The Scriptorium

Men and Women in Church

God has an order for His economy. Who are we to change it? 1 Timothy 2.12-15

The Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy 2 (6)

Pray 72.8-11.

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him,
And His enemies will lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
Will bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba
Will offer gifts.
Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him.

Read and meditate on 1 Timothy 2.12-15.

Reflect.

1. Why does Paul appeal to the creation of Adam and Even in these verses? What does he want us to understand?

2. What does it mean to “have authority” in the church?

Meditate.
Paul’s understanding of the roles of men and women is rooted in the creation account of Genesis 1-3. God does nothing haphazardly. He is the God of order, and the order He has established is for the best and most fruitful working of His creation. It might not be the order you or I would prefer, but we do well to listen to the Word of God, rather than our own best ideas.

This is clear from the account of the fall into sin. Adam was created first, and God spoke His will to Adam concerning his purpose and the parameters within which he was to fulfill that purpose. Adam was responsible for what happened in the garden, and he had the authority – given to him from God – to ensure the right outworking of God’s will.

He failed in his responsibility by not guarding the garden against a voice contrary to the revealed Word of God (Gen. 2.15; 3.1-6). He stood by – literally – and allowed the voice of rebellion and disorder to usurp his God-given authority and bring disaster upon him, his family, and all creation.

The Church is the new garden of Eden, where God has placed His people so that they might fill the earth with followers of His Son, and bring out His goodness, beauty, and truth in all areas of life. In this new garden, God has established authority and responsibility. He knows what He’s doing, and He knows how best to accomplish His purposes. There will always be voices suggesting other or better ways of “doing church”. But when those voices contradict God’s Word, they must be opposed, or the results will be disorder and disaster.

We have seen that God has a high calling for women – a holy calling to sublime beauty, and demonstrated submission to Him, so that godliness and good works might abound. Likewise, God has a calling for men, just as He did for Adam, to have authority in the garden to guard the garden against false teaching (1 Tim. 1), and to teach the Word of God, so that the beauty and goodness of God can flourish – through women and men, and the work, culture, and witness they pursue together.

Life in God’s new garden can be painful, and much of that pain is the residue of Adam’s first failure of duty. But new life can thrive and flourish through pain – as it does through the pain of childbirth – if men and women (“they”, v. 15) will “continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control”.

And if we think we have better ideas than God, or that the voices of rebellion and disorder in our age know better than God how His garden should grow, then we need to remember Adam, and send those voices packing. Men who yield to disorderly, worldly, and self-serving voices, rather than hold fast to God’s Word, are not fit to rule in the church, as Paul will elaborate in 1 Timothy 3.

Reflect.
1. How is the Church like the garden of Eden? What did God intend for that garden? What does He intend for His Church?

2. Whenever we find ourselves questioning or disagreeing with the revealed Word of God, what should we do?

3. For both men and women to flourish, and for God’s beauty, goodness, and truth to abound, is it better to hold fast to the Word of God, or to accommodate contrary voices? Explain.

You see Eve was not subjected in her original condition as she was made. Nor was she called to submission when God first brought her to the man. She did not hear anything from God then about submissiveness. Nor did Adam originally say any such word to her. Rather he said indeed that she was “bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh,”
but of rule or subjection he mentioned nothing. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on 1 Corinthians 26.2

O Lord, let Your Word be the last word for me on all matters of faith and life, and guard me against thinking that…

Pray Psalm 72.7-14.

How will you seek the Kingdom and rule of God today, that it might come on earth, through your life, as it exists in heaven?

Sing Psalm 72.7-14.
Psalm 72.7-14 (Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
Let righteousness abundant be where Jesus’ reign endures. 
Let peace increase from sea to sea ‘til moonlight shall be no more. 

And let the Righteous rule the earth, and let His foes bow low. 
Let nations praise His matchless worth, and all His bidding do.

The Lord the needy rescues when he cries to Him for grace. 
All they who suffer violence find mercy before His face.

T. M. Moore

Whatever our calling in life, we are sent to bring the joy of Christ to the people around us. Our book, Joy to Your World!, can show you how to fill your Personal Mission Field with more of the Presence, promise, and power of Christ and His Kingdom. Order your copy, as a supplement to our study of 1 Timothy, by 
clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.