"And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression."
1 Timothy 2:14
I look at myself and have no problem believing that women are easily deceived. If a pair of pants fit me perfectly and are technically the same size as all my other pants, but are labeled one size larger, I refuse to get them. I use toothpaste with "teeth whitening action" although my teeth aren't any whiter after almost a year of use. I like buying name brand products, even if studies have shown that the cheaper generic versions work just as well. Women can absolutely be easily deceived. My question is: are women more easily deceived than men?
I started contemplating this question after reading an article about wives submitting to their husbands. As a fellow complementarian, I agreed with almost everything the author said, but one comment irked me. Most likely referring to 1 Timothy 2:14, the author explained that one of the reasons women need the protection of God and their husbands is because they are more easily deceived than men. My feelings of indignation swelled and I decided to sit down and write a scathingly brilliant (well, at least in my own mind) post refuting this notion.
But as I thought about it, I realized that my negative reactions to this comment weren't really based on anything biblical. Instead they were rooted in my personal experience - not the best grid for interpreting Scripture. Could it be that *gasp*, I've been deceived about women not being more easily deceived? Or does the Bible support what I've thought all along? I want to find out.
For the next few weeks, I'll delve into this concept, examine the opinions of smart people on both sides of the issue, and hopefully come to a biblical conclusion. The issues I’m particularly keen on discussing are:
1. Is Eve representative of all women? Is Paul arguing that since Eve was deceived, all women are more easily deceived than men?
2. If Paul is using Eve’s deception to argue his point in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 (that women should not teach or exercise authority over men), why would they still be allowed to teach other women and children?
3. If Eve isn't representative of all women, how does 2:14 fit into Paul's overall argument?
4. What was the nature of Eve’s deception? I’ve been pondering the connection between self-deception and sin and wonder if we allow ourselves to be deceived every time we sin. It seems we willfully go against God's commands because we don't believe they will result in our good. If I choose to gossip, I’ve deceived myself into believing that gossiping will somehow make me happier than if I choose to abstain. However, even though both Adam and Eve sinned, 1 Timothy 2:14 focuses only on Eve's deception. If there is indeed a relationship between self-deception and sin, how then was Eve’s deception different from this self-deception?
So stay tuned! In the meantime, I’d love to read what you think. And maybe next time I find the perfect pair of jeans, I'll ignore the size on the tag and buy them. Or I'll just write a smaller size on the tag in Sharpie.