The Syntax Of 1 Timothy 2:12: A Rejoinder To Philip B. Payne -- By: Andreas J. Köstenberger

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 014:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: The Syntax Of 1 Timothy 2:12: A Rejoinder To Philip B. Payne
Author: Andreas J. Köstenberger

The Syntax Of 1 Timothy 2:12:
A Rejoinder To Philip B. Payne

Andreas J. Köstenberger

Professor of New Testament and Director of Ph.D. Studies

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, North Carolina


In a recent article, Philip Payne has reiterated his earlier contention that Paul in 1 Tim 2:12 forbids women only from assuming improper authority over men in the church.1 Payne claims that Paul (or his amanuensis, or a pseudepigrapher) used the expression οὐδέ (“nor”) in this verse essentially as a subordinating conjunction, subsuming the Greek verb αὐθεντεῖν under the head word διδάσκειν, with the resultant meaning “to teach men by assuming independent authority.”2

At the beginning of his essay, Payne promises that he will identify “many instances” where οὐδέ “joins an infinitive with positive connotations to an infinitive with negative connotations.”3 However, strikingly, in none of the examples he cites on the following pages does οὐδέ link infinitives!4

At the very end of his piece, Payne claims that nine of the 102 extrabiblical parallels to 1 Tim 2:12 I cited in a previous publication involve the use of one word with a positive and another with a negative connotation (which, if true, might allow one to construe 1 Tim 2:12 as a positive word, διδάσκειν, being modified by a negative one, αὐθεντεῖν, though still not necessarily with the second word subordinated to the first by way of hendiadys).

Even if this were the case, of course, this would still mean that the pattern of usage (positive-positive or negative-negative) I proposed would obtain over 91 percent of the time in the entire New Testament and extrabiblical Greek sources, a considerable weight of probability. What is more, even in these nine cases Payne’s arguments demonstrably fall short.

The Nine Alleged Problem Passages

(1) In 2 Cor 7:12, in the phrase neither “on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the one who was wronged,...

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