1 Timothy 2.11-15 – What This Does and Doesn’t Mean

This is one of those passages in the Bible that people get so wrong. Detaching verses from context is not right and true handling of the Word of God (verse numbers were not added until around the 16th Century, and they certainly aren’t inspired). So, what does this passage mean?

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.

Maybe you have heard this passage taught to say that women should never speak in church, full stop. That’s wrong. Take that chit-chat outside Eve, only Steve can talk in church…

But, think of the context; the whole letter is instructing Timothy on how to run this church as the leader, chapter two is about, predominantly, prayer. So, can v.11 be detached from both of these things and used against women speaking at all in church? No, it cant.

Quietly and with all submissiveness carries our thoughts back to v.2 wherein we read that the church and the believers are to live a quiet and peaceful life, dignified and Godly in every way. Throw in the culture of the day where some say that women and men never worshipped together, but now they can, so the women may talk to her husband across the room and ask him questions as to what it going on, and we begin to see that learn quietly doesn’t mean that women can never speak in church. That would be inconsistent with what Paul writes to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11.5.


The consistent and orthodox interpretation is that not permitting a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man is referring to when the assembled church gathers together, it is a male’s job to deliver the Word of God in an expositional sermon, the message, the Word, or however you refer to that part of a worship service. 


Other than that particular point of the service, other than the overall ‘who is in charge on earth in this church’, we see throughout Scripture that women have an equally important role in the worship of God to that of their male counterparts. Ladies lead worship, ladies lead prayer ministries, ladies lead children and youth ministries, ladies lead home groups/small groups, simply, ladies lead in churches. Having the ultimate earthly authority in the structure of the church be male takes nothing away from the value and leadership contributions of women, as we said yesterday, different roles for different people. 

So, ladies, yes, pray in church, talk whilst you are at church. Teach a home group, lead a Bible study, serve in Kids Church, lead us in worship, read our Scripture, pray aloud.

But also, everyone, read the Bible in context, don’t detach single verses from a paragraph, or a chapter, or a book, or even a section of the Bible, and things make much more sense.

1 Timothy 2.8-10 – Hands and Hair

It stands as truth that men and women are different. Different appearance, generally different interests, different strengths, different weaknesses. Different, yet complementary. Different, yet equally loved. So, when we come to passages like this in the Bible where either gender are exhorted and instructed we must not think that this communicates value or worth, simply instructions that are right for the different people.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling; 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.

Today we see something for both men and women to do in the assembled church (the context of the letter, remember?).

Men are to lead the church in prayer. Men are not the only people in church that should pray, or pray publicly, but the men should lead the church in prayer. The fact that this should be done without quarrelling carries the meaning of praying without doubt, so, the men should steadfastly lead the church in prayer without doubting. Guys, do you do that in your church? Do you lead in prayer? Praying for the church would be a great start.

Ladies, as the men are covering themselves and the church in prayer, you should also pray, for sure. In addition to this covering, Paul writes that ladies should be adorned in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works. Quite a lot for the ladies there, isn’t there. 

Essentially it comes down to this – dress modestly for the location you are in. You wouldn’t go to church in a Muslim majority country wearing your yoga pants and a vest, that would be inappropriate. You wouldn’t wear your most formal of dresses and hats to a church service on the beach. Simply, dress modestly and appropriately for the location you are in. 

Men are called here to lead the church in prayer, to cover themselves and the church in prayer.

Ladies here are called to cover themselves appropriately.

Different, but of equal value in the eyes of our Lord.

Above all these things, as an assembled and gathered church we are to put on love (Colossians 3.14), and we are to cover ourselves in Christ (Galatians 3.26-27).

His righteousness covers us, His blood covers us, and His love covers us.

1 Timothy 2.5-7 – Sincere

Sincere (adjective)

(of a person) saying what they genuinely feel or believe


Last time Paul urged Timothy to make sure that in the assembled church of believers prayers be made for all people. Today, a reason why.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Perhaps some may feel that they don’t need a mediator between God and themselves.

Perhaps some feel that they are good enough without God in their lives.

Perhaps some think there are many ways to get to God and that Christianity is just one possible path to take.

There is a commonly held belief that ‘All roads lead to God‘, and people say things like ‘If you are sincere, you will get to heaven‘. Scripture disagrees with this (Luke 18.9-14, 18-23, Leviticus 10.1-3, Proverbs 14.12). 

God has sovereignly declared that there is one way to be in right relationship with Him, through faith in Jesus (John 14.6). Paul echoes this here when he writes that there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Nowadays people seem to think that if you are sincere in what you are doing, you will get what you want, but it is possible to be sincerely wrong, isn’t it. As sincere as you may be, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole just won’t work.

This is why Paul says we are to pray for everyone, because God desires that all may be saved, and He has sovereignly declared that there is One way to do this, through the man Christ Jesus

As sincere as we may be, as sincere as anyone may be, there is one God, and one way to bridge our humanity and His Deity, the man Christ Jesus.

Paul has already said that all need prayer, and today we see that all need Jesus. Come to Him today.

1 Timothy 2.1-4 – Who Are You Praying For?

After introducing his letter with a charge to Timothy to make sure what is being accepted as right and true is, in fact, right and true, today Paul gets a little more specific as to how this new Christian community should conduct itself.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Paul starts with first of all, and this is first in importance, not in chronology. This means that, first and foremost, a Christian community gathering as a church needs to be a place where prayer is made for all people. Prayer to the believer is communication with God, and here Paul lists a few categories of communication that the believer can use; supplications, prayers, intercession, and thanksgivings

The culture at the time would have had people praying to various perceived deities and authority figures, but we are told very clearly that prayer is to be made for all people, not to them. The specific example is given of kings and all who are in high positions, with the reason that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way

The leaders in our lives, be that at church, at work, at home, or at national level all need Jesus, no matter who they are or the high position they may hold. It’s often thought that those in such leadership positions have got it all together, know who they are and what they are doing, and generally don’t need as much help as your average person on the street. However, this isn’t the case, everyone needs to be in right relationship with God through faith in Jesus, everyone needs a Saviour, and God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, regardless of how they are occupying themselves during the day. 

So, today, pray for the leaders in your life. If you hold a position of leadership somewhere, still pray for the leaders in your life. We are all called to lead, and we are all called to serve in different circles, and we all need the Lord to help us do so. 

1 Timothy 1.18-20 – Fight the Good Fight

Paul wraps up chapter one much the same as he started it in 1.3urging and charging.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Where we read charge, this is a military word so Paul is being serious, and this takes us back to v.3, 

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

Paul is also being loving as he writes Timothy, my child, but overall the message is clear – you need to make sure that what is being taught and accepted as right and proper is, in fact, right and proper.

The tools needed, the weapons needed to wage the good warfare are, we read, faith and a good conscience. They’re pretty essential to our Christian life, aren’t they, faith and a good conscienceWe see the consequence of rejecting these fundamentals (v.20), but where does the focus of both lead us?

Faith and a good conscience both lead us to Jesus.

It is through faith in Him that we are saved unto eternal life (Ephesians 2.8-9), and it is through His shed blood for us that our consciences are made good (Hebrews 9.13-14). 


So, how do we fight the good fight? With faith and a good conscience

Where do they lead us? To Jesus. 


 

1 Timothy 1.12-17 – Forget The Past

Today we see that no matter who we were, how we were, or where we were, there is nobody that God cannot use.

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul writes that even though he was the foremost sinner, a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent opponent, he received mercy because this was all done in unbelief. We see that the grace of our Lord is far stronger than sin committed in unbelief. 

Paul is used as a very particular example, that Jesus Christ might display his perfection patience as an example fo those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

Remember, this is coming off the back of a section wherein Paul tells Timothy that look, the law came to expose those who are living in sin. Now, he says, those very people are still not beyond the life-saving, life-changing love and grace and mercy of God. 

The same is true for you. 

No matter who you were, no matter how you were, no matter where you were, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. It doesn’t matter to Him what you have done in unbelief, so long as you sincerely acknowledge that it was wrong, make a genuine effort to turn away from it, completely, and commit to living the life He wants you to live from now onwards. 

We all know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but that is exactly the reason for the Gospel, the Good News, that no matter what happened before, you have a chance now to be judged faithful in the eyes of God through faith in Jesus and to be brought into His service.

What part of your past do you need to forget today? Where do you need to receive mercy and grace today?

1 Timothy 1.8-11 – What to Focus On

Today Paul expands on the idea that those who do not understand the law should not teach the law (vv.6-7). 

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Paul says right away that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, and this seems to be the problem; whether it is used well.


Those who desired to be teachers of the law but had no understanding of the law were actually using God’s very vehicle for salvation as a barrier to it.


So, rather than the law being used to show us that we are sinners, that we will never work our way to God, that we can never earn His approval and justification, and instead we need to come to Him by faith in the substitute that He provides, these wanna-be teachers are condemning people for not living up to the holy and righteous standards that only One can live up to. 

Paul gives an overview of the kinds of ways we have fallen short of the glory of God (vv.9-10), and finishes by saying that, along with the examples given, whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God is what the law came to expose. 

However, for you and for me living today, and for the people in Paul and Timothy’s day too, grace and righteousness and salvation is not actually found in the law, is it. The grace of God, the righteousness of God, the salvation He offers, none of these are to be found by adhering to law, they are to be found by being in right relationship with God by having faith in Jesus. 

Let us focus on that today, not trying to earn our way to God through our good conduct, rather, focusing on being a follower and disciple of Jesus, relying on His good conduct and His finished work on the cross, and the acceptance, justification, and salvation He offers.