The chapter summaries below are taken from the introduction, with permission from Crossway.
The team of contributors, all leading experts in their respective fields, scrutinize in the following pages the various aspects of a responsible interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: the historical background of first-century Ephesus; the meaning of the word αὐθεντεῖν; the Greek syntax of v. 12, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man”; the exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:9–15; the cultural context for applying the passage; matters of Bible translation; and vigorous, spirited interaction on the implications of the reading offered here for women’s roles in the life of the church today.
In chapter 1, S. M. Baugh discusses the first-century background. For more than a century, excavators have been digging in the city of Ephesus, and in the course of that time, archaeologists and ancient historians have unearthed, examined, and evaluated a very large amount of original source material, which makes a fairly intimate knowledge of the city and its inhabitants possible. Unfortunately, this material is not always easily accessible, and misunderstandings sometimes continue for people who look for accurate explanations of the Ephesian background to interpret texts such as 1 Timothy. Hence, while the earlier forms of this essay provided much technical information, this version has been revised to make the subject matter clearer to the nonspecialist. The overall goal is to draw an accurate, brief portrait of the institutions of Ephesus as they relate specifically to the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2 and illumine its message.
In chapter 2, Al Wolters examines the meaning of the verb αὐθεντέω, which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:12 and is commonly translated “have authority.” His main point is that the verb here does not have a pejorative meaning (as in “domineer”) or an ingressive meaning (as in “assume authority”), although in recent decades a number of scholars, versions, and lexica have ascribed these connotations to it. An exhaustive survey of all known occurrences of the verb in ancient and medieval Greek shows that actual usage does not support these lexicographical innovations. While the translation “assume authority” (or the like) is sometimes justified, this is the case only where an ingressive aorist is used, not in other tense forms of the verb, such as the present tense in this passage.
In chapter 3, I examine the essential syntax of what is probably the most contentious section of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (v. 12 ESV). In particular, based on syntactic parallels in both Scripture and ancient Greco-Roman literature, I argue that the two activities joined by the conjunction οὐδέ in 1 Timothy 2:12 (teaching and exercising authority over men) must be, in Paul’s consideration, either both positive or both negative. Paul’s positive view of διδάσκω (teaching) as an activity thus points to his positive view of αὐθεντέω ἀνδρός (exercising authority over a man) as an activity, over against interpreters who have assigned to αὐθεντέω ἀνδρός a negative meaning. In addition, I argue that the two activities of teaching and exercising authority, while related, ought not to be merged into a single idea that is more restrictive than either one is separately (e.g., “seizing authority to teach a man”), an interpretation that some scholars have strenuously advanced in recent years.
In chapter 4, Thomas Schreiner sets forth an interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15. While not every contributor would agree with everything argued for in this essay—especially the interpretations offered for 1 Timothy 2:14–15—the interpretation proposed draws upon the conclusions reached in other chapters of this book (especially Baugh, Wolters, and Köstenberger) and interacts extensively with existing scholarship.
In chapter 5, Robert Yarbrough deals with the hermeneutics of this passage and what the interpretation means for church practice. He denies that this passage asserts the abolition, prevention, or curtailment of women’s leadership in church or society, or women’s exclusion from all teaching and ministry in any capacity whatsoever. Rather, this chapter explores the meaning of the biblical precedent and precept of men’s primary leadership responsibility as pastoral teachers and overseers (cf. Paul’s “teach” and “exercise authority” in 1 Tim. 2:12) in God’s household, the church.
In chapter 6, Denny Burk investigates the claim, advanced by Linda Belleville, that a nonpejorative rendering of αὐθεντεῖν is an innovation of English Bibles produced in the twentieth century. He also examines the shift in translation of αὐθεντεῖν from “have authority” in the NIV 1984 and TNIV 2002 to the ingressive “assume authority” in the TNIV 2005 and NIV 2011. Is the NIV translators’ explanation for the new rendering compelling? Or is it potentially misleading in light of Philip Payne’s pejorative understanding of “assume authority,” which the findings of Al Wolters and Andreas Kӧstenberger in the present volume contravene?
Chapter 7 is devoted to the application of the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 to women’s and men’s roles in the church today. To this end, we gathered a virtual roundtable of several women and men with a proven track record of speaking out intelligently and knowledgeably on this issue. While diverse in background, these women and men concur in their essential interpretation of the passage as laid out in the present volume. At the same time, while the original meaning of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 is firm, the significance of Paul’s teaching in this passage is multifaceted. The various participants in the roundtable provide a series of perceptive observations on the text and its application as women and men strive to apply the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 to their lives today.
Taken from Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 by by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, © 1995, 2005, 2016, pp. 21-23. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.