8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 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.
These verses raise many questions concerning their appropriate application in the church today. One lesson we learn is that standing before God’s people with God’s Word and speaking on His behalf is a far more serious matter than perhaps many Christians understand. Something unique from all other human communication is taking place in those instances. When we reduce the significance of God’s Word being taught to God’s people, we open the door to sentiments such as “What’s the big deal?” concerning any divine restrictions upon that act. Not only must we answer the individual questions that arise from the Apostle’s words here, but we must reexamine our understanding and attitude toward the proclamation of God’s Word when His people gather for worship. What are we expecting to take place in those moments?
This next portion comes from verse 15:
One might ask why Paul would spend so much time on the women’s role (vv. 9–15) and comparatively little upon that of the men (v. 8). The answer probably lies in that the false teachers were misguiding the women concerning their role—teaching them that marriage was to be spurned (1 Tim. 4:3; cf. Paul’s counsel in 5:11, 14) and likely also that motherhood lacked the dignity and priority of other forms of leadership. This does not limit the application of the Apostle’s words as culturally irrelevant to our society, for he did not instruct the women regarding what was merely prudent in their present context, but what God has established from creation (v. 13). Rather it underscores that the answer is to return to God’s original design for humanity whenever challenges confront the church. God has not denigrated the woman’s value or diminished the woman’s role. Rather He has elevated it and dignified it. The influence of a woman is broader and fuller than what simply takes place in a local congregation. It begins from a child’s earliest days, continues throughout all those days and in all the places through which she goes with that child. She is the molder of hearts and minds and lives as a constant, unceasing presence and teacher of her children. She is not limited to the hours that a congregation may gather together for worship; she is released to exert her influence twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for as long as her children are at her side. Then she deploys them strategically into the world in hopes that her influence will compound and spread far beyond where her single voice might have been heard had she taken up a position in the church which God has not afforded her. As Hendriksen well says, “It is his will that the woman should influence mankind ‘from the bottom up’ (that is, by way of the child), not ‘from the top down’ (that is, not by way of the man).” In the end we may discover that the influence of the mother will have far outdistanced that of the father or church leader.
*Kitchen, J. A. (2009). The Pastoral Epistles for Pastors (112). The Woodlands, TX: Kress Christian Publications.