One of my ministry goals was to untie the hand behind my back and set the women of our church free.

An honest look reveals that Paul, too, was deeply concerned with the value and role of women in the church.

Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

He wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12: “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.”

Notice not only the value Paul that places on women in the first passage, but notice also the restoration of women to their complementary role as demonstrated in the second passage.

Passages that seem to devalue women need close attention.

For example, in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Paul expressly forbade women from speaking in church and required them to be submissive: “…women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” By the way, we must note that In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul was delineating the rules for speaking in tongues during a church worship service. In light of the context, Paul was declaring that women were not to speak in tongues in the church service.

In 1 Timothy 2:11-14 Paul declared: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 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.”

Paul’s theological reasoning in this passage for why women should not have authority needs careful attention. That women should learn from and be in submission to men as declared here has caused much discussion and conflict over the years.

The job of a good Bible student is to figure out what the original writer had in mind when he wrote what he wrote. Often times there’s more to a passage than what first meets the eye. 1 Timothy 2:11-14 is one such example.

A cursory reading of the passage says simply that women are not to have authority over men because Eve was deceived in the Garden and Adam was not. Adam knew exactly what he was doing when he ate the forbidden fruit. Which is worse: to be deceived, or to intentionally, willfully disobey the express word of God?

A proper interpretation of this passage must consider other relevant Biblical passages, cultural concerns, historical precedence, traditions and the various English translations of the Greek and Hebrew texts. I don’t believe that a proper interpretation can be made without figuring out the practical and theological implications of why Paul included the issue of childbearing. Finally, we need to consider the far reaching implications of whether or not this instruction is from God Himself or is simply Paul’s opinion. Compare "I do not permit," with Paul’s statement, "To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)…" in 1 Corinthians 7:10-14. This passage is not so easy to interpret or apply as many would have us believe.