1 Timothy 2:11-15 - Godly Submission and Godly Authority
1 Timothy 2:11–15 (ESV): 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.
V-11 - Notice three things about verse 11. First, women are to be allowed to learn. This may not mean that much to us here in the United States at this time in history, but this is a huge statement around the world today and throughout history. Paul is showing the worth and dignity of women, and it is just as important for women to learn in the church as men. Second, as women are learning they should learn quietly. They should be careful not to be distracted nor to distract in discussing other things. Likewise, they should talk as little as possible so that they can learn in and make use of the short amount of time they have to learn God’s Word from their leaders. Third, as women sit and learn quietly, they should submit to the teaching that comes from the Word of God. Their posture toward the teaching should, as one commentator put it, be ready to receive with a spirit of “cheerful agreement.” Women should be eager to hear the Word of God and excited to submit to what Christ has for them. A good picture of this is seen in Luke 10 with Martha and Mary.
Luke 10:38–42 (ESV): 38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Sisters, are you sitting like Mary at the Lord’s feet ready to quietly learn and submit to whatever He wants to teach you?
Brothers, are you willing to do whatever it takes to make sure our sisters have opportunity to learn about Christ without distraction?
V-12 - Paul continues on to address what authority is supposed to look like in Christ’s church. The words used here mean “teach” and “exercise authority.” Some argue that the phrasing here means to usurp authority. That is not being faithful to the word used nor the context. Paul states that women should remain quiet. The word is sometimes translated as silent. That is not the best translation. This term is used other places in the New Testament that have a meaning of a quietness/without disturbance/peace.
This cannot mean that men should never learn from women. Paul is writing about the church in particular. Even within the local church (local body of believers), men can and should learn from women. However, women are not to exercise authority (pastor/elder) or publicly preach/teach the whole congregation in the gathered worship service, which is linked to exercising the authority given to the pastors/elders.
This also cannot mean that women are to remain silent among other Christians of that local body and it cannot mean that they cannot speak in any way when the church is assembled together, as some churches teach.
Bible verses about women teaching or serving in the church
Genesis 2:18 (ESV): 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Proverbs 31:25–29 (ESV): 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Acts 18:24–28 (ESV): 24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. (emphasis added)
Titus 2:1–5 (ESV): 2 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Romans 16:1–7 (ESV): 16 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae (Sencrea), 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus(epienitus), who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
Philippians 4:2–3 (ESV): 2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche (Sintikee) to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Psalm 68:24–26 (ESV): 24 Your procession is seen, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary— 25 the singers in front, the musicians last, between them virgins playing tambourines: 26 “Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
Luke 2:36–38 (ESV): 36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 11:2–16 (ESV): 2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
Bible verses that the whole congregation has responsibilities
Colossians 3:12–17 (ESV): 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Acts 6:1–7 (ESV): 6 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and
they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Matthew 18:15–20 (ESV): 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Galatians 1:6–10 (ESV): 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Romans 12:3–8 (ESV): 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
1 Corinthians 12:7–11 (ESV): 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
1 Corinthians 12:27–31 (ESV): 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.
So what can women do in the church and in ministry?
• Teach their children and other children
• Teach other women
• Teach/encourage/edify/admonish other men in smaller settings and in conversations
• Be part of affirming deacons and elders
• Serve with spiritual gifts in the church (prophecy, tongues)
• Be part of church discipline
• Listen for false teaching
• Play instruments
• Serve as lowercase-a apostles (sent out ones/missionaries)
• Possibly serve as deacons
• Serve in various ministries (especially mercy and good works)
What can women not do in the church and in ministry?
• Exercise authority over men and teach in an authoritative way (serve as elders/pastors)
Why? It is not because women are not good teachers, and it is not that men are smarter. Paul gives us more insight in the following verses.
V-13 - Paul roots the command about women not exercising authority or teaching in the church gathering in the order of creation. This immediately shows us that the idea of women not teaching or exercising authority in the church is not cultural or linked to temporary reasons. It is linked to God’s design. Paul explains that there is an ordering of men and women that is traced all the way back to Genesis before the Fall. It is important to note that Paul shows that this is not a consequence of the Fall and so now men are to teach and exercise authority in the church. Rather it was part of God’s ordering, and design and that design is very good.
Brothers and sisters, do you trust God’s good design? Notice, this is God’s doing and so there is no reason to boast or be discouraged. He doesn’t make mistakes.
V-14 - Paul continues in this verse to give us detail on how things went away from God’s good design. There are a few important things to see in this verse. First, Adam was not deceived. Satan did not go after Adam whom God had created first and to whom He explained everything about the Garden of Eden. Look at Genesis 2:4-25.
Genesis 2:4–25 (ESV): 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Satan went after Eve because she was not the one entrusted with the responsibility. She was to help Adam with His responsibility, but Adam was to steward all God had given, and take care of it, including Eve. Eve certainly sinned, but her sin was linked to ignorance and moving out from her position. Adam’s sin against God was moving from his position, not taking care of (protecting) Eve and all of the creation that he was entrusted with. Adam knew what was right and he shrank back from his role. This is one of the few places that Eve is focused on as the one seemingly guilty of the Fall. Paul is focusing in on Eve, but, if we look deeper, we see it is both Adam and Eve who are at fault. However, throughout Scripture Adam is clearly the one who is “most responsible” for the Fall. The focus on Eve in Scripture is that she was deceived. Adam disobeyed.
Verses about Adam’s Sin
1 Corinthians 15:20–22 (ESV): 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Romans 5:6–17 (ESV): 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Verses about Eve (and women) being deceived (taken advantage of)
2 Corinthians 11:1–3 (ESV): 11 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Timothy 3:1–7 (ESV): 3 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
Men, we need to see our role as those who protect our wives and women in the church.
1 Peter 3:1–7 (ESV): 3 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
This idea of weaker vessel is in line with what has been mentioned about Eve and shows that men need to honor women. One pastor compares men to women as a sledge hammer to a Ming Vase. They are weaker in some ways, but beautiful and of great value.
V-15 - Paul ends this section with one of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. There are a few basic interpretations of this passage.
• This cannot mean that women are actually saved by having children.
• This cannot mean that Christian women will be saved physically from childbirth.
• This cannot mean that women will be saved even though they have to give birth under the consequences of the curse.
• This could mean that Eve (and all women) will be saved through “a child’s birth” in the sense that Christ will come from a woman.
• This could mean that women are saved by focusing on who they are in Christ and how God has made them. They need to focus on being faithful to what God has said and if they persevere until the end, they will be saved. The childbirth part is a phrase to easily say things that are unique to women.
Men and women both are made in the image of God and have the same dignity and worth. Men and women are different in many ways and are a compliment to one another. Men and women are made in a unique way and the home and the church are to reflect how God has wisely created us. Let us pursue these roles God has given us for our good and His glory.
This sermon and the entire sermon series were influenced and impacted by the following commentaries, Bibles, books, teachings and sermons. I am so very grateful for the insight and ministries of those involved with each. Likewise, I am thankful for the insights and input from those who attend the sermon preparation time at FBCCK.
NIV Compact Bible Commentary - John Sailhammer
The Message of the New Testament - 1 Timothy - Mark Dever
The Letters to Timothy and Titus - The Pillar New Testament Commentary - Robert Yarbrough
The Pastoral Epistles - Tyndale New Testament Commentary - Donald Guthrie
1&2 Timothy and Titus - Preaching the Word Commentary - Bryan Chapell and R. Kent Hughes
1 Timothy - Reformed Expository Commentary - Philip Ryken
Does God Desire All to Be Saved - John Piper - Podcast
The Different Wills of God - R.C. Sproul aArticles on Ligioner
ESV Study Bible
HCSB Study Bible
John McArthur Study Bible
Topics for the Prayer Time
*Those who have yet to believe in Jesus
*The unreached peoples of the earth
*Missionaries around the world and for more to go0
*The spiritual growth of other believers and churches
*That you would have more spiritual gifts
*That Christians would remain faithful under persecution
*Those who are sick
*Those who have lost loved ones
*Our nation, leaders, military, and civil servants
*Pray for the health and salvation of the unborn babies in our church
*Pray against the evils of abortion and human trafficking
*Pray for the University of Florida international students
*Pray God would bless our efforts to in evangelism and discipleship
*Pray God would bless our community
*Pray God would bless the churches of those visiting us