9Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.11A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.15But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. 1 Timothy 2:9-15
First the passage addresses “women” and it’s not a “how-to” on shattering the glass ceiling. Neither does Paul use politically correct language. Far from it. He even employs the dreaded “S” word (submissiveness) and adds “insult to injury” with the qualifier “entire.” Brave man. Finally, he writes with authority, firmly, without equivocation, taking a stand.
So the temptation is to run far away from these verses, or to water them down, or to laugh them off. Rarely have I heard these and other similar passages taught, and if they are, the real meanings are lost in the tap dance. On the other hand, some denominations and faiths have codified these principles without the nuances that are noted after careful study, and deserve the angst of females.
Rarely have I heard these and other similar passages taught, and if they are, the real meanings are lost in the tap dance.
Well, if you are going to be a man of God teaching the Word of God, you must tackle these tough unpopular issues directly and authoritatively, but with grace and tact, as Paul did. Here Paul is urging Timothy to do the same, knowing that there was a problem developing in the Ephesian church which persists to our day.
Because our culture is so sensitive to women’s rights and equality, I’ve found commentators to gloss over these verses, or to use gallons of ink to justify their positions. My point to the Timothies of the world is to do your homework and let the Word of God speak for itself. Let the chips fall where they may, in other words.
Here are some principles I’ve gleaned from my study of these verses that are good starting points:
- These instructions seem to be written more to wives than to women, given Paul’s choice of words and the context.
- This passage involves the proper function of the church and home, not society (we do not live at present in the Millennium).
- Paul addresses the roles and ranks of the sexes, not their capabilities.
- What Paul says is not restrictive or demeaning but liberating and inspiring, that is if you are sensitive and responsive to God’s Word.
I agree this topic is a powder keg and cannot be treated lightly. But an honest accurate teaching on the roles of the sexes in the church and home is desperately needed in this society and in the church! Just in my life, I’ve witnessed preachers in the pulpit apologize so profusely for using the word “submit” that they voluntarily subject themselves to the world and its culture. In a workplace setting, I’ve casually addressed matters involving the wife’s role in the home and have been summarily “brought up on charges.” I’ve been lectured by a pastor in a Bible-teaching “conservative” megachurch that “we’re not going to go there,” meaning into a discussion of the wife’s roles and responsibilities. So get used to the hair’s trigger, but don’t shy away from your charge to teach the whole counsel of God (Colossians 1:25).
More on How to be a Godly Woman and Great Wife coming soon.