Instruction For Women

Consider the instruction given by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.  Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.  And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.  Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.”  This passage gives instruction to men and women.  The men are instructed to pray everywhere.  The women are then instructed how to conduct themselves.

“That the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”  The apostle Peter had a similar instruction for women in 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”  For thousands of years, women have sought ways to increase their physical attractiveness through clothes, hair styles, make-up and jewelry.  In modern times, we could add cosmetic surgery and tattoos to that list.  All of these items are meant to enhance the woman’s outward appearance.  I cannot give you a checklist that specifies exactly what clothing or hairstyle or make-up or jewelry is acceptable and what is improper.  You must decide for yourself.  You must decide what you believe would be most pleasing to your God whom you love and serve.  God has little interest in your outward appearance.  He is concerned about your heart, your spirit, and your good works which result from your godly heart; since you are a woman who professes godliness, that is where you should put your emphasis as well.  Peter tells you that a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious in the sight of God.

“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.  And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”  Since it is not expected for you, as a woman, to be silent at all times, it is reasonable to conclude that this instruction is primarily concerned with your conduct in the church assembly.  The apostle Paul gave a similar instruction in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.  And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”  Both passages call for you, as a woman, to be silent.  That means that you would not speak, or preach or teach or ask questions in the assembly.  Both passages call for you to be in submission.  In 1 Timothy 2:12 Paul says that you are not to have authority over a man.

Why would the apostle Paul tell women that they should be silent in the assembly and that they should be submissive?  Was it only appropriate for the first Christian century because of the existing culture?    Certainly women today fill many major roles in society.  Many are teachers in the public school.  Some are business leaders.  Some hold political office and even some are leaders of countries.  Women are very intelligent and capable.  The apostle Paul explains the reason for Christian women to be submissive and silent in the assembly.  1 Timothy 2:13-14 “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”  The reason given for woman’s role is because of Adam and Eve.  It is not because of culture or society.  God has established the respective roles of men and women because of the creation and because of the curse given after the fall in the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:16 “To the woman He said:  ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’”

My encouragement to you as a woman is to be happy in the role that God has given you.  Be silent in the assembly and be submissive.  Let your outward adornment be proper for a woman professing godliness.  Cultivate the gentle and quiet spirit that God values.