I love the way that blogger Bill Heroman is prepared to think outside the box, and by doing so comes up with interpretations of Bible passages which just may be correct, even though they are quite different from the generally accepted ones. He is not a scholar of biblical languages, but he still manages to come up with exegesis which makes sense. I have previously linked to Bill’s posts here, here, here and here.
Bill has now thrown his hat into the ring on the controversial passage in 1 Timothy 2 which is often understood as banning women from having authority or teaching in the church. In Bill’s two posts (so far – part 1, part 2, and I suspect more to follow) he puts forward a new suggestion, based on the singular nouns “woman” and “man” in verse 12, that what Paul wants to ban here is one-to-one discipling of men on their own by women on their own.
Many churches today very sensibly ban mixed gender one-to-one ministry, because of sexual temptations and the danger of false accusations. Bill suggests that the apostle Paul was imposing just the same ban. He summarises this as
The male/female intimacy of a one-on-one discipling relationship may be all Paul is really afraid of.
In that case it is not clear why he didn’t also ban men teaching women one-to-one – perhaps because there weren’t enough women able to teach other women?
Does this suggestion make sense? It certainly explains the otherwise rather odd singular in this verse. It seems to make sense of the following reference to Eve leading Adam astray, which was in a one-to-one situation. But I’m not sure how the last part of verse 12, “she must be quiet” (TNIV), fits into the picture.
Bill’s suggestion certainly deserves further consideration. So read it on his blog, and comment there.