The husband shall rule?

The husband shall rule?

The husband shall rule - On Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Shall the husband rule? Or not? Tom the complementarian has challenged and strongly criticized my view. This post is the last part of his remarks. The last of his comments are in direct response to Pinklight, one of the commenters on this blog. Tom has labeled me as a bigot because of my view of mutual submission in Ephesians 5:21-22.

Part 1 answering Tom is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Below are the final comments from Tom (part four)

Pinklight: It doesn’t have anything to do with whether Eve’s nature changed. That is because the Bible does not say that. It just says, the husband shall rule. Then, in the New Testament, the passages about submission and covering refere (sic) to

1. the order of creation,

2. the woman being deceived and in the transgression.

That’s all God has told us. See?–what we have to do is not go beyond Scripture and start arguing over surmises and speculations and reading between the lines. Just, “What has my Lord said?”

I would like to challenge Tom to answer these questions:

#1 In Genesis 3:16 “he will rule” is in the imperfect

yiqtōl (imperfect) — The prefixed conjugation in Hebrew. The prefixed conjugation denotes the imperfective aspect of the verb. That is, it views the action of the verb from the inside or from the perspective of the action’s unfolding. This imperfective aspect can speak of (depending on context) habitual actions, actions in progress, or even completed actions that have unfolding, ongoing results.

Heiser, M. S., & Setterholm, V. M. (2013; 2013). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Lexham Press

The grammar of the inspired text has the imperfect aspect for “he will rule.” This shows “the action from the inside or from the perspective of the action’s unfolding” (not action mandated as a command).  The text does not state that God has made Adam rule over the woman, nor does God tell the woman that she is to submit to him as ruler over her, so how do you balance the original text where God said that both man and woman are to rule the earth (Genesis 1:26) with your view that God has made the man as the woman’s ruler?

#2 Isn’t the order of creation in the Old Testament about unity and a mate that is corresponding to him, rather than about a ruler and one to be ruled?

#3 Isn’t the deception of Eve a result of the man who was not deceived failing to protect the woman who was deceived? Doesn’t God curse the earth because of the man’s sin, the one who knew the truth and was silent? Why would God place a man who refused to protect his innocent wife, now to be the ruler over her?

#4 The order of creation in 1 Timothy 2 is stated as important, but isn’t that order speaking about deception and the deceived rather than a prohibition against godly Christian women who are not deceived?

#5 Haven’t you gone beyond the Scripture when you put words of command into the mouth of God that He has not commanded? Is it possible that you have surmised, speculated, and read between the lines? Wouldn’t God have clearly told us that the woman was created to be ruled over if that was what He really meant? Why can’t we just take God at His word? Why can’t we understand that He told what Adam would do in his sinful nature? Why cannot we just understand that God did not command Eve to be in obedience to the sinful man who had not protected her against the serpent, but that He just told her what she was going to have to endure in the future?

I have sent these posts to Tom to allow him to provide answers. I hope that he does stop by again and answer the questions. Comments are always open to those who would like to comment respectfully.

31 thoughts on “The husband shall rule?

  1. It’s a very interested topic to discuss about. obviously men wants power of control and few bible verses are helpful to convinced them that ‘bible and bible only’ we need to follow.
    Let me ask you the question: are we allowed to mixed up three totally different periods in the history:

    1. Before sin (Garden of Eden)
    2. During the sin (since Adam & Eve sinned till today)
    3. After sin (when Jesus comes and change the world)

    I believe that time before sin & after win are very similar, only the middle part (time we a living now) is different – painful, sorrowful, depressive, etc. because of misinterpreting God’s words. When Jesus comes, that will be all past… praise God! Let us help men to change their way of thinking now, otherwise there will be no room in His kingdom for those who will try to put women down through all Eternaty!!!

  2. LOL – Well you saved the reveal for last, which is good. Had I known that Tom believes that Adam’s rule is a godly command, I would have ignored everything else he had to say. This is what I call a show stopper. I wrote a whole series on it on my blog. If you can’t get someone past thinking that men were commanded by God to rule over their wives, there is little sense engaging them in any other discussion. I am impressed that you have taken the time to respond to Tom in such a thorough and polite manner. I think I would have been brushing my sandals off and moving on if it had been me.

    Of course, we could rehash all that has been said in the past about 1 Timothy 2 and how it is Tom who is reading between the lines and adding stuff that isn’t in the text (or more correctly put, accepting biased mistranslations as truth), but that is best left for another time I suppose.

  3. Your breakdown of the imperfect is instructive but Tom fails on an even more basic point of grammar in thinking that “he will rule” is a command. Commands (imperatives) only occur in the second person. For this to be a command, God would have had to have been addressing Adam directly (“YOU, Adam, rule over your wife!”). It is simply, grammatically, impossible for “he will rule” to be a command regardless of tense of the verb.

  4. Hi Danijela,

    Thank you for your comments!

    I do think that it is a part of the sinful nature to want power and control over others, but especially within the nature of the man. God told Eve what her life would be like with Adam. Things still haven’t changed without the work of the Holy Spirit. In countries where women do not have even basic human rights we can see how much control the male sinful nature will take when it isn’t moderated. What we don’t see is a propensity for the woman dominating the man. The weakness of a woman is that she wants to be protected and taken care of by a “knight in shining armor” and so she also naturally is vulnerable to control. All of this doesn’t mean that there is no hope. We have hope in Jesus Christ who died for our sin and who was raised for our justification so that we have been given the power to overcome our “old man” nature.

    I do think that the three eras of time are distinct.

    1. Before sin, mankind was naive. Before sin entered the world Adam and Eve had not seen evil or participated in it. They were innocents.

    2. At the time that sin first entered into God’s creation, innocence was lost with an act of unfaithfulness and through deception. Adam failed Eve when he did not use his knowledge (he was not deceived,) = for her protection. Innocence intersected with unfaithfulness. While Adam and Eve are not continuing in sin today since they are dead, their offspring have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. All of us have the “old man” sinful nature and all of us are lost without Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection for us.

    3. In the time of the New earth and the New heavens, God will destroy sin and death and only righteousness will remain. I believe that this will be an age of the full knowledge of the Lord that goes past innocence. It will be a time of the goodness of God experienced. We will have tasted the goodness of God and we will have remained faithful through His grace.

    So, I see the difference between the time before sin as a) first innocence and untested faithfulness

    to the time of the manifested kingdom of God as b) in the end maturity, experience in God and tested faithfulness.

    I hope that this makes sense. I do think that your comments that the first era and the last are similar. The differences that I see are noted above.

  5. Garth,

    Thanks for your good (and witty) comment!

    You said:

    If you can’t get someone past thinking that men were commanded by God to rule over their wives, there is little sense engaging them in any other discussion. I am impressed that you have taken the time to respond to Tom in such a thorough and polite manner.

    Garth, I have a willingness to reason from the Scriptures with complementarians because I do think that God will do a work in the end to bind us together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus is coming for His bride that is without spot and wrinkle, and if you see the spots and wrinkles as false teachings and false teachers, then He is able to cause the truth to be understood. I would want someone to interact with me in a gentle and respectful manner in whatever area that I have been deceived by error.

    What I do find so amazing is that I am often told how gentle or polite I am, but those who are strongly against women serving God in anyway that He gifts them, see me in strong negative terms, such as Tom calling me a bigot. I just think that his prejudice clouds his thinking and that if he would be willing to actually dialog and see the Bible outside of his feelings, we could actually be friends in Christ. Usually these men refuse to answer my challenge, so they are gone much sooner than it would take me to close the door on our discussion. I just feel bad that it took me so long to get to Tom’s comments. I believe that he deserved a much more timely response.

    As far as Tom reading between the lines, I think that would become obvious if he tried to answer my questions. There is no foundation to his view that God commanded men to rule their wives. It is so sad, actually.

  6. Garth,

    Thanks for the link to your blog. Excellent reasoning!

    I do see getting to the same conclusion, but using not just Genesis 1-3, but starting from any Scripture that has been misused. I think that comes from having to deal with so many Jehovah’s Witnesses, and trying many “doors” to get them to truth, that I learned how to look at the problem from every angle. For me the key has been to ask many questions that unravel the error. I can do that from any starting point. However, I do see your point in your post and I commend you for a job well done!

    Adam as an unfaithful watchman is such an important point. He cannot be lifted up as a savior of Eve, who gave up his life on her behalf to be with her outside the garden. The fact that he said nothing when he knew the truth takes him from a knight in shining armor to a man who practiced deep betrayal and unfaithfulness both to God and to his wife.

    The fact is that God gives mercy to those who have been betrayed and deceived. Paul experienced it. Eve experienced it. And we need to do the work of our heavenly Father by watching out for those who have been deceived and to help them. We pray that God will open their eyes and so they may see.

  7. Garth,

    You said,

    Your breakdown of the imperfect is instructive but Tom fails on an even more basic point of grammar in thinking that “he will rule” is a command. Commands (imperatives) only occur in the second person. For this to be a command, God would have had to have been addressing Adam directly (“YOU, Adam, rule over your wife!”). It is simply, grammatically, impossible for “he will rule” to be a command regardless of tense of the verb.

    You have a good point, however I believe that God could have said to Eve, “You are to be ruled, so you must obey your ruler.” Of course, the direct command then would be one of obedience, and the “to be ruled” would be a judgment rather than a command.

    I am so glad that we can see these things from all angles. It just so happens that each angle that we look at this event, the woman is not the one acting with intent and with eyes wide open. We cannot say that about the man.

    I truly believe that God let Adam see things that immunized him from deception because he knew facts that contradicted the lies. I also believe that God saw that Eve’s deception would allow Him to bring the Messiah through her and not through the one who betrayed God.

  8. Hello Cheryl. Glad to see you’re still contending for the truth of the Gospel. I think the questions you have asked Tom are excellent, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to them. It still amazes me, though, that anyone can read Genesis 1-2 and believe that the man ruled over the woman before the Fall, or that Genesis 3:16 is a divine decree for male dominance to prevail. Such an understanding of Genesis 1-3 is based on an incorrect and biased interpretation of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:12-15, which is then read back into the Genesis account. And this is something I have pointed out in a essay I wrote last year, “The ESV and Genesis 3:16b: A Revision or Distortion of Scripture?”

  9. Hello Frank,

    So good to connect with you again! Thank you so much for your comments. Is there a link to your essay online?

  10. Thanks for the kind words Cheryl. You said:

    “I truly believe that God let Adam see things that immunized him from deception…”
    (Sorry – don’t know how to do the quote thing)

    That reminded me of an argument I have been making recently. Let me know what you think of this.

    -God brought to Adam “every beast of the field and every bird of the sky” so that Adam could study them and give them a “name” (really, a taxonomy) according to their characteristics.

    -The serpent “was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made”

    The serpent was part of the beasts of the field that Adam named and since Adam studied the characteristics of all of the beasts of the field in order to catalog them Adam must have known that the serpent was “crafty”. This makes Adam’s silence even more damning because he knew based on his own observations that the serpent was a deceiver (or at least, in his naïve state, he knew that the serpent did not always say things correctly). Adam’s first treachery was not in his staying silent during the conversation, it was in his not intervening before the conversation even started. We tend to think of Adam being kind of caught off guard and not being quick enough on his feet to correct the serpent’s deception. But I contend Adam knew before the conversation even started that the serpent would be deceitful. The term “silent watchman” exposes Adam’s double failure. It is bad enough that he didn’t sound the alarm when danger was in their midst, but he actually opened the gate and let the enemy in.

  11. Garth,

    I think that it is very possible that Adam saw the “crafty” nature of the serpent and that would have helped him to see the deception. How could he protect the garden if he didn’t know the nature of what shouldn’t be let in? The fact that Adam was not deceived shows that he had enough knowledge to reject the lie.

    I also believe that Adam saw God’s nature as Creator. It is a double-edged protection for Adam to know the nature of the enemy and to know the nature of God. Adam had no excuse.

    It is an interesting point that you make that Adam as guardian of the garden should not have let the serpent into the garden. It is a double failure.

  12. Good to connect with you again, too, Cheryl. As regards my essay: Since I’m revamping my blog website, I don’t have an on-line link at present. If you would like a copy, I could send it to you by email; I just would need a current email address to send it to.

  13. Interesting comments. I have a lot going on (like totally re-plumbing my house, working, loving my wife, and finishing the job of raising my children, by God’s grace). I am working on a response. Sadly, I find the tone of the comments indeed bigoted, as people seem to think they are entitled to judge the hearts of those who disagree with their relatively recent and very debatable views. The smugness of the comments borders on puerile snottiness: and is, perhaps, a commentary on the source of the theology itself.

  14. I recently posted an open request on Facebook for my friends to list words that have become basically meaningless due to hyper-usage. The first on my list was “racist”. I think I might have to add “bigot” to the list after this series.

    Tom – I have yet to see anyone “judge the heart” of you. Maybe I’m missing something. I certainly think our views are “debatable” but only because yours are also. That is what we are doing here – having a debate. It is a good and healthy thing to do. Not sure how one side of this debate is “bigoted” simply because they form one side of this debate.

  15. In my “disclaimer” page I say:

    We choose not to be identified with those who mock the body of Christ and attack fellow Christians in the name of a non-essential issue of faith. If you are willing to be respectful and you name the name of Christ, you are welcome to dialog with us whether you agree with our position or not.

    Respect for Jesus and His body should be a key “fruit” of a believer. I try really hard to foster respect and I will put a commenter on moderation if I find them disrespectful. Tom was on moderation for a long time for name calling. I appreciate that Tom has come back to try to answer the issues, but I ask that he stick to debate and not attack Christians for their view on women in ministry. I cannot determine what is in Tom’s heart. I would love to hear his defense for his view without his using thought-stopping accusations that are not substantiated.

    Tom sent me an email where he used words such as:

    evil, false disjunction, classic bigot, intolerant, you think, bigoted, bad fruit, “what is leading you”

    I see these words used as a personal attack rather than answering the issues of debate as a substitute for persuasive dialog. It shows me that the person has no answers. My personal view is that if I do not have the full answer I will work hard to find it as I am instructed to by the Scriptures. I have done that for Tom because I believed that his challenge was worthy of answering. I also provided his words of attack to give the complete context of his comments.

    We will all stand before the Lord to give an account of our words and we are instructed to provide words of edification to the church (1 Cor 14:12), we are to treat each other with gentleness (Eph 4:1-3), and we are to provide answers to anyone who asks, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

    I will let my readers judge for themselves the words (not the hearts) of those who respond here. If someone needs a word of rebuke, it should be done as instructed by the Lord. And I encourage all to know what you believe and why so that we are a “workman who does not need to be ashamed”.

    2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


    I agree with you that there has been no judgment of anyone’s hearts by the words of those who have responded in favor of women in ministry on the posts responding to Tom.

  16. I have Tom Huntford’s comments on moderation because of the amount of baseless attacks that he has lobbed into the comment box on this blog. I welcome discussion and debate, but I do not welcome a blitzkrieg. I will release comments belonging to Tom should he be willing to provide a rejoinder with evidence and written in a respectful manner.

    In his most recent comment that I have not released, Tom has instructed me to put on my “headcovering”.

    And BTW, Ms Schatz has an excellent, trenchant summary of the perversions that are at the heart of Seventh Day Adventism, on her website. Now, she just needs to get her headcovering on and make sure she will also be equipped to teach the younger women to follow her example of being “discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, obedient to her own husband, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    I have an entire video section on the headcovering. It can be watched free here.

    I will list some of the recent words Tom considers as a “loving” response to me:

    scornful derision, bigotry, catty remarks, strong-willed, acting bullish, aggressive like a male, rebuke heretics, pervert the gospel, attitude scornful, puerile snottiness

    These are the words of a certain percentage of complementarian men. They are in the body of Christ and they will attack. We do not have to let them spew on our spaces, but we can and should pray for them. I sincerely mean this. The Lord Jesus can touch the hardest heart. And He wants us to respond with a clear answers and with love as to the Lord. The apostle Paul had a lot of hatred and resentment for the body of Christ before Jesus stopped him in his path. I believe that Jesus is the same today. He still changes hearts.

  17. Maybe we are going about this all wrong. I find it instructive when dealing with complementarians to establish where their baseline lies. I would propose that Tom outline for us exactly what activities of daily living the husband is in charge of vs. what things the wife has dominion over. I mean, I know Ephesians says the wife should submit “in all things”, but that can’t be literal, right? Certainly there are some things that the wife has authority over. On the extreme, I would say breast feeding. Certainly Tom wouldn’t suggest that the wife should submit to her husband’s authority when it comes to when and how to breast feed a baby. So there are some areas even in the most extreme patriarchal scenarios where the woman has autonomy. If we look at the Proverbs 31 woman, it would seem there are many areas. So, the challenge for Tom is to show where in scripture each gender’s list is. Where does scripture tell me, as a man and a husband and a father, what things I have unilateral authority over and what things I should yield to my wife?

    I’m also curious what word Tom would choose for the men who contribute to this site and take the egalitarian position. Certainly I am not a bigot against men (those who have known me long would say I most decidedly am not so). So let’s assume for a moment Tom has correctly labeled the women here. What say you Tom about the men? Do you have an argument to counter my position on these topics? I agree with Cheryl in this series as my own analysis has yielded the same conclusions. If I am not a bigot what other reason do you have for you and I disagreeing?

  18. I have responded, but my responses are “in moderation”. I also have a lot of things to do besides keep track of this discussion. I think Cheryl should allow my comments because they do answer the questions, and point out some very poor attitudes that are on this blog for what they are. If you are going to say that people who believe the simple statements of Scripture on the position of the male are “power freaks”, it is hypocrisy to prevent comments that tackle such statements head on. I suggest you folks take a look at my comments, because there is a basic attitude problem, plus an evidence problem, both of which I have addressed. Saying things about me without presenting my responses is not fair. I have not randomly name-called: I am pointing out some grave defects you all need to consider. Grace and peace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. And BTW, the practice of not answering critics squarely, by the author, is not limited to me. Others are reporting the same behavior.

  19. Tom you have not responded. You have used accusing language without any evidence. I suggest you actually take the time to answer Garth. That could be a meaningful conversation. Get out of the vitriol and answer in a respectful manner with proof of what you are saying is true (so far the accusations have been untrue) and your comments will quickly come out of moderation. Common respect and truthful statements is what I expect on this blog.

  20. Tom I never said:

    people who believe the simple statements of Scripture on the position of the male are “power freaks”

    I answer people’s arguments just like I did yours. I suggest you answer Garth’s questions. I have consistently answered questions and challenges since this blog started. I would love to see how you respectfully answer another male who does not believe that the Scriptures say that a man has authority over his wife.

  21. Tom – you said “I am pointing out some grave defects you all need to consider”, but you have never proven they are defects. To quote Mark Twain in “Tom Sawyer”, “your sayin’ so doesn’t make it so”. I understand that it is your opinion that there are grave defects in our arguments but trust me, we have, (and in particular, I have), examined these topics in great detail and listened and studied the arguments on both sides and I do not see any defect to consider. So if you have a new insight I have never considered, please tell me. Otherwise I don’t give much heed to your warnings of “grave defects”.

  22. I will also add that I have not always agreed 100% with everything Cheryl or others here have argued, but the debate has always (well, with one exception that I can remember), been spirited and respectful. I have never felt that others here have not answered me, as a critic, squarely. Not sure about whom Tom is talking.

    I also don’t know what Tom means by an “evidence problem”. Cheryl has provided mountains of evidence on the points to which she has responded. I have refrained from responding to Tom’s reference to 1 Timothy 2 as that case has been litigated thoroughly on this and other blogs, but if Tom really wants evidence why his conclusions about 1 Timothy 2:13-15 are erroneous, we can go through it all again. First I suggest Tom re-read the passage and try to answer for himself who the “she” is in v. 15. Hint – it can’t be Eve.

    BTW Tom – what translation do you use? Although they are almost all bad on this 1 Tim 2 passage, some are far worse than others. May I suggest you start with the ASV. It takes the typical, subtly incorrect route in v. 15 but it does get the grammar of v. 14 correct. Young’s is also very close. The grammar is wrong in v. 14 but it conveys the correct sense of “the child-bearing” in v. 15. In fact, if you use ASV through 14 and Young’s for 15, you have a grammatically correct English version of the passage. At the very least, compare these readings to the translation you use and look at the differences. Depending on your translation, those differences may range from subtle to startling,

    Here are the English translations that get the grammar of v. 14 correct

    American Standard Version (go figure)
    Analytical-Literal Translation
    Concordant Literal New Testament
    English Majority Text Version NT
    Hebrew Names Version
    Literal Translation Version (Green)
    Modern Literal Version of the NT
    Recovery Version NT
    Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible
    Sacred Scriptures (Family of Yah Version)
    World English Bible

    It is no accident that many of those versions have “literal” in the name.

    Here are the English Translations that correctly translate v. 15 as some version of “the birth of the child” (i.e. Jesus)

    Amplified Bible (even says parenthetically “the birth of the divine child”)
    Concordant Literal New Testament
    God’s Word Translation
    The Last Days Bible
    Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible
    Young’s Literal Translation

    Pretty pathetic

    And here are some of the English translations that fail horribly in this passage.
    Aramaic Bible (English Translation)

    Bible in Worldwide English
    Contemporary English Version
    Easy English Bible Translation
    Easy to Read Version
    Good News Translation
    Inspired Version
    International Standard Version
    J. B. Phillip’s New Testament
    Mace NT
    The Message (a truly horrific translation)
    New American Standard Version (ironically, usually my go to translation)
    New International Version
    New International Reader’s Version
    New Living Translation (another truly horrific translation)
    Revised Standard Version
    Today’s English Version
    20th Century New Testament
    2001 Translation – An American English Bible
    Tyndale New Testament
    Understandable Version NT
    The Word of Yah
    Yes Word (revised Tyndale)

    Note how many of these are paraphrases or imply that they have been made “easy” to read.

    Some may wonder how the good old King James fairs. It is a typical translation, which means it is bad, but not terrifyingly so.

    To conclude – The text literally says Eve was deceived BUT the grammatical evidence shows “the woman” in v. 14 and “she” in v. 15 to be a contemporary Ephesian woman, NOT EVE. The use of the definite article for “the woman” in v. 14 indicates a specific, known woman. Most people would not agree with this since most people think it is Eve. The tense of the “to be” verb in vs. 14 is perfect. It indicates a completed action with ONGOING consequences. “the woman” in the verse was deceived but her transgression continues at the time of Paul’s writing. Since Eve’s sinning is not perpetual to this day (or Paul’s day), “the woman” can’t be Eve. But she is a specific, known, woman. The only other woman in view is the woman who Paul starts talking about in v. 11. There’s more. The “she” in v. 15 is the same “woman” from v. 14 and her potential salvation is in the future. Again, “she” can’t be Eve. The only other conclusion that is available, from the evidence, is that “she” is a contemporary Ephesian woman who, like Eve, has been deceived. The example of Eve is used to show how someone can fall into transgression from deception, BUT ALSO how salvation can still come through “the birth of the child” for those who are deceived, just as it came for Paul (1 Tim 1:13-15). The Ephesian woman is open to the same grace as Paul and Eve.

    Now for even more fun, try to figure out who “they” are in v. 15.

  23. Oof – in the conclusion above, I meant to say most people would AGREE with the idea that “the woman” in v. 14 is a specific, known woman because most people believe it to be Eve.

  24. So the question that must be asked is “why does Paul appeal to order of creation”? I’m not sure what Tom thinks the answer to that question is?

    Does Tom think order of creation equates to some hierarchy? If so, then why aren’t the animals in authority over humans? And where is the biblical teaching that supports such a notion, because the bible is replete with examples of NOT first born (created) taking priority over firstborns. Even Jesus himself said the first will be last and the last first.

    Or does Tom think order of creation relates to ease of deception. If so, what does ease of deception of the first woman have to do with either authority or ease of deception of anybody after the first couple? Does Tom really think that men are UNIVERSALLY less deceivable than women? Or even worse, does he think men are less prone to “transgression” than women? He has some explaining to do then about Paul’s testimony in the first chapter of 1 Timothy (not to mention Romans 7) and the entire bible’s treatment of Adam.

    As it stands regarding his response to pinklight, my reaction is “so what? What’s your point?” Yes the text relates order of creation and “the woman” (see above post) being deceived, but what do you think that means and what logical path do you take to that conclusion?

  25. I just reread over all of Tom’s comments in all four posts. I tend to agree to a degree that we should first take scripture at face value. I also abhor when people read into, add to, or take away from scripture. The problem, in my view, is English. A person who relies on a single or few English translations of scripture is actually not taking scripture at face value or adhering to the plain text. They are adhering to some other person’s biased (and in the oldest translations, woefully unsupported) translation of that text into a language that is so far removed semantically from the originals, that it very, very often can not convey the true meaning behind the original words. If they then pile another human’s interpretation of that translation, they have compounded the problem. They are now far removed from face value and plain meanings.

    With apology, I am going to self-promote again. I would like to suggest Tom go to my blog post on one hundred translations of 1 Tim 2:11-15. I don’t expect him to agree with my interpretation of the grammatical accuracy of these translations (just yet). I simply ask that he look at the wide differences in English translations for a passage that has a Greek source with essentially no variances. The overarching question I would ask Tom is: these can’t all be right because they present many contradictions so which one should a person rely on? To me, the answer is the one that sticks closest to the original grammar (which in turn would be the one that introduces the least amount of translator bias).

    Which brings us back to English and Greek and Hebrew. With such wide variation in English translations of a very short and simple passage, it should be clear we can’t depend on English translations as our only reference and we certainly can’t depend on one or a few. If we really, really want to take scripture at face value to determine the plain meaning, we have to start with scripture in the source language. Depending solely on English leaves us ignorant and makes it impossible to find what we seek – the truth.

    Of course, context is key too. The end of 1 Tim 2 becomes far more clear in the shadow of chapter one. Without an eye toward chapter 1, 2:14 and 15 are nearly nonsensical. They are not an independent thought – they are the extension of a Theme that Paul has continued on for two chapters. The same is true for Ephesians. Every chapter in Ephesians begins with a conjunction, tying it to what came before. You simply can’t pluck three verse out of the middle of Chapter 5 and truly understand the plain meaning of Paul’s words because those three verse have 4 1/2 chapters of context before them (and 1 1/2 after) that build on a theme (I won’t spoil it for your readers). Ignoring context actually removes from scripture what is necessary to understand the plain meaning. Imagine reading Romans 8 without first reading Romans 7. In my mind, that would be nuts. Of course Romans 8 has some stuff that stands alone but it becomes so much more meaningful and powerful if you understand where Paul is coming from via his own testimony. (and of course, Romans 7 begins with a conjunction, so keep working back to really get the plain meaning.) (Also – Tom, regarding deception, what do you make of Romans 7:11 in terms of Adam and Eve, men and women, and deception?)

    As I’ve said before, I once believed as Tom does, and I also believed that I had scriptural support for those beliefs. But I was ignorant because I didn’t have all the information. I thought I was taking scripture at face value but in fact I was looking at scripture that had first gone through the telephone game. Then I found tools to dig into the original languages. I started challenging my beliefs because something about them really didn’t make sense, or they seemed to be contradicted by other passages. As I dug into the plain meaning of the original text, my views started to change. I have studied biblical gender relations now for 10+ years and I have covered the spectrum in terms of positions but I have settled on the Egalitarian position, not because I got that from some cherry-picked verses in English but because I have been led there by the Spirit as I dug into the Greek and Hebrew. I know exactly why Tom believes what he does (believe me, I can argue that side to). But I also am convinced that he is wrong and I can present the case to prove it. But first it will take a willingness to truly take scripture at face value by studying the original languages and context.

    Here is a link to my post:

    If you want to save the trip, here are the two most divergent translations and a blended translation which shows an even more striking contrast.

    Contemporary English Version:
    “and they should learn by being quiet and paying attention. They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do. After all, Adam was created before Eve, and the man Adam wasn’t the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned. But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest.”

    Concordant Literal New Testament
    Let a woman be learning in quietness with all subjection. Now I am not permitting a woman to be teaching nor yet to be domineering over a man, but to be in quietness (for Adam was first molded, thereafter Eve, and Adam was not seduced, yet the woman, being deluded, has come to be in the transgression). Yet she shall be saved through the child bearing, if ever they should be remaining in faith and love and holiness with sanity.

    Blended (These are not my words, they are words from various translations which, I believe, capture all the nuance and meaning in the passage)
    A wife should learn in peace, being ready to cooperate in everything. But I do not allow the wife to teach or to be domineering over the husband, rather, she is to remain at peace. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, has come to be in transgression. But she will be saved through the birth of the child, if she and her husband continue to live in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

  26. Garth,

    Your points about the context and grammar are so important. I think that one more question we could ask ourselves. Peter said that there are some things that are hard to understand about Paul’s writings. (2 Peter 3:16). If Peter said that there are hard things in Paul’s letters, why would some think that his sayings are so plain and easy to understand. The term “hard to understand” means difficult, requiring great mental effort to comprehend. You have explained how you worked hard to understand the text from the original texts with the grammar and in context. The list of differing translations in and of itself shows how there has been no consensus as to Paul’s meaning. Paul has written difficult to understand passages. But there are not impossible to understand. they require effort. Not adding to or taking away what Paul wrote, but understanding Paul in the midst of what else Paul wrote in the SAME book. We also need to wrestle with the fact that Paul used a very uncommon word in 1 Timothy 2:12. It is a word that is not used anywhere else in the New Testament. And some think that this passage is easy to understand?

    I think that Peter’s warning is applicable. He states that the “untaught” and “unstable” distort Paul’s writings as they also distort the rest of Scriptures. It is work to understand Paul. But it is worth it. I LOVE Paul’s writings and I can hold to them with all my heart. Paul’s wisdom was outstanding and when you pay attention to all that Paul said, he gives you what you need to understand his hard passages.

    Thanks for giving links to your info. I am sure that many will find it helpful.

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