God God have one unique law? Part 2 Is there a second witness?
Complementarians have stated that God has a law that forbids godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men. This law, they say, is revealed in 1 Timothy 2:12. Since we saw in part one that this law is foreign to the Old Testament, let’s have a look at the New Testament to see if there is a second witness to this law.
Paul stated that repetition is for our safety. Philippians 3:1 says:
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
Paul knew the importance of repetition. Every time doctrine is repeated and every time a prohibition is restated, we have a verification of the facts. Cults often take one scripture out of context and twist the meaning. When a fact is repeated, it is less likely that the fact can be disregarded or disputed. Repetition is indeed necessary for our safety.
So since we know that the “law” that forbids godly women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men is not stated in the Old Testament and would not have been a tutor for the women in the early church, is there a repetition of this “law” in the New Testament anywhere? No there is not. Now isn’t that odd? Every single “law” in the bible is verified by a second witness, except for this one. For more discussion on the necessity of having a second witness click here.
Now let’s look further at this unique “law”. Earlier in the passage 1 Timothy 2:9, 10 Paul says that good works are proper for women claiming godliness:
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
What kind of good works are proper for women?
So what kind of good works are proper for women? Would it be a good work for women to teach correct biblical doctrine? According to complementarians the answer is “yes” and “no”. The answer is “no” if she teaches correct biblical doctrine to men. Now this rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12, makes this “law” a unique one among all of God’s laws. This interpretation forces the teaching of God’s word to be considered an evil thing depending on who the bible is taught to or who does the teaching. Nowhere else in scripture is the godly work of teaching scripture represented as an evil thing depending on who does the work.
Let’s see it in another way –
- The Bible says thou shalt not commit adultery, therefore adultery is evil.
- The Bible says thou shalt not lie, therefore lying is evil.
- 1 Timothy 2:12 says women shalt not teach the Bible to men, therefore teaching the Bible to men is evil.
There we have it – handling of God’s word becomes evil in a woman’s hands unless she discriminates against men and kicks them out of her bible study. Is this really God’s way, or have we misunderstood a difficult bible passage? It is our contention that this reading of scripture that allows the teaching of God’s word to be considered an evil thing is not a proper way to interpret 1Timothy 2:12. For a reasonable and logical way to read 1 Timothy 2:12 that does not attribute the teaching of God’s word to be an evil act, click here to read What does 1 Timothy 2:11 – 15 mean?
Three things that present a problem for complementarians
In this series we have examined 3 things that refute the complementarian argument that 1 Timothy 2:12 is a law that forbids godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men. In summary let’s list these three things:
1. There is no corresponding law in the Old Testament that forbids women from teaching the bible to men therefore if the prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12 is a general law for all women, then it is a law that has no Old Testament backing.
2. There is no second witness that forbids women from teaching the bible to men. All of God’s prohibitions have a second witness. Since this “law” against women teaching the bible does not have a second witness, it is immediately a “red flag” that stands out to alert us to the fact that we have misunderstood the passage making it a general prohibition instead of a specific prohibition regarding a problem situation in the church in Ephesus.
3. There is no other law that takes a godly work of teaching God’s word and makes it an evil thing merely by the one doing the work. If the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:15 makes the teaching of God’s word an evil thing, then this is a red flag that this passage has been misunderstood. Instead of making the teaching of God’s word an evil thing, the passage should be understood as prohibiting the teaching of false doctrine and the silencing of a false teacher.