Paul has just made it known that by the foundation of Christ, believers should raise their hands, not to fight, but in holiness. Believing women should not adorn themselves with costly array, but with godliness. Paul now is going to relay some additional information regarding women. Let me say from the outset that what I’m going to write is simply a reflection of my understanding. (as is anything written on this site).
Again, the doctrines of Christ are the foundation and based on that, men and women are to carry themselves accordingly. However, this behavior also carries a proper order. One thing to remember is that Paul’s letters to Timothy would have daily life in mind. I do not get the impression from Paul’s writings that what we understand as a “church” today is what he has in mind, but yet how believers are to live. At the time that Paul wrote to Timothy, there was a general consensus that they were living in the last days. We see this in 2Timothy 3:1 when Paul warns Timothy that in the last days, perilous times shall come.
One of the characteristics of the last days is that deceitful men will have influence on women. In the garden, Eve was the target of Satan. Knowing that Adam wouldn’t be easily tricked, Satan turned to the woman. But why? Is it because women aren’t smart? No, far from it. However, it should be of very little mystery that women and men are wired differently. This isn’t to say that what I’m about to list can’t be shared characteristics, but on a general basis, there are some noticeable differences.
Men tend to see black and white, while women see a lot of gray.
Men tend to be very objective, while women tend to be very subjective.
Men tend to be very analytical, while women tend to be very relational.
Now, again, this isn’t to say that men don’t see gray or can’t be subjective or relational, nor is it to say that women can’t see black and white, and be objective and analytical. And, too, the degree by which men and women express these characteristics will vary.
But, because women tend to be very relational, they will make decisions based on how the decision will affect their relationships. I think of a mom who is at the store and sees things that she knows another member of her family would like. Men in the store just want to get out of the store. I don’t know how many times I’ve been drug through a store because my wife needed to “look at a sweater” and an hour later, we’ve established which family member would look nice in what outfit.
Satan goes after Eve and tells her that she will know good and evil. What is more enticing to a wife or a mom?–to protect from evil and champion which is good. Just as then, Paul warns that deceitful men will be taking women captive by false teaching and false doctrines – doctrines and teachings that are designed to allure their hearts. Therefore, it is given to men to be a protector of their wives in this area. False doctrine is very alluring, especially when it pleases the emotions.
I did some research on the Jonestown cult and found something interesting regarding the demographics, concerning gender. Females outnumbered the males a little more than 2:1. Females also had an important role in the Jonestown society. (http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=35666)
Paul goes on in 2Timothy 3 that Pharaoh’s sorcerers used trickery of the senses to distract from the truth, so too will women be more apt to be led astray by the very same. The mystery of iniquity is already at work, according to Paul (2Thess 2). Satan is at work to deceive and distract by the working of signs and wonders and miracles.
1Timothy 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
Subjection to their own husband, not to just any man who fancies himself a teacher. In other words, let the women learn in quietness and submitting their ultimate instruction to that of their husband. Paul isn’t saying that women cannot speak, or, seen but not heard, but as they are to adorn themselves with humility and shamefacedness, their learning should also be in line with that as well.
I will admit that there are probably some cultural aspects here that, not being alive at that time, we may not grasp fully.
1Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
This follows the same thinking as verse 11. Now, Paul is going to explain why he is saying this.
1Timothy 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
First Paul establishes that there is proper order in creation. Adam was created first, then Eve followed. Eve was formed as a help-meet to Adam, which also establishes proper functionality. Just as Eve was not to take authority over Adam, but to be a helper, so too the wife/woman is not to take authority over the husband/man – not as a matter of arbitrary prejudice, but by God’s design. This demonstrates the reality of what the Bible calls, headship.
1Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Many have come to the conclusion headship is just an expression of authority, but if Christ is the example, headship then would be much more. Headship certainly encompasses aspects of authority, but I see its primary purpose is provision. Headship has responsibility and that is to provide. The head of the man is Christ (the provider of every man is Christ); and the man is the head of the wife (the provider of every wife is the husband).
And, as Paul is writing to Timothy, the man is to provide spiritual and practical leadership to his wife as they both live in society. It isn’t in the wife’s hands to provide this for the husband, but rather the husband’s duty to provide it for the wife, for her safety and protection.
1Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Not only is this duty because of proper creative order and headship, but because of what happened in the garden. Eve was deceived. Again, note the tie to deception. Adam was not deceived but chose of his own will to follow Eve’s leading and that choice landed mankind in sin.
1Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety
Even though Eve was deceived, the ramifications of her deception wouldn’t be the end of Eve. Her deliverance would be her offspring, each one a variation from the original – Eve. And, in accordance with verses 9 and 10 of 1Timothy 2, the work of the woman of faith will be manifested in her children. Despite having Adam and Eve’s choice tainting her physical existence, she will see the blessing of God on display, ultimately, in her children.