Paul is still dealing with the conduct of women in the assemblies. This admonition to the effect that women are to learn in silence with all subjection, is made clear as to its meaning by 1Co_14:34-35, where the women were disturbing the church service by asking their husbands questions, presumably about that which was being preached. The silence here and in our 1 Timothy passage has to do with maintaining quiet in the assembly, and does not forbid a woman to take an active part in the work of the church in her own sphere and under the limitations imposed upon her in the contextual passage (1Ti_2:12).
The correct understanding of Paul’s words, "I suffer not a woman to teach," are dependent upon the tense of the Greek infinitive and the grammatical rule pertaining to it. In the case of the infinitive, the Greek has a choice between the present and aorist tenses, and he can use either at will, since the time element in the tense of the infinitive is not considered. When the Greek desires to refer only to the fact of the action denoted by the infinitive, without referring to details, he uses the aorist. Should he use any other tense, he is going out of his way to add details, and the student must pay particular attention to his choice of the tense.
Dana and Mantey in their Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (p. 199) have this to say on the subject: "The aorist infinitive denotes that which is eventual or particular, while the present infinitive indicates a condition or process. Thus pisteusai (aorist) is to exercise faith on a given occasion, while pisteuein (present) is to be a believer; douleusai (aorist) is to render a service, while douleuein (present) is to be a slave; hamartein (aorist) is to commit a sin, while hamartanein (present) is to be a sinner." Thus, didaxai (aorist), is to teach, while didaskein (present 1Ti_2:12), is to be a teacher. Paul, therefore, says, "I do not permit a woman to be a teacher." The context here has to do with church order, and the position of the man and woman in the church worship and work. The kind of teacher Paul has in mind is spoken of in Act_13:1, 1Co_12:28-29, and Eph_4:11, God-called, and God-equipped teachers, recognized by the Church as those having authority in the Church in matters of doctrine and interpretation. This prohibition of a woman to be a teacher, does not include the teaching of classes of women, girls, or children in a Sunday School, for instance, but does prohibit the woman from being a pastor, or a doctrine teacher in a school. It would not be seemly, either, for a woman to teach a mixed class of adults.
The expression, "usurp authority," Vincent says, is not a correct translation of the Greek word. It is rather, "to exercise dominion over." In the sphere of doctrinal disputes or questions of interpretation, where authoritative pronouncements are to be made, the woman is to keep silence.
Translation: Let a woman be learning in silence with all subjection. Moreover, I do not permit a woman to be a teacher, neither to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence.