GOD'S HIGH CALLING FOR WOMEN
1 Timothy 2:9-15
by Cooper Abrams
All these attempts are basically sinful man's forcing the Bible to conform to his desired feeling on the some on the subject. The Bible is the Word of God and is complete and unchanging. What God said in Paul's day is as valid today as it was in the First Century. The principles on which Paul's statements were made are immutable. Churches, and Christians need to reaffirm the biblical roles of both men and women in church today, not ignore them, distort them or 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 church than 1 Tim. 2:9-15. We need to understand also that this important subject does not fall in the "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 truth that it is and rejecting any philosophy of man which disagrees with the teaching of Scripture.
Paul was writing Timothy shortly after his first imprisonment in Rome. He met Timothy at Ephesus. . Things in Ephesus were not as they should be even though Paul had spent three years earlier teaching there. (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 the entire Word of God. What Paul feared would happen 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 personally dealt with as 1 Tim.1:20 and 2 Timothy 4:14 state. .
Paul left Ephesus and left Timothy to straighten out the problems. This letter is instruction and encouragement to him to complete the task. 1 Tim. 3:14-15..States this fact clearly.
It is vital and important for us to understand and accept that the Bible gives the highest standards and positions for women there is. The feminist movement of today and in the past has degraded women, exploited them, taken away their feminity. It has taken away a woman's God given position and role of being a help-mate with man. It has mislead women into believing that God has looked on woman as a lesser creature. It is a lie of the Devil. God has always held women in a special and honored position.
One problem in Ephesus was the role of women in the church. In 1 Tim. 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 women. 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. That kind of life style precludes the woman living in faith and having a godly testimony.
Paul condemned a woman who lived for pleasure. He states that a woman who was godly and had a good testimony was one that: (1 Timothy 5:10)
These attributes typified the lifestyle of a godly woman that was a blessing to all who knew her and was a blessing and testimony in her church.
"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, but has a far greater meaning. 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 lifting up pure hands, separated unto the Lord, which is what being holy means. Lifting up hands that have been busy serving 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 and "without wrath" murmuring and disputes.
What a contrast between how the Pentecostals and Charismatics interpret this verse stating it pleases God when a church sing songs and waves their hands in the air an emotional stirred up service they refer to as a "praise" service. It certainly does not mean that at all and 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 holy life living in faith from a pure heart.
GENERAL APPEARANCE. "In like manner" 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
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 sharp rebuke to the "Sunday" Christian who lives an unpure life during the week. It is clearly is addressing the every day life of a believer. . . 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 hearts 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 and regard for others.
The word "sobriety" means she should conduct herself with soundness of mind and be in control of her emotions. Women are more emotional than men in many ways and quick to be offended or to speak out. Sobriety coupled with shamefacedness means she should reign in her passions and desires and exercise self control.
The Christian women in Ephesus were under the same pressure of women today in being expected to dress in the fashion of the day. However, form the following accounts we can get a good idea 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:
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 embroider 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. 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 clothing, and the styles of pagan women, worn to call attention to themselves, or to dress up to lure men. To do so 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.
Poverty was wide spread in the Early Church. Yet some wealthily 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 stated this godly woman owned such. However, the Bible is clearly forbidding wearing them immodestly and for the wrong motives, or wearing clothes that entice or cause lustfully thinking. Modesty means being modest or not being in access like putting on too much jewelry. It does not reflect godliness for a woman in public or in the church put on a fashion show or a place to show off a her sexuality.
We come to church to worship the Lord, Sunday morning, 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. Her testimony of her love of the Lord has 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.
Married Women: She should attract attention to her godly character, not to herself by her actions or clothing. Her clothes show her concern for her husband and her devotion, respect and love for him alone. Wearing immodest clothes or revealing clothes in public is dishonoring to herself and shows little respect for her husband. Her devotion should be to her Lord and to her husband. 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 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 is show I love and respect my husband and am not interested in other men."
Peter also addresses this matter in 1 Peter 3:1-7:
Verses 1 and 2 uses the word "conversation." The word is not referring to talking between people, but to the "manner of one's life" or a persons' behavior. (anastrofh an-as-trophe ) 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. None who do not live what they preach has any 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 are claiming to be something that clearly they are not. Their live style then does not present God's truth and the true live changing affect of the Gospel. The bottom line is that a woman who is by her actions and outward appearance immodest has no testimony for Christ and cannot win her lost husband 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. 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 revere for Him and His instructions for us. God knows what is best for us so we live godly lives as He tells us too. We submit to each other knowing that this is what is best and correct....and because God says this is right.
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 the new nature given to Christians when they believe.
Wives ( and all believers) are to live guided by the Holy Spirit which will produce in us a meek and quiet spirit. The next phrase says that this is of great valve 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. It mocks the Lord's sacrifice for sin when a professing believer lives a life that condones sinful behavior and attitudes.
Peter uses 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 "afraid with any amazement" 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 be appreciating the due relation of the sexes in the design of God, and act with tenderness and forbearance accordingly meaning wisely: with wise consideration.
"Giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel" It means that both husband and wife are vessels made by God and each God given 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.
(1 Timothy 2:11-15)
Paul says that woman should learn in silence in the church with all subjection. (V11) 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 she should be silence. He then uses the illustration that Adam was first formed by God and then Eve and shows their relationship in the beginning when they were created. He 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 that was the woman. It addresses the differences in the make up of men and women as being distinct and not the same. A woman has a different temperament than does a man. Both have strengths and weakness which are accented and complimented by each others 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 implies that woman should follow the man and his leadership rather than taking upon herself the leadership function, 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. It honor God and God's plan for the woman to support the man and be in subordination to him in the area of leadership. 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 this sets the proper order and unity in the family. Each have their respective roles to play in making a successful life and family. They are to be a team working together. It is not a state of demeaning a woman, but rather of her working in conjunction with her husband in her God given role as a helper.
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. It also totally refutes the idea that God calls women to be pastors and preachers leading 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 the head of a man's family with the responsibilities of leadership under God, so is the leadership over the family of God in the local church given to God. For a woman to be given that responsibility clearly violates God's structure for the family and for the congregation.
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:
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 that in not in keeping with God's stated role for them. Women in leadership over men gives an unbiblical view of the makeup of the family. Men, not the women, are given the role of leadership and as providers for the family. It appears that women had begun to practice speaking in tongues which was not in regard for what biblical tongues are as presented by the New Testament. Only men were given the gift on the Day of Pentecost and there is no record God giving the gift to women.
The point of this is that women are more inclined towards emotionalism 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.
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 it means 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 interpretation 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 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 through recognizing the 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 roles by living godly lives which reflects their faith and love for the Lord and testifies to 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. We must state at the point that this article is addressing the woman and not the man. The man too has his own spiritual problems and sadly most men do not fulfill their God given purposes as men. Often their demeaning attitudes and treatment of woman shows them as being spiritually deficient in this area. The subordinate position of women is no reason for a man to mistreat or demean women. It is gross sin for a man to do so, because he in doing so, dishonors his position and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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 they were clearly distinguishable.
Often pastors and churches have used Deuteronomy 22:5 as the proof text that women today should not wear pants. The verse says:
Clearly the prohibition was against homosexual behavior. God says that it is an abomination to Him for men or women to cross dress and this gives us the principle behind the passage. The passage is specifically condemning homosexual behavior.
The question is then is it proper for a woman to wear pants. Two principles apply.
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. Reading 1 Peter 3:1-6 with no personal prejudice, you will find this to be true. 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 wearing skirts. It is hard for your author to get out of his mind the distasteful scene he came upon of a woman in a dress bending over in her garden. Her dress was clearly immodest and it was an ugly picture.
"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 who would not prohibit a woman from wearing pants in some situation, believe that when a woman is in church she should dress nice and somewhat formal which would mean wearing a dress or skirt. You author is of that persuasion. A church service is a formal affair where believers come to worship the Lord. Pants because of their informality nature seem inappropriate to wear for a worship service. The functionality of pants is not needed in a worship or church service. Likewise men should also dress more formally in an expression of honoring the Lord. The modern trend towards casual attire in worship services show a lack of respect for God.
If one was asked to attend a function at the White House in the presence of the President it would be required that a suit or dress up clothing be worn. It would show gross disrespect for the President to wear casual or inappropriate attire. In a worship service believers are there to worship and honor someone a lot greater than our President and we should honor Him in our dress and demeanor. It is degrading to Almighty God to come in public worship in offhanded way which is plainly is disrespectful.