Sunday, 10 November 2013

Forgotten Heroes - Rom 16:1 - 6 Part Two

Some will find the highlighting of various women a bit confusing. After all, are there not clear passages limiting what women might do?

There are actually just two passages suggesting direct limitation: 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2. Interestingly the first, which is typically translated plainly as 'women should remain silent ...', is in a flow where Paul has women prophesying and praying out loud in public worship. So is Paul not contradicting himself?

In the second Paul actually says (to Timothy) 'I do not' - instead of the 'no church must ever' that seems to be assumed. A universal ban would presumably seem odd to Timothy, since he would know first hand of Priscilla's ministry. In addition we know that Timothy's own faith is a result of Euodia and Lois (his grandmother and mother - see 2 Tim 1). In other words his own foundational teaching was received from women, a fact that Paul knew and celebrated.

Shouldn't we simply take 1 Timothy 2 literally? Well, since we started this session in Roman 16, lets take verse 16 literally too and ensure we all kiss each other every time we meet in church! The fact is, all of us apply a degree of interpretation to every verse we read. And that is correct: Scripture is not a download to program a robot. It is God-breathed to lead us to relationship with Christ, and relationships need working at.

The invitation is for us to engage the whole of scripture: reading passages in the light of each other. Some might say we are ignoring the Corinthian and Timothy passages: not so, we wrestle with them. In fact have not those same people made the mistake themselves of ignoring Romans 16, Acts 18, 1 Corinthians 1 and 16, Philippians 4, Colossians 4 and so on?

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