There was this picture on Facebook of a guy holding a sign that women “should be quiet, submissive to husband, cooking, ironing, silent in church”. It specifically cites 1 Timothy 2.
I came across this article by Jenna Daniels, who was, at least as of the publication date was associate pastor at Awaken Community Covenant Church, St. Paul, MN. The piece was undated but was posted at least two years ago.
Rev. Daniels pulls our verses 11-15:
“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. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety.”
She notes, correctly, that “There are those who believe this text is making a blanket statement about the role of women in the church. There are other passages that seem to say this same thing, where women are to remain silent, or that they are the glory of man, they are to submit, they can’t lead.”
So what is she doing preaching? She sees Paul’s writing in this and other cases as a contextual prohibition. Specifically, the apostle may have been referring to the culture in Ephesus and the worship of Artemis, the goddess of fertility, for example.
Paul “is addressing a group of women who were false teachers influenced by the Artemis cult in which female supremacy was the norm. When [he] talks about the authority these women are exercising, he uses a word that is used nowhere in the entire New Testament: authentein, translated as ‘exercise authority.’ Other times when Paul is referring to authority, he uses [the generic] exousia…
“But authentein carries a sense of abusing power and acting on your own authority. These women are teaching things that aren’t true, and doing it in an abusive way, so Paul tells them to be silent. Interestingly, he still tells them to learn.”
In this vein, here are Six Things Submission Is Not by John Piper, coincidentally also a Minnesota pastor. My broader point is that it is easy to cherry-pick scripture to support oppression; American slavery was justified in that manner.
As Rev. Daniels notes, “I believe the Enemy’s greatest and strongest work is to cause us to misunderstand God’s Word in a way that binds up and constricts and prevents where God’s intent is freedom and life in Christ for all people.”