All these are basically man's attempts at forcing the Bible to conform to worldly modern thinking. Certainly, there are specific statements in the Bible which are cultural and apply only to those to whom it was written in their day. However, behind every instruction of God was a principle which is unchanging throughout the ages. For example Deuteronomy 22:11 says not to wear a garment made of both wool and linen. This restriction was directed at separating Israel from the idolatrous practices and influence of their pagan neighbors. Today in this the Church Age wearing of clothes made of a blend of materials has no religious connection and therefore the prohibition would not apply us. However, the principle behind God's instructions to the Hebrews would apply today. That principle is that believers are to be separated from sin and not to do anything that even in appearance associates them with evil or sinful practices. God says Christians are to flee from idolatry of any kind. (See 1 Cor. 10:14, Col 3:5)
There are other specific commandments of God that are transcultural and apply in practice in all ages. What God said in Paul's day about the role of men and women is as valid today as it was in the First Century because they present God's plan in creation for both man and woman. We need to reaffirm the biblical roles of both men and women in churches today, not ignore them, or attempt make them fit current trends in thinking that are contrary to God's word.
No passage in Scripture is more direct and comprehensive in addressing the role of women in the churches than 1 Timothy 2:9-15. We need to understand also that this important subject does not fall into the so called "gray" area of Scripture, but is very clearly stated. We also need to commit ourselves to believing God and accepting what he has said as the truth that it is and reject any philosophy of man which disagrees with the teaching of Scripture. When God's principles are ignored the results will always be destructive and will bring confusion.
P Paul was writing Timothy who was the young pastor of this church shortly after his first imprisonment in Rome. Things in Ephesus were not as they should be although Paul had earlier spent three years teaching there. (See Acts 20:27-31) Paul had warned them that error and false teachers would come from without and within the church.
He stated that for three years he had declared the truth and the entire Word of God. What Paul feared would happen in their church did happen. The Ephesians had fallen into doctrinal error and ungodly patterns of living. In fact, the leadership at Ephesus had become corrupt and needed to be replaced. Two of the corrupt leaders, Hymenaeus and Alexander Paul not only personally rebuked but ". . . delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." (1 Tim. 1:20)
Paul had left Ephesus and now was instructing Timothy to straighten out these problems. This letter is instruction and encouragement to him to complete the task. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 states this fact clearly.
It is important that we understand that the Bible gives the highest standards and positions for women there is. To the contrary, the feminist movement has degraded women, exploited them, and taken away their femininity and God given role in the home and society. The movement has caused great confusion as to woman's God given position and role of being a help-mate with her husband. It has misled women into believing that God has looked on a woman as a lesser creature. The movement is based on a lie and Jesus said that Satan was the father of all liars. (John 8:44) God has always held women in a special and honored position. As Acts 10:34 plains reveals "God is not a respecter of persons." (Also see Rom. 2:11, Eph. 6:9, Col. 3:11. 1 Peter 1:17)
One problem in Ephesus was the role of women in the church. In 1 Timothy 5:3-16 Paul in addressing this situation of widows in the church gives important instruction and guidelines as whether widows were godly women or not. The context is in qualifying a widow to receive help and substance from the local church. From his statements we can learn principles that describe what is a truly godly woman. In verse six Paul says that a woman "who liveth in pleasure is dead while she lives." This is not condemning having pleasure in one's life, but is addressing living in such a way that having pleasure was the driving force and motivation for what that woman did.
Paul condemned a woman who lived solely for pleasure. He states that a woman who was godly and had a good testimony was one that Proverbs 31 describes:
"Lifting up holy hands" Verse 8. The phrase "lifting up holy hands" is an seen as a act of public worship. It does not mean waving one's hands in the air in a worship service, but has a far different and greater meaning. The context of the statement explains this. Worship is coming before the Lord and presenting to him honor. It is like a person coming into the king's presence and bringing a gift. Standing before the king the subject would take the gift in his hand and lift it up so that the king and those present could see it. This is the picture here.
It pictures a child of God, whose hands are pure through obedience and service to the Lord, coming in the present of Jesus Christ and being able to lift up pure hands, separated unto the Lord, which is what being holy means. It refers to lifting up hands that have been busy serving and honoring the Lord.
It means the gift or worship was not done through necessity or force, but something willing offered in gratitude from one's heart....a "pure heart" in faith. In other words the widows at Ephesus were told they should be trusting the Lord in faith, living godly lives and coming before the Lord "without wrath" which means murmuring and disputes.
What a contrast is presented between how the Pentecostals and Charismatics interpret this verse and what Paul states. In their churches they sing songs and wave their hands in the air an emotional stirred up service they refer to as a "praise" service. "Lifting up holy hands" certainly does not mean worshipers are to wave their hands in the air. This false interpretation and practice completely misses the important truth of the passage and erroneously portrays the idea that God is impressed with people waving their arms in the air and singing two or three line choruses. What honors God is, as this verse states, is a living a holy life, living by faith from a pure heart, and which is true worship from a godly child of God. "Holy hands" are hands that are being used to serve the Lord.
GENERAL APPEARANCE. The phrase "In like manner" connects what is about to be said with that which preceded it and directs the focus of this discourse towards the conduct of Christian women. Paul turns our attention to what "lifting up holy hands" means in reference to women in the church. Verse 8 addresses the whole of all believers in living for the Lord, and this brought up the need to address the conduct of Christian women which apparently was a problem in the Ephesus church.
In verse 8, the phrase "I will" carries apostolic authority meaning that this instruction was coming from God. Paul is not saying "I wish" in the sense that it was of little importance, but I will which said, "I command." Paul is commanding men and women to worship the Lord with "holy hands." This passage gives a strong condemnation to the Sunday morning Christian who lives an impure life during the week. It is clearly is addressing the every day life of a believer. . .of both men and women.
The word "adorn" means "to arrange or put in order." He is giving standards for dress in services, meetings and public life. "Modest" means being well ordered, or well arranged and decent. It does not mean to appear plain, but decent. The word "apparel", refers not only a woman's clothing but also her demeanor or attitude. It refers to inward as well as outward adorning. The outside and the inside should reflect a correct attitude in the heart and her heart's attitude that is made visible in her clothing and outside adornment. Her clothing should reflect a heart focused on a love and honoring of God. A godly woman then would not by her conduct nor her dress bring into question her devotion and faith in the Lord.
God says that a woman should dress modestly with "shamefacedness and sobriety." Shamefacedness refers to humility that both men and woman should show. It means she should not be outspoken and bold. She should show respect, reverence, humility and regard for others.
The word "sobriety" means she should conduct herself with soundness of mind and be in control of her emotions. God made women to be more emotional than men. Women are more quickly inclined to be offended and to speak out. Sobriety coupled with shamefacedness means she should reign in her passions and desires and exercise self control.
SPECIFIC APPEARANCE IN BIBLE TIMES
It is important to understand the cultural situation of the society in which the believers at Ephesus found themselves. It will give us incite into better understanding the situation. Note the writing of extra-Biblical sources concerning the appearance of women culturally in New Testament times:
JUVENAL: A Roman poet of 1st Century writes about the conduct of women in his day: "There is nothing that a woman will not permit her self to do, nothing that she deems shameful, and when she encircles her neck with green emeralds and fastens huge pearls to her elongated ears, so important is the business of beautification; so numerous are the tiers and stories piled one on another on her head! In the meantime she pays no attention to her husband."
PHILO, who was a Jewish-Greek philosopher in his work titled "The Sacrifices of Cain and Abel" described a prostitute bedecked with a multitude of gold chains and bracelets, her hair dressed in elaborate braids, her eyes marked with pencil lines, her eye brows smothered in paint, and her expensive clothes embroided lavishly with flowers.
PLINY the ELDER a Roman historian of first Century He described Lollia Paulina, the one time wife of the Roman Emperor Caligula, who owned a dress worth by today's standards at least a million dollars. It was covered with pearls and emeralds, and she carried receipts to prove its value.
Interestingly in Greece, the mystery religions had stringent rules for women which shows that modestly in women was recognized as showing devotion to deity. One inscription said, "A consecrated woman shall not have gold ornaments, nor rouge, nor face whitening, nor a head-band, nor braided hair, nor shoes, except those made of felt or of skins of sacrificed animals."
God's instruction becomes clear. God is telling women not to wear gaudy, tight or sexual clothing which was the styles worn by pagan women. This sensual styled clothing was worn to call attention to a woman's sexuality in order to lure men. God is saying that to wear such clothing was to blaspheme the intent of public worship service and further it was ungodly for women to outwardly dress like worldly women. Godly women showed their godly hearts by their outward modest dress.
Further this type of dress and behavior degrades the woman and degrades her husband to whom by God's plan she was to be a "helper" (help meet - Gen. 2:18,20). Dressing to bring attention to one's beauty or sexuality is adulterous behavior. God instructs a married women to honor her own husband. Flirting or teasing the opposite sex is an act of adultery whether done by men or women. Ephesians 5:21 states that men and woman are to submit themselves to one another in the fear of the God. To fear God means to show Him proper respect as to His sovereignty and authority over us. In the case it means to recognize God's plan for the role of men and women. Verse 22, then states the specific application of what God means when His says to submit ourselves to one another. He first instructs the wife saying, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Believers are not to divide their lives between sinfulness and righteous living. We are to living holy and godly lives separated from sin. In the same way, God says a woman is to submit herself to her own husband. This would prohibit any conduct in which a woman would show affectionate acts to any other man other than her husband. Because she belongs to her husband and he to her they are as the marriage vows state they are to "forsake all others."
Another problem in the early church was poverty. Yet some wealthly church members used the service as an place to show off their wealth by wearing expensive clothes to the services and causing a stir when they entered. Also they would wear expensive and elaborate hair styles. This is totally out of place in a service held to honor and glorify Jesus Christ. The Bible is not prohibiting women from wearing braided hair, or gold or pearls and fine clothes. Proverbs 31:22 states this godly virtuous woman owned such jewelry. However, the Bible is clearly forbidding wearing them immodestly and for the wrong motives, or wearing clothes that entice or cause lustful thinking. Modesty means being modest or not being in excess like putting on too much jewelry or flashy jewelry. It does not reflects godliness for a woman in public or in the church put on a fashion show or a place to show off a her sexuality. Christ is to the center of our worship and of our daily lives and that which brings attention to ourselves overshadows our testimony for Christ. What a person wears and how they wear it reflect upon their devotion to the Lord and therefore the rule is to be modest. As Jesus stated in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
A woman who dresses to draw attention to herself is revealing that her heart is full of pride. Often women dress not only to impress the men, but also to impress other women. They dress to "show off" their beauty, clothes, figure with the intent to show themselves superior to other women. By their actions such women show their hearts are cold and they have no love or concern for the feeling of other. God says, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:3-5). This is prideful ungodly behavior and has no place in the life of a Christian woman and child of God.
We come to church to worship the Lord Sunday morning, Sunday night and at Bible Study. Our appearance in public or in church can honor God or dishonor Him by dishonoring ourselves. A godly woman will not bring attention to herself, but dress and live to show her faith in the Lord. Christ is to have the preeminence in her life and that preeminence should stand out. Her love of the Lord will have the first place in her life and she will not do things that will destroy her testimony or send the wrong message about her relationship with the Lord. She dishonor herself or her husband by inappropriate behavior that is out of line with her God given role as a wife and Christian.
Married Women: She should attract attention to her godly character, not to herself by her actions or clothing. Her clothes should show, first her love of God, and second her concern for her husband and her devotion, respect and love for him alone. Wearing scanty, tight, or revealing clothes in public is dishonoring to herself and shows little respect for her husband or others. Her devotion to the Lord will be reflected in her love for her husband and family and should be on the same level as her devotion to the Lord. God's instruction is clear:
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing" (Eph. 5:22-24)
Single Women: It isn't proper or modest to attract men by wearing seductive clothes or bringing attention to herself. Again, her attractiveness should be in her godly character and testimony for the Lord, rather than outward sexual appeal. It does not mean to dress drab or not to wear one's best. But one's nice modest clothing should not distract from one's godly character, but should reflect it.
Women should ask themselves: "Does my clothing and my actions indicate an inward desire to worship God?" "Does it honor God?" "Does it stand out or is it inappropriate for the occasion?" "Does it reflect godliness or worldliness?" "Does it show that I love and respect my husband and am not interested in other men?"
Peter also addresses this matter in 1 Peter 3:1-7:
The use of the word "conversation" in verse 1-2, is not referring to talking between people, but rather to the "manner of one's life" or a person's behavior. Verse 2 added the adjective "chaste." which means pure from carnality, of being modest, pure from every fault, and being immaculate. The verse is instructing women to be in subjection to their own husbands, that they might by their godly manner of life and behavior win them to Christ. No one who does not live what they profess has no influence or credibility with someone they are trying to win to the Lord. Actions speak louder than words. If a Christian lives like the world does and is not faithful to the Lord they, by their behavior, are telling people they are a hypocrite. They send the message that the Gospel is only something that is to be feigned. They are outwardly claiming to be something that clearly they are not. Their life style then does not present God's truth and the true life changing affect of the Gospel. The bottom line is that a woman who, by her actions and outward immodest appearance, has no testimony for Christ and cannot win her lost husband or family to something she does not appear to have.
Verse 2 defines the manner of one's life as being pure and chaste and adds "coupled with fear." This phrase means women are to revere their husbands. As stated early, Ephesians 5:21 states that both men and women are to be "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."
Specifically it means that we love and obey the Lord because of reverence for Him and His instructions for us. God knows what is best for us so we live godly lives as He tells us to. We submit to each other knowing that this is what is best and correct....and because God says this is right. He is righteous.
In 1 Peter 3:3 states this same instruction that Paul gave to Timothy for the church at Ephesus. Let the manner of one's life not be the outward adorning and showing off one's person, but as Verse 4 says "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." Clearly the Lord is referring to our new nature given to Christians when they believe.
Wives (and all of us) are to live guided by the Holy Spirit which will produce in us a meek and quiet spirit.(1 Peter 3:4) The next phrase says that this is of great value to the Lord. It refers to the great price that the Lord Jesus paid for our redemption. The manner of our lives should correspond and be influenced by the great cost that Jesus paid to save us when He suffered on the cross and paid our sin debt. It mocks the Lord's sacrifice for sin when a professing believer lives a life that condones sinful behavior and attitudes. When instructing on the Lord's Supper, Paul shows the need for self examination to see if their is unconfessed or habitual sin in our lives. He said that those who sinned without considering Christ's suffering were not "discerning" His body. He said some in the church at Corinth were sick and others under God's chastening had died. (See 1 Cor. 11:27-32)
Peter used the example of women in Old Testament times who trusted in the Lord and adorned themselves to honor their husbands in whom they were in subjection.
Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him "lord." This is the same word that is used in reference to God ( kuriov kurios koo'-ree-os). The phrase means "afraid with any amazement" and in 1 Peter 3:3 means, "fluttering alarm." In other words no wife need fear a man in doing what is right, and should not be thrown into fluttering alarm by any sudden outbreak of temper on the part of your unbelieving husbands. They should not respond in kind.
Verse 7, addresses husbands as well, that Christian husbands should dwell with their wives in knowledge. That means with understanding. Men should recognize and support the woman in fulfilling her responsibilities. Men should be appreciative of the woman recognizing the relationship of the sexes in the design of God. He should act with tenderness and forbearance accordingly meaning wisely: with wise consideration.
"Giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel" means that both husband and wife are vessels made by God and God gave each a specific makeup and responsibility. Man is weak, but the woman God says is the weaker. Therefore the man is to honor the woman because God gives honor to the man, giving him the responsibility of leadership and provision for his family.
Both the man and the woman should understand how God designed them and their function in life and in their relationship to each other. The man is to love his wife as Ephesians 5:25-27 plainly states.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
This means he is to put her first in his life and protect and provide for her. The love he has for his wife is to be the same as God's love for the sinner. It is to be "agape" love given without regard for that it is merited by the person receiving it. Therefore man's God given responsibly is to provide for his wife and family. He is not to love because he is loved in return or because "his needs are met." He is not to look upon her as his servant but as his helper and partner in living their lives as God intended. His relationship with his wife is to be one of grace, meaning unmerited favor. If both the wife and husband devote themselves to the Lord, living as He instructs, the marriage can be happy, fulfilling and rewarding. However, if either fails to live as God intended, the marriage will be in jeopardy and their peace and happiness will be lost. Further, the example of the proper role of the man and woman in the family will lost to the children and they will grow up with the great disadvantage of not having a biblical role model to follow.
Paul addresses the makeup of a woman in 1 Timothy 2:14 "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." In pointing out that Eve was deceived by Satan who tempted her, clearly God is saying that a woman is more vulnerable emotionally than the man. Normally, woman's primary source in making decisions is in her emotional make-up, rather than from reason. God has made man to be directed by logic and reason more than emotion. This is another reason that man has the responsibility to protect the woman. As Eve failed to reasonably evaluate Satan's temptation, so women are prone to make unwise choices. If the marriage relationship is proper, the woman will before making a decision, consult with her husband in order to get his perspective because she knows she will not always see thing rationally. On the other hand the man should also confer with his wife, knowing that he needs her insights and that he lacks the emotional element in decision making.
If a man and woman fulfill their biblical roles the marriage, and this uplifts them both and their relationship is one of love and respect for each other. The man does not see himself as superior to the woman or she as his subordinate. He loves her and treats her with respect and care, knowing he is responsible for her. Likewise the woman does not see her role as being a helper to her husband as being demeaning and takes great satisfaction in helping her husband fulfill his responsibilities. The couple, each carrying out their perspective roles, then will live in harmony and are a testimony to others of God's plan for the family. They honor God and each other.
The Lord also addresses the conduct of a Christian woman who has an unsaved husband. It can be difficult for a saved wife who has an unsaved husband. The unsaved man will often have no respect of the godly principles of his wife. He may wish her to do things or go places that are sinful. This puts a great deal of pressure on the godly wife. Once, in a church I pastored, there was a woman who dressed like a Barbie doll. She dressed to the "T" and clothes were tight and revealing. She told my wife the reason she wore such clothes and dressed the way she did was because her husband wanted her to. He wanted to show her off to other men. She was asked, had she considered that in dressing like that she appeared immodest? She said she wanted to please her husband. She put her husband's desires above the Lord. It is never right to disobey God's principles for any reason. Paul said, "For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" (1 Corinthians 7:16) No man or woman has respect for someone who professes to be a Christian and does not live a godly life. No woman will win her husband to the Lord by giving in to him and thereby sinning. As mentioned early, God states the principle saying, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear." (1 Peter 3:1-2) Note that God says wives are to be in subjection to their husband, but He also includes, they will be won to the Lord by their "chaste conversation" meaning godly and modest life.
Before we can understand God's instruction on this matter we must understand God's stated roles for the man and the woman. Paul says that women should learn in silence in the church with all subjection. (Verse 11) This is explained in Verse 12, as Paul states that he did not allow a woman to teach usurping authority over the man, but that in a public service she should be in silence. Some would response saying this instruction was given in the culture of that day; however, note that Paul uses the illustration of Adam and Eve. Paul stated that Adam was first formed by God and then Eve and shows their relationship in the beginning when they were created. As mentioned earlier, Paul states that Eve was deceived by Satan. The implication is that Satan did not try to deceive Adam because he knew the man was more rational and less ruled by emotion than was the woman. It addresses the differences in the makeup of men and women as being distinct and not the same. This could not be considered cultural. Adam and Eve did not live in a culture. The principle is that a woman has a different temperament than does a man. Both have strengths and weaknesses which are accented and complimented by each other's God given individuality. Together they are one as Genesis 2:24 states. There is certainly nothing degrading or belittling in how God made either man or woman.
1 Timothy 2:14, strongly instructs the woman that she should follow the man and his leadership rather than taking that upon leadership upon herself because that is not her role.
God created women to follow the man and to show respect for his God given responsibility as the leader. This sets the proper order of the organization of the family. To usurp authority over man is for a woman to step out of her role as God made her. Woman is to be the helper of man as expressed in the term used in Genesis 2:18 "help meet." Adam was given the responsibility to lead and provide for his wife and family, and the woman was to assist him in accomplishing this. This shows that man needs the woman and she needs the man and set the proper order in the family. Each have their respective roles to live in making a successful life and family. They are to be a team working together. It is not a state elevating men over women or of demeaning the woman, but rather of each using their God given abilities in working in conjunction with each other.
Therefore the injunction that a woman is not to usurp or take authority over the man is recognizing both man and woman's created ability and responsibility. Some have falsely concludes that this prohibition was cultural and applied only in Paul's day. However, as shown above, this is absolutely a false understanding of the matter because it ignores the biblical principle of God's plan for the different roles of men and women. Paul's statement is clearly transcultural and it totally refutes the idea that God calls women to be pastors, preachers or deacons in churches. The leadership role among the congregation is given to the man which reflects the man's role in as the head of the family. As man is the head of his family with the responsibilities of leadership under God, so is the leadership over the family of God in the local church given to the man. For a woman to be given that responsibility clearly violates God's structure for the family and for the congregation. God never calls a woman to a position in which she would usurp authority over the man. This means God never called a woman to be a preacher, evangelist, prophet, or deacon. These are roles that God has given to men alone.
In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul gives instruction concerning the matter of the spiritual gifts and in particular the gift of "tongues" or the speaking of the Gospel by a believer in a language he had not learned. It is important to note that in his closing statements on the matter of those who had perverted and abused the gift he addresses the women's part in this saying:
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" ( 1 Cor. 14:33-35).
Notice that he prefaces his statement that women should remain silence in the worship services by saying God is not the author of confusion. It was confusing and setting the wrong example in the church for women to take a public role in the worship service. Women were falsely speaking in tongues claiming to have the gift of speaking the Gospel in an unlearned language. However, Paul prohibition is unambiguous, he says they are to remain in silence. This clearly means God was not giving the gift of biblical tongues to woman. (For an article that address what unbiblical tongues are click this line to read my article titled "Modern Tongues Speaking, What is really Going On".)
Women in leadership over men gives an unbiblical view of the makeup of the family. Men, not women, are given the role of leadership and as providers for the family. In Acts 2:f it was men upon who received the gift of tongues which was a sign to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. However, it appears that women had begun to practice speaking in tongues which was not in regard for what biblical tongues (languges) are as presented by the New Testament. Only men were given the gift on the Day of Pentecost and there is no record of God giving the gift to women. The biblical gift of languages was given as a sign to the Jews. In Jewish society, recognizing God's different roles for men and women, the Jews would have never accepted teaching from women.
The point of this is that women are more inclined towards emotional outbreaks and women were mimicking the biblical gift of tongues making it an emotional experience instead of what God made it to be as a witness to the unsaved Jews. The Apostles were preaching God's truth that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.
There has been much confusion over the statement of 1 Timothy 2:15.
"Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
Although Eve was deceived and transgressed against God, the verse says she shall be saved in child bearing, if she lives in faith, love, holiness and sobriety.
Some have concluded that the statement means a woman would be brought safely through childbearing or that a woman will be saved in fulfilling her role as a help meet to her husband and in her divinely given role as the child bearer. However, both these interpretations ignore the subject of the statement. What is in view here is salvation from her failure and sin of disobeying God. Being saved in childbirth or fulfilling her responsibility as the child bearer does not save nor address her need for atonement for her transgression. Therefore it is clear that this is a Messianic prophecy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Mary, the woman, God choose to come into the world being born as a child. Thus in the birth of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection, the woman can have her sin forgiven, if she believes and exercises faith in Jesus Christ. The proof of her faith and salvation would be seen in her love of God and separation from the world and self control.
The fact that God inspired the Apostle Paul to write these instructions to Timothy, who was to in turn to instruct the church at Ephesus, shows the vulnerability of women in the areas of modestly and taking authority over men. The root of these failures lies within our sinful or carnal nature, but by recognizing these potential problems and obeying God's instruction the woman can overcome these temptations.
Husband's, men and churches should honor and hold women in the highest regard as does the Lord. We should seek through our lives and example to present to the world God's truth and never demean or belittle womanhood. Women also should honor that divinely given role by living godly lives which reflects their faith and love for the Lord and testifies to the grace and truth of God and His word.
A godly woman will not have any problems with God's instructions as to her role in life and will honor the Lord by living a life that presents God's truth. Sadly, the opposite is also true.
In the Old Testament both men and women wore long robes. These garments are referred to as mantles, robes, cloaks. Several passage specifically refer to men wearing garments referred to as skirts: (See Deut. 22:30, Ruth 3:9, Ezek. 16:8)
In Bible times no one wore pants, men or women. They all worn a long robe type clothing that was basically the same. However, there were differences between men's and women's robes and that were clearly distinguishable, but both wore the same type of garment...which was long roles.
Often pastors and churches have used Deuteronomy 22:5 as the proof text that women today should not wear pants. The verse says:
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." (Deuteronomy 22:5).
Clearly the prohibition was against homosexual behavior. God says that it is an abomination to Him for men or women to violate their sexuality and to cross dress. This is the principle behind the passage. The passage is specifically condemning homosexual behavior. In prohibiting cross dressing the Lord was giving a public standard of conduct that would not promote or condone homosexuality. It had nothing to do with the type of clothing, but the style and way the garment was worn in which it appeared the same as a male.
The question is then is it proper for a woman to wear pants. There are two principles that apply.
1. Is the wearing of pant modest? 1 Timothy 2:9-15 clearly instruct women to wear modest apparel. If a women wears tight fitting clothes that accentuates her sexuality and/or to attract the man's attention, it is certainly not modest and a godly woman would not dress this way. If a woman wearing loose fitting pants, designed for women, with a modest cut that covers her body, and that is modest, it meets God's instructions. The value of wearing pants by women is certainly an advantage in sports and often when working. Even dresses and skirts that are not worn properly can actually be immodest. Also how a woman sits and is involved in physical activity can be immodest no matter what kind of clothes she is wearing. An ungodly woman can wear a dress or skirt that covers her from head to toe, but because of the cut and style it could be very immodest and sensual.
2. Is the wearing of pants associated with homosexuality. Culturally heterosexual and homosexual women wear pants and therefore the wearing of pants is not a sign of homosexual behavior.
Therefore there is no biblical prohibition against a woman wearing modest pants. Actually the biblical issue is one that addresses a woman's modesty and submission to their own husband under the directive will of God. There are times when it would be more modest for a woman to wear pants than to wear skirts, especially when she has to perform certain jobs where it would be extremely difficult and awkward for a woman to carry out wearing skirts. Other times, such as in church worship services and activities it would be appropriate for women to wear dresses.
"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered" (1 Peter 3:1-7)
Many pastors and churches and your author would not prohibit a woman from wearing pants in some situations, but believe that when a woman is in church she should dress nicely and somewhat formally, which would mean wearing a modest dress or skirt. A church service is a formal affair where believers come to worship the Lord. Pants, because of their informal nature are inappropriate to wear for a worship service. Also because so many feel that wearing pants is not proper in a church, a Christian woman should not offend other believers. (Romans 14:13)
Likewise men should also dress more formally and wear a coat and tie. The modern trend towards casual attire in worship services show a lack of respect for God and a failure to understand what the worship of God truly is. Often the modern casual trend is defended by saying that worship is a matter of one's heart and not outward appearance. Jesus said in Matthew 15:18 "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man." In other words what is truly in one's heart will be publicly seen in what a person says and that also implies in how they conduct themselves.
I often use the illustration that if a person was invited to the White House to meet the President, wouldn't they probably buy a new suit and dress up for the occasion? Yet, many churches and pastors promote the idea that the worship service in which we come to honor God and thank Him for His mercy and grace to us is a casual affair and it is a "come as you are" occasion. That idea is rooted in a total disrespect for God and failure to recognize who HE is. He is the Lord God Almighty and it was He who loved us and suffered and died for us that we might be saved. How then can anyone show such a blatant disregard for His person as to pretend to worship Him in a casual and informal way? Such a calloused attitude is blatantly irreverent to God and cannot promote proper worship. This practice today shows what in roads apostasy has made in many churches.
God created us and has set proper standards and boundaries of our behavior. God makes a very revealing and challenging statement in 1 Corinthians 14:37. He says, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." In other words those that truly are God fearing and spiritual people will have no problem with God's instructions. However, sadly the opposite is also true. Therefore 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 gives us sound advice:
"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).
It is my hope that those who read this article will have the mind of Christ and therefore bring honor and glory to our Lord and Savior by living as He instructs. It 's the best life possible.
*All Rights Reserved. Cooper P. Abrams, III, 1997, 02/2012