Clarifying Paul’s Misogyny

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Christians often bother me when they judge and condemn others. Recently I came across a video of an egotistical christian who blurts out in the video, “god can kill whomever he wishes, he created us.” It’s the old god is good, but really he’s a villain, but I’m too scared to call him that, argument.

In the comments that followed, I found a few people to interact with. These people were condemning any attack on the video, or on the christian faith, sourcing the bible as “all good” and “god is good” as well.

I covered the error of the “good is good” defense in a separate post:

In this article I wanted to cover another topic. I addressed christianity and it’s many contradictions in the bible. I brought up the harshness of the Old Testament, and mentioned in passing some of Paul’s conclusions on women.

In 1 Timothy 2:9-15 Paul addressed Timothy with his views on how women should be treated and how they should behave.

in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 2:9-15

A woman replied to me. She was applying a typical apologist response. She said that Paul wrote this to Timothy about a specific female false teacher in a specific church (i.e. that this wasn’t a generic approach, but a specific approach to one woman.)

I asked her to source her reference for that idea. What she was doing was applying fiction to fill in gaps in the passage, in order to make Paul seem more normalized. This is a common argument style of apologists.

A few minutes later, she edited her reply, “I can’t explain that verse, but I know that ‘god is good’.” I give her credit for her honesty. Most Christians would simply hide from the conversation.

To be clear, Paul was speaking in the generic. His reference was not to a specific woman peddling false teachings. This passage speaks of Eve’s “fall” and how all women derived from Eve share in her error. Further, Paul says directly, “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” Women, not a specific woman, is being addressed here.

That means no jewelry, no braiding of hair, no positions over men, no ability to instruct men… a woman’s place is to keep silent and submissive, according to Paul.

This isn’t the only place he brings this attitude up. He also raises it in 1 Corinthians chapters 11 and 14. Paul really doesn’t like women. 1 Timothy is an important passage because Paul is addressing women to be plain, simple and submissive. It isn’t even confined to women in the church (which is bad enough). This is generic to all women in all consideration.

Reference (1 Timothy 2)

The full chapter is below for context:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women[c] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

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