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.

1 Timothy 2:8–15 ESV Read More

Well, go get your popcorn. We’re going to tackle this.

First, note the context. Paul gives instructions here to women and men that are equally hard to do. In many settings, I bet it is as hard for men to learn new things without some anger or quarreling as it would be for women to learn new things and stay quiet.

Bible commentators take a few different approaches to this passage, but the one I like the best is the cultural explanation. Remember, these are Corinthians. They have all kinds of confusion over gender roles. They were probably separating men and women in their gatherings, so if a woman had a question, she’d have to yell across some others to get an answer.

The other thing that is good to do with a verse like this is to remember that we aren’t serving Moses. We’re serving Jesus. Moses gave laws that the Pharisees made into some of the most life-sucking lifestyles ever. That is not the intent of Paul in any of his letters.

What do we do with the 4 daughters of Philip that were unmarried prophets? How did anyone know they were prophets if they didn’t speak? And who would dare to not be under their authority if they were prophesying? (And if they were unmarried, they didn’t have kids, so were they even saved? You see this can’t be read as a law.)

What about the husband and wife team of Priscilla and Aquila? Five of the seven times they are mentioned (in 4 books of the New Testament), Paul goes against custom and mentions the woman first. They helped convert Apollos from the teaching of John the Baptist to full belief in Jesus. Maybe Aquila did all of the talking and Priscilla was just along for the ride since Priscilla has to remain quiet? I doubt it.

So when you read a passage like this, be very careful about the rules/laws/“suggestions for a holy way of life” that you pull out of it. Make sure it fits with other scriptures and isn’t interpreted like a fortune cookie blurb.

Guys, quit fighting and pray together. Women, dress respectively and do some good works.

These bits hold up throughout all of the things that Jesus taught to men and to women.

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