “she must be silent”; “she must be quiet” (v. 12). But einai en hesychia is more literally, “let her be in quietness/calmness,” echoing the beginning phrase of v.11 in the Greek text.