INSIGHTS

The natural scientist’s and social scientist’s approaches to Biblical interpretation

My family and I were reading 1 Timothy 2 the other night. Here is an excerpt from the passage:

“11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”  (Source: Biblegateway.com)

And the good Lord knows that that sure as hell (wait – I know what you’re thinking, but would it really have been better for me to use “heck?”) does not sit well with me. My dad knew it, too. He asked me how I felt about it. I told him I didn’t like it one bit. Then he went on and said something along the lines of this passage being incorrect.

But was it really incorrect? I’ll have to admit that despite how truly repulsed I am every time I read 1 Timothy 2:11-15, I had to explain to my dad that it wasn’t necessarily incorrect (I knew he didn’t actually want to consider any part of the Bible as “incorrect”). I reminded him to be mindful of the context in which this scripture was written. It was Apostle Paul’s letters to Timothy. And though it may not be applicable to contemporary times, it was at that particular place and time in history, a simple record of a Biblical event. It was my understanding to understand and to take what we can from the passage, but not to necessarily follow all of Paul’s instructions to Timothy ourselves. I take it that these letters were recorded so we may gain insight from them.

Anyways, I just wanted to point out how differently my dad and I approach things in life. He’s a geologist, I study disciplines in liberal arts and communication. He has a more hard-evidence approach – what you see is what you get. I have a more theoretical approach, considering the context of a situation and looking at all factors. This just goes on to show that everyone has varying conceptions to experiences in life – and we need to heed this so that we don’t become opinionated fools causing conflict whenever there’s a disagreement.

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