This post is the second one of a simulated interview with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day. While Paul gets to experience life in the 21st century, Doug, a strong complementarian, is given the opportunity to interview the Apostle Paul on the hard passages about women in the bible. The first interview is located here. In the second interview Doug wants to revisit 1 Timothy 2:12 before moving on.
Doug: Hello brother Paul. I am so glad that we are able to continue with our interview. Did you enjoy taking the pulpit for John MacArthur?
Paul: I loved it! Well, actually I didn’t take the pulpit. I just spoke to the congregation from the floor because I wanted to encourage everyone to speak and use their gifts. That was the way it was meant to be. After all we are all brothers in Christ and we can learn from each other. Unfortunately I don’t think they will be having me back anytime soon.
Doug: Your kidding! What happened?
Paul: Things were going really well when I spoke about our inheritance in Christ and I shared my writings from the book of Ephesians with them. They loved it…that is until I gave them a bit more information than they wanted to hear. I asked if anyone had any questions they would like me to answer. One feisty young man asked me who actually wrote the book of Hebrews and so I told them.
Paul: Then they ushered me out of the building.
Doug: No way! So who authored the book of Hebrews?
Paul: I am keeping tight lipped on that one. People in the 21st century just can’t take it. Let’s just set that one aside and talk about the next scripture you wanted to ask me about.
Doug: I want to wait for the next scripture because I have been thinking about what you said about 1 Timothy 2:12 and I still have more questions. Can we continue with this passage?
Paul: Sure go ahead. What problems do you have with this passage?
Doug: I didn’t think I had any problems with this passage until you showed up. You said that there would have to be a second witness if this passage was stopping all godly women from teaching the bible to men.
Paul: Yes that is right. And don’t forget that I always made a habit of repeating all the important things. Repetition is for your safety.
Doug: Isn’t it just a rule for a court proceeding that requires two witnesses before a person can be found guilty? How can you now apply the rule of two or three witnesses to the law itself?
Paul: No problem, brother Doug, it is much more than that. Let me ask you a question from a passage and I think you will see it for yourself. Look at John 5:31
John 5:31 “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true.
Why was Jesus’ testimony not considered true if there was only one witness? Was Jesus in a court of law testifying against people?
Doug: No, he wasn’t in a court. He was giving testimony that he was the Son of God and that he had life in Himself.
Paul: That’s right. Jesus showed that the law of two or three witnesses went beyond just charging people with sin. He applied it to his testimony to make it a documented and established fact. When Jesus said that he is the Light of the world, the Pharisees accused him with being only one witness and thus they said his testimony was not true.
John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 8:13 So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.”
John 8:14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
John 8:15 “You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone.
John 8:16 “But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.
John 8:17 “Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true.
John 8:18 “I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”
Paul: Can you see that Jesus’ witness that he is the Light of the world needed to be documented by another witness?
Doug: Why should the Son of God need another witness? Isn’t His own witness good enough? After all He is the God who made this world.
Paul: God has set a principle for our safety. Take a look at Deuteronomy 19:15.
Deut 19:15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.
Paul: God has established the need for a matter to be confirmed. When you look up the meaning for the Hebrew word translated “matter” you will see that it means word, speech, matter and it is used for a command or royal decree, a legal cause and most important of all was the use of this word to convey divine communication. The Ten Commandments were literally called the ten words of the Lord. So literally Deuteronomy 19:15 says that “on the evidence of two or three witnesses a word or commandment shall be confirmed.”
Doug: Okay. So are you saying that these important divine communications all had a second or third witness to confirm them?
Paul: Yes! Take for example the ten words of the LORD God – the ten commandments. This “matter” was spoken from the mouth of God and then God wrote them on stone tablets. After that Moses broke the tablets when he came down from the mountain but God wrote them once again on stone. Then after that they were communicated again throughout the scriptures. God made sure that these commandments, His ten “words” were repeated for our benefit. Brother Doug, can you think of even one law of the LORD that is not repeated in the scriptures?
Doug: Hmmm…I can’t think of any. It seems to me that all laws were repeated.
Paul: Good then you get it!
Doug: Wait…wait! But doesn’t 1 Timothy 2:12 give the reason as the creation? Doesn’t this mean that the OT has a law that forbids women to teach men? Wouldn’t that mean that there is a second witness?
Paul: No. 1 Timothy 2:13, 14 gives a reason for the prohibition that I gave for the situation at Ephesus and it is all about deception. The fact is that the first one created was not deceived. The second one created was deceived. The reason for my stopping the teaching is all about deception. It isn’t about leadership or any “law” from the Old Testament. Did you find a “law” that forbid women to teach men in the OT?
Doug: No, I didn’t but some have speculated that you may have been referencing the words of God at the fall.
Paul: God didn’t tell Eve that she wasn’t allowed to teach Adam. God didn’t tell Adam that he wasn’t allowed to be taught by Eve. There is no such “law” in the creation or the fall.
Doug: Then why did you bring it up?
Paul: Because the very first woman naively fell into deception just like the situation we were dealing with at Ephesus. The very first woman was also promised salvation through the coming Messiah so that God sovereignly worked all things for good. Eve was deceived but she was not out for the count because her seed would eventually destroy the destroyer. I gave a word of hope to Timothy in verse 15 that there would be salvation in the end for the situation in Ephesus. She will be saved through the same Messiah that came through the very first deceived woman. Just as the first deceived woman received hope, so Timothy could see hope for another bad situation. Timothy was to make sure that she received proper instruction and in the end God will bring good out of bad just like He did for the original deceived woman. Brother Doug, there is no law that forbids women from teaching the bible to men. If there was such a law, don’t you think that God would have forbidden women from teaching everyone instead of just men? After all do we normally send out the deceived to teach children?
Also think about Priscilla. If there was a law that forbid women from teaching men, do you think that Priscilla would have disobeyed God’s law? And if she disobeyed God’s law, don’t you think that the scripture would have mentioned that she did something wrong? How could Priscilla be commended for her work if she found it necessary to disobey God’s law? Think about it. Work hard to test all things.
Doug: I can see that there are some things that I hadn’t considered before. But I still don’t feel that it is right.
Paul: I will let you sleep on it. Think these things through and if God wills I will be back to answer more of your questions. In the meantime I am off to investigate a vision box. I have heard that there are many preachers on this vision box and I want to test their teaching.
Doug: You mean you are going to watch TV preachers? Oh boy, are you in for a surprise!
(Round 3 of Interview with Paul is found here.)