1 Timothy 2
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 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. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
Women are usually perceived to be more chatty than men. Yet in this passage, Paul said quite autocratically that a woman must be quiet (v.12). Why did he say that? What is the context of the this sentence? Paul started the chapter encouraging Christians to pray for each other in thanksgiving; for people in authority and that all believers may live peacefully in godliness and holiness (vv.1-2).
Paul gave the instructions both to the men and to the women. He also gave specific instructions to each. For men to pray without anger or dispute (v.8). How does one live a peaceful and quiet life? Is it literally about being silent? Is it about keeping the peace just to avoid conflict? I don’t think it means to keep quiet when one needs to stand up to speak the truth and what is right. Rather, it is about praying over disagreements rather than shouting and striving to demand one’s own ways or views.
Paul was even more elaborate about women (vv. 9-10). Dressing modestly with decency and propriety is about not overly giving much emphasis to outward appearance. Women are to dress themselves with good deeds. Something beautiful that comes from within. A beautiful heart is more important than a beautiful face or body. vv. 11-12 tells us how a woman is to behave. The verb/action word is learn. To learn, one needs a humble teachable heart. One needs to be quiet and listen in order to learn. To learn means to submit fully to the authority of the teacher. Paul states 2 reasons why women should be quiet.
- vv. 13-14 talks about Adam and Eve. John Piper’s explanations http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/affirming-the-goodness-of-manhood-and-womanhood-in-all-of-life helped me to better understand these 2 verses.
- In v. 15, Paul said women will be saved through childbearing. What did he mean by that? Again, here is Piper’s thoughts on the subject: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-are-women-saved-through-childbearing.
The main lesson I learned from this passage is that we are to live a peaceful quiet life of prayers in godliness and holiness like that of Jesus. He prayed a lot. He lived his life obeying the will of His Father. He was reflective and thoughtful of God’s mission for him. To be quiet is to think deeply and reflect truly on being like God – holy. It takes a community to be godly. We need to pray with each other, for one another, in thanksgiving – thankful for the grace of God through Jesus Christ who enables us to be godly and holy. Amen.