A Theological Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:11–15 and its Implications for HIV/AIDS as a Gendered Epidemic in Zimbabwe

  • Peter Masvotore UNISA (Research Fellow)
  • Annamore Zimunya Member of the Circle of women Theologians
Keywords: Emancipation, Gendered Epidemic, Gender-sensitive, HIV/AIDS Pandemic, Vulnerability


This article is an analysis of 1 Timothy 2:11–15 and its implication for HIV/AIDS as a gendered epidemic in Zimbabwe. The aim of this study is to examine the role of this text in perpetuating attitudes that precipitate susceptibility of women to HIV/AIDS infection. It employs a desk research method and African feminist framework as lenses to examine the text for its applicability in the African context. The study comes to three conclusions. First, if the behaviour prescribed for women in the text under examination is applied in today’s context, it exposes women to HIV infections. Second, the Bible and some of the Zimbabwean cultures collude in the subjugation and manipulation of women. Third, there is a need to liberate both the biblical text and the receiving culture in an effort to protect women from vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections, including susceptibility to HIV infection. The article concludes by asserting that, though 1 Timothy 2:11–15 is often categorised as a “text of terror”, it can be an asset in curbing HIV/AIDS in men as well as women if it is read and interpreted in a liberating way – a gender-sensitive and HIV/AIDS-aware reading and interpretation.

Author Biographies

Peter Masvotore, UNISA (Research Fellow)
Rev Dr Peter Masvotore is a Research Fellow at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and a lecturer in Theology at United Theological College (UTC). He is an Academic Dean and an accredited member of the Theological Society of South Africa (TSSA). He is an external examiner of Theology at the University of Kwazulu Natal. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts honors and Masters of Arts in Theology at the University of Zimbabwe. He did his PhD majoring in Systematic Theology at the University of Kwazulu Natal (UKNZ), Pietermaritzburg South Africa. His research interests and publications focus on current topical issues, liberation, gender justice, eco-theology, youth identity and migration, indigenous knowledge systems, poverty and Decoloniality. Email:masvotorep@gmail.com   https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8398-1160
Annamore Zimunya, Member of the Circle of women Theologians
Annamore Zimunya is a holder of a Master of Arts honour Degree in New Testament with the University of Zimbabwe. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at United Theological College (UTC). Her research interest focuses on Gender and Masculinity, girl child education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and Biblical studies.