1 Timothy 2:12 "Domineering?"

Joel Thomas Banks tomasbanks at u-naciones.org
Fri Jan 10 20:56:48 EST 2003

In reading Carroll D. Osburn's "Women in the Church, Reclaiming the Ideal"
(ACU Press, 2001) I noticed a different take on 1 Timtohy 2:12 which has
bearing on discussion on this verse in October, 1996. Quoting from page

 "It is easy to understand how 2:12 could be read in English with the
conclusion that a woman is never to teach a man or be in a position of
authority over a man. However in the Greek text, the verb "domineer" (NEB,
"have authority" RSV NIV) qualifies "teach" and specifies what kind of
teaching is prohibited.(102) It is not that these women are "teaching" per
se, but specifically that they are "teaching domineeringly" that annoys

Footnote 102 states: When two Greek verbs are joined in this way, the
nearer qualifies the farther, i.e., "domineer" qualifies "teach." See
Herbert W. Smith, Greek Grammar (rev. G. Messing, Cambridge: Harvard Univ.
press, 1956): 364-365.

Returning to the text...
(...)The term authentein is taken by some to mean "exercise authority"
(RSV, NIV), but stronger reasons exist for taking it to mean "domineer."
(105) Instead of "domineering over a man," they are encouraged to be
"deferential" (2:11). Instead, they should evidence an attitude of
"peaceableness / quietude." (105) This prohibition of "domineering" does
not introduce a second prohibition, but qualifies the first--that is, they
are "not to teach in a domineering way, but are to be in
peaceableness/quietness." In this context, the term refers to the role the
women are playing in teaching the erroneous information of the false
teachers. (106)

Although Dr. Osburn's argument can be cited further, I believe this
sufficient for those who are more knowledgeable about the grammatical
point mentioned to respond to?

More information about the B-Greek mailing list