Holy Hands. & Designer Clothes. Reading 1 Timothy 2.8-15 in Context.
I wish then men to pray in all places, lifting up holy hands without anger and argument, and likewise women in tasteful dress with modesty and sobriety adorning themselves not with plaited hair with gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but what is fitting for women professing to worship God with good works. A woman should learn in quietness in all submission, but to teach I am not permitting women nor to domineer over men, but rather to be in quietness. For Adam was formed first, only then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman being truly deceived fell into transgression. But she may be saved through (the) Childbearing, if they remain in faith and love and holiness with modesty.
8 Bou,lomai ou=n proseu,cesqai tou.j a;ndraj evn panti. to,pw| evpai,rontaj o`si,ouj cei/raj cwri.j ovrgh/j kai. dialogismou/Å 9 w`sau,twj Îkai.Ð gunai/kaj evn katastolh/| kosmi,w| meta. aivdou/j kai. swfrosu,nhj kosmei/n e`auta,j( mh. evn ple,gmasin kai. crusi,w| h' margari,taij h' i`matismw/| polutelei/( 10 avllV o] pre,pei gunaixi.n evpaggellome,naij qeose,beian( diV e;rgwn avgaqw/nÅ 11 gunh evn h`suci,a| manqane,tw evn pa,sh| u`potagh/|\12 dida,skein de. gunaiki. ouvk evpitre,pw ouvde. auvqentei/n avndro,j( avllV ei=nai evn h`suci,a|Å 13 VAda.m ga.r prw/toj evpla,sqh( ei=ta Eu[aÅ 14 kai. VAda.m ouvk hvpath,qh( h` de. gunh. evxapathqei/sa evn paraba,sei ge,gonen\ 15 swqh,setai de. dia. th/j teknogoni,aj( eva.n mei,nwsin evn pi,stei kai. avga,ph| kai. a`giasmw/| meta. swfrosu,nhj\.
Hermeneutics = how we go about interpreting a text
■ Reactionary Reading 1 Tim 2.8-15 reinforces the Biblical view that leadership is male which is true for all time
■ Resisting Reading 1 Tim 2.8-15 reinforces the view that leadership is male but it is not to be taken seriously in the modern world
■ Recovery Reading 1Tim 2.8-15 only censures women teaching under specific circumstances
■ Reactionary ReadingPaul...moves to the issue of leadership...Women are not to take the reins of the church, exercising authority over the men and teaching them; rather they are to learn in quietness, in submissiveness. Paul sees the prior creation of Adam as justification for male leadership in the church. He also sees Eve's deception in Gen 3 as a reason for women not to exercise authority...[Women] are to work out their salvation by accepting their role, one example being that of bearing children....Underlying much of the discussion lies an implicit assumption that a limited role necessitates a diminished personal worth...Yet the equating of worth and role is a nonbiblical, secular view of reality. Nowhere in Scripture are role and ultimate worth ever equated. In fact, we constantly find the opposite. The last will be first...(W Mounce The Pastoral Epistles p148)
■ Rejecting ReadingAs Scripture, the Pastorals have shaped a world in which women and others have been subordinated and devalued....Such texts contained in a sacred authoritative canon cannot but become "texts of terror" in a democratic society which views the position of women, lay people, servants, slaves, etc. in a totally different light...The very nature and being of God is conceived as the great imperial power…everything comes form the top down....The theology of the Pastorals presents us with a whole culture of subordination....a view of "teaching" ...with no sense of training a person to be free and independent, creative, or autonomous in taking responsibility for his or her own actions....How can we be true to ourselves, to our deepest social and moral commitments, while remaining true to the Christian tradition?(Frances Young Theology of the Pastoral Letters, p146-47)
■ Recovery ReadingAlthough, then, the prohibition may appear to be universally applicable to women, it is in fact meant for a specific group of women among the recipients of the letter.(I. Howard Marshall The Pastoral Epistles p 455)
I suggest that the reason why Paul mentions that Adam was formed first, before he speaks about Eve, is to remind the audience of the context of the story in Genesis 2. That story is quite clear that Adam alone was formed and was present for God's original instructions about what was prohibited. Eve was not there for proper divine instruction and thus she was more susceptible to deception.
Eve is an example of someone who could be deceived by a false teacher (in her case a serpent), precisely because she had not been properly instructed in the first place. This, I submit, speaks directly to the problem in Ephesus, where we have some high-status, well-to-do women, likely with some education, who are trying to assume the mantle of teaching before they have learned the apostolic message properly, and in all likelihood after they have already been misled by the false teachers.
(Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies pp 229, 231)