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At the weekend, I read three enlightening comments from a former civil servant who told Guido Fawkes’s readers why, with a great majority of MPs, the Conservatives cannot truly enact an agenda of reform.

His first comment is in response to this:

When they got an 80 seat majority the first things they should have done were strip down the House of Lords, streamlined the implementation of new laws and culled many of the civil service jobs.

Unfortunately, the government did nothing to take on these vested interests and Labour Party will only further reinforce the status quo and tie the hands of future governments.

The former civil servant says (emphases mine):

As I say repeatedly – HOW?

The MPs don’t get super powers to bulldoze over obstructions based on the will of the population. You go to White Paper to review (possibly [a] Royal [Commission] for this), multiple boards of review after this for the stakeholders impacted (guaranteed rights under law).

What you are proposing would have been a 3/4 year process MINIMUM. Boundary reform has taken a decade and has been watered down.

Then when you’ve done the relevant reviews etc. you have to hope that the High Court or Supreme Court don’t strike down the legislation (which they would).

The next commenter suggested that only direct action in the streets would resolve the most tenacious issues.

The former civil servant replied:

I think we will see direct action against activist judges and those who have been seen to have stopped ‘the will of the people’ the next time the Tories are in. I can see them shifting blame from the chamber onto the legislative stack, and it’s not going to go down well with some sections of society that their democracy is trampled upon by the judiciary in particular.

I expect a more populist anti-1mm1gr4tion Tory party will win a majority after a single Labour term, given trends we have seen in Europe as we cross crime and civic cohesion thresholds.

A third reader persisted with the Government’s notional ability to effect change:

Parliament sets the law, so the first thing you do is repeal all the delaying legislation, then you set the new law for civil servants.

It doesn’t take long if there is the political will to do it – as we saw with the Coronavirus legislation.

The courts have no power to strike down legislation if Parliament has passed that legislation saying they can’t.

This was the response. SC refers to the Supreme Court, HC the High Court, CS the Civil Service and WP the White Paper:

No, you keep saying this, it’s not true. You always make these statements and you are always wrong.

There is an established process, you cannot undermine this process with your own process, until your process has gone through that process.

In short, you cannot change how parliament functions without going through the way it currently functions. You cannot establish law that cancels out other law without it going through constitutional review if a point of order is flagged up. Critically, and Blair constructed it this way, you can’t legislate the SC out of existence without the HC then SC agreeing to it being legislated out of existence. The SC sits above HoC in terms of supreme constitutional power (even just as an arbiter).

The coronovirus legislation was ARGUED for and SUPPORTED by UK CS and all parties – it wasn’t just about the will of the Commons, the entire legistlative stack pushed in one direction and things went quickly.

So even with a majority in the Commons you still have all the other opposition parties briefed by UKCS to make points of order; the courts will step in before first reading after the WP is published.

There is no institutional will for major constitutional reform benefiting the UK public at a government framework level, as in all the supporting civic arms of government are anti-democratic in their function, and they act as a ‘check and balance’ for the democratic government in the rare case of an outbreak of populism. All the lessons that needed to be learned from Thatcherism have been brought on board and enacted. It is not happening again.

It is antithetical to any centralised bureaucratic structure to ease the passage of legislation that would undo the centralisation is has spent hundreds of years undertaking. There’s a gravity to it. You could replace the entire elected parliamentary Tory Party with radical libertarian de-centralisers but it doesn’t change the broad WILL (as you put it) of everything else. It just leads to a pro-democracy bias in ONE element of the process.

That is so depressing.

Tony Blair pulled a blinder. Even after he dies, any future Conservative government will remain trussed up like a Christmas turkey.

Would the British people — the salt of the earth types — take to the streets? These days, it seems unlikely, especially as police are in place to ensure it doesn’t happen. We saw that during the anti-lockdown demonstrations. The police don’t have time for burglaries, but they’ll have time for Joe Bloggs with a placard. We already know they prefer to investigate tweets rather than crime.

There must be, to borrow a Blairism, a third way. What that is I have no idea. Answers on a postcard, please.


Bible treehuggercomThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur (as specified below).

1 Timothy 2:8-15

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling; 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, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.


Last week’s post discussed Paul’s turning Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan and what that means both in the Old and the New Testaments, for good purposes and as judgements.

This is a long post, explaining the role of women in the church.

1 Timothy 2 begins as follows (emphases mine):

Pray for All People

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Occasionally, I read of pastors who do not say prayers for those in government. However, it is good, as Paul says, to pray for them and their leadership at whatever level.

Here is one such prayer from the Anglican 1662 Book of Common Prayer. This comes from the Communion liturgy:

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church militant here in earth.

Almighty and everliving God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make prayers and supplications, and to give thanks, for all men: We humbly beseech thee most mercifully [*to accept our alms and oblations, and] to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty; beseeching thee to inspire continually the universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant, that all they that do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love. We beseech thee also to save and defend all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors; and specially thy servant CHARLES our King; that under him we may be godly and quietly governed: And grant unto his whole Council, and to all that are put in authority under him, that they may truly and indifferently minister justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue. Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and Curates, that they may both by their life and doctrine set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments: And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace; and specially to this congregation here present; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive thy holy Word; truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life. And we most humbly beseech thee of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all them, who in this transitory life are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity. And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom: Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ‘s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

Paul then discusses the role of men and women at prayer, going on to focus on women’s role in church worship.

For those who are new to my posts on 1 Timothy, here is the context that John MacArthur provides for this letter from Paul to his 35-year-old protégé which concerns the churches in Ephesus and surrounding cities which were plagued by false teachers in leadership roles:

Paul has concluded his three missionary journeys.  He has just been released from his first imprisonment in Rome.  He is now a free man.  The book of Acts is completed.  And as he moves out of prison, he meets Timothy in the city of Ephesus.

Apparently word has reached him that things in Ephesus are not as they ought to be.  And Ephesus and the church there was close to his heart He had spent three years of his ministry there.  He had poured his soul into that church.  He had said about that ministry that he had not failed in Ephesus to declare all the council of God.  He had warned them night and day for three years that error would come from the outside and evil would rise from the inside.  And sure enough, his worst fears had come to pass.  The church had entered into doctrinal error.  The church had entered into ungodly living, and many things were wrong in that church.  Most significantly of all, the leadership had been corrupted doctrinally and morally.  The church then had pastors, and elders, and those who were the official deacons of the church who needed to be replaced with godly people.

Well, Paul met Timothy there, and I believe personally dealt with Hymenaeus and Alexander, as mentioned in 1:20.  Then Paul had to leave to go west for further ministry, but left Timothy there in Ephesus And Timothy was to straighten out the rest of the issues in the church.  Paul’s only been gone a few weeks, and he writes this letter back to Timothy to strengthen his hand, to encourage him in the task, and to make sharp his focus as to what he was to be about.

Paul tells Timothy his desire is that, in every place, men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling (verse 8).

Paul had a true gift for saying a lot in one sentence. There are several aspects and a few different interpretations to the verse from our commentators.

Matthew Henry gives this a broad interpretation, especially of the words ‘every place’. When he says ‘men’, he likely includes women. Furthermore, ‘closet’ refers to what were known centuries ago as prayer closets, small rooms where one could withdraw in silence for private prayer:

A direction how to pray, v. 8. 1. Now, under the gospel, prayer is not to be confined to any one particular house of prayer, but men must pray every where: no place is amiss for prayer, no place more acceptable to God than another, John 4 21. Pray every where. We must pray in our closets, pray in our families, pray at our meals, pray when we are on journeys, and pray in the solemn assemblies, whether more public or private. 2. It is the will of God that in prayer we should lift up holy hands: Lifting up holy hands, or pure hands, pure from the pollution of sin, washed in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. I will wash my hands, etc., Ps 26 6. 3. We must pray in charity: Without wrath, or malice, or anger at any person. 4. We must pray in faith without doubting ( Jam 1 6), or, as some read it, without disputing, and then it falls under the head of charity.

MacArthur has lengthy explanations of all aspects of this verse, beginning with the word ‘desire’, which is ‘will’ in his translation:

I want you to notice he says “I will,” and he uses not the word thelō, which is the will of desire used back in verse 4 where it says God will have all men to be saved. That was the will of desire. This is boulomai, the will of mental purpose. It’s almost like I demand or I command or I purpose that this should happen or I lay this down as an absolute. Paul is now in a commanding mode. Therefore because of what we have just seen, this tremendous, tremendous statement about why we are to pray for the lost, I’m telling you the men are to pray in every place.

MacArthur is certain that Paul is referring uniquely to men here. He sees this as leading prayer in church worship:

Now would you please notice that where it says men, it is tous andras, the plural of anēr, which is man not in the generic sense but man in the male sense, as opposed to gunē which is the female. So he is saying men as males, that is to say in the life of the church when the church comes together and it is time to pray for the lost, the men are to do the praying. Now this is the emphasis. It is very clearly used here. That is to say Paul selects his terms carefully. I will that the men, or the males, pray. Now in the Jewish synagogue in the Old Testament time, only men were permitted to pray. The stress here leads one to believe that this was carried into the church in terms of the leadership of the church, being as we know in Scripture, belonging to the men in the public worship. And apparently in Ephesus this was being tested by some women who were usurping the male role.

But nonetheless, it is God’s pattern for the life of the church that men are those who lead in the public worship. And in this situation he is affirming that. He says I demand of you not just a simple wish of my heart, but I lay this down – boulomai – as a demand – that the men do the praying. The men do the praying.

MacArthur examines what Paul meant by ‘every place’:

The term everywhere in the Authorized is actually ‘in every place.’ Most interesting. Most interesting. That little phrase is used four times by Paul – in every place – here, 1 Corinthians 1:2, and 1 Thessalonians 1:8. It in all four places refers to the official assembly of the church. And what he is saying is that when the church comes together in its duly recognized and official assembly, I demand that the men do the praying. And the word here for pray is habitually pray. It is to be the common practice that this prayer go on in behalf of the unsaved people and that it be carried by the men.

MacArthur says that the lifting up of holy hands does not mean lifting up one’s arms as well, which is a popular modern practice in some churches. Paul is referring to lifting one’s hands upwards, which was an ancient Jewish gesture in prayer:

The attitude with which you pray, lifting up holy hands without wrath and dissension. Now what does this mean, lifting up holy hands? Does this mean – this? With the hands in the air and swaying? Or this? What? I’ve seen all of that …

It was customary in that time for the Jews to turn their hands as they prayed even in the Old Testament, you can look in the Old Testament, 1 Kings 8:22, Nehemiah 8:6, Psalm 63:4. I think also Psalm 134:2, Psalm 141:2 and also in Isaiah 1:15, you’ll see illustrations of them lifting the hands to the Lord. The hands are one thing and the arms are something else. But there’s nothing wrong with that.

We have a customary posture for prayer, we bow our heads and close our eyes. They didn’t do that. That’s right. That’s not biblical. I don’t know where that came from. I think it probably started maybe – well certainly since New Testament times and maybe not very long ago. And it’s okay. Whatever the custom might be, that’s nice. It doesn’t really matter …

The point here is not that when you pray you’ve got to have your hands in the air.

Paul mentioned two adverse aspects of male life at the time: anger and quarrelling. The idea was that men were to put aside their differences before coming to worship, something Jesus also discussed during His ministry.

MacArthur explains:

The hand is the symbol of the activities of life. Most of the things you do in life involve your hands. And the point is whoever prays ought to be the kind of person who is living a holy life. That’s the point. There are no such thing as holy hands in themselves. Purity of hands is simply a way to express the idea of purity of life. So who are the men who are to pray? Those who have clean hands. What does that mean? … Clean hands in the sense of pure living and a pure heart, as Psalm 24 says. So clean hands and a pure heart of Psalm 24, or here you have the same thing, holy hands and without wrath and dissension. The without wrath and dissension refer to the inner attitude – not anger, not dissenting against God or men. That is pure hearted with a loving heart.

By the way, the word “holy” here is not the word hagios which is the normal word for holy. It’s hosios which means the opposite of polluted – unpolluted, unstained by evil. So when those men stand up to pray who are to pray for the lost, they’re to be men whose lives are holy and men whose hearts are pure. Wonderful. That’s the attitude. That’s the attitude.

Then Paul moves on to women — ‘likewise’ — and with different directives for them: adorning themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls and costly attire (verse 9).

Briefly, in modern parlance, Paul is telling women to leave the ‘bling’ at home. They should not dress for church as if they were going to a nightclub.

Unfortunately, women’s appearance was problematic in Ephesus and neighbouring churches. This letter of Paul’s refers to women in several places.

As for today’s verses, MacArthur says:

Now there were many problems in that church.  One of them – one of them – related to the place of women.  Obviously, if the church was entering into areas of false doctrine, obviously, if it was ungodly in its behavior, this would impact the women in the church as well as the men And since usually there are more women in a church then there are men, this could have indicated a great proliferation of problems Things were not right in that church and it impacted the women …

In this passage, we learn that not only were women having problems with purity, not only were they turning aside to Satan, breaking pledges they had made to Christ, being led around by their own diverse lusts, but here there were some of these women who were acting indecently That is to say bringing these improprieties, impurities, and immoralities into the worship of the church And under the pretense of coming to worship God were flaunting themselves, and desecrating that worship by the dress and demeanor that betrayed an evil intent rather than a heart of worship.

Whereas men had their own issues, being out and about in the world, women were at home and preoccupied by their appearance:

So the life and the heart of men were the issue in verse 8, and now the life and the heart of women become the issue in verse 9.

Since clothing is an issue of some importance with the fairer sex, Paul begins with a discussion of their appearance.  And that is the first point that I want you to see.  He discusses their appearance.  And without question in my mind, he is revealing a problem in the church at Ephesus, and not only there but, no doubt, their problems were symptomatic of problems in the church everywhere.

MacArthur discusses the word ‘adorn’:

Now let me just talk about the word “adorn.”  The word “adorn” is kosme.  We get the word “cosmetic” from it.  It has to do with how a woman prepares herself.  It means basically “to arrange, to put in order, to make ready.”  And he is saying a woman is to make herself ready.  I want to start with that very simple thought. 

When a woman comes to worship, there is a preparation involved.  A woman should prepare herself for worship.  She should make herself ready.  That is assumed, that is a given.  And when they prepare themselves, it should be in adorning apparel.  And here is another form of the word kosme from the same root, this is an adjective, kosmios and it simply carries the same idea She is to prepare herself with the proper preparation.  She is to adorn herself with the proper adornment.  The word kosmios, the adjective form, means “orderly, becomingly, properly, well-ordered, well-arranged.”  So a woman, then, is to come to worship properly arranged.  That is to say that there is some preparation for worship, obviously.

‘Apparel’ here means more than just clothing, which is how we understand the word:

Now the word that is translated in the King James by the term “apparel” is really a bigger term than that.  It means not only clothing, but is used in many places to mean demeanor, or attitude, or action.  It can be the deportment of a woman.  The idea then is here is a total preparation.  When a woman comes to worship, she is to be totally prepared.  She is to be adorned from the inside out.  And one demonstration of that is in the proper kind of apparel.

Now we said the word kosme is to arrange and kosmios speaks of the orderness, orderliness, of that arrangement.  The noun that comes from that same root is the word kosmos from which we get the word “world.”  It’s translated very often “world.”  It really means “order” or “system.”  And the opposite of kosmos is chaos And so we could conclude that a woman is not to come to worship in a chaotic fashion.  That is in disorder, disarray, without a proper preparation, with an unbecoming demeanor, or an unbecoming wardrobe.

Now the idea we know here emphasis-wise is clothing, but the underlying idea is attitude, which we’ll get to in a moment, which is godly fear and self-control But he is talking about clothing because he’s very specific about hair, gold, pearls, and expensive garments. 

The point is this.  Initially, a woman is to prepare herself for worship.  And that preparation involves a heart attitude and it involves a proper adornment on the outside She is to come not in a disarray in spirit, and not in a disarray in clothing, not in a disarray in any way, but in proper respect for the matter of worship.  She is to be dressed in a manner that is well-suited to worship, that is orderly, that fits the God-intended spiritual purpose of the meeting of the church.  Her clothing should reflect a worshiping heart focused on God and focused on God’s glory.

There were big criticisms of the way women dressed in that era and for a few centuries beyond that. Some women — believers and non-believers — were extravagant. Even pagans of the day took issue with them:

Now let me give you a little idea of what the culture was like and where these things might come from.  There was a man by the name of Juvenal who lived about 40 to – about 60 – to 140 A.D.  He was a poet and he has written many things that we have found, and so we get a little characterization of that time in the Roman Empire by reading his writing In one document that has been found, he wrote this.  “There is nothing that a woman will not permit herself to do.  Nothing that she deems shameful.  And when she encircles her neck with green emeralds and fastens huge pearls to her elongated ears, so important is the business of beautification So numerous are the tiers and stories piled one another on her head that she pays no attention to her own husband.”

Now Juvenal gives us a little insight into women who were preoccupied with their appearance.  And certainly we would agree today that our culture is preoccupied with that.  Our culture has the cult of worshiping the human anatomy, and worshiping fashion, and worshiping hairdos.  I mean, it’s just – it’s our culture.  And if the church today falls influence to that system, why should we expect anything different in the early church?  It’s always the world system that endeavors to encroach on the church, and tragically the church sooner or later seems to welcome that encroachment

In Philo’s description of a prostitute, which is quite interesting, in his writing called The Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, he writes this.  “A prostitute is often described as having hair dressed in elaborate braids, her eyes with pencil lines, her eyebrows smothered in paint, and her expensive clothes embroidered lavishly with flowers, and bracelets, and necklaces of gold and jewels hanging all over her.”

Now in that particular culture, then, the woman of the world, the woman who wanted to flaunt her wealth, and flaunt her beauty, and call attention to herself and attract everybody’s interest, and sexually allure someone was the woman who was overdressed, over-made up, and over painted in every sense.  Now this was the woman of the world.  This marked out the prostitute or the garish, gaudy, lavish kind of person.  And what the apostle Paul is saying.  That cannot come into a worship service without being an overt statement.  “Folks, I’m not here to worship God.  I’m here to attract your attention.”  That’s his intent.

In Rome, for example, Pliny tells of the bride of Caligula, whose name was Lollia Paulina, and it said that very often when attending some very special event, she was arrayed in pearls, emeralds, and gold which exceeded in value one million dollars.

Interestingly, pagans also forbade extravagant women’s adornment:

if you study the cults of Rome, that is the cultic religious systems, and study the mystery religions of that time, you will find that they had very stringent rules about the dress and the appearance of the women who came into those worship times The cults were very strong on this. 

For example, there is one inscription that has been discovered that reads like this.  “A consecrated woman shall not have gold ornaments, nor rouge, nor face whitening, nor a headband, nor braided hair, nor shoes, except they be of felt or the skins of sacrificed animals.”

Now that religious cult was saying that no woman can come in here unless she is properly dressed … 

So, you can see the tension that is existing in the Ephesian congregation that is concerning Paul and Timothy.  And that is the fact that here is the church sitting in the middle of the corrupt world, endeavoring to be a testimony of godliness to everyone around it.  And if the church catches the disease of the world, then it brings reproach on Christ, and it destroys its own testimony.  To have the women in the church who are supposed to be the epitome of godliness appear like prostitutes or gaudy, showy women trying to call attention to themselves, or to have them come with the intent of alluring other men and making them discontent with their own wife, or even worse, to allure them into a sexual relationship, would be to blaspheme the intent of the church, certainly when it comes together to worship the living and holy God.

So, the point in all of this is that the world of that day and the world of this day has always had a preoccupation with the adornment of women.  And there are always women who want to put themselves on display.  And it’s a very delicate balance and a very fine line for a godly woman to know when she is properly dressed to demonstrate the grace and the beauty of womanhood, to show her love for her own husband and submission to him, and yet to avoid being the center of attraction that causes people’s thoughts to turn away from God to those things which are shameful.

MacArthur says that there was a high level of poverty at that time, which was another reason why extravagant women would not reflect well on the church:

In that day, people were very poor.  In fact, for example, a very costly dress worn by a very wealthy woman would cost up to 7,000 denarii Now a denarius is one day’s pay for a common laborer So 7,000 days pay for one of those dresses.  And she would come flowing into church in one of these very expensive garments and the whole focus of worship would turn to her, and everything would be lost.  And the women would feel second class, and the men would take a look at their wife and look at her – (snap) – why couldn’t I have married a rich one, you know?  It just did not contribute to worship.

Hair was another issue. It was elaborately plaited with ornaments here, there and everywhere:

The intent is that it was a sin to overdo and to develop such an elaborate hairdo that it did nothing but call attention to yourself.  And what happened was the women would literally take their gold, and silver, and pearls, and jewelry, and these tortoise shell combs, and things like that, and they would stack their fortune on their headThis was the custom. 

A braid is one thing, a braid woven with a gold chain, another braid woven with pearls is something else.  This was a way of flaunting wealth.  And that’s what Paul speaks to, the elaborate braiding of a fortune in jewelry in the hair.  Gold, of course, has always been valuable.  It was then, and in those days pearls were about three times the value of gold, so a woman could put a fortune on her head.  The women also wore gold on their fingers.  They wore them on their ears.  They wore them on their sandals.  They even hung gold on their dresses.  And it was out of place.

Now that is not to say that you shouldn’t own gold and pearls There’s nothing in the Scripture to indicate that God wants everybody poor.  And I remember so well, and you do, too, don’t you, remember reading in Song of Solomon 1:9-11 how that the bride is decked in beautiful things around her neck?  And I’m reminded of the Proverbs 31 woman in verse 22 who had such beautiful clothing in order to honor her husband and appear beautiful in his presence.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s just that when that becomes the focus of your attention and the intent that you have is to draw attention to yourself by that, and you know that in your environment, and in your culture that’s exactly what it does, you have violated the spirit of worship.

On the other hand, MacArthur also laments the opposite of extravagance. He preached this sermon in 1986:

Coming to church with no preparation will cause attention to be drawn to you, as well.  And it’s amazing.  The world is coming to a, what looks to me like an anti-beauty fashion.  Do you feel that way?  I tell you, I have never seen so many ugly hairdos and wardrobes in my life It’s almost as if women have bought the lie that womanhood is bad and they want to make it as ugly as possible It’s amazing.  Amazing. 

Good grief. I’d say it’s even worse today. I see many women who portray themselves as comic book characters: overly sized, ugly goggles for spectacles and hideous hair in either style or colour (sometimes both). The list goes on.

Paul says that women should adorn themselves with the good works — i.e. fruits of faith — that signify godliness (verse 10).

Henry simply says:

Note, Good works are the best ornament; these are, in the sight of God, of great price. Those that profess godliness should, in their dress, as well as other things, act as becomes their profession; instead of laying out their money on fine clothes, they must lay it out in works of piety and charity, which are properly called good works.

MacArthur says:

The point that I’m making is that the woman’s adornment is to be that she has an adorned heart, she has a beautiful heart, she has a beautiful character You show me a woman with a beautiful character, you show me a woman with a meek and quiet spirit, you show me a woman who has an incorruptible heart, you show me a woman who comes to worship God, and I’ll show you a woman whose wardrobe you don’t have to worry about because the heart dictates that issue.

So, Paul calls Christian women then, as does Peter, to an adornment that exalts God, especially in the time of worship.  Now when you have a wedding, you can dress like a bride And when you go to some very formal occasion, you may dress properly for that.  And there may be a special time for everything.  But the worship of the church is a time for humility.  It’s a time for meekness.  It’s a time for a broken and a contrite spirit.  It’s a time for confessing your sin … 

A woman’s adornment starts with the heart.  Ladies, it all starts with the heart.  Godly fear is a word used only here [verse 9], the word aids, it means modesty mixed with humility It’s a marvelous word.  It has at its heart the sense of shame.  That’s right.  It has at its heart the sense of shame.  The root idea is a sense of shame … 

And a woman with a proper sense of shame will dress in such a way as not to be alluring and not to be the source of temptation.  The word carries in it the innate idea of morally rejecting anything dishonorable to God, of shrinking way back from the limits of womanly modesty.  One lexicographer, that is one translator of the Greek, suggests that the word implies something as strong as grief over the sense of sin, that a woman would be so grieved and so sensitive to sin, so hating sin that offends God that she would never come close to doing anything that could generate in another person’s mind any sinful attitude

Now we get into something which is contentious these days but was not so in Paul’s era. In fact, what he offered was positively liberating.

Women, for the most part, were practically sub-human. Consequently, whether they were Jews or Gentiles, they were not educated.

Paul was offering them doctrinal learning, at a time when any education for women was novel.

MacArthur explains how the Jews of the day viewed women:

when the church comes together, Paul is saying, let the women learn Don’t send them all out to get the potluck ready for what is going to happen afterwards.  Don’t send them all into the nursery or whatever might need to be done outside, let the women learn.  They were to be included in the learning opportunity.  Now you say, isn’t that rather obvious?  Well, might be obvious to us, but apparently it wasn’t not obvious to them.  How is it that it wasn’t obvious?  Well, one of the things that we learned in chapter 1 was that existing in the Ephesian church at this time were come Jews who were holding on to their Judaism They were into genealogies and fables, that is mentioned in chapter 1 verse 4.  Chapter 1 verse 7 talks about the fact that they were into being teachers of the law, they wanted to be rabbis.  There is little doubt in anyone’s mind who studies 1 Timothy that there was an element within the church at Ephesus that was bringing a Judaistic mentality to the church.

And part of contemporary Jewish tradition of that day was low esteem for women.  Jewish tradition at the time of our Lord and the time of Paul had put women into a low profile position.  The mentality would be basically to keep them ignorant, barefoot, and pregnant.  That kind of thing.  Jewish men frankly, did not feel that women were a part of the learning process necessarily.  They were not forbidden to come to the synagogue.  They would come.  It was immaterial whether they did.  They could learn it was inconsequential whether they did.  They were not required by the traditions to attend the feasts.  They were not required to attend the festivals and most rabbis refused, upon meeting a woman to give her any kind of greeting at all The rabbis did not feel that they would waste their time instructing woman. Some of the rabbis actually said that teaching women is like throwing pearls to pigs, so there was a very depreciated view as a woman’s role as learner in spiritual matters.  They really had not significant place at all.  They could listen, but it was of little consequence whether they listened or whether they learned anything at all.  Now you can understand that this kind of thing existed in the early church when Judaism with its mentality encroached upon that.  And what happens in this situation no doubt in Ephesus is that there is a certain amount of suppression of women

That said, some of the false teachers were allowing women to lead worship, which Paul objected to, because it was never part of Old Testament worship or that of Christ’s ministry with the Apostles, for that matter. Recall that our Lord trained Paul himself through visions while the Apostle was in an African desert for three years.

So, we have women assuming authority, but Paul wants them to remain in the congregation — although he does want them to learn, quietly with all submissiveness (verse 11):

But before Paul gets into the details of how he corrects this, he starts by correcting this issue of whether women have a right to learn and he says basically, I command that the women be given the right to learn.

The women must be taught.  They must be discipled.  They must learn God’s truth.  It is essential to their spiritual life and it is essential to their role in the plan of God.  And here we find in that brief four-word statement in English, let the women learn, which is actually two words.  The word women and then the verb in the Greek, we find there the equality of the sexes in spiritual life and blessing.  And that’s what I want you to see as we begin.

Classic Old Testament Jewish worship included women along with men. I hadn’t known until now that women could take a Nazarite vow at that time. Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist took lifelong Nazarite vows. Paul took a few customary short-term ones:

In terms of spiritual life and blessing, men and women enjoy equality. Now, that isn’t anything new in the New Testament.  That was true in the Old Testament and I want to take a little bit of time to point that out to you.  In spite of Jewish tradition, the Old Testament did not teach the suppression of women in spiritual matters.  That was a non-biblical tradition.  The Old Testament elevated woman alongside men in an equal position of spiritual life and blessing, for example, in Exodus 19 and 20 God gave the law, you don’t need to look it up, but just remember it.  In Exodus 19 and 20, God gave the law, the Ten Commandments, and he gave those commandments to men and women.  And he promised to men and woman, those who obeyed would be blessed and those who disobeyed would be punished or cursed and that was given equally to men and women, therefore it was from the very beginning laid down by God that both men and women are responsible for their spiritual life and their obedience before God.  In Deuteronomy 6, where you have the Shema, the Lord our God is one.  The Lord is one, and then you have the instruction that you are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  That is not set apart only for men, that is for men and women.  And the families were to talk about it all the time, teach it to their children so that both the external Decalogue of Exodus 19 and 20 and the internal attitude of love toward God were required of men and women.

There was no difference in those areas.  In Exodus 12, when God ordained the Passover, which was the single greatest celebration in the calendar of the year for the Jews, that great celebration of God’s redemptive power in delivering them from Egypt, that was for men and women Both of them were to be involved not only in responsible Christian or responsible biblical behavior, responsible obedience, but they were also responsible to be engaged in the praise and the worship festivals of the people Men and women.  Further, it is interesting to me that throughout the Old Testament penalties given for sin were given equally for all people, men or women I was reading one of them this morning in Exodus chapter 21 versus 28 to 31, where it talks about what do you do to an ox who gores a man or a woman?  A manservant or a maidservant, a brother or a sister and this position of the animal and that case under the law of the God was the same.  In other words, God valued the life of a man and a life of a woman equally and the punishment of the animal that did that was the same in either case.  So they had equality on the spiritual level, in terms of spiritual responsibility to obey the law, they had equality on the level of worship and praise and the great convocations of Israel, and they also were equal in terms of the value of life as indicated in the sentences and penalties given in regard to sins against them both It is also very interesting to me that in the Old Testament, the single greatest spiritual vow, known as a Nazarite vow, a vow of separation.  That single greatest Nazarite vow, that is a vow of separation from the world A vow of devotion to God, which cut a person off from the world around them.  They took a great giant step of total consecration to God.  That Nazarite vow belonged not just to men, although we are most familiar with men who took it but also to women.

However, although Jewish women of the Old Testament era had opportunities for some types of ministry:

This does not mean that they had the same role as men.  And that is something that we must understand.

And let’s talk about that aspect of it.  There are no women kings listed in the kings of Israel and there are no women kings listed in the kings of Judah.  There are none.  It would seem to me that that is a fairly significant statement about leadership.  There are none.  There are no women priests in the entire Old Testament.  None.  There are no women who wrote a book or a portion of a book in the Old Testament.  None, 39 books, no one of them or even a portion of one of them, was written by a woman.  Though two are named after women, Ruth and Ester, they were not written by women.  There is no woman in the entire Old Testament who had an ongoing prophetic ministry.  That fascinates me as well.  There is no woman who had an ongoing prophetic ministry, who winds up in the Minor Prophets or the Major Prophets or who stands alongside Elijah, Elisha, or any other great teacher or leader of the Old Testament with an ongoing ministry. 

Now people today want to advocate woman preachers want to say, but there are several women mentioned as prophetess in the Old Testament.  That is correct, there are five and I would like you to listen carefully as I describe those five to you.  The first woman listed as a prophetess is Miriam.  Miriam is called a prophetess in Exodus 15:20.  Miriam is the sister of Moses.  She is called a prophetess because and only because she on one occasion lead the women of Israel in a great hymn of praise with timbrel and dance, wherein God gave her a revelation to speak, a very brief one But at that time, she was a mouthpiece for God.  God chose to speak to those women at that time of praise through her.

We know of no other occasion where she ever acted in a prophetic office, and had no ongoing prophetic ministry.  The word prophet or prophetess or to prophecy means to speak forth Obviously, having reference to speaking forth the Word of God on that occasion and she did that, but shows no ongoing prophetic work.  The second of the five women called prophetess is a woman named Deborah, who appears as a unique instrument of God in Judges chapter 4.  And verse 4, she is therefore called a prophetess only because she was used by God to give a direct revelation from God to man named Barak She gave that direct revelation on that unique occasion on the battle that was going on and thus, at that moment, she was a prophetess.  She was speaking on behalf of God.  God used her at that time to speak that message to an individual.  Miriam gave her prophecy to women, and Deborah spoke her prophecy basically to a man, but again, we know of no other occasion wherever she engaged herself in any kind of ongoing prophetic work.  The third woman mentioned and called prophetess is Huldah, h-u-l-d-a-h.  She is mentioned in 2 Kings 22:14 and following and 2 Chronicles 34:22 and following, parallel passages She is called a prophetess only because she was given a revelation from God as Deborah was to be given to Hilkiah the priest about the coming judgment on Jerusalem and Judah.  God spoke through her on that occasion.  We know of no other such occasion, none other is ever recorded about her and we know of no ongoing prophetic ministry.

The fourth woman called a prophetess is a woman named Noahdiah, and she is mentioned in Nehemiah 6:14 and is called a false prophetess.  So, we eliminate her.  She was antagonistic against the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and would have been an ally of Sanballat and Tobiah and the enemies that tried to keep the Jews from rebuilding their city.  She was a false prophetess.  And there have been many woman false prophetesses to be sure. 

The fifth one mentioned is the wife of Isaiah and in Isaiah chapter 8 verse 3, his wife is called a prophetess, only because, she gave birth to a child whose name had prophetic meaning.  She never spoke a prophecy.  She simply gave birth to a child whose name had prophetic meaning and she is called a prophetess only in that sense.  Now you can see from that illustration of the wife of Isaiah, that the word prophetess was used in a somewhat general way.  So you have five mentioned.  One is a prophetess simply because she gave birth to a child whose name had a prophetic meaning, another is a false prophetess and three are called prophetess because on one occasion, they spoke a word on behalf of God, but there is, and I repeat again, no ongoing prophetic ministry of a woman in the Old Testament.

Now what does that tell us?  Without woman kings, without women priests and without woman authors of Scripture and without woman prophets we learn very much about God’s design for the role of man and women.  Please keep in mind that this is not to speak depreciating in any way, the woman’s spiritual capability.  It is talking about her role.  And we’ll fill that out as we go down through the rest of the passage.  No woman in the Old Testament is seen in an ongoing role of leadership under the authority and the plan of God or in any public preaching, teaching ministry.

The issue these days is a verse from Galatians which does pertain to equality, but only with regard to the open offer of salvation, not of ministry:

Let’s go to Galatians chapter 3.  And this is the passage that seems to be creating the controversy.  Galatians 3:28 and this is where people who advocate women ordination and woman elders and women preachers and all that, this is where they like to go.  There is neither Jew nor Greek.  There is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Now, that’s pretty simple and I don’t have a problem with that and you don’t.  No one really should.  All it is saying we are all one in Christ, in what sense?  In what sense are we one in Christ?  Well, you need to read the context to find out what he’s talking about.  So you go back a little bit and you find out that he’s talking about salvation, you go back, for example, well, you could go back to verse 13, Christ has redeemed us.  And he talks a little about redemption.  You could go back to verse 22, the Scriptures concluded everybody under sin and then the promise by faith of Jesus Christ is given to them that believe and of course, that is another way to look at salvation, we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are at the end of verse 24, justified by faith.  That is we are made right with God through our faith, verse 26, we are all the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus, we have all been baptized into Christ.  We have put on Christ.  So the equality and the oneness he speaks of, listen carefully, is that we are all one in the sense of salvation.

You see that?  There is nothing to do with the role of a woman or a man.  We are all one in Christ.  The point is, everyone can come to Christ.  It doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, it doesn’t matter if you are a bond slave or a free man.  It doesn’t matter if you are man or a woman, you can all receive eternal life in Christ, is that not the obvious intent of the passage, of course, we are all sons of God.

We are all the seed of Abraham.  That is we are connected to Abraham who is sort of like the father of those who have faith.  We are all heirs, verse 6 of chapter 4.  We are all sons.  We all possess the Holy Spirit.  The whole passage before and after is talking about the wonderful reality of salvation in Christ which is available to all people, Jew, Gentile, bond, free, male, or female, that’s all it’s talking about.  It has nothing to do with the role of women in the church.  And it certainly doesn’t mean that when you become a Christian, all that is rubbed out

For example, in the New Testament, there is no woman preacher, none.  There is not a woman pastor/teacher.  There is not a woman elder, there is not a woman evangelist.  There is not a woman who wrote and you have 27 books in the New Testament, any portion of the New Testament.  All 66 books are written by men and the New Testament is consistent with God’s plan for women as revealed in the old.  No woman is an evangelist.  No woman is a preacher/teacher, no woman pastors a congregation.  No woman takes the role of an elder.  There is no recorded in the text of all the New Testament a sermon delivered by a woman or teaching given by a woman.  None.  They are not prophets, they are not evangelists, and so women will come along and say, but what about the four daughters of Philip in Acts 21:9 it says, and Philip had four daughters, virgins who did prophesy It does not say they were prophets.  It does not say they were evangelist.  It does not say they were missionaries.  It does not say they were elders.  It does not say they were pastor teachers.  It says they prophesied.  Some time, someplace like Deborah or Miriam by God’s design and God’s holy purpose, they gave a word from God.  We don’t know why or how.  We don’t know whether they spoke in unison like a quartet or whether they spoke independently of each other.  We just know that there was a time and a place that God spoke through them.  Listen, Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus herself spoke prophetically when she received from the Word of God himself the response, you remember in the presence of Elizabeth and she poured out what is become known as her Magnificat, her glory to God.  She gives an utterance that is divine inspiration, in that sense, Mary prophesied, spoke forth, the word means.  Spoke forth the Word of God and I’m sure there were many occasions when other women spoke forth the Word of God.  In 1 Corinthians 11:5, it even says, a woman who prays or prophesies should have her head covered.  There were times and places for women to pray and to speak for the Word of God.

It says in Acts 2:17 that in the later times, quoting from Joel, women will prophesy.  It says your daughters will prophesy.  Your young men will dream dreams and your daughters will prophesy.  The words simply means speak forth.  There are times and places when women speak the Word of God.  I hope every woman in this church does that, but that is distinctly different than being identified as a pastor, teacher, elder, evangelist, apostles.  There are no woman apostles.  There are no women disciples, there are no woman pastors, evangelists, et cetera, et cetera, that has to be noted and no woman wrote any part of the New Testament Scripture.  They have different roles.  Does that mean that they were inadequate spiritually?  Not at all.  Not at all.

MacArthur tells us about the status of women among Gentiles from the Greek world:

Now remember, you have in the church of Ephesus, a gentile culture as the basic culture in which the church exists.  Asia Minor which is modern Turkey was a gentile place and women were ranked in gentile religion very low, very low.  In fact, if you were to go to the temple of Diana of the Ephesians of Ephesus, you would find hundreds and hundreds of priestesses there called “melissae” whose primary function was to act as prostitutes for the male worshipers.  They were chattel.  They were to be used and discarded.  Furthermore, any respectable Greek woman who was not some kind of prostitute, some kind of streetwalker led a very confined life She lived in her own quarters into no one but her husband could enter She had not even the privilege of appearing at the meal unless she was invited to be there.  She never at any time appeared on the street alone She never went to any public assembly and still less did she ever speak or take any active part in an assembly.

My counter to MacArthur’s assertions is that education has made a significant difference to women’s lives and opportunities. Women simply weren’t educated throughout history until relatively recently.

I leave it to readers to make up their own minds.

Returning to Paul and verse 11 concerning learning quietly and with all submissiveness, MacArthur says:

Two things there, they are to be silent and subject.  The word silence means just that hsuchia it just means silence We have to define what that is intended to say by the context.  The word subjection is from hupotass which means to line up under In other words, to get in their proper line and not rebel.  They are not to be unruly.  They are to get inline in their proper place.  So women are to learn in silence and get in line in their proper place. 

MacArthur says Paul is talking about women removing themselves or being removed from positions of teaching authority:

What do you mean Paul?  I mean, I don’t permit a woman to what?  Teach, that’s the silence issue, nor usurp authority.  That’s the subjection issue.  He defines exactly what he means.  What he means by the silence of a woman is that he does not permit a woman to take the role of teacher What he means by her subjection is, he does not permit her to rise, to usurp authority over men in the life of the church He doesn’t mean that the woman can’t sing a song.  He doesn’t mean that in an appropriate place, a woman cannot pray a prayer, he does not mean that she cannot offer praise to God at an appropriate time.  It does not mean that she cannot participate in worship It doesn’t mean that she can’t even ask a question when a question is called for in a proper spirit and a proper way.  What it means is that she is not to be the teacher and she is not to rebel against the role of submission which God has designed for her in the life of the church.

Paul was no doubt concerned about another factor, which was the very real Oracle of Delphi, who was alive at that same time. She lived in Delphi, across the bay from Corinth:

… you want to get an idea of what’s going on there, let me give you some background.  Right across the bay from Corinth is another city.  The name of that city is Delphi.  In the city of Delphi, there is a religious structure.  At the pinnacle of this religious structure is a woman by the name of Pythia.  She is known as the oracle of Delphi.  Have you ever heard that phrase?  She is known as the oracle of Delphi in this very time.  At the height of Delphic religion there were three such priestesses.  The dominant one that we know of in history is Pythia, this from Stuart Rossiter and his book on Greece in which he treats this whole thing.  This is a woman about 50 years of age and she is a medium who contacts demon spirits and everybody wants to know the future and everybody wants to know what it holds, and everybody wants to know the secrets and everybody wants to know how things are going to turn out and they want to know how to get rid of their problems and so forth and so forth and so everybody wants to go to get the oracle of Delphi to give them the truth

So it is a very popular religion controlled of course, by Satan and run through demons who speak to this medium and she gives out this stuff.  Now Rosseter in describing this tells us some very interesting things.  Someone who goes over there, first thing they do is make an animal sacrifice, it can be a sheep, a goat, a bear or some other animal.  They make an animal sacrifice well a few attendant priestesses stand around and evaluate the omens in the sacrifice.  I don’t know how they did that.  Maybe it had to do with the way the thing burned or the way the inside of the animal fell, some kind of omen.  If the omens were favorable, based on the evaluation of the sacrifice, the person could then come into the inner shrine.  No woman could ever be admitted into that, only men.  So the man would come in, let’s say the omens were good so they accepted a sacrifice so the man comes in.  He takes a tablet and on that tablet, he writes his request.  By the way, archeologists have dug up that area and found some of those tablets still intact, so we know something about what the people were asking. 

That tablet then as he waits in line is his consideration to be given to the oracle and finally, if all fortune goes well, he is ushered into the oracle.  She is sitting on a tripod.  Three legs going rather high over a huge chasm from which rises incense smelling heavy dense smoke.  And she is sitting over this chasm to answer this request.  Before she can take her throne she has to eat laurel [bay] leaves and she has to go through some kind of thing.  And then she gets up there and the request is taken and represented.  In response to the request, she gushes out some absolutely inarticulate babble.  Some kind of demon talk.  Standing beside her is a poet who interprets everything she says in perfect hexameter, which is a poetic form.  And that is the interpretation because nobody understands what she is saying And the person then hears a very obscure, a very confusing hexametric, poetic, bunch of babble from this guy that probably leaves them more confused than they were when they got there, but they have had an ecstatic experience and they have encountered the super natural.  Now think about that.  That’s right across the bay from Corinth.  Now in the church at Corinth, and Satan always counterfeits something that God does.  If God has a true gift of languages and a true gift of interpretation.  And a true gift of prophesying and speaking forth the Word of God, then Satan is going to move in as close as he can and counterfeit the whole thing.  And so you have got some people coming to the Corinthian assembly and what they are doing is mediumistic, occultic, demon kind of stuff, they are putting these same babbles that came out of the Delphic oracle and the same kind of obscure nonsensical prophetic things that are coming over there and they are doing it supposedly in the name of Christ and the church, some people in the church are doing the true gifts and the people in the church are not rightly evaluating it and what you have in Corinth is absolute confusion, some people actually standing up, claiming to have the gift of tongues, cursing Jesus Christ and being patted on the back for it, because it must be of God because it’s supernatural.

Now that is the background of 1 Corinthians.  Anybody is absolutely naive who comes into chapter 14 and starts reading about tongues and prophecy and doesn’t have that as background.  Paul is correcting all of that.  So the issue here in the Corinthian church was not only that there were woman who were flaunting their sexuality, we know there was terrible sex in the Corinthian church, wasn’t there?  Terrible sexual evil.  But here you have some women who are looking at religion that is all women, the Delphic thing and saying, boy we ought to be prominent in this religion too.  So they are pushing themselves into prominence by standing up and speaking in this unintelligible babble by standing up and giving their prophecies.  So when we come to this chapter look at verse 26, he says, what is going on with you?  When you come together, every one of you as a psalm, a doctrine, or a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, interpretation, let everything be done decently and in order.  Get this mess straightened out.  And then he says, no more than two or three people in tongues, never without an interpreter, don’t let the prophets speak except two or three of them and everybody evaluate them to see if they really know the lord, they really speak the truth.  Get this thing together, verse 33 because God is not the author of what?  Confusion.  And then in verse 34 he said, let the women keep silent, keep silent about what?  Well, it’s obvious, speaking publicly in the assembly of the church either in ecstatic speech or prophecy.  So if we look at 1 Timothy, we see that women are not to preach or teach.  If we look at 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 35, we can conclude women very simply woman are not to speak in tongues and women are not to give prophecies in the church.  They are not to speak forth in the church.  Why?  It’s not permitted.  Why?  They are to be under obedience.  Why?  The law of God says that.  Here is comes, it is indecent for women to speak in the church.  It’s not indecent for women to speak.  Speak all you want, unless you are usurping the role of authority, unless you are taking leadership in the church, this is so clear.  So what are we saying then, when it comes to the meeting of the church together, women are not to preach or teach.  They are not to speak forth the Word of God.  They are not to speak in ecstatic speech.  Obviously, the sum of those things is to say that the church when it comes together is to be spoken to by men.  That’s just God’s way.

As such, Paul says that he does not permit a woman to teach or excercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet (verse 12).

MacArthur sums that verse up:

Silence, you’ll remember, refers to not teaching It refers to not teaching.  Subjection refers to not ruling.  That is, women in the church are not to be the teachers when the church assembles itself in its constituted worship, women are not to be the teaching persons, and they are not to be the ruling ones The context makes it very clear that that’s what he has in mind because verse 12 says, “I permit not a woman to teach,” and therein does he define the kind of silence he’s talking about, nor to usurp authority, and therein does he define the kind of subjection he is talking about.  In the assembly of the church women are not to teach and preach, and they are not to rule.  Now, there’s no doubt that that’s exactly what he is saying.  Obviously in Ephesus some were seeking to do both of those things and that’s why he has to deal with this. 

Then Paul revisits Adam, Eve and Original Sin. Paul rightly says that Adam was formed first, then Eve (verse 13).

Henry says:

… Adam was first formed, then Eve out of him, to denote her subordination to him and dependence upon him; and that she was made for him, to be a help-meet for him.

Paul adds that Adam was not deceived, but Eve was and ‘became a transgressor’ (verse 14).

Henry reminds us what happened next in Genesis:

And as she was last in the creation, which is one reason for her subjection, so she was first in the transgression, and that is another reason. Adam was not deceived, that is, not first; the serpent did not immediately set upon him, but the woman was first in the transgression (2 Cor 11 3), and it was part of the sentence, Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee, Gen 3 16.

Thus began what used to be known as ‘the war between the sexes’, a dominant sociological theme between the 1960s and the 1980s. It has existed throughout history and has never been resolved.

Finally, Paul says that the woman will be saved through childbearing (verse 15).

MacArthur says:

What we have to understand here is that all women are delivered.  Now, listen carefully.  All women are delivered from the stigma of having caused the Fall of the race by childbearing.  In other words, women led in the Fall, but by the wonderful grace of God they are released from the stigma of that through childbearing.  What’s the point?  Listen carefully.  They may have caused the race to fall by stepping out of their God-intended design, but they also are given the priority responsibility of raising a godly seed.  You understand that?  That’s the balance.  Not soul salvation, not spiritual birth, but women are delivered from being left in a second-class permanently stigmatized situation for the violation of the garden.  They are delivered from being thought of as permanently weak, and deceivable, and insubordinate.  Can you imagine what it would be like if men had babies, and all women ever contributed to the human race was the Fall?  The balance of it: women led the race into sin, but bless God; God has given them the privilege of leading the race out of sin to godliness.

This has been an extremely difficult post to write.

Next time, Paul explains the qualities of a church leader.

Next week — 1 Timothy 3:1-7



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