A Brief Apologia for Understanding the Woman’s Deception in 1 Timothy 2:14

In 1 Timothy 2:13–14, the Apostle Paul revealed why women are neither to teach nor to exercise authority over men. The Apostle explained, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Tim 2:13–14 ESV).

In verse 14, the Apostle specifically spoke of the deception that led to transgression. The Apostle did not note who was deceived first, who sinned first, or who was cursed as the reason. Neither the transgression nor the curse was in effect when Satan deceived Eve.

According to 1 Timothy 2:14, deception is one of the reasons for woman’s
exclusion from spiritual headship and speaking in the church. Woman’s deception shows why man should lead. The transgression and curse came after the deception, and the transgression and curse remain outside the reference to woman’s deception in 1 Timothy 2:14. In 1 Timothy 2:14, the evil one deceived only the woman, and the emphasis and meaning of this scripture are in that deception.

In 1 Timothy 2:13, God formed man first and then woman according to the preceding verse. God created man and woman different as affirmed in Scripture and in God’s Creation. Observably, God made women able to birth and nurse children, and men are physically stronger and larger. The Apostle Paul previously revealed why the head of woman is man. In 1 Corinthians 11:7–9, the Apostle expounds, “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” This does not mean that man is appointed and commanded to behave as a dictator but a Christ-like servant in leadership (Matt 22:25–28; cf. Eph 5:23–33).

How God formed man and woman in the Creation is the basis for the headship of man. Man is the glory of God and the head of woman, and God made woman in the glory of man as man’s helper (Gen 2:18–22). While God created both in His image, God formed both in different glories. The glory of woman has an influence upon man. According to Scripture, man can perceive a woman’s godly influence by her appearance in holy and chaste behavior (1 Cor 11:7, 15; 1 Pet 3:1–6). If a woman in the glory of man assumed a behavior of man who is the glory of God, would she not be trying to make her glory above men?

The immediate and remote contexts of 1 Timothy 2:14 testify of (at least) four reasons for man’s headship based on the Creation. God created man in His glory, woman for man, woman from man, and man first (1 Cor 11:7–9; 1 Tim 2:13–14). The other reason given is that Satan deceived Eve while neither Satan nor Eve deceived Adam. What does the deception in 1 Timothy 2:14 demonstrate about the difference between man and woman related to their Creation? God created man first to lead.

What does man, who was not deceived, reveal about how God created him? Are women more susceptible or vulnerable to sin when assuming a leading role over men? One scholar, Dave Miller observed, “When Paul said the woman was deceived, he was not suggesting that women are more gullible than men. Rather, when men or women fail to confine themselves to their created function, but instead tamper with, and act in violation of, divinely intended roles, spiritual vulnerability to sin naturally follows” (Female Leadership and the Church ). This is not about degrading women. The Apostle described, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God” (1 Cor 11:11–12). Man and woman share the same eternal inheritance (Gal 3:25–29). Both man and woman are made in God’s image (Gen 1:26). However, God did not create women to spiritually lead, and women are susceptible to deception.

In 1 Timothy 2:8–15, Paul’s message revealed truth about all men and women. The woman’s deception is God’s reason for why women cannot teach or exercise authority over men. Because Adam was not deceived and Eve was deceived to transgress, Paul recognized that God created man as the gender best for spiritual leadership. This does not mean that the curse upon women in Genesis 3:16 is bound upon Christian women or is a command for men to dominate women. This does not exclude the truth that sinful temptations can deceive both men and women as the serpent beguiled Eve (2 Cor 11:3).

Do these revelations despise or degrade man by affirming that man is more likely to sin without deception? Do these revelations degrade woman for being more likely to sin by deception when assuming spiritual leadership over men? If man is 55% of the time likely to sin willfully and 45% by deception and woman is 55% of the time likely to sin by deception than 45% willfully, is this description degrading specific gender? Who knows when men and women are more susceptible to temptations other than God?

Each sex has God-given characteristics. Are recognizing the God-given glories of man and woman degrading when God made all humankind in His image? By noting that Adam was not deceived and Eve was deceived, the Apostle Paul showed that man is the gender best created for spiritual leadership. Other passages emphasize the glory of woman shown in their holy behavior (1 Pet 3:1–6). God made man that he may act as head of his home, lead prayers, teach the church, and manage the congregation.

Christ’s Spirit spoke through Paul explaining, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor 11:3).

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Christianity, churches of Christ and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Brief Apologia for Understanding the Woman’s Deception in 1 Timothy 2:14

  1. Michael R. Baggett says:

    Outstanding, Scott!


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