1 Tim 2:12

Ward Powers bwpowers at eagles.bbs.net.au
Mon Jun 29 09:13:00 EDT 1998

At 21:27 98/06/28 EDT, William Boyd wrote:
>In a message dated 98-06-28 19:16:24 EDT, you write:
><< Ward Powers wrote:
> > 
> > The point I make is that in verses 11-15 ANHR and GUNH are singular (NOT
> > plural), are referring to the headship of the man in the one-flesh
> > husband-wife relationship, and that this understanding of ANHR and GUNH in
> > this passage is indicated by the immediate context (in which there is
> > nothing to suggest a reference to a worship-service or other "church"
> > context), by the close parallels with 1 Pet 3:1-7, and also by other NT
> > passages about the headship of the husband and the submission of the wife,
> > a submission which is always and only to her own husband, not to other
> >>
>I suppose the context will still help determine usage.  It looks like
>"husbands" are to pray everywhere.  And "wives" are to adorn themselves in
>modest apparal, but just in the Husband-wife relationship, not around men in
>general.  Wow!  Just wait till I tell that to our ladies class!  All their
>husbands are usually at work during class, and since they will not be around,
>Feeling just a little barbaric,
>William Boyd

Dear little barbaric William,

I regret that just right now I lack the wit to respond to you adequately in
kind - but I do enjoy the little lightness of touch you bring to the

May I be permitted to respond with a measure of seriousness to your points?
Because besides being humourous, they are also insightful.

The reference to men praying is one of the major reasons why many
commentators have concluded that 1 Timothy 2 is referring to public worship
(there is vitually nothing else in the entire chapter which would point in
such a direction). I would like to make mention of the fact that in the OT
milieu the father as head of the family would lead prayers for the
household, and teach them, and there is every reason to expect that this
practice would continue in godly households in the new dispensation. (Many
NT references are in line with this expectation.) Why then should we regard
1 Timothy 2 as referring primarily to public worship rather than to the
family? There is in fact no obvious reason for doing so.

And indeed we are to note that Paul refers to men praying "in every place".
Now, there are some commentators who expressly interpet this to mean "in
every place of public worship", or "in every place where worship is being
conducted", and thus they end up with a congregational situation rather
than (as I would argue for) a "home, marriage, and family situation"). I
would regard this as a serious case of eisagesis. The expression EN PANTI
TOPW is also used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 2:14, and 1
Thessalonians 1:8; in each of which it means, quite literally, "in EVERY
place", "EVERYWHERE". Thus: "wherever men pray, they are to lift up holy
hands" - that is, they are to be cleansed and sanctified before God when
they come to pray. We cannot of course conclude from these words either
that only men are to pray, or that only men need to be cleansed and
sanctified when they pray.

As for the women adorning themselves: first of all, this section (in
contrast with what follows) is referring to women in the plural, and thus
is more general. Secondly, it is referring to their actually getting
dressed, and discussing what that is to involve. I point out (if indeed
there is any need to do so) that the activity of women dressing themselves
(whether in the kind of apparel and adornment of which Paul approves or
disapproves) is something that they do at home, and not an activity which
they practise in the environment of the church, and certainly not something
in which they engage in the course of public worship. This is just one of
the many little points in this whole passage which speak of the context for
the passage being that of home, marriage, and family. This continues right
through to the final verse (2:16), which speaks of a wife giving birth to
her child: this also is something which in those days took place in her
home - it was not something she did in the course of a worship service.

William, I hope this comment reaches you before you actually have said too
much to the women of your ladies class. May I exhort you to restraint in
what you say to them along the lines you advocate?

Otherwise ...

Oh dear.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers             Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent             Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL  NSW  2130            email: bwpowers at eagles.bbs.net.au

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