I learned in my own Greek class that whenever a group was mixed, male and female, only the male gender was used to describe the group. If you were looking at a group of, let’s say, six girls and one boy, you would use male gendered language to describe that group, if you were speaking Koine Greek.
Now, just think about that for a minute, as you review famous Bible phrases and passages
What if we’ve been trying to unlock 1 Timothy from a modern, western, Age of Enlightenment perspective when the letter itself is based upon the logic, letter-writing customs, and Greek idiosyncrasies of the ancient near east?
The Chiastic Structure or Pattern shows a different emphasis in 1 Timothy, one in which proto-gnostic teaching was becoming a problem that must be addressed head on. Timothy was to make sure everyone was properly educated before they were entrusted with being deacons and elders, teachers and leaders within the church.
The part people often miss is that Paul wanted women in the classroom, learning scripture, theology, Greek and Hebrew, reading and writing, and presumably teaching and evangelizing, right alongside the men.
This is a 36-page paper, exhaustively studying 80 of the 329 instances this word has been seen, so far, in the ancient record. The 80 instances she chose to study occur within the timeframe of Paul’s letter to 1 Timothy, therefore offer the most accurate renderings known to Paul, and used in his day.
Surely some of you are asking why. Why would God say the Levites were to be priests? Guess what. There is an answer to that, but it’s a triggering kind of story, if you have a low tolerance for evil and violence.
This sign was a reversal of God’s judgment at the Tower of Babel. God’s judgment scattered and separated those people then, now He was uniting His people in the Spirit. At Babel no one could understand anyone else, but at Pentecost everyone could understand and hear God’s praises.
And my next question to myself is how what I support reflects that truth? How much of my church’s budget, for example, a budget I regularly contribute to, is spent on a terrific worship service Sunday morning compared to developing, sustaining, and handing on depth and breadth of relationship with our Lord? Compared to caring for our community, and our earth? What concerns our church governing board the most—money? Numbers of people on a Sunday morning?
As I reflect on my own faith, I have to ask myself in what ways does my life reflect my statement that nothing is more important to me than relationship with God, and passing that on to the next generation? How does the way I channel my resources, the way I prioritize my energy, and my focus, the way I live out my dailies, reflect what I say is my conviction?