In our day and in the Western world, 1 Timothy 2 might be the most controversial passage in the Bible. Here, Paul writes, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet” (2:11–12). While Paul certainly seems to limit a woman’s authority and instruct women to be quiet or silent, many are not convinced. They argue that Paul simply did not want certain women in the church to assume authority over a man. And in reality, Paul had a more egalitarian outlook.
But evidence from the first-century writer Clement shows that he sees the instruction for women be quiet as a general pattern of good behaviour. Before looking at Clement, I want to consider two egalitarian arguments that Paul does not forbid women from teaching in the church. [Read more…] about How Did Paul’s Contemporaries Understand His Instructions on Women in the Church?