Eying me quizzically, my friend Pam read aloud the title of the book I’d just handed her: “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!” Then, smiling, she said, “Dr. Seuss.”
Pam opened the book, wherein the Cat in the Hat talks to a young cat about reading. She continued to read aloud. Since we’re both from Mississippi, we laughed when she read, “I can read Mississippi with my eyes shut tight!”
I can read them
with my eyes shut!
Though the Cat in the Hat can read with his eyes shut, he doesn’t advocate it. In fact, he advises against it:
so many things
you can learn about.
BUT . . . you’ll miss
the best things
if you keep
your eyes shut.”
Finishing the book, Pam closed its colorful cover. “Do you know when we read with our eyes shut?” she asked.
Then she answered her own riddle: “When we think we know what it says.”
We think we know what it says.
We read 1 Timothy 2:12-15, and the meaning seems obvious: “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” (NIV).
Simple enough, right?
- Women are not to teach or have authority over men (v. 12).
- Women are saved through a two-part process: bearing children and then continuing in faith, love and holiness (v. 15).
Ah, I see those hands. You’re questioning that last bullet point. You’re saying, “No, women are not saved by having babies and living good lives. Women, like men, are saved by believing in Jesus Christ as Lord.”
But 1 Timothy 2:15 is Scripture. So I ask: “Why do you not accept at face value what Paul said there about women being saved?”
In answer, you’d probably refer me to the entire New Testament.
No Christian I know accepts the “obvious meaning” of Paul’s statement in verse 15. We do not believe or teach that women are saved through childbearing. Why, then, do so many of us dogmatically assert that the meaning of verse 12 is “obvious”? Why do we insist women are not to teach men or to have authority over them?
With regard to women and salvation, we judge one or two puzzling verses in light of the whole New Testament. With regard to women and ministry, we do just the opposite: We let one or two puzzling verses blind us to the overwhelming testimony of the whole.
. . . . . . .
Look inside What About Women