A contemporary attempt is now being advanced to justify what Paul did not say. He did not burden the women — while highly valuing their part in the churches’ activity as essential and vital — with official leadership.
Paul did not ordain “women elders.”
Paul worked within a framework of male headship and since the congregation are to “obey their leaders” (Heb. 13:17), it would have been impossible for Paul to say other than that “I do not permit a women to teach and have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12).
Attempts to avoid the obvious here are hardly satisfactory.
Most of the failure stems from not paying attention to standard lexicons (the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 10 volumes, or Bauer’s would be the place to start).
An “older woman” is an older woman. She is not a “woman elder”!
These would hardly qualify as “husbands of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2).
Marriage would be the normal state of the adult male, but of course Paul would be the first to admit that a properly qualified unmarried man could be ordained (he did not exclude himself!).
The elderly woman are contrasted with the younger women. Neither of these categories is an ordained office. They are not pastors, presbyters, bishops or elders (a single office in the NT).
The younger men are obviously not “youngers”!
What would that imagined category be — a youth pastor?!
These are important issues since the “males” (not just husbands, but the word for male in the context) who meet the qualifications are charged with bearing the heavy burden of leadership. They are even to be obeyed (Heb. 13:17).
This is nothing at all to do with the fact that our spiritual status before God is entirely equal. There is no male or female, slave or master, employee or employer as regards our relationship with God (Gal. 3:28). But Paul knew well the difference between men and women, as well as the difference between employer and employee.
I am concerned that these easy truths be set aside in favor of the appeal of “modernity.” This can be a snare.
One can rightly advance the idea of equality in Galatians and then pit this idea against the difference of function as between men and women in 1 Timothy, a difference which has nothing at all to do with some local conditions in Ephesus, but is rooted in the events of the Garden of Eden.