The Mission-Lifestyle Setting Of 1 Tim 2:8-15 -- By: Royce Gordon Gruenler

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 41:2 (Jun 1998)
Article: The Mission-Lifestyle Setting Of 1 Tim 2:8-15
Author: Royce Gordon Gruenler


The Mission-Lifestyle Setting Of 1 Tim 2:8-15

Royce Gordon Gruenler*

* Royce Gruenler is professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA 01982.

Literature on both sides of the issue of women in marriage and ministry continues to grow, with scholars espousing variations of traditional hierarchical, complementarian and egalitarian positions on this difficult subject.1 In view of a recent study on 1 Tim 2:9–15 and the role of women in the Church2 I thought it worthwhile to give the matter my open-minded attention in the spirit of the scholarly “once more” in the hope that it might shed some additional light on a perplexing passage that continues to cause considerable discussion among evangelicals. While the book itself did not move beyond a restatement of the hierarchical position, it did force me to go back to the Biblical text and reconsider exegetical options. In this article I will focus on what now seems to me to be the critical point in Paul’s3 use of the creation/fall/promise theme in 1 Tim 2:13–15, which has allowed me to appreciate in a better way the valid insights of the competing positions. Paul’s

argument is based on Genesis 1–3 and belongs to the immediate sense unit of 1 Tim 2:8–15, which in turn lies within the larger context of the pastorals as a mission genre with specific exhortation to effective Christian lifestyle. I suggest we look first at the difficult text of 2:13–15 and try to answer the question, “Why would Paul be saying this?” We will then work outward to the larger sense units that lie in concentric circles around our problem text. My view will be that Paul’s foremost concern in the pastorals is founded on (1) the mission work of Christ as the ground, (2) the mission mandate to the Church as the consequence, and (3) a Christian lifestyle that will maximize the mission witness both outside and within the Church as the believer’s responsibility. Hence the directives to men and women in 1 Tim 2:8–15 are addressed to those whose lifestyle is out of order in the hope that they will choose to become faithful in their mission responsibilities as did Eve after the fall when she reunited with her husband and began the faithful bloodline that led to the Messiah and his offspring. Since sim...

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