8. I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;+ 9. in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10. but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.+ For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15. Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with self-control.+
+2:8 - Prayer must be united with quiet and godly behavior. Does this contradict praying secretly, not to be seen by men (Mt. 6:5, 6)? No. The warning is against spiritual showmanship, not congregational prayer. The secret 'room' (Mt. 6:6) is a person's innermost being, perfectly consistent with praying everywhere. In contrast to the Jewish emphasis on one primary earthly place for prayer (the temple in Jerusalem), Christians experience the fullness of prayer wherever they may be.
+2:12 - The Church's greatest saint is a woman, the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Some women, including Mary Magdalene, are called "Equal to the Apostles," others serve as deacons (Rom 16:1). While sharing full equality in Christ, women are not ordained to the offices of bishop and presbyter.
+2:15 - If salvation is holistic, involving all of one's life, then women who have children are saved, in part, by motherhood, if they persevere in godliness. Our God-given role in life is the place of our salvation.
I think we can guess what verses are the 'problem' here. Silence, submission, no authority to teach over man, yadda. It's clearly not a universal rule that women cannot speak, teach, etc. Women can (and could) prophecy. They were important members of the early church. Women were not being marginalized here. I view this as a passage that was very specific to the problem that St. Paul was addressing. Again, we don't have the letter that was written to him, and what the issues were. We have only his response, so, half the discussion, at best. I also take this as one of those passages that was more St. Paul's opinion than anything else. *pauses for lightning strikes* Compared to the other passages we've looked at, he says 'I' an *awful* lot here. 'I' desire this, 'I' do not that. I could be wrong, of course, but that's how I view this passage.
However, even if that weren't the case, we fall back to the arguments from the previous passages that we've looked at. Women weren't to speak in church (clearly this was an issue, or it wouldn't have been addressed) - there was likely a steep learning curve and the women, who, for the most part, were not as educated in religious matters as the men, were asking questions, trying to learn. Which is not a bad thing, but there is a time and a place for questions, even in a school environment. The 'no authority over man' - women could not be priests. Period, end of discussion. I know that this is in no way going to convince those who believe otherwise, but that's the way it has been, historically, in the church. From the beginning. Women could (and can) hold very important roles in the church. But they could not (and cannot) act in the person of Christ. As for the Adam, Eve thing. *sigh* Being a saint does not make one perfect.
Susanne, the next reference, 1 Timothy 3:8 is about deacons and how they must not be liars, drunks, or greedy. I checked 2 Timothy 3:8 is about Moses and the Egyptian magicians. So...I'm not sure which verse was really meant. :)