The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
February 3, 2013


1) 1 Timothy 2:9-14 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes


1 Timothy 2:9-14
by Tom Edwards

After giving instruction for the males with regard to prayer in 1 Timothy 2:8, Paul then sets forth this following exhortation for the women: "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness" (v. 9).  The KJV renders "proper clothing" as "modest apparel"; and, as shown in the NASB, the proper clothing is that which can be worn "modestly and discreetly." Here the KJV renders "modestly" as "with shamefacedness."  In better understanding the meaning of that, Bob Buchanon writes, "Some versions say 'shamefast.'  A bedfast person is one confined to the bed, unable to leave the bed.  A shamefast person is unable (not free) to go into public places half-dressed.  Their 'shame' or feeling of shame holds them fast."  So from that definition, it is easy to see the relationship between being shamefast and modest.  The third definition of "modest" is "having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent."  And note, too, that modest, when it comes to dress, is not only being properly covered; but also being "free from ostentation or showy extravagance," as the passage also indicates with the gold, pearls, and costly garments.  In commenting on that, E.M. Zerr points out that the "Immodest braided their hair as a means of holding more of their showy jewels here enumerated, in order to excite the attention of the opposite sex.  They likewise depended on the costliness of their clothing to attract the men."

Rather than concentrating on the allurements of gold, pearls, and costly garments, Paul shows what the women should truly be concerned about -- and that is "good works."  But is Paul condemning the braiding of hair or wearing gold or pearls to any extent?  We can compare this to what Peter instructs the wives in 1 Peter 3:1-6: "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.  Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear."

The word "merely" in this passage (in the NASB) is in Italics, meaning that it wasn't in the original Greek text; but it has been supplied by the translators for a better understanding.  The KJV renders this as "...let it not be the outward adorning...of putting on apparel."  But, surely, it is not that the women are being commanded to not clothe themselves; rather, this passage is putting the emphasis on the inner person -- instead of the outer one.  This can also be compared to the other "not-but" passages in the New Testament.  For instance, in John 6:27, Jesus states, "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life...."  The Lord is not forbidding a person from having a secular job; but, rather, He is putting the emphasis on the most important work of all; and that is in living for God.  So no matter what our occupation, our chief concern should always be in keeping God first in our lives and conducting ourselves as He would have us to in all that we do -- including our careers.  For even secular jobs can be done unto the Lord (cf. Eph. 6:5-8).  Then, of course, there are those things that might not pertain to our secular jobs; but our very important works for the Christian to carry out, such as in praying for others, helping to win lost souls to Jesus, helping to build Christians up in the faith, striving to do good unto all, etc.  Therefore, these spiritual  works are much more important than the secular and, because of that, they do need to be emphasized.  So while women are to be concerned with proper clothing, even more so should they be toward developing that "hidden person of the heart."  And, in doing so, would it not be that through their desire to please the Lord in all things and conform their inner person to godliness, that it would also result in the manifestation of proper dress on the outer  person?

Improper clothing can make a statement -- even when not realized nor intended.  It, therefore, can make a difference in what one wears.  In Proverbs 7:10, for example, Solomon speaks of the woman who is "Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart."  What if a woman who wasn't a harlot were dressed the same way?  What impression would she have given to others of that time?  And what impression are many giving today who don't seem to realize anything as being immodest?  Could they be giving signals not intended?  Mary Quant, the well-known fashion designer and mother of the mini-skirt, once said that "Mini-clothes are symbolic of those girls who want to seduce a man...."  I wouldn't think that to be true in every case.  But even when not, would that justify the wearing of anything immodest?

Paul then also gives additional instruction for the women in 1 Timothy 2:11,12: "A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.  But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet."

Some people have taken this passage to be referring to only the assembly, as when the women are to be silent.  But looking at this passage and its context, it is obvious that it pertains to a general application -- and not just when assembled with the brethren.  For dressing modestly and continuing in faith, love, and sanctity, as verses 9 and 15 speak of, pertain to more than just when the brethren meet together.  

Others have taken this passage to assert that women are never to teach, but that also is not what the Bible shows.  I once heard of a church that found fault with the female members going out in groups to invite people to a gospel meeting they were having.  Some of the males of that congregation believed that women should not be doing such things, or even asking a question in a Bible class.  

The KJV renders "quietly receive instruction" as "learn in silence."  But this particular Greek word for "silence" does not always mean complete silence.  E.W. Bullinger defines it as "quiet, tranquility, stillness."  That would certainly indicate a good temperament for learning.  As Robert Turner writes, "The word translated 'silence' in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 K.J.V. is 'quietness' in A.R.V., and is indicative of spirit or disposition."  Thayer goes on to say of the word that it is a "description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others."  This is also the same Greek word that Paul uses in 2 Thessalonians 3:12, but let us include verse 11 to better see the contrast: "For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.  Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread."  So rather than  living an undisciplined life, and being like a "busybody," these individuals were to "work in quiet fashion," which, therefore, indicates a tranquil and well-controlled life.  

Notice, too, 1 Timothy 2:2, where Paul instructs the Christian to pray "for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."  Does "quiet life" mean we are never to talk?  The same Greek word for "quiet" in 1 Timothy 2:2 is also seen in 1 Peter 3:3,4, where Peter instructs the woman to not let her adornment be merely external, with braiding the hair and wearing gold jewelry and dresses, "but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and QUIET spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."  Again, does "quiet spirit" mean that the woman would never speak?  Or does it indicate her tranquil and submissive nature?  The same Greek word for "quietly" in 1 Timothy 2:10 is also used in 1 Timothy 2:12, where Paul says that the woman is "to remain quiet."  But in this verse, it is emphasizing that she is not to "teach or exercise authority over a man," so she must be silent when it comes to that.  But this certainly doesn't mean that she must be silent always and never teach God's truth in any capacity.  For consider what the Bible has to say about this, in the following verses: "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2).  In this verse, "men" is from the Greek word "anthropos," which refers to mankind -- males and females. In the early church some women even had the gift of prophecy:  For instance, consider one of Joel's prophecies: "'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy'" (Acts 2:17,18).  And here is an example of that: "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.  Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses" (Acts 21:8,9).   Also, Acts 18:24-26 gives the example of Aquila and Pricilla, a husband and wife, who, together, taught Apollos the truth on baptism.  In addition, older women are instructed to teach the younger women in Titus 2:3-5.  And just who was Peter addressing when He declared, "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame" (1 Pet. 3:15,16)?  He was writing to brethren that had been scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Pet. 1:1).  So would this not also apply to every Christian?  Therefore, a woman can -- and is -- to teach, but the only restriction is that she does not usurp authority over the man in doing so.  

That, by the way, is why a woman could not be a gospel preacher.  For, according to Titus 2:15, the preacher is to use all authority in his work.  The verse states, "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." We, therefore, see that the restriction to not teach is only in the light of usurping authority over the man; and not that she is to never teach -- period.  

This can be paralleled with what we read in Acts 4:18, concerning the apostles.  The passage says, "And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus."  Were these authorities telling the apostles that they were not to "speak at all" -- period?  That they could never say anything?   Or that they were to never speak about Jesus and the gospel?

For the woman to usurp authority over the man, she would no longer be in a submissive role toward him; and that would be wrong.  Notice again Titus 2:5: Women were to be "subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

We can also point out that even in the assembly, the woman is not totally silent; for she is also to sing out when spiritual songs are sung.  And in so doing, she is also "teaching and admonishing," as Colossians 3:16 shows.  

Paul then even gives a reason why the woman needs to be in subjection to the man, rather than usurping authority over him, in 1 Timothy 2:13,14: "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."

David Lipscomb refers to what Adam had as a "priority in creation."  For  he was "the original human being," and "Eve was from him and subordinate to him...."  This is what Paul is referring to in 1 Corinthians 11:8,9, where he states, "For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake."  Lipscomb then says that "This teaching of Paul respecting the public position of woman as regards man, in which he shows that she is to hold a subordinate place, is based upon no arbitrary human speculation, but upon God's original order in creation -- that divine order which first created man and after man's creation formed woman as his helpmeet."  This is seen in Genesis 2:18 where the Lord gives an explanation for why Eve was made.  He states, "...'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.'"  And to the woman, the Lord declares that "your desire will be for you husband, and he will rule over you" (Gen. 3:16).  Paul also wrote about this order in 1 Corinthians 11:3, where he refers to the man as being "the head of a woman," just as "God is the head of Christ," and "Christ is the head of every man."  So this order is to be respected.  

Unfortunately, in the world today, we often see man wanting to be the head of Christ -- rather than submitting to the Lord's ways.   And, just as wrong, is for the woman to strive to be the head of man -- and to give up her God-given role, in the process.  

Here in verse 14, we also have a short commentary on the nature of Adam and Eve's sin, back in the garden:  Adam was not deceived.  He sinned willfully.  Eve, however, was deceived.  Her sin was a sin of ignorance.  She even acknowledged this deception in Genesis 3:13: "Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' And the woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'"  And the fact that Eve was deceived and Adam was not is another reason that is given, here in 1 Timothy 2:14, for why the woman is to be in the submissive role, rather than usurping authority over the man.  In addition, we learn from Adam and Eve that in both cases, whether a sin of ignorance or a willful sin, it is still sin.  Adam and Eve were both guilty of transgression.  And what else do we also see in this?  We see that Adam knew better.  He was supposed to be the leader, the head of his family; but, instead, he allowed Eve to lead him into that which he knew to be wrong.  This is not to say that a wife cannot suggest things in which a husband can comply; but if Adam had been the head of the family he should have been, this sin would have not occurred.  For he knew better.  

So women need to take heed to Paul's specific instruction to them in 1 Timothy 2:9-15.  And, in closing, when it comes to modesty and focusing on good works, that is not exclusively for the women; but for every child of God to be concerned about as well.   May we, therefore, each live in such a way that we will bring glory to God in heaven; and so that He will one day be able to bring us to that glorious realm in which to dwell and enjoy forever more!


News & Notes

Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following people in prayer and their families:

* Barbara Teer (Denise Guillot's mother) has been in the hospital for the last several days, due to high levels of calcium; but through treatment that is now improving.  Her daughter writes, "...if she is as much improved tomorrow as she is today that we will be in good shape he [the doctor] thinks. She is opening her eyes, hearing us, is swallowing, and reaching her hand for Daddy. Since she can swallow again, we've just now been able to give her a bit of water & sherbet."  Barbara has been dealing with cancer for about 10 years.  A bone marrow transplant, near the beginning of that time, brought her into remission.

* Remember, too: Bill Barfield (Linda Blevins' uncle) who is now at a rehab center in Slidell, Louisiana; Cheryl Crews who has chronic ailments; Shirley Young who suffers from fibromyalgia; and Jean Calloway who has health problems.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Park Forest

9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA  70817
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Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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