1 Timothy 2:8 (NIV) 8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
On verse 8: Some people stereo typically think, “It’s the man’s job to work and the woman’s job to pray”. But here Paul affirms that one of the most important things a man can do is to devote himself to prayer. When a man devotes himself to prayer, he is much better able to lead in his home, to see things from God’s perspective, to bring God’s wisdom to situations and to model Christ to those in his care (especially his own family).
So men, don’t neglect your prayer life. Prayer is actually one of the most important types of work we have to do, and one of the highest callings we have to fulfill.
1 Timothy 2:9-15 (NIV) 9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
On verses 9-10: Apparently the church Timothy was leading was attended by some prominent, wealthy women in the city of Ephesus. They would walk into church meetings with expensive and possibly provocative clothes, fancy hairdos and audacious jewelry. The way they dressed was apparently becoming a distraction. So Paul expresses his desire that the women dress in a simpler, more modest way so that they would not be a distraction to others.
What can we learn from these verses? Women, remember that your beauty is not found primarily in your outward appearance, but in your character, your heart for God and your heart for people. So if you really want to be attractive, one who is truly radiant and stunning, focus first on loving God with all your heart and loving people in this world. That doesn’t mean you should dress sloppily or not take care of your appearance. Rather it’s about where your main focus should be. It’s about remembering that your identity is not in the clothes you wear or the jewelry you put on, but in God’s love for you and His calling on your life to be a worshipper of Him.
1 Timothy 2:11-14 (NIV) 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 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.
On verses 11-14: In ancient Jewish culture, women were historically not allowed to study or go to school. So it was culturally groundbreaking when Jesus and the early Christian church allowed women to study and listen to God’s Word alongside the men. In the early church women were also allowed in certain circumstances to teach (Acts 18:24-26 and Titus 2:3-4) and to prophesy publicly (1 Corinthians 11:4-5).
Apparently, however, some women in Timothy’s church were beginning to abuse this newfound freedom. The scenario many scholars envision is that these women would interrupt speakers, arguing with them publicly and distracting others who were trying to learn. Even more, it appears that the false teachers whom Paul had warned Timothy about earlier (see 1 Timothy 1:3-7) had deceived and led these women astray with false doctrine. It’s in this context that Paul says, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent”.
What can we learn from this? Don’t abuse the freedom that God has given you. When we come together in worship and listen to God’s Word, don’t be distracting, whether it’s in the way you dress or the way you act. Have a quiet, humble spirit and a teachable attitude when you listen to God’s Word. Don’t be quick to seize positions of leadership; rather, seek to be a humble servant of God and a humble student of God’s Word. It’s about learning to love others well even while you’re there to worship God.
1 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) 15 But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
On verse 15: What does Paul mean by “women will be saved through childbearing”? Paul is not saying that the way a woman can be forgiven of her sins and punch her ticket to heaven is by having a baby. For Paul the only way to salvation for any person — male or female — is clearly by trusting in Jesus Christ.
If you want to understand what Paul means, remember the context in which Paul is writing. False teachers have been leading some of the women astray in Timothy’s church. These women have been acting in rude and distracting ways through the way they dress and the way they behave in church. They have also tried to assume positions of authority over the senior leaders in Timothy’s church, even though their immaturity disqualified them from doing so.
In this context, Paul is effectively saying, “Women, instead of trying to assume authority over the senior leaders in your church, focus on the role God has given you. Do not neglect and do not despise the crucial and significant role you have to raise up strong, mature disciples of Jesus in your home.” Rather than envying and vying for the role that God has given someone else, cherish and make the most of the role God has already given you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving all of us — both male and female — important roles to play in Your kingdom. May I not be a distraction to others whenever I’m worshiping together with my church family. May I be a humble servant of God and a humble student of Your Word, making the most of the freedom, the role and the opportunities You have given me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!