WOW! Teaching on I Timothy 2
Let a woman learn quietly and with full submission [to God’s word]. I do not permit a woman to teach that she is the author of man.*
Initially, my reaction to an exegetical treatment of this particular Biblical text was mixed. It vacillated between jaded disinterest and extreme apprehension. Somehow I had grown numb to the issue. At the time, gender equality wasn’t a pressing concern for me, and it was a doubtful period as far as ministry was concerned.
My experience caused me to revisit the differences associated with “mainline” churches and non-denominational “evangelical” churches. There is general acceptance and support for female leadership in the more established churches, but also a strong adherence to “church” culture. Evangelical churches are more “outreach” focused and flexible in their worship, but in my experience completely closed to women’s leadership.
At that point in my life, I was hopeful to avoid any further conflicts and did not see I Timothy chapter 2 as “my friend.” If I could, like Martin Luther who suggested the book of James was “as useful in the fireplace,” I would delete that particular portion of God’s Word, because 1 Timothy 2 has been and continues to be used by certain power players in the church to suppress its meaning and keep women from working for the Lord!
After attending a WOW! seminar on Paul & Women and carefully reconsidering the complicated grammar and cultural context of the letter, now, 1 Timothy 2 and I have reinstated our friendship. WOW’s Dr. Grace May eruditely taught on these intricate instructions. With a serious commitment to the authority of God’s Word, passion and integrity, she brought the seminar attendees (and me) scholarship and solid wisdom, so that we no longer had to settle for an uniformed misinterpretation or isogesis. Her lecture series was accompanied with interaction facilitated by WOW!’s faculty to move us towards practical application. There was a fresh air of reconciliation, based on the knowledge I had received. I was revived, relieved, restored and refreshed.
I’ll admit, I have experienced conflict and rejection since our WOW! seminar, but GOD arranged the timing of the training. Within two weeks, I was sitting with a church leader who twisted the passage to bully me, but because God’s truth was protecting me, I was ultimately able to overcome and rise above the hurt. Gratefully, I was more conscious of God’s valuation and love for women as individuals and in ministry!
I thank God, because WOW! leads people into a deeper awareness of God’s love and justice.
~ Amy Plympton-Fortunato
*For a full explanation of this translation, come to our Fall Core Course.