Thursday, October 13, 2022

2022.10.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 2:11–15

Read 1 Timothy 2:11–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What are women to do during the praying in 1 Timothy 2:8-10? With what conduct? And what attitude? What does the apostle not permit a woman to do (1 Timothy 2:12)? And what may a woman not have over a man? What conduct is commanded instead? What is his first Bible reason for that (1 Timothy 2:13)? From what chapter does that come? What is the second (1 Timothy 2:14)? What did not happen to Adam? What did happen to Eve? With what result? What part did God give her in the solution for this (1 Timothy 2:15)? To what sort of verb does he now switch from the singular? In what four things are “they” to continue as demonstration of their salvation?

What special roles has God given women in salvation? 1 Timothy 2:11–15 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that women not only bear covenant children but are both displays and instruments of God’s saving and sanctifying grace.

1 Timothy 2:11 is important, coming out of 1 Timothy 2:8-10. Part of being led in corporate prayer is learning. As she is led in prayer, a woman is taught both in her head (“learn”) and her heart (“submission”) to yield to the will of God in prayer. This places a significant burden upon those who lead in prayer to do so biblically. Not just in words that are shaped by Scripture, but also in the dignified, peaceful, hopeful manner described in 1 Timothy 2:8. This means their praying must come from the heart, and from a grace-sanctified heart that itself submits to the Lord. Leading in prayer is a form of teaching. Men must practice it for their families. Elders must practice it for their congregations. The apostles’ need to emphasize its practice necessitated the diaconate (cf. Acts 6:4). 

1 Timothy 2:12 gives two prohibitions and a command. First, a woman must not teach. Second, a woman must not have authority over a man. Third, women are to be in silence. 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 makes clear that this applies only in a corporate context. At home, she is encouraged to ask questions of the man that the Lord has assigned to her as a husband to teach her. Such prohibitions and commands grate against our sinful nature, particularly in a culture that has been reinforcing the feministic tendencies of the sinful nature. One of the most common objections is that this was a cultural or circumstantial command. The apostle could hardly have reasoned in a way more designed to refute such claims.

His first reason is principial, from creation (1 Timothy 2:13). “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” He expects us to know (or even look up and examine) Genesis 2. Even the language of “forming” pulls us into the details of the text: Adam being formed from the dirt; the woman being formed from his rib. But what happens in between those two? The Lord gives Adam instruction that he then must teach to his wife, whom the Lord has not yet formed. The Lord appoints Adam his wife’s teacher. It is not “pride of place” but “principle of providence.”

The apostle’s second reason is exemplary, from the Fall (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam was appointed teacher, but he does not step in to help his wife, though he was with her. Why? Because he was not deceived. The act of eating the fruit was the transgression that visibly violated the terms of the covenant, but the sin had already begun in his heart. He knew what was happening. But he let his wife teach herself and lead herself in this moment. For her part, the woman was deceived. At least she thought that what she was doing was right. 

So the reasoning spans all possible cultures and circumstances: God established this order in the creation, and the first time this order was not followed the result was the Fall.

But the focus in the passage is not on what women may not do. Just as the focus in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 was positively upon their adornment (modesty, propriety, moderation, good works), so the focus in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is positively upon their learning, submitting, child-bearing, and sanctification.

Not many men are made teachers or rulers in the church, but a great many women bear children. 1 Timothy 2:15 takes us beyond creation and Fall to redemption. The woman was not just promised that from her would come the Seed Who would crush the serpent’s head, but indeed all who would be saved. Her husband even gives her the name “Eve” because she is the mother of “all the living.”

Like Eve, all believing mothers bear holy seed (cf. Ezra 9:2; Malachi 1:14–15)—even if the father is an unbeliever, the children are treated as if the father had been a believer for the believing mother’s sake (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:14). In God’s saving work in the world, this is a high calling. And it is higher than merely carrying the child for nine months and then birthing. The “she” which referred to Eve in the singular now becomes “they” referring to the children and indeed all of the believing women who are also Eve’s children. 

A mother who perseveres in godliness by God’s grace, training up children who become and continue to be godly by God’s grace, is the fruit of the work of Him Who “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). None of us get to be the Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), but whatever role He assigns to each of us (cf. 1 Timothy 2:7) is a glorious calling. 

The picture in 1 Timothy 2:15 is glorious indeed. Remember the women of godliness and good works whose character and conduct powerfully commended to God the praying that was occurring in 1 Timothy 2:8-10? Now, the picture is of them not only continuing in that godliness themselves but surrounded by an increasing multitude of those whose godliness is owed in large part, instrumentally, to those women’s giving their lives for the bearing and upbringing of these covenant children.

What a calling! Not all women receive it (and those whose calling is otherwise ought to embrace whatever their calling is—even if the season of being able to pour life into good works is past, and the only thing that remains is prayer, cf. 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Timothy 5:9–10). But many more women receive this calling than the number of men who are called to teach and rule in the church. In ages like ours, when the church has been weak, poor teaching and shepherding is certainly one of the causes. But hand in hand with this are women who look for “women’s ministry” everywhere except the places that the Lord actually teaches it.

Who are the women in your life? What glorious callings does this passage (and possibly 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Timothy 5:10) place upon them? What ought you to do facilitate this calling? How should you respond to any fruit the Lord gives them?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us for being like Satan, who exaggerated what the woman in the garden was not allowed to do, rather than rejoicing over Your design and Your generosity and Your goodness to women and to us all. Forgive us for when we minimize the glorious roles that women have in bringing up children, lodging strangers, washing feet, relieving the afflicted, and every good work. Forgive us when we want to put them in roles of teaching or leadership. Grant that we would love them by loving You and Your beautiful design for them. Bless the labors of their hands, especially in the bearing and bringing up of Your holy seed in Your church, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH548 “O Blest the House”

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