Silly Women/Jewish & Gnostic Teachings


By: Gen. Jim -- 5/5/24

When the apostle Paul wrote his second epistle to Timothy, he mentions “silly women:” “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, & lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, & never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” - 2 Tim. 3:6,7, KJV. The NKJV has “gullible women loaded down with sins...” (vs. 6).

In other articles I have written about Gnosticism, which was trying to gain a foothold in the New Testament church. In Gnostic traditions, SEX was a part of the sacrament (see the Gospel of Philip, a Gnostic document which represent a transitional stage between mystery religions (& later Gnosticism), emphasizes the necessity of entering the bridal chamber, (one could not, as reported, achieve salvation without this rite.)

Gnosticism is called the religion of rebellion. Its mythology constitutes an “upside-downing” of the Bible.

In Paul’s first epistle to Timothy he writes: “Now the purpose of the commandment (vs. 1) is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, & from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk.” - 1 Tim. 1:5,6. Paul continues in 6:20,21 with, “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane & idle babblings & contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – by professing it some have strayed concerning the (Christian) faith.” Knowledge (gnōsis): "G" gained its name from "gnōsis" (Gk.); Gnostics claimed special secret knowledge (SSK).

In Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, he wrote: “But shun profane & idle babblings, for they will increase (lead) to more ungodliness.” - 2 Tim. 2:16 (see also 1 Tim. 1:3-6; 6:4; 2 Tim. 2:14,16,18,23; Titus 3:9 et al.). (read all of Titus, chap. 1).

There is much written against false teachers, i.e. Jews who were part of the N.T. Ekklesia but wanted to bring in Talmudic/Judaism teachings & traditions:

Gnostics introduced initiates to “divine knowledge” thru sexual practices. They were aware that the Biblical term “to know” was a euphemism for sex. Allow me to quote from sources to prove this: The Gnostics known as Naassens, were known for their ‘inferior mysteries” which related to “carnal generation.” They were mysteries about the queen of the underworld, Persephone, the queen of death (see Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies 5:3,5).

The Phibionites also used sex in their worship/rites. Epiphanius’ Panarion, (26.9.6-8) we read: “I am the Christ since I have descended through the names of the 365 archons.” Panarion 38 states, “O thou Power, I accomplish thy operation.” The Cainites believed that such sexing brought them “perfect knowledge!” (see Irenaeus Against Heresies 1.31.2). The sexual union of the celestial beings constituted a basic part of “G” cosmology/geneaology wrote Profs Catherine & Richard Kroeger. They cite F. Cumont’s, Recherches sur le Manicheisme (1912) (see Appendix, “La Seduction des Archontes”).

Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies (6.24) writes (complains) that some Gnostics found it inconceivable that a male deity could produce anything by himself without copulation.

Irenaeus wrote in his Against Heresies, 1.21.3, Ante-Nicene Fathers 346, “For some of them prepare a nuptial couch & perform a sort of mystic rite with those who are being initiated & affirm that it a spiritual marriage which is celebrated by them, after the likeness of the conjunctions above.”

Irenaeus had plenty to say concerning Gnosticism see 1.324; 1.332, 1.346, 1.349, 1.350, 1351, (a long quote), 1.359, 1.361, 1.401, 1.417, 1.427, 1.468, 1.507, 1.527, 1.530, 1.560, (a long quote). All the above quotes refer to the basic Gnostic tenets; Female deities of the Gnostics, he writes: “They also call this Mother by the names of Ogdoad, Sophia, Terra, Jerusalem, Holy Spirit, and (with a masculine ref.) Lord...” (1.323). He also continues to write about female deities in 1.402, 1.403, 1.404, 1.460, 1.546.

Other early Church Fathers wrote about & against Gnostics & Gnosticism, such as Ignatius (1.70, 1.88, 1.89), Justin Martyr (1.239, 1.294, 1.295), Hegesippus (8.764), Clement of Alexandria (2.222, 2.426), Tertullian (3.521, 3.535, 3.558), Hippolytus (5.58, 5.120), Origen (4.275, 4.278, 4.356, 9.305 plus extended discussion: 5.47-5.58, 5.100-5.110, 5.117-5.120); Tertullian (against female deities” wrote 3.509, 3.513, 3.514, 3.191.)

Back to 2 Tim. 3:6,7

Many Bible scholars have found a similarity between this (sexual) behavior & that of Gnosticism where the heretical teachers led forth as captives “silly women.”

All about the N.T. Ekklesia were heretical/sexual/mystic religions, e.g. Carpocratians, Marcosians, Montanists, Naassenes, Ophites, Phibionites, Valentinians et al. Look these up. All these had views/beliefs about evil, the material world, salvation, creation, procreation etc.

Paul puts forth a “sin” list in 2 Tim. 3:2-4: “For men (male/female) will be...” (v. 2). Paul speaks of MASS CORRUPTION... “having a form of godliness” (v. 5). He says, “For of this sort are they which creep into houses & lead captive silly women laden with sins...” (v. 6). These men (or women) were of the zealous evangelists who taught false doctrines, or Gnostics who did the same, who wormed their way into homes in order to make (captive) disciples... hoping to – in time – capture whole churches. (just as the Homosexual Movement has done in too many cases!!). Women, silly women who were not steadfast in N.T. doctrines/laws etc. They were easily deceived, induced to run after new & novel ideas (like gnostic teachings). Not only did Paul warn against outside-the-church purveyors of queer/strange doctrines, but within the Ekklesias themselves.

When one is not holding steadfast to sound doctrine, the snakes, flakes, & fakes can seduce. mesmerize their “victims.”

Today, centuries later, we have whole church organizations /denominations etc. that are under satanic Gnosticism. Whole churches are swayed by sinful & shameful men & women calling themselves “Pastor,” “teacher,” “evangelist,” “prophet.”

They are demon-inspired, live chaotic & imperious lives (for “self”), wayward, rebellious, without an ounce of moral stability. And look at the HELLISH, BACKSLIDDEN condition the body of Christ (so called) is in. Literally, some men & women do not know right from wrong. Perversions abound. Mischievous “money-grabbers” are everywhere.

Acts 17:21

Paul’s address at Mar’s Hill was addressed to a population of whom it was said that they “spent their time in nothing except, telling or hearing something new” ... be it intellectual, political or religious. Women were targeted.

Paul’s epistle indicates that “religious” persons find PREY among women who are not satisfied with life, idle & empty, laden with sinfulness. We know when peace, riches, sex, happiness appeal to the flesh. Why do you suppose (false) pastors like Joel Osteen et al. use “pep-talk”/ “inspirational sermons” to keep people coming to his “Big TOP” year in, year out! Don’t touch on sin! Tell the people they can be “saved” by just inviting Jesus into their hearts WITHOUT REPENTING of their SINS. Others preach & teach about RICHES – just give to them & you’ll be forever blessed! Yeah, right!

All these religious persons appeal to the flesh, not the Spirit. They remind me of Ballrooms, 3-Ring Circuses... sexual, money excitement... the promise of freedom from the everyday grind, the complexities that cause anxieties. They make FEW moral demands upon their adherents/disciples. The true Church & Jesus Christ makes rigorous ethical/godly demands, which will keep the believers holding to the cross... crucifying the flesh daily. Not so with these false preachers/teachers who teach a plastic cross – no pain!

There are scores of empty men/women that rush frantically here-and-there looking for fulfillment: “Ever learning, & never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).

Verse 7 is a verse which is a classic description of a combination of intellectual curiosity & hunger which is common in every age. Why do “cults” flourish?

There are good & godly men/women who are expert at amassing facts but powerless to draw people: people nowadays want entertainments, not truth – well, maybe a little. Multitudes will open their minds to heretical teachings but few will open their hearts to let the “Sword cut & the Fire burn!”

Having a Form of Godliness

(2 Tim. 3:5): “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” The original word μόρφωσις translated as “form” signifies "appearance, fashion, shape (fig.nature" & will apply to those who have all their religion in their creed, confession of faith, catechism, bodies of divinity etc., while destitute of the LIFE of GOD in their souls – they have “head” knowledge, but no “heart” knowledge.

Both Judaizers & Gnostics were troublemakers for the new Ekklesia. The O.T. adherents were trying to bring in Talmudic laws (esp. against women) & the Gnostics were bringing in their “divine wisdom,” “myths,” revelations.” Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary of both Paul & Jesus, was profoundly influenced by Gk. (religious) ideas, which he would reinterpret Judaism in their light. It is said that he allegorized Bible stories to convey Grecianized concepts.

In our studies we have shown that sexual union/perversion was used in the pagan mysteries, hence, Philo draws on the same vein. [Philo, 20 B.C. - A.D. 50, a Hellenistic, Jewish philosopher of Alexandria]. For him, it is said, instruction in the mysteries were communicated by a feminine figure; God, then, was the husband of wisdom, (see Philo on the Cherubim 14; see also Philo Questions/Answers on Genesis 3.21, 4.122, & 4.145-46; on the Cherubim 12).

Although Philo was a Jew, he held to mystery religions. No doubt some of his beliefs/teachings had crept into the N.T. church [there is plenty of evidence one can read on his beliefs/teachings. He had plenty to say about Jewish & Gnostic heroines].

Talmudics & Gnostics were enemies of the Gospel of Christ, & the doctrines of the new Ekklesia. The Jews of Phrygia were notorious for their easy assimilation of pagan mores & beliefs, according to Bible scholars/historians. The Kroegers (who founded the Institute for Lay Training/Christians for Biblical Equality) point out that Gnostic writings reveal a usage of Haggadic traditions (the serpent, the tree, the creator God), some of which date back to the first century B.C.

W.F. Albright’s, “Recent Discoveries in Palestine & the Gospel of John” (1956, p.163), tells us that “Gnosticism had already developed some of its most pronounced sects well before the Fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70)” (see also H.A. Green’s, “Economic & Social Orgins of Gnosticism” (p.186).

The figure of Eve appears many times in Gnostic writings – both heavenly & earthly. Bentley Layton’s, “Hypostasis of the Archons” (1976, pp.55-58), speaks of the Aramaic roots for the words “life,” “serpent,” “instructor,” & “Eve.”

Well, one can get lost in the labyrinth of Gnostic writings.

Paul tells Timothy that these (false) teachers went about capturing “silly women” ... “men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the (Christian) faith” (2 Tim. 3:8). There is no doubt that Paul was referring to some Judaizing teachers & Gnostic teachers who were perverting the Ekklesia with their heretical /mystery doctrines. (see 1 Tim. 4:1-7). Jesus rebuked the scribes & Pharisees (who were under Talmudic teachings /doctrines): “... For you devour widows-houses, & for a pretense make longs prayers...” - Mt. 23:14

As stated in other articles, 1 Tim. 2:11,12 referred to Talmudic tradition which forbade women from teaching or preaching. This is not N.T. doctrine.

I would like to end this article with what Paul wrote concerning prophecy (male/female prophets): (Reading from the Amp. Bible) “So, let two or three prophets speak – those inspired to PREACH or TEACH – while the rest pay attention & weigh & discern what is said.” - 1 Cor. 14:29. My question for you who believe that all women/females should be silent (1 Tim. 2:11,12; 1 Cor. 14:34,35), how are we gonna interpret 1 Cor. 14:29, where Paul says that prophets are free to prophesy (see 1 Cor. 12:10 where prophecy (NKJV) is one of the Spirit gifts (see Acts 2:16-17 where female/daughters will PROPHESY!).

Do you not think it is very strange for Paul to write about both male/female prophets (teach/preach) to have freedom in the assembly, THEN in vs. 34,35 he tells us that “Let your women keep SILENT in the churches...” Paul after his “women keep silent” instruction, finishes up chap.14 with: “So, therefore... DESIRE EARNESTLY to prophesy, & do not forbid to SPEAK with tongues.” - v.39, NKJV.

Let me quote how the Amp. Bible reads (which I believe coveys the Heb./Gk. more fully than Eng.): “So [to conclude], my brethren, earnestly desire & set your hearts on prophesying – on being inspired to PREACH & TEACH & to interpret God’s will & purpose - & do not forbid or hinder SPEAKING in [unknown] tongues.”

So, my dear readers, Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:29 & 14:39 gave permission for prophets – male/female - to PREACH, TEACH, & SPEAK!

1 Cor. 14:1 Paull starts out with “... desire spiritual gifts; but rather that ye may prophecy.” All Bible scholars know or should know, prophecy or to prophesy is to TEACH/INSTRUCT others. He gives the reason why Prophesy is greater than tongues: “... he (male or female) that prophesieth edifieth the church.” - v.4. He repeats this in vs.12 & vs.19. He goes on to say, “... prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe,” -vs.22.

The reason I love 1 Cor. 14:29 in the Amp. Bible is because it explains what prophecy is: inspiration to PREACH & TEACH, wheras the KJV/NKJV et al. says, “Let two or three prophets speak, & let the others judge.” Also vs.39 the words PREACH & TEACH are left out in the KJV/NKJV. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 14:3 that “...he (or she) that prophesieth speaketh unto men (humankind) to edification, & exhortation, & comfort.” In many Bible versions, in their footnotes, tells us that prophesying is PREACHING! One prof. (Lightfoot) thinks that the meaning of vs.29 is, “Let one sing who has a psalm; let another TEACH who has a doctrine; & let a third exhort, or comfort, who has a gift of that kind.” [note: Paul’s instruction for teaching, preaching, exhorting etc. were in imitation of the practice in the Jewish synagogues; for there it was customary for them to object, interrogate, judge, refute, etc. (vs.28-31).]

As stated, many times, vss.34,35 was not Paul’s command/demand - “Let your women keep SILENCE in the churches...” This was what someone (or someone's) had written to Paul (see 1 Cor. 7:1 = “Now as to the matters of which you wrote me.” Paul quotes what they had written & then answers; “Now about food offered to idols,” 8:1; “Now about the spiritual gifts,” 12:1; then Paul quotes what someone had written him concerning women, e.g. 14:34,35. In verse 36, Paul uses the word WHAT! They had written him that women (only married women) were not permitted to speak in church. As I was saying, this was a Jewish ordinance, not a N.T. Christian ordinance. The rabbins taught that “a woman should know nothing but the use of her distaff.” Rabbi Eliezer, as delivered, Bammidbar Rabba, sec. 9, fol. 204, should be read in both Hebrew & Eng.: “Let the words of the law (O.T. Jewish) be burned, rather than that they should be delivered to women.” (note: the “law” was partly Talmudic). The “Let your women be SILENT” law was supreme till the time of the N.T. Gospel – both men & women could preach & teach. 1 Cor. 11:5 gives the women the permission to pray & prophecy. The head covering was also a O.T. Jewish custom, not a N.T. one. As time progressed, the O.T. Jewish customs/rules/statutes/etc. were dropped, but the O.T. moral/ethical/righteous were kept. So, they remain today.

The Jews, under the O.T., would not allow a woman to read in the synagogue; though a servant or even a child, had permission.

Please read Paul’s rebuttal of what was written to him against women, e.g. 1 Cor. 14:34,35. Vss. 36-39 is Paul’s reply “... covet to prophecy, & forbid not to speak with tongues.”

In short, Paul was saying, “Let it be your endeavour & prayer to be able to TEACH the way of God!” Both men & women were allowed to SPEAK, PREACH, TEACH. Some believe that “Let your women keep silent” meant asking questions – which was NOT ALLOWED under Jewish law. To do so was considered disobedience & arrogance. But Paul says the N.T. church has No such law.

Back to Gnosticism

The primary heresy the pre-Nicene church faced was Gnosticism. Gnostic sects were numerous – all affecting the N.T. church. They taught that the earth & humans were not created by God the Father, but by Demiarge, who was either a fallen angel or a lesser deity (see “A Dict. of Early Christian Beliefs” by D.W. Bercot). Because of this, all material things (man’s flesh included) are inherently flawed & incapable of salvation. Some Gnostics called God the “just God,” in contrast to Jesus’ Father, who is “THE GOOD GOD.” Some Gnostics called “Docetists,” taught that the Son took on only the illusion of flesh. Others said that there was an actual man named Jesus, whose body the Son of God possessed & used – only to abandon Jesus at the cross.

Many Gnostics rejected water baptism /communion /resurrection & the intermediate state of the dead. They taught that without revealed knowledge (gnōsis) humans could never be saved. And, of course, they believed in both male & female deities. Some practiced very strict asceticism; others were notoriously wicked/licentious. When the second century rolled around, Gnostics like Basilides, Carpocrates, Cerinthus, & Valentinus. The early Church Fathers dealt with these folks, as we in our generation deal with such persons.

Marcion, another leading 2nd cent. heretic, held to some of the basic Gnostic tenets. Marcion (died 160 A.D.) founded his own church. His teachings incorporated many Gnostic elements, including the belief that the God of the O.T. was a different God than that of the New Testament. He accepted only the Gospel of Luke & Paul’s New Testament Epistles for his New Testament canon. He even had to alter some of these to fit his heretical teachings.

Justin Martyr (1.171), Irenaeus (1.352, 1.416, 1.459, 1.470, 1.J06,7, 1.511), Tertullian (3.257, 259, 3.262, 3.272, 3.275, 3.282, 3.284, 285, 3.290-294, 3.313, 3.327, 3.341, 342, 347, 348, 350, 351, 352, 353, 361, 3.405, 406, 412, 3.438) & many, many more, Hippolytus 5.110 & also refutes Marcion’s teachings.

Does Marcion believe in the tri-unity? Does he declare the same Father – the Creator – that the Bible does? Does he believe in the virgin birth – the Word made flesh? Cyprian examines these in his writings: 5.380, 2.356, 9.348, 9.463, 9.504 (see his extended discussion, 5.110-5.113).


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