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I suffer not a woman to teach -
Let your women keep silent

The answer to 1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34
(The Short Version)

By Dianne McDonnell

 A great lie of Satan is that women have limitations on HOW they can serve God. They may teach children and other women, but not men; do PRIVATE but not PUBLIC teaching. Yet these "rules" didn't come from the lips of Jesus!

Instead Jesus praised the woman of John 4 who turned the men of her village to Jesus, and helped convert many of them. He reprimanded the disciples who claimed it wasn't time for the harvest and pointed out that they were reaping where others had sown! The King James translators realized that this was a vital point and therefore added the word "men"  as if men had done this sowing, but most other versions translate it correctly. "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all the things that I {have} done.'" John 4: 38-39, quoted from the New American Standard Bible.

The primary one sowing these seeds was a woman! Jesus didn't tell her to stop her public testimony– our Savior praised her!

Paul himself took a woman on a missionary journey to Ephesus, called one woman a Minister, and praised another woman as an outstanding Apostle. (See "Traveling through Time" and "Junia, a Woman Apostle") Scripture does not contradict itself! How then can we have two scriptures that read as if Paul is restricting women from teaching and telling them to "keep silent" in church? I wrote "Paul and Women Teachers" and "Let the Women Keep Silent, what did Paul mean?" However, many have requested a shorter answer to both these scriptures, so here is the short version.

Let the Women keep Silent?

The "keep silent" admonition was written to a church at Corinth that was a short forty mile boat ride away from the world famous Oracle at Delphi. At this temple women priestesses uttered babble which was interpreted and presented as messages from a pagan god. In 1Cor, Chapter 12, Paul introduces the subject of "spiritual gifts" and then he reminds church members they were once running after dumb idols themselves. Someone in the group had delivered an especially shocking "message" while claiming to be speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

1Cor 12:3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. (NAS)

So we have Paul defending spiritual gifts in this chapter while saying that this particular "prophet" was not being directed by the Holy Spirit! Again the KJV adds maleness to this person while the Greek says "no one". Later we learn these false prophets are female just like at Delphi! As we examine chapter 14 we find many references to speaking in languages (tongues) and the prophetic gift. Paul scolds the disrupters and demands that prophets keep control over their own spirits. Paul finally makes a ruling affecting the entire ekklesia, a word that means "the converted true believers, the called out ones":

A clear translation is,
Let those women keep silent among the called out ones

The New American Standard: Let the (THOSE) women keep silent in (AMONG) the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

Let those women–who are not yet a part of the converted membership – keep silent among the called out ones – the ekklesia – and subject themselves to their poor embarrassed, converted husbands. Rather than participating in services as the converted women do, they are to ask their husbands to instruct them at home. The KJV adds several words to this verse that are not in the Greek manuscripts, adding "your" to women, and the phrase "they are commanded". These added words make it sound like a universal ruling against ALL the women when it is not.

THOSE and AMONG written in all capitols are alternate translations of the Greek words. To find hoi/hai  (male/female forms of the same word, Strong's 3588) translated as THOSE see Matt 8:33, 9:12, 10:36, and 12:3 in the New King James. The Greek en is frequently translated as AMONG, see Matt 2:6, Matt 4:23, Matt 16:8 and Matt 20:26. The word translated as "churches", ekklesia, means the true believers within the churches, both men and women.

All members participated in services as we see in 1 Cor. 14:26 and 31, and this was to continue, but women attending with converted husbands–wives who were not presently among the "ekklesia"– were not to participate as the converted women did.

Reprimanding the False Prophet

One final verse that proves someone was being reprimanded for saying "Jesus be cursed" is found at the end of the letter. 1Cor 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord– a curse be on *him. Come, O Lord! New International Version

*The word "him"– in "a curse be on him"– is taken from a third person verb and could be "her" just as easily. At the first of this verse the KJV has "If any man" instead of correctly translating "If anyone"–" again confusing the issue. Paul was correcting a woman! This entire passage is only hard to understand because several key words are mistranslated. Disruptive women who prophesy falsely are the ones that must "keep silent"– not believing women!

Fighting False Doctrines

Paul left Timothy behind in Ephesus to stop false teachers; 1 Tim 1:3. The church there was fighting many false doctrines from the religion of Artemis because Ephesus was the world center of her worship. The mystery religions and Gnostic beliefs shared many of these same beliefs.

 Here are five of these false doctrines widely believed in Ephesus:

  1. Eve was created before Adam and received "special knowledge" when she ate the forbidden fruit.
    • Female "Mediators" passed this "special knowledge" on to men during sexual rites featuring intercourse.
      • Mediator women mixing sex with worship were called "Authenia" from the Greek word "Authenteo".
        • Warrior women called Amazons. who were superior to men, founded the city of Ephesus and set up the worship of the fertility goddess Artemis.
          • Artemis, whose name meant SAFE, could keep a woman safe during the dangers of childbirth.

          Paul is arming Timothy against every one of these evil doctrines! He warns him in 1Tim 1:20 against two teachers who blaspheme, one a female named Hymenaeus meaning "Wedding Song" and the other a male named Alexander. The doctrine of female Mediators is countered in 1Tim 2:5, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men...". A few verses later Paul moves to stop female teachers such as Hymenaeus by instructing, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to "AUTHENTEIN" a man, but to be in silence." 

          A Woman is not to Teach What?!

          The entire King James phrase "to usurp authority over" is incorrectly translated from one Greek word, "AUTHENTEIN". This word is used only once in the New Testament, and is called by an early instructor, "a coarse word". The "ein" ending tells us that it is the "to" form of a verb made from Authenteo, Strong's 831. A noun form of the same word is "Authenia" which is the term for the women "Mediators" mixing intercourse with religion! Paul is saying he won't allow women to teach or to ____ a man! Insert a coarse sexual word, which is our closest word to the Greek word "Authentein". At the time of Paul it meant to have sex as a part of worship–a joining of a man with a female mediator who represented the goddess being worshipped.

          In the very next verse Paul stops the doctrine of Eve being created first, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve." Next he points out that Eve was deceived, not given special knowledge. The final verse proves that Paul is countering evil doctrines!

          Safely through Childbirth

          1Tim.2:15 should be translated "But she (a woman) will be safe throughout the childbearing if they (her and her husband) continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control." Paul uses the word "safe" not the word "saved" as it is usually translated. The Phillips Bible comes closest with, "Women will come safely through childbirth..." Remember the meaning of Artemis' name? It meant SAFE. Paul is making a play on words that God keeps women safe– not Artemis!

          We have studied the context, the backgrounds of Corinth and Ephesus, the evil doctrines, and peeked into the Greek text with modern software. The simple conclusions are that in Corinth Paul was stopping pagan women from posing as prophets and demanding that they keep silent, and in Ephesus he was fighting women "Mediators" teaching evil doctrines. Neither of these two passages of scripture can rightfully be used to limit Christian women serving God however He directs them.

          For more in depth details and sources, see:
          "Paul and Women Teachers"
          "Let the Women Keep Silent, what did Paul mean?"




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