There are many people these days making pronouncements regarding The Holy Bible (Scripture), and claiming that what they say is the truth, the whole truth, and the only truth!
Starting with the statement of the writers that the Bible is the Word of God, and that the version used is a credible one, (see link; Bible Text Corruption:), there can only be one Truth!
It is a truism to state that most people, at least in the early days of searching for God’s Truth, rely on other people’s opinions to help them to find for themselves. That is a dangerous and vulnerable time, and it is during this phase that Satan, in the guise of “goodwill” in people, Churches and cults, will attempt to ensnare and entrap people, and lock them into one falsehood or another. Because of insecurity and vulnerability in peoples personalities and makeup, due to “nature and nurture”, the entrapment is all too easy, when a strong message, personality or Church leadership is involved! Once committed to one group, or teaching, the ability to continue to use one’s own mind diminishes rapidly, to the point in some cases, that total subjugation occurs!
As so many Churches, groups and cults teach at some level of error, how can a person know how to proceed?
Before discussing this basic question, there are a number of clear points from Scripture, that start to clarify a starting position.
Starting at the beginning of the Bible (KJV Companion), we know from Genesis, that Satan at the very outset attempted (successfully) to deceive Eve! Adam followed her willingly, and at that early stage showed the vulnerability of both! Eve should have consulted with Adam, who already knew from his relationship with God, that what Eve did went against the wishes and will of Almighty God, and Adam showed extreme weakness in not resisting both Satan and Eve. Both fell below the standard set by God, and they were condemned to death, not just physical death, but also spiritual death!
Taking that example we see that both men and women are failures. However, Adam must carry the responsibility for the situation, as he was the first created, and Eve was intended as a “help meet” (Gen. 2-18) for him. Therefore Adam is the one who should lead, and Eve to follow! The statement re Adam’s responsibility is confirmed in many Scripture passages, one of which is; “as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive”, (1Cor. 15:22). So, ideally the man should lead, and the woman should follow! We all know that in many cases that is impossible in practice in general living in the world as it is now. We know also that many men refuse to take on their natural responsibilities, and that is left to the woman to do the work that men should be doing in life! This situation has created a false hierarchical system.
The dilemma is then, whose word should be taken as Truth when in the context of Scripture? It is here that we must turn to Scripture for an indication of the answer.
There are numerous references in Scripture warning about the involvement of women in the interpretation of, and the teaching of The Word regarding men, 1Tim. 2:12. One of the strongest in Ezek. 13:16-19, shows women deliberately lying to the elders of Israel, and shows God's condemnation of them. However, the authorities should not have reached the stage where it was possible to listen to Satanic women, and it is a condemnation of them! Men have also falsely claimed to speak for God in the Old Testament, with many examples shown, and the consequences of the false prophecies! Also the male priesthood became very corrupted (the shepherds of Israel), and as is shown in Jer. 23, their condemnation is great!
These examples show that as in Eden, both genders are equally fallible! So, why the emphasis by The Almighty on the male role in such matters? In the Genesis account of Adam’s creation, Gen. 1:26-27, reference is made to God’s image and likeness, and Adam was created first, and given all instruction regarding the garden of Eden. His is the responsibility, which is confirmed many times throughout the Bible! Adam proved fallible, but Eve was the one approached by Satan, who knew that his best chance of successful deceit lay with the woman! This we have to take as read, otherwise it would not be in the Word! The implication is that Eve was more easily beguiled than Adam. What is certain, is that men and women are at least equally capable of sin, but men nearly always know what they are doing, but still sin, whereas women may start down a road of sin without at first being aware!
It is a fact at the present time, that many women are leading "Christian" and other groups, including some cults. Some of these teach a mixture of the Gospel of the Salvation of Christ, with other of the teaching of the group leaders, which are not always authenticated Scripture. These are very often for reasons of control and domination of people, whereas the Authentic message of Christ's Salvation, sets people truly free. Some groups claim miraculous powers, but as yet have to prove such, others deny the Lord's return to Earth, and also His Millennial Reign, which means they either do not know Scripture, or are deceived by Satan! These people and groups are often the most vociferous, and are the ones to be particularly avoided! The fact that so often women have controlling and teaching functions in these aberrant organisations, may well be the same reason as in Eden, to beguile and mislead people!
Where does all this leave us as regards men’s and women’s roles in the here and now of practical living in the context of Scripture, and teaching? In this time in which we live, this question is crucial, as many believe that we are living just prior to the fulfilment of many prophesies regarding Christians, Israel and the Nations of the world!
To take first the question of which Church or group to attend, that is well covered in this link: Lie (the Rev.14:5);
Turning now to the main question, how and who to trust in the search for Truth? We have seen that both genders are fallible, with differences. We know that reference to reliable Scripture is the first recourse. With that in mind, the first link above covers the subject well. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul (Apostle Paul ) was the spokesperson for Christ after Christ Ascended, and therefore what he spoke are the Words of Christ Himself! In Paul’s comments to Timothy (1Tim. 2:12), “I suffer not a woman to teach a man”, Paul/ Christ is re-establishing the role and responsibility of men, as intended in God’s whole Word! Undoubtedly the men in question are Christians, and the “mind of Christ” was/is developing in them! As that “mind” develops and matures, the greater is the wisdom and knowledge of Christ and God’s Word. The same applies to women, but their role ideally should be with women and children. What then you say, is wrong with women teaching men? Firstly the above comments regarding God’s order and command, but also the verse 1Tim. 2:12 goes on to say, that women must not have authority over men, and in v13, that woman being deceived was in “the transgression”. Many if not most women these days will not accept that statement made by God, but it is The Word from Him, and is ignored at individual peril! However, we have the example by Paul of Timothy's early life (2Tim. 1:5), where Lois his grandmother and Eunice his mother were teaching him regarding Scripture, and also as role models for him. That Scripture shows the correct order and value for female teachers.
In practice how to proceed? In all the above, there are clear rules emerging.
-Use only a good Bible translation. The KJV (King James Version), is still a good starting point as it is based on the “Major Greek”. Many “New English” versions are based on “Minor Greek”, with many errors biased towards “modern” teachings in Churches, groups, and cults. In the opinion of the writers, an ideal is the Companion Bible, which is extremely reliable and informative, and is described in the first link above.
-Having found a good and True group, when men teach Scripture, always check for yourself that what they say conforms to Scripture. If it does not, and they refuse to examine their teaching against The Word, and in the company of the Eldership, or the members that administer the group, then one has to question the veracity of the group. The important principle here, is not to give up on the search for Truth, as at this stage, very often pressure is exerted to conform! Most sincere groups will examine the Word with you on your questions, it is when they conflict with control methods, or erroneous teaching that trouble will start with the controlling members. Many people at this stage become committed to a “Dogma”, and will often take “orders” or sponsored studies in one “school” or another; however, freedom to study independently must always be maintained! One must never abdicate one’s mind, the greatest of our fleshly gifts!
-Always if one is a man, wherever possible be taught by a man, so as to honour Christ’s wishes. However, that in practice is not always possible, and whether man or woman, ensure that your first principle is The Word, and not the words from men or women!