Commenter Amy Wilson asked in response to Four legs good, two legs better:
I am also very concerned about the slippery slope we see of feminist redefining of the plain words of Scripture. However, I’m still not clear on how “Women may teach other women” is a feminist compromise, given that Titus explicitly tells the older women to teach the younger, and no limiting contexts are given, only the required content.
This is a common question. The answer is there is no conflict between 1 Tim 2 and Titus 2, because the kinds of teaching referred to in the two passages are very different. 1 Tim 2 is talking about teaching Scripture and doctrine. As Dr. Moo explains in the CBMW founding book (emphasis mine):
In light of these considerations, we argue that the teaching prohibited to women here includes what we would call preaching (note 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word . . . with careful instruction” [teaching, didache ̄]), and the teaching of Bible and doctrine in the church, in colleges, and in seminaries. Other activities-leading Bible studies, for instance-may be included, depending on how they are done. Still others-evangelistic witnessing, counseling, teaching subjects other than Bible or doctrine-are not, in our opinion, teaching in the sense Paul intends here.
So far, so good. However, Moo then claims that since Paul instructs older women to teach younger women how to behave in Titus 2, that women must be permitted to preach to other women:
Paul’s position in the pastoral epistles is, then, consistent: he allows women to teach other women (Titus 2:3-4), 17 but prohibits them to teach men.
This doesn’t follow, because Titus 2 is about older women teaching younger women how to conduct themselves. Submit to your husband. Love your husband and children. Be self controlled and pure. Don’t be a drunk. Take care of the home. In Titus 2 Paul is saying to teach the older women (and men) to live in such a way that their lives are “appropriate to sound doctrine”. It is about setting an example with their lives so that no one will malign the word of God. This isn’t about the older women teaching sound doctrine, it is about them living in a way that is congruent with having been taught sound doctrine, and teaching younger women to live this way as well.
All of these things could be taught by atheist older women to younger women with no need to reference (or even know of the existence of) the Bible, if they wanted to teach this behavior. The reason this is hard, and the reason there is a controversy, is women really really want to teach doctrine*, in a way that the average man simply doesn’t and can’t understand. Men aren’t consumed by this burning envy. We don’t sit in church festering “Why can’t it be me up there teaching everyone? Why does it have to be him!”
This is why the women who set themselves up to teach doctrine so often receive requests on how other women can do the same thing. It is a burning interest for their target audience.
Priscilla Shirer is the well known women’s preacher who played Elizabeth Jordan in the movie War Room. In her FAQ for her ministry Going Beyond Ministries, the fourth question is:
How do I pursue a full-time career in women’s ministry?
Shirer isn’t offering to teach other women to become a preacher like she is, but she gets the question so often she put it in the FAQ anyway. The answer starts with (emphasis mine):
We want to congratulate you on accepting God’s assignment for you. There are so many of us who run from what God wants us to do because it isn’t what we had in mind for ourselves. Priscilla has certainly tried to, but she has found that true contentment and peace comes only when we surrender to His will for us.
There are so many women who ask Priscilla about how to pursue ministry. Her response is always the same—give back to God the gift that He has given you. Let God continue to be in control. In other words, if you believe that God has called you into ministry, you can be sure that He will be faithful to open the doors and make a way for you to serve Him. He will continue to give you clear guidance as you walk in obedience to Him. All He asks you to do is obey His instructions that He gives you moment-by-moment and day-by-day. As you continue to follow, He will continue to lead.
Shirer explains a bit further down that other women need to not focus on being the one on stage preaching sermons like she does:
One more word: Remember the Lord has a specific ministry in mind for you. Don’t allow what you think the ministry should look like to replace His desire. For example, there are so many women who desire to be a speaker and seek opportunities to minister at large events. They spend money, time and energy trying to “create” opportunities and in doing so they are missing out on the ministry God has for them in their own back yard…
Likewise, the preacher Beth Moore (Mandy in War Room) in her Living Proof Ministries FAQ has:
Do you have a mentoring or internship program?
During this season at Living Proof, we do not have any type of mentoring or internship program. Beth feels that God has called her to mentor corporately through her Bible Studies
*The other reason this is so hard is the idea of wives turning to their husbands for instruction (1 Cor 14:35, Eph 5:25-28) is anathema to our modern Christian feminist sensibilities. Setting up separate women’s ministries is the answer to anything but that!