It is not very often that I experience a real breakthrough in biblical studies. Perhaps that is because I do not have very many “problem passages,” texts where I think I know what a text says but I disagree!
Yet, here is such a text: I Timothy 2:8-15! The passage where we all “know” Paul the apostle instructs Timothy to forbid women from teaching because Adam was created before Eve, because Eve was deceived first (before Adam) and because women have better things to do, that is, to give birth to and to take care of babies!
But the interpretation which Trace comes up with is diametrically opposed to this one. This is because he asks the right questions:
Anyone who has ever taken classes from me knows the importance of context in reading the Bible. Every bible book was called forth by an occasion and was continually preserved and re-copied because it continued to speak powerfully to new generations even when the contexts had changed. So what context might help us to understand the above passage in a new way?
Trace looks at the likely context of what Paul wrote to Timothy, including the background of proto-Gnosticism. Read his post to see the course of his argument. This may be new to Trace, but it is not entirely new to me. However, it is a clear and concise statement of this way of looking at the passage. It provides a convenient and freely accessible resource for rebutting the position that in this passage Paul intends to forbid for ever all women from teaching.
that Paul had no problem with female teachers any more than Jesus did and that the problem under discussion is rebellion, not women as teachers.