Leadership of Women in Crete and Macedonia as a Model for the Church | CBE International

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Leadership of Women in Crete and Macedonia as a Model for the Church

A superficial glance at the New Testament in translation, combined with an expectation of a subordinate role for women, results in generalizations that Paul commands women not to teach or have authority (1 Tim 2:11–15), except in the case of older women teaching younger women how to be housewives (Titus 2:3–5), and women are not to teach in official, public, formal positions in the church, but they can teach in informal, private, one-on-one situations in the home.1

However, a deeper search into the New Testament reveals a dissonance with those interpretations. In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach,” but, in Titus 2:3, Paul expects the “older women” to teach. Paul uses the same root word for men as for women teaching, didaskō. However, is it clear that “man” is the object of teaching in 1 Timothy 2:12? Also, why would Titus not teach all the women in Crete (Titus 2:6–8)? Timothy does in Ephesus (1 Tim 5:1–2). Although both Timothy and Titus are supposed to present Paul’s instructions to their respective congregations (1 Tim 4:6; Titus 2:15), why is Timothy challenged to be a model (typos) for all the believers (1 Tim 4:12), but Titus is challenged to be a model (typos) only to the younger men (Titus 2:6–8)? In contrast, why does Paul presuppose and support the leadership of Euodia and Syntyche as his coworkers (Phil 4:2–3), as well as Lydia (Acts 16:14–15, 40), if all women are restricted?

Some commentators have argued that Titus 2:3, directing the elder women to teach, is possible only because Titus 2 envisions a private, informal household (oikos) setting, while 1 Timothy 2:11–12 envisions a public, formal church setting.2Oikos, however, is also Paul’s image for the church: God’s oikos “is the church of the living God” (1 Tim 3:15). But why would a devout believer act in one’s own household differently than when serving in God’s household? Early Christians lived, of course, in their own households,3 but they appeared to have worshiped in either their own or one of the other households, not in separate church buildings, as became more prominent after Emperor Constantine’s era.4 Thus, the private, informal versus public, formal dichotomy seems more appropriate to a modern, Western, preemerging church setting than to the ancient Western emerging church, or to house churches in mainland China. Ben Witherington summarizes well:

If Paul and/or Luke had qualms about women teaching under all circumstances and on all subjects, we certainly would not have [Titus 2:3] in this letter. The issue in regard to teaching is not gender specific in itself (see, e.g., Rom 16; Phil 4, which refers to women coworkers in Philippi), nor, to judge from earlier Pauline letters, is the issue women teaching or speaking to men (cf., e.g., 1 Cor 11; Acts 18:18–26). Furthermore, the issue is not public versus private speaking, nor is it official teaching positions versus unofficial teaching, nor does it seem to be an issue of subject matter.

These sorts of modern categories are not apt for describing a church that met in a home in which the family and family-of-faith structures and the public and the private spheres overlapped in the home-worship events. . . . Paul does not complain that the false teachers are not appointed teachers; rather, he complains that they are offering false teaching. It is important, then, not to misread the social context in which early Christian teaching transpired on Crete and elsewhere.5

Many egalitarians have argued that 1 Timothy 2:11–15 needs to be understood in light of its heterodox and cultural context. The beauty of the Bible is that each of God’s revelations is communicated in a different historical situation so that we can apply each passage in analogous contemporary historical situations. Of course, since one God inspires these revelations, certain principles will be above culture, but how to apply these principles will vary. Two major factors affect the place of women in the different New Testament churches: first and primarily, the acceptance or rejection in a church of the gospel core message (heterodoxy or orthodoxy) and, secondarily, the regional culture’s expectations for women. I have chosen three churches (Philippi, Ephesus, Crete) where (1) we have a clearer understanding of ancient women’s positions and (2) the New Testament shows the effect of the gospel on leadership roles. (I have not included Corinth because, in Corinth, the women were continuing to pray and prophesy in public and because their secular position is not as clear as in Macedonia, Anatolia, and Crete.) Comparing the historical cultural information about women in Macedonia, Anatolia, and Crete with the state of right teaching in these different New Testament churches sheds light on solving any apparent disharmony. In contrast, traditionally, overemphasizing the women in Ephesus at the expense of the other region’s women leaders has resulted in a blanket limitation on women’s leadership, limiting opportunities for all women to use their spiritual and natural gifts in church leadership while overburdening men.

Philippi, Macedonia

The positions of women in ancient Macedonia, Anatolia, and Crete had many similarities, especially in contrast to women in ancient Athens and Israel. Wealthy Athenian and Eastern women were still sequestered in the home. J. B. Lightfoot comments about Macedonia: “In not a few instances a metronymic [inscription] takes the place of the usual patronymic and in other cases a prominence is given to women which can hardly be accidental.” He adds, “the active zeal of the women in this country is a remarkable fact, without a parallel in the Apostle’s history elsewhere and only to be compared with their prominence at an earlier date in the personal ministry of our Lord.”6 Macedonian women gained more social and legal rights than other Greek women, especially Athenian.7 As a result, women in Hellenistic Egypt had many social and legal rights because Hellenistic queens were successors of the Macedonians. Thus, in Hellenistic Greece, some women scholars and prose writers can be found in Alexandria, such as the Neopythagorean philosopher Perictione and Hypatia, who was leader of the Neoplatonic School (fourth and fifth centuries AD).8 William Tarn summarizes: “If Macedonia produced perhaps the most competent group of men the world has yet seen, the women were in all respects the men’s counterparts; they played a large part in affairs, received envoys and obtained concessions for them from their husbands, built temples, founded cities, engaged mercenaries, commanded armies, held fortresses, and acted on occasion as regents or even co-rulers.”9 Egypt had at least seven Cleopatras!10

In contrast to Jesus’s disciples, who were astounded that Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman (John 4:27),11 Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke encouraged the participation and leadership of women in Philippi by speaking to them in public, staying at Lydia’s house, and choosing women such as Euodia and Syntyche as coworkers (Phil 4:2–3). “Coworker” (synergos) is also used to signify Paul as a teacher, Timothy as an evangelist, Silas as a prophet, and Epaphroditus, Clement, and Prisca. In the genitive case, synergos is a “colleague.”12 Paul told the Corinthians to “be subject to . . .every coworker,” and “give recognition to such people” (1 Cor 16:16, 18). Thus, a “coworker” is a colleague placed in a position of authority to whom the churches were to be subject. Synonyms for coworkers include ministers of the word, such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph 4:11–13).13 Euodia and Syntyche “labored side by side” with Paul in the gospel (Phil 4:3). Euodia and Syntyche’s disagreement affected the unity of the entire church. Lydia, Euodia, and Syntyche were functioning as church overseers. Lydia was a persuasive businesswoman, the head of her household, who was quite aggressive when she strongly urged (parabiazomai) Paul, Silas, Luke, and Timothy to cross barriers of race (Jew and Gentile) and gender and to remain at her house (Acts 16:14–15, 40). This church, led by women, became a financial and spiritual partner with Paul to advance God’s reign for many years.14 Consequently, the letter to the Philippians is one of the most amiable New Testament letters. Yes, the church had its problems, but the church was not convinced by heterodox teachers. Derek Thomas summarizes: “But in the earnest and undiscriminating preaching of Paul to the women at the riverside, in the baptism of Lydia, in the influence of Euodia and Syntyche, in the prayers and service of the honored widows and in the warmth of the welcome Crescens’ sister could expect, we may be glimpsing the new kind of status the Christian church could afford to women, especially in a place where the Jewish presence was not strong.”15

Ephesus, Anatolia

Lydia herself came from Thyatira (Acts 16:14), which is in the ancient region called Lydia in Anatolia, Western Asia Minor. According to William Ramsay, the Lydians tended to be matriarchal (a preference native to Asia Minor), in contrast to the Phrygians and Carians, who tended more to the patriarchal type of social institutions.16 In the province of Lydia, the goddess was prominent, while a male god very often was put forward as her son. In Phrygia and Pisidia, the goddess was not so prominent, and the male god often stood alone.17 Thus, not surprisingly, the Synod of Laodicea in Phrygia in the fourth century was the first to limit women.18 In contrast, women prophets were frequent in Anatolia before the second century.19 Anatolian women, with their Amazon heritage, were influential. Ephesus in Anatolia was first a Lydian village. Of the twelve Ionian cities, Ephesus is the most Lydian.20 In Anatolia, women also were prominent. It was acceptable for them to hold public positions and perform duties of authority and influence in their communities.21 The worship of Artemis was also prominent, and this pagan cult seemed to have influenced the new Christians in Ephesus.

Second-century geographer Pausanias wrote, “All cities worship Artemis of Ephesus, and individuals hold her in honour above all the gods. The reason, in my view, is the renown of the Amazons, who traditionally dedicated the image, also the extreme antiquity of this sanctuary. Three other points as well have contributed to her renown, the size of the temple, surpassing all buildings among men, the eminence of the city of the Ephesians and the renown of the goddess who dwells there.”22 Ephesus and Artemis were inseparable.23 Pausanias also mentions that the priestesses and priests of the Ephesian Artemis lived in purity for a year, “not only sexual but in all respects, and they neither wash nor spend their lives as do ordinary people, nor do they enter the home of a private man.”24 Strabo, a first-century geographer, describes the priests (megabyzi) as “eunuchs” who were held in great honor. Maidens (virgins) served as colleagues with them in their priestly office.25 The “eunuchs” either were not sexually active for a year or they castrated themselves.26 They would model a celibate religious lifestyle in honor of the virgin goddess.27 In contrast, married women were forbidden even to enter the temple of Artemis.28 As a result, the Ephesian Christian church, too, had a low view of marriage (1 Tim 4:3).

Acts records the silversmith Demetrius reminding his fellow artisans that “we get our wealth from this business,” and, when Paul persuaded “a considerable number of people” that gods made with human hands were not real, their businesses would be affected (Acts 19:25–26 NRSV). As the Ephesians were renowned for their devotion to luxury,29 the church also had problems with wealth (1 Tim 2:9–10; 6:6–10, 17–19).

Ephesus was also well known as a center for the study and practice of magic—the use of techniques to assure human control or power over supernatural forces.30 Magic appeals to unhealthy curiosity and the desire for power over others and oneself.31 Magic and drugs were interrelated.32 Artemis’s name, together with the names of other gods, would be repeated in incantations.33 Jerome comments that Ephesus was “the chief city of Asia where idolatry and the deceptions of the magicians’ arts which always accompany idolatry thrived. . . . They, whom the error of demons had so long held and who knew that there are spiritual beings and powers and who had perceived a certain likeness of divinity in organs and auguries and divinations, were in need of the apostle’s commendation to God.”34 The festival of Artemis, like those of the Amazons, affirmed orgiastic religious practices.35 When women celebrated their festivals, they might “spend whole nights on the bare hills in dances which stimulated ecstasy, and in an intoxication perhaps partly alcoholic, but mainly mystical.”36 Some Christians at Ephesus had previously participated in these practices of magic (Acts 19:13–19; 1 Tim 5:13).

Paul’s commands for the women at Ephesus in 1 Timothy 2:11–12 to learn “in silence,”37 but not yet “teach,” show they had succumbed to heterodoxy and needed to be reeducated to withstand it.38 They were to learn in silence because the ancients considered this the best way to learn, as Simon, the son of Paul’s teacher, Rabbi Gamaliel, summarized: “All my days have I grown up among the Sages and I have found naught better for a man than silence; and not the expounding [of the Law] is the chief thing but the doing [of it]; and he that multiplies words occasions sin.”39 Silence had positive connotations among the ancient Jews, because the Old Testament gives positive connotations for silence, for example, “Those who have knowledge use words with restraint. . . . Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues” (Prov 17:27–28 TNIV).

Women and men at Ephesus wanted to be “teachers of the law,” but they understood “neither what they say nor concerning what they assert” (1 Tim 1:7). They had no “perception” of spiritual truths based on careful faith-based thought.40 Consequently, their authoritative manner of communication did not ensure the authority or accuracy of what they communicated.

If such teachers included Jewish females (such as younger widows, 1 Tim 5:11–13), teaching authoritatively would be an unusual and desirable opportunity for them. Of course, Jewish women could be taught and could teach the Scriptures at home, as Lois and Eunice authoritatively taught Timothy the Old Testament.41 However, Jewish women, unlike Jewish men, were not obligated to study rabbinic and Old Testament law, nor did they receive any merit in studying the law, nor was anyone obligated to teach them. They were exempt from any requirement that necessitated their leaving the home for any period of time. They also did not participate in the synagogue “House of Study,” which was a place for males only. They were considered to be in the same category in rabbinic laws as Gentiles and slaves.42 Wealthy Jewish and Greek women would be encouraged to stay within the house, active in the indoor life of household management.43

The Gentiles at Ephesus had a variety of educational expectations for women. Women would participate in the religious ceremonies of goddesses,44 but probably not in actual physical sacrifice.45 Later Greek and Roman societies appear generally to have limited the public participation of women. The Athenian Greeks and the Romans were both patriarchal. Even though the situation may have been better for some Gentile women, since many women were no longer forbidden from pursuing higher education, still, very few women were teaching in a professional sense in salaried positions in great houses, or running a school as a sophist.46 Early marriage limited opportunities for women. The learned professions were still usually reserved for men. Women were also excluded from law schools, since arguing publicly in court was forbidden, being considered “immodest.”47

Thus, when confronted with heterodox teaching and learning, neither the Jewish nor Gentile women may have been well prepared to withstand either.

When Paul does not permit a woman “to domineer over (authenteō) a man, but to be in silence” (2:12b), he uses oude to connect “I am not permitting a woman to teach” with “to domineer over a man.” The second action, “to domineer,” is more intensive than “to teach.” Thereby, we can translate the sentence, “I am not permitting a woman to teach, certainly not to domineer over (or destroy) a man.” Romans 8:7, 11:21, and 1 Timothy 6:16 also join by oude two actions that are prohibited, where the second action is more intense and negative than the first action, in the same way as “domineer” (authenteō) is more intense and negative than “teach” (didaskō). Paul writes in Romans 8:7 that the mind hostile to God “does not submit to God’s law or moreover/especially not is able” to do so. In 1 Timothy 6:16, he identifies God as the One “whom no human has seen, moreover/especially not is able to see.” So Paul is not allowing women to continue a teaching destructive to men, even as Eve’s teaching was destructive to Adam.

Volumes have been written on authenteō.48 The difficulty arises with interpretation, because this verb occurs nowhere else in the Bible. Although some scholars have argued that authenteō has positive connotations (“to exercise authority”), these positive connotations come from later ecclesiastical use (AD 370 and even later) and are therefore irrelevant.49 The noun cognate used by Jewish writers contemporary to Paul clearly has negative connotations. For example, Josephus uses authentēs to render “assassins” (murderers of Galilean Jew[s] on their way to a festival in Jerusalem).50 Contemporary Roman writers also used authentēs with negative connotations. The historian Appian (AD 95–165) used authentēs for “murderer.”51 Diodorus of Sicily also used authentēs in negative contexts: “the perpetrators of the sacrilege” and “the author of these crimes.”52Authenteō is similar to the negative type of leadership Jesus portrays for the Gentile rulers (archōn). Their leadership is described with two words: katakurieuō and katexousiazō (Matt 20:25), formed from the root preposition “under” (kata), which vividly describes the position of the person being ruled. Katakurieuō signifies “exercise complete dominion.”53Katexousiazō signifies to wield “authority over” or “tyrannize” “over someone.”54 Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon agrees: authenteō signifies “to have full power or authority over,” and “commit a murder,” while authentēs refers to a “murderer.”55 Thus, Paul would be prohibiting women from exercising an absolute power over men in such a way as to destroy them. By learning “in silence” (2:11–12), the women at Ephesus will become part of the health-producing educational process: learning peacefully, cooperatively, not teaching, yet, thereby, not harming their teachers.

Why might Paul have chosen to use authenteō (“domineer,” 2:12) when writing to Ephesus? Artemis of Ephesus was modeled on the queen bee.56 After the young queen has stung to death any other competing queen bees, she leaves the hive on a mating flight. The seven or eight drones who mate with her die because their reproductive organs are torn out after mating.57 Similarly, the cult of Artemis at Ephesus was associated with ritual or actual murder. Artemis could use her arrows to protect, but also to attack. One etymology for her name was “slaughterer, butcher.”58 Artemis could protect mothers, but also kill them.59 In festivals for Artemis, to keep Artemis from slaughtering the participants, “one must hold to a man’s throat the sword, and spill the blood for hallowing and the Goddess’ honour’s sake.”60 Artemis’s tales were not that different from legends about Amazon warriors, who were required to slay a male enemy before they could marry.61 Catherine Kroeger adds: “In Ephesus women also assumed the role of the man-slaying Amazons who had founded the cult of Artemis of Ephesus. . . . Evidence of actual human sacrifice has been discovered at the lowest level of the great Artemisium.”62 Consequently, authenteō might very well allude to a traditional destructive pagan feminine principle at Ephesus. However, if women were actually killing men, Paul would have used a stronger verb than “I am not permitting.” Rather, he was using authenteō metaphorically to describe destructive attitudes, women modeling themselves on Artemis, the “slaughterer,” and on Eve, for, when she ate the fruit forbidden by God, it resulted in death (Gen 3:3–4). I. H. Marshall summarizes: “In the context it seems most likely that through their being ‘deceived’ there was a false content to their teaching and that this element included some kind of emancipatory tendency.”63

Eve is a prototype of someone who sins because (s)he is deceived: “And so Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, came (to a state of ) transgression” (1 Tim 2:14). As in 1 Timothy 2:13–14, and in 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul uses Eve as a prototype for persons who are deceived by Satan’s teachings that lead them away from the truth. In 2 Corinthians, Eve illustrates the danger to the whole church of Corinth, while, in 1 Timothy, she illustrates the danger for the women at the church in Ephesus.64 However, deception is not limited to women. Paul himself says he was deceived by sin (Rom 7:11). In 1 Timothy 1:16, he is a prototype of an ignorant person who sins, yet receives mercy. In contrast to Eve, Adam often is a prototype of someone who sins, but not by means of deception.65 He knew what he was doing. In Romans 5:12–21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22, Adam is significant for what he brought into the world—death. All humans die and live in a world of death and suffering because Adam sinned and brought death into the world.

How, then, does the illustration of Eve relate to the women at Ephesus? The women at Ephesus were reminiscent of the woman in Eden: Eve. The Ephesian women were learning and teaching a body of heretical beliefs to others in an autocratic manner, and they submitted to heterodox teachers who brought spiritual death to their listeners. Eve, too, had in her time been deceived into believing certain heterodox teachings: if she touched the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would become like God, yet she would not die. She authoritatively passed on her teachings to Adam. Her eating the fruit symbolized her “belief.” Sadly, he learned. He, too, ate the forbidden fruit. The entire state of humanity and nature was affected by their actions: enslavement to sin and death. Eve’s deception affected the state into which she entered, one of transgression. So, too, if the women at Ephesus continued in being deceived by false teaching, they would enter a state of transgression. And, as the earth became fallen, so too the church at Ephesus would fall. (Already, some women were “turning after Satan” [1 Tim 5:15].)

Instead, Paul had begun a process to address the educational limitations imposed on women, especially in such a syncretistic area as Ephesus, by commanding that the women learn the truth so they could understand fully the Christian message and not be deceived, and, then, when they taught, they would bring spiritual life and salvation to their listeners.

Crete

Crete also had a strong emphasis on matriarchy.66 It had one of the oldest civilizations in the Aegean Sea, “the first great civilization on European soil.”67 Although females in Crete did not have all the political rights that men had, Minoan Crete women were probably the social equals of men and participated in all activities, including the dangerous sport of vaulting over charging bulls.68

Perhaps because of this, the women at Ephesus were having more difficulty with heterodoxy; thus, Timothy had to be a model for all believers of orthodoxy (right doctrine), whereas, at Crete, the elder women could share the educational burden with Titus. Although Crete had a heterodox teaching similar to the one in Ephesus, it did not appear to affect the women’s doctrine. The challenge was to orthopraxy (right action). The opponents in Crete were confessing knowledge of God, but their actions did not demonstrate their beliefs. As Paul lamented, they “profess to know God, but they are denying his works, being abominable and disobedient and unacceptable for every good work” (1:16). Paul’s opponents denied God’s works by not doing them.69

The women at Crete, thus, were allowed to be in positions of leadership. To support this point, I will show that Titus 2:2–3 should be translated “elders” rather than simply “old men and old women”: “(Encourage)70 elders (males) to be sober, honorable, wise, healthy in faith, in love, in perseverance; (encourage) elders (females), likewise, to be in demeanor holy, not slanderous, and not enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, . . .”

An elder is like a steward or manager (oikonomos, Titus 1:7) who was placed in charge of small or large households to feed and oversee the other workers, to make investments, and to judge over disputers,71 as exemplified by Joseph as ruler over a household and all of Egypt (Acts 7:10). Moses originally chose elders to be trustworthy, honest judges over groups of a thousand, hundred, fifty, and ten (Exod 18:13–26). These judges were chosen by the tribes themselves and were trained by Moses (Deut 1:9–18). Later, the Lord commanded Moses to gather seventy of these judges so that they too would be filled with the Spirit as Moses was and share his leadership burdens. In addition, the Spirit came upon Eldad and Medad, who prophesied in the camp (Num 11:16–17, 24, 26).

In Greco-Roman times, Jewish elders had authority in religious and civic matters. They handled city administration and jurisdiction. The council of elders (and chief priests in Jerusalem, i.e., the Sanhedrin) decided cases of orthodoxy and heterodoxy with the power of possible excommunication.72 In a village, one of the elders might be chosen to be “ruler of the synagogue” to oversee the worship service and the place and represent the congregation to Roman officials.73 Women “rulers of the synagogue” and elders have been found.74Presbyteros (“elders”), like presbeia (“a delegation”), could represent a person or a group banding together or appointed to ask for a favor, peace, or the resolution of differences.75 Thus, a synonym for “elders” was “ambassadors,” people who sought reconciliation.76 Generally, they are presented in the plural.77 The Jewish Christians appeared to have adapted the Jewish leadership format (since Christianity did have an Old Testament basis).

In Titus, “overseer” (episkopos) is a synonym for “elder” (presbyteros, 1:5, 7). Episkopos etymologically signifies “to look upon or over.”78 In Acts 20:28, “to oversee” includes the function of overseeing doctrine and is synonymous with shepherding (also 1 Pet 5:2).

The term “elder” probably implied a certain age. Some early rabbis said thirty was the age for authority, sixty was the age to be an elder (m.’Abot 5:21). Sixty was also the age for a widow to enter the church’s order of prayer (1 Tim 5:9).

What is the relationship between the male (presbytēs) and female (presbytis) “elders” in Titus chapter 2 (2:2–3) and the “elders” in chapter 1 (presbyteros, 1:5)? These terms go back to the root presbys (an old person or elder). Presbyteros is the comparative of presbys,79 literally, “the older one” or “elder of two,” as in Luke 15:25. Presbytēs and presbytis are the masculine and feminine prose forms of presbys. Many English translations render the forms in chapter 2 as simply age, not church leadership.80 However, a church leadership position is also possible. In ancient times, deference was given to elders simply because of their age.81 Second, in the same way as presbyteros could refer to leadership positions or to age, presbytēs could refer as well to age or to leadership positions. Although the Bible does have several references where presbytēs refers simply to age,82 other references clearly refer to ambassadors or envoys, as with the “elders” of the ruler from Babylon who visited Hezekiah (2 Chr 32:31) and elders representing the Jews to Sparta and to Rome (1 Macc 14:22; 15:17). Even the envoys from Rome are called “elders” (2 Macc 11:34). Elders (presbytēs) are also mentioned at the city gate where judgments were made in Israel (Job 29:7–8; Lam 5:14). When Paul calls himself presbytēs in Philemon 9, some translators render it “ambassador” (REB, TEV), while others “old man” or “aged” (NRSV, NIV, KJV).

Comparison of qualities in Titus 2:2–10 with those needed for elder and minister/deacon

Presbytēs (2:2)

(male elders)

Presbytis (2:3)

(female elders)

Nea/neos (2:4–7a)

(young)

Doulos (2:9–10)

(slaves)

1. sober (nēphalios)

(elder, Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:2, 3;

minister/deacon, 1 Tim 3:8, 11)

1. in demeanor, holy (hieroprepēs)

(elder, Titus 1:8)

(2:4–5) Why?

To encourage young females (nea) to

1. love husbands

1. to one’s master be subject in all (hypotassō)

2. honorable (semnos)

(minister/deacon, 1 Tim 3:8)

2. not slanderous (diabolos)

(minister/deacon, 1 Tim 3:11)

2. love children

(elder, Titus 1:6; 1 Tim 3:4–5; minister/deacon 1 Tim 3:12; widow, 1 Tim 5:10)

2. to be well-pleasing
(euarestos)

(elder, Titus 1:7)

3. wise (sōphrōn)

(elder, Titus 1:8; 1 Tim 3:2)

3. not enslaved to much wine

(elder, Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:2, 3; minister/deacon 1 Tim 3:8, 11)

3. be wise (sōphrōn)

(elder, Titus 1:8; 1 Tim 3:2)

3. not opposing (antilegō)

 

4. healthy in

a. faith

(elder, Titus 1:9; minister/
deacon, 1 Tim 3:11)

4. teaching what is good
(kalodidaskalos)

(elder, Titus 1:8; 1 Tim 3:2)

4. be pure (hagnos)

(elder, Titus 1:8)

4. not misappropriating for themselves (nosphizō)

(elder, Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:3;
minister/deacon, 1 Tim 3:8)

b. love

 

 

5. work at home (oikourgos)

(elder, 1 Tim 3:4–5; minister/deacon, 1 Tim 3:12)

5. showing for themselves every good trust

(elder, Titus 1:9; minister/
deacon, 1 Tim 3:11)

c. perseverance

(elder, Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:3)

 

6. be good (agathos)

(elder, Titus 1:8)

Why? honor the teaching (of the Savior God) in all

 

 

7. be subject to own
husbands (hypotassō)

 

 

 

Why? God’s word not be
blasphemed

 

 

 

To encourage young males (neōteros) (2:6–8) to be wise

(sōphroneō) (elder, Titus 1:8)

 

 

The feminine presbytis occurs only in Titus 2:3 in the Bible. Were women ever called “elder,” implying a leadership position in ancient times? Yes, one heroic “aged” (gēraia) mother of seven sons was called by the author of 4 Maccabees an “elder” (presbytis), even though a woman (4 Macc 16:14).83 At Crete, a female, Sophia of Gortyn, is described on a plaque as “elder (presbytera) and ruler of the synagogue.”84 A woman, Mannine of Venosa, thirty-eight years old, is described as an “elder” in a cemetery in Italy. Bernadette Brooten found six or seven Jewish women “elders” spread over a wide geographical area.85 The Shepherd of Hermas used presbytis and presbytera as synonyms for the church (Vision 1 [2:2], Vision 2 [5:3; 8:1]). Female elders must have had leadership in the church,86 because the Synod of Laodicea (343–81) forbade any more presbytides being ordained (canon 11). Consequently, Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek found evidence for eleven female presbyters dating from the second to the fifth century.87 Atto, bishop of Vercelli (tenth century), summarizes that, before the Council of Laodicea (fourth century) “female presbyters” “assumed the office of preaching, leading and teaching.” They “presided over the churches.”88

If presbytēs and presbytis in Titus 2:2–3 refer to leadership positions, how do they relate to the qualifications in 1:6–9? In the same way as Paul describes the ministers/deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8–10 in a general way first and then goes on to describe the female and male distinctive qualities (3:11, 12), so does Paul in Titus first describe the general qualities of an elder/overseer (1:6–9) and then goes on to highlight qualities on which the men (2:2) and the women (2:3) need to work. Again in 1 Timothy 3, Paul encourages everyone to seek an overseeing office (episkopēs) (3:1), but then delineates the distinctive qualities of overseers (episkopos) and ministers/deacons (diakonos) (3:2–13). Similarly, the elders, youth, and slaves in Titus 2:2–10 are encouraged to seek positive qualities that would make them eligible to serve as Christian leaders.

Many of the qualities needed for elders/overseers in Titus 1:6–8 are reiterated in the later lists in Titus 2:2–10: self-controlled limiting of consumption of intoxicating substances (elders), honor, wisdom (male elders, young women and men), faithfulness (male elders and slaves), love (male elders and young women), perseverance, holiness (female elders and young women), ability to teach (female elders). All are to be household-oriented, not self-pleasing, not disobedient, and not seeking selfish financial gain. Yet, the male and female elders have distinctive aspects of their Christian walk to which they had to pay attention. For example, only women in these lists are challenged not to be slanderous (Titus 2:3; 1 Tim 3:11).89

The elders in Titus 2:2–3 were exhorted to develop qualities also highlighted for the church leaders mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:2–12: being sober, wise, well behaved (overseer), and being not open to attack from others, not devoting themselves to much wine, having sound doctrine, being honorable, sober, and not slanderers (ministers/deacons). The list for the female elders is connected with the list for the male elders by “likewise”: “[encourage] elders (female), likewise, to have a holy demeanor, not slanderous, and not enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good” (2:3). Thus, although Paul highlights distinctive qualities for the male and female elders, their role as elders is similar. In 1 Timothy, the “likewise” indicates that the women are to pray as are the men (2:9), the ministers/deacons must have leadership qualities similar to the overseer’s (3:8), and the female ministers/deacons must have leadership qualities similar to those of the male ministers/deacons (3:11). The “likewise” also indicates that Titus is to encourage the female elders as much as he does the male elders.

When the elder women are exhorted to be “holy” (Titus 2:3), they are being encouraged to act in a manner appropriate to a priestly vocation. The neuter form, hieron, of hieroprepēs,90 is always used in the New Testament literally for the temple in Jerusalem (e.g., Matt 21:23). If indeed all believers are members of God’s “holy priesthood,”91 then certainly women elders also need to act appropriately according to their priestly vocation—in other words, in a holy or reverent manner.

Instead of wasting their time being drunk, the female elders are to teach (Titus 2:3). Didaskalos is the same root word used in 1 Timothy 2:12. The difference is that, in Crete, the women are encouraged to teach what is good (kalodidaskalos), whereas the women in Ephesus were forbidden from teaching what is bad.92 The elder/overseer was to love what is good (philagathos, Titus 1:8). The next step would be to teach what is good (2:3).

Ancient Crete and Sparta were cultures oriented toward warfare. Cretan marriage was a public, state-controlled ceremony involving those who belonged to the same age grade and same social class.93 The Cretans were particularly communal. Meals and sleeping quarters were communal: one for the young men, another for the young women. Even mature men ate together. In Cretan society, the household was of considerable importance.94 One Minoan palace would sustain hundreds of people.95 The relatives and followers would construct their houses radiating out from the palace at the center.96 However, the wives usually did not join the husbands’ homes until later when the young women had learned how to manage household affairs.97 Most marriages in all ancient cultures were arranged. For example, in Xenophon’s Oeconomics, the husband says to the wife, “I took you and your parents gave you to me” to obtain “the best partner of home and children” (Oec 7.11). Thus, love for one’s husband had to be learned. In Titus, Paul places responsibility for the training on the female elders. Titus does not teach the women. Husbands do not teach women (in contrast to Xenophon, Oec 7.8–9), nor do mothers, as we might expect. Paul wanted Christian models for the younger women. He assumed a society divided by sex when he picked Christian female elders as teachers. Thus, women teaching women was not a limiting command for women, but, rather, a liberating one.

Paul encouraged the young women to work in the “household” (oikourgos, 2:5). In contrast to postindustrial societies, in ancient times, all people worked in the household; as Xenophon explains, husband and wife are “partners (koinōnos) in the household (oikos).” Xenophon goes on to explain that men work outdoors, while women work indoors (Oec 7.30); however, the outdoors and the indoors are all part of the household. In contrast, the model of an ideal, biblical, capable wife works both outdoors and indoors, as in Proverbs 31:13–27, buying fields, planting vineyards, and selling garments.98 The women were to be rulers of the household (according to 1 Tim 5:14), and, thus, would not be idle (1 Tim 5:13). The rabbis agreed that “idleness leads to unchastity” (R. Eliezer) and “idleness leads to lowness of spirit” (R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, m. Ketub. 5:5). Their basis may be King Lemuel’s mother, who said that the capable wife “does not eat the bread of idleness” (Prov 31:27).99

Although hypotassō (“being subject,” Titus 2:5) can be used for hierarchical relationships, it can also be used for mutual or equal authorities, as prophets who are subject to other prophets, allowing each other to speak and evaluate each other’s message (1 Cor 14:29–33), or as Christians to Christians (Eph 5:21), or as the Son and the Father (1 Cor 15:27–28), or as the Corinthians who are served and Stephana’s household who are serving in ministry (1 Cor 16:15–18). Wives, along with other Christians, are exhorted to be supportive presences in actions and words. They are respectfully to cooperate with their husbands, treating them as valuable.100 This is particularly important (and challenging) in a society where the father or husband was the paterfamilias or chief priest who held the power of life and death over the entire household.101 Aristotle, for example, addresses his words to male masters (Politics 1.2.2 [1253b]), but, in contrast, Paul has Titus address his words to females directly (2:3). Aristotle uses the language of one human “ruling” another in the household (archō, Politics 1.2.8, 12 [1254a–b]),102 but Paul does not.

As the female elders are compared to the male elders by the use of “likewise” (2:3), now the male youth are compared to the female youth: “encourage the younger ones [probably males],103 likewise, to be wise concerning all, showing yourself a model of good works, in the teaching—pure, honorable, beyond reproach with a healthy message, in order that any opponent might be ashamed, not having evil to say concerning us” (2:6–8). The young men, like the young women, as well as the elders, are to be “wise concerning all” (2:2, 6–7). “Concerning all” appears to summarize all the previous lists. Younger women are instructed to model themselves on the elder women, and Titus is exhorted to be a comparable “model” (typos) for the younger men (Titus 2:7–8), treating them as “brothers” (1 Tim 5:1). Timothy, though, is a model to all believers (1 Tim 4:12). Education through modeling is a most effective means of communication, especially to those who are one’s equal.104

Thus, Paul gave the female elders in Crete a key role to teach the young women, one unusual for ancient Greek society. It is true that, in Titus 1:6 (as in 1 Tim 3:2), the general qualification for an elder/overseer is to be a “one-woman man,” but this may simply indicate that most Cretan and Ephesian elders were men rather than women. A male overseer, if married, must be a man who is faithful and devoted and focused on only one woman. In other words, men are to love “their own wives as their own bodies” (Eph 5:28). Paul’s standard of monogamy in marriage stood in contrast to Roman and Greek standards deeming it acceptable for married men to have sexual relations with slaves, concubines, or prostitutes. Roman slaves legally never married; they cohabitated (contubernium). The slaves, however, considered their marriages valid. The slave women could not be accused of adultery.105 Xenophon assumes a married man could have a sexual relationship with a household slave: “When a wife’s looks outshine a maid’s, and she is fresher and more becomingly dressed, they’re a ravishing sight, especially when the wife is also willing to oblige, whereas the girl’s services are compulsory” (Oec 10.12). Demosthenes explains, “Mistresses (hetaira) we keep for the sake of pleasure, concubines for the daily care of our persons, but wives to bear us legitimate106 children and to be faithful guardians of our households” (Neaer 122). Hetairai were “women, slave or free, who traded their sexual favours for long or short periods outside wedlock.”107 They could be streetwalkers or accomplished courtesans. Adolf Berger and Barry Nicholas explain that Roman law “took cognizance only of adultery by the wife. . . . Adultery by the husband was never as such a crime, but his illicit intercourse with a respectable woman constituted the crime of stuprum under the Lex Julia, and in the fifth century (Cod. Just. 5.17.8) his adultery in the matrimonial home or his adultery with a married woman anywhere entitled his wife to divorce him.”108 If a man were faithful and devoted and focused only on his wife, he would have no room in his heart or his time for other intimate female (or male) relationships.

In effect, “a one-woman man” (1 Tim 3:2) would be a man who is “joined fast to his wife” and “one flesh” with her.109 Thus, the emphasis in the text is not on the gender of overseers being men. A man with one wife indicates fidelity in marriage and being devoted to the spouse, which is a quality necessary for leadership. A single, chaste man (or woman) would not contradict Paul’s prescription. Such a man yet has no wife to whom to be faithful. If single men could not be overseers, then Paul, maybe even Timothy, could not be overseers. In fact, by this reasoning, Jesus, the greatest “Overseer” of our lives (1 Pet 2:25), could not be an overseer!

An additional question to consider is the nature of language that may appear sex-specific, but is in reality generic. If 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 are sex-specific, how, then, would we interpret Malachi 2:15, “let none be faithless to the wife of his youth” (RSV)? Does that mean that Malachi allows wives to be faithless to their husbands? I think not.

Probably, the translations “faithful in marriage” (CEV) or “faithful to their spouse” (1 Tim 3:2 CEB) render best the intention of the more literal “a one-woman man.” Further, the overseer’s relationship with his (or her) spouse is an important, but not the only, quality for leadership. How can people be faithful and persistent in following God if they cannot be faithful and persistent in their earthly one-flesh relationship?110

Conclusion

While the celebrants of Artemis might be encouraged to participate in intoxicated orgiastic practices and the magical control of gods and humans (e.g., Acts 19:19), in contrast, Paul was exhorting self-control, order, and gentleness. Although Ephesus was a place of great wealth, and the heterodox teachers also were promoting their own financial gain (Titus 1:10–11), the Christian overseers were not to be greedy. Good teaching is essential during times of wrong teaching, controversy, and speculation.

“Apt or skillful at teaching” in 1 Timothy 3:2 is a key characteristic for an overseer at a time when the church is confused about which teaching is sound and unsound.111 Effective teaching is often combined with wisdom.112 The women at Ephesus needed to learn (1 Tim 2:11). The women at Crete needed to teach (Titus 2:3). Believers needed to be taught so they could teach others (2 Tim 2:2). Teaching is so important that elders who teach should be paid more than others (1 Tim 5:17–18).

In summary, although women were more prominent in these secular cultures, the Jewish and Gentile disciples of Jesus did not automatically limit their prominence, as in Macedonia and Crete. In contrast, they assumed the leadership of women in the churches of Philippi and Crete. Although the women in Ephesus in Anatolia also had a heritage of secular leadership, Paul did limit their teaching because they had been affected by negative aspects of the pagan religions. Instead, he placed them on a program to prepare them for leadership through education. What key principle is, then, above culture? Affirmation and knowledge of healthy, accurate teaching is what counts above all. The disciples were most concerned with this. They did not travel about teaching distinctive roles for men and for women in the church, but, rather, right knowledge and action.

Notes

  1. E.g., William D. Mounce, Word Biblical Commentary 46: Pastoral Epistles (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2000), 410; J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on The Pastoral Epistles, Harper’s New Testament Commentary (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1963), 240; Gordon D. Fee, New International Biblical Commentary: 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988), 186.
  2. E.g., Luke Timothy Johnson, Letters to Paul’s Delegates: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, The New Testament in Context (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity, 1996), 232–33; Samuel Ngewa, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, African Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 363; Fee, 1 Timothy, 186; Kelly, Commentary, 240; Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 410; Philip H. Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 724.
  3. E.g., Titus 1:11; 1 Tim 3:4–5, 12; 5:4; 2 Tim 1:16; 4:19.
  4. E.g., Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 10.3–4.
  5. Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians I: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1–2 Timothy, and 1–3 John (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006), 138.
  6. J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1913), 56–57.
  7. Lightfoot, Epistle, 56; Acts 16:13–15, 40; 17:4, 12.
  8. Nevertheless, education was not promoted for women, even by the wealthy. See Sarah B. Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity (New York, NY: Schocken, 1975), 131, 136–39; Pomeroy, Women in Hellenistic Egypt: From Alexander to Cleopatra (New York, NY: Schocken, 1984), 66–71; Leanna Goodwater, Women in Antiquity: An Annotated Bibliography (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1975), 15.
  9. William Tarn, Hellenistic Civilisation, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: World, 1952), 98.
  10. Pomeroy, Women; Grace Harriet Macurdy, Hellenistic Queens: A Study of Woman-Power in Macedonia, Seleucid Syria, and Ptolemaic Egypt, The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Archaeology 14 (Chicago, IL: Argonaut, 1932).
  11. E.g., Mishnah Ketubbot 1:8; 7:6. A woman could be divorced without financial settlement if she spoke in public with a man.
  12. Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, and Henry Stuart Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968, hereafter LSJ), 1711–12; 1 Cor 3:8–9.
  13. 2 Cor 1:1, 24; 1 Tim 1:1; 2:7 (Paul: apostle, teacher); Rom 16:21; 1 Thess 3:2; 2 Tim 4:5 (Timothy: evangelist); Acts 15:32; 2 Cor 1:19, 24 (Silas: prophet); Phil 2:25; 4:2–3; Rom 16:3 (Aída Besançon Spencer, Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1985], 118–19).
  14. Phil 1:5; 4:15–19; 2 Cor 8:1–5.
  15. Derek Thomas, “The Place of Women in the Church at Philippi,” Expository Times (January 1972): 120.
  16. W. M. Ramsay, The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia I (Oxford: Clarendon, 1895), 5, 7, 94.
  17. Ramsay, Cities, 264.
  18. Spencer, Beyond the Curse, 63.
  19. Ramsay, Cities, 118.
  20. W. M. Ramsay, Asianic Elements in Greek Civilisation (New York, NY: AMS, 1927), 172–73, 263, 267, 296.
  21. Rick Strelan, Paul, Artemis, and the Jews in Ephesus, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 80 (New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter, 1996), 191. Paul Trebilco, Jewish Communities in Asia Minor, Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 69 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 112–26.
  22. Pausanias, Description of Greece (Descr.) 4.31.8.
  23. Strelan, Paul, 46.
  24. Pausanias, Descr. 8. 13.1.
  25. Strabo, Geography (Geogr) 14.1.23 [C641]; Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, St. Paul’s Ephesus: Texts and Archaeology (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2008), 24.
  26. Catherine Clark Kroeger, “God/dess of the Past,” The Goddess Revival: A Biblical Response to God(dess) Spirituality, ed. Aída Besançon Spencer et al. (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1995), 58. Florence May Bennett (Religious Cults Associated with the Amazons [New York, NY: AMS, 1967], 19–20, 38–39) adds that effeminate priests and sex confusion were part of the rites of Artemis at Ephesus. See also Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11–15 in Light of Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1992), 193–96; Ramsay, Cities, 93–94; Ramsay, Asianic, 174.
  27. “Virgin” may simply refer to being unmarried. Sex is prohibited only between husband and wife (Ramsay, Cities, 95, 136; Strelan, Paul, 73, 120).
  28. Pomeroy, Goddesses, 189. Artemidorus Daldianus (of Ephesus) (Onirocritica 4.4) wrote that death is the penalty for a married woman who entered the temple of Artemis of Ephesus; Bennett, Religious Cults, 33.
  29. Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae (Deipn.) 12. 525C; Murphy-O’Connor, St. Paul’s, 50; Strelan, Paul, 76. Artemis was called “savior” because her temple was a place of refuge (Colin Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, JSNT 11 [Sheffield: JSOT, 1986], 48).
  30. Webster’s Dictionary 2001: 1155. For an example of the mysteries of Artemis, see G. H. R. Horsley and S. R. Llewelyn, eds., New Documents Illustrating Earliest Christianity, 6 (NSW, Australia: Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, Macquarie University, 1992), 200–02. Betz includes samples of ancient spells of power (Hans Dieter Betz, ed., The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1986). A second-century Artemis even has zodiac signs on her chest; Selahattin Erdemgil, Selçuk Ephesus (Istanbul: Net Turistik Yayinlar, 2009), 60; Lynn R. LiDonnici, “The Images of Artemis Ephesia and Greco-Roman Worship: A Reconsideration,” Harvard Theological Review 85, no. 4 (Oct. 1992): 407.
  31. Spencer, Goddess Revival, 82.
  32. Pharmakeia could refer to drugs or witchcraft (LSJ, 1917). The Ephesian Six Letters functioned as charms to make the bearers invincible (Athenaeus, Deipn. 12.548c); Murphy-O’Connor, St. Paul’s, 51; Otto F. Meinardus, St. Paul in Ephesus and the Cities of Galatia and Cyprus (New Rochelle, NY: Lycabettus, 1979), 92.
  33. For an example of a syncretistic spell of attraction, see Betz, Greek Magical Papyri, 89.
  34. Ronald E. Heine, The Commentaries of Origen and Jerome on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, Oxford Early Christian Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 77.
  35. Elaine Fantham, et al., Women in the Classical World: Image and Text (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1994), 134; Martin P. Nilsson, The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its Survival in Greek Religion, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Biblo and Tannen, 1971), 503, 509.
  36. Jacquetta Hawkes, Dawn of the Gods (New York, NY: Random: 1968), 286 (picture 126). The Cretan Bacchic frenzy worship continued in Ephesus (Strabo, Geogr. 10.3.7 [C466]; Kroeger, Suffer, 54). The festival of Artemis included heavy drinking (Christine Thomas, “At Home in the City of Artemis,” Ephesos: Metropolis of Asia, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Its Archaeology, Religion, and Culture [Valley Forge, PA: Trinity, 1995], 110), though not all aspects of the festivals were unwholesome. See Murphy-O’Connor, St. Paul’s, 63, 175, 177, 199; Paul Trebilco, “Asia,” The Book of Acts in Its First Century Setting 2, The Book of Acts in Its Graeco-Roman Setting, ed. David W. J. Gill and Conrad Gempf (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994): 321–22; Irene Ringwood Arnold, “Festivals of Ephesus,” American Journal of Archaeology 76 (1972): 17–22.
  37. “Silence” is emphasized by being placed before the verb in 2:11 and by being repeated at the end of 2:12.
  38. E.g., 1 Tim 1:7; 2:11; 2 Tim 3:6–7.
  39. Mishnah ‘Abot 1:17. For more references, see Spencer, Beyond the Curse, 77–80.
  40. Noeō (Frederick William Danker, ed., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. [Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000; hereafter BDAG], 674–75; Joseph Henry Thayer, Thayer’s Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament [Marshallton, DE: National Foundation for Christian Education, 1889], 426–27). For example, Jesus realizes that his disciples have observed that, when they eat something, it enters the stomach and then leaves the body. But, they have not carefully thought that this physical principle is analogous to a spiritual lesson (Matt 15:16–20). The rabbinic laws of purity and impurity directing ways of eating are not what make someone pure (Matt 15:1–20). Faith helps one understand matters spiritually. See also Heb 11:3; Matt 16:9; 24:15; John 12:40; Rom 1:20; Eph 3:4; 2 Tim 2:7.
  41. 2 Tim 1:5; 3:14–15.
  42. Mishnah Qiddushin 1:7; Hagigah 1:1; Sukkah 2:8; Spencer, Beyond the Curse, 47–57.
  43. Philo, On the Special Laws 3.31 [169–71]; Against Flaccus 11 [89]; Spencer, Beyond the Curse, 50. See also Xenophon, Oeconomicus 7.23, 35.
  44. Sinclair Hood, The Minoans: The Story of Bronze Age Crete (New York, NY: Praeger, 1971), 117. The fifteen known women who were high priests in Ephesus is the largest group known from any city (Strelan, Paul, 120).
  45. Euripides, Iphigeneia at Tauris, 41.
  46. Bruce W. Winter, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 116.
  47. Winter, Roman Wives, 178. Nevertheless, a few Roman women gave public speeches (Pomeroy, Goddesses, 175–76).
  48. Sanford Hull lists the many exegetical difficulties in 1 Tim 2:8–15 (Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Equal to Serve: Women and Men in the Church and Home [Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming Revell, 1987], 259–65). Thesaurus Linguae Graecae lists no verb forms of authentein before the third century AD.
  49. See the extensive discussion in Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 361–92; Linda Belleville, “Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11–15,” Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2005), 209–17; Kroeger, Suffer, 87–103, 185–88.
  50. 50. Josephus describes Antipater, Herod’s son, as an authentēs because he was accused of killing his family members (Jewish War 2.12.5 [232–40]; 1.30.1 [582]). Philo describes the person who has tried to destroy the virtues as his “own murderer” (That the Worse Attacks the Better 21 [78]). The Wisdom of Solomon describes bad parents as authentai who “kill defenseless souls by their own hands” (12:6).
  51. Roman History; Civil Wars 1.7.61; 3.13.115; 4.17.134.
  52. Hist. 16.61.1; 16.5.4. Some scholars have posited that the noun and verb have different root meanings, e.g., Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, eds., Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2005), 45, 102. However, the definitive grammarian A. T. Robertson indicates that the verb authenteō comes from the noun authentēs (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research [Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1934], 147–48).
  53. LSJ, 896.
  54. LSJ, 924; BDAG, 531. Katakurieuō is used of the demons who “overpower” the Jewish exorcists so that they are left naked and wounded (Acts 19:16).
  55. LSJ, 275. Editors Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida agree that authenteō signifies “to control in a domineering manner” (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains I, 2nd ed. [New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1989], 474).
  56. Statues uncovered of Artemis and coins of Ephesus often include the figure of a queen bee, e.g., Peter Scherrer, ed., Ephesus: The New Guide (Turkey: Gaphis, 2000), 205, 213; Kroeger, Suffer, 71. See Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey.
  57. Charles D. Michener and Mary H. Michener, “Bee,” Collier’s Encyclopedia 3 (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1987): 763.
  58. “Artemis,” Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd ed., ed. N. G. L. Hammond and H. H. Scullard (Oxford: Clarendon, 1970 (hereafter OCD), 126; LSJ, 248; Nilsson, The Minoan-Mycenaen Religion, 509. Another etymology is “safe and sound” (Artemidorus Daldianus, Oniocritica 2.35; Strabo, Geogr 14.1.6).
  59. In Euripides’s tales, first the angry Artemis demands the sacrifice of the maiden Iphigeneia, daughter of Agamemon, to appease herself (Iphigeneia at Aulis, 89–93) and then snatches her from the altar to make her priestess of her temple in Taurica, north of the Black Sea. Whenever any Greek men came to that coast, they were seized and sacrificed. Iphigeneia was forced to consecrate them to Artemis for death on the altar. “I consecrate the victim,” Iphigeneia laments, “in rites of that dark cult wherein Artemis joys—fair is its name alone.” While Artemis barred murderers from her altars, she “yet joys herself in human sacrifice!” (Euripides, Iphigeneia at Tauris, 35, 40, 381–84). Clement of Alexandria refers to these sacrifices (Exhortation to the Greeks, ch. 3).
  60. Euripides, Iph. taur., 1458–61.
  61. Herododotus, Hist 4.117; Bennett, Religious Cults, 10–11.
  62. Kroeger, Goddess Revival, 58, 61; OCD, 127. Self-castration of the eunuchs as consecration to the goddess could be a frenzied and bloody rite (Thomas, Ephesos, 91). See also Kroeger, Suffer, 185.
  63. I. Howard Marshall, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, ICC (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1999), 441–42. Other helpful samples of similar conclusions about 1 Tim 2:11–14: (1) Didaskein “forbids women to teach a wrong doctrine.” Paul does not allow a woman “to proclaim herself author of man,” going back to the sense of authentēs as the responsibility of the subject in the accomplishment of an act or function. 1 Tim 2:12 may prohibit “cultic action involving actual or representational murder” (Kroeger, Suffer, 81, 99, 103, 185, 192). (2) Authentein has the connotation “to domineer.” Some kind of “disruptive behavior, which perhaps included boisterous affirmation of the heresies, seems to lie behind these instructions” (Fee, 1 Timothy, 73). See also REB, “I do not permit women to teach or dictate to the men,” and CEV, “They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do” (2:12). (3) The second verb (authenteō) modifies the first verb (didaskō), similar in function to a pleonasm or hendiadys: I am not permitting a woman to teach with self-assumed authority over a man. In other words, the connecting oude combines two conceptually different elements to express a single idea (Payne, Man and Woman, 337–59). See also TNIV, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man” (2:12). The footnote has, “Or teach a man in a domineering way.” (4) “Paul is addressing women who have been involved in teaching the heresy,” or have assumed the teaching role inappropriately “out of a desire to dominate in the public meeting” (Towner, Letters, 223–24). (5) Paul “considered it inappropriate for women to arrogate authority to themselves. This would explain why Paul did not use the common word for having authority, exousiazō, in 1 Tim 2:12” (Walter L. Liefeld, “Women and the Nature of Ministry,” JETS 30:1 [March 1987]: 52). (6) “Paul may here be warning against a domineering use of authority, rather than merely any use of authority” (Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1992]: 109). (7) Authenteō is not “gender-specific,” as John Chrysostom advises husbands not to “be despotic or domineer the woman” (Hom 10 Col). The verb “characterizes the nature of the teaching rather than the role of women in church leadership in general” (Witherington, Letters, 227–28). (8) “It is inconsistent to regard the dress code in 1 Timothy 2:9 as culturally relative and, therefore, temporary, but the restriction on women’s ministry in 2:12 as universal and permanent. All these instructions are part of the same paragraph, the same flow of thought” (Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Good News for Women: A Biblical Picture of Gender Equality [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1997]: 214). (9) “We must resist reading our way of doing things back into the practice of the early church. Teaching in the New Testament era was an activity, not an office. . . . It was a gift, not a position of authority” (Linda L. Belleville, Women Leaders and the Church: Three Crucial Questions [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2000], 173). “There is no first-century warrant for translating authentein as ‘to exercise authority.’ . . . Rather the sense is the Koine ‘to dominate, to get one’s way.’” “To define a purpose or goal actually provides a good fit: ‘I do not permit a woman to teach so as to gain mastery over a man,’ or ‘I do not permit a woman to teach with a view to dominating a man” (Belleville, “Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11–15,” Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, 2nd ed. [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2005], 216, 219).
  64. Hymenaeus and Alexander are punished instead of educated because they apparently know they did wrong (1 Tim 1:19–20).
  65. Chrysostom (Homiliae in Genesim 17.19) also notes that Eve did not deceive Adam. Alan G. Padgett agrees that Eve is a type of those who are being deceived by false teachers, but, in 1 Tim 2:11–14, Adam is a type of Timothy and Paul’s sound doctrine (As Christ Submits to the Church: A Biblical Understanding of Leadership and Mutual Submission [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011], 94, 96, 99).
  66. Bennett, Religious Cults, 75; Winter, Roman Wives, 141.
  67. Cyrus H. Gordon, “Minoan Civilization,” Collier’s Encyclopedia 16: 330. Keith Branigan and Michael Vickers, Hellas: The Civilizations of Ancient Greece (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1980), 23.
  68. Gordon, “Minoan”: 332–33; Branigan and Vickers, Hellas, 41–43.
  69. See also Titus 2:7, 12–14; 3:1–2, 8, 14.
  70. Since the initial noun “elders” is in the accusative (direct object) case, the verb is implied. “Elders” (2:3), “slaves” (2:9), and “the younger ones” are likewise in the accusative case, but “the younger ones” has a verb “encourage” or “be encouraging,” which likely is the missing verb in all three sections.
  71. Matt 24:45–49; 25:21–23; Luke 12:14, 42–44; Acts 7:26–27, 35.
  72. Matt 21:23; 26:3–4, 47, 57; 27:1, 12; John 9:22; 12:42; 16:2; Acts 4:5–9; 25:15; mishnah Sanhedrin; Emil Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 BC–AD 135) II, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1979), 431–35; Lee I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), ch. 5.
  73. Luke 13:14; Acts 13:15.
  74. Bernadette J. Brooten, Women Leaders in the Ancient Synagogue: Inscriptional Evidence and Background Issues, Brown Judaic Studies 36 (Chico: Scholars, 1982), chs. 3, 4; Levine, Synagogue, 482, 486. Trebilco, Jewish Communities, 104–25. He notes Rufina (Ionia), Theopempte (Caria), Sophia (Crete), Peristeria (Thebes), Rebecca (Thrace), Sara Ura (Rome), Makaria Mazauzala (Oea), and Eulogia (Malta). He found twenty-one women with titles in ancient synagogues. The prostatēs  (Jael, Phoebe in Rom 16:2) in some communities was probably “the most important official” (109).
  75. E.g., Luke 7:2–4; 14:32; 19:14.
  76. 2 Cor 5:19–20.
  77. Peter includes himself as one of many in 1 Pet 5:1, but John simply calls himself “the elder” in 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1. See also Brooten, Women Leaders, 53. Christian elders first appear in Acts. Elders in Jerusalem receive the gifts collected by Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the starving Christians in Judea (Acts 11:29–30). As in Crete, at the second visit to new churches in Asia Minor, Paul and Barnabas oversaw the election of elders in every church (Acts 14:23). Each church would have more than one elder (Acts 20:17). The apostles and elders in Jerusalem would decide questions of heterodoxy versus orthodoxy. The whole church would consent to their decision (Acts 15:2–23; 16:4). As the apostles, even Christian elders have the responsibility to pray for healing (Jas 5:14; Mark 6:7, 13).
  78. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, 242. “Elders” and “overseers” are also synonyms in Acts 20:17, 28, and 1 Peter 5:1–2. A. T. Robertson (Word Pictures in the New Testament III: The Acts of the Apostles [Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1930], 217) suggests “elder” was the Jewish name and “overseer” the Greek name for the same office.
  79. LSJ, 1462; Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, 535.
  80. E.g., NRSV, NIV, TNIV, REB, TEV, CEV, NASB, JB have “older men/women.” KJV has “aged men” and “aged women” (2:2–3). Spanish versions do not differentiate between Titus 1:5–6 and 2:2, 3, rendering them all “anciano/a,” Reina-Valera 1995, Dios Habla Hoy, Biblia de las Américas, Nueva Versión Internacional.
  81. E.g., Lev 19:32; Deut 28:50; Isa 9:14–15; Wis 2:10.
  82. E.g., Abraham, Gen 25:8; Jacob, Gen 43:27; Eli, 1 Sam 2:22; 4:18; Zechariah, Luke 1:18.
  83. See translation by H. Anderson, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha 2 (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1985), 561.
  84. First to fourth century AD; Brooten, Women Leaders, 41. Levine confirms that women have been identified as elders and rulers of the synagogue (officials) in the area of Asia Minor and its immediate surroundings: Smyrna, Crete, Myndos, Thrace, Venosa, Tripolitania, Rome, and Malta (10 percent of total names mentioned); Ancient Synagogue, 482–83, 487. Greg Horsely (“Early Evidence of Women Officers in the Church,” Priscilla Papers 1 [Fall 1987]: 4) has found numerous examples of female elders. Moreover, even the term presbytera has been used for older women in 1 Tim 5:2. All this data contradicts Mounce’s pronouncement that “there was no position of ‘women elders’ in the Pauline churches or in the second century” (Pastoral Epistles, 270). In Ireland, women were ordained as bishops, for example, Brigid (c. AD 455–525) as a priest and a bishop, whose successors were always to have episcopal orders and honor due to a bishop, and also Hilda and Beoferlic. Not until the twelfth century were the dignity and honors of a bishop removed from the titles of the abbesses of Kildare. Many women in Gaul were also ordained to conduct the Mass (Peter Berresford Ellis, Celtic Women: Women in Celtic Society and Literature [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995], 37–38, 146–47).
  85. Not until the Council of Laodicea (AD 363) is the order of female elders forbidden by some (Brooten, Women Leaders, 43, 45).
  86. Catherine Clark Kroeger agrees, “presbytēs is best understood as a church officer,” a “female presbyter” (The IVP Women’s Bible Commentary [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002], 757).
  87. Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek, eds., Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), 210. Ammion, Artemidora, Epiktō, Kalē, Leta, Martia, Flavia Vitalia, and Guilia Runa are mentioned (169–71, 191–98).
  88. Madigan and Osiek, Ordained Women, 191–92. The Acts of Philip (4–5th c.) assumes male and female presbyters (167).
  89. See also Fee, 1 Timothy, 184; Towner, Letters, 722.
  90. Hieroprepēs is composed of hieros (“holy”) and prepō (“appropriate”). Hieroprepēs signifies “appropriate to a sacred place.” It is a synonym for semnos (Titus 2:2). It can refer to a temple, e.g., the “sacred precinct” of a temple of the Mother of the gods (Strabo, Geogr 12.5.3 [C567]) or to a person, e.g., a “sacred youth” who died heroically for his faith (4 Macc 9:25).
  91. Hierateuma and hiereus, 1 Pet 2:5; Rev 1:6; 5:10; Exod 19:6 LXX; Isa 61:6. Walter Lock writes, “they are to carry into daily life the demeanor of priestesses in a temple.” A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, ICC (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924), 140. See also Fee, 1 Timothy, 186; Towner, Letters, 723; Witherington, Letters, 137.
  92. 1 Tim 1:3, 7; 4:7; 5:13–14.
  93. An exception would be a minor who was allowed to marry an heiress who could be even as young as twelve to safeguard the household’s interests.
  94. R. F. Willetts, Ancient Crete: A Social History, From Early Times Until the Roman Occupation, Studies in Social History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965), 48.
  95. Jacquetta Hawkes, Dawn of the Gods (New York, NY: Random, 1968), 52, 55, 58.
  96. Gordon, “Minoan Civilization,” 334.
  97. Spartans could not live with their wives until the men were thirty years of age (Strabo, Geogr 10.4.20 [C482]; Willetts, Ancient Crete, 112–14).
  98. The Shulammite also is a vineyard keeper (Song 1:6) and, as well, Rachel was a shepherd (Gen 29:9). Prisca and Aquila had a joint business (Acts 18:3).
  99. Keum Ju (Jewel) Hyun notes that Prov 31 foreshadows Paul’s admonition in Titus 2:3–5 (“How Titus 2:3–5 May Be Used Today as a Basis for Older Women to Mentor Younger Women,” M.A. thesis, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 2001, 55).
  100. Aída Spencer, “Peter’s Pedagogical Method in 1 Peter 3:6,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 10:1 (2000): 110; 1 Pet 2:13, 17; 3:1.
  101. Spencer, “Pedagogical Method,” 109; Willetts, Ancient Crete, 87. Alan G. Padgett, among others, mentions the evangelistic, apologetic, or missionary nature of Paul’s exhortations in Titus, “for the advancement of the church in the face of first century opposition” (“The Pauline Rationale for Submission: Biblical Feminism and the hina Clauses of Titus 2:1–10,” The Evangelical Quarterly 59:1 (Jan 1987): 50–51; As Christ Submits to the Church, 86–87.
  102. According to the Cretan Gortyn Code, the father had power over the children and the property. Strabo, Geogr 10.4.16, 20; Plato, Laws 1.625C–626A; Aristotle, Politics 2.2.10 [1264a]; 2.6.21 [1271a]; 2.7.3 [1272a]; Willetts, Ancient Crete, 86–87, 111, 113–14, 117, 119.
  103. The masculine plural can also serve as the generic, but, since younger women were earlier mentioned (2:5), younger males are probably intended in 2:6.
  104. Only Timothy and Titus are singled out as individual coworkers who are patterns (typos) to be followed.
  105. Pomeroy, Goddesses, 193; Fantham, Women, 300, 306, 323; Winter, Roman Wives, 41.
  106. “Legitimate” (gnēsiōs) is the same term used for Timothy and Titus by Paul (1 Tim 1:2; Titus 1:4).
  107. Hetairiai,” OCD, 512.
  108. “Adultery,” OCD, 10–11. Jewish law also contains, according to Tai Ilan, “no definition of or provision against adultery by the husband against his wife, since he may marry more than one woman; the wife, on the other hand, must remain strictly faithful to her husband. The only way a man can commit adultery is with another man’s wife.” Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 135.
  109. Matt 19:5–6; Gen 2:24. For a discussion of the meaning of “one flesh,” see Spencer, et al., Marriage at the Crossroads: Couples in Conversation about Discipleship, Gender Roles, Decision Making, and Intimacy (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2009), 25–31.
  110. See also 1 John 4:20.
  111. 1 Tim 1:10; 2 Tim 4:3–4; Titus 1:9.
  112. E.g., Jas 3:1, 13, 15, 17 sophia; Acts 26:25 sōphrosunē.

 

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