The issue of women’s roles in the church spans cultures, times, denominations, and, of course, genders. The challenge of understanding the issue extends beyond exegesis, as underlying interpretive assumptions may influence views on the matter. In the final analysis, the problem even extends to one’s stance toward Scripture as a whole and to the issue of what constitutes one’s final point of reference in answering the question of whether women should be put in positions of ultimate responsibility over men in the church or not.
Despite extreme assertions to the contrary in recent years, this does not render biblical exegesis irrelevant, impossible, or unnecessary. Recognizing these challenges, the present article will address the interpretation of 1 Tim 2:9–15, arguably the “crux of the matter.” It is the most difficult passage for those who on biblical grounds argue for radical egalitarianism, and the most important ground of appeal for those who claim that Scripture limits women from assuming positions of ultimate authority and responsibility in the church.