This is the last of three posts I had in mind to address some too quickly swallowed, erroneous, not biblical but claimed as doctrinal teaching.
This one is a sticky one, a statement that even other women have defended. Quite a few years ago I was having what started out as a cordial conversation and ended with a women quite intensely stating women are not to teach because they are too emotional and therefore easily deceived! My reply with a reddening neck and cheeks and quavering voice, trying to stand my ground but keep up my polite ‘Christian’ demeanour was that no where in the Bible do I see that women are too emotional to teach!
So where does this idea come from?
I think it goes something like this;
Some believe that even before the fall there was an authority structure with Adam as the ‘head’ of the Woman all because Adam was made first. The Woman disrupted that order by speaking to the serpent and acting independently of Adam – usurping his authority. Through this act – she enticed/seduced/encouraged him to sin by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Those who teach this confirm their take on scripture by linking it to the New Testament verse below:
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. 1 Timothy 2:11-15
A confusing verse, even in this day of scholarly biblical enlightenment, but taken and used to help explain ‘the real or foundational sin’ in the garden. It would seem Adam’s true sin isn’t that he disobeyed Yahweh’s command but that he did not exercise his God given authority over the emotional Woman to protect or silence her. If he had done his job properly the serpent would not have had a chance! It has been said that women are more emotional and therefore more easily deceived. The Woman did not adhere to the divine authority structure and began communicating with the serpent without her ‘Head’s’ say so. She, being more emotional and given to the serpents enchanting and enticing words – took the bait. I think it is believed the Woman was deceived by the serpent because of her emotional response to his words and the attractive fruit on display. (When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it’ )
Take a read of some of these quotes below to see how this idea has been taken further
‘Women are vulnerable…. Women are more emotionally vulnerable to get into weird stuff.’
‘Women have an inner strength that men don’t… But spiritual strength, emotional strength, psychological strength? A wife needs to draw that strength from her husband, or from her male covering in some way.’
‘On the other hand, because of the fall, women have become over-sensitive. So while it is easier for a woman to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, it is also easier for a woman to hear the voice of another spirit and be deceived. Women are much more vulnerable to spiritual seduction and deception. The serpent got to Adam through his wife.’
‘Most of the people first to follow crazy trends and crazy doctrines will be women.’
The consequences being; today and throughout church history since the salvation of Yahshua, though we openly testify in our sermons and hymns that we are saved and forgiven, women must still be silenced and limited and controlled within the church so evil can once again not enter into the holy of holies and deceive the brethren. An order must continue as before the fall as this is God’s plan for humanity.
And so in churches today, women are limited in their contribution to the church service. Some outworkings of this I have witnessed or heard of are as follows.
- Women are not to teach. But can teach other women, and children in Sunday school – but definitely not between the hours of 10:00am to 12:00 on a Sunday.
- They can be in the worship team but they cannot choose the songs.
- Women are not to choose hymns, bring a word, or pray during communion. A message put up on the wall via projector let newcomers know how it was done at this church.
- One time an elder conceded a little and let women know that they could write a prayer down and hand it to their husband or an elder to read aloud.
- A meeting regarding a conflict within our church – where all women and children were asked to leave while men were to remain and discuss the issues with the current eldership.
- A mother frowned upon for praying aloud at her daughter’s baptism.
- A woman told if she would stop speaking out in church her marital relationship might improve.
Maybe with good intentions through the ages bible scholars influenced by their culture and own biases have tried to make the puzzle pieces fit. However, their efforts have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
It doesn’t fit, but it keeps those in leadership and hungry for power and their own authority without accountability to perhaps more than half their congregation.
God loves us and our emotions. Often women particularly are said to have intuition – something we can’t always explain so we just have excused as an emotional response. Intuition is powerful and helpful – emotions are helpful as well, they tell us when something is wrong, they move us to action when logic and words aren’t always enough.
Some forget that anger is also an emotion but it seems it is an emotion allowed when giving a sermon by many a male preacher.
Don’t buy into it! God said Adam sinned, not because he didn’t control or protect his wife, because he disobeyed God and took of the fruit and ate.
I am not a scholar so I can’t say for sure what this verse in Timothy says, but I don’t believe it should be used as a silencer for women in church today. However let me just offer my own thoughts on this –
I am going to give this verse to you in the word order of how it is in Greek. https://biblehub.com/text/1_timothy/2-11.htm
I’m not saying I’m right – but what I want to present is another possibility.
1 Timothy verse 11 – 12 – in the Greek order with English translations:
A woman in quietness let learn,
in all submissiveness to teach.
However a woman not I do permit nor to use authority over a man but to be in quietness.
Look at the meaning of the Greek word used for quiet below.
Original Word: ἡσυχία, ας, ἡ
Cognate: 2271 hēsyxía (from hēsyxos, “quiet, stillness”) – quietness, implying calm; for the believer, 2271 (hēsyxía) is used of their God-produced calm which includes an inner tranquility that supports appropriate action. This term “does not mean speechlessness, which is more directly indicated by 4602 (sigḗ) (J. Thayer). See 2272 (hēsyxios).
“It is for freedom that He has set us free!” Galations 5:1