The Interpretation Of 1 Timothy 2:11-15: A Rejoinder -- By: Douglas Moo

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 02:2 (Fall 1981)
Article: The Interpretation Of 1 Timothy 2:11-15: A Rejoinder
Author: Douglas Moo

The Interpretation Of 1 Timothy 2:11-15:
A Rejoinder

Douglas J. Moo

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Debate over an issue such as the role of women in Christian ministry is frequently frustrating because of broad disagreements over what constitutes evidence (all of Scripture, part of Scripture, church history?) and the proper methodology to be employed. It is therefore refreshing to engage in debate with someone like Philip Payne, who, like myself, accepts the authority of all Scripture and argues on the basis of accepted exegetical methodology. Real progress is possible when such agreement allows the conflicting interpretations of the evidence to be presented clearly and in sharp relief. I hope that this rejoinder to Payne’s reply will further stimulate sincere and reverent discussion of one of the contemporary church’s most divisive issues.

I will say at the outset that I remain convinced that the general interpretation of the passage which I set out in my article is correct. Many of Payne’s criticisms pertain to minor matters which hardly affect the over-all interpretation. Others would certainly critically weaken my general interpretation; but, interestingly, I find these to be the least acceptable of his alternative suggestions. Payne’s criticisms fall essentially into three areas: exegetical points; the role of women in the NT church generally; and the situation in the Ephesian church. These basic areas provide the outline of my reply. As much as possible I will follow the order of Payne’s criticisms, so that the reader can more readily evaluate the conflicting opinions. I also encourage the reader to become familiar with the argument of the original article.

I. Exegetical Considerations


Payne criticizes my translation of this word as “silence” because: 1) the usual meaning of the term in the NT is “quiet”; 2) Paul uses ἡσυχια elsewhere to mean “quiet” and employs σιγάω when he denotes “silence”; and 3) the context supports the meaning “quiet.” As to 1), each of the major NT lexicons (BAG, Thayer, Abbot-Smith) gives “silence” as the definition for ἡσυχία in three of its four NT occurrences (1 Tim 2:11–12 included). What Payne apparently means when he says that the lexicons give “quiet” as the “primary meaning” is that they list it first. But such a statement is at least misleading

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