Quick Facts

  • Pronunciation: au-then-te’-ō
  • Appears 1 times in 1 verses in the New Testament
  • Strongs Concordance: #G831
    • one who with his own hands kills another or himself
    • one who acts on his own authority, autocratic
    • an absolute master
    • to govern, exercise dominion over one
  • Common translations:
    • “exercise authority over” (1x)

How and where authenteō is used in the New Testament

  1. 1 Timothy 2:12 – “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

My Observations and perspective

Authenteō is an uncommon word in the New Testament and is used to describe women usurping or exercising authority over a man.

Since this is not a study on the role of women in the local church, I don’t plan to address what this verse teaches about such things. I do however have some extra commentary on this in the Appendix section of this blog, since it is peripherally related to the subject of authority.

Paul uses the term in the negative; “I do not permit this kind of authority”. So we know that one form of authority that Paul did not allow, was women teaching or acting authoritatively over men.

How does this fit into an overall understanding of authority in the local church?

Though ‘allow’ in the above is not the word in question, it does raise a question. Does the fact that Paul says he does not allow something imply that he does allow other things?

If so, is the kind of thing where Paul allowed something unless he otherwise informed the churches, or did Paul need to offer explicit allowance/approval of every single proposed practice?

If the latter, where are examples of Paul saying he affirmatively allows a practice in an authoritative sense?

A brief search of the word ‘allow’ (Strong’s #G4909) and ‘permit’ (Strong’s #G2010) yielded no N.T. examples of any church leader explicitly granting allowance or permission of anything. Nor does there appear to be any other references of a church leader not allowing or permitting a practice other than women occupying this role over men.

What did Paul do when those things happen? The scriptures don’t appear to answer this question either. Since nothing is prescribed, taught, or referred to as an example, it is my belief that we cannot use this as a basis for granting or withholding permission for anything other than allowing a women to exercise authority over a man.


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