Friday, August 2, 2013

1 Timothy 2 - Pray for Authorities and Women in the Church

LINK: 1 Timothy 2


BACKGROUND


This letter was written around the time that the Roman emperor, Nero, blamed Christians for the great fire in Rome on July 18, A.D. 64. After this, persecution of Christians came to an all-time high. 

Paul had just been released from prison in Rome and was very aware that the empire was disintegrating under Nero. It was appropriate that Paul would ask them to pray not only for "all men" but also for governmental authorities! Some must have questioned why they would want to pray for such evil men, but God desires all men to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). This is something that we have been learning throughout the Bible Book Club too. Paul was not teaching that all will be saved (universalism), but that God desires it. The prayer of salvation for all men is good and pleases God (2:3)!



Praying for authority would allow for a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness. This is the first of 10 times that "godliness" is mentioned in the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus). It is also mentioned in 2 Peter 1:3, 6-7; and 3:11. So, we will talk about this more in the near future!


Paul then turns his attention to the women. Women were to adorn themselves with inner beauty rather than outer. He also said that women were to receive instruction with submissiveness and to not teach or exercise authority over a man.  This passage can be a very controversial one!

Here is what Spiros Zodhiates, foremost Greek scholar, says about the Greek word for "woman" in a parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 14. It is the same Greek word used in 1 Timothy 2:

Gune - The confusion regarding the word gune being translated "woman" instead of "wife" is primarily related to whether they should speak in a local assembly of believers. Is a woman supposed to be totally silent during a Christian worship service? Paul discusses this in 1  Cor. 14:33-40. His concern in this discussion is not whether a woman should remain totally silent in the worship service and only men should speak, but whether confusion and improper behavior could result from excessive participation by women. See how the discussion begins with verse thirty-three, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints," and also how the discussion closes in verse forty, "Let all things be done decently and in order." Here, however, he does not speak about women in general, but about the wives of husbands who were together with them in the assembly of believers worshiping Christ. In verse thirty-four the translation should not be "Let your women keep silent in the churches," but "Let your wives be silent in the churches" (a.t.). No man as such has authority to forbid a woman to speak, but a husband has authority over his wife when he sees that disorder may result from her speaking. the command, therefore, is given to husbands worshiping with their wives in a local assembly because only they are head of the home. Taken in the total context, it seems that women were starting to speak in an unknown tongue as practiced in Corinth, and it was the duty of their husbands to restrain them. Husbands were the only ones who had the right to do so. (We are speaking of direct and personal authority over a woman. A man acting in the capacity of an elder would have ex officio authority to govern the assembly.) The concern of the Apostle Paul is expressed in 1 Cor. 14:23. "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?" The admonition of Paul is that no wife who worships with her husband in a local congregation should give the impression to those present that Christians behave improperly.
(The Complete Word Study Dictionary:New Testament, p. 387)
Pair this with what Zodhiates says about the Greek word for "exercising authority" in 1 Timothy 2:12:
Authenteo - "to use or exercise authority or power over as an autocrat, to domineer [1 Tim. 2:12]" (p. 288). 
"Such exercise of authority is forbidden by a wife over her husband in 1 Timothy 2:12. Nor is a husband permitted to be an autocrat over his wife. In the KJV authenteo is translated "to usurp authority" meaning to take it by force; in the NASB "to exercise authority"' in the NIV "to have authority over a man." The argument here is that if a wife teaches indiscriminately, especially men, she may be so puffed up that she may be tempted to put a ring through her husband's nose and master him. The moral here is that a wife should avoid any activity which will in any way adversely affect her marital relationship. No teaching in the church or in the world is worth the price of a wrecked marriage. A wife cannot boss her husband, nor can a husband boss his wife. His love must voluntarily make her seek protection under him."  
(The Complete WordStudy Dictionary: New Testament, p. 177)
Also, the Greek word for "quietness" does not mean total silence but rather "settled down, undisturbed, not unruly" (Acts 22:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:12). This should be true for all of us!

This is an important passage but often misunderstood and used against women. I do not think this was Paul's intent!



REFLECTION


There was once a TV show called True Beauty. The contestants thought they were competing in a beauty contest, but hidden cameras revealed their every move in the house of contestants and in secret challenges where their true inner beauty (or lack thereof) would be manifested. They eliminated players and showed them where they had not shown "true beauty."  The final survivor was one who had passed all the tests. 


Inner beauty is what counts! 


But the Lord said to Samuel
"Do not look at his appearance
or the height of his stature,
because I have rejected him;
for God sees not as man sees, 
for man looks at the outward appearance
but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

Read the background HERE. In short, God told Samuel that the next King of Israel was going to be a person with a beautiful heart rather than one having fantastic physical attributes. That man was David. 

I am around a ton of singles these days. The women have beautiful hearts for the Lord, but the men around them do not seem to see that. The men talk about "pretty girls" who do not have the same passion for the Lord when the REAL pretty girls are right in front of them. I guess they want the entire package, but don't people grow beautiful physically when you get to know their heart? I guess I do not understand a male's mind. Male readers, help me on this one!

(Update in 2015: two of those beautiful single women were married in 2013 and a third in 2014.)

APPLICATION


Pray that God would provide life partners for the 1 Samuel 16:7 women you may know (If you do not know any, pray for my friends!). I pray that you can be a great encourager to them as they wait on God (Song of Solomon 2:7).


PRAYER


Lord, I pray that You would open the eyes of single men to see true beauty! In Jesus name, Amen. (Sounds like God answered that prayer for a couple of them, but there are still more!)
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