I Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning And Significance -- By: Douglas Moo

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 01:1 (Spring 1980)
Article: I Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning And Significance
Author: Douglas Moo


I Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning And Significance

Douglas J. Moo

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

The contemporary debate over the role of women in Christian ministry has generated studies in a broad spectrum of disciplines, most of them discussing at some point the relevant NT passages. Sometimes these discussions are based upon adequate study of the crucial texts, but all too often a superficial and arbitrary exegesis is found which, not surprisingly, serves only to confirm conclusions which have been arrived at on other grounds. But, whether erudite or simplistic, these studies have at least one factor in common: a failure to agree on the conclusions to be drawn from the NT evidence. This disagreement is all the more serious when it is recognized that it exists even (perhaps one should say especially!) among scholars who hold a similar view of Scripture and hermeneutical procedure.

Interpretations of 1 Tim 2:11–15 exhibit this lack of consensus to a remarkable degree. Moreover, despite the fact that the text is one of the few which touches directly upon the question at issue, a systematic exegesis of the passage is difficult to find. Thus it is not inappropriate to attempt an interpretation of these important verses in order to illuminate their significance for the issue of women’s ministry.

As an organizing method, the study will be divided into two general stages. In the first, I will attempt to determine the “meaning” of the text; that which Paul sought to communicate to Timothy in the setting of First Century Ephesus. In the second stage, the crucial question of “significance” will be investigated: to what extent is Paul’s instruction applicable to the contemporary church? While these two questions are distinguishable, they must not be regarded as separate: the exegetical conclusions directly and importantly influence the question of normativeness.

I. The Meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-15

The first part of 1 Timothy 2 focuses on the subject of prayer, almost certainly with reference to the conduct of the congregational worship service.1 After expressing his desire that men (τοὺς ἄνδρας) pray “in every place” (v 8),2 Paul tums to the women. The transition is made with the word ὡσαύτως,

which may suggest that Paul desires the women to pray “in like manner” to the menYou must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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