1 Tim. 2:12, meaning of AUQENTEIN

B. Ward Powers bwpowers at eagles.com.au
Sat Aug 12 22:52:11 EDT 2000

At 09:10 AM 000812 +0000, Jay Adkins wrote:
>On Fri 11 Aug 2000 (12:49:28), robemon at regent.edu wrote:
> > I need some help. I'm trying to get some in-depth information on the
> > meaning of AUQENTEIN in 1 Tim. 2:12.
>I haven't got a clue myself, but I did find Louw & Nida interesting.
>37.21: AUQENTEW :  to control in a domineering manner - `to control, to
>domineer.' GUNAIKI OUK EPITREPW...AUQENTEIN ANDROS  `I do not allow women 
>... to dominate men' 1Tim 2:12 . `To control in a domineering manner' is
>often expressed idiomatically, for example, `to shout orders at,' `to act
>like a chief toward,' or `to bark at.'

I was disappointed to read the citation, above, which Jay Adkins has given 
from  Louw and Nida. I would have expected greater accuracy in their work - 
the above rendering gives the translation as "I do not allow women ... to 
dominate men." But, as can be clearly seen from the Greek, both GUNH and 
ANHR are in fact SINGULAR not plural. The correct rendering is, "I do not 
allow a GUNH ... [AUQENTEIN] an ANHR." Pointing this out is not nitpicking: 
this goes to the very heart of seeking to understand the meaning of the 
verse. It is NOT giving a generalization about women in general and men in 
general, but speaking of the relationship of one woman and one man.

And, bearing in mind that GUNH and ANHR are the words in koine Greek for 
"wife" and "husband" respectively, and being guided in this verse by the 
passage which is its wider context, we can see that this context is 
referring to a home-marriage-family situation, not a church context. That 
is to say, Paul is saying that he does not allow a wife to exercise 
authority over a husband in the marriage relationship, to take to herself 
the role of headship. The explanation of the meaning of this passage is to 
be found in Ephesians 5:22-33E, where the headship (leadership) role of the 
husband is set out, together with the wife's response. The only person who 
has a headship role over a woman is a husband over his own wife; and the 
only man to whom the wife is to be submissive is her own husband, with whom 
she is in a one-flesh relationship. Note Epheians 5:22 for the light it 
throws on this situation: hAI GUNAIKES TOIS IDIOIS ANDRASIN - note 
especially the IDIOIS. That is, the husband is the head of his wife within 
the one-flesh relationship of marriage. Paul states this in Ephesians 5:23, 
and gives the rationale for it - the one-flesh relationship, quoting 
Genesis 2:24 - in 5:31.

The passage in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 has many parallels in 1  Peter 3:1-7, 
where the identical words GUNH and ANHR are used, and translated as 
referring to wives and husbands (not women and men generally, in the church 
at large).

The New RSV translation informs the reader in its footnotes to 1 Timothy 
2:11-12 that the Greek can be translated alternatively as "I permit no wife 
to teach or have authority over her husband". For reasons of context in 1 
Timothy 2 and the 1 Peter 3 parallel, this is far and away the preferred 

Thus I would affirm that the evidence indicates: 1 Timothy 2:12 is to be 
understood as similar in thrust and intent to Ephesians 5:22-33E: Within 
the one-flesh marriage relationship, a wife is not to assume the role of 
teacher of her husband, nor that of headship over him: the husband has the 
headship role, and the wife is to accept this EN hHSUCIA (not "in silence", 
but rather) "in quietness, rest, with inner peace" - see BAGD on this word.



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
AUSTRALIA.                      Director, Tyndale College

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