1 Timothy 2:11-12 "Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach..."


"Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent" (1 Timothy 2:11-12).


This is a verse used several times in some churches to use as proof for the exclusion of women ministers. I personally don't believe that it is being interpreted correctly by them, but I also agree with Unity's beliefs about women ministers. They allow them. But can you help me interpret what the verse has to do with anything? I have been told it was just that women were disrupting church services.


As I once heard theologian Matthew Fox comment, "Paul had his good days and his bad days." As do we all. There is no question, from this passage and others in his writings (1 Corinthians 14:34, for example) that Paul had great issue with women having authority in the church; of course, he also had great issue with other men having authority, if they disagreed with him!
There is no true consistency, however. He frequently acknowledges women who have played important roles in his fledgling churches. And while he here (in verses 13 and 14) blames Eve exclusively for original sin, in his Letter to the Romans (Chapter 5), he blames Adam.
For consistency and complete spiritual Truth, there is only one biblical voice that can always be relied upon—the voice of Jesus Christ. None of the other writers, however fully they may have understood Jesus' message, completely embodied the Christ energy within them to the extent that Jesus did. Like us, they had moments of spiritual inspiration and moments of human doubt and confusion. Jesus trusted women, empowered them, relied upon them. We're told, for one example, that the Samaritan woman he met at the well (John 4) brought many people to hear Jesus and follow his teachings. And, of course, it was the women among his immediate followers who first came to experience and accept his Resurrection energy.
So to use Paul as an excuse for disempowering women in the church is to ignore the deeper, truer and more loving example of Jesus Christ, whose emphasis was not upon human physicality, but on the eternal Christ that is the true identity of us all.

Rev. Ed