Baptized Boys And Bible Class

Baptized Boys And Bible Class

Neal Pollard

1 Timothy 2:11-14 clearly states, “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” Herein, God through Paul limits the role of woman in the work and corporate function of the church. Therefore, she is not to have authority over the man–in whatever circumstance that applies (be it Bible class, worship, matters of organization, i.e., deacons, elders, preachers, etc., or in the home). The loud voices of feminism notwithstanding, God has clearly spoken. This matter is not cultural. It is a principle that goes all the way back to Eden.

However, an unfortunate conclusion drawn by some based on this text (and others, like 1 Corinthians 11:3 or 14:34, for example) is that a Christian woman cannot teach a baptized boy in a Bible class. There are several reasons why this conclusion is flawed.

First, it misses who is in included in 1 Timothy 2:12. The Greek word translated “man” is the verse specially means “man, husband, sir.” All males are not under consideration. The Greek has words for child, including “infant” or “half-grown child” (Mat. 2:21), “child,” “son” or “daughter” (Mat. 10:21), and “young man” (Mat. 17:18). None of those words is used in 1 Timothy 2:12. The Holy Spirit chose the specific word meaning “adult man.”  Boys eleven or twelve are not men!

Next, none practice this conviction in the home. If we believed 1 Timothy 2:12 taught that baptized boys were men, then we should also teach that their mothers can no longer instruct, admonish, or “be over” them as parents. If that adolescent son invites another baptized boy to spend the night, can this Christian mother “have authority” over the visiting boy? If this woman can teach her son the Bible at home, why can she not teach him in a Bible classroom at the building? In this case, what makes it wrong in the classroom would make it wrong at home. If not, why not?

Then, a baptized boy is nowhere else considered a man. He is not considered such to the military, the corporate world, at home, at school, to the DMV, or anywhere else. His status has changed in that, if he is truly accountable, he has gone from lost to saved. However, the water no more makes a boy a man than it makes a woman a man.

It is not sinful to personally hold the conviction that a Christian woman should not teach a baptized boy. It is not wrong for the elders, in their judgment, to have men teaching Bible classes where there are any baptized boys. Yet, we had better be careful not to bind an opinion as truth. When boys reach their teenage years and undergo the process of changing into men, it is wise to place Christian men over them in the classroom. At some point, he matures to the point of manhood and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 would forbid a woman to teach him. Yet, having a woman teach a baptized, prepubescent boy in a Bible class is not “questionable” or “unsafe.” He is still a boy in the classroom, just as he is anywhere outside of it.

17 thoughts on “Baptized Boys And Bible Class

  1. Well put. But in my experience most of the reluctance on the part of ladies teaching baptized boys is self-imposed by a tender conscience. I have always contended that being baptized does not turn boys to man!

  2. I think the problem goes much further than that. Why do we allow children to make the most important decision in their entire life when they are children? Maybe the text was directed toward adults because adults are the ones expected to evaluate the cost involved when turning away from sin toward God. We are too eager to get them in the water. I always hear how we are losing children in the Church because of the break down of the family or not having parents who are not steadfast. I think we lose our young people because they make these decisions before they are ready to give their life truly to God, before they have experienced anything in the world. How can they turn away from the world when they are so young? We are to become as children because they are innocent, yet we put them in the water. Any child raised in the Church who goes to bible class every time the doors is open can tell you how to become a christian. I’ve even heard those in the 4,5 and 6 year old do it with verses but that doesn’t mean they are ready to devote their life to God and always resist the devil and his ways. I think we pluck the fruit too soon.

    1. Yes, my thoughts exactly. The example of those being baptized in the Bible are men and women, if it were young men and women or even children the scriptures could easily say that! As disciples we must also be able to count the cost, Luke 14. Not something a child or possibly even young person could do!

  3. Thank you so much for this article. However, I would like to go one step further and have struggling with this question; What about these same baptized boys serving in the worship assembly. I, for reason, have an issue with boys, not teenagers, serving on the table. I need some clarity on this. I am not trying to start any type of argument. I am not saying there is anything scripturally wrong with it. I just wonder if these boys , who are still in subjection to their mothers authority, should be serving in a capacity that essentially puts them over their mother, so to speak. I hope that makes sense and pray that you can help me with this matter. Thank you.

    1. Just a thought. Serving on the table is exactly that, serving. In no way is it creating a sense of authority over their parents if a young man is asked to serve in any capacity in the church. We have too many young people leaving the church and we need to encourage them to have a servant’s heart at a young age and not create a rule that is not biblically binding which would discourage them to do have such a heart

  4. Excellent thoughts from Scripture. Baptism is not a rite of passage nor is a woman forbidden to teach a baptized boy but a “man.” However, this makes me curious about why we the church are baptizing such young boys in the first place. If an 11-12 year old or “prepubescent” child (or one of these boys in the picture provided in your article for that matter) who was not baptized died in a car wreck on the way home from church would we really be concerned that their soul was lost? Baptism doesn’t make a boy a man and it is also does not save the saved. I am concerned that we are often practicing another form of infant baptism by immersing boys and girls who are not lost (are prepubescent children really lost?!). – Sorry I realize this is a bit off topic but this is what came to my mind when reading your article. Thanks, Brother.

    1. I’m not sure what would count as “lost’ in regards to age. I am a 3rd grade teacher, and I can strongly attest to the ability of 8-year-olds knowing full-well if a behavior is wrong and doing it anyways. That, to me, as well as the biblical standard to knowing sin, would show that sin is a problem in the lives of even young people as well.

    2. Christianity is not for boys but for men. Then everything will fall in place naturally. And we won’t need to struggle with this issue since boys won’t be baptized and therefore they will be able to be taught.

      1. Thank you for weighing in. That is an interesting thought. Do you think that Jesus was accountable in the temple at age 12? Without scriptural support for your statement, I am not sure we can be dogmatic about that.

  5. A few of these comments are similar in nature and are very thought-provoking. There is a realm of subjectivity since we cannot say for certain when an individual reaches the age where they are accountable for their actions. Without being able to cite Scripture as to an exact time or age, we should be cautious about preventing prepubescent boys from serving in worship. Remember Paul’s criteria for one leading in worship be that they lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting. We’ve probably guilty far more often of being led by men 1 Timothy 2:8 prevent than of being led by a boy either innocent or immersed but too young to be called a man. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for your thoughtful comments and for reading.

  6. Good article Neal! Often times it is not easy when trying to make a decision if a young person has reached the age of accountability. I would be very cautious in preventing one from being baptized. Has there been those that were baptized to soon, I’m sure. Has there been those who wanted to be baptized at a young age and were not allowed to be, yes. I know a 40 year old man who was not allowed by his christian parents to be baptized when he was younger. The last time I had contact with him, he has never been baptized and no longer attends the services of the church.

  7. I would invite you to consider God’s view of accountability. God considered the age of adulthood to be 20. At 20, they were old enough to atone for their sins (Exodus 30:13-16), and be considered in rebellion to God (Numbers 14:29; Deut 1:34, 39 — only those over 20 were charged with sin). They were old enough to serve in the military (Num 1:3). Their accountability changed.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Leslie. I appreciate that there are some pretty good guidelines in the Old Testament, but we should be careful not to make a law where God hasn’t. Does anyone reach accountability before 20? The Jews ritual saw transitional significance at age 12. And, males and females at different times have become spouses, parents, soldiers, and the like significantly before age 20. My point is to be arbitrary may step outside the bounds of revealed truth.

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