We must be careful in our biblical interpretations. It seems easy for us to support a doctrine when it is right next to other scripture that we dismiss as speaking to the culture of the day. Yet, we must take scripture in context of the culture, the scripture near it, the book it is written in and the whole of the Bible before we can get the best interpretation. Too often, I am afraid we only see scripture through the eyes of those who could criticize us for not interpreting it as they do. We parrot what has been said to go along with the party line.
For example, we say that women can't teach but they can braid their hair and wear jewelry. Not braiding hair or wearing jewelry is 1 Timothy 2: 9. Not teaching is 1 Timothy 2: 12. How did we determine that one is doctrine and the other is culture? There doesn't seem to be any indicator that tells us that Paul is switching from one to the other. If he is speaking in principles, then each principle is noted. Women should not flaunt their wealth or their looks. Women should not teach in a way that exercises authority over a man. I don't think of my teaching as exercising authority simply because I teach. It is the scripture that has the authority, not me. I can see how a person can be so forceful in their teaching that they oppress others. That isn't the purpose of biblical teaching.
I have read many arguments on these exact verses. Most want to leave out the scriptures they don't wish to speak of. That is generally poor biblical interpretation. And even those who say women can't teach at all rarely follow that principle. You'll find women teaching in their churches whether they call them teachers or not.
Let's be honest: our humanity prevents us from understanding the scriptures. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we truly understand. We reveal ourselves as immature when we give argumentative interpretations. That doesn't mean that we are wishy-washy in our interpretations. We should stand firm when there is a firm truth. We should be vague when the Bible is vague. Most arguments come from standing firm on something that is vague.
The Bible does not need our help. It is living and active. It will cut through our human arguments to reveal the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. This is the action of the Holy Spirit revealing the scripture's interpretation. I get to this point through prayer and study. I try carefully to let the scripture speak for itself without my manipulations. I am not always successful. I admit I have been wrong, at times.
So, often I cry out, "Fill me with your Spirit, Lord for I cannot know you otherwise. Teach me your word, Lord, for I am inadequate to know it without Your Spirit reading it to me."
1 Corinthians 2:13 (NIV) 13
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom
but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual