1 Timothy 2

This devotional is written by Helen Augustin

1 Timothy 2

Instructions on worship
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle – I am telling the truth, I am not lying – and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.


This passage has been taken very literally in the church. When reading it it’s hard to imagine  anything different from the idea of women being silent and being under the teaching of men! But  actually in order to understand the passage properly we need understand the context of the time  in which it was written. The church at Ephesus that Paul was writing to, just like our church today,  was very influenced by the culture around it, and I’ll say more about that in a moment.  

Paul was writing to correct how this culture had influenced church and how a lot of false teaching  had come into play. The culture that was around at the time was the cult of Artemis, based on  Greek mythology - the goddess Artemis was the daughter of Zeus, and the twin sister of Apollo.  The myth tells us she was given birth to, and then she helped to give birth to her brother as a new  born baby. Artemis was mythologised as a very powerful woman, and the cult revered these  qualities. She was a huntress, a virgin, untouched by men, she was seen as invincible, denoted  often by wearing very elaborate clothing (this was one of the requirements she asked of her father  Zeus). So the cult revered all these outward displays of female power. Women were allowed to  celebrate this cult but men were punished if they tried to celebrate it, so it was really a female  dominated culture that was around at his time.  

The goddess Artemis was revered because she helped in childbirth, therefore women called to  her to be helped at this time. So this was a stronghold of superstitious belief. And just like  anybody who holds views that are influential in society, there is a level of privilege and power that  comes, and women who followed this cult assumed that when they went into the church that they  would also have that same privilege and power, and so these women were really dominating the  church culture of the time. They had a lot of opinions but like a lot of new christians they didn’t  have a lot of experience and real learning of christian doctrine, so there was a lot of false teaching  going on and Paul really wanted to cut through this happening, with so many vulnerable people in  the church, and he wanted this problem to be erased.  

He says two things “Come with humility everyone” - men are told not to be angry, but to come  with open hands and come and pray for those with power, come and be open and humble, and  women don’t flaunt your wealth or your influence, be silent, listen, come to learn. The second  things that Paul emphasises is that learning Christian doctrine needs to be prioritised by  everyone, both those in a position in a power, and those that are still learning - they need to listen  and learn. That is a big part of this passage. The church needs people in leadership who aren’t  easily deceived, who can tell the difference between falsehood and truth. And until people are in  that position they should’t be leading. Character is important - gentleness, humility, a trustworthy  character before they start having a huge influence and teaching within the church.  

We know also that Paul writes in Galations “In Christ there is neither slave more free, nor male and  female, in Him we are all equal and united, and in the body of Christ we can help one another  flourish.”  

So 1 Timothy 2 is a real calling to the church to come together to learn.

Dear Lord, thank you for this passage. Thank you for helping us to understand it in the context of  the time it was written. We thank you that you are the God of all times and we can still take  learning from this passage, things that are relevant. Help us to come together in our church, to be  humble to learn, humble to truth, and to gain wisdom to be able to differentiate between truth and  falsehood. Thank you for bringing us to your word today. Amen

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