In 1 Timothy 2:13–14, 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. Eve took the position of lead over Adam and thus she was deceived to sin. Neither the transgression nor the curse was in effect when Satan deceived Eve.
According to 1 Timothy 2:14, Eve’s example of deception is one of the reasons for woman’s exclusion from spiritual headship and speaking in the church. When a woman assumes authority of men spiritually, she makes herself more susceptible to deception. Eve’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 Tim 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.
The Creation of Man and Woman
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. 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?
Reasons for Headship
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 Tim 2:14 demonstrate about the difference between man and woman related to their Creation? God created man first to lead.
When Women Are More Susceptible to Deception
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? 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 create man first who thus leads in Creation. For this reason, God does not permit women to spiritually lead, and women are susceptible to deception when they assume this role of men.
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).
If the Truth Offends
Do these revelations degrade woman for being more likely to sin by deception when assuming spiritual leadership over men? If this insults women to sin via deception, then this insults men more who sin without deception. Who knows when men and women are more susceptible to temptations other than God?
Each sex has God-given characteristics. Recognizing the God-given glories of man and woman does not degrade anyone. 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. Men are to lead sacrificially, lovingly, and through service (Luke 22:2427; Eph 5:22–33).
Woman is more likely to be deceived when taking the role of leadership over men. Why? Because God created man first and so created man to lead. 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).