How do you reconcile 1 Tim 2 which says that a woman is not to teach a man and Acts 18:24-28 which is account of Priscilla and Aquila teaching a man, Apollos?


How do you reconcile I Tim 2 saying that a woman is not to teach a man and the account of Priscilla and Aquila teaching Apollos who was a man?

The words used for "woman" and "man" may also be translated as "wife" and "husband" respectively. Thus, rather than Paul using such a broad brush forbidding a "woman" to teach a "man," his prohibition is for "wives" to teach their own "husbands."

This thought remains consistent with other passages of Scripture such as Ephesians 5:23-24 (AV) where we are told—

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

With the wife being in submissions (subjection) to her own husband, he will have the rule over the doctrine she teaches.

Paul commended the ministry of Phebe, a woman who brought his epistle to the Christians in Rome (Romans 16:1,2). Phebe was a servant of the church at Cenchrea. "Servant" may refer to a deacon, which is a term that sometimes designated administrative responsibilities in the Early Church. In his epistles, however, Paul most often applied the term to any minister of God's Word, including himself (1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; Ephesians 3:7; 6:21)(AV). He also called Phebe a "succorer" or "helper" of many (Romans 16:2); this term technically designated her as the church’s patron or sponsor, quite possibly the owner of the home in which the church at Cenchrea was meeting. This entitled her to a position of honor in the church.

Paul also acknowledged the ministry of prophetesses (1 Corinthians 11:5), following the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:13,14) and early Christian practice (Acts 2:17,18; 21:9).

With the number of women commended by Paul in Romans 16 (eight or possibly nine) it is doubtful that Paul idea was to exclude women from ministry in general but instead to preclude them from usurping authority over their own husbands.

  • This is written as if Paul were the author of 1 Timothy, but it's widely recognized that 1 Timothy is deutero-Pauline.
    – user39728
    Mar 16 '21 at 1:26

The same reconciliation is made with Deborah in the Hebrew Bible, who was a judge of Israel, who prophesied under the authority of Barak the son of Abinoam, whose faith "conquered kingdoms" (Heb 11:32-33). That is, both Deborah and Barak sang the song of victory together (Ju 5:1-31). Priscilla taught in tandem and under the authority of her husband, Aquila. The New Testament never mentions the one without the mention of the other.

  • @Joseph-Basically, I agree-but the OP's question is out of the NT-could you address that?
    – Tau
    Mar 23 '14 at 7:25
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    @ Joseph I dont think the NT says anywhere that Priscilla was under Aquila's authority, nor Deborah under Barak's authority. Can you please provide proofs for your statement?
    – tina
    Mar 24 '14 at 12:17
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    @tina - in Hebrew הֲלֹא indicates a rhetorical question or politeness. Deborah uses the word when addressing Barak (Ju 4:6 & Ju 4:16), which has the force of "please," and so she was not commanding Barak, but deferring in respect. Please see Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990), p. 684, fn. 48. Finally, she includes him among those who "led" Israel while excluding herself (Ju 5:9). Please see the lexicon discussion, ref. para (3), of פָּרַע here; she was among those who "followed."
    – Joseph
    Mar 24 '14 at 18:00

They do contradict one another. There are lots of contradictions in the bible, and this is one of them. 1 Timothy is deutero-Pauline. The authors of the deutero-Pauline epistles frequently showed extremely negative attitudes about women. It's not just the author of Luke/Acts who disagrees with the author of 1 Timothy. Paul himself actually didn't share the misogyny of the author of 1 Timothy, as you can see in Romans 16, where he discusses these same individuals, Prisca and Aquila.

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