The Book of 1 Timothy Bible Study Chapter 2 Part 2

Our last reading for this week is 1 Timothy 2:8-15. 

When we read a truth (unfiltered, at face value, i.e. what the Bible literally says) but it goes against the narrative of what we have been taught, what do we do with that truth? We want to be people who please G-d. Pleasing Him involves being people of truth. We should never try to twist or shape truth to make it more pleasing to people, more pleasing to our agendas etc. Our desire should always be to search out truth with humility and sincerity (paying attention to the truth which gets a hard rap, “controversial”) so that we can get a right understanding of what the Word is teaching us. We need to be people who conscientiously handle G-d’s Word correctly (2 Tim 2:15). (Sometimes this involves wrestling with a text, which is what we are going to be doing here). 

v8: Therefore: In light of what Paul has just spoken about – i.e. his call and speaking in faith and truth. 

  • Desire: This is a strong word preceding an instruction. G-d gives us the desires of our heart (Ps 37:4), but when we believe in Him, He is the One who puts those desires into our hearts in the first place (Phil 2:13). 
  • I desire that the men pray everywhere: This is not Paul’s own desire. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16-17) this is G-d’s desire that has been placed on Paul’s heart. 
  • The men: The inclusive term for ‘all people – male and female’ – is not used here. This is speaking about males specifically. It is so important that men pray for others. The public reputation of a believing man should be that he prays for others. 
  • Everywhere: In every place. There are no exceptions. 
  • (Pious): This is not the normal word used for ‘holy’. It is the word for ‘pious’ – that which is proper, that which reflects a G-dly (righteous) character. 
  • Lifting up (pious) hands: This means to give honour or respect to G-d. We need to respect G-d’s ways and want His will to be done in our lives as well as in the lives of others. 
  • Without wrath: Without any hard, bad or improper feelings (anger) toward anyone. 
  • Doubting: Literally: Without thinking thoroughly. The word used here is a word for discussion or debate. We do not need to overthink praying for others (thinking about their rights and wrongs, their thoughts, their actions, what we would like G-d to change in them etc). When we pray for people, we need to pray that G-d moves in their lives, that G-d’s will is done in their lives, that G-d brings about the necessary changes within them that He sees as necessary – not what we think is necessary in their lives. We need to leave our biases out of our prayers for other people. Pray for them and leave the defining points to G-d.

v9: Note: The first thing that Paul speaks about to Timothy regarding women is how they present themselves publicly in regard to their fashion. 

  • Women adorn themselves in modest apparel: The public reputation of a believing woman should be that she dresses modestly and appropriately. This means that she does not dress provocatively –dressing in such a way as to draw attention to her body, or physical features. 

Note: A very important role of a believing woman is not to call attention to herself in any way. G-d created woman after man (Eve was created after Adam) and He created a woman to be a helpmeet (Gen 2:18,20-22). As a helper to her husband, the woman is not supposed to be the one who takes centre stage in a marriage. If a woman is obedient and submissive to her call to help her husband, she will be an instrument that helps to move her husband and family deeper into the will of G-d.

  • Propriety: Sober minded. She needs to think carefully about what situation or circumstance she is dressing for and, in light of G-d’s instructions, needs to dress herself appropriately.  
  • Not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing: Cultures have changed over the centuries, but the underlying principle remains the same: women are not to call attention to themselves in the way they dress, in the way they arrange their hair, or with their jewellery. Hair, jewels and clothing are not wrong, in and of themselves, but if they are used to flaunt wealth, flaunt sexuality, lead to stumbling on the part of fellow brothers and sisters (lust, envy) etc then they quickly fall into the category of “not pleasing to G-d”. 
  • Costly clothing: Paul is not saying that we need to buy cheap clothes. Our appearance, however, shouldn’t scream ‘wealth’ or that we have made spending money on ourselves a priority in our lives. 

v10: Proper: Fitting. Appropriate.

  • G-dliness: Being someone who reflects a G-dlike character – humble, righteous, not prideful. 
  • Good works: Do we dress and present ourselves in a way that is fitting for those who profess to be G-dly? It is not our appearance that should mark us, and be what people remember us by. Our good works should be more memorable than our appearance. G-d does not look at our appearance (1 Sam 16:7). However, our works are extremely important to Him and they have eternal consequences (Heb 6:10-12, Rev 22:12). Don’t be rich in clothing…be rich in good deeds!

v11: Let a woman learn in silence: Paul is speaking within the context of a congregation or local assembly. It was not the norm in Paul’s day for one man to get up and preach/teach and for everybody else to just listen and go home (like our church services today). In Paul’s day it was normal for there to be a lot of interaction between the teacher and the congregation. The teacher would present his statements and then there would be a response from those within the assembly. Learning came through argument and debate. Problems were bounced back and forth – some agreeing and some disagreeing. Whoever wanted to have their say had their say (That is why Paul admonished that services needed to be run in an orderly manner and not become chaotic – 1 Cor 14:40). A man will generally not take it personally when someone disagrees with him. A woman is a lot more sensitive and, if someone disagrees with her, she might take it personally and hold a grudge or an offense. Paul wanted to protect women from this. One way to protect them was to permit them to learn, but, as a general principle, to do so silently – not actively participating in debate publicly but asking any questions they may have had at home (1 Cor 14:34-35). 

  • All submission: Submission for a woman is not limited to learning. It is one of the primary traits that she should possess in every aspect of her life. 

v12: I do not permit a woman to teach…over a man: There is nothing wrong with a woman teaching other women and teaching children (Titus 2:3-5). Those women who are mature in the faith should be teaching and discipling those women who are immature in the faith. There is also no warning against women sharing (on matters of faith or giving her testimony etc), praying or prophesying in a congregational setting (1 Cor 11:5). It is a woman formally teaching within the local congregation that Paul says is impermissible here. 

  • Do not permit … to teach: Doctrine, discipline and direction in a local congregation should be overseen by and left to the men (the elders). A woman should never usurp or challenge the authority of her husband, but nor should she challenge the authority that G-d has given to G-d fearing elders within a local congregation. 
  • Have authority: To rule over (Gen 3:16).
  • To be in silence: This word for ‘silence’ speaks about a character trait. A woman should not be boisterous, or attention grabbing, but instead she should portray a quiet and gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:1-6). 

v13: Note: Some people may argue that women teaching was a cultural problem back then, but that today it is ok. This verse puts a spanner in the works of the cultural argument. Hairstyles have changed culturally. Braided hair does not mean the same today as it did in Paul’s day. But women teaching in the church is not about cultural distinctiveness. This verse puts it into the context of something which is universal and therefore applicable in all cultures. 

  • Adam was formed first: There is an order in creation, a priority. Part of G-d’s order is that He chose to create the man first (Gen 1:26-27, Gen 2:7, 18-24). 
  • Then Eve: The woman came out of the man (Gen 2:21-22). She was created after. She came second. 

v14: Deceived: This is the word for being ‘seduced’. 

  • The woman: Eve
  • Transgression: ‘Trans’ is a word which means to “extend across” to “go through or over”. It speaks about an overstepping of or a violation of boundaries. Eve was called to be a helper to Adam. She was seduced by the serpent, and she began to make decisions apart from her husband (Gen 3:6). According to HER the fruit looked good, pleasant and desirable and so she ate of it. But then there were consequences to her actions (Gen 3:16). These consequences did not only affect Eve and maybe a couple of generations of women after her. These consequences all still affect us today. These consequences do not change from culture to culture. The eternal punishment and curse of sin has been removed for those who believe in Messiah, but that does not mean that earthly consequences have been removed. 

Note: All people (men and women) have faults and tendencies that are sinful and rebellious. But in this context the emphasis is on women. What Paul is revealing is that there is a common tendency among women to overstep her bounds, and to usurp or go beyond the domain/boundaries that the Word of G-d has set for her. This commandment (1 Tim 2:12) protects and looks after women. It keeps them within the bounds of a safe space and helps them to curb a natural tendency that they have (as daughters of Eve) of overstepping their boundaries.  

v15: Note: We have learnt that a woman is called to be a helpmate. She is called to be modest, submissive and not draw attention to herself. We have also learnt that she has a tendency to overstep her boundaries, and so G-d graciously tasked her husband to rule over her, to look after her. In this verse we learn of something else that helps or assists her with the consequences of sin that she faces.

  • Saved: The word used here does not always refer to salvation, it is a word that can also be used to refer to healing (whether spiritually or physically). When it is used in the context of healing, it is speaking of being restored to a proper position. 
  • Saved in childbearing: Through having children (being a mother) a woman will begin to experience G-dworking to bring about a change in her, a restoration back to G-d’s original intent and purposes for her. The word used here for ‘childbearing’ is a word that goes beyond just the birthing process. It is a word that alludes to the essence of being a mother – a woman who takes seriously her role to mother her children. Mothering impacts a woman’s perception of herself. Children tend to make her see the reality of who she really is. Being a mother has a restorative effect upon a woman. 
  • They: Women
  • Self-control: Sober mindedness. The ability to think properly (to think according to the Word of G-d). 

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