Women in the Church (1 Timothy 2:9-15)

Apr 28, 2023 By: Johnny Dos Santos Topic: Sermon Devotional Scripture: 1 Tim. 2:9-15

“. . . likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV)

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

“Just as members of the Trinity are equal in importance in their full existence as distinct persons, so men and women have been created by God to be equal in their importance and personhood. Men and women are made equally in God’s image, and both men and women reflect God’s character in their lives. This means that we should see aspects of God’s character reflected in each other’s lives.”

The quote above is from Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. This is how he defines equality in personhood and the importance of men and women, which is very good.

But notice that it was first the author of Genesis who said that men and women were created after the image of God and therefore have intrinsically the same value. Therefore, men and women are equally important to God and equally valuable to him throughout eternity.   

Genesis 1:16, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” reveals that the Trinity “us,” God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, were involved in creating Adam and Eve. In creation, the Trinity worked harmoniously, and we should not be surprised to see some of that harmony in the relationship between Adam and Eve.    

God created men and women equal but distinct, which becomes evident in 1 Timothy 2:9-15. In this passage, Paul instructs Timothy about women in the church. 

Likewise, in chapter 3 of the same letter, Paul gives instructions about the conduct of the elders and deacons, setting a standard for the church’s leadership, and I would venture to say to every man. Not that every man should be able to teach and preach in the context of the local assembly, but those who are fathers should be able to teach God’s word to his household and disciple them.

In 1 Timothy 2:9-15, Paul is not picking on women. Still, he gives clear instructions regarding their conduct and proper demeanor in the local assembly, and the first thing he says is that women should dress with modesty and pursue self-control.

The second thing he says is that in the context of the local congregation, women should not have authority over men. Since the elders carry the authority to lead and oversee the church, Paul excludes women from the eldership.

Paul’s argument is based on the creation order and how God created first Adam, and from Adam, he created Eve, and to man, God gave authority to rule and have dominion over creation.

For Paul, women are not to have authority over men in the local assembly because men have a particular role in representing God by leading and exercising authority. So likewise, women have a specific role in representing God in their womanhood and affirming this God-given leadership to men. 

John Piper said something profound about manhood and womanhood that is worth quoting here.

“God’s design in creation is one that mature manhood and womanhood are of such a nature that they both experience a sense of fitness and suitableness and appropriateness in the roles of manhood as humble leadership and protection and provision and womanhood as gladly affirming that leadership and partnering with a man in the use of her gifts to carry it through the work of the Gospel.”

Because men and women were created equals in the image of God, men are not superior to women, nor are women inferior to men. As between the members of the Trinity, there has been equality in importance, personhood, and deity throughout eternity, and so do men and women in importance and personhood.

In the same way, there are differences in roles between the members of the Trinity. Yet, they coexist harmoniously, so there are differences in roles between men and women, and we also should coexist harmoniously.  

Our equality in personhood before God should lead men and women to give honor to each other, being reminded that through the redemption that it is in Christ, the wall of hostility between the Father and us has been broken down. So, also, the animosity between men and women has been destroyed.

In Jesus, we are new creatures created for his glory and to reflect his character and image to the world that desperately looks for models. Therefore, let the church, our marriages, and our relationships with people of the opposite sex and each other be marked by mutual respect and honor because, in God’s eyes, men and women are equal and yet different, worthy of importance, and have different roles.

As Piper said, “Both men and women are given indispensable roles in the achievement of God’s ultimate purposes.” And we should praise God for making us, men and women, after his image for his glory.