An Analysis of I Timothy 2:12 and Its Implication on Women in Leadership Positions

 An Analysis of I Timothy 2:12 and Its Implication on Women in Leadership Positions


It is inconvertible that the periscope I Timothy 2:9-15 must be carefully considered to women in leadership  ascertain the meaning of the biblical passage which will adequately direct its application and implication. Gestalt psychology is in favour of the broader picture to understand the specifics. What is the meaning of I Timothy 2:12? An observation is that it is dependent upon one’s understanding there and then, and here and now. An important question is addressed in the last chapter of the text Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, which is “what are the implications of that meaning for us in a different time and culture” (Virkler 1981, 211). It is incontrovertible that a clear understanding of the text in its historical setting is a complicated process.

The tragedy of I Timothy 2:9-15 is that these verses, among others, are still used as supportive evidence to justify contemporary prejudices against women. The main concern of I Timothy is to counteract the influence of Gnostic teachings which, among other things, taught dependence on knowledge (not faith) as a way for salvation. The accusations made by the author are mainly centred on ”speaking” and ”teaching”. Gnostic teaching affected both men and women for we read of the biblical author’s complaints about contention and grumbling among the men (II Tim. 2:8) and about backsliding or apostasy among the women (I Tim. 5:14-15). In Gnostics, however, women were upheld and glorified as favoured instruments of revelation. The text should therefore be read within this first-century Jewish culture before one can understand the situation in which Paul and Timothy worked.


Paul did not stop women from wearing jewelry or braided hair but rather cautioned them since they lived in a society that extravagantly displayed them. When he said that women should in quietness and full submission, he was offering them an amazing opportunity. Evidently the women were especially susceptible to the false teaching, because they did not have enough Biblical knowledge to discern the truth. In addition, some of the women were apparently misusing their newfound Christian freedom by wearing inappropriate cloth (2:9). Paul was telling Timothy not to put anyone (in this case, women) into a position of leadership who was not yet mature in the faith (see 5:22 and 3:6). The passage under consideration has caused many unjustly to consider Paul as a woman hater. He speaks kindly of women in letters. Generally, “his word to Christian women is to be conduct-conscious, not clothes-mad, and not to Lord it over the man” (Alexander and Alexander 1973, 619). The peculiar situation that obtained at Ephesus, where the priestesses who worshipped Diana were very corrupt in their manner and worship made this counsel very necessary at that particular time.

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