Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bloggy Quickhits

Olympic Thought:
Before I continue this blog I want you to know that I have nothing but the highest respect for gymnasts as athletes. There can be no denying that. They are some of the greatest athletes on the planet, but can what they do be called a sport? I have trouble assigning sports status to any competition that is "judged." This becomes an artistic competition not a sport. This is why I can't call the X-games sports. They have judges. This is way too subjective. To me, sports is objective, there is a goal and there are ways to accomplish the goals be that scoring runs, winning points/sets/matches in tennis, taking the least amount of strokes, sinking baskets, scoring touchdowns, running faster, jumping higher, lifting more. When you involve a judge, then you do not have sport, you have art.

Once again, gymnasts are greater athletes than golfers, there is more athletic ability involved, but when a winner is determined by subjective means, that is art, not sport. This could be applied to divers as well, great athletes, but I don’t think what they are doing is a sport.

Interesting Day

Rode my bike from my home in sw Columbia to “The District” (downtown). I usually try to go once a week, sit at a coffee shop, study and pray for the nearby campus and for God to put me in contact with a “student of peace” to dvelop a new kind of ministry at Mizzou. Today, I rode through campus and saw they were having a blood drive. I’m game and gave blood. On my way out, ran into Brother Jed Smock. What do you do with this guy? He is your blowhard, fire and brimstone preacher who preaches at the students (and they yuk it up and shout things back to him). Today he had a protégé preaching a message against alcohol, premarital sex, debauchery, etc. I wanted to ask him how many real conversations has he had with students who were truly seeking or hurting, but he probably would have thought I was being a smart aleck, so I rode home. Jed is like “the bullhorn guy” from Rob Bell’s nooma video. He is annoying, but at least he is doing something, which is more than I can say for myself sometimes.

Stuart Scott has recently started referring to St. Louis as “Saint Boogie.” Is this a “hip hop” thing or is he just an idiot (not necessarily an either/or question).

Anybody else find Jack Johnson painfully dull? I realize he has talent, but his music I find all blends together into that surfer, stoner, laid back, chill music. Its just too blah.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Paul on Leadership, Romans 16

This text identifies Phoebe with the function of “deacon.” Diakonos in Greek can serve as either masculine or feminine and could be understood simply in terms of a regular pattern of service undertaken by Phoebe on behalf of her local church. The term here in Romans 16.1 is variously translated “servant" (NASB, NIV, and KJV); “deacon” (NRSV); and “deaconess” (RSV). According to one commentator (James Dunn), if it was the case of a regular pattern of service, then it would have been expressed differently in Greek, by the usage of the verbal form of the term (diakoneo) or the more generic term for service (diakonia). Diakonos paired with the participle of the verb “to be” points to a more recognized ministry or position of responsibility within the congregation (pointing to deacon as the proper translation). Phoebe’s duties as a deacon are not revealed in this brief introduction. At this stage in Paul’s writings, the understanding of ministry and office was not well defined. The form of ministry mentioned depended on the context and the needs of the particular congregation.

In looking at verse two, there are the curious translations of the term prostatis. It has been translated figuratively as “helper or support” (see NASB; NIV; KJV; RSV; NEB; NJB). The term actually denoted a person of prominence in the ancient Greco-Roman world. The term should best be given the understanding here as “patron” or “protector.” (The ESV translates this term as “patron” and the NRSV translates this term as “benefactor.”) The masculine form of the term was well established in this sense, especially for the role of a wealthy or influential individual as patron of a Hellenistic religious society. There are two occurrences of the feminine form of the term in Jewish inscriptions in Rome. The term in these inscriptions should probably be understood in the sense of a patron or protector. If this term did indeed mean “patron”, then it would have been familiar to Paul’s readers in reference to patronage of a voluntary association or trade guild. In giving Phoebe this title, Paul acknowledges the public service this prominent woman has given to many believers at Cenchrea.

The term could very well be related to the term “ho proistamenos” (the one who leads – Romans 12.8). One who stood at the head of and cared for a congregation, as the proistamenos did, would be compared to a patron who perhaps provided a meeting place along with social and political clout. Phoebe obviously had a position of prominence in her community. It has been speculated that she may have owned a house there and, as a wealthy, influential person was in a position to assist missionaries and other Christians who traveled to and from Corinth. If this were the case, her assistance could have taken the form of hospitality; furnishing funds for journeys; or representing the community before secular authorities. Whatever here role may have been, Paul’s Roman readers would most likely think of Phoebe as a figure of significance, whose wealth or influence had been available to the church in Cenchrea.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Paul on Leadership, 1 Corinthians 16

The point of interest in this text is Paul’s injunction to the Corinthians to submit to the leadership of the household of Stephanas. The basis of this leadership is their devotion to ministering to the believers at Corinth. This is very similar to Paul’s request in 1 Thess. 5:12-13. The language of verse 16 gives evidence that Stephanas is a leader in the church. Stephanas and his household stand out because they have devoted themselves to ministry to the saints. This household contains believers who in self-dedication took it upon themselves to serve others in Corinth. There is a similar sentence in Plato: “there are men who see this need and appoint themselves for this service.” Stephanas and his household became aware of a need and contributed this service to the saints.

The specifics of this service cannot be ascertained due to the versatility of the word “diakonia”. It may be that Stephanas’ house served as one of the places of meeting, in a way making him one of the “patrons” of the church. Whatever the service was, they were not appointed by Paul. The church did not appoint them either. They appointed themselves, not in a spirit of self-assertion but one of service and humility. In a way, they were appointed by God, who showed them the opportunity of service and equipped them to fulfill it. Now the church was to recognize this ministry, as Paul does. As C. K. Barrett says, “It is in the recognition of willingness to serve, and of spiritual equipment that the origins of the Christian ministry lie.”

The verb expressing subjection is used only here in the NT to refer to the relationship of a Christian community to those who labor among them. Although this could possibly mean to be in submission to them in some form of obedience, both the context and the similar passage in 1 Thess. 5:12-13 suggests rather that it means “submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love.” As Stephanas and his household submitted to God, the Corinthians were to do their part and submit to leaders who have submitted themselves.

Although Stephanas may be a patron, or even an overseer of sorts, his position is not the basis of his respect; it is the example of servanthood exhibited by him and his household. Authentic leadership and service entails “hard work”, which in turn deserves respect and honor.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Paul on Leadership, 1 Thessalonians 5

The next passage I want to examine on leadership in Paul’s letters is 1 Thessalonians 5.12-13. Up until this point, Paul had been discussing those who have died in Christ and the “Day of the Lord.” What Paul says about leaders here, almost as an aside, is important because Paul gives instructions as to how leadership should progress. He assumes that it is being done and he is encouraging the church at Thessalonica to give proper respect to those performing the hard work of overseeing the congregation.

Paul lists three participles that describe the function of these members who deserved to be acknowledged: those who work hard; who are over you and who admonish you. The way it is written in Greek implies that the reference is to one group of people who performed three specified services within the church.

“Work hard” in Paul’s letters usually describes his own activity in spreading the gospel. The verb has the sense here of toiling for the needs of the church when coupled with the words “among you.” Paul does not say what this “toiling” entailed, but the Thessalonians knew to whom and what Paul referred.

Those who are “over you” is the term that I recently covered found also in Romans 12.8, the plural form of ho proistamenos. It can have the connotation of “those who lead or govern”, “those who stand before someone in protection” or “those who care for someone.” There is no reason to think, in this context, that this term couldn’t refer to all three of these ideas (that of leading, protecting and caring).

Wayne Meeks compares this term here to the situation that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 16 concerning the members of Stephanas’ household. They had “devoted themselves for ministry to the saints” and are to be given their proper regard in the church. Meeks points out that positions of authority grew out of the benefits that persons of relatively higher wealth and status could confer on the community and served as patrons or protectors of the community. (See The First Urban Christians, 89).

Those due “appreciation” could be the leaders of the various house churches if we hold to the understanding that the Christians met in houses under a form of patronage of the head of the household. The word for “those who are over you” comes from the same root word at the noun for “patron.” One commentator believes Paul is urging respect to “those who act as your patrons.” This patronage is not legal or hierarchical, but informal and brotherly.

If “those who are over you” refers to those functioning as patrons of the community at Thessalonica, then it seems that this is a position of authority that grows out of the benefits that persons of relatively higher wealth and status could confer on the community.

Gerd Theissen calls this situation of protection by the socially stronger “love-patriarchalism.” These leaders in Thessalonica did not lead by the secular model of leadership, a heavy handed hierarchy, but led by an example of hard work providing protection and instruction. As has been show in Rom. 12.8, the leadership exhibited by these people was Spirit-endowed and ruled by love, first of God and second of their brothers and sisters in the name of Christ. Leadership ability was valued as an endowment of the Spirit alongside prophetic utterance and similar gifts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama and the Antichrist?

I saw an article on the Christian Newswire site where there has been some comparison between the John McCain ad about the celebrity power of Barack Obama and the Anti-Christ character in the Left Behind series. Here is an excerpt from the article (found here):

(Tim) LaHaye and (Jerry) Jenkins (authors of the Left Behind series) take a literal interpretation of prophecies found in the Book of Revelation. They believe the antichrist will surface on the world stage at some point, but neither see Obama in that role. "I've gotten a lot of questions the last few weeks asking if Obama is the antichrist," says novelist Jenkins. "I tell everyone that I don't think the antichrist will come out of politics, especially American politics."

"I can see by the language he uses why people think he could be the antichrist," adds LaHaye, "but from my reading of scripture, he doesn't meet the criteria. There is no indication in the Bible that the antichrist will be an American."

There are so many things wrong with the above statements. First off, to Mr. LaHaye, of course there is no indication in the Bible that the antichrist will be an American, there is NO mention whatsoever of America in the Bible! What would a mention of America or any Americans mean to a first century Christian from Asia Minor? How confusing would that have been? No matter how you interpret Revelation, you have to keep in mind that this book was written to a specific group of people for a specific purpose that suited their occasion at the time. If you fail to keep that in the back of your mind, then you will seriously misinterpret the meaning and purpose of the book of Revelation.

Second, nowhere in the New Testament is the term antichrist used to describe a literal singular human being. The book of 1 John 2.18 describes, “antichrist is coming, even now many antichrist have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.” He later goes on to describe this antichrist as one who denies that Jesus is the Christ (messiah)? “This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” No mention of a singular world figure who will usher in a final conflict of the world armies at Armeggedon. The antichrist is an attitude that denies that Jesus is the messiah or savior. The fact that it is not just a final “end times” person is implied in that the author (writing in the first century) says that there were already many antichrists in the world at the time. Anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ (messiah) is antichrist.

In 2 John 7, the writer there adds a new dimension to our understanding of antichrist: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” Thus, if you deny that Jesus is the messiah and/or deny that Jesus came in the flesh (but only appeared to be human but was actually a spirit), you may be antichrist. If you are a deceiver of any kind when it comes to the person and work of Christ, you may be the antichrist.

Now, if we want to talk about “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2.1-12) or “the beast coming out of the sea” or in Revelation 13.1-10 or the “beast coming up out of the earth” in Revelation 13.11-18 (the one associated with the number 666), then that is a different story. However, before we search the headlines and campaign promises, realize that every generation for the last two thousand years has attempted to identify the beast or the man of lawlessness in their own time. Every pope since the Reformation has been identified as the beast, as has infamous world figures such as Adolf Hitler. Even American president Ronald[6] Wilson[6] Reagan[6] has been identified as the beast. Recently, Prince Charles of Great Britain has been identified as the beast because he changed the duties of the Prince of Wales from being the “defender of the Faith” to being the “defender of the faiths.”

So, tread lightly when trying to identify the beast or the man of lawlessness and realize (like the writer of 1 and 2 John) that the spirit of the antichrist has been with us for two thousand years.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Gift of Leadership (Romans 12:8)

In the list of gifts (charismata) in Romans 12.6-8, the second to last gift named is “the one who leads.” It is the Greek term ho proistamenos. The primary meaning of this term is to “be at the head (of), rule or direct.” Another nuance to the term is the thought of “standing before or going before someone or something in protection. In a similar vein, it can mean to “be concern about, care for or give aid.”

Some ancient Greek writers used the term to describe someone who presided over the affairs of the state and to describe the chief leaders of a rebellion. In the Greek OT, the word is used to describe a steward (or manager) of a household (Amos 6.10). The Jewish historian Josephus uses the word in the context of governing. In the Apostolic Fathers, the concept is used in the same context with elders in describing those presiding over the church. Other Greek writers used the word to express the idea of one who provides help for the oppressed or someone who watches over and protects like a father.

The majority of commentators on this passage in Romans prefer to understand ho proistamenos as a leader or “one who presides.” In the back of our minds, however, the idea of this person being a “protector” cannot be left out. Alongside of this person’ gifted leadership may also be the thought of a member in the congregation who by virtue of his or her wealth or position in the local community was able to “act as a champion” of the rights of the congregation and its socially “vulnerable” members.

What I think this implies is that God had gifted certain people in the first century to provide the type of leadership, administration and protection the early Christian communities needed. It was not enough to have the position, wealth and status, there had to be the evidence of the Spirit at work in these people harnessing these advantages to benefit the church.

I am next going to look at a few verses in Paul where either this term (or one like it) is used or this concept is expressed concerning leadership in the church. There seems to be (to some) a dichotomy between some of the earlier Pauline letters and church leadership (charismatic) versus later Pauline letters and more formal structured leadership (elder/overseers). The options have been to either say that Paul had developed his understanding of church leadership as reflected in the Pastoral Epistles or that someone other than Paul wrote the Pastorals in his name. I am going to assume Pauline authorship for all of the letters that are ascribed to him. I hope to show that these do not have to be mutually exclusive and that, even in the later seemingly more structured Pauline churches, there is still room for charismatic endowment and the idea of ho proistamenos (“the one who leads”).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Leadership in the Pastoral Epistles

Next up on our study of 1 Timothy is the qualifications of overseers and deacons in chapter 3. Before anyone wants to look at this passage as a manual on church leadership, I think it is best to examine, once again, why the letter was written. I saw this from Gordon Fee on church leadership and the Pastoral Epistles (PE) and I think it serves as a good reminder to our study.

Church order is a crucial matter. For many people this is the chief reason for turning to these letters. The idea that the purpose of the PE is to offer “a handbook for church leaders” seems to miss their occasion rather widely and simply cannot account for a large amount of the material. These letters have quite another purpose: they reflect church structures in the fourth decade of the church as Paul is correcting some theological and behavioral abuses. But church structures as such are not his concern.
It is a mistaken notion to view Timothy and Titus as model pastors for a local church. The letters simply have no such intent. These two men carry full apostolic authority, but in both cases they are itinerants on special assignment, there as Paul’s apostolic delegates, not as permanent resident pastors.
Responsibility for leadership in the local churches was from the beginning in the hands of several people, who apparently had been appointed by the apostle and his co-workers (cf. Acts 14.23). In the earliest letters these people are styled hoi proistamenoi (“those over you” 1 Thes. 5.12; “the one who leads” Rom. 12.8), language still being used at the time of the PE (1 Tim. 3.5; 5.17).

Fee puts both overseers and deacons into the category of “elders”. What, then, were the duties of these leaders? At this point our information is limited, precisely because this was not Paul’s concern. Two things seem certain: that the elders called overseers were responsible for teaching (1 Tim. 3.3, 5.17; Titus 1.9), and that the elders together (overseers and deacons) were responsible for “managing” or “caring for” the local church (1 Tim. 3.4-5; 5.17), whatever that might have involved at that time in its history. Beyond that, everything is speculative.
(This has been adapted from his commentary 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus in the New International Biblical Commentary series).

Look for more on church leadership in Paul's letters to come.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wrapping Up (one of) the Thorny Issue(s) in 1 Timothy 2

Back to the verses in 1 Timothy 2.11-12: I do think that Paul is saying “I do not permit a woman to teach or dominate a man.” How do we interpret this verse today? I definitely think that Paul was giving this injunction to the Ephesians because there was a connection between false teaching and women, whether they were targets of false teachers or the propagators of false teaching (or likely both). Is this an Ephesian issue or a universal timeless one?

Let’s look some exemplary women of the New Testament:
Philip’s daughters, Phoebe, Chloe, Euodia and Syncthe, perhaps even Junia (a relative of Paul, who, with her husband Andronicus, was outstanding among the apostles). Were they silent in the churches?
In the context of disruptions in the assembly (1 Corinthians 11-14), Paul discusses women praying and prophesying. Paul, therefore cannot mean that women must remain silent, can he? What about 1 Cor. 14.34-35? It is shameful for a woman to speak in the church? How can she pray and prophesy but not speak? (We’ve already mentioned Philip’s daughters who prophesied).

Once again we cannot divorce Paul’s words from the cultural situation of the writing of Paul’s letter to Timothy. It would have been culturally unacceptable (with some exceptions) for women in the Greco-Roman world and in the Jewish context to teach men in an assembly. There is a quote from the Mishnah (ancient Jewish commentary on the Law) that it would be better to burn the Torah than to instruct a woman. It would have blown everyone's minds if he would have laid down rules encouraging women teachers in the first century. It was just enough that they were encouraged to learn.

If Paul’s injunction against women is universal in 1 Tim. 2.11-12 (and 1 Cor. 14.34-35), then how literally should we carry out the stipulations that women remain silent in the church? Doesn’t that mean that we should have no women giving testimony in the church or even singing in the choir?

No matter how you interpret this verse for your context, I think you need to approach this (and any passage) with extreme humility and with the awareness that you there are cultural barriers, time barriers and language barriers. Again, we also need to remember the occasional nature of Paul’s letters.

Ultimately I think the issue is one of order in the assembly and submission to the proper authority. All of us, men and women alike, need to submit ourselves to Christ’s authority. In accordance with Ephesians 5, there needs to be proper order between husbands and wives. Women are to submit to their husbands as their husbands submit to Christ (and give themselves up for their wives). There are so many household codes in Paul’s writings because the household was both a metaphor for the body of Christ and it was literally the place where the first century church met. Thus, if the church met in homes, there needs to be a proper amount of submission, wives to their husbands, but also all members to their overseers. I think that all members of the assembly who take any kind of leadership positions must be in proper submissive relationships to their overseers. God desires order in the assembly and most of the thorny injunctions from Paul to his churches dealt with disruptions in the churches.

And I didn't even get into the whole "women will be saved through childbearing issue"...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More on the Thorny Issue in 1 Timothy 2

I recently taught on 1 Tim. 2.11-15. It is a thorny passage that I have commented on before. I began my instruction where I believe all interpreters need to begin when approaching any of Paul’s letters. We have to remember that all of his letters are first and foremost letters to an individual/church in the first century Greco-Roman world. In this case it is a letter from Paul to his representative, Timothy, as he is trying to correct the false teachings of the overseers there at the church Paul founded in Ephesus. That is the first thing we need to keep in mind.

We have to remember that we are dealing with a distance of time, language and culture.

Again, we need to remember the major thrust of the letter that is the correction of false teachers at the church. We see the references in 1.3-7: men teaching false doctrine [myths and genealogies] as well as a faulty understanding of the Torah.
We need to see how these false teachers seemed to target women (perhaps younger widows). In 1 Tim. 5.11-13, we see these young widows being idle, going from house to house, being gossips and busy bodies, saying things that they ought not to. They are encouraged to get married, have children and manage their households. This is if they cannot live a single life devoted to pleasing the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 7). In 2 Tim. 3.1-7 and especially verses 6 and 7, we see false teachers worming their way into weak willed women’s homes. These were women who were always learning but not acknowledging the truth.

Then we turn to Paul’s injunction against women teaching or having authority (or domineering) a man.
Before we come to any consensus on the meaning of this passage, keep in mind also that Ephesus was the center of the worship of Artemis, a fertility cult centered around the goddess Artemis.
Keep also in mind that in verse 8, he had to deal with disruption in the church; this was men who were acting in anger and in quarreling. Then in verses 9-10, he deals with the disruptions caused by the women of Ephesus and their immodest dress.
The question, was this injunction against women leaders and teachers a contextual issue related mostly to Timothy and his community at Ephesus or is this a permanent injunction that Paul lays down for all churches and for all times? How should we interpret this passage today?

More to come...

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Apologies...

...to Albert Pujols.

I was tempted to look at Pujols' year and think that it is a down year for him. He is the only player to begin his career with 7 straight 30 home run 100 RBI seasons. It looks like he will fall short of 100 RBIs this year. Maybe the pack of great NL hitters have caught up to him and maybe he is falling back to earth and will never achieve the heights that he has reached. Or maybe…

I was reading the blog of the great Joe Posnanski and he was talking about Albert Pujols being underrated. I thought that was crazy talk until I looked up the stats.

Batting Average: .350 (!!!) 2nd in NL

On Base Percentage: .462 2nd

Slugging Percentage: .618 1st

OPS: 1.080 1st (on base plus slugging)

BBs: 79 3rd (Walks twice as much as he strikes out)

Times on Base: 214 1st

Runs Created: 111 t-1st (that is runs+RBIs-home runs)

Adjusted OPS+: 183 t-1st (don’t know what it means, but baseball geeks love this stat)

Adjusted Batting Runs: 51 1st (see above)

Batting Wins: 1st (Ditto)

Offensive Win %: .828 1st (again, don’t know but geeks like it)

Intentional Walks: 28 1st (by far)

At Bats per Strikeout: 9.6 7th (that’s pretty good for a power hitter, BTW Yadier Molina is 1st followed by one of his brothers).

A picture of consistency: look at his numbers in different types of games:

Albert Pujols’ numbers in a tie game: .317/.418/.607.
Albert Pujols’ numbers within one run: .335/.430/.639
Albert Pujols’ numbers within two runs: .335/.432/.630
Albert Pujols’ numbers within three runs: .333/.427/.624
Albert Pujols’ numbers within four runs: .333/.426/.622

(Thanks to Joe Posnanski again for the numbers in different types of games).

That’s a pretty good year, even an MVP type year. I don’t understand all of those stats (like I noted) but Moneyball types and Bill James SABR types love those numbers.

So…Albert, I’m sorry I doubted you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Good Bit

I saw a guy at the Cardinal game yesterday. He had a Cards' jersey on with a very unique name and number on the back. Genius!

Friday, August 1, 2008


Can you be inspired by gospel music created by performers that may have no real affiliation with Christianity or belief in the Gospel? Can you praise along with performers who have very little intention of creating music devoted to God but just because they like the form? Well, you may get your chance later this month. This is from Gospel Soundtrack, a blog from Beliefnet -

David Byrne and Brian Eno have teamed up for a new project inspired by gospel music. Byrne wrote the lyrics, Eno wrote the music.

Eno is quoted at thecelebritycafe.com:

"I was surprised by how little attention Americans paid to their own great indigenous musical invention: gospel. It was even slightly uncool - as though the endorsement of the music entailed endorsing all the religious framework associated with it. To me gospel was a music of surrender, and the surrendering rather than the worshipping was the part that interested me."

I found that comment interesting, because so often we forget that the act of praising and worshipping can only come after total surrender. How often do we overlook the surrender in our music? I can't wait to hear the album.

The new project, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, will be available at www.everythingthathappens.com and staring August 4, listeners can download a free preview of the album.

I am intrigued as well. I signed up for the free download. I mean, seriously, how many of us have sung along with “worship leaders” who weren’t really believers? I am sure it has happened on more than one occasion.

N. T. Wright and a thorny passage

I have been teaching through 1 Timothy and next up for me is a lesson on the very thorny passage in chapter 2 verses 11 through 15.

NIV – a woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

My translation – A woman must learn with a quiet demeanor and all submission. But I do not allow a woman to teach nor to dominate a man, but to live in a quiet demeanor. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and fell into sin. But she will be saved through child bearing, if she should remain in faith and love and holiness with propriety.

Not too much of a difference. But I checked out N. T. Wright’s translation and I just don’t see it. I am a big fan of Wright. I would lean more toward his views on "Paul and the New Perspective" than toward Piper. But I think he reads this passage with an end in view instead of merely presenting true understanding of the text. (Granted, he knows more Greek than I will ever know, but his translation of this passage is far off of everyone I’ve consulted – Fee, Guthrie, Mounce for example).

Wright – They (women) must be allowed to study undisturbed, in full submission to God. I’m not saying that women should teach men, or try to dictate to them; rather, that they should be left undisturbed. Adam was created first, you see, and then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived, and fell into trespass. She will, however, be kept safe through the process of childbirth, if she continues in faith, love and holiness with prudence.

I do like what he is trying to say, that the force of Paul’s statement is not I do not permit a woman to teach (which may have been the source or spread of the false teaching at Ephesus, more to come on that), but Wright is saying the force of the passage is that women are commanded to learn and do so undisturbed (Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters, 24).

There is a lot to commend about Wright’s interpretation. It takes in to account the issues at Ephesus that Timothy was dealing with, such as, because the woman was deceived in Genesis 3, then women need to learn just as much as men do. I like that he interprets the submission that the women were to fall under was the submission to God and not to men in general. I don’t doubt this, but in view of what Paul had just written in 1 Timothy, he is dealing with the distraction, first that men were causing and then women. Wright puts things in the text that just aren't there. I think Paul is issuing an injunction against the women at Ephesus. Later I will deal with why this rule was laid down and the issue of whether this was a universal injunction or a temporal one, intended for the issues that Timothy was dealing with at Ephesus.