Annotations on the Text and Message of 1 Timothy 2:1-15 -- By: John A. Jelinek

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 02:2 (Fall 1998)
Article: Annotations on the Text and Message of 1 Timothy 2:1-15
Author: John A. Jelinek

Annotations on the Text and Message of 1 Timothy 2:1-15

John A. Jelinek, Th.D.

Associate Professor Of Theology And New Testament
Michigan Theological Seminary, Plymouth, Michigan

1 Timothy 2:1–15 has been a crucial text in the debate concerning the role of women in the church. In this article the author overviews the contextual considerations that support a complementarian interpretation of the passage. The exegesis of the passage sustains the fact that there are no textual reasons to believe that Paul’s prohibition is only cultural or limited to the women of that particular place and time. Further, God’s appointment of the man as leader in the local church has nothing to do with a want of leadership ability on the part of any woman. There is no implicit or explicit ontological or soteriological superiority or inferiority implied in Paul’s directive toward divinely appointed roles for men and women.


One of the ongoing critical issues facing the church in the new millennium is the issue of the role of women in the church. In terms of demographics, women tend to comprise the majority in church life, almost 60% of the general church population. A 1991 Leadership magazine survey reported that more than half of the churches reported women currently serve on the church board or council.1 Is such leadership on the part of women biblical?

Individuals as well as whole denominations rally around either an egalitarian2 or complementarian3 viewpoint as advocates for either view vigorously debate the meaning of biblical texts on the issue.

One critical passage in the current debate is 1 Timothy 2:1–15. The difficulty of this passage has been frequently observed. Specifically, difficulties have been observed in the 1) Vocabulary: Debate over terms like αὐθεντέω, ἡσυχία; 2) Grammar: Debate over the link or relationship between vv. 14 and 15; possibility of a verbal hendiadys in “teach and exercise authority”; relationship of οὐδε to infinitives in 2:12; 3) Old Testament Citations: Specific relationship of Genesis 2–3

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