[Begin Part 2]
In the previous post, we dealt with verses 9 to 10 from 1 Timothy 2. In this post, we move onto verses 11-15.
If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, go back and do so now as it sets the stage for what comes next.
Once again, context is important whether it be cultural, historical, etc., we must consider such things in order to understand the message most clearly and concisely. Just as in our day there are stereotypes, stereotypes existed back at the time of writing 1 Timothy as well.
In those times, females were considered inferior academically and education systems were set up for men. This was true in both Greek culture of the time as well as Jewish. With these things in mind…
“A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.” (v. 11)
This statement was revolutionary. Paul writes that women are to learn as well. Women are, after all, created in the image of God just as much as men and should therefore reflect that Godliness, that Christ-likeness alongside men. You do this best by learning more about God and growing closer to Him through it such that you inevitably reflect Christ-likeness to those around you.
Earlier in 1 Timothy 2 and here Paul uses the term translated in most versions to “quietly” to describe the manner for receiving instruction. In the Greek, this term is referring to respect and not silence. This carries over into the term of “submissiveness” which refers “to arrange yourself in rank under” in the Greek. This sort of action is a willful decision and not something anyone is given the right to force upon the woman. Again, if it is her intent to follow God, she is to show this intent through her actions and to do so by her own will. This passage is speaking specifically to women in the church but elsewhere in the Scriptures we find that all followers are called to do likewise before the God-ordained leadership of the church.
In verse 12…
“But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”
This has got to be one of the most controversial parts of this passage.
I think the sermon linked below words this quite well so I will quote:
“This command by Paul is not a prohibition against women teaching in the church, nor is it a prohibition from general instruction in the Bible. It is, however, a prohibition against women authoritatively proclaiming God’s Word in the context of the public worship of the Church.”
What does this mean? Remember that the context here is in reference to corporate worship. The context indicates that this prohibition is meant for the confines of corporate worship. It is not saying the prohibition should go beyond corporate worship. If it did, there would be clear conflicts then with other areas of Scriptures in which women were recorded teaching men various things about the faith – all of which took place outside corporate worship.
Official instruction in corporate worship is set for people like Paul and the elders of the church. In fact, we see Paul talk about the elders in the very next chapter.
One of the distinctions of verse 12 is in the aspect surrounding “teach”. It isn’t speaking of all teaching activities. Specifically in the Greek, it is written in the present infinitive which translates “to be a teacher”. Taken in the context of the rest of the verse we see this means a woman is not to hold a position of an authoritative teacher over a man in corporate worship. I want to note that this isn’t saying anything about a woman’s ability.
“For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” (vv. 13-15)
That “For” at the beginning of verse 13 is just like a “because” which tells you that what comes next refers to what came before – verse 12. Verse 13 begins the rationale Paul gives for verse 12. In it we, see Paul going back to creation.
I think it’ll be best to lay this out in points to make it easier to follow. Here we go:
- “For it was Adam who was first created,” is not a mark of superiority in Adam but it is a point about being the first born – a position that has always carried with it spiritual responsibility within the family. Paul is referring to the created order in humanity before the fall had even taken place. In this we see Adam was created to be the head and Eve his helpmate. It was Adam, therefore, who was given spiritual headship and authority, not Eve.
- After this first bit, the focus shifts to mostly Eve; however, Paul is not blaming Eve here for the fall. We should pay particular attention to the word “deceived” here.
- Eve was clearly deceived here.
- Adam was not deceived meaning he transgressed fully aware of what he was doing!
- Adam’s failure makes it all the more clear why God went to him rather than Eve after what had happened in the garden. Not only was he supposed to be the spiritual head but he knowingly transgressed God’s rule.
- “Eve stepped out from under the protection and leadership of Adam and Adam violated his leadership role and followed Eve.” – from the linked sermon
- Nowhere is it said that women are some how lesser or inferior in intelligence or capability in this passage.
- Verse 15 isn’t trying to suggest that women are somehow saved through childbirth. Not only does the original text not support the idea, but it doesn’t make any sense in light of the rest of Scripture where we know that salvation comes through God’s grace and by faith in Jesus Christ.
- Women have a distinct role that only they can play: motherhood.
- It is through women that children are brought into the world and this includes those who would be devout followers of God.
- It is also through women that the most righteous seed would come forth, Jesus Christ.
- As a result, “…women would have the privilege of leading the race out of sin to godliness.” – quoted from near the end of the linked sermon
As you can see, things aren’t always what they may first appear. You have to be diligent and look carefully as to what is and isn’t said. Context, of all kinds, must also be considered in order to accurately understand what is written in its original environment and how it would have been received by the people it was written too originally. Many of us have done this very same exercise in our English, history, and reading classes growing up. I recommend being consistent and to do the same in the Scriptures.
If you have any questions, please listen to the sermon first. What I have written here is in large part a summary of key points. There are more examples and further explanation in the message. Just click the “here” link below to be taken to the page to hear it for yourself.
This post is based upon notes & study connected to a spoken message that can be found here.