Should 1 Timothy 3:11 be rendered as “the women” or “their wives”? Is it referring to deaconesses?
Paul is referring to the wives of the overseers and deacons and not to deaconesses. In chapter 1 Timothy 1-13 Paul is listing the requirements of overseers and other ministerial servants, also wrote about the qualities required for the wives of those seeking such positions in the congregation . He wrote : " Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect." 1 Timothy 3:11 (NET Bible)
Within the congregation Paul wrote that only mature men be appointed to minister:
" I allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to
remain in quietness and keep silence [in religious assemblies]".1
Timothy 2:12 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
Such men were to be mature, have good knowledge of the scriptures , be able to teach and correct matters when they got out of hand. Paul also wrote:
1 Timothy 4:16 (NET Bible)
16 "Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach. Persevere
in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who
listen to you."
2 Timothy 4:2-3 (NET Bible)
2 "Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not,
reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction. 3 For
there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching.
Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers
for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new
The Greek word "Gynaikas" - Γυναῖκας - " Usually translated as "women" can also be translated as "wives" and in the context of Paul's writings the latter is more appropriate.
1 Timothy 3:11 New Living Translation
In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander
others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything
1 Timothy 3:11 NKJV
Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate,
faithful in all things.
1 Timothy 3:11 (NASB)
11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but
temperate, faithful in all things.
1 Timothy 3:11 Berean Study Bible
In the same way, the women must be dignified, not slanderers, but
temperate and faithful in all things.