The Role of Women in Public Worship (1 Timothy 2:9-15)

Throughout the centuries God has used women in many ways for the glory of His Name and for the furtherance of the gospel. Within God’s plan of redemption, women have and continue to carry an important and influential role in the life of the church. Some passages of Scripture come under much criticism because they proclaim things that are contrary to what is accepted in society. It must always be the believer’s duty to approach the Word of God with integrity. When it comes to matters that are difficult to accept, the Word of God remains true and must be affirmed and adhered to. is one of those passages that can be difficult to accept. Nonetheless, it is the Word of God and we ought to approach it with a holy appetite. In this passage Paul instructs us concerning the role of women in public worship. To be equal in value does not mean one has equal function. This passage will describe a difference of function in the context of public worship (the church gathered).

The Appearance of Women (1 Tim. 2:9-10)
In dealing with the appearance of women, Paul begins by addressing their clothing (2:9). Unlike the extravagant and sensual appearance of certain women, the godly woman ought to dress herself “in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (2:9). In addition to her clothing, the godly woman is to be concerned regarding the appearance of her conduct (2:10). She is to do “what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works” (2:10).The emphasis in these opening verses is on the woman’s godliness and not outward appearance (cf. ).

The Attitude of Women ()
2:11-15 are considered to be the most controversial verses in this letter. In these verses Paul instructs the women on what their attitude and actions ought to be in public worship. He does this by firstly providing the requirement (2:11-12). Far from being confining and chauvinistic, the amazing reality behind these words is that in the church a woman can learn! Women can still teach the Word of God in certain contexts (; and ). However, they are not to preach or teach in a context in which they are showing authority over men and nor are they to be elders.

Secondly, Paul goes on to provide two reasons for such conduct, the Divine design (2:13) and the deception of Eve (2:14). This is important as it reveals that the basis of the requirement in 2:11-12 is not due to a cultural custom, but because of God’s design in creation.

Finally, he mentions the result of a submissive attitude (2:15). is a difficult verse to interpret (cf. !). When approaching a verse like this it is helpful to understand what it is not saying. This is not teaching that women are saved by physically having children (this would be considered a work cf. and a contradiction of numerous Scriptural passages). There are three main views offered to explain this verse: (1) this refers to physical preservation in childbirth, (2) this refers to the incarnation and the salvation that Christ brings, and (3) this refers to a deliverance that comes as a woman fulfills her God ordained design.

The purpose of this passage is to instruct woman on what their roles are in public worship with some applications. Despite the fact that society resists such teaching, why should we adhere to this? The answer is simple, this is the way God has designed it (2:13) and this is God’s design for the church (3:15).

 STUDY QUESTIONS:

  1. The Bible gives testimony of the importance and influence of godly women. Look up the following passages and discuss some of the wonderful accomplishments and contributions of godly women (; ; ).

Read

  1. Read and discuss how society promotes the contrary (eg. emphasis on physical beauty etc.). Read the following passages and make some observations concerning a woman’s physical dress and spiritual dress: and .

Read

  1. makes it clear that a woman is not to teach and exercise authority over a man. What are appropriate ways for women to exercise the gift of teaching? See ; ; .
  1. What does teach us about the order of creation? Does this have implications on who leads in the church? See also ; and 8-9.
  1. Discuss the importance and influence of a godly woman investing in and instructing her children.

likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

Hebrews 11:31

31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

2:1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Published by

Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.