Friday, September 22, 2023

Did Paul Silence Women?

By Maria Merola אריאל 

© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, October 2007

If theres one thing Ive learned over the years, is that we cannot build doctrine around one single verse of Scripture. Our Messiah, Yahuwshuwa taught us the formula for which we should establish doctrine, and itbased upon “two or three witnesses.”

What are these witnesses?

Luqas (Luke) 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Towrah (law) of Mosheh (Moses), and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

As you can see, there are two or three witnesses in Scripture that must be consulted before we can establish any kind of biblical doctrine. In Hebrew, there is an acronym called TaNaKTowrah, Nabiym, Ketuwbiym. In other words, Law, Prophets & Writings (Psalms).

Within Christendom, there seems to be a common error that is taught, whereby people will often use the letters and epistles of the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) in the wrong context, in order to override what the prophets and our Messiah taught. 

The same problem seems to exist in reverse within the Hebraic Roots Community, where some have discounted Sha’uwl (Paul) as a false apostle, because they think he is teaching against the Towrah (Mosaic Law).

My aim in this study is to bring harmony to the entire counsel of scripture, with regard to the subject of women teaching in the assembly.

This topic has been a subject of much controversy within the body of Messiah for centuries, as many have used only one or two passages out of Sha’uwl’s letters as a means of silencing women who are called of YaHuWaH to preach the good news.

I am often asked about this subject since I have been called as a female to be a “Watchman to the House of Yisra’el” in these last days. The mandate that YaHuWaH has given me is to warn the body of Messiah about false pagan mixture that has crept into the Christian Church and within Judaism. 

I am called to teach about the Hebraic Roots of our faith in Messiah, to those who have “ears to hear” what the Spirit of YaHuWaH is saying. The message that YaHuWaH has given me to preach is without gender, as both males and females alike find themselves hearing what the Ruwach (Spirit) of YaHuWaH is saying in these last days:

Maaseh Shlichiym (Acts) 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

In the above passage, the outpouring of the Ruwach (Spirit) of YaHuWaH was not only intended for the male gender, but for females also. And what is the purpose of these women having the Ruwach (Spirit) poured out upon them? As you can see, they were meant to “prophesy,” and this word is defined in the Greek Strong’s Concordance as follows:

#4395. prophēteuō: to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict, to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation, to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels, under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others, to act as a prophet, discharge the prophetic office.

As you can see, the Scriptures expressly state that the Spirit of YaHuWaH would be poured out upon “all flesh” in the latter days, to include females. The Greek word for “prophesy” is much broader than the English word, for it encompasses all forms of speaking under inspiration---even teaching!

As a woman who is called to teach and preach to the body of Messiah, I am under apostolic authority as I answer to other men who are also ministry leaders. Now that I have cleared that up, let me get to the meat of this message concerning the role of women in ministry. 

In order to properly understand what the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) was referring to in 1st Timothy 2:12 (concerning women teaching men), we must take into account, the context, history, and culture surrounding his letter to Timothy. It is also important to read the other Epistles of Paul, where he specifically names certain women who were helping him preach the gospel of Messiah. To learn more about Paul's message to women, see my other blogs here:

The Samaritan Woman Became an Evangelist

The Male & Female Relationship in Marriage

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he was obviously addressing the marriage relationship (specifically), as he was instructing women not to usurp the authority of their own husbands. When you look up the original Greek word in 1st Timothy 2:12 for “woman” the word specifically means “wife.”

The Greek word is “gune” which literally means “wife.” 

#1135. gune: goo-nay’ probably from the base of 1096; a woman; specially, a wife:--wife, woman. 

There is a more generic word for woman in Greek which means “female” and that word is “thelus.”

#2338. thelus: thay’-loos from the same as 2337; female:--femalewoman

The original Greek word in 1st Timothy 2:12 in the Strong’s Concordance here for “man” is “aner” which literally means “husband.”

#435. aner: an’-ayr a primary word (compare 444); a man (properly as an individual male):--fellow, husbandman, sir. 

Some would try and argue the fact that the Greek word “aner” is sometimes used to describe “a man” (in general), and that this word is not necessarily always referring to a husband. But in the Greek language, there is no word for “husband” that is not also used to describe “man.” 

Here is a case-in-point:

Ephsiym (Ephesians) 5:25 “....husbands (aner) love your wives (gune) ....”

The reason why the word “aner” (husband) is used in Ephesians 5:22, is because the word “aner” is more specifically used to for “husband,” and not the male gender. 

The English translators properly translated the Greek word as “husband” in Ephesians 5:25, yet in 1st Timothy 2:12, they erroneously translated the word “aner” as “man,” thereby misleading the reader to believe that he was prohibiting females from teaching males.

Sha’uwl (Paul) used “aner” because that is the only word in Greek that applies to both husband and man. There is no Greek word that is used for “husband” only. Hence, in 1st Timothy 2:12 Sha’uwl was not making a case against the female gender being allowed to teach the male gender.

The word for “male” in Greek pertaining more specifically to the male gender is as follows:

#730. arsen: male (as stronger for lifting); male, man.

In Galatians 3:28 Sha’uwl (Paul) is expressly stating that there is no difference between male & female because the genders are “one in Messiah:”

Galatiym (Galatians) 3:28 There is neither Yahuwdiy (Jew) nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male (arsen) nor female (thelus): for you are all one in Messiah Yahuwshuwa.

If Paul was making a ruling against females teaching males, he would’ve used the words “thelus” and “arsen” in 1st Timothy 2:12. He would’ve stated “I do not permit a female to teach a male.” 

But he was obviously not making a ruling for all women, and in every situation, and for all time. Paul was addressing the chain of command with regard to the marriage relationship. This is the reason why he went on to explain that Adam came first and then Eve. Paul was showing us that Yah had set up the proper order in marriages from the beginning. 

Here is another case-in-point:

Romiym (Romans) 1:26 For this cause Elohiym gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women (thelus, female) did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Romiym (Romans) 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, (thelus, female) burned in their lust one toward another; men (arsen, male) with men (arsen, male) working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

As you can see by the above passages, Paul used the Greek word “thelus” (female), even though the English translators used the more generic term “woman.” 

He also used the Greek word for “male” (arsen) even though the English translators used the word “men.” 

This tells us that Paul was being “gender specific” in this passage, whereas in 1st Timothy 2:12, he was speaking to the role of husbands and wives---not to the issue of gender.

Now that I have laid the foundation for properly understanding the context of his letter to Timothy, we can read it with more clarity:

1st Timotiyos (Timothy) 2:

12 But I suffer not a woman (gune, wife) to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man (aner, husband), but to be in silence.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

You will notice that Sha’uwl (Paul) is addressing the marriage relationship (specifically), because he goes on to describe the marriage relationship between Adam and Eve. Paul is explaining that Eve was redeemed from her naïve ways, when she suffered and gave birth. Suffering has a way of teaching us that we are not in control of our own lives, but that we must at every moment depend on our Creator.

Paul used his letter to Timothy as an opportunity to teach us that the woman’s deceptive nature is purged from her when she goes through the tribulation and suffering of giving labor. In Philippians 3:10, we are shown that suffering brings us closer to Messiah as we “know him” through being acquainted with what he has suffered for us sinners. Similarly, a woman becomes more like Messiah, when she suffers to bring forth her children.

Both Genders Created in the Image of YaHuWaH

I have heard a few misogynistic men argue that only the male gender was created in the image of Elohiym, whereas the female gender was created in the image of the male (but not in the image of Elohiym). Let
’s examine this passage to find out if there is any truth to this faulty line of reasoning.

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 1:26 And Elohiym said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: 

The Hebrew word for “man” in this verse is as follows:

#120. Adam: human beingmankindperson, individual.

This word “adam” is not limited to the male gender, for it is describing the human race, in other words, all of mankind or humanity. 

This is where the Greek word “anthropos” for “mankind” comes from. This word “anthropos” is the Greek counterpart for the Hebrew word “Adam:”

#444. anthropos: anth’-ro-pos from 435 and ops (the countenance; from 3700); man-faced, i.e. a human being:--certain, man. 

Therefore, Elohiym made mankind (to include the female gender) in his image. The Hebrew word “adam” is therefore describing the human race, whereas the Hebrew words for male & female are defined as follows:

Strong’s Concordance #2145 – zakar: adjective, masculine noun; male (of humans and animals). 

Strong’s Concordance #5347 – nĕqebah: female, woman, female child, female animal.

Now, let
’s take a look at how these two Hebrew words are used elsewhere:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 1:27 So Elohiym created man (adam, human beings) in his own image, in the image of Elohiym created he him; male (zakar) and female (neqebah) created he them.

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 5:2 Male (zakar) and female (neqebah) created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Awdawm (Adam), in the day when they were created.

The first thing I want to point out, is that YaHuWaH 

Now, these verses are made much clearer, as we can see that when YaHuWaH created mankind (humanity) in his image, he included both genders (male and female). Thus, the word “Adam” (man) is describing both male and female genders collectively.

Often-times whenever the subject of women teaching comes up, I will hear people quote the following verse, as if it is telling us that the male gender shall rule over the female gender:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 3:16 Unto the woman (ishshah) he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband (iysh), and he shall rule over you.

As you can see by the above verse, Elohiym is telling the “wife” (ishahah) that her husband (iysh) shall rule over her. He did not tell her that the zakar (male) would rule over the nĕqebah (female).

Do you see the difference? While the Hebrew word “ishshah” can mean “woman or female,” it is the only word that is used to describe “wife” in Hebrew. However, the word “neqebah” is more specific to the female gender. If YaHuWaH was telling all females that all males on the planet would rule over them, he would have said the following:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 3:16 Unto the females (neqebah) he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your males (zakar), and he shall rule over you.

Obviously, YaHuWaH is not telling all males to rule over all females. He is speaking specifically to the marriage relationship. 

Now, let’s take a look at the Hebrew words for “woman” and “husband” in Genesis 3:16:

Strong’s Concordance #802: ‘ishshah: woman, wife, female, woman (opposite of man); wife (woman married to a man); female (of animals); each, every (pronoun).

Strong’s Concordance #376: ‘iysh: man, male (in contrast to woman, female); husbandhuman being, person (in contrast to God); mankind; champion; great man; whosoever; each (adjective).

Therefore, whenever the TaNaKh (Hebrew Old Testament) is specifically speaking to the marriage relationship, it will always use the word “ishshah” for wife and the word “iysh” for husband. In the Greek New Testament, the word that is always used to describe wife is “gune” and the word that is always used to describe husband is “aner.” 

Now that I have made a distinction between male and female in scripture, (versus husband and wife), we can move on to the other evidences, showing that Paul was not forbidding females to teach males. In his letter to Timothy, he was specifically addressing the Congregation at Ephesus, who were known for worshipping Diana Artemis. 

This congregation had a unique situation, which would necessitate that Paul write to them concerning the proper role and function of a husband and a wife in marriage. This is why he outlined in Ephesians 5, the role of the husband and the wife as it relates to Messiah and his assembly.

The Female Dominance Cult in Ephesus

In order to understand 2nd Timothy 2:12 when he commanded wives (gune) not to usurp the authority of their husbands, we must first become aware of the historical background of this congregation that he was writing to in Ephesus. 

The Assembly at Ephesus was a group of former pagans who worshiped the Great Diana Artemis. This religion taught that Eve came before Adam and that she conceived Adam. This cult would emasculate men by making them eunuchs (removing their reproductive parts), and then the women would be dominant over the men, and they would sacrifice these men to this pagan goddess Diana. 

This is the reason why the Apostle Paul made reference to this: 

1st Timotiyos (Timothy) 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve

Why would the Sha’uwl (Paul) need to explain that Adam was formed first and then Eve? Don’t we know this already? Well obviously, the Assembly at Ephesus did not already know this because they had been taught the lie that Eve was the mother of Adam. This lie is much like the lie in the Catholic Church today where it is taught that “Mary, the mother of Jesus was born without original sin, hence it was her divinity which was passed on to Jesus…”

Since Catholicism teaches that Mary is the Holy Spirit, they conclude that “Mary is the author of Jesus,” just like the lie that the Ephesians were taught about Eve being the author of Adam.

Roman Catholicism is strikingly similar to this cult from ancient Babylon, which was adopted into other cultures, such as Ephesus. We can see how the deification of Mary/Miryam (the mother of our Messiah), was meant to assimilate him to Nimrod and his mother/wife, Semiramis aka “The Queen of Heaven.

To those who extrapolate 1st Timothy 2:12 as a message to “All women, everywhere, and for all time,” that would be like forbidding all males from being circumcised forevermore. In Galatians, Paul addressed a Cult in Galatia who were enforcing circumcision as a means to salvation. To learn more about this cult named “Works of the Law,” see my other blog: Who Has Bewitched You?

Here is an example of how many people take Paul’s letters out of context:

Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Messiah shall profit you nothing. 

Galatians 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  

Galatians 5:4 Messiah is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace. 

*Explanation: If we were to take the above passages out of their intended context, we would be forced to believe that Paul was condemning all the patriarchs who were circumcised, such as Abraham, Moses & all 8-day-old Yisraelite males. 

When Paul wrote “To every man that is circumcised,” we would be tempted to think that Paul was addressing all males, in every situation, and for all time. However, the only way to properly understand Paul’s message, is to read the entire chapter of Galatians (from the beginning), to find out what he was objecting to.

Additionally, even further studying of the Towrah (from Genesis to Deuteronomy), is required to fully understand the purpose of circumcision. The intention of circumcision was to teach us the importance of having our hearts circumcised (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4).

To fully understand what Paul was speaking out against, we must read his other letters (Romans, Acts & Corinthians), where we find out that he circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:1-5), but Titus was not compelled to be circumcised in the flesh (Galatians 2:3). 

In Genesis 17, YaHuWaH first commanded Abraham and his male descendants to be circumcised. This was for outward identification purposes---not a means to salvation. Paul explained that circumcision was an outward sign or a token of their covenant with Yah, but not a means to it.  

Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Outward circumcision in the flesh is is equivalent to Christians being water-baptized. While we are required to do it to be saved (Mark 16:16), there are death-bed conversions, where there is no time for the newly born-again person to be baptized in water. Therefore, when we repent of our sins, we are being baptized by the Living Water in heaven, who is Messiah (John 4:11; 7:38; Revelation 7:17).

Such was the case for the thief on the cross who repented, but our Messiah promised he would be with him that same day in Paradise (Luke 23:43). Water-baptism is meant to symbolize being washed in the blood of Messiah, and being cleansed by his word (Ephesians 5:26; Revelation 1:5 & 7:14). Once we understand the underlying principle behind what is being presented in Scripture, it opens up our understanding to the true message being conveyed.

Why the Rabbit Trail?

I went on a bunny trail about circumcision to illustrate that many of us dont fully understand Pauls letters, unless we are well-studied in the entire counsel of Scripture. 

When it comes to females being allowed to operate in ministry, the same principles of how to rightly divide the word applies. As with any other topic in Scripture, the full scope of understanding cannot be realized, unless we “Study to show ourselves approved of Elohiym(2nd Timothy 2:15).

Therefore, in the same way that Paul was not forbidding all men, everywhere, and in every situation from being circumcised, he was also not forbidding the entire female gender from being allowed to teach. 

Pauls letter to Timothy, was specifically directed to the wives in Ephesus, who were dominating their husbands, and they were out of order. In many of Pauls other letters, he ordained certain women to help him in his ministry of preaching the good news of Messiah.

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