1 Tim. 2:14, "And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner," is one of the most puzzling verses in the Bible. It does not describe the women of the Bible at all. In fact, quite the reverse. First, women who considered wise counsellors, and second, women deceived men all the time in the Bible. Let's look at these two situations.
First, the wise women of the Bible are the wise hearted חַכְמַת-לֵב or skilled women of Ex. 35,
25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. NIVClearly, women had skill (wisdom) in the same way that men had skills (wisdom.) Other women who give much needed and respected advice are Deborah, Esther and Huldah. But recently my attention was drawn to the wise woman of Abel.
25And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. 26And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair. KJV
16Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.
17And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.
18Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.
19I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?
20And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
21The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall.
22Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king. 2 Samuel 20:16-22.
Is there any suggestion here that women are more vulnerable to deception than men? Did the ancient Israelites believe that? I find it hard to accept that it was a pervasive belief that women were more prone to being deceived than men. However, perhaps this had shifted by the time 1 Timothy was written.
On the other hand, since women had less political and legal power than men, they often attempted to exert control over men in other ways. A man could overrule his wife, and it would be thought of as normal and right. But a woman could not overrule her husband. If desperate, she must resort to some other means. She did not have the same legal power as a man.
Some women who deceived men, and in this way furthered the narrative in the Hebrew Bible, and possibly the will of God, are Rebecca, Leah, Tamar and Delilah. Perhaps you can add to this list.
An alternative reading for 1 Tim. 2:14, then, is that, instead of declaring female inferiority, it simply refutes female superiority. This view is well represented here,
Paul follows his ban on women teachers by reiterating sound teaching that counters the false teaching. For Adam was formed first, not Eve, like the cult of Artemis and the gnostics taught. He then points out that Eve became deceived and sinned. This is hardly the basis upon which to claim female-superiority and divine knowledge. Eve did not do a noble thing or liberate the world; she was tricked into violating the command of God. It’s important to note that Paul is not arguing for male superiority, just refuting female superiority by pointing out the facts of the creation account. He is not implying that because Eve was deceived all women are prone to deception or because she was created second that women may never be entrusted with the ministry of the word. Directly after refuting this false teaching, he moves onto the childbirth subject.