Monday, March 16, 2009

Does God Tell Man To "Rule"? (Continued)

I stated in my last post that I would explain the issue of "rule" in 1 Timothy 3 in my next post. So, continuing our discussion of the man "ruling," I am now gonna tackle the problems of 1 Timothy 3.

Let's read the passage there:

1The saying is(A) trustworthy: If anyone aspires to(B) the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore(C) an overseer[a] must be above reproach,(D) the husband of one wife,[b](E) sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable,(F) hospitable,(G) able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but(H) gentle, not quarrelsome,(I) not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity(J) keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for(K) God’s church? (1 Tim. 3:1-5, ESV)

1 Timothy 3:1-5 concerns the office of overseer, or the pastorate. While there are a lot of issues regarding this passage, I will only cover those necessary for the current discussion regarding "ruling."
In verses 4 and 5, the ESV translators use the word "manage" to refer to the Greek verb "proistemi," meaning "to be over," or "to stand over." Now many people have said, see, this refers to the man, because the man is to "manage his household." However, to say this is to overlook many other issues with this text, one being the idea of managing itself.
To see this problem, look at 1 Timothy 5:14(ESV)--

"14So I would have(U) younger widows marry, bear children,(V) manage their households, and(W) give the adversary no occasion for slander."

Paul writes that the younger widows should "MANAGE THEIR HOUSEHOLDS." We have a problem here. Didn't Paul tell the pastoral candidates (and diaconate candidates) that they too, should "manage their households?" It's funny that this passage, 1 Timothy 3, has been used as a proof text for only males leading in the church. But if this were so, why doesn't Paul distinguish between the rule of the man in the home and the rule of the woman in the home?

In case you think I'm joking, let's look at the word in the Greek for the young widows to "manage their households." The word for "manage" in the Greek is "oikodespotein." The word itself is an infinitive, which means it is to be translated with the preposition "to" and then the verb itself (such as "to manage"). The Greek word "oikodespotein" is a compound word, consisting of "oikos" (house) and "despotein" (to be ruler). The word "despotein" in Greek is the ancestor of our English word "despot," which refers to an dictator, one who rules with an iron fist. Why would Paul be telling the women to be rulers of their households, and yet, only make males the leaders of the church in 1 Timothy 3? The fact that he uses the same language tells us that Paul saw women fit for the leadership of the church as well. Parallel this with the fact that a diaconate is also created for women (notice that the first diaconate in Acts 6 did not include women).

As I've stated much before, there is no Scriptural evidence showing that men received a Scriptural mandate to "rule" the home. And do you know why? because, as Udo Middleman said it in his book "The Innocence of God," the rule in marriage was a distortion of God's original intention for mankind. God gave man and woman rule over the earth together-- and partnership in the home. But today, we're still oppressing women and placing them on a domestic "leash."

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