I started this study in my post back in The Perfect Wife in Proverbs 31. A little expounding on this subject will follow. It has been my experience that most men have a huge problem with women in leadership roles in the church. It is not Biblical that women should not hold teacher positions or have leadership roles, although it would seem so when we read 1 Timothy 2:12.
Scripture does not contradict itself.
Therefore, we must do as Paul commanded, and the Bereans did, measure Scripture against Scripture for pure understanding, anyone who says he completely understands all of Scripture does not know what he is talking about. The Bible is just too deep with too many layers to be completely understood even in a lifetime of study. That is why we have Bible Students and we have Bible Scholars. Neither term indicates mastery of the Word. God designed it that way on purpose so that we will continue with our study, never feeling there is nothing left to learn.
So we must pick up a few pieces of the puzzle here and there and put them in place to see if they fit. If they do, voila! If they do not, then we must do some more hunting and digging to find all the pieces that do fit together to make the whole.
Let me point to a few things that we should include in this discussion that could shed some light on Paul's teachings.
Timothy was in Ephesus. He was left there by Paul to deal with certain problems in that church such as false doctrine (1 Tim 1:3-7; 4:1-3; 6:3-5), disorder in worship (2:1-15), the need for qualified leaders (3:1-14) and materialism (7:6-19). This letter was written to the Pastor of a church of Gentiles. These people had not grown up learning Scripture. The kind of worship they had participated in was paganistic and chaotic because the gods worshiped were demons and Satan is not only the Father of Lies, he is the instigator of chaos. The Ephesians did not have the opportunity to sit at Jesus feet as Mary did. (Mary did follow Jesus on His ministry journeys as did Joanna, Susanna and many other women. Luke 8. They traveled with Him. Noted by the idiom “she sat as His feet”. Dwight Pryor taught in his seminar “Jesus was a Jew” that this idiom means a “disciple of”. And the term following doesn't mean opening the morning paper to “follow” how the Saints are doing in football. It meant literally “gathering His dust”. As Jesus walked down the road, His feet would kick up dust. Thus, as His disciples walked behind Him, they gathered the dust kicked up by his feet—therefore, following Him. About the time He fed the 5,000 more than 500 people were following Him. That was a lot of dust.)
Jewish women experienced a lot of freedom that the neighboring countries did not give their women. For example, the Greeks kept their women in the back hardly allowing them to mix and mingle with guests. The Romans did not allow women to own property. The Jewish women had settled that problem back in Numbers when they asked Moses to ask God if they could have the land allotted to their father and brother who had died. Numbers 36:2
Lydia is an example in Acts 16. Did Paul march up to Lydia and tell her she could not teach anymore? Now here is an interesting point: There weren't even enough Jewish men godly minded to have a synagogue in the town. To have a congregation, they needed ten Jewish men, heads of households that were interested enough to form a synagogue. Therefore, the women met to read the scriptures and pray and discuss what they read. What does that really say? It says the men were not doing what God had commissioned them to do…be the Spiritual Leaders. So the women did it.
In some areas of the U.S. there are a lot more women in church than men. It is a sad state of affairs.
The problem stems from the women, in my opinion. If women were doing what God called them publicly to do and that is teach their children in the Lord as the mother of King Lemuel of Massa did (Prov 31)…then there would be plenty of good theologically solid Christian men doing what God called them to do. If women were on their knees praying for their husbands and their sons, then there would be godly men taking the helm as God intended.
Pricilla is another example. I would think that being called a “fellow worker” by Paul in Rom 16:3 would be an excellent commendation. Neither she nor Aquilla were reprimanded for pulling aside Apollo, a great teacher “mighty in Scriptures”, who had been instructed in the Lord and teaching him The Way. The fact that what Aquilla and Priscilla did was mentioned is an implied commendation.
However, that isn't the point of this passage. Truth Teaching as opposed to Incomplete Teaching and/or False Teaching, is the point isn't it? Just because a person is a man does not make him in authority over a woman. That is false teaching. It is the husband's role to cover his wife. As a daughter, I was submissive to my father. As a wife, I was submissive to my husband even through all the infidelities.
God does not call us to be submissive to just any man, only to a husband. The great command is to honor your parents so being submissive to one’s father is a given. However, I will not be submissive to just any Jack I meet. That is not only ridiculous, but stupid. Do not ever teach your daughter to be submissive to any man just because he is a man and he is in the church. Respectful, absolutely. Deference to men and all those older than her, yes, but being submissive to all men is not a Biblical truth and is not what Paul was teaching Timothy.
Authority comes from the permissive will of the Lord God Almighty Romans 13:1 and the ability to handle and to be in authority comes as a Spiritual Gift of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:28 Respect as well as deference, on the other hand, is earned by the person in authority. While I can respect a person because he is a person or because of his position, I quickly lose respect for that person when I hear false teaching coming from his mouth, or her mouth as the case may be.