Wednesday, 29 November 2017
…but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 1 Timothy 2:10
The idea of this verse is combined with the word “adorn” of the previous verse. It is that women are to “adorn themselves … [in] godliness, with good works” instead of in “braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing.” Paul is making a point that what is right and proper for a woman in church is a spiritual adornment of godliness, mixed with a physical adornment of doing that which is right and honorable. He was probably thinking of someone like Tabitha (Dorcas) of Acts 9. Peter was called to heal this woman and the same general idea of her character was seen there –
“At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.” Acts 9:36
This Tabitha was a Jewish woman who followed the noble traits of the faithful women of her culture, exemplified by the faithful wife of Proverbs 31. She was a person of deed and exemplary action. Paul is thinking of such women of God and directing the Gentile women of the church, who were coming into the church of God, to act in this manner. His directions are to Timothy, and it was Timothy’s responsibility (and thus that of all later pastors) to nurture this in the women of God.
In Paul’s words the “professing godliness” signifies her state as a believer in Christ. “Jesus is my Savior, and I will honor Him with my life.” This profession is then displayed in the “good works” of such a person. Albert Barnes captures the sense of how this is highlighted in the woman of God who accepts and exemplifies this station –
“The nature of woman seems to be adapted to the performance of all deeds demanding kindness, tenderness, and gentleness of feeling; of all that proceeds from pity, sympathy, and affection; and we feel instinctively that while acts of hardy enterprise and daring in a good cause especially become a Christian man, there is something exquisitely appropriate to the female character in deeds of humble and unobtrusive sympathy and benevolence. God seems to have formed her mind for just such things, and in such things it occupies its appropriate sphere rather than in seeking external adorning.”
Life application: It is a sad thing that women of the church, especially since the mid to late 1800s, have pursued roles not intended for women. When Paul says in Galatians 3:28 that all are one in Christ, he is speaking of the spiritual state of believers. However, males and females are given different roles to carry out God’s purposes within the church. To ignore Paul’s words in the pastoral epistles is to obscure what God has ordained. It has led to great dysfunction within the church, and that has led to total apostasy in many large denominations. Let us look to the structure of the church as it is outlined in the pastoral epistles, accept what God has ordained, and not fight against what is right and proper in His eyes.
Lord God, You have ordained the roles of men and women in the church, and those roles are set out in the pastoral epistles for us to read, consider, and put into practice. When we ignore what is given there, only a degradation of the proper functioning of the church can result. Let us accept Your word, hold fast to its precepts, and be responsible members of the church which You have established. To Your glory we pray. Amen.