Troublesome Topic: Authority 1 Tim 2

1 Timothy 2:12


But I do not permit a woman to teach [a man] nor to exercise authority

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over a man,

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but to be

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in calmness.


In the prayer and worship times of a local church (and in general) I do not allow a woman to assume the role of teacher or any other role of authority over her husband or another man of authority in her life, or over another man who has authority in his own family. Instead she should be calm and live in tranquility.


The word “authority” in Greek is a compound word made up of the word “auto/self” and the word “work or do.” It is a picture of someone who works or does things of his own initiative and without any authority figure over him. He is in charge of himself, and no one tells him what to do. However, none of us are ever able to work or act without answering to someone else. The husband is under God’s authority, he cannot act on his own as if no one can tell him what to do. In this passage, the word “authority” may mean what it normally means – authority within a greater line of authority, or it may go back to its root meaning, indicating that the woman cannot act as if she has no one over her; she cannot do whatever she pleases. I think Paul would say that if a woman acts outside the authority of her husband, whom God has placed over her, then she is also acting outside of God’s authority. By rejecting her husband’s authority, she is rejecting God’s authority and acting totally on her own, which is not a healthy thing for anyone to do.

But don’t men sometimes abuse their position of authority? Yes, they sometimes do. However, whenever they do so, they are acting outside of God’s authority because men have been specifically commanded to love their wives just like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her (Eph 5:25). The man is not free to do whatever he wants with the authority he has been given; he must exercise it in the way God has prescribed, which is by putting others first. When we fail to follow the system God has established and then things get ugly, we should not say God was wrong to set things up that way, nor throw out the system and search for another one. It was our fault for not following what God established. Here is an example. If we use a tool such as a power saw, a lawnmower, a drill, a kitchen knife, a microwave oven, etc. in a way that it was not designed to function and then it damages something or injures us, we cannot blame the manufacturer of that tool because we are at fault for having used it incorrectly.

So the issue is authority, and the big one is teaching.

What does “nor exercise authority over a man” mean?

1. It means not making decisions for him.  Thus, in a gathering of a house-church, a man should be the facilitator of the meeting. Men should be the ones to make the decisions about the use of money, but women may give their suggestions. In other areas of life, such as the home, it likewise means that the wife should allow the husband to make the big decisions which set the direction their family is moving in. They should function as a team, meaning that he should ask her opinion, and they should work together to achieve the goal. As captain of the team, he should make the final call, and she should respect his decision.

There is a story which says that, long ago, a king sent his servants to inquire at each home of his kingdom regarding who was acting as the head of the household. If the family agreed that the father was the head of the home, the king’s servants were instructed to give the family a horse as a gift from the king; if they indicated that mom ran the show, the king’s servants were instructed to give the family a goose as a gift from the king. At one home the family agreed that the father was the head of the home, so the king’s servants gave the family a horse. It happened to be a brown horse. As the servants began to leave, one of the children ran after them and said, “Mommy says she wants a white horse.” So the king’s servants returned and exchanged the brown horse for a white goose.

 In more recent times, one man said, “I make the big decisions and my wife makes the small decisions. In 25 years of marriage I haven’t made one decision yet.” That does not sound like teamwork to me.

Most of us have seen examples of both extremes. We have seen men who treat their wives like doormats to wipe their feet on, or like sex slaves, or household servants. That is NOT what God had in mind, and those men will face some type of consequence for it. We have also seen marriages where the husband is a little puppet, unable to do or say much because the wife makes all the calls and always gets her way. This is not what God had in mind either. We have also seen less extreme versions of the problems described above. A perfect balance is hard to find, but we should strive for the kind of balance the Bible describes, not just what we envision or what our culture says is the right balance.

2. It means not being respectful of her husband. Part of respecting the husband, and part of the couple functioning as a team, is that the father represents the family during a time of sharing in the house-church gather.

Apart from the context of a house-church meeting, the principles of love and respect should permeate every aspect of a marriage relationship. Emmerson Eggeriches has done an excellent job of teaching that a man should love his wife and a wife should respect her husband. The Bible consistently commands us to function in those ways. Here is a link to Emmerson’s web site which offers lots of excellent resources:

“What about the role of women in society?”

As stated above, we should not expect people who do not want to follow God to live by these standards, nor society in general. If there are men and women working at similar tasks within a given company, I think they should get paid according to how well they do their jobs. Period. Nothing else should matter. Neither should performance be ignored in order to advance a politically correct agenda. Women are better at some things and men are better at some things. Usually we will find a type of work we feel we are relatively good at and stick with that for a while, and I think most people expect to be paid according to how well they do their job (except for loafers, they want to get paid more than what they are worth).

Paul’s discussion here is specific to a house-church setting in which the family is the key structural unit; it is not intended to address society in general.

The next lesson is: The Great Deception 1 Tim 2


1: "authority"

This word is a compound word made up of the word “auto/self” and the word “work or do.” It is a picture of someone who works or does things of his own initiative and without any authority figure over him. He is in charge of himself and no one tells him what to do.


This word can mean “man or husband,” just like the word for woman can mean “woman or wife.”


This is the verb of being, so here the only real options are “to be or exist.” There is another Greek word for “remain,” but it was not chosen. Therefore I assume this has a general meaning and an application that is broader that the context of a time of corporate worship.