While I have made a very strong point of the Greek grammar in 1 Timothy 2:15 with the singular “she” and the plural “they” (no specific gender for “they”), some have been trying hard to wiggle out of the implications that Paul is referring to a specific woman because the only living person at that time that “she” can refer back to is the woman Paul is stopping from teaching in verse 12. Verse 15 has a very specific grammar construction with both “she” AND “they” referenced. I have made the argument that “she” cannot be the same thing as “they” otherwise 1 Timothy 2:15 would have improper Greek grammar. The only way to keep the grammar within the rules is for “they” to be people (at least one other person) in addition to the “she”. Paul could have said “She will be saved….if she…” or “They will be saved…if they…” and both of these could be general statements about either women or generic woman, but it would be improper to say “She will be saved…if they….” if “she” and “they” are the exact same thing.
Back in September of 2007 I had an audio debate with Matt Slick of CARM and since that time Matt has been trying to find a way to refute my exegesis and prove and “she” is the exact same thing as “they”. He cannot prove such a thing since it is improper Greek grammar so it is interesting to note that he is now stating that the Holy Spirit can inspire an error in the Greek grammar if he wants to. I can hardly believe that an evangelical apologist would resort to noodling with the Greek grammar in order to keep his biased view that Paul is restricting all women for all of time from teaching true biblical doctrine to men. But at the same time that Matt is setting up such a charge against the Holy Spirit of inspiring an error in the grammar, his own Greek expert is refuting his premise. Let’s see how this is done.
On May 22, 2008 Matt Slick’s Faith and Reason show, Matt had on his radio program some students studying Greek and with them is Barry Wilson, Matt’s Greek expert from the Charnock Institute of the Bible.
Matt asks Barry Wilson if there are any Greek grammar errors in the Greek text. While the young women students answer “yes”, Barry says “No”. He says that there are scribal errors in the copies, but in the original text there are no Greek grammar errors. Hear the audio clip here of Matt’s question and Barry Wilson’s answer.
The next question that Matt Slick asks is if the students think that the Holy Spirit would ever inspire anyone and have them make a grammar error? You can hear the student answer “no”. Listen to the audio clip here.
Next Matt Slick builds his case that the Holy Spirit could inspire grammar errors if he was inspiring poetry. He says that the Holy Spirit could inspire grammar errors on purpose and thus not be breaking any grammar rules if it was on purpose. Matt Slick then says that the Holy Spirit can break a grammar rule, but so what? Listen here to the audio clip about how Matt Slick believes that the Holy Spirit can break grammar rules.
Matt Slick then asks an amazing question. He asks if they think that the Holy Spirit could inspire an apostle to write something but this apostle doesn’t seem to understand the Koine Greek grammar rules so the Holy Spirit inspired grammatical errors through an ignorant apostle. Here Matt is referring to 1 Timothy 2:15 and he is implying that the apostle Paul broke the Greek grammar rules because he didn’t understand the Greek grammar. Thus he says that the Holy Spirit inspired a passage with grammar errors through Paul on purpose(!) Listen to the amazing audio clip where Matt Slick implies that the Apostle Paul was an uneducated man in regards to Greek grammar!
Next one of the female students tells Matt that “they” includes “she” but includes more as in “women” (plural). This Greek student is correct in that a singular cannot be exactly the same thing as a plural. “She” can be included in the “they”, but “she” cannot be the exact same thing as “they”. This is exactly what I have been telling Matt all along. Listen to the audio file here.
Matt then says that he calls his vice-president, Diane Sellner, “women!” sometimes. He says that we can “play” with words and break the rules because it isn’t a sentence. He is noodling with words and trying to make a case that the Holy Spirit also noodled with the Greek words and the Greek grammar in 1 Timothy 2:15. Listen to the audio file here.
While Matt Slick claims that the Holy Spirit has purposely inspired grammar errors into the biblical text, his vice-president, Diane Sellner has previously argued with me that the Greek grammar rules have changed. She says that what looks like a grammar error now wasn’t a grammar error back then and so what is inspired in the text wasn’t actually an error back when it was written although it looks like a grammar error now. So we have the vice president saying that 1 Timothy 2:15 looks like a grammar error but the rules have changed and Matt Slick is arguing that it was actually a grammar error when it was written just like it is a grammar error now and it was put there on purpose! They are contradicting each other and contradicting the inspiration of the inerrant text. Those who hold to the full inspiration of the original texts do not believe that there are errors in the inspired text.
I wrote to Matt Slick’s Greek grammar expert and asked him some pertinent questions. I found him very gracious and kind. I asked him if the Greek grammar has changed since the time that it was written and he said “No.” So there goes Diane Sellner’s argument. How about Matt Slick’s argument? I asked Barry Wilson if there were any grammar errors in the original text and he answered me the same way that he answered Matt. He said that there are no grammar errors in the inspired biblical text. I also asked him if 1 Timothy 2 was poetry. He said “No.” So there goes Matt Slick’s argument. I am continually amazed at how hierarchists will try anything to wiggle out of the implications of the text.
For the record there are no grammar errors in the inspired text. Paul said exactly what the Holy Spirit inspired through him and the Holy Spirit did not make any grammar errors. When Paul (and the Holy Spirit) said “she”, the reference can only grammatically go back to a single “woman” in verses 11 & 12 since Eve is dead and gone and she cannot do things in the future. The grammar in verse 15 is specifically a singular “she” PLUS a plural “they”. There is no precedent at all for saying that “she” is the exact same as “they”. This would make it a grammar error and that is not possible. No, Matt, “she” is a single woman and “they” is the single woman PLUS at least one other person. You have tried and failed to dismantle the inspired grammar in order to keep your prejudice against women who teach doctrine with authority as 1 Peter 4:11 commands for the one gifted is to speak as if speaking the very oracles of God.
I have also requested to meet personally with Matt Slick and his wife to discuss a Matthew 18 issue with him. Matt has consistently called me bad names because I hold strongly to the inspiration of the scriptures with the inspired words and the inspired grammar. He has also allowed his “staff” to call me evil because I disagree with him on this secondary issue. I agree with him on all of the essentials truths of the Christian faith but that is not good enough for Matt. He believes that those who disagree with him regarding whether or not women can teach doctrine to the entire body of Christ with the authority of 1 Peter 4:11 are heretics and are worthy of being called evil, witches, liberals and whiney people who he will personally bury. I think that any God-fearing Christian would find these things offensive. While Matt Slick has refused to debate me in writing, giving all kinds of reasons why he could not possibly do that, and being that I have already had two audio debates with him where he over-talked me, called me names and acted in an arrogant and rude manner, I think that it is time to call him to account for his treatment of the sheep in such a bad way if he will not meet with me to discuss this in person. He has refused to answer my emails requesting a meeting and so far has refused to answer my request on his discussion board.
The problem is this – hierarchists and egalitiarians can get along with each other with love and respect as long as those who hold back women from teaching with the authority of 1 Peter 4:11 do not attack their sisters in Christ. So many have already left the hierarchal movement because they can see the vitrolic nature of those who attack their fellow Christians. It is time that we as Christians stand up and put a stop to this kind of treatment. When we ignore this bad behavior and condone it because it is coming from a brother in Christ, we are allowing one of God’s servants to beat their fellow slaves. This is a very serious matter and must be addressed so that there can be repentance and turning away from this bad behavior so that forgiveness and healing will follow. How many more precious sisters in Christ will be hurt by this kind of behavior? Who will stand up and help to put a stop to it? My question is, what would Jesus do?