Women Living in Submission

1 Timothy 2:9-15 SCC 11/11/12



            It must first be stated that there are no distinctions between men and women in Christ (Galatians 3:28). However, as there are different roles within the Godhead (1 Corinthians 12:4-7), Christ has given specific roles to both men and women so that they might function properly together within the body of Christ. For example, just as women have been granted the role of child bearing, men have been given the job of headship (Ephesians 5:23). One is not more important than the other; both are essential in the Christian life. It is appropriate to note here that Paul’s concern here is specifically the role of men and women in activities within the Christian network of relationships.


         Vs 9 She is to prepare herself with the proper preparation. She is to adorn herself with the proper adornment. The point in all of this is the preoccupation with the adornment of women. This is not forbidding women to wear pearls or gold. "Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair or of wearing gold or putting on apparel.” Now if he means you can't braid your hair and you can't wear gold, he also means you can't put on clothes.

A woman’s appearance will reflect her character. On the positive side, Abigail was both ...intelligent and beautiful in appearance (1 Samuel 25:3; see also Esther 2:7). On the negative side, Jezebel ... painted her eyes and adorned her head... (2 Kings 9:30). This is not saying that jewelry, expensive clothing, or a certain hair style, are by themselves wrong, but they become wrong when value is placed on them for the purpose of enhancing quality and character. For this reason, women should dress in a moderate and reserved manner. ... I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments (1 Timothy 2:9).

A woman should focus on her inward adornment. And let not your adornment be merely external ... but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:3-4). A woman’s appearance, therefore, should have an eternal focus rather than a worldly agenda so that she may be recognized by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness (1 Timothy 2:10). When a woman dresses she should not simply ask herself, “How does this look on me” but “How will others view my character which is reflected in my outward appearance?”

            He says the attitude within this woman is to be one of two things, godly fear and self-control. Those two words combine to express the underlying attitude of heart that is a woman's true adornment. In other words what she is becoming first of all what God wants for her. So her attitude in this regard is because she fears God. Then she is marked by self-control. That is she is to give evidence by her adornment and her attitude that she has her passions and desires under control. So, her true adornment then is her character and her character should manifest itself in such a way as to enhance that character outwardly. This is often the opposite attitude of women who accept the radical women’s agendas.


            It is essential, he says in verse 10, for those women who profess godliness to support that profession with their conduct. It says, "She is to be adorned with good works." It means to make a public announcement. Any woman who has made a public announcement about her commitment to the Lord, if she has professed godliness, if she has professed to be devoted to God and to worship God, then she should conduct herself in such a way that she is consistent in her attitude and adornment with that profession. So, the testimony of a woman, then, professing godliness should be a life of good works, that is righteous activities, which demonstrate that that is indeed a legitimate and faithful profession.


            A woman should receive teaching. The Bible commands that a woman be taught. That is, she should be a student of the Bible, receiving teaching in an obedient manner. Let the women be discipled. It is a command. Teach the women. Let them be involved in the learning process.

            A woman should not teach a man. The Bible is very clear that females are not to teach males. That is not to say women could not advise men of the Word of God. Priscilla, for example, gave instruction to Apollos helping him to have a better understanding of the Word of God (Acts 18:26). Deborah advised Barak of God’s command that they go to war (Judges 4:6-10). Abigail persuaded David not to sin against God (1 Samuel 25). Mary Magdalene delivered the Word of God to the disciples that Christ had risen (John 20:11-18). Anna spoke of Christ, to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). These women acted in response to men and did not have a teaching agenda, nor did they instruct men from a leadership position. They provided biblical truth to men personally, who were either unaware of God’s Word, or ignoring His commands in a particular situation.                    

            They are to be silent and subject. The word "silence" means just that. The word "subjection" is from means to line up under. What is meant by the silence of a woman in the context is not permitting a woman to take the role of teacher. What he means by her subjection in the context is not permitting her to rise to usurp authority over men in the body of Christ. He doesn't mean that the woman can't sing a song. He doesn't mean that in an appropriate place the woman cannot pray a prayer. Women are not to be the spiritually teaching persons and they are not to be the spiritually ruling ones. It is not liberation a godly woman seeks; it is submission!

DESIGN 13-14

            Woman's place was ordained in the order of the creation. Adam was made first and then woman. In creation, God made man first. This is not a cultural issue. This is not Pauline bias. This is Genesis. It isn't temporary and it isn't cultural. Rooting these prohibitions in the circumstances of creation rather than in the circumstances of the fall, Paul shows that God does not consider these restrictions to be the product of the curse and presumably, therefore, to be phased out by redemption. And by citing creation rather than a local situation or cultural circumstance as his basis for the prohibitions, Paul makes it clear that, while these local or cultural issues may have provided the context of the issue, they do not provide the reason for this principle. His reason for the prohibitions of verse 12 is the created role relationship of man and woman

            The woman fell and her fall confirms what verse 13 said, that woman needs a head. She needs a strengthener because when she got out from under the strength of Adam and tried to operate independently in conflict with the enemy, she was deceived. The woman needs protection. That she has certain vulnerability. When she stepped out on her own and acted independently of the headship of Adam, when she acted without his leadership, without his counsel, without his protection, she became vulnerable.

            So the woman then in verse 14 was deceived. She showed by that deception, her inability to lead effectively. She met her match and more than her match in Satan. So the fall then was the result of not only disobeying God's command not to eat, but also the result of violating the divinely appointed role of the sexes and woman acting independently of man. Woman assumed leadership, and you know what man did? He messed up his role and then instead of maintaining the leadership acted in submission to the woman. And the whole reversal was part and parcel of the fall. So Paul didn’t invent subordination of women in the church, it is rooted in the nature of the sexes in creation and it is confirmed in the fall.

CONTRIBUTION 15          

There are several interpretations of this concept:

            1. Preserved (physically) through the difficult/dangerous process of childbirth. However, nothing in the context about this and it is not true to life especially in ancient history or 3rd world countries.

            2. Preserved (from insignificance) by means of her role in the family. If mothers continue in faith, hope, love, holiness a woman will find greatest satisfaction and meaning in life not in seeking the male role but in fulfilling God’s design for her as wife and mother with all of these virtues mentioned. 

            3. Saved through the ultimate childbirth of Jesus Christ the Savior (Gen 3:15). However, only women singled out here as recipients of salvation seems odd. The word for childbirth refers to process of childbirth rather than the product.

            5. Kept from the corruption of society by being at home raising children.

            6. Veiled reference to curse of Gen 3:16 in order to clarify that though the woman led the man into transgression (14b) she will be saved spiritually despite this physical reminder of her sin. It would not be thru childbearing or by means of childbearing but with or through accompanied by childbearing.

            7. Childbearing is seen as a synecdoche (figure of speech in which the part used for the whole (all hands on deck for sailor); the whole for the part (the law for police officer) in which child-rearing and other activities of motherhood are involved not just childbearing.  So one evidence of a woman’s salvation may be seen in her decision to function in this role.

            8. May point to a proverbial expression (something widely known and spoken of) now lost in which ‘saved’ means ‘delivered’ from some of devastating effects of the role reversal that took place in Eden. Making childbearing a metonymy (one word or phrase is substituted for one closely associated with it; ex. Washington for the US government) that encompasses woman’s submission again to leadership of man in context of 10-15.

            9. The Word ‘saved’ means ‘fulfilled’ or ‘to find significance. Paul is saying ‘the role God has given you (women) is not to be the one in authority as teachers in the church but that does not mean you cannot find significance as Christian women. Your significance can be as you bear children and they continue in faith, love, holiness with modesty. In other words having the influence of a mother.


A. She will be saved/delivered/kept safe through childbearing is not in sense of spiritual salvation.

B. Despite the curse Christian women will be kept safe when bearing children.

C. Despite the sin of Eve and results to her children she will be saved thru the childbirth that is thru the birth of the Messiah as promised in her seed (Gen 3:15). Not thru active teaching and ruling activities that Christian women will be saved but thru faithfulness to their proper role exemplified in motherhood.


Paul reaffirms the Biblical model of the Christian woman adorned with good works rather than with outward, seductive trappings, learning quietly and submissively, refraining from taking positions of authority over men, giving attention to those roles to which God has especially called women.