John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 2:12 - 2:12

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 2:12 - 2:12


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12But I suffer not a woman to teach. Not that he takes from them the charge of instructing their family, but only excludes them from the office of teaching, which God has committed to men only. On this subject we have explained our views in the exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. (39) If any one bring forward, by way of objection, Deborah (Jud_4:4) and others of the same class, of whom we read that they were at one time appointed by the command of God to govern the people, the answer is easy. Extraordinary acts done by God do not overturn the ordinary rules of government, by which he intended that we should be bound. Accordingly, if women at one time held the office of prophets and teachers, and that too when they were supernaturally called to it by the Spirit of God, He who is above all law might do this; but, being a peculiar case, (40) this is not opposed to the constant and ordinary system of government.

He adds — what is closely allied to the office of teaching — and not to assume authority over the man; for the very reason, why they are forbidden to teach, is, that it is not permitted by their condition. They are subject, and to teach implies the rank of power or authority. Yet it may be thought that there is no great force in this argument; because even prophets and teachers are subject to kings and to other magistrates. I reply, there is no absurdity in the same person commanding and likewise obeying, when viewed in different relations. But this does not apply to the case of woman, who by nature (that is, by the ordinary law of God) is formed to obey; for γυναικοκρατία (the government of women) has always been regarded by all wise persons as a monstrous thing; and, therefore, so to speak, it will be a mingling of heaven and earth, if women usurp the right to teach. Accordingly, he bids them be “” that is, keep within their own rank. (41)



(39) See Commentary on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 467.

(40) “Pource que e’ un cas particulier et extraordinaire.” — “ it is a peculiar and extraordinary case.”

(41) “Il commande done qu’ demeurent en silence; c’ a dire, qu’ se contiennent dedans leurs limites, et la condition de leur sexe.” — “ therefore commands them to remain in silence; that is, to keep within their limits and the condition of their sex.”