Women Are Disciples, Too

1 Timothy 2:11-13

So all religions are just different ways up the same mountain to the same god. Right. And they all hold women in same high esteem. Right again. Let’s see if other religious traditions bear that out. For example,


“Lord God, I thank You that I am not a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.” Now, that was the prayer that the liturgy instructed every Jewish male to pray when he got up in the morning. Ligon Duncan


Buddha himself said, “The female’s defects … greed, hate, and delusion and other defilements – are greater than the male’s.”


Qur’an (4:11) – (Inheritance) “The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females” Qur’an (2:282) – (Court testimony) “And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women.” Qur’an (4:3) – (Wife-to-husband ratio) “Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four” Qur’an (4:24) – ” the good women are therefore obedient; ….and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.” (Shakir)


In the Atharva Veda one verse states that “a wife is given by God to a husband to serve him and to bear him children. Further she is referred to by her husband as his subordinate and slave.” (Atharva Veda 14.01.52). In one scripture it states, “The following eight qualities are characteristic qualities of women. They are: uttering lies, unsteadiness, deceit, stupidity, greed, impurity, wickedness and rashness.” (Sukra 3-163).


1 Cor. 7:3Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her….” Eph. 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” Eph. 5:28 “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies…” Eph. 5:33 “…let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself….” Col. 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives” 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife…”

Matthew Henry on Gen. 2:21

“That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. …If man is the head, she is the crown, a crown to her husband, the crown of the visible creation.”

Biblical Christianity, unlike any other religious system, affords women the place of esteem and value the Creator God intends they should have. (true of children, too; just focusing here on women) But, it’s not an “anything goes” sort of situation. That honorable place comes with both expectations and boundaries established by God, defined in Scripture.

A. women must learn v.11

μανθανετω – imperative, a command: “a woman should learn”, “a woman must learn”

covers where, what and how

broader subject here is “conduct in worship” – men are to pray, women are to learn

women who have reputation for godliness (v.10) must have as full an understanding of God’s truth as possible

cannot think and act like a Christian as God defines one without knowledge – doesn’t come naturally

not off the hook for paying attention to the sermon; see 1 Pet. 3:1-2

think about what Peter means: you are speechless, ladies (a stretch I know), and you communicate gospel truth clearly enough by your daily actions that your unsaved husband is drawn to faith in Christ

“Women, don’t lag behind the men in your knowledge of theology and Christian truth” Geoff Thomas

not off the hook for serious Bible study – taking notes on Sunday morning/evening, furthering understanding during the week; remember saints in Berea

Acts 17:11 These were more fair – minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

quietly with full submission

quiet lips and hearts – addresses attitude or spirit as much as action

not absolute silence; would contradict teaching that addresses women praying publicly (1 Cor. 11); and singing – women are included in the “one another” passages (Eph. 5:19)

it’s quietness that shows deference to those to whom God has given the leadership role

ladies here: times you quote scripture along with pastor, respond to something said, see your lips moving; that’s ok

what’s not ok – lack of quietness that resists or challenges God’s truth as it is proclaimed

full submission – not to individual but to God’s word/truth

isn’t blind acceptance; don’t get to check brains at the door, need to keep them and use them

a spirit that strives to willingly conform to principles and patterns laid down in Scripture, adjusting thoughts and actions as necessary

btw, that applies to all regardless of age or gender

B. women must not teach v.12

“I do not permit” – not limited to personal practice; Paul speaking with apostolic authority (Matt. 10:40; John 13:20; Gal. 4:14)

just as binding as any other portion of apostolic teaching

cannot apply to all settings: see Titus 2:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:14; Acts 18:26

older women teaching younger women; mothers teaching children; private mentoring: Aquila, Priscilla & Apollos

to take last example little further: are circumstances where wife has fuller understanding of spiritual truth than husband; her task – help husband grow in grasp of truth while maintaining God-given role relationship

is applicable to particular setting – local church gathered together

important to notice how the way we do church today differs from 1st century, in fact, most of history

much of what people expect today is of modern invention: graded Sunday School, nursery, youth group, junior church – segregating by age

more in common with world’s philosophy of education than Bible; God’s Word puts age groups together, doesn’t separate them

letters written to church at Ephesus, Colosse, intended to be read publicly in worship service: address wives, husbands, children, slaves – all were present to hear the Word

Nehemiah 8:2-3 reading from the Law to “men and women and all who could understand what they heard”

in view in 1 Tim.: preaching/teaching ministry of the church when gathered together, encompassing men / women / boys / girls of all ages

and particular relationship – exercise of authority

God has designated offices in local church – elder, deacon – assigned specific qualifications for office, duties that pertain to each

in view here: two-fold office of elder as described in 1 Tim. 5:17

“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine [teaching].”

v.12 makes plain that neither aspect of that office is to be carried out by women in the church – women are not to serve in pastoral office, as elders, exercising that kind of authoritative leadership in a local church

“For men and women who have a heart to minister—to see souls saved and broken lives healed and resist evil and meet needs—there are fields of opportunity that are simply endless. God intends for the entire church to be mobilized in ministry, male and female. Nobody is to be at home watching soaps and reruns while the world burns. And God intends to equip and mobilize the saints through a company of spiritual men who take primary responsibility for leadership and teaching in the church.” John Piper

C. because God says so v.13

established in Creation sequence – all up for grabs if evolution is true

Adam (Gen. 2:15) — command (Gen. 2:16-17) — Eve (Gen. 2:21-22)

Adam’s job/responsibility: instruct his wife in God’s truth; take the lead in family worship

Eve’s job: help him fulfill that responsibility well, supporting his leadership

structure that applies to human family also valid for church family

Adam named creatures (Gen. 2:19) — named Woman (Gen. 2:23, pre-Fall) — named Eve (Gen. 3:20, post-Fall)

exercise of authority as God’s vice-regent: whatever the man called… that was its name

emphasizes distinctions and relationships: distinct from creatures, relationship not bi-directional; male-female the same

see also 1 Cor. 11:8-9

“For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”

not only is order of creation in view here, so also is purpose

why was woman created? for what purpose? to be a suitable helper to man (Gen. 2:20)

Is there such a thing as true women’s liberation? Certainly. When godly women are liberated from pursuit of rights and roles and responsibilities that by God’s design will never satisfy. When instead godly women are committed to doing all of life God’s way, determined to fulfill the role and carry out the responsibilities God expects them to and men and children need them to. May God give us all a spirit of quiet submission to truth of his Word, the courage and strength to live according to its precepts.

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