Thinking in terms of
ecclesiastical power has often found a breeding ground in the Pastoral Epistles. To what extent
is this justified? This article will examine a passage that always comes up when the position
of women in the church is discussed: 1 Timothy 2:8−15. Consecutively, three aspects will be
considered: power, powerlessness and authorised power. Power says something about the
underlying problem that Timothy faced: the male or female relationships in the church of
Ephesus threatened to degenerate into a power struggle. Powerlessness refers to the story of
Adam and Eve referred to in verses 13−15. Its focus is the woman, Eve. The book of Genesis
tells the story of human weakness, which becomes in the first letter to Timothy a sort of triptych
about Eve and the Creation, Eve and the Fall and Eve and the Redemption. Authorised power
is the way Paul tries to regulate the problematic situation in the congregation with apostolic
rules. Not only because he wants something (βούλομαι) or because he does not allow something
(οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω) , but also in particular to create space for the faithful Word.
This article was initially presented at the NavNUT Conference ‘Mag in die Nuwe Testament’, 16−19 January 2011 at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.