Last week, I started off this series by giving a very brief introduction into the roles and responsibility of women in The Church. I want to thank all of you who read it and I hope that it gave you something to think about.
This week, I want to set the stage for 1 Timothy and look at verses 8 -10 today. The reason I have decided to break this series into multiple parts is because I don’t want to overwhelm myself or my readers with information. The second reason is to increase readership and motivation for me to write about this topic (just being honest with y’all).
Before I begin, most of my historical references will be coming out of my handy-dandy Lutheran Study Bible. Yet, I also believe that it’s important to look at other interpretations and seek the Lord in studying Scripture. If I do use something other than the LSB, I’ll be sure to reference it for those of you who appreciate doing independent study.
It is important for the reader of 1 Timothy to understand why this letter was written and for whom it was originally written. I would go as far to say that this approach should be carried into any study of any Scripture because even though Scripture is for all people, all Scripture started off as a piece of work for specific people or peoples.
Historians agree that this is the first letter was written to the Apostle Paul to one of his disciples, colleges, trainee, mentee, however you want to say it, Timothy, who was called to help the Church of Ephesus, to whom Paul had previously written a letter to around 60 AD. The letter is assumed to be written approximately 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus and three years before the martyrdom of Paul.
The purpose of this letter is to encourage and instruct Timothy as he helps the Ephesus ministry to reflect God’s order compared to the traditions had been brought into the church through things not of God. This was a huge problem in the Church of Ephesus and is best explained by MacArthur.
Before we go any further, here is the translation of verses 8 and 9 from Greek into English:
“8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray lifting up holy hands without wrath and dissension;9 Likewise I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing modestly and discreetly not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good words as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.”
For those that read and understand Biblical Greek, here ya go:
8 βούλομαι οὖν προσεύχεσθαι τοὺς ἄνδρας ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ ἐπαίρονταςὁσίους χεῖρας χωρὶς ὀργῆς καὶ διαλογισμοῦ 9 ὡσαύτως καὶ γυναῖκας ἐν καταστολῇ κοσμίῳ μετὰ αἰδοῦς καὶσωφροσύνης κοσμεῖν ἑαυτάς μὴ ἐν πλέγμασιν καὶ χρυσίῳ ἢ μαργαρίταιςἢ ἱματισμῷ πολυτελεῖ 10 ἀλλ’ ὃ πρέπει γυναιξὶν ἐπαγγελλομέναις θεοσέβειαν δι’ ἔργωνἀγαθῶν
Verse 8-10 set the stage for how men and women should either act or be like when participating in public worship. In verse 8, Paul is saying that during public worship, men are to be worshiping boldly and with hands lifted up without having “wrath and dissension”in their hearts.
The Greek word used for man in this verse is ἀνήρ. According to Strong’s definition of this word and how many times it is used contextually in King James Version (KJV), it can be as follows:
- A man (Properly as an individual male) (156 times)
- Fellow (1 time)
- Husband (50 times)
- Sir (6 times)
I understand how this particular word has come to be defined as men, basically any man post-puberty. Yet, I do believe it is important to point out that this word has also been translated as husband. Just something to keep in mind.
The next two verses are about how women are to present themselves while in public worship. Paul writes that women should be dressed modestly, not having their braided, not wearing expensive jewelry or clothes.
The Greek word used for women in this verse γυνή which Strong defines as a woman; specifically a wife:-wife, woman. This word is translated in the KJV two ways:
- Women (129 times)
- Wife (92 times)
Similar to my comment above, this word is primarily used for all women but also for wives.
From listening to MacArthur, I learned that Paul threw this in because women prostitutes in Ephesus were dressed immodestly, had braided hair, and wore expensive clothing. Paul is encouraging women to have the pureness and righteousness that is within them through Jesus Christ, be reflected out, as it says in verse 10. The commentary in the LSB echos this also.
The reason why I bolded public worship above is because these instructions are meant specifically for public worship NOT for a persons private prayer life; meaning that women could / can worship pray and worship to the Lord in whatever fashion they would like when at home, in the car, after corporate church service has ended.
I want to also throw in that during the time this letter was written, women were treated as lower than men (MacArthur goes into this quite a bit in one of his parts), due in part to what Jewish law and cultural rules had dictated. When Christianity had spread, women saw this as prime time to show society that women were entitled to being treated equally to men. The women did this by disrespecting the public worship and made for un-orderly worship (1 Corinthians 14:1-40)
With all of that being said, women have come a long way and so has the treatment of women in our culture. Due to this, I agree that women should be allowed to pray in the public worship time with their hands lifted up but should be done to worship Jesus, not to get back at men.
I also want to point out that Paul uses likewise to connect how men should be praying and worshiping to how women should be presenting themselves. Likewise can be defined as “in the same manner as”; when used in this way, there is a sense of accountability (which is why I have included verse 8 in this discussion). What I believe Paul is saying, and my LSB commentary agrees, is that men “lift their holy hands” to demonstrate a posture of “outer and inner attitudes that should accompany prayer” (p.2070 of LSB, note 2:8; lifting holy hands) and women should present themselves as modest (which is a good work*) and godliness (v.10)
*Really quick want to say that being modest doesn’t equal salvation, but rather a woman is modest because it is a way to show respect and to God. It also is a way to “match inner values”.
Wow! So that was a lot to take in. It’s amazing how three little verses can mean so much. For a more indepth look at all the research, check out commentary, blueletterbible.com, and listen or read MacArthur’s part one sermon.
I’m going to end this in prayer:
Lord, thank you for Your word. Thank you Lord that you have revealed Yourself in Your word. Thank you also that You do not change and if something does not make sense, you give us the understanding we need. When you don’t, it is for good reason. I pray for those that are interested in this subject and I ask that you bless them as they research in hopes that they grow and mature in You. And all God’s people say AMEN!
Check me out next week as a press into verses 11-12 or as I like to call them The Big Ones.