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1 Timothy: Looking at Language: Seeing Biblical Truth (7)

local churchology
The Local Churchology - on YouTube

Tom Barker, professor of Greek and New Testament studies, speaks about 1 Timothy on Episode 7 of 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.

Theological school taught him God ordained gender roles

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

interview on 1 Timothy
God revealed that God gifts and calls women without gender roles

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

interview 3 men discuss 1 Timothy
Language study showed him that 1 Timothy 2 is about a specific woman; it's not a universal statement about women

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

interview on 1 Timothy
Paul encourages Timothy to let women learn! That's how to stop the spread of 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.

interview on 1 Timothy
The woman in 1 Timothy may have been affected by her past worship 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 'humanity'. 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.

interview saying let women learn
Submit to learning correct doctrine first, they you can teach

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 the writer provides a better chance of understanding the true meaning.

interview that egalitarians do honour scripture
A high view of Scripture means looking at the language and context of the writer

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

interview 3 men
Discourse analysis supports an egalitarian view of 1 Timothy 2

Historical analysis confirmed that the church benefits whenever women participate in leadership. A church that limits its members is missing out on some of God's blessings.

interview let women use their gifts
Limiting women means missing out on God's blessings


The Local Churchology Podcast examines women in ministry and in church office.

Episode 7 interviews Tom Barker about 1 Timothy.

Episode 6 interviews Dr. David Fitch and discusses being led by the Holy Spirit.

Episode 4, where Old Testament scholar Dr. Lee Beach discusses his journey from complementarian to egalitarian.

Episode 3, Dr. Beth Felker Jones provides a framework to navigate gender and theology discussions.

This is Episode 2, where Dr Lynn Cohick discusses how God shows no favouritism and the impact of Ephesians and Colossians on women.

Episode 1 is my interview on The Local Churchology Podcast. Often a story is the most accessible way to introduce ideas. My interview discusses how Jesus lifted up women and how fiction can be seen as a parable. My novel #ForgottenFollowers from Broken to Bold is about women in the Gospels. 

Check out my blog summary of each episode. Original interviews are available on YouTube.


Elaine Ricker Kelly Author is empowering women with Christian fiction about women in the Bible and early church and Christian blogs about women in leadership, church history and doctrine. Her books include:

  • Forgotten Followers from Broken to Bold, Book 1

  • The Sword A Fun Way to Engage in Healthy Debate on What the Bible Says About a Woman's Role

  • Because She Was Called: from Broken to Bold, Book 2, A Novel of the Early Church, imagines Mary Magdalene's trip to testify before the emperor


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