Leadership Of Women In Crete And Macedonia As A Model For The Church -- By: Aída Besançon Spencer

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 27:4 (Autumn 2013)
Article: Leadership Of Women In Crete And Macedonia As A Model For The Church
Author: Aída Besançon Spencer


Leadership Of Women In Crete And Macedonia As A Model For The Church

Aída Besançon Spencer

Aída Besançon Spencer is professor of new Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. This article is developed from her work on 1 Timothy and Titus, 2 Timothy in the new covenant commentary series (2013, 2014). She is a Board of Reference member for Christians for Biblical Equality and book review editor for Priscilla Papers. Among her numerous books and articles are Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry (also in French and Spanish), Biblical Voices on Biblical Equality, The Global God, and 2 Corinthians, Daily Bible Commentary. She is Founding Pastor of Organization of Pilgrim Church, Beverly, Massachusetts.

A superficial glance at the New Testament in translation, combined with an expectation of a subordinate role for women, results in generalizations that Paul commands women not to teach or have authority (1 Tim 2:11-15), except in the case of older women teaching younger women how to be housewives (Titus 2:3-5), and women are not to teach in official, public, formal positions in the church, but they can teach in informal, private, one-on-one situations in the home.1

However, a deeper search into the New Testament reveals a dissonance with those interpretations. In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach,” but, in Titus 2:3, Paul expects the “older women” to teach. Paul uses the same root word for men as for women teaching, didaskō. However, is it clear that “man” is the object of teaching in 1 Timothy 2:12? Also, why would Titus not teach all the women in Crete (Titus 2:6-8)? Timothy does in Ephesus (1 Tim 5:1-2). Although both Timothy and Titus are supposed to present Paul’s instructions to their respective congregations (1 Tim 4:6; Titus 2:15), why is Timothy challenged to be a model (typos) for all the believers (1 Tim 4:12), but Titus is challenged to be a model (typos) only to the younger men (Titus 2:6-8)? In contrast, why does Paul presuppose and support the leadership of Euodia and Syntyche as his coworkers (

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