top of page
  • Writer's pictureElaine Kelly

Looking at the Language & Context: Seeing Biblical Truth

Updated: Feb 7

Tom Barker, professor of Greek and New Testament studies, speaks about 1 Timothy on Episode 7 of The Local Churchology, a podcast about women in ministry.

This podcast is hosted by Tyler Tavares and Darryl Buckle, pastors at Cobourg Alliance Church. I encourage every church to structure conversations such as these. It is wonderful to hear insights from scholars and specialists on the topic of #genderequality and #biblicalequality Listen to the seven episodes on YouTube or on your favourite podcast provider. If you prefer reading over listening, check out my blog summary of each episode ( links below).

Episode 7: 1 Timothy 2

Tom Barker started from a position where the church said women could not assume leadership roles.

Tom Barker recognized God's ministry gifts in women and questioned why God would limit them in using these gifts.

God answered his prayer by providing new insights to the context and Greek language of 1 Timothy 2.

The main point of the 1 Timothy 3 is not to limit women, but to let them learn! Paul is focused on fixing false doctrines.

False doctrines about celibacy and chastity as well as encouraging women to be domineering may have been coming from worshippers of the goddess Artemis.

It's true that if anyone desires to be an overseer, he or she desires an excellent thing. 'Anyone' is the gender neutral term the writer uses for the word 'humamity'. After correcting doctrine in 1 Timothy 2, Paul softens it by saying it's good to want to be a leader, but first you have to submit to learning correct doctrine and behaviour.

Evangelical pastors teach us that if you have a high view of Scripture, it's best to take the most obvious, literal meaning of the text. Actually, looking at the language and context of he writer provides a better chance of understanding the true meaning.

Discourse analysis looks at the specifics of language, culture, time, and place to better understand Paul's letters.

Historical analysis confirmed that the church