Volume. XXII, No. 18
Sunday, 28 October 2007

From the Pastors Heart: Biblical Womanhood and Biblical Leadership (Part 3)

1 Timothy 2:11-14 says, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 

There are two restrictions on the ministry of women according to these verses. One is that women are not to teach men. The other is that women are not to usurp authority over men. The seriousness of these restrictions begins with an imperative mood (command) of the verb in verse 11, “let . . . learn . . . in silence.” 

It may be necessary for us to learn about the background of this epistle even though it may be brief. The first thing we need to know is that 1 Timothy is a part of the so-called pastoral epistles, written by Paul to his disciple, Timothy.  The purpose of this epistle is clearly demonstrated in 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Therefore, the instructions found in this epistle are some guidelines for all believers in the church of God. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, harmony or orderliness.  God does not leave us to behave as we wish in His church, but He has instructed us about how to conduct ourselves in His church. Secondly, we need to go back to chapter one of this epistle to know more about the reasons why Paul wanted to write this letter to Timothy. The main purpose that Paul left Timothy in Ephesus, even though he himself left for Macedonia, was to let him lead the church out from some who might teach wrong doctrines in verse 4. These false teachers paid too much attention to fables and endless genealogies.  Some people in the church had swerved and turned aside into vain jangling in verse 6. These people did not understand what they were saying or affirming in verse 7. Then, in 1:18-20, Paul becomes even more serious about the problems in the church: “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Paul spoke to Timothy to fight a good warfare. He gave an example of wrecked faith in verse 19. And he also indicated that there were people in the church who blasphemed God. Therefore, it is more than probable that Paul wrote about women’s roles in chapter 2 with this sort of background of the presence of the unruly people in the church. One of the problems in the church appeared to be that women were trying to teach even men and to exercise their authority over men. Thus, Paul warned Timothy not to allow such a practice in 2:11-14. 

Another significant teaching about women and women’s roles is found in Paul’s teachings about marriage.  False teachers in 4:1-3 had inseminated wrong teachings into the church.  Interestingly, one of their teachings was to forbid marriage.  I wonder if this is because of their confused ideas of women’s roles.  5:14 says, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”  In verse 15, Paul indicated that some women had already fallen into false teachings.  Titus 2:4-5 says, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, {sober: or, wise} 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” 1 Timothy 5:14 and Titus 2:5 both teach us about traditional roles of women.  Who will say that women are inferior because they are home-keepers or makers?  Who will say that females are inferior to males because they submit themselves to their husbands, while their counterparts are commanded to love their wives as Christ has loved His church?  Equality is guaranteed, but roles are different.  Such female roles as indicated previously are not the outcome of conditioned cultures. 

Paul’s teachings about women’s roles begin with 1 Timothy 2:9, which says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.”  Of course, feminists will not like this sort of teaching today, and they will say that such teaching is only a sign of male chauvinism.  I hope that we all look around, see women’s fashions these days, and ask a question whether Paul’s teaching is against women’s rights or for women’s privileges.  Having spoken to Timothy about women’s modesty, Paul instructs him that women must do or not do certain things.  In verse 11, Paul says, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.”  Most feminists or immature Christians will look at the last portion of the verse and raise their eyebrows against Paul.  However, the initial emphasis of this verse must be placed on the first part of the verse.  It says, “let the woman learn.”   We cannot find such wonderful and beautiful teaching in any other religions, including Judaism.  Paul instructs Timothy to encourage the women folk to learn.  Paul does not want to leave them in darkness.  Then, the second part of the verse is about the manner in which the women should learn. Having said that 1 Timothy 2:11-12 seems to indicate that there were at least three problems of learned women.  Firstly, they must have tried to dispute with others, probably through the teachings of wrong teachers, as we have seen from the background of this epistle.  Therefore, Paul told them to learn, but in silence with all subjection. Secondly, some women attempted to teach men, as some women want to become pastors over both men and women. Thirdly, some women wanted to have authority over men.  However, Paul told these women to learn and to become wise learners. Overall, these women’s problems did not just lie in not learning in silence with submission. Their problems went to their homes and they were against their husbands, and eventually they were against the male-leadership in their church.

Here some people may raise a voice against any restrictions on women’s ministry. They may say that Paul’s real intention for women’s learning is to encourage women to teach others and to make contributions to the body of Christ. Yes, I do believe that wise learners should be able to use their knowledge to teach others. Though not all learners will become teachers, but there must be some who are able to teach others. I do not think that Paul is forbidding every kind of women’s teaching ministry. It is not what the text says. What Paul simply says in the text is that women are not to teach men. They are not to take leadership role over men. They should be able to teach other women. Paul encourages this sort of ministry in Titus 2:2-3.

The transition between verse 11 and verse 12 in 1 Timothy 2 is just remarkable. In verse 11, Paul encourages women to learn with right manner. Right after then, he begins verse 12 with a word, “but.” The Greek word for ‘but’ is called an adversative particle. This particle expresses opposition, contrariety or antithesis.  In other words, Paul encourages women to learn, but there are warning to follow. Thus, he says in verse 12, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Thus, learning in verse 11 and stipulations in verse 12 must be equally heeded. Feminists’ argument that women should be ordained as pastors because they are well educated today is absurd. Paul says that women must be taught. However, their learning should be properly used and two stipulations in verse 12 must be kept. The reason that there have not been women pastors is not because of their lack of education, but God’s stipulations in His Word.  I’ll continue next week.


Your Pastor


More Lively Hope




Baptism, Reaffirmation & Transfer of membership on The Lord’s Day, 18 Nov. Please let Ps Ki know if interested.

Anniversary Thanksgiving of Strathalbyn Bible Christian Church today.

Missions Cambodia 2008 - Please give your flight details to Elder Michael D Lee by Wed, 31 Oct.

From next month (Nov), the Fellowship Lunch for the second Sunday of each month will be a “communal” one. If able to do so, please bring a dish to share.

Bro Makoto Kobayashi leaves for Japan on Tue, 30 Oct. May God guide & protect him.


Looking Ahead

Christmas Concert on Sat, 8 Dec.

National B-P Youth Camp, 11-15 Dec. Speaker: Bro Peter Blake. Theme: B.O.O.T. Camp.

Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbor, 24-26 April 2008. Please arrange your day off work on Thurs, 24 April, now.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies Sis Marion Chan’s mother (Mrs Lai Kheng) (KL); & all who arrived safely.

Church activities: AFG, BSAG, Christmas Concert practices, Mens, Wed Bible Study, Working Bee, & YAF.

YAF Committee Elections - Sis Clara Sim (President), Sis Sarah Carpenter (Secretary), Sis Purdee Yeo (Treasurer), & Bro Daniel Ki (Committee Member)

Anniversary Thanksgiving - Strathalbyn Bible Christian Church


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, & Hans Ziegelman; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Joyce Chen, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Bro Sam Nang & Sis Chulamy; Rev David Koo & ministry (Sihanoukville); preparation for our team for missions.

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.

Journey Mercies - Dn Edwin D’Mello, Bro Elton and Sis Michiko Law & Jasper (Adl),  Bro Lincoln Law (Hobart); Bro Makoto Kobayashi (Jpn) & all those travelling this week.

Full-time jobs - Bro Daniel Volvricht, Sisters Min Yen Chia, Rachel Scott-Pearson (UK) & Juanita Tong.

Year 12 students - Bro Samuel Ki & Sis Amelia Tan.

University students – preparation for exams.

Christmas Concert rehearsals - Sis Sally Teng and participants.



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