Thursday, January 11, 2018

Timothy, Don't Permit a Woman to Teach or to Have Authority Over a Man (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety
(1 Timothy 2:11-15, NIV)

First, keep this in mind: the context of these verses is Paul’s instructions on worship service. And, remember that throughout the New Testament, the Christian home – husband and wife – is a picture of the union between Jesus Christ and His bride, the church (refer Ephesians 5:22-33). The man is the type of Christ and the woman is a type of the church. Ephesians 5:24 says, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” This context and text are reasons why for the strict instruction in these verses.

If you read 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, you’ll understand that women during Paul’s time were creating a disturbance or disorder in the public worship services by “speak in the church,” which I assumed that they questioned negatively about what was being preached. Some commentaries say that these women of Ephesus were new converts and thus have little experience. And due to Jewish male-dominated society of the time, the women were not allowed to study and thus having little knowledge of the truth (that was why if you study false teachings, cults or ancient religions, most of the leaders were women. See 2 Timothy 3:1-9). Here Paul outlines two main theological reasons why he “do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man”:

#1 First, the order of creation gives headship to the man (Genesis 1-2). “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” This doesn’t mean man is superior to woman in creation, but man was given the place of priority, and God intends that it should remain so. #2 Secondly, the woman was the one who fall into sin first. “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” The fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) was disastrous as a result when the woman first took a place of leadership that was never meant for her. Had Eve remained in place of “quietness and full submission” to Adam, the fall might never had taken place. Therefore, the woman is instructed to take the place of a learner (quietness) and one of subjection (full submission) to the man.

Now, now… we are clearly told in the Scripture that the woman is not to teach or exercise authority over the man and remember this is part of Paul’s instructions for worship service. This doesn’t eliminate women from teaching at all or writing books that help men or being in full-time ministry or to teach their children. I learned great deal about Christian living, knowledge of the Scripture and examples of lives from women in my life like Annette, Kim Cheng and my mother. Timothy was taught about the faith from his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). Among Paul’s own co-workers were great women like Priscilla, Euodia and Syntyche. Most of them held positions of responsibilities in the church. And are you not amazed by faithful women like Ruth, Esther and Deborah in the Old Testament? Superb! After many years, I came to a conclusion that in salvation, discipleship and status as God’s children, we – men and women – are equal. But in matter of headship and leadership men should take the lead. If family, church or organization doesn’t work properly, men are to be the first to take responsible not women!

About the last verse (v.15), I have to admit, I’m still confused and don’t know which interpretations or believes I should hold. For sure the woman should continue to “live in faith, love, holiness and modesty” (NLT).
Readers, either you agree with me or not,
Lord, I try to be as faithful to your Word as possible.
I’m not afraid of men, but forgive me if I put errors in your Word. Amen.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Timothy, Tell the Women to Be Modest in Their Appearance (1 Timothy 2:9-10, Women Only)

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do
(1 Timothy 2:9-10,

Here is a passage that women (and men too!) would like to shy away from in this day in which we live. Read these verses over and over again and let God’s Word say exactly what it say to you, and “remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to” (James 1:22). But let the ladies be glad and rejoice for Paul doesn’t mean that a woman is not to be attractive. What he says is that women shouldn’t be seductive (tempting, enticing, and causing someone to sin), instead, they “should make themselves attractive.” Seductive, no; attractive, yes! I believe that there is nothing wrong for a woman to be beautiful outwardly. As a man, I have to admit, my first impression toward a woman is her appearances, decency and appropriateness.

Having said that, let me now point out that a woman – Christian woman, especially – must guard her God-given modesty. God is creation has made the man to be drawn to the woman physically and the woman need to recognize this and dress in such a manner as to guard her modesty. Woman are usually much more fashion-conscious than are men in general. There is nothing wrong with fashion or style. However, as for Paul, it is not a mere matter of fashion or style, but what he wrote here is a definite moral and spiritual issues which is at stake. God says thru Paul that a woman is to be modest. Society today, on the other hand, says a woman is to be liberated, free and self-expressive in their appearances. To some extent, it’s true. But you – woman – have to decide whether you are going to obey God and be right with Him or be conform to the world.

Paul is not saying in this passage, as some mistakenly interpret, that a woman is not to wear any gold, pearl, fix her hair or wear expensive clothing (of course you may, if you can afford it). All he says is that these things are not to be her most attractive side. These are not to be the things that “draw attention” to her. This passage is in the context of worship service… and it would be a disaster if people draw attention to you rather than to God!

So what should make a Christian woman attractive? Her good deeds. “For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” Attractiveness should begin inside a woman. NLT Life Application Study Bible comment on this passage: “A gentle, modest, loving character gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by the best cosmetics and jewellery in the world. A carefully groomed and well-decorated exterior is artificial and cold unless inner beauty is present.

Women (and men too), think about these things.

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Timothy, Tell the Men to Lead in Worship and Prayer (1 Timothy 2:8, Men Only)

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer,
without anger or disputing
(1 Timothy 2:8, NIV)

Keep in mind that the apostle Paul here is continuing his instructions concerning prayer which were begun in verse 1. Here, in this verse, Paul gave instruction on who is to do the praying and how they are to pray. He wrote, “I want…” Previously, he said that God “wants all men to be saved” (v.4), but now Paul “want men” to pray. He is expressing what he would like to see take place in the church.

And this is interesting, “men” here is not refer to mankind in general, but men in specific contrast to women. Paul, based on my reading of his epistles, is clearly pointing out that the leadership and responsibility for prayer in the public worship service is upon the men, not women. This definitely doesn’t mean that a woman cannot pray in public worship service, far from it (read 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul gives instructions for women to do so), but the headship and leadership of men is to be recognized. Again, keep in mind that Paul is giving instructions for the public worship service (church service, if you would like to call it), not a service specifically called for prayer. Women should not hesitate to participate freely in such a service as long as the headship of man is recognized. This is God’s will.

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer…” Although lifting or raising hands while worship is harmless even good, I don’t think Paul is talking about bodily posture here. Our heart posture in which we offer prayers matter more than our body posture: “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened” (Psalms 66:19, NLT). “Holy” refers to quality of life, not a part of the body. The heart must be clean and the life holy if prayer is to be heard. Sins have cut we off from God (refer to Isaiah 59:1-2), therefore, holiness is necessary for effectual prayer. Remember, we can be holy because through and in Christ we have been made holy (read Hebrews 10:10). We are and we can be. There also must not be “anger or disputing” or as Eugene Peterson paraphrased, “not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God.” Anger against one another and/or resentment against God also can cut us off from Him and makes prayer unacceptable.

So, when we pray to God – when men pray – men should take the headship, leadership and godly examples in the public worship service. We must examine our hearts daily and confess our sins so that it will not cut off our relationship with God. And ask the Lord to fill us with His holiness, peace and mercy as we lead others in prayer. Where are men of God today? Be one.

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