1 Timothy 2:8-15 (CSB) Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument. Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess to worship God. A woman is to learn quietly with full submission. I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. But she will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense.
God determines the times and places we live in. (Acts 17:24-26) With that said comes the unavoidable influence of the culture of the time and place that we live in.
Yet, God tells us to “not to be captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition.” Easier said than done. To be born into a time and place is to take on assumptions of the culture where you live, work, play, learn, and yes, even the church you attend.
It is really hard to read this today’s passage with American eyes. Isn’t it? Especially when the culture that we live in celebrates authority, power, leadership, and self-reliance. We can read the 2nd chapter of 1 Timothy and instead of rightfully respond in worshipping God in Christ by the power of the Spirit, we can instead make this chapter or passage about something it might not be.
Let us examine the Scripture in light of the Scripture and try to see the glory of God in this text.
Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument
This is not a call to pray an external way but rather a posture of the heart and mind and soul underneath Christ.
Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess to worship God
Isn’t this a summation of the Old Testament? In other words, believers are not to look like the world around them. You could have grown up in a church culture that follows this verse to the letter. I would submit to you that in doing so, you might be missing the Spirit of the law. God has always called his people to be separated from the world while being in the world. Yet, if the world looks upon us and sees no difference between us and them, what is even the point?
Let me tell you something: the world wants to change the parts of our faith because there are hard sayings in the Bible. Some of our brothers and sisters in the faith have compromised some of their teaching thinking and hoping that more people would attend their church. But guess what? The world is not interested in attending their church–it never was. The world just wanted you to stop proclaiming hard truths of the Bible.
The hard sayings are right there. They are going nowhere. Even when wicked men, who profited off the kidnapping and enslavement of African natives in the Western world, and with no fear of an Almighty, Wrathful, Vengeful God, would then cut out large portions of the Bible–like Exodus–and would preach an blasphemous and wicked Bible and then hand it over to slaves.
That’s a whole lot of editing within holy scriptures just to damn your soul to hell. Yet, the good news is that every single Bible passage loudly proclaims that the Lord has come to set the captives free will always be in there, whether you want it to be in there or not.
We can choose to ignore and not teach certain parts of the Bible. But ignoring it won’t make it go away.
Let us deal with the elephant in the room. Because I don’t think any other passage in this passage is as controversial as this:
A woman is to learn quietly with full submission. I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to remain quiet
Let us not forget the beginning of the chapter where Paul tells Timothy:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (CSB) First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Men, you lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Women, you do the same.
We can speculate why Paul had to remind Timothy to “lead a tranquil” life. I don’t know. Maybe they were loud and obnoxious like me. I read this in context of 1 Timothy, and it seems to me that Timothy’s church may not be perfect. But anybody who has been in the church for any amount of time, we know that church can be off the rails–getting bogged down in things that don’t really matter.
So our church folks don’t interrupt services. But they can sure get loud on social media. So maybe, when we read the Bible and the instructions for the people of the church, we can see that His word still applies to us today and the fact we will never outgrow it.
So when I read:
I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to remain quiet
And yet I am charged by God with keep all of the Scripture in mind and here are just a few examples throughout the Bible:
Judges 4:4 (CSB) Deborah, a prophetess and the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
Romans 16:1-6 (CSB) I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchreae. So you should welcome her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints and assist her in whatever matter she may require your help. For indeed she has been a benefactor of many—and of me also.
Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. Not only do I thank them, but so do all the Gentile churches. Greet also the church that meets in their home. Greet my dear friend Epaenetus, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you.
Many translations call Phoebe a deaconess.
Acts 18:24-26 (CSB) Now a Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was competent in the use of the Scriptures, arrived in Ephesus. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately about Jesus, although he knew only John’s baptism. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately.
Both wife and husband took Apollos aside and gave him some theological and doctrinal teaching and sent him on his way.
John 20:17-18 (CSB) “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus told her, “since I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what he had said to her.
The Lord tells Mary to go and preach the gospel. Mary goes and preaches the good news to the Apostles of Jesus Christ. And if Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and Acts 1 have anything to say about that, we know that the Lord tells us all to go and proclaim his good news.
I cannot read this passage and simply think Paul wanted all women to shut up. What I read is that Christians are to live tranquil and quiet lives. Women shutting up doesn’t line up with the rest of the Bible. See the book of Esther.
The call for all believers to be tranquil and quiet? That falls in line with the rest of the Scripture.
So, do I think with this one passage that Scriptures is absolutely forbidding for women not to teach or have authority over men? I have to take that statement in account in all of Scripture and then compare that where women preached, proclaimed, prophesy, led, spoke, taught, commanded, and plant churches.
What I am convinced is that women of faith are commissioned by Christ just as the men are to preach the gospel to all of creation to the ends of the earth. (Mark 16:15-20)
Also, I cannot help but wonder something that we might not know this side of heaven. We know that in Paul’s letters to churches that more than likely he is responding to issues within that church. We don’t know what the exact issue is but he responds nevertheless. I wonder what was happening in Timothy’s church to respond with this sort of strict command. Were the women specifically becoming unruly? I don’t know and I cannot even speculate.
That is where I land: men and women of the body, don’t become disruptive nor unruly. Instead, worship God with all of you might.
For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. But she will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense
We keep this in mind with Romans 5:12-21. In other words, no one in their right mind would suggest that Paul is saying that Adam did not sin. Woman was deceived and transgressed. Adam was passively not protecting his wife and transgressed. I know because of Genesis 3 and Romans 5:12-21.
As far as being saved through childbearing. That isn’t exclusive for women. That is exclusively for all believers. This ties right back to the first proclamation of the gospel:
Genesis 3:15 (CSB) I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.
Galatians 3:16 (CSB) Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ.
What is the Bible about? Jesus Christ. When in doubt, ask yourself, “What does this say about God?”
if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense
This is the mark of the every believer. There is one thing to struggle with faith, love, holiness, and good sense. But there is one other thing not to display those traits as all. This is why I keep coming back to you and pleading with you to let yourself be known by loved and friends. Married couples, don’t tune me out. I meet married people all the time who have been married years and yet, they really don’t know each other. God calls us to community. God has called us to search out others that are safe and invite them into your life. This is to be done in mutuality–that is, you look into my life and I will look in yours and let us see if there is something in us that doesn’t look like God. You won’t get this in isolation. Yep, it is scary as heck. But as much as God as saved us to Himself, he has saved us to each other–from believer to believer.
Keep our eyes focused on you Amen