1 Timothy 2:8-15
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 11 A womanshould learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
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