Read the rest of the discussion here.
When I study what 1 Timothy 2:12 has to say about the responsibilities of men and women within the church I’m struck by the inconsistencies of many churches.
In my last post I this topic I discussed the importance of context. Of course, context can be applied in a lot of different ways, but in this post I want to look at 2:12 in the context of 2:8-11.
Verse 8 seems to be a clear instruction that Paul expects men in the church to pray with a posture of raised hands, and attitudes devoid of anger and disputing. Yet I know many churches that would kick me out if I stood at the podium, raised my hands and offered a prayer. These churches find a meaning for “lifting up holy hands” that is something other than the obvious.
Verse 9 contains a clear instruction that women should not wear expensive clothes, jewelry, or hair styles to a church service (or anywhere). Yet many churches have an expectation that people will wear the best (most expensive) clothes in their wardrobe to church each week. I think I could much more easily use this verse to suggest that we should all wear (cheap) jeans and t=shirts to worship, than I could argue that we should “wear our best to meet God”. Again, we find a meaning that is something other than the obvious.
Verse 10 teaches that Christian women (I’m sure it applies to men also) should make sure that they perform good works in God’s service. If you’re going to come sing to God, make sure you go serve God. But I’ve never really found a church that checks up on whether or not its women are serving God with good deeds. Although, I know of plenty that discuss hem lines. It seems that these churches treat this verse as just a general observation and not anything the church actually needs to take any action over.
Then we come to v11-12. Immediately these verses must be taken extremely literally, on face value, and stringently monitored. People shudder at the thought of women leading a ministry, serving on a committee, speaking up in worship, or silently passing communion plates. It doesn’t matter whether a woman’s doing good works, but she better not read Scripture aloud during a worship service or there’ll be trouble.
WHAT CHANGED??? In my Bible v11 begins a new paragraph, but I don’t see anything that says the two paragraphs should be applied in completely different ways. They’re still part of the same letter by the same author.
So here’s a couple of questions for you:
- Should all these verses (1 Tim. 2:8-12) all be read and applied in the same way? Why, or why not?
- If the answer is “Yes” should they all be applied literally, [and men pray with raised hands while wearing jeans and t-shirts] or should we look deeper to confirm our understanding of v11-12 the same way we do 8-10?