“Teaching and Usurping Authority: I Timothy 2:11–15” (Ch 12) by Linda L. Belleville -- By: Andreas J. Köstenberger

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 10:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: “Teaching and Usurping Authority: I Timothy 2:11–15” (Ch 12) by Linda L. Belleville
Author: Andreas J. Köstenberger

“Teaching and Usurping Authority:
I Timothy 2:11–15” (Ch 12) by Linda L. Belleville

Andreas J. Köstenberger

Professor of New Testament and Greek
Director of Ph.D. and T.M. Studies
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina

As many other aspects of the passage, the syntax of 1 Tim 2:12 has been the subject of serious scholarly discussion in recent years.1 It has increasingly become clear that before one can proceed to apply this crucial passage on women’s roles in the church, one must first determine what it means. In this quest for the original, authorially-intended meaning of 1 Tim 2:12, the proper understanding of the passage’s syntax has had a very important place, especially since consensus on the meaning of the rare word authentein has proved elusive.

Most would agree that the essay on the syntax of 1 Tim 2:12 in the first edition of Women in the Church has advanced the debate and provided the framework for subsequent discussion. With its identification of two basic patterns of the usage of oude in both biblical and extrabiblical literature, and its proposal that 1 Tim 2:12 ought correspondingly to be rendered, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man,” the study put the interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12 on firmer ground.

It is in this context that Linda Belleville’s chapter in Discovering Biblical Equality on the syntax of 1 Tim 2:12, as well as her earlier contributions on the subject, must be understood. The essential subtext of Belleville’s construal of the syntax of 1 Tim 2:12 is her critique of the findings of the above-mentioned essay in Women in the Church. Apparently, Belleville felt that in order to sustain her egalitarian reading of 1 Tim 2:12, she must overturn the findings of this study. As a result, she has lodged several points of critique that will be subjected to closer scrutiny in the pages below.

Yet since Belleville has not been the only one to contribute to the debate concerning the syntax of 1 Tim 2:12 since the appearance of the original article in Women in the Church, it will be helpful not to stop at Belleville but to set the discussion in an even larger context. This will involve a survey of, and ...

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