Monday 3 February, 2014

1 Timothy 2:8-15

8 I want men everywhere to pray. I want them to lift up holy hands. I don’t want them to be angry when they pray. I don’t want them to argue. 9 I also want women to dress simply. They should wear clothes that are right and proper. They shouldn’t braid their hair. They shouldn’t wear gold or pearls. They shouldn’t spend too much on clothes. 10 Instead, they should put on good works as if they were their clothes. That is proper for women who claim to worship God. 11 When a woman is learning, she should be quiet. She should follow the leaders in every way. 12 I do not let women teach. I do not let them have authority over men. They must be quiet. 13 Adam was made first. Then Eve was made. 14 Adam was not the one who was tricked. The woman was tricked and became a sinner. 15 Will women be saved by having children? Only if they keep on believing, loving, and leading a holy life in a proper way.

This is one of the more difficult passages of Scripture for a modern 21st century mind to get around.

We do not have the time here to work over a theological treatise on this passage – so I will not.  Devotionally I am struck by three phrases.

‘I want men to pray’ – ‘I want women to dress modestly’ – ‘I want women to learn’.

These three phrases give us some insight into the culture of the time.

Paul gives men a push to pray – in my experience women are more given to prayer than men – and I think Paul experienced the same so he singled men out to make sure they pray.

Paul gives women a push to ensure that their ‘dressiness’ was around their beauty in Christ, not their outward adornments.

Paul gives a push that women would learn – which was revolutionary given that women in that culture were not allowed, generally, to learn.  This is a revolutionary statement because education is a great leveller!

I wonder if Paul would encourage the same today.  If my experience is generally true this remains a great encouragement to men because we still find praying difficult.  My observations lead me to believe that women are still caught on the outward beauty thing, generally, and so being encouraged to work on their beauty within remains a great encouragement to godliness.  Women may be more educated, especially in some sections of the west, but there remains a great divide here for many women.

2000 years later we can claim to be a more civilised, more enlightened, more free society – but God’s Word once again proves its timelessness by nailing us on some of the basics of faith and life.

Father – help me not to stray from the basics until I and those around me have real evidence of transformation!  May Your transforming work through Word and Spirit be at work in my life and all those I have the privilege to live this life with!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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