Only one verse prohibits women to teach men, so it doesn't apply to the whole church

by Matt Slick

Another objection raised by egalitarians in support of women pastors and elders is that there is only one verse that prohibits women to teach men.  If it was for the church as a whole, it would be mentioned more than once.

First of all, if it is true that the Bible teaches women shouldn't teach men, even if it is only once, then the argument is settled. Once should be enough, but the egalitarians don't give up that easily.  So, let's look at why their argument has problems.

1 Tim. 2:12 is within the context of Paul's comment in 1 Tim. 3:15, which says, "but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." So, the context of 1 Tim. 2:12 is within Paul's instructions for the church--the household of God.

Second, as is argued in the article In 1 Tim. 2:9-15, is "a woman" is a specific individual Paul had in mind?, the text does not support the idea that Paul is referring to a single woman at a single church context.

Third, how many times does God have to say something for it to be true? Since the command is given, admittedly only once, and since it is in the context of how we are to conduct ourselves in the household of God, then we can conclude that once is enough.

Fourth, if something must be mentioned twice for it to be applied to the church universally, then what do egalitarians do with Hebrews 10:25 which says, "not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near." If a universal command for the church needs to appear more than once, then Hebrews 10:25 is not for the whole Church.  Is this a sound principle on which to derive doctrinal truths?  Not at all.

Also, what about Matt. 28:19-20, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The Great Commission is only given once by Jesus. Does there need to be a second witness for it to apply to the Christian church as a whole?  Of course not.


How many times does God's word have to say something for it to be true? Once is enough.  Therefore, the argument that the command in 1 Tim. 2:12 does not apply universally to the church because such a teaching occurs only once is false.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.