As Paul instructs Timothy on the proper roles of men and women, his assumption is that Christian men will take the lead in spirituality. “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger and quarreling”(1 Tim 2:8). “Holy hands” is a phrase that emphasizes the purity of our lives as a basis for our prayer (see Job 16:17, Psa 141:2, James 4:8-9). Paul also instructs “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works”(1 Tim 2:9-10). Christian women are not to dress in a flashy or ostentatious way, but to emphasize their inner beauty rather than their outward. Notice that this is “likewise” to what the men are doing, meaning that Paul expects the modesty and self-control of the women to follow that of the men.
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor”(1 Tim 2:11-14). Paul stresses that God intends men to be in a position of spiritual authority. He sees then in God’s creation of Adam first and in the biblical emphasis on the woman being deceived. He is not arguing here that all women are gullible or unable to teach, but that God has a plan for how men and women interact spiritually that hinges on men being teachers.
Such teaching is controversial in our day, yet the reality is that someone must lead. These verses are a call to men and women to respect the divine expectations for them—being honorable, holy leaders and modest, self-controlled, submissive followers. There is no shame in this; we all follow Christ and will answer for how we accept our place.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Does our modern culture affect the way I read this passage? Should it?
One Thing to Pray For: A pure and self-controlled life—so that I may “lift holy hands” as I pray