BIBLE STUDY


Paul's Letters To Timothy
by Greg Williamson (c) 2014, 2019
Featuring the text of the New American Standard Bible *
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Intro | 1 Timothy 1:1-11 / 1:12-17 / 1:18-20 | 2:1-8 / 2:9-15 | 3:1-7 / 3:8-13 / 3:14-16 | 4:1-6 / 4:7-12 / 4:13-16 | 5:1-16 / 5:17-25 | 6:1-2 / 6:3-10 / 6:11-21 | 2 Timothy 1:1-7 / 1:8-12 / 1:13-18 | 2:1-7 / 2:8-13 / 2:14-18 / 2:19-26 | 3:1-9 / 3:10-12 / 3:13-17 | 4:1-4 / 4:5-8 / 4:9-22 ** | Articles & Definitions | Sources

SUBMITTING WOMEN
(1 Timothy 2:9-15)

9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.
12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

 
Paul reminds Christian men that Christian women are important to the Lord and to the work of the church. The gospel brought freedom to women in the Roman Empire, but some of them did not know how to handle it and went to extremes asserting their liberty. Hence, the reminder about the spiritual leadership of the men in the church. Modesty, true spiritual beauty, godliness, and good works -- these will characterize the woman God blesses. - Warren Wiersbe [ref]
 

QuoteWorthy: The Greatest Danger
The church's greatest danger comes not from those who oppose Christianity, but from those who want to modify Christian beliefs to suit cultural values, political doctrines, and popular superstitions. [ref]

1 TIMOTHY 2:9 - The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (vv. 9-15)

In this section of his letter Paul describes the ideal Christian woman as being modest, pure, industrious, and humble. [ref]

Likewise (1 Timothy 2:9)
Paul is still speaking of public worship and so has in mind "the attire of women in church assemblies." [ref] "Just as the men must make the necessary preparations, so that with prepared hearts and without previous disposition to evil they 'come to church,' able to lift up holy hands, so also the women must give evidence of the same spirit of holiness." [ref] Paul's counsel, however, does not stop at the church's door. The broader message has to do with a woman's Christian character as evidenced both in the public worship service and everywhere else.

women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly (1 Timothy 2:9)
"Modest apparel glorifies Christ; extreme fashions only point to the person and make the Christian look worldly." [ref] A woman should neither neglect her personal apperance nor pay excessive attention to it. [ref] Paul's idea here is that a woman's attire should be "expressive of modesty and good sense" -- that is to say, with proper reserve and balanced. [ref] While Paul is not discouraging a woman's natural desire to look attractive, "he is speaking against extravagant and ostentatious dress. Women are neither to dress immodestly, so as to exploit their feminine charm, hindering their brethren from worship; nor are they to overdo their dress, provoking their Christian sisters to jealousy." [ref]

"Modestly" combines the ideas of modesty and humility. [ref] [ref] It is "a person's moral capacity to control selfish desires for the common good," and it is "a distinctive mark of one whose moral character has been transformed by divine grace." [ref] "Discreetly" "and its cognates are used frequently in the Pastoral Epistles. It means 'moderation,' 'sobriety,' 'decency,' 'sensibleness,' or 'sound judgment.'" [ref]

One's clothing is an indication of one's moral character and standards. [ref] Hence a Christian woman's "apparel must be congruous with, fitting to, and consistent with what she is, a child of God." [ref]

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REGULAR WORSHIP

In contrast to the New Testament, the Old Testament (and especially the Law) prescribed a detailed regimen of times, places, and ceremonies for worship (Num. 28:2). Yet whether worship involved the highly formalized rituals of the ancient Hebrews or the simpler and apparently more spontaneous forms of the early Christians, believers down through the centuries have worshiped God for essentially the same reasons.

The terms for worship in both Hebrew and Greek come from words suggesting “service.” Thus, worshipers were God’s servants, those who not only carried out His will, but fell down before Him in holy fear and wonder. As for the English term worship, it originally meant “worthiness” and in time came to mean “respect or reverence.” Thus, to worship God means to pay Him the respect that is His due by ascribing worth and honor to Him.

Old Ways and New
Evaluating the Law’s instructions for worship, we find a regular discipline prescribed:

  • daily offerings of food and drink (Num. 28:3–8);
  • weekly offerings on the Sabbath (Num. 28:9–10);
  • monthly offerings at the beginning of each month (Num. 28:11–15);
  • annual feasts, such as Passover, the Feasts of Weeks, of Trumpets, and of Booths, and the Day of Atonement (Num. 28:16–31; 29:1–38).

These patterns changed with the emergence of the early church. For one thing, the sacrificial system ended when the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed. But more importantly, the need for sacrifices -- which turned out to be merely a “shadow of the good things to come” (Heb. 10:1) -- ended with the supreme sacrifice of Christ, whose death atoned for sins once and for all (Heb. 10:1–18).

Nevertheless, the importance of worship remained. Indeed, worship became more important than ever, because now God’s people had a “new and living way” by which to approach God (Heb. 10:19–22). The early Christians may have looked to the synagogue (see Acts 17:1–3) to some extent as a model for their worship. But nowhere does the New Testament outline anything like the extremely detailed instructions found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Worshiping in Spirit and in Truth
Still, even if Christians have different forms of honoring God and entering into His presence, there are numerous parallels between the Hebrew and Christian understandings of worship, including:

  • God dwells among us and we are His people.
  • We are sinners in need of forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness of sins is available.
  • God offers guidance and instruction for life.
  • We are members of a community or family of believers.
  • We are to demonstrate God’s ways before a watching world.
  • We have a future hope that rests on the promises of God.

As we celebrate these truths, God does not want us to engage in empty ritual. He desires heartfelt praise, repentance, love, and honor, as He has repeatedly made clear:

  • True sacrifice involves a “broken and contrite heart” (Ps. 51:17).
  • When the wicked worship God, it is an “abomination” to Him. By contrast, He “delights” in the prayer of the upright (Prov. 15:8).
  • God cares little for empty ceremony; what matters to Him is character and obedience: doing justice, showing mercy, and walking humbly with God (Mic. 6:8).
  • God requires that those who worship Him worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

What is the nature of your worship? Do you regularly gather with other believers to praise God, to share life in Christ together, to learn from God’s Word, and to reach out to others with the message of Christ’s love?

- The Word in Life Study Bible [ref]

not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments (1 Timothy 2:9)
"Paul’s point was to forbid the preoccupation of certain women with flaunting their wealth and distracting people from worshiping the Lord." [ref] While applicable to every woman in the church, here Paul's instructions appear to be aimed particularly at "influential women -- middle-class Roman women of religious conviction (1 Timothy 2:10) who could afford to dress elaborately and braid their hair with gold (1 Timothy 2:9), or, better, to give money to the needy (1 Timothy 2:10). These were 'public women,' then, whose conduct in the town square would have been more carefully monitored by outsiders. For this reason, the reputation of the entire congregation depended to some extent on a Christian woman's honorable conduct, especially toward the important men in her life other than her husband." [ref]

What's more, at the time of Paul's writing there was a sort of women's liberation movement going on which may have negatively impacted the local churches. "Greek and Roman sources from the first century AD reveal an emerging movement in society where wealthy and influential women openly flouted traditional values related to dress and sexual propriety. The movement was characterized by women wearing suggestive clothing and seeking the type of unrestricted sexual promiscuity normally reserved for men in the society. Graeco-Roman writers strongly criticized the movement, which had disrupted the status quo so much that imperial legislation was issued to address it. Paul begins this section addressing the issue of appropriate clothing. The style of public dress and adornment was the most obvious symbol of this women’s movement." [ref]

Extravagantly decorated braids were popular in Paul's day. Along with the other items mentioned by Paul, they were seen as a reflection of one's socioeconomic status. [ref] It is worth noting that such styles were also associated with the local temple prostitutes of that time. [ref]

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution regarding proper dress, a good rule of thumb may be to compare how much time, effort, and money are spent on clothing and cosmetics compared to personal prayer and Bible study.

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WHAT IS TO BE NOTICEABLE

While today this manner of dress [= extravagant attire] is not nearly as exclusive as it was in Paul's day, nor indeed restricted to women, its effects can be the same. I am reminded of a visit to a large, upper-middle-class church in Dallas (it could have been any large city or suburb). When I entered the sanctuary, the first thing that struck me was the glitter of jewelry, the expensive clothing and the fashionable hairstyles. The craning necks as people sized one another up gave the impression that for many the purpose of gathering together that Sunday morning was to display economic status. A newcomer of modest economic means could not help but feel a sense of exclusion.

According to Paul's instruction, what is to be noticeable about Christian women (and men) is not showy apparel, which sends an unsettling message (even to outsiders), but the power of God in spiritual deeds.

- Philip H. Towner [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 2:10 - The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (vv. 9-15)

by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness (1 Timothy 2:10)
"A beautiful and innate quality of womanhood is an emotional need for attention. God designed this quality but says this need should be fulfilled not by clothes but by conduct." [ref]

"Paul did not suggest that good works are a substitute for clothing! Rather, he was contrasting the 'cheapness' of expensive clothes and jewelry with the true values of godly character and Christian service." [ref]

Good works "is the way we express our faith." [ref] It "describes the visible dimension of the genuine Christian life from the perspective of 'doing': works done in the power of the Spirit." [ref] It is "the observable lifestyle that flows out of faith in Christ." [ref]

Paul combines the ideas of good dress and good works. [ref] Good works are attractive, and the women of the church "should depend on their faithful service in the name of Christ to render them attractive to others." [ref] As one source aptly reminds us: "A carefully groomed and well-decorated exterior is artificial and cold without inner beauty. Scripture does not prohibit a woman from wanting to be attractive. Beauty, however, begins inside a person. A gentle, modest, loving character gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by the best cosmetics and jewelry in the world. Christian women are not to try to be unattractive; instead, Paul called them to reject the world's standard for attractiveness. A Christian's adornment comes not from what she puts on, but from what she does for others." [ref]

"[S]implicity of life and generosity of public service disclose a woman's modesty." [ref]

"Making a claim" means "to proclaim as public announcements or decrees; hence to announce a message, summons, or a promise." [ref] By both her attire and her actions, the Christian woman is to boldly proclaim that her life both depends on and reflects the Lord Jesus Christ.

Besides being a distraction during the worship service, the money spent on costly attire could/should be spent on doing good works, for which women are especially suited: "The nature of woman seems to be adapted to the performance of all deeds demanding kindness, tenderness, and gentleness of feeling; of all that proceeds from pity, sympathy, and affection." [ref

Paul's counsel here is in full agreement with that of the apostle Peter: "Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God" (1 Peter 3:3-4, NLT).

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GOOD WORKS

Good deeds [NASB: good works] belongs to Paul's special ethical vocabulary and is thematic in the Pastorals, occurring (in one configuration or another) fourteen times (1 Tim 3:1; 5:10, 25; 6:18; 2 Tim 2:21; 3:17; Tit 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14; compare the verb "to do good" [agathoergein] alongside the noun in 1 Tim 6:18). As the references in Titus 2:14 and Titus 3:8 (compare Eph 2:10) demonstrate, good deeds in the Christian sense are the result of salvation. Good deeds thus describes the visible dimension of the genuine Christian life from the perspective of "doing": works done in the power of the Spirit.

- Philip H. Towner [ref]


GOOD WORKS ARE AN EXPRESSION OF FAITH

"You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone." - James 2:24

In the New Testament, faith (believing trust, or trustful belief, based on testimony received as from God) is crucially important, for it is the means or instrumental cause of salvation. It is by faith that Christians are justified before God (Rom. 3:26; 4:1–5; Gal. 2:16), live their lives (literally "walk," 2 Cor. 5:7), and sustain their hope (Heb. 10:35–12:3).

Faith cannot be defined in subjective terms, as a confident and optimistic mind-set, or in passive terms, as acquiescent orthodoxy or confidence in God without commitment to God. Faith is an object-oriented response, shaped by that which is trusted, namely God himself, God's promises, and Jesus Christ, all as set forth in the Scriptures. And faith is a whole-souled response, involving mind, heart, will, and affections. Older Reformed theology analyzed faith as notitia ("knowledge," i.e., acquaintance with the content of the gospel), plus assensus ("agreement," i.e., recognition that the gospel is true), plus fiducia ("trust and reliance," i.e., personal dependence on the grace of Father, Son, and Spirit for salvation, with thankful cessation of all attempts to save oneself by establishing one's own righteousness: Rom. 4:5; 10:3). Without fiducia there is no faith, but without notitia and assensus there can be no fiducia (Rom. 10:14).

God's gift of faith is a fruit of applicatory illumination by the Holy Spirit, and it ordinarily has in it some measure of conscious assurance through the witnessing of the Spirit (Rom. 8:15–17). Calvin defined faith as "a firm and sure knowledge of the divine favor towards us, founded on the truth of a free promise in Christ, and revealed to our minds and sealed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit."

Justification by works (things we have done) is the heresy of legalism. Justification, as Luther insisted, is by faith only ("faith apart from observing the law," Rom. 3:28), because it is in Christ and by Christ only, and depends on what he is as distinct from what we are. But if "good works" (activities of serving God and others) do not follow from our profession of faith, we are as yet believing only from the head, not from the heart: in other words, justifying faith (fiducia) is not yet ours. The truth is that, though we are justified by faith alone, the faith that justifies is never alone. It produces moral fruit; it expresses itself "through love" (Gal. 5:6); it transforms one's way of living; it begets virtue. This is not only because holiness is commanded, but also because the regenerate heart, of which fiducia is the expression, desires holiness and can find full contentment only in seeking it.

When James says that faith without works is dead (i.e., a corpse), he is using the word faith in the limited sense of notitia plus assensus, which is how those he addresses were using it. When he says that one is justified by what one does, not by faith alone, he means by "justified" "proved genuine; vindicated from the suspicion of being a hypocrite and a fraud." James is making the point that barren orthodoxy saves no one (James 2:14–26). Paul would have agreed, and James's whole letter shows him agreeing with Paul that faith must change one's life. Paul denounces the idea of salvation by dead works; James rejects salvation by dead faith.

Though the believer's works do not merit salvation and always have something imperfect about them (Rom. 7:13–20; Gal. 5:17), in their character as expressions of the love and fidelity that faith calls forth they are the basis on which God promises rewards in heaven (Phil. 3:12–14; 2 Tim. 4:7–8). For God thus to reward us according to our works is, as Augustine noted, his gracious crowning of his own gracious gifts.

- J. I. Packer [ref]

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GODLY/GODLINESS

In the OT the word translated “godly” is châsîyd. It is often rendered “saints” as well. It indicates those who were recipients of God’s grace and who as a result showed the impact of grace in their lives. This word, found most often in the Psalms, occurs thirty-two times in the OT (Deuteronomy 33:8; 1 Samuel 2:9; 2 Samuel 22:26; 2 Chronicles 6:41; Psalms 4:3; 12:1; 16:10; 18:25; 30:4; 31:23; 32:6; 37:28; 43:1; 50:5; 52:9; 79:2; 85:8; 86:2; 89:19; 97:10; 116:15; 132:9, 16; 145:10, 17; 148:14; 149:1, 5, 9; Proverbs 2:8; Jeremiah 3:12; Micah 7:2).

In the NT, “godly” and “godliness” are found only in Paul’s final letters (the Pastorals) and in 2 Peter. This common pagan moral and religious concept had finally been cleansed and adopted to make a statement about Christian experience.

The Greek words are from a single family (eusebeia, “godliness”; eusebēs and eusebōs, “godly”). To the Greek they indicated fulfillment of obligations and resultant acceptability to God. When used by translators of the Septuagint, these words usually were used to convey the idea of the fear of God. This OT concept is rooted in deep faith: a reverential awe, expressing itself in obedience to God. In the NT use, we find the thought that the godly person has restructured his life around Jesus and is living that life as a disciple, worshiping the Lord and doing good works (1 Timothy 5:4; cf. 1 Timothy 2:10).

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 2:11 - The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (vv. 9-15)

quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness (1 Timothy 2:11)
"Some of the women in Ephesus probably overreacted to the cultural denigration they had typically suffered and took advantage of their opportunity in the church by seeking a dominant role in leadership." [ref]

"The proper way for any novice to learn was submissively and 'quietly' (a closely related Greek term appears in 1 Timothy 2:2 for all believers). Women were less likely to be literate than men, were trained in philosophy far less often than men, were trained in rhetoric almost never, and in Judaism were far less likely to be educated in the law." [ref] And so while Paul was actually being "radical and countercultural" in adovocating for women's learning [ref], nonetheless such learning was to be done in a fitting and proper fashion. "In the arena of learning ... modesty is evinced by one's demeanor as a good student, as a woman who quietly receives and submits to the instruction of a male teacher." [ref]

Rather than complete silence, "quietly receive" refers to being settled down and not unruly [ref] and implies "voluntary restraint." [ref] And "entire submissiveness" conveys the idea of "ranking under." [ref] It does not "imply that women surrender their mind, conscience, or moral responsibility to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). This submission warns against presumptive and inappropriate grasping after authority." [ref] As one commentator notes: "Submission does not necessarily indicate a lower status. Elsewhere Paul applies the concept to wives (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; cf. 1 Cor. 14:34), husbands and wives (Eph. 5:21), children (3:4), slaves (Titus 2:9), prophets (1 Cor. 14:32), Christians (Rom. 13:1, 5; 1 Cor. 16:16; Titus 3:1), the church (Eph. 5:24), and even Christ Himself (1 Cor. 15:28)." [ref]

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SUBMISSION

The word translated “subjection” in 1 Timothy 2:11 [NASB: "submissiveness"] is translated “submitting” and “submit” in Ephesians 5:21–22 and Colossians 3:18. It literally means “to rank under.” Anyone who has served in the armed forces knows that “rank” has to do with order and authority, not with value or ability. A colonel is higher in rank than a private, but that does not necessarily mean that the colonel is a better man than the private. It only means that the colonel has a higher rank and, therefore, more authority.

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40) is a principle God follows in His creation. Just as an army would be in confusion if there were no levels of authority, so society would be in chaos without submission. Children should submit to their parents because God has given parents the authority to train their children and discipline them in love. Employees should submit to employers and obey them (Eph. 6:5–8, where the immediate reference is to household slaves, but the application can be made to workers today). Citizens should submit to government authorities, even if the authorities are not Christians (Rom. 13; 1 Peter 2:13–20).

Submission is not subjugation. Submission is recognizing God’s order in the home and the church, and joyfully obeying it. When a Christian wife joyfully submits to the Lord and to her own husband, it should bring out the best in her. (For this to happen, the husband must love his wife and use God’s order as a tool to build with, not a weapon to fight with -- Eph. 5:18–33.) Submission is the key to spiritual growth and ministry: husbands should be submitted to the Lord, Christians should submit to each other (Eph. 5:21), and wives should be submitted to the Lord and to their husbands.

- Warren Wiersbe [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 2:12 - The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (vv. 9-15)

I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12)
Here Paul is speaking of the office of teacher, which involves teaching Scripture [ref] and for that reason carries with it a "level of judicial or governing authority." [ref] "The kind of teacher Paul has in mind is spoken of in Acts 13:1, I Corinthians 12:28, 29, and Ephesians 4:11, God-called, and God-equipped teachers, recognized by the Church as those having authority in the Church in matters of doctrine and interpretation. This prohibition of a woman to be a teacher does not include the teaching of classes of women, girls, or children in a Sunday School." [ref]

The problem is that "women had misappropriated authority by taking upon themselves the role of teacher ... probably as a result of the influence of the false teaching" in the church. [ref] Paul forbids "women from filling the office and role of the pastor or teacher. He is not prohibiting them from teaching in other appropriate conditions and circumstances (cf. Acts 18:26; Titus 2:3,4)." [ref] And so "Paul is not saying that women should never teach, for he later said they should teach the younger women (Titus 2:4), and commended Lois and Eunice for teaching Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15). He knew Priscilla, and evidently approved of her part in teaching Apollos (Acts 18:2, 26). The emphasis here (and in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35) is on authoritative public teaching in the church, a ministry for which God-called men had been specially created. They are not to take over the primary teaching ministry (which would clearly include that of the pastor) from the men." [ref]

but to remain quiet (1 Timothy 2:12)
Rather than complete silence, the thought here is that of being settled down and not unruly. [ref]

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GODLY WOMEN IN THE EARLY CHURCH

We must never underestimate the important place that godly women played in the ministry of the church. The Gospel message had a tremendous impact on them because it affirmed their value before God and their equality in the body of Christ (Gal. 3:28). Women had a low place in the Roman world, but the Gospel changed that.

There were devoted women who ministered to Jesus in the days of His earthly ministry (Luke 8:1–3). They were present at His crucifixion and burial, and it was a woman who first heralded the glorious news of His resurrection. In the Book of Acts we meet Dorcas (Acts 9:36ff), Lydia (Acts 16:14ff), Priscilla (Acts 18:1–3), and godly women in the Berean and Thessalonian churches (Acts 17:4, 12). Paul greeted at least eight women in Romans 16; and Phebe, who carried the Roman epistle to its destination, was a deaconess in a local church (Rom. 16:1). Many believing women won their husbands to the Lord and then opened their homes for Christian ministry.

- Warren Wiersbe [ref]

QuoteWorthy: Prayer
No person on earth is outside the influence of believing prayer. - Warren Wiersbe [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 2:13 - The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (vv. 9-15)

it was Adam who was first created, (and) then Eve (1 Timothy 2:13)
Paul now retells Eve's story: "from her creation (1 Timothy 2:13; cf. Genesis 2:21-23), to her deception and transgression (1 Timothy 2:14; cf. Genesis 3:1-13), and finally to the bearing of her first children when she exclaims her reunion and even partnership (i.e., reconciliation) with God (1 Timothy 2:15a; cf. Genesis 4:1-2; 1:28)." [ref]

Paul's counsel regarding women learning instead of teaching is founded on two historical events with continuing significance: the creation and the fall. [ref] His instructions are not time-, culture-, or situation-bound and thus do indeed apply to believers today. [ref]

Adam was given headship. "More is involved here than mere chronological priority. Paul saw the priority in time as indicative of the leadership given to the male, to which the woman, the 'helper suitable for him' (Genesis 2:18), should respond." [ref] [ref] "Priority in Creation denotes man’s authority over woman (1 Timothy 2:13). God could have created the woman first or both simultaneously; but He did not, as it was always His intention for man to lead and woman to follow." [ref] [ref] And so a "woman’s subordinate role did not result after the Fall as a cultural, chauvinistic corruption of God’s perfect design; rather, God established her role as part of His original creation (1 Timothy 2:13). God made woman after man to be his suitable helper (Gen. 2:18; cf. 1 Cor. 11:8,9)." [ref]

Here we do well to remember a couple of vital truths regarding our God-assigned roles and responsibilities: "God assigned roles and responsibilities in order for his created world to function smoothly. Although there must be lines of authority, even in marriage, there should not be lines of superiority. God created men and women with unique and complementary characteristics. One sex is not better than the other. In designating Eve as 'a helper suitable' for Adam (Genesis 2:18 NIV), the words imply another like him -- signifying similarity and supplementation, but not dominance. We must not let the issue of authority and submission become a wedge to destroy what can be excellent working relationships, with men and women using their varied gifts and abilities to accomplish God's work." [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 2:14 - The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (vv. 9-15)

not Adam (who) was deceived ... the woman being deceived, fell into transgression (1 Timothy 2:14)
"The deception of Eve had become a model to illustrate the dangers posed to the church by false teaching (compare 2 Cor 11:3). Paul's use of the model here probably sent the signal that by taking the role of teachers (and possibly in what they taught) these women had been deceived by heretics. It also implies that this activity was sinful." [ref]

From what the Bible tells us, God instructed Adam directly regarding the forbidden fruit and then at a later point Adam told Eve (see Genesis 1:27-29; 2:15-18; 3:2-3). "For Eve, the struggle was over whether to submit to Adam's command or to the serpent's words that seemed to offer her knowledge and understanding." [ref]

Adam was not decieved; he deliberately chose to listen to his wife and eat of the forbidden fruit (see Genesis 3:17). [ref] A woman has a unique type of influence over a man, particularly when they love each other. Having been completely deceived by Satan (see Genesis 3:13), Eve exercised her special influence over Adam and he joined his wife in deliberately disobeying God -- presumably "because of his love for her and his willingness to share her punishment." [ref] One Bible commentator says that "The victory over Eve alone would have been barren; Satan’s aim was Adam. ... [B]oth Eve and Adam had to violate not only the command of God not to eat but also their respective positions toward each other in order to effect the fall: Eve her position of subordination, Adam his headship." [ref]

The Greek tense of "fell into transgression" emphasizes "the continuing consequences of that fall." [ref] In effect, Adam abdicated his leadership role -- with disastrous consequences. [ref] "Because Adam rejected the God-given order, he listened to his wife, disobeyed God, and brought sin and death into the world." [ref]

That said, it is important to remember that "[e]very man or woman who violates the law of God is deceived as to the happiness which is expected from the violation, and as to the consequences which will follow it."  [ref

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1 TIMOTHY 2:15 - The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (vv. 9-15)

(women) will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint (1 Timothy 2:15)
Here "Paul is not advocating that women are eternally saved from sin through childbearing or that they maintain their salvation by having babies, both of which would be clear contradictions of the NT teaching of salvation by grace alone through faith alone (Rom. 3:19,20) sustained forever (Rom. 8:31–39). Paul is teaching that even though a woman bears the stigma of being the initial instrument who led the race into sin, it is women through childbearing who may be preserved or freed from that stigma by raising a generation of godly children (cf. 1 Timothy 5:10)." [ref]

Hence "a woman's greatest achievement is found in her devotion to her divinely ordained role: to help her husband, to bear children, and to follow a faithful, chaste way of life." [ref] As one source explains further:

 
Women who fulfill their God-given roles of childbearing and child rearing are demonstrating true commitment and obedience to Christ. One of the most important roles for a wife and mother is to care for her family. This seems to be the most legitimate interpretation in light of the larger context and also in reference to 1 Timothy 5:3-15. The women in Ephesus were abandoning their God-given purpose because of the false teachers. So Paul was telling them that caring for their families, or remarrying if they were younger widows, was one way for them to remain effective and to live faithful lives of service. By means of bearing children, raising them, and fulfilling their design, women would be saved from the evils of Ephesian society and maintain a pure testimony to the lordship of Christ. [ref]
 

There are actually several ways in which salvation is closely linked to childbearing:

  • A woman is "preserved (from insignificance) by means of her role in the family. ... A woman will find her greatest satisfaction and meaning in life, not in seeking the male role, but in fulfilling God’s design for her as wife and mother." [ref]
  • "While a woman may have led the human race into sin, women have the privilege of leading many out of sin to godliness." [ref]
  • Women are "saved from doing evil things by bearing children ... Being married and having children often keeps people busy and thus helps reduce the evil in their life -- there is less time to sin." [ref]
  • As several commentators note, deliverance from sin's curse and the free gift of eternal salvation are possible only because the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born of a woman.

if they continue (1 Timothy 2:15)
"Women" is not in the original text. And so it is at least possible that "they" is to be understood as "the woman and her husband." [ref] [ref]

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PAUL AND THE STOICS

Stoicism was one of the most influential philosophies in Paul’s day. Boasting adherents across the social spectrum, Stoicism counted lowborn slaves and members of the imperial aristocracy among its ranks. Its origins lie in the teachings of Zeno who, having been deeply influenced by Socrates, presented his ideas in third century BC in Athens.

Many points of continuity and discontinuity exist between Paul and the Stoics. Stoicism was pantheistic but held that the universe was a vast quasi-rational being with intelligence and will. Paul, on the other hand, believed the universe was created by a personal God who was distinct from His creation (1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16). The Stoics believed in a perpetual cycle of cosmic destruction, in which the entire universe was destroyed by fire and then reborn with everything occurring exactly as before. Stoics were also skeptical about the afterlife. In contrast, Paul believed that human history was moving toward a cosmic conflict between God and the forces of evil (2 Thess 2:1–10), in which God would triumph (1 Cor 15:24–28), creation would be redeemed (Rom 8:19–22), and all humanity would be judged (2 Cor 5:10). Paul also confidently affirmed the reality of the afterlife and a bodily resurrection (1 Cor 15). Despite other points on which Paul’s teaching seems to align with Stoicism, these key differences mark the worldviews of Paul and Stoics as fundamentally distinct.

However, the question of how virtue is attained constitutes a primary point of comparison and overlap between Paul and the Stoics. Stoics believed that the ideal sage was one who could face calamity and misfortune with casual indifference, feeling neither sorrow nor regret. Stoics were proud of their ability to endure hardships and often paraded their fortitude and strength through “hardship catalogs” which listed the adversities they had endured -- a literary form that also occurs in Paul’s letters (e.g., 2 Cor 4:8–9; 6:9–10). Stoics believed that the fully mature soul needed no help from any other source for contentment, peace, and happiness.

Similarly, Paul believed that enduring hardships led to growth in character and virtue (Rom 5:3–5; 1 Cor 9:24–27; 2 Cor 4:7–18). However, he delighted in hardships because they displayed his weakness and God’s power -- not his own invincibility (2 Cor 12:9–10). Paul found contentment not in his own achievement, but in Christ: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

The mind was also crucial in moral formation for the Stoics; it served as the rationale faculty which enables people to distinguish between things that are good, bad, and indifferent. According to Stoicism, vice represented a disease of the mind that could be cured by right thinking: “For all these maladies [lust, greed, ambition] one cure has been provided by the gods: education and reason” (Dio Chrysostom, 32.16). According to Epictetus, one of Paul’s Stoic contemporaries, the key to moral transformation was simply to “purify your thinking” (Disc. 4:1.112).

While Paul believed that mind was critical in spiritual formation (Rom 12:2; 13:14; Phil 4:8; Col 3:2), he maintained that growth in virtue could not be accomplished merely through mental discipline; it required the empowerment of the indwelling Spirit (Rom 7:6; 8:9; Gal 5:22; Eph 3:16). In short, while the Stoics taught that, “the wise person is self-sufficient” (Seneca, Ep. 9.8), Paul taught that the Christian is radically dependent on God -- a notion the Stoics would have greeted with derision.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Paul and the Stoic adherents of his day is the pre-eminent place of love in Paul’s ethical system. It has no analogy in Stoicism. Paul’s letters contain over 100 occurrences of “love” (in verbal and nominal forms), and he frequently singles out love as the paramount virtue (1 Cor 13:13; Rom 13:8–10; Col 3:14; 1 Tim 1:5). Stoicism regarded love as a somewhat dangerous quality, associated with excessive emotional attachments that endangered the ideal of self-sufficiency. While any summary of Christian ethics -- ancient or modern -- puts emphasis on the supremacy of love, searching for this topic among Stoic writers would be unsuccessful.

The primary reason for this radical difference rests in the different interpretations each group had of the deaths of their principle exemplars, Jesus and Socrates. While the Stoics admired Socrates’ death because of his dutiful commitment to justice (Musonius Rufus Dis. 29, 29; Seneca Ep. 70; 61:2, etc.), Christian literature regularly interprets the death of Jesus as an act of sacrificial love on behalf of his followers (John 15:13; Gal 2:20; 1 Clem. 49:6). It is this image which Paul and other early Christians found so compelling: “For Christ’s love for us compels us, recognizing that one died for all” (2 Cor 5:14).

- Moyer Hubbard [ref]

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CHILDREN

The men and women of biblical times wanted large families. Children were viewed as a gift of God, a special blessing (Ge 22:2; Ps 127:3–4; 128:3; Isa 8:18). The emotional importance of children is underlined by the grief expressed by the childless and those who lost a child (Ge 30:1; 1 Sa 1:3–17; 2 Sa 12:14–25; Ps 113:9; Lk 1:24–25). ... Both Testaments make reference to the love and guidance to be provided by parents (Dt 4:9–10; Ps 78:4–6; Pr 4:3–4; 2 Co 12:14; Eph 6:4; 1 Ti 3:4; Tit 2:4) as well as to the responsibility of children (Pr 6:20; 13:1; Eph 6:4).

Jesus’ own sayings about children clearly indicate that God views them as significant members of his kingdom, now and beyond time (Mt 18:2–5; Mk 9:33–37; 10:13–16; Lk 9:47–48).

Both the OT and the NT view children as members of the faith community. Each assumes that children will grow up in the context of relationships provided by that community. Within the community context, the OT defines a nurture process that intimately involves the family. The process is described in Dt 6:4–9.

The critical elements in the nurture process are the following: (1) parents who love God and have taken his Word to heart (Dt 6:4–6). The values, attitudes, and behavior of parents, shaped by the Word of God, providing the example needed by children to help them sense that God is real. (2) Conversation in the family about God’s words so that these words are impressed on the children (Dt 6:7). (3) The relating of God’s words to the daily experiences shared by parents and children. Scripture thus interprets life, and life experiences are guided by the words (Dt 6:7–9).

This significant interpersonal process for communication of Scripture in a nurturing way has never been superseded by any other system. It lies at the very heart of the effective communication of faith, today as well as in biblical times. The rest of the OT and the NT assume this process, for it is basic to bringing up children in the faith.

The NT words indicating children make distinctions between age groups. These and other distinctions are important for understanding NT references to believers as children. The term teknon is particularly important, for it draws our attention to individuals not simply as children but as members of particular families, as those who must be understood within the context of their family and its character.

While differences between adult and childhood abilities are recognized, sometimes even highlighted to show the weakness of the faith of some, childlikeness is more often valued. In the kingdom of God it is a childlike faith, which responds unhesitatingly to Jesus and relies on his words, that brings us into full experience of life in God’s kingdom.

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref]

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*Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) | **This outline is from The Bible Exposition Commentary, by Warren W. Wiersbe