Women’s Role in 1 Timothy 2:8-15

Paul addressed why women were forbidden from teaching the assembly (church) in the following passage:

1 Timothy 2:8-15
8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,
10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.
12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

Paul gave two reasons, both of them are theological not cultural.

1. The created order: Adam was first created as an independent person, then Eve was created from his rib to be his helper. She was therefore not created to be independent of the man in authority.
2. Eve, and consequently all women, were placed under a penalty of the curse. This included pain in childbearing and that her husband would rule over her.

Paul’s reasoning above is that all Christian women must submit to both things, at least during this age while the curse is still in effect. Yes, there are lots of women who know much more than their husbands about biblical teaching. However, if she transgresses THIS teaching, by teaching publicly in the assembly, then she is TEACHING false doctrine regardless of the content of her ‘message.’ This is because “teaching” is not only oral. There is a kind of ‘teaching’ that is by example, which is what she is supposed to be doing instead of teaching orally.

She might be making great theological points with her words. But there is one glaring point that she is making that completely undermines everything that is coming out of her mouth — by her actions she is transgressing the biblical teaching regarding the role of Christian women by her public display of blatant insubordination to the commandments of Scripture. Notice in the above passage that these instructions immediately follow specific instructions on how Christian women are to dress and adorn themselves.

This EXAMPLE of CONDUCT is how godly Christian women are to make a statement. A women ‘pastor’ or other ‘teacher’ in the assembly by her conduct is no different than if a Christian woman came to the assembly immodestly in her underwear. It is a window into her character. She is not doing “what is proper for a woman professing godliness.”

Older Christian women should be teaching younger women, and then only those things that relate to what God commands of women. That does not all have to be “religious.” There is a lot of practical teaching that godly older Christian woman can teach to the younger and less experienced. Here is exactly what Paul said:

1 Timothy 2:8-15
8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,
10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.
12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

Titus 2:1-5
1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–
4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

So, here is the nuts and bolts of it:

1. Women are to act and dress very modestly, not wearing clothing jewellery, or anything that is not “modest.” Modesty does not ONLY means covering up the private and semi-private parts. It also means “plain” — the opposite of glamorous, bold, attention seeking, expensive, etc.

2. She is to adorn herself with “good works.” That is not defined as preaching, or writing books, or being the star of the show, or a celebrity. It is being a servant to other individuals, particularly those within her own assembly, those who have a need.

3. She is not allowed to teach in mixed company, the reasons are as follows (all being theological not cultural)

a. God created Adam to be the leader, teacher, provider, and protector of his family, and Eve was created to be his “helper” to do all she can do to make his job easier.

b. The curse put on women included two things: pain in childbirth as a REMINDER that her husband must rule over her. (This is because her sin was that she blatantly acted against what Adam had told her that God required of them both, circumventing his God-given authority and role).

So, you can ask Joyce Meyer if she had any pain during childbirth (or had to take medication to help ease the pain), and if she did, then she is under this curse which required her to be obedient to her husband in all things. And according to Paul, her not being allowed to teach in mixed company stems from this as well.

4. Women do have a role to play in teaching their children. But when they become “empty-nesters” they are to graduate to teaching adult Christian women. And the thing they are to teach is what they have themselves been practicing and have become proficient at — how to successfully raise a family, honour and take care of her husband and, how to make her home and household prosper. In other words, she should already be an expert at this, and already have a good track-record and reputation among the assembly as having lived out these things in her home life successfully. The thrust of her teaching is not theology, except as it relates to the above.

So, if you want to read the main women teachers in today’s society, just brace yourself for being deceived. When Eve decided to go beyond the boundaries God established for women, Satan was very eager to seize the opportunity to exploit her. And it is no different today. That does not mean she is not a good teacher or might not have some good solid teachings. But if her LIFE does not reflect these things, she is disobedient to the Word, which negates anything good she might have to say.

Women were not allowed to hold any office in the assembly that involved teaching men or exercising any kind of authority over the men, (which would place her over her own husband in the assembly). However, the NT supports the role of women serving in the office of “Deaconess,” the female version of “Deacons.” Phoebe was a deaconess, as is plainly stated in Romans 16:1-2, which uses the Greek word “Deaconess.”

That this was an official office is clear by the clause, “of the assembly in Cenchrea.” Deaconesses were given responsibilities of assisting the female members, including counselling, etc., especially in things where male leadership would not be appropriate, such as one-on one instruction. And like Phoebe, some Godly women held enormous responsibilities regarding finances of the assembly. In this passage, she was sent from her home assembly to another assembly on “business.” She was therefore no doubt the “treasurer” of that assembly and could conduct finances in their name.

How does this reconcile with Deborah (Judges 4-5)?

4
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Where is the ‘red line’?

Even while Deborah was a “prophetess” (God spoke through her and people consulted her for advice) and she held a civil office, the office of the priesthood was reserved for males of the tribe of Levi exclusively. God can use whomever He chooses whenever He wishes, and on occasion He breaks with the “norms” in situations where those norms become unworkable. However, man is bound by His commandments when it comes to holding offices (like OT priests or NT elders/pastors). And while there may be an occasional exception to the rule, we should not make the mistake of making an exception the rule while discarding the actual commandment. This is unfortunately what many in the Charismatic movement have done.

Wondering about Acts 21:9?

Acts 21:8-9 (NASB) 8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.

What was a “Prophetess”?

A prophetess was one through whom God spoke. But this has nothing to do with holding an office in the assembly.

Tim Warner www.4windsfellowships.net

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