1. Instructions on Prayer, 2:1-3:1a
ii] Men and women at prayer in a church meetingArgument
Paul continues his instructions on prayer, making the point that worship must be given a place of importance in the life of the Christian community, and this without sacrificing sensitivity or prior responsibilities.
i] Context: See 2:1-7. The exhortation to pray for the salvation of all people in the first verse of chapter two introduces a larger section where Paul deals with organisational matters in the church.
ii] Background: See 1:1-11.
iii] Structure: The role of males and females in public worship:
The leadership of men in worship, v8.
"Without anger or disputing."
The leadership of women in worship:
Modesty in dress, v9-10;
Respect toward prior commitments, v11-2:1a.
Paul presents us with two sets of instructions with regard to public worship, first for men, v8, and second for women, v9-3:1a. Presumably these instructions are for those who lead in congregational worship, rather than those who just participate, although the lines are somewhat blurred. For men, the problem identified is an over-dependence on testosterone. This certainly applies today where congregations are inclined to seeks out ministers with dynamic powerful personalities, while sometimes overlooking flawed theological skills. Powerful men in powerful positions can be a recipe for trouble. Cults often find their origins in such men. For women, Paul identifies the issues of vanity, and prior family commitments, particularly with respect to the nurture of children. Paul is a first-century person and addresses the issue within the context of his age. He has probably never experienced an aggressive feminist in full flight, otherwise he would have extended his instructions for the male worship leaders to the females as well. So, given the circumstances of our day, Paul's instructions can easily be reversed and applied to the power-dressing feminist who wants to run the show, and the home husband who has taken on the role of carer.
The issue of prior responsibilities, v11-15: Paul's view that prior responsibilities, particularly those of nurture, limit ministry participation, is supported by a second trustworthy saying. It is often held that the second trustworthy saying is 3:1b; "if anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task." Yet, strong arguments have been mounted against this view, cf., Quinn and Wacker. For an overview see The Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Letters, Knight, 1979. If we follow the counter view, then the second trustworthy saying is 2:15; "A person will be saved / will stand justified raring children, provided they persevere in faith / faithfulness and love / compassion and holiness with self-control = sensible holiness." As against the secular practice of dumping / exposing unwanted births on the rubbish tip, a Christian couple can positively counter the effects of Adam and Eve's sin by raring children within a context of faith, love and holiness. Paul's point is that such a role takes precedence over congregational ministry.
Modesty in dress, v9-10: The manner in which worship is exercised in a Christian congregation "cannot be applied in the same way to both male and female members...... Man and women are called equally to the service of God; but they are not called to precisely the same service", Barrett. A bit old-school CK!! This passage is extremely difficult to exegete and is, at the same time, highly controversial, and for this reason must be approached with care. The secular drive for political correctness, driven by the principle of equality, has tempted some believers to label Paul a misogynist. Given that Jesus would not appoint a misogynist as his apostle to the Gentiles, we can properly assume that this characterisation is more a product of syncretism than sound theology. Of course, Paul's instructions do reflect the culture of his day, and may even specifically address the situation in Ephesus, but the instructions are not driven by that culture, or circumstance. Paul's words are driven by Biblical ethics, by the ever present danger of prostituting the creation ordinance which states that a man shall leave his father and mother, cleave unto his wife, and the two will become one flesh. Adultery is an ever present temptation, and that danger is certainly not helped by societal pressure on women to present as sex objects. To this end Paul argues, from a first century perspective, that modesty should shape the ministry aspirations of believing women / wives. Modesty is just as important today, but the liberating power of the gospel has lifted the social status of women such that participation in public ministry is not, of itself, immodest.
Paul's seeming failure to properly straddle the blurred lines of being either patronising, or sexist / misogynist, is worthy of comment:
First, for those who argue that there is no difference between males and females, other than genitalia, then Paul has crossed the ever-shifting sexist line. He has dared to suggest that aggression is a particular problem for men and that vanity is a particular problem for women. Yes, no woman is devoid of aggression and no man devoid of vanity, but the fashion industry does, for good reason, tend to focus on women, and when it comes to violence, the police do tend to focus on men.
Second, given that negative observations are equally made of both males and females, we may rightly conclude that Paul's comments are non-sexist. The diary published some years ago titled "All Men are Bastards" was sexist, not because of its insulting stereotyping, but because they didn't publish a version for the men; "All Women are .........."
Third, there is a principle in the use of language which is often not recognised in scripture, but which we apply in common speech. It has to do with the word "but" - the strong adversative alla in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ...". The rule is to ignore everything before the adversative, eg., "He's a lovely bloke, BUT .........." When it comes to "but", the weight of a comment often follows it, rather that precedes it." A classic example is found in the Lord's Prayer - "Do not bring us into temptation, but (alla) rescue us from the evil one." Often weight is put on "lead us not into temptation" with all the theological complexities which such a statement generates. This has prompted new translations which are next to meaningless, eg., "save us from the time of trial." The weight follows the "but", rather than precedes it. So, "Do not lead us into temptation, and of course we know you wouldn't do that, BUT RATHER deliver us from evil / the evil one." Similarly, with Paul's comment in v9-10. The weight of his comment falls on v10, rather than "not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire." Stress about v10, rather than v9.
Text - 2:8
Instructions on the manner / behaviour of men and women at public worship, 2:8-15 (3:1a). The by whom and how of worship in church: i] Worship instructions for men - let their participation / leadership be dignified and sincere, v1; "I want the men to get into prayer. Instead of shaking angry fists at enemies, I want them to raise holy hands to God", cf., Peterson. Some commentators regard v1 as summing up the opening practical instructions of v1-2.
oun "-" - therefore. Inferential / drawing a logical conclusion, probably in response to the exhortation in v1; "I would therefore wish that whenever you meet for public worship, prayers should be offered ......", Barclay.
boulomai pres. "I want" - i wish, want. Although usually serving to express a wish, here obviously imperatival, so "I want", even "I command"; "so it is my will that ....", Berkeley.
touV andraV (hr droV) "the men" - Accusative subject of the infinitive "to pray." This word may take the meaning "man", but also "husband". Some argue that Paul is giving instructions to husbands and wives in this passage, as to how they are to function together in a congregational meeting, cf., 1Cor.14:34f, 1Pet.3:3-6, Tit.2:5. This could be the case, although the argument is often driven by the desire to reduce the instruction's overt sexism. As with slavery, Paul functions within a strict cultural framework which defines sexual relationships. He is not in the business of reshaping culture, although inevitably Biblical principles, by their very nature, do reshape culture (Sadly, the opposite seems to be taking place in Western societies today!). The unity of believers in Christ cannot but strike at the heart of sexism, but in the meantime, any limitations that may be experienced are nothing to compare with the liberation of eternity. So, although still a matter of conjecture, male leadership is best viewed as cultural rather than normative. Peterson surely pushes in the right direction with "what I want mostly is for men to pray ..... and I want women to get in there with the men ....."
en panti topw/ "everywhere" - in every place. The preposition en is local, expressing space. Clearly "place" means in "a place of prayer" = "a meeting-place", so "in all the churches", Phillips, although Marshall thinks that Paul is still pushing his universal theme so "everywhere", as NIV.
proseucesqai (proseucomai) pres. inf. "to ..... prayer" - to pray. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul wants; not the content of the prayer, but its manner - respectful.
epairontaV (epairw) pres. part. "lift up" - lifting up. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner in which the prayer is performed, but possibly temporal, "when they lift up ....." The lifting of hands in prayer is an ancient Jewish practice and is performed while standing. It is usually accepted that Paul's instruction on a person's stance in prayer is cultural, and so should not to be treated as propositional revelation.
oJsiouV adj. "holy" - holy [hands]. Direct object of the participle "lifting up." As noted, the lifting of hands is not what is important, rather the focus is on the modifying adjective which calls for "inward purity of intention and devotion", Barrett; "with a pure intention", REB, "with sincerity", Phillips.
cwriV + gen. "without" - apart from, without, independent of. Expressing separation.
dialogismou (oV) "disputing" - [anger and] discussion / hate. Here with "anger" obviously taking the negative sense, not "doubt", but better "dispute", "argument", REB, or even better, "quarrelsome thoughts", NEB.
ii] Worship instructions for women: a) let modesty reign, v9-10. "I also want the women to get into prayer. Instead of showing off the latest fashions, I want them to do something beautiful for God and become beautiful in the doing of it", cf., Peterson. As already noted, although Paul's instructions for women are culturally sensitive, in that they apply to the first century, they are driven by an extremely important issue, namely, modesty. Paul seeks to protect women from the male inclination to fashion females as sex objects.
wsautwV adv. "[I also want]" - similarly, likewise [also]. Modal adverb expressing similarity. Variant adjunctive kai, "likewise also", ESV. The main verb "I want" applies from v8.
gunaikaV (h aikoV) "the women" - women. Accusative subject of the infinitive "to adorn." Possibly "women in general", although modesty in dress and purity of behaviour was particularly required of married women. None-the-less, Paul's instructions can rightly apply to all women.
kosmein (kosmew) pres. inf. "to dress" - to adorn, arrange [themselves]. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul wants, desires; "that women should adorn themselves", ESV. Yet, it seems more likely that Paul's primary desire is for the women, as with the men, "to pray." So, the infinitive proseucesqai, "to pray", in v8, should be assumed for this verse, rather than the infinitive kosmein, so TNIV; "I likewise also want the women to pray, modestly dressed with prudent and befitting apparel."
en + dat. "[modestly]" - in [respectable, modest dress, appearance]. The preposition is adverbial, modal, expressing manner; "in fitting apparel" = "in good taste", Zerwick = "modestly", but instrumental, expressing means, "by means of."
meta + gen. "with [decency and propriety]" - with [modesty, respect, honour and prudence, good sense]. Possibly expressing accompaniment, but better again adverbial; "decently", or better "prudently"; "women shall dress themselves modestly and prudently in becoming attire", Berkeley. "Befitting apparel", Cassirer, is better than "becoming attire", given that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (as are most things in a fallen world, eg., justice)!
en + dat. "[not] with" - [not] with [braided hair, and gold, or pearls, or costly clothing]. Here again adverbial, manner, or instrumental, means. "Not with braided hair, not with gold, pearls, or costly attire", Cassirer.
all (alla) "but" - [I also want women to pray ....... to adorn themselves not with .....] but. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ....", as NIV.
di (dia) + gen. "with [good deeds]" - through [good works]. Instrumental, expressing means; "by means of, through". "The adornment befitting godliness is described in terms of service done for the benefit of others which genuine faith produces", Marshall, cf., 1Tim.5:10, 25, 6:18. "The adornment of a Christian women is not a matter of an elaborate coiffure, expensive clothes, or valuable jewellery, but the living of a good life", Phillips.
o} neut. rel. pro. "[appropriate]" - what [is proper, fitting]. Nominative subject of the verb "to be fitting."
gunaixin (h aikoV) dat. "for women" - for women, wives. Dative of direct object after the verb preptw, "to be fit for" / interest, advantage.
epaggellomenaiV (epaggellomai) pres. mid. part. "who profess" - professing, promising. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "woman". Taken with "religion" = "professing religion" = "religious"; "what is appropriate for a religious woman."
qeosebeian (a) "to worship God" - godliness, religion, reverence. Accusative direct object of the participle "professing."
b) The issue of prior responsibilities, v11-15. Again, gunh, "woman", may not be generic, but rather referring to married women, "wife", where the issue of prior responsibilities particularly applies. It does, though, within Paul's cultural environment, similarly apply to all the women of an extended household, daughters, etc. A mother's / wife's prior responsibilities to dad and the kids ("child-raring" rather than child-bearing") stands at the heart of Paul's instructions, instructions that rest on the saving / justifying counter to original sin in the raising of a family unto God, and this in the context of faith, love and holiness. See Quinn and Wacker for this approach to the passage. Keener, on the other hand, notes that at this time women were less educated than men and this may lay behind Paul's instructions, although we should note that attempts to soften Paul's words are legion, eg., "women should learn ....... so that they can teach", Spencer. A number of different approaches are offered to this contentious passage, but it does seem likely that Paul's words, although theologically based, reflect cultural sensitivity. In the end, "it has to be recognised that the effect of the prohibition would probably have been to encourage subordination in women's life", Marshall.
gunh (h aikoV) "woman" - [let] a woman, wife [learn]. Nominative subject of the verb "to learn." Here likely with the sense "wife", so Towner, Quinn & Wacker, cf., 1Cor.14:33b-35, contra Marshall, Knight, Johnson, Mounce, ..... who argue for "women in general."
en + dat. "in [quietness]" - in [silence]. The preposition en is adverbial, so "let a woman learn quietly", ESV. A wide range of meaning is possible, but probably in the sense of being settled within oneself and thus "showing deference to teachers, but not necessarily excluding the interchange which is appropriate to the teaching event", Marshall. Mounce suggests that the adverbial prepositional phrase "in full submission", and the whole of the imperatival clause, "I do not permit ......", qualifies "in quietness." This is supported by the fact that Paul reinforces his point in v11 with "she is to remain quiet." It is worth noting that Paul's instructions to the Corinthian believers that women should be silent at church, sits within his purpose of restoring order at their meetings. So, Paul may well be addressing a practical problem of which he has been informed. Not only is there the chatter of tongue speakers, there is the chatter of ladies who, following Jewish form, are possibly separated from the men by a screen. Too much chatter all round! Those who support a non-Pauline authorship of the Pastorals could argue that the author has misunderstood Paul's instruction to the Corinthians that the women should be sigatwsan, "silent".
en + dat. "[full submission]" - in [all subjection, submission, obedience]. Again adverbial; contextualised = "humbly", Phillips. Although culturally acceptable in the first century, the word uJpotagh, "submission", carries negative implications today, so "during instruction, a woman (wife) should be quiet and respectful", NJB. None-the-less, if the sense "submission, obedience" is adopted, it is surely not "a women should do so ...... showing herself submissive in every way", Cassirer, rather the woman / wife should "learn quietly and humbly", Phillips, ie., submit to the teaching; "When gathering for worship, a woman / wife should give her full attention to God's Word" (for what not to do see 5:13).
Mounce argues that that the imperatival clause "I do not permit ...." qualifies / is appositional to "learn in quietness."
ouk epitrepw (epitrepw) pres. ind. "I do not permit" - i do not allow, permit. The sense may be of expressing an opinion, Paul's opinion, rather than a word from the Lord. The present tense may also indicate "in the present circumstances it is my opinion that ...." It is also possible that the women (here generic "woman") in mind have assimilated the views of the false teachers and so are being instructed to stop spreading the false teaching, so Marshall. Despite these suggestions, it is likely that the statement is authoritative; "I do not allow / permit ..."
didaskein (didaskw) pres. inf. "to teach" - [a woman / wife] to teach. The infinitive may be classified as complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to allow", or as introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul permits. There is no object, and so androV, "man / husband", is assumed, being the unstated qualifier which is stated in the second phrase, "to have authority over a man." It can't be a command never to teach in any situation, given that there are numerous references to women giving instruction, even prophesying. It seems likely that the issue is related to a married woman taking a lead in public worship, a lead which clashes with her prior commitment for the nurture of her family. This, and 1st. century culture, shapes Paul's instruction.
auqentein (auqentew) pres. inf. "to have authority over / to assume authority over" - [nor] to rule over, have authority over / dominate. A hapax legomenon; a once only use in the NT. The infinitive is complementary, as above. If we adopt the sense "rule, reign", it is more than likely that Paul's use of this word reflects cultural sensitivity - it's certainly not culturally sensitive today! The sense "control, dominate" is more likely. Dibelius opts for "to be domineering" and so he thinks the issue concerns interrupting the person leading the service. The TNIV heads in this direction, of domineering / usurping authority, ie., the word is taking a negative value here rather than the neutral "to have authority." Kostenberger goes a step too far with "I do not permit women to give false teaching." Towner argues that these ladies are Alpha Roman females, "grasping wealthy wives and widows (cf., 6:5-10)."
androV (h droV) gen. "over a man" - of a man. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to have authority over."
all (alla) "-"- but. Strong adversative serving in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ......"; "but rather."
einai (eimi) pres. inf. "she must be" - to be. The main verb of the clause, epitrepw, is assumed, but with the sense "command". Given that the sense "allow, permit" was intended initially, a different verb to express "I command" would be expected; technically a syntactical error / a zeugma. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul commands; "I command that she be ....."
en + dat. "[quiet]" - in [silence, quiet]. The prepositional construction is again adverbial, expressing manner; "that she be / remain quiet, still, silent, reflective, attentive ...."
When it comes to v13-14, it is not overly clear whether Paul is developing a theological argument in support of v11-12, or whether he is simply illustrating it from Jewish speculative theology. Are these verses an illustration, or are they the "ground of the proposition", Knight? Given Galatians 3:28, it seems likely that Paul supports his injunction in v12 with v15, and that v13-14 serve as a background note for the second trustworthy saying, v15. Drawing from Genesis 2-3, Paul makes the point that man was created first and it was woman who was deceived first, thus man has, to some degree, priority, but surely not "first is best", Marshall. Given that we are all one in Christ and that women exercise a teaching and prophetic ministry in the early church (cf., Acts 18:26, 1Cor.14:26), it is unlikely that Paul is drawing a binding principle of priority from these verses. If this were his intention, he would have developed Genesis 3:17, "because you have listened to the voice of your wife." So, it is more than likely that these two verses serve as an illustrative note for v15. Many commentators, in answering the difficulties posed by these verses, suggest that they are specific to the situation at Ephesus, eg., specific to heretical gnostic female teachers. Such a view is without textual support. We are on safer ground if we assume the instructions are general, rather than specific.
gar "for" - for [adam was formed]. Probably as a transitional connective, the concluding step in the argument, v13-15, rather than an explanation for the instructions in v11-12.
prwtoV adj. "first" - first. Predicate adjective.
ei\ta adv. "then [Eve]" - Modal adverb, sequential.
de "-" - [and adam was not deceived] but. Adversative.
exapathqeisa (exapataw) aor. pas. part. "who was deceived" - [the woman] having been deceived. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "woman", although Perkins suggests that it is adverbial, causal. The ek prefix for the passive verb "to be deceived", when used for the woman, possibly strengthens the verb, "completely deceived", but more likely contrasts her situation with Adam's. There is the possibility that the prefix is used to denote a distinction, namely, that Eve's deception was sexual, she conjoined with the snake who presented as an angel of light. It is not revealed in the text whether or not Paul was aware of this traditional interpretation of the fall. As far as the account of the fall is concerned, emphasis falls on the contrast between the sin of Adam and the sin of Eve - Eve's sin is prompted by deception, Adam's sin is wilful.
en + dat. "[became a sinner]" - [has come to be] in [sin, transgression]. Local, expressing sphere, state, or condition, indicating the "state of affairs resulting from the deception", Knight. The woman, unlike the man, has succumbed / fallen into the sphere, or state, of sin / sinfulness / transgression. If the logic is pushed, not being first, but rather the flesh of the man, the woman is more inclined to be deceived than man. Paul doesn't push the logic since redemption in Christ transcends it - we are a new creation.
This verse, most likely the second trustworthy saying, has prompted long debate. The fall is a human failing, its responsibility resting with both Adam and Eve. As it relates to Eve / woman, there is a sense where the woman can act counter to her sin in the garden, a sin leading to pain and death. In the nurture of her family, raising children in the context of faith, love and holiness, she is able to bring life rather than death. Given the context, swqhsetai, "he/she will be saved", the woman is in mind, but the saying relates to child raring, not child bearing, so ultimately there is a sense where both man and woman act to make amends (recompense for sin) for their sin. Shared parenting was not the cultural norm in the first century, so Paul limits a wife's involvement in public ministry because her vocation is found in raising her children in the faith. Paul has in mind a Christian woman's primary role, cf., Dibelius / Conzelmann. The Wesley boys serve as an example of a mother's nurturing power.
de "but" - but/and. Transitional; indicating a step to a contrasting counterpoint.
swqhsetai (swzw) fut. "women will be saved" - he/she will be saved. The subject is unidentified, either Eve or woman / wife, but note that the verb is he / she and is generic, given "if they continue ..."; the subject of "they" = "woman", not the children. The verb is commonly used in a salvic sense in the Pastorals, but here most likely metaphorical, although usually understood as either referring to spiritual salvation, possibly through the birth of the Messiah, so Knight (an oldie, Ignatius, Irenaeus), or physical protection through childbirth, so Barrett, Guthrie, .... See Marshall for his six possible meanings. Quinn and Wacker note the existence of a Targum attached to Gen.3:16, "for justification as / for sin", and suggests that "salvation" is being used here with that sense; in practical terms, a kind of payment for sin leading to justification / salvation - metaphorical rather than actual.
dia + gen. "through" - Instrumental, expressing means / agency, "by means of", or spacial, "through", in the sense of through in time or space; "throughout the process of", Zerwick.
teknogoniaV (a) "childbearing" - the childrearing. Childbearing in general = birth through to raring; "motherhood".
ean + subj. "if" - Conditional clause 3rd. class where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, they continue ...... then she will be ....."
meinwsin (menw) aor. subj. "they continue" - they abide, continue, remain. The "woman / wife" is singular, but the subject of this verb is plural. A generic "woman / wife" best fits with the plural "they", as NIV, but the sense may also be "she (woman / wife) will be ...... if they (the children) remain in ....." It is unlikely Paul had in mind "they" = the husband and the wife, although nurture doesn't have to be the exclusive domain of a woman / wife.
en "in" - in [faith, and love, and holiness / consecration. Local, expressing sphere / state / condition; "if they continue in the realm / sphere of faith ......"
meta + acc. "with [propriety]" - with [self-control, sobriety, self-restraint]. Possibly expressing association, but better adverbial, attendant circumstance / manner; "with discretion." If these qualities are referring to the woman / wife, rather than the children, then the word may refer to resistance to immodesty. The issue of modesty certainly drives Paul's instructions in the wider passage.
pistoV oJ logoV "trustworthy saying" - trustworthy the word, the saying [is] faithful. Note variant anqrwpinoV oJ logoV, "it is a human / common / popular saying", cf. Metzger. Usually taken as referencing forward, but probably referencing back to v15. "Word" can mean "saying". "Here is a saying you may trust", REB; "there is a popular saying", NEB.