1 Timothy 2:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 2:11, NIV: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.

1 Timothy 2:11, ESV: Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

1 Timothy 2:11, KJV: Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

1 Timothy 2:11, NASB: A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.

1 Timothy 2:11, NLT: Women should learn quietly and submissively.

1 Timothy 2:11, CSB: A woman is to learn quietly with full submission.

What does 1 Timothy 2:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Context is crucial for understanding any passage of Scripture. This is especially true when the verse, taken out of its context, is easily misunderstood. This verse is especially prone to misinterpretation and controversy, so it needs to be carefully understood and carefully interpreted.

This provocative statement actually begins with an assumption about women which was foreign to ancient culture: encouraging the teaching of women. This idea ran in direct contrast to most cultural and religious traditions of the time. In traditional Judaism, women were not allowed to study the Law. Paul's words here, then, start by following the pattern of Jesus, who taught women as part of His ministry (John 4:27–30; 11:28–30; 19:25).

The truly controversial part of the verse has served as the basis for much debate among Christians. From the context of the Greek language, Paul's prior comments, and the culture of the time, it is clear that Paul does not mean that women are to remain "silent," meaning soundless, as in some older translations. The same root Greek word, hesuchios, is used in several places where total silence is clearly not implied (1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 Peter 3:4). Rather, the term implies a peacefulness, or stillness, or calmness. In that time, religious expressions could be loud, showy, and hysterical. This is exactly what Paul wishes to avoid.

Perhaps the most important context to understand is that of verses 9 and 10, where Paul encouraged women not to dress in flashy, showy ways. Instead, they were to dress modestly. This verse presents the same basic principle, as applied to actions, rather than to clothes. The goal is peacefulness and self-control.

The idea of submissiveness, as used here, is also easily misunderstood. In Ephesians 5:21–33, Paul used the analogy of Christ and the church along with husband and wife in marriage. Mutual submission, or service to one another, was encouraged. Paul emphasized a woman's submissiveness in 1 Timothy 2:11 but also teaches men to do the same toward their wives elsewhere.

The following verse, likewise, has generated significant controversy, and also needs to be understood carefully.