Thursday, May 30, 2024

Did Paul Silence All Females?

By Maria Merola אריאל 
© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, August 2002

When it comes to the Epistles of Shaul (Paul), they are not easily understood, unless we consult “THE ENTIRE COUNSEL OF SCRIPTURE,”

Even the Apostle Peter warned us that many would twist Paul’s words out of context, which is what we see in today's Christian Church:

1st Peter 3:15-16 And account that the longsuffering of our Master is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (twist), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 

We must understand that (Shaul) Paul quoted from what many refer to as “The Old Testament,” or in Hebrew “The TaNaKh,” which is an acronym for “Towrah, Nabiym & Ketubiym.” In English, it is referred to as “The Law, the Prophets & the Writings.” The New Testament writings had not gone into print until around 96 A.D. when the Apostle John made exact copies while exiled on the Island of Patmos.

Our Messiah taught us that the “The TaNaKh,” (Law, Prophets & Psalms or Writings) were the source of all prophecy concerning him:

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 law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Paul even wrote a letter to Timothy, explaining that ALL SCRIPTURE” (which was only the Old Testament or the TaNaKh in those days), had been given by inspiration of our Heavenly Father:

2nd Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohiym, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Now, with this background information, we should be able to understand, that Paul's letters were written to specific assemblies in various cities, each with their own unique circumstances. Paul gave different instructions to each of these congregations, depending on their unique situation. 

We must then ask ourselves this question? 

“Did Paul have the authority to SILENCE WOMEN, even though YaHuWaH called Miryam, Deborah, Esther, Huldah, Anna & many more women to to preach his word?” 


Before we read the 1st Timothy 2:12, it is important to understand that Paul was specifically addressing the marriage relationship, which is why he went on to use Adam & Eve as an example. Paul was instructing the women in Ephesus not to usurp the authority of their own husbands. 

This is because in Ephesus, the worship of the goddess Diana was prevalent, and the women were dominating the men. To bring things back into balance, Paul specifically addressed the proper order in the marriage relationship. There was a Cult of Diana Artemis in the city of Ephesus, and they taught that Eve gave birth to Adam, and therefore, the female came first. This cult also  castrated men, and offered them up on the altar to Diana!

This is why Paul said the following: 

1st Timothy 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 

The next thing I want to address is the Greek word that is used in 1st Timothy 2:12 for “woman,” which specifically means “a 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. 

The Greek word in 1st Timothy 2:12 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, husband, man, sir. 

*Here is an example: 

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

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,” and they translated the word “wife” as “woman.” 

If Paul wanted to address the issue of gender in 1st Timothy 2:12, he would have used the generic words for “female & male” as follows:

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

#730. arrhen ar'-hrane or arsen ar'-sane probably from 142; male (as stronger for lifting):--male, man.

The English translators have caused great confusion, which misleads the reader to believe that Paul was prohibiting all females from teaching all males in general, but he was not. 

As a matter of fact, the Greek word for “PROPHESY” is “PROPHETEUO” which means “TO SPEAK UNDER INSPIRATION, TO TEACH, TO PREACH, TO PROPHESY.” 

Such is the case with the following prophesy from the book of Joel: 


As you an see from the above passage, Paul and the other apostles recognized that females are permitted to prophesy, teach and preach the gospel, so long as they are under the proper authority: 

Philippians 4:3 And I intreat you also, true yokefellow, HELP THOSE WOMEN WHO LABORED WITH ME IN THE GOSPEL, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life. 

Hence, in 1st Timothy 2:12 Sha’ul (Paul) was not making a case against the female gender being allowed to teach the male gender. 

In Galatians 3:28 Sha’ul (Paul) expressly stated that there is no difference between the male & female gender, when it comes to our spiritual inheritance in Messiah. 

It’s only in the marriage relationship that gender plays a distinctive role. Outside the confines of marriage, Paul stated that there is no difference between the roles of male and female, for we are all 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 relationships. This is the reason why he went on to explain that Adam came first and then Eve. 

Paul was showing us that YaHuWaH had set up the proper order in marriages from the beginning. 

Below are a few more examples: 

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 we 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” (aner). 

This tells us that Paul was being “gender specific” in 1st Timothy 2:12, as 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’ul (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, and that we must at every moment depend on our Creator. Paul used his letter to Timothy as an opportunity to teach us that a woman’s sinful nature is brought into subjection 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. 

Similarly, a woman becomes more like Messiah, when she suffers to bring forth her children.

To summarize in a “nutshell,” the Corinthian men wrote a letter to the Apostle Sha’ul (Paul), and they quoted a passage from the Jewish Talmud, citing the following:

“Let your women keep silence in the assemblies: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the assembly ” (1st Corinthians 14:34-35). 

What Sha’ul (Paul) says in the next verses are often ignored:

1st Qorinthiym (Corinthians) 14:36 What? Came the word of Elohiym out from you? Or came it unto you only? 

1st Qorinthiym (Corinthians) 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of YHWH. 

*Explanation: in verse 36, Sha’ul (Paul) is objecting to this Talmudic law, and in verse 37, he is making a distinction between the commandments of YaHuWaH, verses the man-made, oral traditions found in the Talmud! 

Sha’ul (Paul) is obviously not in agreement with the Talmudic silencing of women, because he goes on to say the following words:

1st Corinthians 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 

Did you see Pauls response to the men that quoted from the Jewish Talmud, about how it is shameful for a woman to speak? 

He is rebuking the Corinthian men who had written to him, suggesting that women should keep silent in the assembly. But he goes one step further, and is  calling them “ignorant,” in verse 36-38! 

You see, the Greek Language did not have quotation marks in those days, therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to know if Paul is quoting someone else, or if the words being spoken are his.

One such example is in 1st Corinthians 14:34-35, where it appears that Paul is quoting this Talmudic Law back to the men who wrote to him, but he is objecting. This is obvious by the next two verses, where Sha’ul (Paul) objected to the Talmudic law of silencing women.

Thats why he said in verse 36: “What? Did the word of Elohiym come only to you?” He was referring to the men! 

Proof that Paul was not in harmony with the Talmudic silencing of women is found in other passages: 

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...

*Explanation: The Greek word for “prophesy,” is “propheteuo,” and it means “TO SPEAK UNDER DIVINE INSPIRATION, TO TEACH, TO PREACH!” 

1st Corinthians 11:5 But every WOMAN THAT PRAYS OR PROPHESIES with her head uncovered dishonours her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 

*Explanation: a womans head uncovered is a Euphemism for not being under her fathers or husbands authority. Paul went on to say that the womans Yah-given hair is her covering” (1st Corinthians 11:15). 

Philippians 4:2 I beseech Euodias [a female disciple], and beseech Syntyche [a female disciple], that they be of the same mind in YHWH. 

Philippians 4:3 And I intreat you also, true yokefellow, HELP THOSE WOMEN WHICH LABOURED WITH ME IN THE GOSPEL, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life. 

To learn more, see our two-part video series entitled “Was Paul Silencing Women in the Assembly?

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