Some background might be in order before we start 1 Timothy.
Up to this point, Paul’s letters have been directed at specific churches. Beginning now with 1 Timothy, Paul’s letters are now directed at individuals. There are two letters to Timothy, a letter to Titus, and one to Philemon.
Like Paul, Timothy and Titus were evangelists. They went from place to place, preaching the Good News.
Timothy received the message of the Gospel from Paul at the age of about fifteen, which is why Paul refers to him as his son in the faith. At the time of this writing, it is thought that Timothy was around 35 years old.
Timothy is pastoring the church at Ephesus, and Paul is offering some words of advice on how he should conduct himself and lead his congregation.
Paul first addressed the subject of false teachers. There was a sect that had arisen called Gnostics. Briefly, these folks believed many strange things that were completely contrary to what Scripture said, and Paul told Timothy that they didn’t know what they were talking about. And he told Timothy that some of these folks were beyond help.
And now, I go where angels fear to tread. I’ll address Paul’s teaching on women. I hope I’m not beyond help as I go into this very un-politically correct subject. Pray for me. 🙂
In chapter two, Paul has advice for the young preacher about worship services.
Note that he instructs all of the people in Timothy’s church to pray for everyone. He didn’t say only the men should pray. And he told them to pray specifically for those in authority.
And then he says that women should come to church in modest dress. They shouldn’t be dressed to the nines. Church is not the place to draw attention to one’s self. In a worship service, the focus is supposed to be on God, not us. And certainly not the woman who looks like she’s trying out for the next cover of Vogue magazine.
Can we get real for a moment?
Men are easily distracted by a beautiful woman. Billions of dollars are spent every year in fashion and makeup because of that fact. You know this to be true. Do you really think it’s helpful for men or women to be in a worship service and have their attention drawn away from God by overly made up, and under dressed women?
I expect some of you might say, “Well if they’re distracted, then it’s the mens’ problem.” But here’s the thing. It’s biology. Men are wired that way. Yes, we can redirect our attention away from the beautiful woman who walks by, but that doesn’t mean that our attention wasn’t first drawn for at least an instant.
Then there’s the subject of respect. Yes, men should respect women by not staring. And women should respect men by not dressing so as to draw those stares. It goes both ways.
And now the big one. Paul says that a woman should be quiet when she is learning. That too is respectful. And he says that he does not allow women to teach or have authority over men. In today’s culture, that’s like a nuclear bomb. We have been so sensitized to women’s rights and women’s equality that to say such a thing will draw an avalanche of derision and outrage.
Paul’s reasoning for this teaching was this: Man, Adam, was the first created human. Eve was created from his flesh. And it was the woman, Eve, who was tricked into believing Satan’s lie in the Garden of Eden, and it was through her that sin entered the human race. Yes, Adam also sinned, but he wasn’t tricked. He chose to disobey God’s warning. And God’s judgement on them was severe. Man would provide for their needs by the sweat of his brow, and the woman would be ruled by the man. If you doubt this, see Genesis 3:16.
Paul was following the teaching of Genesis. There are differences in our roles and our responsibilities.
But if I could ask you to listen for just another moment, if I could ask you to put away the tar and feathers, I have what I think is good news.
It is imperative to take the whole of scripture to learn the heart of God, and even Paul’s heart. Neither God nor Paul hate women. And certainly Jesus does not.
God wants *all* to be saved. He made provision for both men and women to come into relationship with Him. Jesus refers to His church as His bride. He was respectful to every woman we have record of in the New Testament. God chose a woman to be the way Jesus came into the world. He could have just created the Messiah out of the dust of the earth, or out of nothing. But He chose a woman.
Paul taught that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church. Do you know what Christ did for the church? He gave His very life for her. And Paul even had great respect and admiration for several women that he mentioned specifically in his letters.
So, though our culture would like to paint both God and Paul with a misogynistic hue, they do so without a proper understanding of Scripture.
Is it safe for me to come out of the studio now?