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D. A. Carson on the Gospel and Personal Devotions

August 27, 2009

At the recent Different By Design conference in February of 2009, D. A. Carson gave a talk on“The Flow of Thought in I Timothy 2”.  He made a parenthetical note on applying the Gospel and the glory of the transcendent Christ to the Christian life to promote change.  It was excellent, so I thought I would make it available.

57 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 7:42 pm


    I really enjoyed listening to Don Carson – my first time – mostly because his accent and style are really down home for me. 🙂 He has a modest, gentle way of speaking too.

    I notice that this was not an academic presentaion in terms of the philology of words, however. He simply said that he was citing Doug Moo.

    Here is a difficulty, Carson said,

    “In most instances authenteo has a neutral or positive overtone.” minute 37-38 approx.

    But Doug Moo wrote,

    “Second, the occurrences of this word-the
    verb-that are closest in time and nature to 1 Timothy mean “have authority over” or
    “dominate” (in the neutral sense of “have dominion over,” not in the negative sense “lord it over”).18”

    Several problems here.

    1. There are no occurences at that time with a positive overtone and there is no one I know who suggests that there is.

    2. There are two with negative overtones, and one that is an astronomical term, therefore has no moral overtone at all, ie neutral.

    3. For another neutral occurence Moo cites Baldwin, who had included the Philodemus reference, which has since been shown not to have the equivalent of authenteo=have authority. Linda Belleville wrote about this in Discovering Biblical Equality. It is still the best article on the word authenteo.

    4. It could therefore mean, “teach in a domineering way” rather than “teach in an authoritative way” which Carson seems to suggest.

    That is one possible way to reflect the evidence we have so far. I don’t have an alternate theory about what this passage means, but I do have a passion for factual detail and would like to see these details honoured.

  2. August 27, 2009 7:43 pm

    PS Thanks for yout patience with my numerous analyses, etc.

  3. jbstarke permalink*
    August 27, 2009 8:32 pm

    Carson is one of my favorites. One of those people of whom I read everything they put out.
    He’s a good complementarian! To say the least, I’m glad he’s on our side 🙂

  4. August 28, 2009 3:39 am

    True, but I still think we are stuck with only an overwhelming negative overtone for authenteo. That is what the evidence demonstrates.

    I know a lot of people think that we can deduce from context that it means to have authority in church but there is no evidence for this. This could actually be called the “wet noodle” hermeneutic. Here is the Steven Pinker, The Stuff of Thought, page 123

    “Language is a lever with which we can convey surprising facts, weird new ideas, unwelcome news, and other thoughts that a listener may be unprepared for. This leverage requires a rigid stick and a solid fulcrum, and that’s what the meaning of a sentence and the words and rules supporting them must be. If meanings could be freely reinterpreted in context, language would be a wet noodle and not up to the job of forcing new ideas into the minds of listeners.”

    So, when a theologian says,

    “While what you say is generally true, in the case of the use of didaskein and authentein in 1 Tim 2:12, in conjunction with oude, it does not appear that these verbs are of such a nature that they transparently and unequivocally convey a positive or negative connotation apart from consultation of the context and syntax of the passage.” Kostenberger BF, Nov. 30, 2008


    “The fact that lexical study in this case, owing to the limited data, of necessity remains inconclusive leads naturally to the next chapter in the book, where I consider the sentence structure” Kostnberger, Between Two Worlds, July 30, 2008

    It is evident that he is fencing with a wet noodle.

  5. jbstarke permalink*
    August 28, 2009 10:47 am

    Pinker’s wet noodle hermeneutic falls short. Context always drives the force of the argument. Thats why words always have a range of meaning, because they have different contexts in which they sit. There are 27 types of genitives that depend primarily upon context. Maybe some how you and I have different philosophies of language, but this is basic greek syntax and exegesis. Pinker can’t be taken seriously.
    Kostenberger and Schreiner’s book on 1 Tim 2 is definitive. I know you will disagree and maybe I’m biased because Tom is a good friend, but I have not read (and its my job to read everything on this stuff) anything that stands against their argument at any level.

  6. August 28, 2009 5:09 pm


    Have you read Linda Belleville’s article, or Witherington’s commentary? Are you aware that the reference from Philodemus’s Rhetorica fragment does not provide an occurence of authenteo being translated as “those in authority?” This alters the validity of the Baldwin study. Andreas is now familiar with this. He is a very careful academic, so he admits that there is no proof of a positive meaning for authenteo.

    How do you know Pinker can’t be taken seriously? Are you trained in linguistics? I would be interested in reading a negative review of his book if you have seen that. The main complaint about his book is that it is too long, He goes on forever belabouring some points.

  7. August 28, 2009 5:12 pm

    Belleville’s article is in Discovering Biblical Equality. If you have that, I could point out the relevant passages.

    Kostenberger and Schreiner’s book on 1 Tim 2 is out of date. I can show you where if you have time.

    I think Witherington has a commentary on 1 Tim, that I have read perhaps in google books.

  8. jbstarke permalink*
    August 28, 2009 5:27 pm

    Have you seen Kost. and Tom’s 2nd edition? Its good and up to date – thought I’m not sure if the content can go much more out of date. I don’t have Witherington’s commentary, and, yes, I have read Belleville’s article. Belleville is not my favorite author, so I’m not going to give my opinion of her work.

    I have actually never read Pinker’s book. I was actually talking about specifically the quote. If he is using that quote the same way you are using it, then yes, you can’t take that seriously. I do not need to be a linguist to show that in Greek syntax you can have varying ranges of meaning depending on the context. Because Kostenberger uses context to display meaning doesn’t mean that he uses words like wet noodles. That means he is following the flow of the argument (which Belleville rarely does – showing my hand).

  9. August 28, 2009 8:58 pm

    Belleville has established that the lexical evidence K. used is not as he has recorded. That’s enough for now.

    Kostenberger’s blog posts on this topic are quite up to date. Let’s work with these for a bit, then we don’t have to type so much.

    On his blog, Biblical Foundations, in this post, 1 Timothy 2:12—Once More, 06-16-06, Kostenberger writes,

    “the likelihood was suggested that “exercise authority” (Grk. authentein) carries a neutral or positive connotation, but owing to the scarcity of the term in ancient literature (the only NT occurrence is 1 Tim. 2:12; found only twice preceding the NT in extrabiblical literature) no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone.”

    In the PDF on this topic K. is also very clear that the sample size is too small to have any certainty, but he does mention two occurences.

    Here is footnote 41 from the PDF, by Kostenberger, and labeled page 245,

    41These two references are: Philodemus (1st cent. BCE): “Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority (συν αυθεντουσιν) are villains, and hated by both gods and men”;

    and BGU 1208 (27 BCE): “I exercised authority (Καμου αυθεντηκοτος) over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour.” For full Greek texts and translations, see Baldwin, “Appendix 2” in Women in the Church, 275–76. (in the PDF page 13)


    If you agree that this is accurate information, then I will show you the original items which K. has referred to. I will link you to the pages in the Greek for Philodemus and for BGU 1208 and you can see for yourself that the corelation is not what K. has recorded.

    The problem is that Baldwin included these two references and everyone agreed with them at the time. However, Belleville was able to check them out in the original and I have been able to actually display both of these full citations on my blog.

    I discussed this at length with AL Wolters and he was able to confirm with me that all lexical evidence for authenteo is inconlusive. K. also agrees with this, but he thinks now that context is enough.

    But, before we go to context, I want you to see for yourself what the lexical evidence is. I am sure now that K. is familiar with this, and knows that these two citations do not demonstrate the meanings which are in his footnote.

    I want to be careful and say that this has happened because there used to be such limited access to these documents, but now they are available. K. trusted Baldwin, and Baldwin trusted someone else, etc. etc.

    PS: When it says “sophisticated computer searches” that doesn’t mean much in today’s terms, because now we can actually look at the entire item for almost all 82 examples on the internet. Everyone can check these out.

    So, I think there is an error here but it was due to limited access to the original citations.

  10. jbstarke permalink*
    August 29, 2009 4:13 am

    You are more familiar with the material outside of Kost and Bel’s and those immediately related to it. However, my point has always been that context decides much for us and pulls much of the weight.

    I will not be able to argue against this “two citation” occurrence because I have not looked at everything you have included. However, this is not exhaustive of Kost’s syntax work. Even if this syntactical point is not evidenced, my goodness, the entire work still stands. Their work is so decisive that I simply have nothing to add other than to simply point to their arguments again.

    Off to bed. Sue, you should become a complementarian and a Calvinist. We could read D. A. Carson together. 🙂

  11. August 29, 2009 4:49 am

    I am in a different time zone so it is not that late for me.

    This is the way it always ends, John. No time. I thought it was your job to understand these things, but you don’t.

    K’s syntax argument, that both verbs have to have the same force, only works in your favour if authentein can be proven to have a positive connotation and didaskein can be proven not to have a negative connotation.

    But the reverse is true. Authentein is proven to have a negative connotation, and no positive connotation, whereas, didaskein has both. (see Titus 1)

    So, the only conclusion is that authentein is something negative that no one should do. There really isn’t any other choice.

    I am sorry to see that you don’t want to dialogue about this. But I hope you can see that this is the glaring error in Carson’s sermon which you link to. He claims a positive connotation for authetein and there isn’t one.

    You must know that I have just left complementarianism. I am not sure if I am up to joking about it yet or not. It would be very black humour if I did.

    You know, above and beyond all this nonsense about women, I started this crusade because I could not stand the cruelty of the statement of concern against the TNIV. I wish CBMW would take it down and apologize to Fee, Carson, Moo, Waltke and so on.

    It was only after that that I discovered all the other stuff and realized that complementarianism was using a colander to argue its case.

  12. August 29, 2009 5:18 am

    The “nonsense” about women, more specifically is that I was just rereading where your friend Tom writes that women are more nurturing and men are better at rational analysis. I don’t think this is very hospitable, is it? 😉

  13. jbstarke permalink*
    August 29, 2009 3:54 pm

    I hope I haven’t somewhere claimed to know “all things gender debate”. There are some areas where I am more familiar with than others. I am not one of those who are jack of all trades and master of all of them. I am pretty limited in my scope of interests (or abilities, whichever one). I am adequate in my syntax and exegesis and I am familiar with a large scope of work in this area. But, I am no specialists. For me, there is a point where have I say “the Scriptures are plain” and I follow the context of the passage.

    Systematics and hermeneutics (biblical theology) are an area where I spend more energy. Its just my area of study. I read and try to stay up-to-date on gender material. But honestly, this is not my identity. I love complementarianism and everything that comes with it. But I also spend a lot of my time of research in doctrine of God, christology, and epistemology. I’m really ok with not spending a lot of time looking up every use of a word or phrase when context is more helpful. Carson and Kost may have been wrong, but its such a small part of the argument.

    Sorry about the short “complementarian and Calvinism” joke. I realize there is a history that isn’t very humorous for you. I didn’t think about that when I typed it. It was meant to be friendly and express that I enjoy our conversations and it would be great if we could discuss something we agree on. I hope it wasn’t too offensive.


  14. August 29, 2009 5:18 pm

    Of course, I know you meant it to be friendly. I am struggling with this. I am like a former slave trying to dialogue with a slave owner, in a sense, not a complete analogy, but similar, if you look at Eph. 5.

    You are content to take other people’s word about the Greek because you love complementarianism and you don’t need to question it. You are the one with authority in an authority and submission relationship. Perhaps in some way, this works for you and your family personally. I have no intention of challening this.

    But it does not work for many women. Half of women my age are single. Many married women my age are the primary providers, for necessary reasons.

    So, more than half of women my age are the family primary provider and protector. It is just an insult to us to be deprived of the recognition that this is who we are.

    If women are protectors and providers of their own family, why can’t they be treated as such, as adults, as those who are as capable of rational analysis as men?

    Women are just asking to be treated and loved as meighbours, and siblings. But complementarianism deprives women of this.

    Why do you love complementarianmism for other people? I don’t want you to talk about the benefits to you personally or your own family, but I want you to think about women in general and how it is a benefit to women to always live in submission and be deprived of all authority.

    I am not challenging the beauty of being a mother and having babies. It is not about that. It is about the deprivation of personal authority. Why would you love for other women to live this way?


    Regarding the word authenteo, it was translated as dominari by Jerome, as have lordship by Wycliff and Luther, as to usurp authority by the KJV.

    You are not reading the plain meaning of the word when you read “to exercise authority.” You are reading one particular post-reformation translation of the word – one which happens to be useful to men who wish to deprive women of authority. This is your choice but you have chosen something that is not the plain meaning scripture.

    And yes it is one word. How many posts would be left on the CBMW website if the verse 1 Tim. 2:12 was not in the Bible?

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 29, 2009 5:46 pm

      Complementarianism works for me (not just experientially – which it does in my marriage) because that is the way God designed it. You are right, there is a lot of ink spilled on I Tim 2 and maybe there shouldn’t be as much. You portray complementarianism as ripping authority away from women and treating them kids. That’s just not the way complementarianism works out. That may be how some people play out their sinfulness, but thats not how the Bible or complementarianism does. I’m not going to treat women who are single and fully providing themselves any different than I would another man who provides for their house. First of all, they are not my wife and should not submit to anything I say – unless I am her pastor and that is for different reasons. Ultimately, God’s revelation has authority over my reasons or experience. I think egalitarianism usurps the authority of revelation and puts experience over it.

      At the end of the day, Scripture is simply clear as to how the household should look – not simply for our good but for his glory. If I do not lead my household I am not following the instruction of Scripture. Authority simply means I am responsible before God for the spiritual and physical well-being of my home. Scripture is the mind of God and it is clear, no matter what peculiar syntax of authenteo exists. Whether the word means to exercise or usurp, doesn’t significantly change the meaning of passage. Paul’s use of Genesis and the flow of the passage drives the meaning.

      BTW – I didn’t say I wasn’t competent in my Greek. I can critically read through any article and engage just fine, I just don’t have the energy, interest, or time to work through all the material out there on one word that, in my opinion, doesn’t have as much bearing on a passage. I can let Andreas or Tom handle that for me.

      I think complementarianism is good all people because it is God’s design – not Paul’s, Augustine’s, or Grudem’s.

      PS – I think KJV’s version works better with the context of Genesis.

  15. August 29, 2009 6:07 pm

    This is curcular, John. You believe it is God’s design because of his revelation in scripture, and you believe that this is what the scripture says because you know it is God’s design.

    You trust Tom to handle authenteo for you even though you know he has a bias against women and believes that they are not as capable of rational analysis as men.

    So, essentially you know that you are allowing a biased viewpoint to shape your thinking.

    You write,

    “I’m not going to treat women who are single and fully providing themselves any different than I would another man who provides for their house.”

    So you know that being a provider and haing authority in the home has nothing at all to do with the design of being male or female.

    Here is the catch

    1. Being a provider is not part of our design,

    2. we agree that 1 Tim. 2:12 is possibly not talking about godly leadership but about usurping,

    3. Women who are providers aren’t usurping authority but just being responsible

    So how are men and women different in authority? Or are only married women lacking in authority?

    Why couldn’t single women be leaders in church and be ordained?

  16. August 29, 2009 6:08 pm

    What I meant is that being a provider is not part of our design according to our gender. It is our responsiblity as an adult, male or female. Don’t you think?

  17. August 29, 2009 6:17 pm

    I hope you publish my second comment. I am trying to say that being a provider is not part of male design, but part of being a responsible human being, male or female.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 29, 2009 6:27 pm

      Its not circular. I believe in the authority of Scripture. Therefore, I put its content in authority over my experience and reason. Therefore, I believe its content of design for men and women to be true. That’s not circular. The two beliefs do not depend upon one another, but God’s authority undergirds my belief in gender.

      Also, of course single women have authority in their household. Yet, within marriage and the church, the authority is given (by God) to men. No experience or logic can usurp that for me.

  18. August 29, 2009 6:47 pm

    I believe in the authority of Scripture.

    But you don’t know for sure that 1 Tim. 2:12 says that women cannot lead in church. You let other people interpet this for you.

    You also agree that a woman loses the authority she has when she gets married, and gains back authority when she is single again? Is this complementarianism?

    Men always have authority, single or married, because it is part of their design – and women have authority as part of their design except when they are married or go to church.

    Or perhaps God did give women authority and responsibilty as part of their design, but they are not allowed to live according to their design when they are married or go to church.

    (I just want to understand the logic of it, but I am not challenging any personal practice of yours. As you know many complemnetarian theologians feel that complementarians don’t live all that differently from egalitarians.)

  19. August 29, 2009 6:50 pm

    Sorry, I just saw that you said “no logic can usurp that for me.”

    So you mean that you won’t explore the lexical values of authenteo, and you won’t explore the logical foundations of your paradigm. But you still believe that your friend – who says that men are better at rational analysis than women – is the one to interpret scripture for you.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 29, 2009 7:40 pm

      Tom doesn’t interpret Scripture for me. I can do that just fine, though I think Tom is a trusted authority.
      Whether authority means usurp or exercise, doesn’t have that much interpretational value. The context of Paul’s use of Genesis and flow of thought has enough interpretational value to interpret the passage – along with the rest of Paul’s work on the church and home.

      I don’t think single women having authority over themselves and their household is incompatible with complementarianism. In marriage, however, Scripture is clear. It is clear also about the Church.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 29, 2009 7:43 pm

      Also, it doesn’t mean I forfeit my logic in light of the authority of Scripture. It means I submit my interpretation of my experience and logical conclusions to Scripture. I am sinful man, God is perfect and righteousness. I think his design for the home and church will always be good. I will try to align my life to that, though I sometimes fail.

  20. August 29, 2009 8:07 pm

    But you do agree that the design of a single woman is to provide and have authority. I think. And for you, this is not the design of a married woman. Are there three genders, perhaps, 😉 single women, married women, and men? I feel like a normal woman, but perhaps complementarianism doesn’t categorize me as one.

    Using the expression “flow of thought” from Carson isn’t all that persuasive, because he has clearly misquoted Moo, whose article he claims to be citing.

    The way I see it, there is no imperative to having a complemnetarian view of scripture. One could just as easily believe that 1 Tim. 2 was about women who claimed to have priority over men, because of their religious adherence to Artemis. Paul would then be telling Timothy that it is wrong for women to teach with the notion of usurping men or controlling men, because, afterall, man was formed first.

    So, in my view, this passgae is contradicting the notion of female priority, and it is also dealing with the conern of women who usually prayed to Artemis during childbirth. This makes by far the most sense when looking at the flow of thought.

    I think that regarding the interpretation of scripture complementarianism and egalitarianism are equally possible.

    The question is which is most honouring to women,

    1. to treat them as people with like authority, as single women seem to be,

    2. or to treat them as people who have authority but only if there is no man around, in which case they don’t have authority.

    Regarding providing, both parents are responsible for seeing that the children are provided for and cared for. This is the law. It is against the law for one parent to allow the other parent greater responsibility with regard to safety and health.

    I hope you see that for me egalitarianism is not about rebellion against God or the scripture, but it is about women taking on proper and full responsibility for their families.

  21. August 29, 2009 8:11 pm

    PS, We all fail. Same here.

    The question is not whether we want to fill God’s design, but how do we know what God’s design is.

    If the paradigm goes against the way God has actually designed women, that is to have full authority, then perhaps complementaianism is not God’s design.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 29, 2009 8:12 pm

      The problem is, God designed men have authority in the home and Church.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 29, 2009 8:23 pm

      Single women have no one to submit to other than the Lord. That’s why Scripture says to married women to submit to their husband as to the Lord. All is unto the Lord.

  22. August 29, 2009 8:46 pm

    But God somehow forgot to design women not to have authority in the home. Women are not designed differently from men in this respect. So men live according to their design, submitting only to the Lord, and single women also, but married women are not allowed to live according to their design.

    This is how egalitarians see it. They aren’t rebellious, they just want to honour the moral design of both men and women in marriage. Its an honest way of reading scripture, its not rebellion or distortion.

  23. August 29, 2009 8:48 pm

    I do think both men and women are designed to be married, but complementarians offer women a choice,

    1. live according to your moral design as a human designed to have authority


    2. get married

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 29, 2009 8:53 pm

      I can’t explain away Paul and Peter. That’s how God designed the house and Church. I believe if you want to reason away Paul and Peter, that reason is rebellious. Married women still submit to the Lord by following the leadership of their husband.

  24. August 29, 2009 9:12 pm


    I can’t discuss every scripture every time.

    But you have touched instead on motivation. You say that to reason away Peter and Paul is rebellious. I could discuss every scripture as we have discussed 1 Tim. 2:12 but you would call that rebellion.

    Was it rebellious for slaves to want liberty?

    Was it rebellious for the USA to want to become a soveriegn state?

    Were Luther and Calin rebellious?

    Is it rebellion for a woman to want to exericse full authority for her children, in the same way a man does – providing care, safely and discipline?

    I don’t judge your heart, in this issue, John, but you have judged mine. Where does God give you that right? Do you really think that I became egalitarian because of rebellion??

    Do you really think that about other people’s lives? Its a sad thing.

  25. August 29, 2009 9:14 pm

    I think this is the core problem. Copmplementarians believe that it is rebellion for a woman to want to live by her God given design.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      August 31, 2009 1:41 pm

      Hey Sue,
      Where did you find that Schreiner quote?

  26. August 31, 2009 4:15 pm

    I found it cited a few places.
    I don’t have the book.

    It is cited as “An Interpretation of I Timothy 2:9-15: A Dialogue
    with Scholarship,” in Women in the Church

    pages 145-145 in this source

    it is also cited here


    Since men are greater risk-takers and women are better at mutual fund management, shouldn’t women have final say in the home?

  27. jbstarke permalink*
    August 31, 2009 5:09 pm

    I think Kostenberger answers some of your concerns on authority in this post:

    You say:
    “Since men are greater risk-takers and women are better at mutual fund management, shouldn’t women have final say in the home?”

    I just can’t get around simply saying, “because God says men should lead the home.” I know that is maddening to you for me to say simply say that, but I have to do too many hermeneutical summersaults to get around the plain meaning of al of the texts.

  28. August 31, 2009 5:25 pm


    The problem is that there is a claim that men have authority and women have submission because of the way God designed them. But I have yet to see what this design is. You don’t seem to support this argument.

    God does not actually say that men should lead the home. Actually in 1 Tim. 5:14 the text says that women should lead the home. It really couldn’t be clearer – oikodespoteo – be the leader of the home or the “head of the household” .

    It isn’t maddening to me that you say this, because I don’t think of you as having any authority in my life. So, don’t worry about that. It is your loss at this point, and not mine.

    I read that post by Kostenberger and I cited from it earlier in this thread. If you look at the comment #4 he writes,

    “Thank you, Wayne, for your comment. While what you say is generally true, in the case of the use of didaskein and authentein in 1 Tim 2:12, in conjunction with oude, it does not appear that these verbs are of such a nature that they transparently and unequivocally convey a positive or negative connotation apart from consultation of the context and syntax of the passage. Also, one ought not to underestimate the possibility that an otherwise positive word is given a negative contextual connotation or vice versa.”

    So really K. is trying to argue that there is some possibility that authentein could have a positive meaning even though there is no evidence for this. He has nothing definitive to say here. The Syntax cannot make a word mean something if there is no lexical evidence that the word can possibly mean that. This is not possible.

    I think the main problem is tradition and inertia. It requires a lot of effort to examine one’s life and one’s presuppositions. But I don’t think egalitarianism means that women can’t stay home with the children.

  29. jbstarke permalink*
    August 31, 2009 5:38 pm

    Sorry, I use the word “lead” sometimes instead of “head”.

  30. jbstarke permalink*
    August 31, 2009 5:44 pm

    By the way, Kost is simply admitting that they are words that have contexts and you need contexts to decipher meaning

  31. August 31, 2009 5:56 pm

    There has to be some proof that the word could possibly mean what you think it means. There is no evidence that authenteo means to lead in church or the home. That doesn’t exist. There is lots of evidence that it means “to be the master of” “to compel” “to take over from someone” “to be a tyrant” and so on.

    One can suggest that any leadership by women is tyranny and monstrosity. That is what Calvin says. Bascially he believes that any goverment, civil or otherwise, if conducted by women is a monstrosity and therefore is authenteo, a tyranny. But that is a different argument, at least faithful to meaning of the word.

    But this disallows Maggie Thatcher and Sarah Palin and all and any government by women.

    Regarding “head” I notice that the presumption is that it means leader. I am not sure about that, because there is no set idiom in Greek about being “the head of” something.

    It is true that those men who were householders were in control of their own family in civil law. its a complex argument and entails dealing with slavery also, since they are in the same passage.

    I think the witness of the scriptures, however, is that Nympha, Chloe, Phoebe, and so on were all financially independent and had no less authority than anyone else in the text.

    There is, on the one hand, the Greek model household of master, wife, slave, children – and then, on the other hand, there are the real people that Paul interacted with, both men and women, free and slaves, Greek and Jewish.

    At some point, you have to ask if women and slaves are really designed by God for submission and free men designed for authority.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      September 1, 2009 3:34 am

      Alright Sue, I did a little reviewing of our subject. I read up some on some articles – those mainly concerned with Kost’s conclusions.

      I have to admit. Belleville’s article was the only negative one I could really find. Many didn’t like the conclusions, but agreed with his syntax – like Giles and Marshall, etc. I didn’t read Witherington, but I plan to sometime this week. I don’t have a whole lot of free time to read up on these issues so I am going slowly.

      Some observations on Belleville’s article:

      1. The idea that Paul is addressing women to not teach because they were the false teachers (or the dominate ones) simply doesn’t make sense, since the only false teachers that Paul names were men. Therefore, its silly that Paul would only tell women not to teach false doctrine, and not the men.

      2. Belleville is prone to put a lot of stock into word studies, especially with an emphasis upon the root of the word. The verb form of this is “have authority” – I looked this up in 8 different greek dictionaries and at the back of my UBS 4th and Nestle-Aland. In all the ancient texts she looked in, she simply needed to look in her dictionary – oversimplification I know. But I think she is complicating the matter more than is needed.

      3. She says that Kost treats the the infinitives like verbs, when they are in noun form and should be treated as noun in the syntax structure. Everybody knows that infinitives are treated as verbs in sentences. They are action words and have objects. If she treats them like nouns, then they would have to be adjectival, which would be begging the question. This is precisely what needs to be proven, not assumed.

      4. Finally, why would Paul be saying this? Do not master over men? It does make sense of the passage. Belleville puts a lot of stock in the culture of Artemis worship – the goddess who thought herself superior to men. The problem is, we are talking about Christians, not pagan worshippers. The problem of Artemis and her superior female adherents has no place in the context of Christian worship. Paul would be bringing up idol worship, not a cult proto-feminism problem.

      5. Looking back over our conversation, I don’t think you have read Kostenberger’s recent updated version of the I Timothy book. You should find it and read it. He responds to all the positive and negative responses of his chapter in the original version.


  32. September 1, 2009 4:12 am


    I have read Kostenberger’s several blog posts on this. Please do not discount what I say so glibly.

    If you look in the BDAG, in the dictionary as you so simply say, what is the entry?

    – to assume a stance of independent authority

    Have you ever heard church leadership described like this?

    But to go further, look at the reference to Philo. Rhetorica. Sudh. (Sudhausen)

    (Do you have the BDAG, either edition?)

    Philo. Rhetorica is the one single occurence that Baldwin (or Knight) thought was “those in authority.”

    The problem is that it was not translated as that, but as “powerful lords.” But each word has to be recontructed to even get that far. It really cannot count for anything. Its an error in BDAG, or a conjecture of the most remote kind.

    Without this one piece of evidence, there is really no case for “having authority.”

    Now, if you reread the evidence in Discovering Biblical Equality, paperback page 214-215, it starts,

    “The first is found in the fifth to first centuries…

    Remember that all scholars are looking at the same evidence. Some eliminate some of these examples, but there is no way to find even one example that refers to leadership in a positive way. Not one.

    This is what Kostberberger is admitting on his blog, but not in his book. SInce he wrote his book, I put this example from Philodemus Rhetorica on my blog and asked anyone to respond. After that, someone emailed Kostenberger to get help in arguing against me, and then Kostenberger backed down on his blog and said that there really is not enough evidence to prove anything about the lexical meaning of the word.

    The primary evidence contains no examples of a positive connotation. This is my stance, unless you can produce one.


    Now for the second point. I agree with Marshall and Kostenberger that both verbs must have the same force.

    But Marshall and I, think that the verb authenteo can only be negative, so didaskein must be negative also here.

    Here is what Kostenberger wrote about Marshall,

    “A case in point is I. H. Marshall. In his 1999 ICC commentary on the Pastorals, Marshall at the outset indicates his acceptance of the findings of my study by noting that it has “argued convincingly on the basis of a wide range of Gk. usage that the construction employed in this verse is one in which the writer expresses the same attitude (whether positive or negative) to both of the items joined together by oude.”

    Yet Marshall proceeds to opt for a negative connotation of both terms “teach” and “have authority,” because he says false teaching is implied in the reference to Adam and Eve in verse 14.”

    So, in conclusion, Kostenberger admits that there is no evidence for a positive meaning of authentein. Then he correctly notes that other scholars agree that both verbs must have the same force.

    But, of course, everyone disagrees on the context. We can argue about that some other day.

    For now, just reread Belleville, those two pages, and see if there is any other evidence in any other book. It took me a while for the whole thing to sink in. I needed to reread it several times to get it.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      September 1, 2009 11:20 am

      This whole point is based on the conclusion that the infinitives are to be treated as adjectival. In my opinion, the burden of proof is upon this and this is simply assumed. But then you say later “both verbs must have the same force.” Well, Belleville doesn’t argue for the “verb” usage like Marshall and Kostenberger argue. You must either rely upon the arguments that Belleville give for the adjectival noun or Kostenberger’s verb structure. You can’t have it both ways.

      You say the “I think the only response you can have is that there is no lexical evidence and the syntactical evidence works for either side equally.” You can only say this if the infinitives are adjectival. Again, this is begging the question. My conclusion is the these infinitives are used as they are to properly used – to teach and to have authority. This is the clearest and simplest reading. Belleville has to cram too much into the context of the passage to come up with her conclusions.

      Yet Marshall proceeds to opt for a negative connotation of both terms “teach” and “have authority,” because he says false teaching is implied in the reference to Adam and Eve in verse 14.”

      This is, again, reading into the passage something that is not there. False teaching is not implied, but being Eve being deceived is implied. Again, for Paul to simply keep women from false teaching and not say it to men is just silly.

      Finally, if Paul was addressing Artemis problems, it would have been a little clearer in the context. It is simply no where to be found. This would be a significant idolatry problem, not just women usurping authority.

  33. September 1, 2009 4:19 am

    I think the only response you can have is that there is no lexical evidence and the syntactical evidence works for either side equally.

    So, all that is left is context. And we know that Artemis worship was a problem in Ephesus, and it related to female priests and childbirth. It seems like a perfect fit. Some false teaching is continuing among the women, perhaps a doctrine which promotes female priority and power over the male. This is what needs to be corrected.

  34. September 1, 2009 4:21 am

    I am surprised that you think that Artemis worship could be wiped out in half a generation in the church. It takes a long time for ancestral religions to be forgotten.

  35. September 1, 2009 4:33 am

    Can I summarize this mess for you.

    1. There is no evidence that authenteo has a positive or even neutral meaning. Therefore, we can only be certain of a negative meaning.

    2. Both authentein and didaskein are likely to have the same force.

    3. Didaskein can have a negative meaning. (Titus 1:11)

    Therefore, by far the most likely conclusion is that both authentein and didaskein are negative and women are not to do some negative thing that they are doing.

    • jbstarke permalink*
      September 1, 2009 11:27 am

      didaskein can certainly have a negative meaning. But Titus 1:11 gives clear warrant for that in a way I Tim 2 does not. Also, Titus 1:11 does not have the structure that is debated. This passage doesn’t seem to have any bearings upon the I Tim 2. Simply putting “I do not permit a women to teach (error)” is not clear at all in the passage.

  36. September 1, 2009 12:22 pm


    Can we move step by step. Do you agree that there is no lexical evidence for the positive overtones of authentein. This is the new information in Belleville’s article and very significant since Carson seems to be entirely unaware of this. Minute 39

    Next, syntactically it could be according to Marshall’s meaning, not to teach (false doctrine) or usurp authority,

    Carson says that all sides agree that teach has a positive overtone. But not everyone agrees with that 100%.

    But, another possibility according to Belleville, page 219, is “I do not permit a woman to teach a man in a dominating way …”

    And in mimute 40-41 Carson argues for “authoritative teaching.”

    In fact, many complementarians believe that this is the meaning. This is in order to allow women to teach, to speak in public when men are present as Elizabeth Elliot does, or used to do quite a bit.

    In fact, I notice on the CBMW website that Ligon Duncan is quite persuaded that “authoritative teaching” is the correct interpretation. He writes,

    “We looked at that several weeks ago; it’s authoritative teaching-that’s the kind of speaking he is talking about. He’s talking about preaching and teaching the Word in an authoritative way the way an elder or minister is to teach the Word.”

    But if you look at the occurences of authenteo, which Belleville has provided, they come no where near authoritative. They suggest controlling and dominating. This is why Jerome translated the word as dominari in Latin.

    Jerome also used the word dominari in Gen. 3:16 and in 1 Peter 5:3

    3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

    So, it seems quite clear that Jerome thought the word meant something rather negative. That’s why it was translated into German as “be the lord of” by Luther.

    The truth is that there has never been any agreement that this word authenteo means to have authority in the church.

    It seems rather ridiculous to say that no women can teach any man, when, in fact, it is the women who really understand languages and language study very well.

    Isn’t it more important to be studious and accurate and careful in language study.

    I don’t think Carson has displayed this characteristic in his presentation. There are too many inconsistancies.

    So, is it better to be accurate, or better to be a man? Which one has more authority?

  37. September 2, 2009 5:46 am

    Hi John,

    I have seen it and I have reacted. As you know, I am not impressed with the criticism of the TNIV. For the most part, it is founded on a lack of knowledge of the history of Bible translation.

    The calumny of Grudem and Piper, of CBMW all lies in front of me, as obvious as anything could be.I don’t know why CBMW rejoices in this untruth, but it appears that they do.

  38. September 3, 2009 4:46 am

    Here’s a funny story. Dr. Packer really loves to talk about Tyndale. I asked him one day why he loved the word “propitition”, and he said because it was Tyndale’s word.

    But, in fact, Tyndale’s word is “atonement” which is used in the TNIV. No one will ever convince me that accuracy is the problem with the TNIV. It was only that it did not give enough priority to the male, as Grudem would put it.

  39. Sue permalink
    September 24, 2009 12:42 am


    I realize that you think that restricting women from teaching in church is a moral good. However, can you really justify publishing false information to support this.

    By posting Carson’s video you are publicizing the incorrect notion that authenteo can mean “to have authority” with a positive sense.

    As I wrote earlier,

    Here is a difficulty, Carson said,

    “In most instances authenteo has a neutral or positive overtone.” minute 37-38 approx.

    But Doug Moo wrote,

    “Second, the occurrences of this word-the
    verb-that are closest in time and nature to 1 Timothy mean “have authority over” or
    “dominate” (in the neutral sense of “have dominion over,” not in the negative sense “lord it over”).18″

    Several problems here.

    1. There are no occurences at that time with a positive overtone and there is no one I know who suggests that there is.

    2. There are two with negative overtones, and one that is an astronomical term, therefore has no moral overtone at all, ie neutral.



    I have told you that what Carson says is not true. You will not get any Greek scholar to agree that it is true. You have not verified this information with anyone. You purposefully publish false information to the detriment of the Christian liberty of women.

    Do you or any of CBMW have a moral conscience? I really want to know the answer to this, because from where I am, it appears that there is no moral basis to the notion that women must be restricted.

  40. Sue permalink
    September 24, 2009 12:43 am

    I am responding to the fact that you have posted Carson’s talk on CBMW gender blog. Do you think Carson knows that what he is saying is wrong or is there simply a desire for women to be restricted that is so strong that facts cannot be entered into the discussion?

    • jbstarke permalink*
      September 24, 2009 10:10 pm

      You just disagree with Carson’s position. We believe him to be in the right. Understanding the two infinitives to be two separate verbs “to teach and to have authority” is the clearest reading from the text. I understand your arguments against it, but it really seems to be explaining away the meaning. Plus, the fact that Paul bases his entire argument in creation completely dismisses your arguments – along with Belleville’s. Context gives meaning to the text. You cannot just lift the text from its entire context. Even if its “have authority over” or “dominate”, it simply doesn’t matter within the context. Paul still gives authority to men in the home and in the Church and bases his argument from creation. Carson gives room for that interpretation, no matter your syntax decision.

      Sorry, Sue, 1 Timothy 2-3 is clear as to who is to have authority in the Church.

  41. September 25, 2009 12:09 am


    Carson said,

    “In most instances authenteo has a neutral or positive overtone.”

    But no one has ever published even one actual occurrence of authenteo that has a positive overtone. Not even one. This is the first thing to establish. All the rest is secondary.

    Can you supply one example of authenteo having a positive overtone? Can anyone in CBMW do so?

    If not, why does Carson say this?

    The ESV study Bible says,

    “Over 80 examples of this word exist outside the NT, however, clearly establishing that the meaning is “exercise authority” (not “usurp authority” or “abuse authority,” etc., as sometimes has been argued).”

    But here is a piece of an interview published on Justin Taylor’s blog,

    Kostenberger: Baldwin’s study shows that authentein was an exceedingly rare word in NT times that occurs in the NT only in 1 Tim 2:12 and elsewhere only once or twice prior to the writing of 1 Timothy.

    JT 3. So, then, in the case of 1 Tim 2:12, is the word study method by itself inconclusive?

    Kostenberger: Yes, I believe that’s right.

    So, if Kostenberger thinks that the lexical study is inconclusive, why does Carson and the ESV think it is so conclusive?

    Why doesn’t someone admit that this word has no positive overtones and no one has ever found evidence that it does.

    Can you find anyone in CBMW who is aware of even one piece of evidence that authenteo has positive overtones?

  42. September 25, 2009 5:23 am

    I think CBMW has a responsibility to the public to be honest. Don’t you think so?

    • jbstarke permalink*
      September 25, 2009 11:19 am

      I wonder if you have read Baldwin’s article in Kost/Schreiner’s 1 Tim 2 book and also if you have read Kostenberger’s conclusion to his article in the updated book. I don’t think everything is as conclusive in your court as you think it is. In fact, I believe its pretty conclusive in my court. Also, I don’t think everything is centered around a positive or negative use of the authenteo as you say it is. Context has to be established, then everything else is secondary.

  43. September 26, 2009 4:05 am

    If you have read Baldwin’s article, then you can tell me if there is even one occurrence of authenteo with positive overtones. Carson says there is, but Kostenberger says there isn’t. How do you account for that?

    I am not the one who says that the discussion is centred around the positive or negative use of authenteo. Carson is the one who said this, and Kostenberger and Schreiner.

    Either somebody on the CBMW staff knows of at least one use of authenteo with a positive overtone, or they should admit that they don’t. I don’t think this pretense is healthy.

    I realize that the ESV study bible implies that there is evidence for the meaning “to have authority” but I have never seen this evidence quoted. Nobody has ever produced it.

    If CBMW cannot produce this evidence on their blog, then something is amiss.

    If context is primary and everything else is secondary then why on earth would CBMW recommend a literal or word for word translation of the bible. Clearly you don’t think the lexical meaning of a word is important. So why on earth does Grudem complain about the TNIV translating aner as “people” when it is clear from the context that the listeners include women?

    Don’t you think this is just a little inconsistent. Do you ever think that perhaps some people are a little to eager to subordinate women?

    But at least the meaning in translation should be one of the possible meanings of the word. For authenteo, “to have authority” has not been established.

    I think it is time to reveal your evidence or stop referring to people like Carson who base the subordination of women on the presumption that the evidence exists.

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