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Mar 14, 2011


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Tom Coddington

N.T. and others go to great lengths to get the Bible to say what they want to hear. In his and other´s arguments, just any mere mention of women, "proves" that women should be in the pulpit! The New Testament is quite clear, unless you want to have it say something that it doesn´t say. Junia was not an apostle! She was however a strong Christian believer who worked with her husband, just as may pastor´s wives make great spiritual workers.
Notice how N.T. used the word "apparently". That is, apparent to him, but not God´s word. God´s plan is for a different (and important) role for women than for men. Is that so hard to accept? Must the feminists push until every single male role is taken over by women? Why? What´s the point?

Michael Neubert

Tom, for some reason the N. T. Wright article didn't load for me, but your reply did, and now I'm confused. Are you referring to the Junias mentioned in Romans 16:7 ? Because I read "Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was."
Seems clear that both were relatives, both were in prison with Paul, both were believers before Paul, and both were apostles. Nothing in that verse suggests that she was merely a strong Christian woman who worked with her husband. All the attributes assigned to Andronicus are applied equally to Junias.

CDR Michael Neubert, CHC, USNR

Tom Coddington

Hello Michael, You´re absolutely right. I named the wrong woman. I was referring to Priscilla, wife of Aquila. Usually these fine spiritual women are referred to as a saint or deaconess or servant of the Lord. Also Phoebe. But not as apostles. My understanding is that the only apostles were the original 12 chosen by Jesus. There is also, somewhere in the N.T. a place where Jesus tells the apostles to go find 7 more men to help continue the work of spreading the news to the world.
I hope that you have been able to view N.T. Wright´s blog. Maybe you´ll comment on it too?
Thanks for your correction.
Tom Coddington

Dan Anderson-Little

I think you downplay the role of Prisca too much. It is interesting to note that in the six times she and her husband Aquila are mentioned, four times she is the one mentioned first. We see both of them teaching a correct interpretation of the faith (admittedly, not publicly, but Priscilla is engaged in this ministry of instruction as well as her husband). Luke reports that she is more than "a fine spiritual women" who operated as a pastor's wife. Prisca (Paul calls her by her given name, Luke uses the diminutive name--another indication of the respect of her teaching ministry that Paul has for her?) was far more than Aquila's helper. They sure sound like a clergy couple to me, and I am guessing that Prisca was the more outgoing of the two--why else would both Luke and Paul more frequently mention her first? The account of Prisca and Aquila don't "prove" that women should be leaders--rather it is further indication that God calls whom God chooses and that women in the New Testament and women in the modern-day church who are called to leadership as much as Deborah and Huldah in the Old Testament.


So I listened to the video and read this article http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Women_Service_Church.htm which explains his point more fully. I have also read 1 Tim 2:11 and Rom 16:7 in the greek interlinear Bible http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm. Indeed it is clear by the scripture references Mr Wright mentions in the video clip, that woman should and have been operating in ministry and that Paul ascribes the title of apostle to a woman in (Rom 16:7). However, NT Wright's interpretation of 1 Tim 2:11 does not fit with the original greek. He simply translates that scripture to fit that theory. I am not standing on either side of the argument yet but I really feel that all the aforementioned scriptures (in the video, article and this post) need to fit cohesively together without any big leaps of the imagination. The Bible cannot contradict itself if it is the foundation of all we believe.

Dan Anderson-Little

I am interested in your last sentence "the Bible cannot contradict itself if it is the foundation of all we believe." One of the things that I find so fascinating about the Bible (and therefore one of the things that makes my job as a preacher so interesting) is that the Bible is always arguing with itself--and yes, at times even contradicts itself. Sometimes the covenant is for the benefit of Israel and sometimes it is for the benefit of the world. At one place Jesus says, "Whoever is not with me is against me" (Matt. 12:30) and in another place says, "Whoever is not against us is for us" (Mark 9:40). There are many other places where the Bible argues with itself or pulls in very different directions. For me, the Bible is the foundation of my faith, not because it doesn't contradict itself--that's asking a lot from a book that was cobbled together from bits and pieces that were composed over a number of millenia; for me the Bible is the foundation of my faith, because by the Holy Spirit (there's the Calvinist in me) it is the living breathing Word of God. In it I discover who God is and who I and the rest of humanity is called to be. And I find that the inconsistencies, the internal arguments and yes, even the contradictions strengthen that witness. Faith and life are messy, wondrous, and inconsistent things--I need a Bible that is nothing less than that!

Michael W. Kruse

The passage in 1 Timothy 2 says Eve sinned first and led Adam into sin, yet Romans 5 says it was Adam who first sinned. Things are not always as straight forward as they may appear. Each passage has to be understood in its own context as well as with the larger body of Scripture.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that Scripture is a collection of culturally-transcendent isolated instructions that we weave into an instruction manual. It is a collection of divinely inspired accounts of how the people of God wrestled with God’s revelation and mighty acts. The books became Scripture because they carried widespread authority with the believing communities in the first couple of centuries after Christ. As Ken Bailey says, the church did not give the books their authority, but rather surrendered to the authority present in these works. At central points of doctrine and ethics, I’m inclined to agree with you that there is consistency, but even with that said there is considerable room for paradox and complexity.

I reject the idea that 1 Timothy 2 is THE central passage in these matters that trumps, or has supremacy, interpreting other passages. First, this is Paul’s direction not “a word from the Lord.” Paul writes in 1 Cor 7:12:

“To the rest I say — I and not the Lord — that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.”

Similarly the instruction about women and teaching is part of a litany of practical instruction from Paul to Timothy in 2:8-15. There appears to be a specific problem at hand.

Second, the Greek is not a permanent prohibition of women teaching. Concerning 2:12, Ben Witherington writes:

“the verb here is 'I am not (now) permitting'. As Philip Payne has shown, there is not a single instance of the use of this verb in Greek literature where this form means " I am permanently banning women from teaching etc.' This is a verb which implies a ban for a specific period of time until the problem is remedied or the proper conditions are met for women having learned enough to be able to teach.”


According to a Jewish tradition, Eve was not present when instruction was given to Adam. She was not prepared to deal with the serpent’s craftiness. Her lack of instruction is what led her and Adam into sin.

Wright points out the Artemis cult. The Isis cult was also on the rise at that time. A common element of these cults was the belief that women had special mystical knowledge unavailable to men and were therefore to assume a teaching authority over men. Some Gnostic-like cults twisted traditional stories and some had Eve being created prior to Adam. These cults were particularly popular with wealthy women. The instruction in 2:9-10 is clearly about misbehaving wealthy women. It appears they were flaunting their status both in dress and presuming to have superior wisdom, being unwilling to submit to the teaching authority of those with maturity. Paul wants them to be silent and learn, otherwise, like Eve, they are going to lead people to destruction. There are other passages in this letter that also point to this teaching problem:

1 Tim 1:3-4
“ … remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine, and not to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies that promote speculations rather than the divine training that is known by faith.” (Genealogies were an element of these pagan cultic practices.)

The precise nature of what was being addressed is not available to us but all the signs are that this was temporary instruction from Paul (not a culturally transcendent command of God) to address a particular problem. It is not an anchor passage, trumping all others, when it comes to the question of women in ministry.

What we do see is women prophesying, deacons like Phoebe, Junia the Apostle, Priscilla the teacher, and Lydia the house church leader. We see passages like Galatians 3:28, which cannot simply be about salvation, as women were already part of the Jewish covenant. What is different is that Gentiles, slaves, and women are all now equally sons … male and female sons … of Abraham, equally called into Kingdom ministry.

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