FREE TO WORSHIP
Lord God, I need your wisdom as I read your Word today. Holy Spirit, speak not only to my mind, but to my heart.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 2:8-15
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women[c] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal … whether you are … a man or a woman’ (Galatians 3:28, CEV). Keep this verse in mind as you read today’s passage.
When we read the Bible, we need to be aware of the culture within which it was written. At first glance, Paul’s views in this passage may seem to be misogynistic and sexist. But Paul was writing to Timothy (and the church) in Ephesus, a city dominated by the worship of a female god, Artemis, whose priests were all women. ‘Christianity is different, everyone is of equal worth,’ says Paul. Both sexes are encouraged to break the stereotype—men should not be aggressive and argumentative, but should be devout prayers; women should not be slaves to fashion and image, but should be free to study and worship.
For many, the use of the word ‘submission’ (v 11) is emotive—but the passage does not state to whom it is that women should be submissive. Is Paul encouraging women to be submissive and obedient to God and his Word? Tom Wright, for example, translates verse 11 as ‘They must study undisturbed, in full submission to God’ (Bible for Everyone).
Eve was deceived, but she had not heard directly from God about not eating the fruit, whereas Adam deliberately disobeyed God’s direct instruction to him (Genesis 2:17). Is Paul saying that women should study so that they will not be deceived?
This passage is about allowing both sexes to worship freely. What things hinder you from doing so? Ask God to help you focus on him and worship without restraint.
Heavenly Father, not everyone interprets all of your Word as I do. For those truths critically important for salvation, help me to never waver. For all other things, give me a gracious and generous heart as I relate to my brothers and sisters in Christ who may differ from me.
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