Mailbag Page 13

Should women be permitted to teach in the church?
What did King Solomon want with apes?

Why not drink wine mingled with gall?
Added visitor's comment, 6/5/02

Did God "clone" Adam to make Eve?
A visitor's follow-up question about cloning

Should women be permitted to teach in the church?

Cheryl writes: Are women meant to teach or not??? And if so when? And if not...?
Dear Cheryl,

The main verse that applies to your question is 1 Tim 2.12...
And I do not permit a woman [gune] to teach or to have authority over a man [aner], but to be in silence. (1 Tim 2.12)
In the verse quoted above, the Greek word translated "woman" is gune. [Strong's Concordance, #1135]

Gune also means "wife" and is so translated in many verses such as Mt 1.20, Mk 6.17, Lk 1.5, Acts 5.1, & 1 Cor 5.1.

Here is one example...
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife [gune], for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (Mt 1.20)
In 1 Tim 2.12 (quoted two panels above) the Greek word translated "man" is aner. [Strong's 435]

Aner also means "husband" and is so translated in many verses such as Mt 1.16, Mk 10.12, John 4.16, & 1 Cor 7.2.

Here is one example...
And Jacob begot Joseph the husband [aner] of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. (Mt 1.16)
Based on what we have seen so far, it would be quite acceptable to translate the first part of 1 Tim 2.12 as follows...
And I do not permit a wife to teach or to have authority over her husband (1 Tim 2.12a, by analysis)
As analyzed above, 1 Tim 2.12 may NOT be dealing with the question of whether or not women should teach in the church.

Rather, 1 Tim 2.12 yields a teaching that is fully consistent with the following verse...
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. (Eph 5.22-23, NKJ)
The Bible gives one example where a woman (in partnership with her husband) DID teach Scripture to a man...
So he (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18.26)
The Bible also makes it quite clear that women can and should participate in teaching the women of the church...
That they (women) may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children (Titus 2.4)
Some Christian churches and schools hold that, in the church, women should never teach Bible to men.

This interpretation is fully consistent with the prevailing translations of 1 Tim 2.12.
I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 1 Tim 2.12
In any event, this should NOT be a matter for contention within the body of Christ, His church.

Men and women women alike should be obedient to the leaders of their church...
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Heb 13.17)

Based on Bible verses considered above, it should be Biblically acceptable for...

  • Women to teach women (per Titus 2.4) and children
  • Wives to teach men when they (the wives) function as part of a "teaching team" in partnership with their husbands. (per Acts 18.26)

What did King Solomon want with apes?

Ms B writes -- In a recent bible study at our church, we surveyed the scripture where it says that apes were brought to King Solomon. Why were they brought to him?
For the king (Solomon) had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram: once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10.22, ASV)

The Hebrew word qoph that is translated "apes" is used only twice in the Bible (1 Ki 10:22, 2 Chron 9:21). Accordingly, Bible translators are not fully certain as to which type of anthropoid is referred to in 1 Kings 10.22.

The Bible doesn't say why King Solomon might want a shipment of anthropoids. Possible reasons are...

  • Anthropoids are not native to Israel (the seat of Solomon's kingdom). So they were most likely brought in from India or Africa. Thus, anthropoids would have been rare, exotic, and verrry expensive -- the kind of possession truly "fit for a king."
  • Monkeys and chimps are cute, and the orangutan (when tamed) is one of the most loving, intelligent, and amazing pets you might ever own.
  • Of course, Solomon may merely have been bringing in animals to provide a zoo for his kingdom.

Why not drink wine mingled with gall?

John writes -- Can you tell me why wine should be mingled with gall for Jesus to drink when He was on the cross?
they gave Him (Jesus) sour wine mingled with gall to drink. (Mt 27.34a, NKJ)

"Gall" was a tea or extract made from plants such as hemlock and myrrh.

Drinking gall would either kill you (if it was hemlock) or make you so dopey that you didn't feel much pain (if it was myrrh).

Mark 15.23 tells us that the gall offered to Jesus was made from myrrh.

If Jesus had drank the gall, He would have felt less pain...

  • He refused to drink it. The Bible doesn't say why.
  • Perhaps it was because Jesus chose to suffer every single bit of the penalty for your sins and mine. Amen - thank you Lord Jesus!
In June 2002 a visitor sent Biblebell the following additional comments as to why Jesus refused to drink the wine mingled with gall...
I just found your website. I have really been enjoying it so far.

I did find an answer to one of your questions that I wanted to comment on. It is regarding why Jesus didn't drink the wine mixed with gall.

Part of your answer was that the Bible doesn't say why. But read what Jesus himself said in Matt 26:29...
Then Jesus took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." Mt 26.27-29

Jesus wouldn't drink it again because He said He wouldn't . That's the easiest part of the answer. The rest of it is perhaps more conjecture than Scripture.

The explanation my Rabbi gives (I am a Messianic Believer) is...

  • The cup of wine Jesus was drinking [Mt 26.27-29] was part of the Passover Seder -- the Third cup (the cup of Redemption) to be specific.
  • The Passover dinner corresponds to the Betrothal dinner and the Third cup (the cup of Betrothal) is the point at which the agreement is made to marry. (Remember that Joseph and Mary were Betrothed, and it was as binding as a marriage. In fact Joseph was contemplating giving Mary a bill of Divorcement.)
  • The Fourth cup in the Betrothal ceremony happens at the wedding. That's why Jesus would not drink it until He drinks it with us at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. I can hardly wait!

Did God "clone" Adam to make Eve?

Anonymous writes: Was Eve cloned from Adam?
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. (Gen 2.21-22, NKJ)

The Bible doesn't put a label on the method by which God created Eve. The Bible tells us what God did. It doesn't explain how.

What present-day science calls "cloning" produces identical twins of the same gender...

  • An embryo in the early stage of development is removed from the uterus and split, then each separate part is placed in a surrogate uterus.
  • Mammals such as mice and sheep have been produced by this method, which is generally called embryo splitting.

The visitor's question, however, didn't address what many consider to be the bigger issue. Namely...

Is cloning a threat to the teachings of the Bible?

The next panels will deal briefly with this issue...

(Concerning God the Bible says...) Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants. (Ps 119.90-91, NKJ. See also Jer 33.25)

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but
those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever... (Deu 29.29a)

Christians need not feel that the Bible or their faith is threatened by science's recent progress in cloning animals...

  • When God created the universe He established specific ordinances that control its existence and functioning (Ps 199.90-91).
  • God also endowed humans with intelligence to gradually discover how He put things together. (Deu 29.29)
  • When we discover one of God's physical ordinances, we call it "science."
  • It is BECAUSE of God's permissive will that we are able to discover and use His physical laws in working with the things that God made.
  • What we CANNOT do is that which God did in the beginning -- create a universe out of absolutely nothing (ex nihilo).
  • Neither can we change God's physical laws. We can merely discover and work within their parameters.

When we discovered cloning, God didn't say, "OOPS!"

  • Cloning is legal within God's physical laws.
  • Cloning is possible because of God's permissive will.
  • Cloning is not a faith problem. Cloning is a moral problem.

A visitor asks us to clarify our statement that "Cloning is not a faith problem. Cloning is a moral problem."

Ryan writes - In response to the question "Did God clone Eve?" you stated that cloning is a moral problem not a faith problem.

To me this seems like a contradiction since I thought that we as Christians got our morals from the Bible. Thus morality and the Bible can't be separated.

Biblebell's response
A) Some believers-in-God feel threatened when human beings are able to duplicate or synthesize certain life processes in a laboratory.

  • Thus, some folks may feel that belief in a Creator-God is somehow weakened by science's capability to fertilize a human ovum in-vitro.
  • Some folks may feel that science's capability to do genetic engineering, clone life forms, and so forth, also are threats to belief in God as Creator of life and reproduction.

B) Therefore, the FAITH of some people is threatened by these processes.

C) However, mankind's ability to discover God-ordained life-processes is, in no way, an argument against God's existence. After all, God created us
in His image...

  • It is God who endowed us with thinking, reasoning, inquiring minds.
  • It is God who created the physical laws that govern the processes of life and science.
  • It is God who made these physical laws discoverable by us.
  • It is God who endowed us with both the desire and ability to discover these processes and the physical laws that govern them.

D) Cloning is an application of God's physical laws.

  • Its discovery is no threat to belief in the existence of God. Misuse -- perhaps any use -- of cloning is immoral, but there is no "faith issue" involved. None.
  • This same fact is equally true should we ever discover life on other planets, or learn to travel through time, or WHATEVER!

E) The fact that we can discover the "inner workings" of God's processes, however, does NOT make it moral for us to wrongly use such knowledge.

  • The discovery of God's processes of nuclear energy is good. Our use of such knowledge to make nuclear bombs and kill each other does not threaten our belief in God, but it certainly is immoral.
  • The discovery of God-ordained genetic laws and processes is not a threat to one's faith. The use of such knowledge as an excuse to abort babies and use their stem cells for research is immoral. Ergo, cloning is immoral, but it is not a threat to a believer's faith.

F) An illustration...

  • Two-year-old Linda recently figured out how to unlock the front door of the house where she lives. {If her mother hadn't been there at the time, little Linda's discovery might have led to real disaster.}
  • Now -- does Linda's discovery mean that a lockmaker does not exist? Does it mean that little Linda is now qualified to design and manufacture door locks?
  • These are nonsense questions, of course. It is equally or more nonsensical to think that discovering a God-ordained process means that God does not exist.

G) As to faith in God's existence...

  • The fact that mankind can discover and replicate certain God-ordained processes is absolutely NOT a threat to anyone's faith in the existence of a Creator God.
  • In fact, these discoverable, ordered, non-chaotic laws are themselves PROOF that a Creator exists, and that the universe and its life forms are not the random results of a cosmic crap-shoot.

H) As to immorality/sin...

  • Immorality/sin does not reside in our ability to discover God-ordained processes, but in our depraved misuse thereof.
  • I use the term "immoral" as a word that applies to all humanity -- believers and unbelievers alike. Abortion is immoral -- WRONG -- whether someone believes in God or not.
  • For believers, God's standards are much higher. For believers, even the mere thought of committing murder, or committing adultery, and so forth, is SIN (not merely "immoral") -- whether we commit the actual murder or adultery (or whatever) or not.






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