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Oct 17, 2007


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Greetings again Michael.

Certainly 1 Tim 2:11-15 is a most difficult passage and one that has brought much unfortunate division in the church over the 'limits' of roles for women. Thanks for tackling it in the light of Household codes.

I look forward to your next post with further thoughts…

A couple of comments / qns if I may on what you have written so far:

Having done a quick survey (correct me by all means if i have missed something) through Paul's epistles (any that are potentially his)… it seems to me that he uses sozo always (?) in a sense of spiritual salvation. Not just rescue from pain or physical danger etc. So although I can see the potential connection b/w the (pre?)Gnostic false teachings and Paul’s encouragement in v 15 … I am not sure that this explanation carries too much weight as being the whole basis for Paul’s comments.

Paul uses the expression “the childbearing” (noun with definite article) which is very bizarre if he is referring to the act of “childbirth” for women in general. Using the verb for childbearing would be the obvious choice if that’s what he meant. (Just as you rightly suggest that if Paul ‘just’ meant ‘authority’ in v 12 he would have used exousia as he does in several dozen other passages – not the very specific and unusual authentein.) I am still unsure about what I think about this passage though I have been studying it intensely for some time. At this point in time I have more confidence in “the childbearing” being the birth of our Messiah and Saviour – though knowing Paul (the Holy Spirit) it’s possible there are several ‘layers’ of meaning in what is written.

The most puzzling thing about this entire passage to me is the change (clear in the Greek text but unfortunately not often clear by the way the English translations present the passage) from plural “women” (v 9-10) to singular “woman” in (v 11-12). Then following clear references to Eve in v 13-14, Paul changes from “she” (singular) to “they” in v 15. Even if “a woman” in v 11 and 12 is a generic noun representing “all women”… the grammatical change from “she” to “they” in v 15 makes no literary sense if Paul is generically referring to “all women” in general. How can the salvation of “she” depend on the actions of “they”? Who is the “she” and who are the “they”?
Any thoughts on this tough one?



Michael, this is a fascinating and difficult passage. Any of the theories I have read so far seems to run into trouble with one or more areas of the text. I look forward to your next installments and reading that before attempting to comment...

Michael W. Kruse

Kerryn, Craig Keener holds the position I described having once believed this referred to Mary. He acknowledges that sozo is used in the spiriutal sense everywhere elsewhere by Paul. But outside the Bible it more often means "delivered" or "brought safely through." Nowhere else is Paul talking about childbirth. He says the most natural way for an ancient to understand "salvation" would be "kept safe through childbirth." Keener says that learning how so many women offered prayers to Isis or Artemis for safety in childbirth, and that Paul was likely countering this, is what swayed him to his position.

As to "the Childbearing" and the singular woman, hold that thought until the next post. :) (which may be late appearing at the rate I'm going.)

Michael W. Kruse

Sam this passage is fraught with peril. As the line goes, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."



thanks Michael
i look forwards to your 'brave' next installment!

Michael W. Kruse

I think the operative word here is "fool" not "brave."


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