Are Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 contradictory?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“How should we understand Galatians 3:28 & 1 Timothy 2:11-12?”

Hello, friend. I presume that you are inquiring about how gender is a non-issue in Galatians 3:28 while it is an issue in 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Are they contradictions? Not at all, dear friend. These verses sit in two different contexts. Both passages say exactly what they mean, and they mean exactly what they say. Let us look at these verses within their contexts and they will become amazingly clear. “For what saith the Scriptures?”


“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Whether Jew or Gentile, all members of the Church the Body of Christ are equal before God. Verses 26-27 say: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” They are all equally “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). They are all “complete in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10). Today, there is no merit before God if you are a Jew. (This was not true in time past, Romans 9:4-5 says). Today, there is no disfavor before God if you are a Gentile. (This was not true in time past, Ephesians 2:11-12 says.)

No matter your ethnicity (Jew or Greek/Gentile), regardless of your social class (bond/servant or free), and no matter your gender (male or female), if you have trusted Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour, you are united with all other members of the Church the Body of Christ. All Christians are one in Jesus Christ. It may be hard for some to believe, but God has no “favorite” Christians. He does not bless some Christians while cursing other Christians. He does not love (or bless) some Christians more than He does other Christians. He does not put the pastors and teachers on a level higher than He does the ordinary church members. All people who have believed Paul’s Gospel of Grace, they are all equally accepted in God’s beloved, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6). Whether king or peasant, a Christian is a Christian, saved by the same blood of Jesus Christ. Whether rich or poor, black or white, male or female, there is complete and total equality in the Church the Body of Christ (cf. Colossians 3:11). No one in Christ is disadvantaged. Only those outside of Jesus Christ are disadvantaged.

While there is no difference in the Body of Christ between skin colors, genders, or social statuses, there are still physical distinctions that make us separate and unique. That is okay because that is the way God designed creation. Our skin color does not change when we trust Christ as our personal Saviour. We do not get an increase in salary simply because we become a Christian. Our gender does not change when we become a member of the Body of Christ. We still drive different classes of automobiles and live in different types of houses, right? People still look down on us whether our skin is light or dark, correct? We still have men’s restrooms and women’s restrooms in our local church buildings, right? See, these physical and material distinctions still exist. But, God does not look at them and pick favorites based on these criteria. He blesses all Christians in Christ equally. That is the teaching of Galatians 3:28. The Galatians thought they had to behave a certain way or become a certain type of person for God to accept them. They thought they had to keep the Law of Moses (and physical circumcision) to be pleasing in God’s sight (see Galatians 5:1-5). “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (verse 6). Paul had to remind these precious saints that God was already pleased with them because they were in Jesus Christ, His Son. It did not matter whether they were physically circumcised or physically uncircumcised (or Jew or Gentile, or male or female, et cetera).

1 TIMOTHY 2:11-12

“[11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

Now, when we come to the first epistle to Timothy, this is delineating the order of the local church assembly. How has God designed a local grace church to function? Chapter 3 describes how God has established the offices of bishops (verses 1-7) and deacons (verses 8-13). Church members in general are given instructions in verses 14-16.

But just before that, in chapter 2, Paul discussed acceptable behaviors of men and women in the local church. While there is no gender distinction when it comes to spiritual blessings (cf. Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11), there is a gender distinction when it comes to leadership in the local church. The offices of bishop and deacon are reserved only for men (1 Timothy 3:1,2,11,12). Why? Because long before the Church the Body of Christ existed, God had already established the order of the sexes in creation. In other words, the husband is to be the spiritual leader in the family (Genesis 3:16). Eve was drawn away from Adam’s spiritual headship, and that caused her to be open to Satan’s attack.

Note 1 Timothy 2:13-15, the verses that immediately follow 1 Timothy 2:11-12: “[13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

God does not want the local church to be vulnerable to the Devil’s wiles as Eve was when she eventually led to man’s fall. There is “salvation” (deliverance) from Satan’s deception when men lead the local assembly. This is why gender is an issue in 1 Timothy 2:12. It is not that God picks on women. Rather He is safeguarding Christian women from deception, for Satan is the one who likes to pick on women (remember Eve?).

Also see:
» Should Christian women wear head coverings in the local church?
» What is the role of women in the ministry?
» What about unmarried, divorced, and remarried men in the ministry?