The great debate of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century around Paul has been his treatment of women. In chapter 2 we have one of those sections where Paul sets people ablaze. Used for by many are evidence for their cause, the words of Paul to Timothy create quite a problem. For some the teaching about women has been used literally and the basis for women not being pastors is born. Others have discounted God because of Paul's words. So where is the truth?
I am not sure I can know the truth. I can however look at the evidence. While there are times when Paul speaks against women, there are also times when Paul speaks about women in leadership of the church. Paul seems to be wishy washy on the issue. That is not how we often think about Paul, yet that is exactly what his writings promote on this issue. If the passages are going to be taken literally, then all the passages about women from Paul must be taken into account. The result will be a lose of clarity and the increase of questions, something some are not interested nor comfortable with.
The other issue of people being turned away from God. This is real and I have met many who fall into this category. I have no answers for Paul, I do know however his heart was to have all people have an intimate relationship with God. Further that all people live our the calling on their lives. I cannot imagine the grief Paul is experiencing as his words are hindering people from connecting with God. Everything about Paul's ministry was driven at connection. Is it possible we simply do not understand Paul.
As Paul being a sexist, one could find that in the text. Is that truth, I am not sure. What I do know is it matters not your gender when it comes to God. I have met male pastors and teachers who should remain silent as well as women. I have met pastors and teachers of both genders who speak, preach and teach with the very authority of God. I will be faithful to what God has put in front of me and leave the rest up to God.