Banned – by 1 Timothy 2:12 NIV

1 Timothy 2:12 “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” has the fundamentalists in a tizzy right now.  They are all a-twitter about this scripture in the NIV 2011.  It baffles me. 

The NIV 2011 has it this way “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”

What is not to like about that?

These gotcha people completely ignore the fact that Paul specifically started his sentence in all translations with the word “I.”  Paul is not God, even if his letters are scriptures.  He made this one sentence personal and says that he does not permit women to do this.

I got myself into a stew this week over this verse.  I found it on two “ain’t no women gonna preach” websites and wrote the following in the comments section. I wrote it on one and then made the mistake of copying and pasting it into the comments section of the other.  That is a no-no, folks.  These people jumped all over me like a piece of spam at a picnic. 

They banned me!

This is what I wrote:

This scripture has kept women from Christian service in her church. Churches have used this scripture to prohibit women from taking up the offering, teaching teen age boys, mixed classes, being a deacon, and from being a pastor.

Since there is a variety of ways this scripture can be interpreted, it is with great pleasure that Baptists decide that there is only one way it can be interpreted. Women can’t. Whatever it is a particular church decides that they don’t want a woman to do, they pull out this scripture and say “women can’t.”

Wouldn’t it be Christ-like to say that since nobody knows exactly what this scripture limits and doesn’t limit, that we Christians will let God call women as He chooses to do and at whatever He chooses. If it is to pastor, then God calls women to pastor. If it is to teach men, then we can allow God to call women to teach men.

Instead, Baptists have chosen the harsh rule over women. This is harmful to the Gospel, to the Body of Christ, and it is harmful to women and to young girls who feel they are called into ministry.

It is easy to ignore Jesus’ example of giving the good news to women to tell. We do it all the time. At some point, we must remember that it is His gospel, and if he chooses to call women to proclaim it as he did with the woman at the well, and to Mary at the tomb, who are we to stand in His way?

When we deny one woman the right to serve God fully as He calls her, we have denied all women the right to serve God fully.  Won’t you join me in speaking up for women’s equality, and demanding that ALL the scriptures in the Bible be taken into consideration regarding women’s equality?

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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26 Responses to Banned – by 1 Timothy 2:12 NIV

  1. Mara says:

    Take heart, Shirley.
    Some people consider it a badge of honor when they are banned from sites like those. I proves that the people who hold to this false doctrine can’t take the heat. They cannot deal with the freedom that some of their brothers and sisters walk in. They cannot suffer the New Wine but spit it out of their mouths and scream, “The old wine is better” even though the old wine is really just bitter.


  2. TL says:

    can you share what sites banned you? I’d love to take a peek.

    Personally, I think women should start walking out of those types of churches. The men want to do it all. So, let them do it all – by themselves. In many ways it is harmful to women to have to ‘do church’ in that kind of an atmosphere.


  3. For clarity you were only “banned” on my site for posting verbatim information from other blogs on my site. When this typically happens it is the result of bots spamming your site. I have allowed all of your other names, under your other name, to remain posted for others to interact with.

    And for further clarity, you have judged both Jim and I with your statement “ain’t no women gonna preach” statement. I never said this nor did Jim. I would hope you would seek clarification before making a judgment. I believe that in the correct context women can preach. However, I don’t believe the Text allows for a woman to be an elder or to exercise authority over a man. Like I stated on my site…I believe that women are integral to the gospel and to the church. We have to have women serving the body. Women can preach to women, we have a woman in charge of all of our children’s ministries at our church, and our churches would not have nurseries without women (our church doesn’t allow men to serve in the nursery).


    • G. A., let’s be honest here. Women can preach to women? That is absurd. If the gospel is good enough to come from a woman’s soul, and good enough to go to another woman’s soul, then what on earth is so special about a man’s soul?


      • The gospel can be spoken to anyone’s soul, man or women by man or woman. The issue isn’t about the proclamation of the gospel, the issue of this text is about authority in the church.


      • You indicate my other names. The only name besides bWe Baptist Women for Equality that I have used on your blog is “Equality” and will not take credit for or blame for any other names.

        If the issue is authority in the church, then women preaching to other women and women preaching to children is having authority in the church. If one of your teachers comes to you and tells you that a child in their class, has accepted the Lord, under their teaching – that is having authority.

        Pastor, actually, you have no authority in your church. You have budgets, personnel, and the plant maintenance, (is that the kind of authority Paul is speaking of) but you have no spiritual authority over your church members.

        I go to church every Sunday and several times a week, but my pastor has no authority over me. Only God has authority over me.


  4. Well let’s start over…two questions;

    1. How do you think 1 Timothy 2:12 should translated and what does it mean, in context?

    2. Do you see any correlation between authority and submission? Hebrews 13:17 seems to correlate the two, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you (NIV)”


    • G. A., I don’t know what this scripture means and I am not alone in that. I do know that Paul used himself as the person saying it, which indicated he was not speaking for God, nor as a direct revelation from God.

      The verse to support obeying the pastor is found in Hebrews 13:17. However, that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus. So if a verse or teaching is contrary to what Jesus taught, we ought to consider that it is mistranslated. Maybe it should read : “Heed the warning of those who watch over you and when they tell you to obey the Scriptures, obey the Scriptures.”

      A pastor cannot have authority over his congregation because of what Jesus said.

      All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus (Matt 28:18).
      • Jesus alone is the Head of the church (John 5:26-27, Eph 1:22-23, Col 1:18).
      • God does not permit Christians to have controlling authority over other Christians in the church (see Matt 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-45, Luke 22:24-27, 1Pet 5:3, Matt 23:8-12, etc.).
      • We do not have multiple special high priests over us. There is only One High Priest, Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 3:1, 4:14).
      • We have One Master Christ and we are all brothers (see Matt 23: 8-12).
      • You cannot obey two masters; you will love the one and hate the other (Matt 6:24, Luke 6:13). You simply cannot obey Jesus as master and a pastor (or elders) as master at the same time. (compiled by Paul Hovey)

      I ask you,why does either a Christian man or a Christian woman need some other Christian to have authority over them? Paul also said “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 5:6-7

      I appreciate the opportunity to communicate with you. I’m in the middle of cleaning my stove and oven since I am a good housewife and today is my birthday, so there might be a lag in my answering.


  5. TL says:

    G.A. , you ask some excellent questions, and I would like to dialogue with you on them. In the past several years I’ve done a great deal of researching of Scriptures on this, so I know there is a lot to be said about it and nothing can be settled in just a few words.

    First, there are certain elements that need defining. There are two kinds of authority spoken of throughout Scripture. In the OT both men and women exercised judgements authoritatively over the Israelites. Deborah was both the main Prophet of the era and the primary Judge of the era who was superior to the civil judges and made decrees of life and death. Huldah issued prophetic judgements, which were actually more authoritative than the Judges because the prophets spoke for God revealing His will and mind. We know that Miriam did the same because that was her complaint against her brother Moses having a more primary role.

    In the NT only a few of the apostles actually manifested prophetic types of authoritative speaking for a time. The way that the Body of Christ was to relate was not within authoritative government because now the Body was dispersed among many countries. Now the authority must be tied with anointing. And that anointing was not to dominate but to heal, reveal and release. Jesus preached that we are not to exercise authority over one another like the Gentiles nor to use coersion but to serve one another. Thus, in short, the whole concept of ‘authority’ among believers has changed along with the New Covenant.

    As to 1 Tim. 2:12 (which should be considered in context with chap. one) the word is not exousia which is commonly translated ” exercise authority”. As well, there is no word “over”. The word used is authentein, which had negative connotations in that time and was never used again. It is more likely that the word authentein was used to refer to some type of coercive authority used by the temple preistesses, that some woman was trying to exercise toward either her husband or her teacher.


  6. TL says:

    “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you (NIV)”

    “ 17 Rely on your leaders and defer to them, because they watch over your whole being as people who are going to be held responsible for you. They need to be able to do this with pleasure and not with complaints about you, because that wouldn’t help you.” (Common English Bible)

    In the original Greek the word used to start this thought is peithesthe which means “be ye being persuaded”, basically allow yourself to be persuaded. There is no word ‘authority’. If one painstakingly IMO follows the Greek thought on this it is that we should be willing to listen and be persuaded by our leaders and defer to them for they are to be watching over our souls for our good and must give account to God that they are doing so. So, let’s not make their work joyless for that would be unprofitable for us. If we properly preface this with verse 7 we see that we are to remember our leaders, the one who teach/preach to us God’s Word, and follow their faith considering it’s outcome in their lives. We are to imitate their faith as we see that it produces good fruit in their lives.

    So, there is no ‘authority over’, but rather a responsibility to serve the believers with truth and good works. The believers are to receive this service with kindness and respect. We need to do it this way so that we are not carried about by strange doctrines. For in the end we each are responsible for what we believe.


  7. Sue says:

    , “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you (NIV)”

    There is a verse that is mistranslated everywhere. It does not have the word authority in the Greek. But even if it did, we have the witness of history that leaders of the church often did not submit to their own leaders – or rulers.


  8. Marg says:

    G.A. You seem to think that Paul’s prohibition was towards all women teaching in church meetings. I suggest that Paul’s prohibition does not necessarily refer to a church service/meeting setting. 1 Timothy 2:12-15 comes immediately after Paul’s instructions about how church leaders/elders and ministers/deacons should behave in God’s household – the Church. Paul could hardly have been saying that the moral behaviour he requires of church leaders and ministers is only applicable during church services or meetings. Church leaders, and (of course) all true believers and followers of Christ, are part of God’s household, the church, 24/7, even when it is not assembled for a meeting. I doubt that Paul’s prohibition to a woman teaching a man in the Ephesian congregation was limited to a church meeting setting; especially as the false teaching was being spread “door to door”. (See 1 Tim 5:13 and15).

    I believe that Paul’s prohibition was to one woman in one church for that particular time. This woman was a false teacher teaching an early form of Gnosticism. Even Complementarians link the word “authentein” to Gnosticism. (Plus there are several other clues in 1 Timothy as to the nature of the heresy.

    Finally I believe that the authority to minister is given by the Holy Spirit. It is a functional authority rather than an authority over other people. No man or woman in Christ should seek to have authority over another believer in the name of ministry. (I think we have a very different view of authority.)

    I have written about 1 Timothy 2:12 here:

    I have written about Paul’s qualifications for church leaders here:

    And here is the link to the paper on “Authentein” which Mary Kassian personally recommended to me:


  9. Mabel Yin says:

    I pray that D.A. Dietrich can now at least see that the bible verses that are used to keep women in their so-called “different role” (read, a lower class ) has been grossly mis-translated and mis-interpreted. I always find it suspicious that the church is so BIG, HUGE on clinging to this teaching (the bible says women cannot preach, have authority over men, etc.) and completely ignore other seemingly “clear” bible verses such as women are not to adorn themselves with gold, braid their hair or wear expensive jewelries. These instructions do not threaten the male ego, hence they are not the subject of debate.


  10. Mabel Yin says:

    TL, not only women would walk out of churches that teach hierarchy with male firmly holding authority over female, men would too. My brother is asking me to pray for them (he and his wife) as the church they attend hired a new pastor who is a hardline male supremacist, and they are thinking of leaving their church of many many years where the people are very good to them. It is the leader that is ruining everything for them. My brother and his wife are both intelligent, capable, competent, highly educated ( one has PhD from Caltech and one is business analyst)and serve unrelentingly and sacrificially. Not sure if this would affect their son, who heads the worship team and also the youth ministry. Why do the so called complementarians not practice true complementarianism, which is, let men and women complement each other, not let one gender has authority over the other gender. THat is not complementarian, that is male supremacy on account of the flesh. When would they turn from this blind spot?


    • You named one of the reasons people don’t leave. Its the church members they know and love. It is the actual building itself that has become home to them. Usually there is not another church close by that they could identify with. Many people are willing to look to the good things about their church and ignore the bad things because it is their church.

      However, many, many people have left. Some have left church altogether. Some have left that denomination. Some have left their home church. A Baptist leader told me recently that his church was so against women but it took many years before they moved from that church and went to an egalitarian church. He said now that whenever a young woman is encouraged to preach or other ministry, he and his wife look at each other with tears in their eyes, thinking about the church they loved that refused women. He loves his new church of the same denomination – but with a completely different attitude about women.

      It is a hard choice. Most will continue to ignore the implications of what their church is teaching as long as they are not personally affected by it.

      However, when one women is denied full equality simply because she was born female, all women are denied.


  11. Mabel Yin says:

    Thank you for the story about the baptist leader. I get very angry whenever I see the Scriptures being used to keep women down (submit to male authority) and we do need to read about these stories to not feel really depressed. I see that in the hierarchalists’ mind, there are only 3 words in the Bible: have authority over.


  12. Kristen says:

    G.A. Dietrich, if you would take these words:

    We have to have women serving the body. Women can preach to women, we have a woman in charge of all of our children’s ministries at our church, and our churches would not have nurseries without women

    and substitute the words “black people” wherever the word “women” appears, I think it will become abundantly clear to you what is wrong with this.


    • That is absolutely a red herring. The text does not address ethnicity, it addresses gender. You might as well of said substitute “babies” in there and make an issue of age.


      • Mara says:

        It’s not a red herring. It is laying bare the deep seated prejudice against women within the church.
        And the text referred, when you take into consideration the verb and article usage in the original Greek and the context, it may very well only be referring to one woman who was teaching false doctrines. She needed to stop teaching false doctrine, shut her mouth for a bit, and learn in submission.
        BTW. The only way to truely learn for men, women, and children is with their mouths shut and in submission. Men, women, or children who blabber clear through the lesson can’t learn anything.


      • Kristen says:

        If you believe this is a red herring, you’re missing the point of what I’m saying. I believe you are not racist. I am therefore asking you to look at this in terms of racism, so as to see what the words really say about women.
        I’m asking you to take a mental step back from your words and look at them dispassionately. Try to put yourself in the position of someone in a group to whom these words might be spoken, or might have been spoken at one point in our history. Let go of your (quite natural) defensiveness, and just consider them on their own merits, or lack thereof. Take a scholar’s approach to them.
        This is what your words are saying to women, is it not? — that they are to serve but never to lead (except that one of them may lead others of them), and that they are needed for tasks none of you really want (such as taking care of the children), and that this is why you value them in your church?
        Is it really any different than what was communicated to black people in the 1940s and 50s? That they were “equal” with whites, and therefore “free” — free to be porters, nannies, housemaids, butlers, chauffeurs, and other jobs whites didn’t want — free to serve, but never to lead? That whites were grateful to the black people for serving, but upset if black people aspired to anything more?
        Is this not something very similar to what your words say? Can you see what I mean?


      • You are right, it does address gender and not slavery. The attitude is the same, however. The SBC was formed because the south wanted slavery and could not see around those scriptures that gave them that privilege. You would agree today that slavery is wrong because one human being cannot own another human being. Someday you will reluctantly agree that you held onto a belief about your wife, your mother, and your daughter that was damaging to them. Look what Jesus told the religious men. He told them that they knew beforehand that there were some laws that they were going to obey and some they knew they weren’t. He told them that if their ox fell into a ditch, they were going to disobey the law that said they couldn’t work on the Sabbath, and they were going to get that animal out. They needed that animal and it was important enough to them to get that animal back into the field. Jesus told them that people are more important than the law. Don’t you think that women are more important than your strict interpretation of the law? You know of course that Jesus fulfilled the law, so why are you eager to allow those scriptures become another law against your wife, your mother, and your daughter? It might be time to get out the bracelet: WWJD


  13. Mabel Yin says:

    About the red herring: hierarchalists claim that God created men and women equal, but men have authoritative role over women, and women don’t have authoritative role over men, but have it over other women and children (age not specified, i.e. one day, she has authority over him, and the next day, when he reaches a certain age, poof, authority gone). BUT, men and women are equal. Now substitute race to see if this logic (it is an interpretation of the bible, not the bible itself) makes sense: God created blacks and whites to be equal, but give whites authority over blacks. Since blacks and whites simply have “different” (different always mean one over the other, BTW) roles, they are still equal. To those who teach male authority over female, different means hierarchy, role means hierarchy, love means hierarchy, submit means hierarchy, everything means hierarchy. No neutral word is spared of this butchering of meaning.


  14. Mabel Yin says:

    just come across this article
    here are 2 of the comments:
    Kristen said…
    I don’t think that the way complementarian Christians read the Bible and the way they read the Declaration of Independence is all that different. They will agree that women should be included as “created equal,” and endowed with certain rights– and they will in general uphold a woman’s equal right to “life.” But when it comes to “liberty,” they are likely to tell her, “Yes, you have a right to liberty; but you will only be truly happy when you lay that right down for the sake of serving your husband and children.” And when it comes to the “pursuit of happiness,” they will say, “Yes, you have the right to pursue happiness, but happiness for you lies chiefly in the roles of wife and mother, and we do not accept that you may make other choices in your life that may make you equally as happy.”

    In other words, I think complementarians will read the Declaration of Independence through the lenses of their interpretation of the Bible. And “all are created equal,” according to them, refers to “ontological equality” only, not to functional, practical equality in any real sense.

    So are they really allowing women fully into the “all men” who are created with certain inalienable rights? I don’t think so. Not really.

    JULY 22, 2011 12:26 AM
    Kristen said…
    In other words, this line of thinking says a woman may have “rights,” but it is WRONG for her to exercise them in the same way a man would.

    JULY 22, 2011 12:29 AM


  15. Mabel Yin says:

    “all men” in Declaration of Independence did not include slaves.


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