“But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:12 is the tool of choice to uphold the misogyny and patriarchal caste system in the church. Was Paul going against God who had already chosen women like Deborah and Miriam to be his prophets (Miriam had the same title as Aaron)? No; because Paul already had women like Lydia, Priscilla, Junia, and Phoebe leading in churches and he mentioned their names equally with men. The same Paul who wrote in Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” You could say he is just talking about unity, but why would he choose the hierarchical words of “slave” and “free” if he wasn’t trying to bring about equality?
It makes me wonder why the word for “authority” (authentein) is only used this one time in the Bible unless you count the apocrypha and there, it is a violent act like murder, suicide, or human sacrifices. Even Strong’s Concordance admits that it doesn’t really know what authentein means. Makes me wonder why Paul wouldn’t just use the word exousia like he does ALL other THIRTY-TWO TIMES when he talks about authority!! Wait; grasp that. Paul has a word he uses for “authority” and he deviates from that only once? Are you sure that means what you think it means? Strong’s isn’t sure so maybe you aren’t so sure either.
Perhaps Paul wasn’t talking about authority at all. Perhaps Paul was talking about something else entirely. 1 Timothy was written to the church of Ephesus. It just takes a small scroll through Google to see the history of the place. That was a mess. Ephesus was where Artemis was the primary god worshipped. Artemis was a man-hater and this was one of the few places where I would have rather been a woman in ancient times because things weren’t going well for men. If a woman got pregnant, some feared that Artemis would kill the woman and the child at birth (since she was also the goddess of midwifery) so they would try to get their husbands to appease Artemis through various mutilations to their genitals because if she or the baby died in childbirth, they would often drag the man out of his house and emasculate him or kill him. 1 Timothy 2:12 was telling the Ephesian women to stop telling men to cut their penis to appease Artemis.
1 Timothy 2:12 and the surrounding verses in context: A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
Back to the teachings of the day: There was a Gnostic variation of the creation story where Eve became the hero for accepting the fruit for divine enlightenment and the serpent was a messenger of God. Paul was reminding these women the true nature of the story and that women do still need men because, although all men come from women, Eve came from Adam. As for the childbearing thing, well, we go back to the teachings of Artemis and how men often suffered if a child died during birth. Paul was reminding these people that childbirth without their Artemis practices would be an exercise of their faith and could be an avenue with which to be saved from these heinous practices that were prisons for them all.
So, to paraphrase the verse: “Women, you are getting too high and mighty and you need to gain some humility and submit also to the teaching of men fully without trying to commandeer the conversation. Don’t be teaching these men that they need to go and mutilate their genitals if they care for you and your unborn child for fear of Artemis. Stop teaching that and shut up about that crap. You are twisting the stories and getting them wrong to elevate yourselves. Remember, that you didn’t receive divine enlightenment from taking the fruit; you were deceived and don’t be forgetting how it was you who messed up first. Instead of pushing your men to hurt themselves, instead give your fears to God through your pregnancy and accept this opportunity to put your faith into action and really learn to trust God. Now, be faithful and behave lovingly. And please, women of Ephesus, learn some self-control!!”