December 21, 2009

1 Tim 2 - Index and Summary

My recent series suggested that Paul's statement, I do not allow woman (singular) to teach or direct man (singular), might be directed against one-on-one discipleship situations. Seven posts of considerations on 1st Timothy 2:12-15 were followed by two reconstructing the context of Paul's years before and afterwards.
Gender and Number in 1 Tim 2 - #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, & #7
A Chronological Reconstruction: 1 Tim 2 and Colossians/Ephesians
A Chronological Reconstruction: 1 Tim 2, Ephesus and Junia
The one that got all the attention was post #2, but the Chronological Reconstruction on Junia is what sparked my thinking in the first place. If I'm deeply honored that Peter Kirk and Joel Hoffman were impressed with my ability to "think outside the box", but all I really did was think outside the Epistle.

The context of a sentence is not a paragraph. It's not even an entire book. The context of a sentence is the lives and the stories of the person who wrote it, the people to whom it was addressed, and those about whom it was written. The limits of what we know about them does not diminish our need to know all about them. That's the job.

Whatever it takes to uncover the truth is about 1 Tim 2, we need more than mere exegesis of text. We need historical reconstruction. We may or may not have enough data to arrive at one perfectly clear explanation for why Paul wrote what he did, but we need to think more about who was in Ephesus, what had been going on, when the Epistle was written, and where each principal player was at any given point in the Story.

Grammar is vital, but context is King. I'm the first to admit that Peter, Joel and many others can run rings around me in Greek translation. Ideally, historians and exegetes ought to compliment one other. Until that's more common, I'll continue to beat on this drum: As any good journalist can tell you, you normally have to answer the first four W's in order to have any chance at the fifth.

Tell me what people say, but it really means nothing, unless I also know what they did.

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