Question & Answer Forum

What is the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:12-15?

These verses deal with a woman’s role in public testimony. Learning in “silence” and “submissiveness” (verse 11), she is forbidden to “teach,” since this exercises authority over man. Usurp authority” suggests that only domineering power is forbidden, but “exercise authority over man” JND and others) is clearer. To preach the gospel, open a Bible Reading, minister the Word or be an overseer involves authority over man, as well as teaching, and thus violates Scripture. The reasons follow: in formation (verse 13), Adam was first; in the fall (verse 14) this order was reversed and Eve was deceived with catastrophic consequences. This implies that a modern reversal of God’s order will have similar results. however, verse 15 assures the woman of salvation in its fullness if, while fulfilling her unique role of motherhood, she maintains faith with love, holiness and sobriety.

D. Gilliland

When evangelicals act as though “women keeping silence” is outdated, how can I respond effectively?

Some claim Paul (1 Cor. 14:34) legislated temporary cultural adjustments, not intended as mandates for the whole church period. The immediate context, however, recognizes these as the Lord’s commandment. The directive is as clearly a commandment, and as strong, as any other in the epistle. To set it aside would give liberty to depart from other guidelines regarding, for example, remembering the Lord (chapter 11) and exercising gifts (chapter 14). Few evangelicals would be willing to do this. The only way that women’s keeping silent in the church becomes outdated is by rejecting the whole epistle.

J. Beattie

What does the submission of wives entail, Ephesians 5:22?

Verse 21 teaches voluntary subjection one to the other in the fear of God. One of the manifestations of this (verse 22) is the (Christian) wife’s being submissive to her (Christian) husband as unto the Lord. This indicates that the wife submits (Greek: hypotasso) in loyal subjection (which includes obedience) to her husband, even as the Church is subject to Christ as Head (verse 23). The submissive wife acknowledges her husband’s role of CONTROL and RESPONSIBILITY. “Everything” (verse 24) is limited by Lordship based on God’s Word. This subjection is not slavish fear of a despotic husband but willing submission. The teaching in no way implies inferiority, but rather Divine intention.

A. Hull

How does a believing wife submit to her unbelieving husband without violating her conscience?

1 Peter 3:1-7 instructs a believer, if, for example, an unbelieving husband (who “obey not the Word) requests her to participate in partying. Submission in marriage first of all involves subjection to the Scriptures, which keeps her from committing sin. Her refusal will be based on her commitment to the Lord Jesus. Although expressing her convictions, she will in every way possible also express her devotion to him and will honor him, so that he may be won without verbal argument. Such a spirit “is of great price.”

J. Smith

For an assembly couple, what is a wife’s responsibility when she knows her husband’s behavior has adversely affected the assembly’s testimony?

Such behavior requires correction. If mentioned in 1 Cor. 5, fornication, covetousness, idolatry, railing, drunkenness or extortion, the sin requires her husband to be put away from the fellowship. Loyalty or love for her husband must not interfere. If the wife has clear proof of his wrong behavior and fails to make it known to the elders, she becomes an accessory. Consider Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. By urging her husband to confess the matter, she promotes an easier solution than going to the brethren herself. If he will not do so, her higher duty is to her Lord. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

If it is a lesser matter, such as unbecoming speech or business practices, she need not act condescendingly when she encourages him to repent and make things right with those affected.

J. Slabaugh

Did God establish different roles for man and woman merely for the purpose of their bearing children?

Forming Eve (Genesis 2:22) was God’s climactic act in creation. This anticipates giving Christ His Bride (John 17:24; Ephesians 5:32). Nothing is dearer to the heart of the Son. No work of the Godhead will ever surpass this. Differing roles not only enable procreation, but also display the relation of Christ to His Church. Also, the headship of man over woman parallels the headship of Christ over man (1 Corinthians 11:3). Since this relates to the eventual subjection of all things to God (1 Corinthians 15:28), the roles of man and woman express very precious truths. We do well to cherish and uphold these in an unbelieving world.

D. Oliver