1 Timothy 2:8-10
A Woman Properly Accessorized
We must remember two things when handling this passage of Scripture: 1) Paul is dealing with how a church of Jesus Christ is to organize and manage itself and operate; and, 2) We must shed ourselves of our contemporary democratic and egalitarian views of human nature and society if we are to understand Scripture and how God wants His church to function. In other words and as always, Scripture is in the right and we are in the wrong. The question is not: How do we understand this passage of Scripture in the light of ever-changing contemporary culture, but how do we to understand our culture in the light of God’s holy word?
The passage concerns the spirit and tasks of men and women in the local church; we are not dealing here with the world. Men are commanded to pray, and to do so without anger and quarreling. Attitudes are critical when praying. Our Lord commanded us to be reconciled to our brother before offering our gift upon the altar, and there is no gift greater than prayer (Matthew 5:23-24). Prayer requires sincerity of heart and confession of sin. We must forgive if we shall be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15).
The Apostle then turns to women. He speaks as an apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not as a misogynist as some would have us believe—a position that says more about their own hearts than it does about Paul’s. First is the matter of attire. We fool ourselves if we pretend that women care not for how they dress themselves, or that men care not for how women dress. Women will always be the fairer sex. Men have fought wars and duels to have them. For this reason, women must concern themselves about attire, not only in the church but everywhere. Paul’s guidelines are that women should dress themselves respectably, with modesty and self-control. He then mentions specifics that I will agree could be considered culturally-bound: braided hair, gold, pearls, and costly attire. Braided hair does not offend in our culture; we accept some jewelry but not to gaudiness. The key is that a woman should dress herself above all with good works; that is, stop fussing over clothing and be anxious about who in your family and church needs your care. Who in your circle of friends needs to hear from you a word of encouragement? Paul is only repeating Proverbs 31 of a thousand years previous: “She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong…She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy…Strength and beauty are her clothing…She opens her mouth with wisdom.” Oh the timeless truth of the Scriptures!