Devotional # 199. 7/25/16. 1 Timothy 2:6-15.
Intro. Last week we talked about the reason Christians have hope and how Jesus was the one and only Mediator between our sin and God (Devotional # 198). This week we’re going to talk about men and women’s roles in church services.
v. 6-7. We’re talking about “the Man Christ Jesus” (v. 5) and that He gave Himself as a “ransom.” Basically Jesus traded His freedom for our freedom. The best part is that it was “for all.” Jesus was impartial when He died on the cross “for all” people, “for all” time.
Paul tells us he was appointed as “a preacher and an apostle” and “a teacher of the Gentiles.” We know the fuller story from Acts 13:2, 42-52. Paul reassures us that this is true, promising by the highest authority and greatest testimony – Jesus Christ!
Verses 8-15. Men and Women’s Conduct in the Church
The next section is on men and women’s responsibilities within the Church. As with anything in the Bible we must understand this in the context of the time period and the church this was written to. When Paul uses words like “every” and “all” it applies to all churches but if he becomes more detailed he is usually referring to a specific problem.
v. 8. Men Leading Prayer
When Paul says for men to pray “everywhere” he means in “every” church. Not that they should have their hands raised wherever they go. Regarding their hands being lifted – this was a common custom of that culture and time while praying (1 Kings 8:22; Psalm 28:2, 63:4, 134:2). There is nothing magical about it but it does give the reminder of humility for the person praying.
vv. 9-10. Ladies of the Congregation’s Modesty
Guzik gives us a great first impression of these verses: “Women should emphasize spiritual preparation and beauty more than physical preparation and beauty” (Source 1). Many people like the idea of taking the focus off of physical appearance but many Americans don’t want anyone to tell them how to dress or act. In the church we need to get rid of our pride and cultural rights if they conflict with God’s commands. Here Paul says that Christian ladies should dress in “modest apparel“, which is explained as “modesty and self-control” (ESV). Much like the mature believer who recognizes that although they have freedom in Christ, they shouldn’t always use it if it stumbles other believers or confuses non-Christians (Romans 14).
The next part needs to be understood in cultural context: “not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing.” It’s very clear what Paul means: at the time of writing this, all of these things (braided hair, gold, etc.) were viewed as ungodly and incorrect action. This was because rich women’s would use these things to draw attention to themselves and their wealth and status. Church is supposed to welcome everyone not be just another reminder of how rich or poor a person is. “How you dress reflects your heart…The most important adornment is good works. If a woman is dressed in propriety and moderation, with good works, she is perfectly dressed. Good works make a woman more beautiful than good jewelry” (Source 1).
vv. 11-15. Ladies Role in the Church Service
Paul talks about ladies being quiet and not being in authority over men. Paul first directs our attention to Adam and Eve. God’s original creation was to have husband and wife submit to Him and to hold the man responsible and to have the wife help the man (Genesis 2:18, 1 Corinthians 11:8, 9). Secondly, the Fall and the curse that came from Eve’s disobedience were used by God. When Eve left Adam’s leadership and protection, she sinned. Likewise, Adam “violated his leadership role” when he followed Eve, so women’s curse is to want to usurp man’s authority (Genesis 3:16) (Source 2). As we’ve talked about in the past, God hold’s men responsible for what happens in their households, not women (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). Here God holds men responsible for teaching in the church. Let’s look at teaching a little more.
In the cultures of the Bible women were always looked at as inferior to men. In every command and situation in the Bible God consistently gives women more rights and fair dealings then the surrounding cultures. This case is no different. Notice that the Church is told to “let a woman learn” (v. 11) which was completely unheard of in this day and time. Paul was saying women had just as much right to an education in the Scriptures as any man did. If we couple this with the context of the Ephesian church that Paul is instructing Timothy for, it is possible that some of the ladies were taking advantage of this freedom and trying to gain teaching roles within the church. This doesn’t mean women can’t be leaders and don’t have much to offer. I think of the story of Lydia in Acts 16:14-15 and also in our own church where many women have important insight that men sometimes miss. Just as in marriage, men and women should work together in a church to keep it working for God’s glory. So here, Paul was making sure the divine structure remained intact. Remember men are held responsible for the spiritual health of the church.
Lastly, what does Paul mean by “nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control”? It is clear in the Hebrew this is talking about the women that come after Eve. The word “saved” here doesn’t mean “salvation” instead it means to remove the stigma of being the same gender known for bringing sin into the world. What can ladies do to remove the stigma? They can train up godly kids. Because mothers by nature are more nurturing and generally spend more time with kids then father’s do, they are able to train up their kids in the Lord. How will they be equipped to train up these kids? They must “continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” This is a great way for Paul to book-end his point on modesty and self-control.
Conclusion. The first part of our Devotional today focused on how Jesus died to save “all” people and that is especially meaningful to us in a study that could have initially seemed condescending towards women. God chose a women to carry the baby Savior, Jesus chose the woman at the well to explain He was God and He chose women to be the first witnesses of His resurrection. God has set up the institutions of marriage and family and the church in a specific way. He holds us accountable for what He has said and what we know. I encourage you to put aside your cultural norms and instead meditate on God’s knowledge and goodness. If you follow His commands your life and church will be blessed!
Source 1: David Guzik: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_1Ti/1Ti_2.cfm?a=1121001
Source 2: John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1864.