I Do Not Permit a Woman to Teach


By: Gen. Jim -- 4/19/24    


Let me go over this target verse one more time: “And I do not permit a woman to TEACH or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” -1 Timothy 2:12, NKJV. I have written in other articles that Paul was not telling all women not to teach because they were females, but he was concerned with WHAT they were teaching.

The Greek word for “teach” is “didaskein,” which, according to Gk. scholars is frequently accompanied by an infinitive.

Other Early Christian Literature (1961, #392, esp. sect.2) tells us about the use of the “infinitive as complement of a verb (by Friedrich Blass Albert Debrumner, & Robert W. Funk).

If you’re like me, I need to study from Gk. scholars to understand how this language works. The English language does not always define what the Heb. or Gk. means, so we do not grasp the context.

If we look up certain N.T. text where “didaskein” is employed (e.g. Lk. 11:1; Mt. 28:20; Rev. 2:14 et al.), one may understand what was being TAUGHT. I have pointed out in Rev. 2:20 which records the teacher/prophetess of Thyatira, Jezebel, what she taught “... to commit sexual immorality & eat things sacrificed to idols.” The condemnation was not against sex (a woman) but against sexual perversion & idolatry. There were female leaders in those days.

For the Record

The very same construction (“didaskein followed by an infinitive) occurs in 1 Tim. 2:12. There are several ways to translate this target verse. Sister Catherine Clark Kraeger (Ph. D, adjunct prof. at Cordon-Conwell Theo. Semi.) has good in sight on this text. She appropriately translates 1 Tim. 2:12, “I absolutely do not allow a woman to teach (didaskein) [someone] to maintain that she is the author of a man.” I’ve read some of her writings, e.g. Of Jewish/Gnostic Heroines, The Great Goddesses & Eve, The Veneration of the Serpent & Eve, Sex & Death in the Ancient Novels, The Curse Tablets of Cnidus etc.

In reference to 1 Tim. 2:12, the verb “didaskein” requires that the direct object be placed in the accusative case. In Rev. 2:14 “didaskein” takes a dative object, “Balaam who taught Balak.” This raises the possibility of rendering 1 Tim. 2:12, “I certainly do not permit teaching a woman that she is originator of man.” (an alternative translation.) Just where did this “Eve is the author of man” come from? C. Kroeger examines its origin – it was one of the principal characteristics of the opponents in the Pastorals (see I Suffer Not a Woman. 1992).

There was a Gnostic notion of Eve as Creator of Adam, which was part of the “secret knowledge” that was available to adherents: “I do not permit women to teach nor to represent herself as originator of man but she is to be in conformity (with Scripture) [or that she keeps it a secret.] For Adam was created first, then Eve.” This may have been written by Paul also.

Like I’ve said for years, Paul was not condemning female teachers/preachers, but he was condemning WHAT they might teach or were teaching. Kroeger says “to be in silence” can mean “to keep something a secret.” If we’re talking about the ancient mystery religions and of Gnosticism.

The Greek word for “silence” is “hesuchia," meaning a "stillness, quietness, keeping one’s seat, quiet.” (see 1 Thes. 4:11; 2 Thes. 3:12; 1 Tim. 2:2 etc.) Paul was commanding the woman or women to teach what the Scriptures actually teach (there was no N.T. at this time, only O.T.). He warned them not to teach what the Babylonian Talmud (traditions) or ancient pagan religions taught, but to teach what the O.T. taught – woman DID NOT create man nor did Eve bring spiritual illumination (revelation) to Adam!

Pagan Religions

Let me take time to cite some of these teachings/myths. Ancient authors attest that distorted stories (including the Adam/Eve story) were circulating in the first century – Gnostic-like myths opposed traditional Biblical stories. Achilles Tatius wrote about such things. (one can read “Eros & the Lesbian Pastorals of Longus” -1960, pp.32-51 = mystic initation), Plutarch (Ca. C.E. 100) wrote of the “daimones” & “demigods” who stood midway between gods & humanity. But Scripture teaches there is ONLY ONE MEDIATOR (1 Tim. 2:5) (I.E.R. Dodds has a good book – Pagan & Christian in an Age of Anxiety (1970). Epiphanius “Panarion” (33. 7,2) is worth reading; Aristophones “clouds” (599-600); Joscelyn Godwin’s, “Mystery Religions in the Ancient World” (1981); Juvenal “Satires;” Richard Reitzenstein’s “Hellenistic Mystery Religion’s (1978); Franz Cumont’s, “Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism” (1978); Dibelius & Conzelmann’s “The Pastoral Epistles” (1972); John Toews wrote, “Women in Church Leadership” (1983);

There are literally dozens & dozens of good informative books on this subject. There is no way I can list them all. One thing I have found in the years of study on “women” is that pagan, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic et al. believed in the existence of “Mediators.” Mortal women COULD serve as prime movers/mediators in religion. As I have shown, the Talmud was hard against women, which no doubt influenced early Christianity.

Lydian women were active in the cult of the “Ephesian Artemis” (see Autocrates 1 as quoted by Aelian De Natura Animalium 12.9), (See also Aristophones’ “clouds” 599-600).

Since Paul used that “strange” Greek verb, “Authentein” (“usurp authority” in 1 Tim. 2:12 KJV) you, reader, need to know just what it meant in Paul’s day (see my article on “Authentein”). You can research the verb, noun, & adjective/adverb, e.g. authentein (V), authentes/authentia (N), authentikes (adj.), authentikos (adv.). In Paul’s day women were taking over male roles. In Lydian Sardis, where a branch of the Ephesian cult was established, the high priestess of Artemis took over the role/duties of the male high priest. (see Forschung in Ephesos 3 (1923). NO.44), (see also David Kovacs’, “Tyrants & Demagogues in Tragic Interpolation” (1982), p.37.

Paul made it clear – in the midst of paganism – that he “was appointed a preacher & an apostle – I am speaking the truth in Christ & not lying – a teacher of the Gentiles in faith & truth.” (NKJV). Once he settled that, Paul proceeds to speak about women in vss.9-15. With this background one can see what he meant by “Let your women learn in silence, with all submission. And I do not permit a woman (of the sort I’ve shown you in paganism) to teach or to have authority (“authentein”) over a man (of God), but to be in silence.”

Ephesus & Sardus was plagued with women that had power over the men. Paul had his share of opposition at Ephesus (see 1 Cor. 16:8,9). Paul warned the Ekklesia there against those who might lead them astray (Eph. 4:17-24; 5:6-14). Also, in the book of Revelation, Ephesus was commended (Rev. 2:6). One good point was that Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans. (Rev. 2:15). In the Apocalypse, Ephesus is commended because it hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans, as mentioned. So, what were their “deeds?” According to a Naassene writer, the priest shouted aloud the news of a divine birth which was “holy, spiritual, heavenly & from above” had renounced all fleshly procreation (see Euripides Andromache 615; Scholion on Aeschylus Eumenides 212; Robert Parker’s, Miasma: Pollution & Purification in Early Gk. Religion (1983).

Epiphanius calls those who inherited the Nicolaitan tradition by many names. According to Kroeger they were best known as Philisionites, who rejected marriage & held their women in common. One of their books was called the Gospel of Eve & adhered to the “doctrine of the Serpent.” If a woman became pregnant, she was FORCIBLY aborted! Did not Paul write about those who forbade marriage (see 1 Tim. 4:3). By contrast, Paul calls upon women to marry & bear children (see 1 Tim. 5:14).

One Gnostic writer called upon believers to “flee the bondage of femininity & to choose for themselves the salvation of masculinity.” (see Flavius Philostratus The Life of Apollonius of Tyana (4.2.).

It has been asked, “can Paul be stating that a woman may be saved while retaining the capacity to bear children?” The Gk. preposition used in 1 Tim. 2:15 for “through childbearing” is “dia” with a genitive case. It is stated by Gk. scholars that it does not primarily indicate “because of” or “on account” as would be true of the accusative case. Rather, as it is pointed out, it may have the sense of “during,” “throughout” or “within an attendant circumstance” (as Elmor Schwertheim states in his, Mithras, Seine Denkmales and sein Kult”). It could be read; “she shall be saved within the childbearing function.” So, women can be saved while she still possesses that distinctive which most decisively sets her apart from man – women's God-given right to bear children. Amen. Salvation is available to the female as well as to the male, & the woman need not surrender her gender. (see Gal. 3:28 & 1 Cor. 11:11,12).

The Nicolaitans had some pretty strange (queer!) beliefs. [Nicolaitanes – Gk. Nikolaites = "victorious over the people; Nicolaüs, a heretic; conquest, i.e. triumph over the people.”]

[note: Jewish/Gnostic heroines can be traced, the Alexandrian authors have written about these (see E.R. Goodenough, “By Light, Light: The Mystic Gospel of Hellenistic Judaism” (1935). Wisdom in the Bible is called “Sophia” (Prov. 8:2); read all of Proverbs. 4 Ezra (a Jewish pseudepigraphic work) describes the vision of a woman who imparts her instruction as a prophet. It would take many pages to cite all the places in writings (pagan/Christian) where women are honored/praised & dishonored. So, please do your own research if you are confused over this “woman/women” issue.


Clara Barton, a woman of great valor & founder of the American Red Cross during the Civil War, had to overcome doubt, fear & discrimination, because she was a WOMAN! Not only did she have to overcome the fear of fire & death, she had to fight against misogyny as well.

She, growing up in a “man’s world,” had to become fiercely dedicated to the “cause,” to be “all you can be!” as a woman & as a nurse in the great national calamity. The Confederacy called those on the Northern side, “White Niggers!”

One friend to Clara (female) had told her about her abolitionist & feminist work before the Civil War, describing how she had been jeered at for advocating “Justice to the negro” AND “Justice to women” in public forums. Her friend made Clara very aware that the problems of “women” in public & the problems of “women” & “blacks” were similar, since both were OPRRESSED groups. Her friend, Fanny Gage, told Clara of her STRUGGLES for women’s rights, presiding over an Ohio woman’s rights convention in 1851.

If you have not read of the black woman named Sojourner Truth, you need to. She was a fearless woman that led many slaves to freedom. Sojourner Truth showed up at Fanny Gage’s convention. This caused a great stir among the white colleagues of Fanny Gage, warning her, and I quote: “Don’t let her speak, Mrs. Gage, it will RUIN US! Every newspaper in the land will have our cause mixed up with abolition & niggers, & we shall be utterly denounced!” (A Woman of Valor, p.192)

Well, that warning did not faze Fanny Gage, for she believed that abolition & woman’s rights were interconnected. Fanny Gage granted Sojourner Truth permission to address the assembly. Fanny herself told the convention that all women must “with ONE UNITED VOICE, speak out in their own behalf, in behalf of humanity.” She went on to say if they did that, “they could create a REVOLUTION without armies, without bloodshed, that would do more to ameliorate the condition of mankind, to purify, elevate, ennoble humanity than all that has been done by reformers in the last century.” It was said that after this, Clara became a committed feminist who shared her mentor's belief that women must “stand for the Right,” must “Be bold, be firm, be strong” in demanding the same rights that men enjoyed. It is said that she became a “feminist,” not a dominating Jezebel; Clara became more racially conscious, more sexually (female sex) conscious.

In 1869, at a convention of the Equal Rights Assoc., held in NY, Clara took sides in a fierce debate within feminist ranks about the timing of women’s suffrage demands. Some believed this convention was an open, deliberate insult to American womanhood! - some considered it extremely UNFAIR that uneducated black males should gain the elective franchise while educated white women were denied it.

It was reported that some feminist leaders thought her (Clara’s) speech at the 1869 convention had degraded their sex. Color & sex was front-and-center: Whites vs. Blacks/men vs. women. And, so, the rest is history.

The WAR between race & sex continues.

Years ago, a Wycliffe Bible translator in Papua New Guinea, when the opening chapters of Genesis were first translated into their native language, the attitude toward women changed overnight, as I have taught since the early 1970’s. These tribals grasped the (Biblical) truth of EQUALITY between the sexes & began adjusting their “men first”/ “men only” behavior. But what do we still find in “Christian” America? The anti-women/misogynistic false teaching.

How many good Christian men have bad attitudes towards good Christian women? Their destructive message degrades their counterpart. Their message is unhealthy, unBiblical, & unholy!

Please take time to read my articles I’ve posted on “women in the ministry.” True, not all women are qualified to teach/preach, but do not put ALL women in this box!


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