2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
As Paul often does, he plays into his authority and unique position within the Body of Christ as a preacher and an apostle. These two positions should amount to a high standard of credibility.
The indebtedness instilled by Jesus Christ to Paul as apostle to the Gentiles for the Gentiles should bolster the understanding and direction of this message: To us.
Saying this, adornment will be the topic of truth spoken in Christ Jesus for this pericope. Adornment may be considered a sub-category to another Scriptural term which is “sanctification” (2 Timothy 2:21).
“In faith and verity” stands as Paul’s affirmation that what he is writing promotes faith and is doctrinally true, even more particularly within this dispensation.
2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Within the context of the verse, 1 Timothy 2:2 should be considered in parallel with this verse as we begin to see some of the attributes that God desires in praise and worship. We constantly find words within the letters of Paul such as “quiet”, “peaceable”, and “without wrath.”
This kind of worship and praise is a present reality as we fellowship with the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Furthermore, it becomes a lifestyle contrary to pagan and worldly practices.
God’s inclusive exclusivity by the Gospel is a part of what it takes to free a spirit full of malice, wrath, doubting, and numerous other harmful qualities. God did not free us and pour His grace out so that we may live longer in sin (Romans 6:1-2).
Rather, we are to live with our souls aligned prayerfully, thankful, and graciously with God (Philippians 4:6).
2:9-10 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Verses 9-15 make many (If not most) Christians uneasy or apprehensive. This passage is at war with many commonplace secular ideologies such as: Feminism, progressivism, and humanism.
These verses hold an uncomfortable presence among the ranks of complementarian and egalitarian Christians alike.
This is often the divide in interpretation. Questions such as: “Do women have the same roles in the Church as men?” or “Does Paul view women as lesser people?” The answers to these questions (In order) are “kind of” and “absolutely not.”
The first issue often present is the specification of women adorning themselves with modest apparel. The Greek verb, kosmeo, presents adornment as an ornament of someone or putting something in order.
Continuing we find what women are to be adorned in, which is modest apparel. Interestingly enough, the Greek adjective, kosmios, holds the same root word as the word for adorn. Modesty is an orderly dress etiquette that has a strong connection to the word “moderation.”
This is why I use the word dress “etiquette” instead of dress “code.” We are not under the Law anymore and Paul is not advocating for bondage of women. He is however, calling women and men, as we will see, to a higher standard because we press on to a higher calling (Philippians 3:14).
Contextually, broided hair, gold, pearls, and costly arrays showed a large modesty problem as it illustrated common practices of the temple prostitutes in Ephesus. The root of the problem here is not the dress. Most spiritual problems are not that superficial.
The problem is glorying in something unbecoming to the glory of God and for our position as saints within the Body of Christ (Ephesians 5:3). The root is sin. Glory radiates from God and we are simply to reflect it.
2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
This verse is also a present frustration for many. This is because Paul’s language often reflects qualities of submission. Submission does not mean inferiority; rather, should be regarded as a blessing.
Men and women are of equal value and worth. They are even of equal roles despite what some may interpret various verses to be. Some interpretations often become chauvinistic. Nonetheless, women do have different roles.
Women (and men for that matter) have the honor and blessing of learning. This is a historically revolutionary shift of religious purpose that has been downplayed by many religions since the fall of man.
2:12-13 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Usurpation was a practice that needed to end within the Ephesian church particularly because it undermined a man’s role of leadership in and outside the church that had obviously been established paralleling the creation story.
Contextually, worship of the goddess Diana set a poor precedent that was harmful to church structure. We can see this trend replicated today in radical feminism and progressivism.
God has a purpose for men and He has a purpose for women.
This does not mean that women do not have authority in any realm but simply in the teaching roles Biblically delegated to men. No gender is superior to the other; nonetheless, they have roles they are called to fulfill. Work to fulfill yours today!
We are called to help each other ministry and this was one of women’s roles dating back to the earliest of days when God created Eve to be a suitable helper (Genesis 2:18).
One cannot endeavor into a study of the complementary roles without understanding that man and woman were created to compliment each other in their function.
2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
This is often considered a rather cryptic verse. But one thing that many academic and arm-chair theologians alike agree on, is that this verse is not referring to a woman’s eternal salvation.
Three popular possible suggestions to explain this verse is as follows:
- Saved from the stigma of being the pawn by which humanity fell by becoming the instrument in which humanity continues being produced.
- Saved from being her own sexual unrestraining by the limitations and realizations that are induced through childbearing.
An outlier possibility yet still promoted in some Christian circles is that women are:
- Saved from the original sin provoked by Eve by the child-birth of Jesus Christ.
Regardless (And luckily), this verse still speaks generally and eternal salvation does not hang on our understanding of this verse. Some women may not be called to such destiny. Emphasis should subsequently be strongly placed on the character and, once again, the heart of the matter.This is to continue in faith, charity, and holiness with sobriety.
Sobriety once again being urged as it was in verse 9. Sobriety in the New Testament context is referring to self-control and or soundness of mind. This attribute is a powerful tool that when wielded by the Christian is immensely powerful in furthering the Gospel.