The Women That Paul Would Not Allow To Preach

It is written:

And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. (1 Timothy 2:12)

In previous studies, we have learned that the “teaching” that Paul forbad here was a specific type of teaching, in which a woman assumed a dictatorial role in the assembly.

Further studies into 1 Timothy help us to better understand Paul’s admonition here.

When Paul left Timothy in Ephesus, it was for a specific reason:

1 Timothy 1:3-As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

Later in 1 Timothy, Paul discussed some of the specific problems with the church in Ephesus that he had concerns over:

1 Timothy 5:13-And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

Notice that phrase “gossips and busybodies.” When we delve into the meaning of these words, we find something very interesting!

“An examination of Acts 19: 21-41 reveals the background for a proper interpretation of the Pastoral Epistles. Earlier in Chapter 19, Luke gives other comments that help us to understand Paul’s negative comments in his two Epistles to Timothy. One word (periergos) utilized by Luke will assist us in our interpretation of the Pauline Epistles. Luke writes: Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery (períergos, “magic”) brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. (19: 18-20) G. K. Barrett296 makes the following succinct observation concerning the word sorcery: “períerga” is a semi-technical term for magical practices.” 297 This is the same word that Paul employs in his First Epistle to Timothy as he reflects upon the practices of the women in the church in Ephesus. Paul unfolds some of the problems associated with the women in Ephesus: As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips (phlúaros, “silly talk, nonsense, tattler, babbler”) and busybodies (períergoi, practicing magic), saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan. (1 Timothy 5: 11-15) Unfortunately, some scholars, so it seems, fail to capture the luggage associated with períergos in 1 Timothy 5: 13. Even though translations give “busybodies” as the translation of the Greek word, we still need to examine this Scripture in light of Acts 19: 19. This unique term only occurs twice in the New Testament. Generally, this expression is associated or translated as “busybodies” or “meddlesome.” In Acts 19: 19, the word períerga is translated correctly. This Greek word is a term for black acts of magic. This term pointed to the lengthy and various rituals involved in incantation ceremonies. Apparently, the women mentioned in 1 Timothy 5: 13 were women who were going about from house to house meddling in magic, that is to say, they were involved in perverted activities. Cleon L. Rogers Jr. and Cleon L. Rogers III make the following comments on Acts 19: 19 concerning the Greek word períerga: 19 periergos (# 4319) things belonging to magic. Also a t.t. [technical term] for a magical spell (BS, 323; BAGD; DPL, 580-83; BBC; MM; NDIEC, 1: 47-49; 6: 1099-96; GMP; for the well-known “Ephesian Letters,” which were six magical terms thought to be words of powers. Trebilco, “Asia,” BAFCS 2: 314; CIE, 95f. 298 (Emphasis mine)”. (Dr. Dallas Burkett, Women’s Role in the Christian Community:: Interpreting First Timothy through First-Century Eyes, 4245-4279 (Kindle Edition); Xulon Press)

It is also interesting that Paul says that the women in Ephesus were going “from house to house.” The New Testament often uses this phrase to describe the places where Christians assembled for periodic worship and fellowship.

Acts 1:13-14- And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 5:42-And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 8:3-As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

Acts 12:12-So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.

Acts 16:40-So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

Acts 17:5-7-But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6  But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. 7  Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.”

Acts 20:20-how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,

Therefore, the “women” that Paul forbad from preaching in 1 Timothy 2:12 were the ones who were going from “house to house” in the various worship services of the Christians in Ephesus and who were enforcing through dictator-like means the teaching and practice of various forms of witchcraft, sorcery, and paganism.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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