1 Timothy 2:11-15
1. Read 1 Timothy 2:11-15. According to verse 11 what does Paul tell Timothy to “let a woman” do?
2. What does Paul say is not allowed?
Scriptural Insight: What does “remain quiet” mean? The Greek word hesuchia, used in verse 2, is also used in verses 11-12. In verse 11 it refers to how a woman is to receive instruction, usually translated “in quietness,” or “in silence,” or “quietly.” In verse 12, it refers to her role concerning teaching and is translated “quiet,” “silent,” or “in silence.” Review our discussion of hesuchia in a previous lesson. How this word is used elsewhere in the New Testament adds additional insight. In Acts 22:2, hesuchia carries the idea of having an attitude of tranquility and, therefore, being willing to listen. This concept of “being willing to listen in order to learn truth with a heart to obey” is seen in The Message translation: “I don't let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else.” See also 2 Thessalonians 3:12 where it is translated in the New Living Translation as “settle down.” The opposite would be “always engaged in controversy and provoking negative responses.”
3. Whereas pagan women were rarely educated, all women, both Jew and Gentile, once they became Christians were carefully and freely instructed in the scriptures and became significant in the spread of the gospel and establishment of local churches. Read the following passages and discuss the roles we see women in the early church taking.
· Acts 16:14-15; 40—
· Acts 18:18, 26—
· Romans 16:1—
· 1 Corinthians 16:19—
Historical Insight: A New Way to Worship—What is the proper way to worship God? For those who had grown up in the religious climate of Ephesus before the gospel, Christian worship called for altogether different behavior than they were used to practicing. So Paul offered guidelines for worship to the men and women in the Ephesian church (1 Timothy 2:8-15)…the gospel bore great fruit there and the community of believers grew rapidly. Yet some of the new converts brought their old way of life into the church and began teaching other doctrines (1 Timothy 1:3-7). When it came to worship, many were used to wild rites and festivals. Ephesian women were particularly unacquainted with public behavior, having been excluded for the most part from public gatherings, except pagan rituals.
So Paul described the correct way of worship. Men, who were apparently given to anger and doubts, needed to stop wrangling and start praying (v. 8). Likewise, women needed to focus on godliness and good works rather than clothing, jewelry, and hairstyles (vv. 9-10). And because some were apparently disruptive, they needed to practice restraint (v. 11)—not necessarily complete silence, but “quiet” (as the word is translated in 2 Thess. 3:12), since they likely participated in the prayers and other expressive parts of worship gatherings (compare 1 Cor. 11:5; Eph. 5:19). (The Word in Life Study Bible, pp. 734-735)
4. The second part of 1 Timothy 2:11 addresses a woman’s attitude, using the words “all submissiveness” or “entire submission.” Look up the definition of “submission” in either a Bible dictionary or a regular dictionary. Write it out here.
5. Do you think the Bible’s view of submission is like the world’s view of submission? Why or why not?
6. Reread 1 Timothy 2:12-14. Read Genesis 2:18-25, 1 Corinthians 11:3, and Ephesians 5:21-33. What authority structures has God established?
7. Read 1 Peter 3:1-7. “Quiet” means “tranquility arising from within,” What are some of the benefits of having a “quiet” spirit with regards to a woman’s relationship with her husband?
8. Adorning Yourself: Is submission to God a problem area for you? Submission to what God’s word says? Submission to authority in general?
Historical Insight: (Most) women in the first century had no legal rights and very little public influence. How could they influence their unbelieving husbands to believe in God? Peter explained that in spite of such disadvantages, wives could still have a profound impact on their husbands. They could speak loudly for Christ—not through words, but through their behavior and their Christ-like character.…Human logic might suggest that a wife point out her husband’s weaknesses or verbalize spiritual principles for him to follow. But Peter sidesteps the flaws of these approaches, which tend to put men on the defensive. Instead, Peter recommends that wives disarm their disbelieving husbands and make them more receptive to the gospel by being gentle and quiet. (Adapted from The Quest Study Bible)
9. Adorning Yourself:
· The first half of 1 Timothy 2:11 says women must “learn.” Do you consider yourself a learner, or a teachable person? Why or why not?
· Have you ever asked anyone (who knows you well) if they thought you were teachable or not? If so, what did they say? If not, take some time this week to ask someone close to you this question.
10. Read 1 Timothy 2:15. Scholars are unsure of the meaning of verse 15 and consider it one of the most difficult New Testament verses to interpret. The Greek word translated “saved” can also be translated “healed”, “preserved”, or “deliverance from danger”. The danger doesn’t always mean physical danger but could be spiritual danger, something mentioned in both letters. False teaching, old wives tales, opposition to submission, and weak women being laden with guilt are among these spiritual dangers.
Here are several possible interpretations most commonly found to try and understand 1 Timothy 2:15:
· Women will be kept physically safe through the process of childbirth. (This can’t be true because many Christian women have died in childbirth!)
· Women will receive spiritual salvation through the birth of Jesus Christ the Savior. (This is not a plausible explanation because we are saved through His death and resurrection, not His birth!)
· Women will be preserved from being deceived (as Eve was) and will be saved in honor and reputation through accepting the divinely ordained role of a helper to her husband and the bearer of children—embracing being a woman rather than striving to be like and compete with men. (This seems to be the most plausible explanation!)
Whatever Paul meant by the first part of this verse, the interpretation of it is further clouded by the phrase at the end: “if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety”. It could just mean this, “Do what you are designed to do as a woman but grow as a Christian!”
Since NO ONE REALLY KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT Paul is trying to communicate, we will just leave this with the possible interpretations above.