1 Timothy 2:11-15
Men and Women in Church
I begin where I began yesterday: 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, 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 is simple enough: Women should not exercise authority over men in the church. Chapter three sheds more light on this passage with the exclusion of women from the office of bishop (i.e., pastor or elder), which authority extends to ruling, sanctifying (administration of the sacraments/ordinances) and teaching—the three primary tasks of the bishop. Older women are instead encouraged to train younger women in the way of godliness (Titus 2:3-5).
But why is this? Why are women not allowed to exercise authority over men? Women are certainly not inferior to men. (I sometimes think they are much the superior.) Woman too is created in the image of God. But God has designed and decreed that the sexes have different roles—roles that are not arbitrary but founded in the very nature of manhood and womanhood. The Apostle reminds us that man was created first, the woman coming from the man. He is the head of the woman, not because he is smarter but by nature of his manhood (Ephesians 5:23). Paul also reminds us that she was the one deceived in the Garden, indicating what happens when women rule over men. Adam was there but abdicated his position of headship and then transgressed in willful disobedience, choosing sin with his wife rather than life with God (Genesis 3:6). A rightly ordered family, church, and nation is one in which men do as men were created to do which is to lead, provide, protect, and where women nurture and train the young.
Paul adds that “she will be saved through childbearing,” not, of course, meaning that such is the way women earn heaven but that childbearing is a natural and primary function of womanhood and the place where a woman finds her greatest joy and fulfillment. It is a sad state of affairs in our country that some couples actually choose childlessness—a completely unnatural course. And all of this shows how wicked and unnatural homosexual behavior is in that it completely upsets the course of nature turning men into women and women into men.
There are those who have rebelled against this teaching of Scripture from the beginning—and there always will be. Indeed, Western civilization has been in rebellion against this teaching for at least two-hundred years. But God is not mocked and we reap the fruits of this rebellion in divorce, sexual immorality, illegitimacy, homosexual behavior, loneliness, despair, and a host of other societal pathologies, plagues, and curses. The solution to these ills is the obedience of faith (Roman 1:5; 16:26) which the gospel brings to the nations.