In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. — 1 Timothy 2:9-10
I can still hear my mother telling me as a child, “Pretty is as pretty does.” She wanted me to understand that how I acted was more important than the way I looked, and this oft-repeated phrase was her way of reminding me. No doubt I needed the reminder, as I was quite high-spirited as a child. I heard that phrase until I was tired of it — in fact, I can even remember mimicking her saying it. Now that certainly wasn’t “pretty”!
These days, as a mother myself, I completely understand why my mother thought it was so important to teach me this concept. I try to be sure our children look nice when we head out the door — even more so when we are going to church. However, there have been times when we have taken our children to church looking great, only to be embarrassed by something they did or said. The clothing they wore did nothing to mitigate the inappropriate actions or words.
In our focus verse, Paul stressed the importance of living a godly life that is characterized by good works, rather than donning gold, pearls, or fancy clothing. Paul instructed Timothy to direct this message to many women of Ephesus because it was a concern for them at the time of this writing. The women were arraying themselves in costly apparel and outward adornments. Paul was trying to convey the difference between the artificial glamour of the world and the true spiritual beauty that comes from within.
Today, as Christian men and women, we should also take a look at our inner garments. Are we focusing on the inner person — the true beauty that only God can give? Let’s ask God to help us examine our lives to ensure we are living a godly life that is pleasing to Him.
The first portion of this chapter focuses on the importance of prayer. Paul identified four different forms of communication with God: supplication, prayer, intercession, and giving of thanks. While there are at least seven different Greek words for prayer, he focused on these four. Supplication means carrying to God a need that is sensed or felt. Prayers should not only be offered for oneself, but extend to prayers for “all men.” Intercession, in this case, is different from the way we use it in the English language, and indicates that we come to God because we have confidence in Him. Giving of thanks is a significant part of praise and worship.
Ephesus, where Timothy was leader of the church, was a very wealthy city. Many of the women in the city competed with each other, showing off how much they had acquired by adorning themselves with costly apparel and gold. Paul wanted the women to recognize that this was not appropriate for those who were following the teachings of Christ. He told Timothy to point the women toward balance and propriety, with an emphasis on modesty and holy character.
The word “silence” in verse 11 is the same word that is translated as “peaceable” in verse 2. Paul was not implying that women were not to speak in the church, as he acknowledged and greeted women who were involved in church affairs numerous times in the Books of Acts and Romans. (See Acts 9:36; 16:14; 17:4, 12; 18:1-3; Romans 16:1.)
In the Jewish culture of that day, women were not permitted to study, so Paul’s instruction that women were to learn was actually presenting them with a new opportunity. However, their participation was to be done in a spirit of “subjection” (which means “to rank under”). They were not to create confusion in a church service by interrupting. Nor were they to teach, because as yet they did not have enough knowledge or experience to do so.
In verses 13 and 14, Paul pointed to the precedent for order and chain-of-command that God established within the household. He referred to the order in which Adam and Eve were created. Just as Eve was first led astray, some of the women in Ephesus were following false teachers. Paul wanted Timothy to attempt to get them back on track.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Charge concerning church order
A. The worship of the church (2:1-15)
1. Prayer in public worship (2:1-8)
a. The kinds of prayer, objects of prayer and reason for prayer (2:1-4)
b. The basis for prayer (2:5-7)
(1) Christ our mediator (2:5)
(2) Christ our ransom (2:6-7)
c. The manner of prayer (2:8)
2. Women in public worship (2:9-15)
a. Their dress (2:9-11)
b. Their action (2:12-15)
(1) Learn in submissiveness (2:12)
(2) Reason for submissiveness (2:13-14)
(3) Result of submissiveness (2:15)
As Christians, our lives should reflect an inner beauty that comes through yielding our lives to Christ and maintaining constant communion with Him.