“I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” (1 Timothy 2.12) That verse makes us unpopular. I do not permit women to teach men at our church. Ever.
That makes me unpopular even among complementarian churches. The response to that is often something along the lines of, “Well, do you let women talk in a small group?” or “Would you let women teach children?” or “What about Priscilla and Aquila?” All those questions miss the point of 1 Timothy.
Our fallen minds often respond to that verse with “well, what can women do?” Figuring out what women can do is not the point of 1 Timothy 2.12! The point of this verse is to tell us exactly what a woman must not do, namely, teach men.
I suspect the reason it makes us uncomfortable is because we do not understand what the teaching function of the church is. In our culture, we are so used to seeing someone go in front of the church, open up their bible, explain what they think it means, and explain how it applies. And as they do that, we are thinking to ourselves, “I like that. I agree with that. I do not agree with that. That’s not what I was taught growing up. He’s a good teacher. He’s a not-so-good teacher.” We are so used to not submitting to the teacher!
But we are supposed to obey our leaders and submit to them. Not many of us are supposed to become teachers in the church because it is such a weighty task. Anyone who teaches in the church is supposed to have the crowd hanging on their every word and saying, “yes, feed me, I want to yield to your teaching.”
Many Christians in America are so used to being their own sole authority in interpreting the bible. We have no concept of submitting to the bible teacher. The teaching office is so low in our minds that it makes us think, “why can’t a woman do that?”
But Paul knows the authority that opening up the Word for people brings. So, in that light, Paul did not, I do not, and you should not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over men. Ever. Thank God that women are saved through childbearing, not by being masculine.