1 Timothy 2:13


The apostle is still thinking of the public services of the Church.

I. THE WOMAN IS FORBIDDEN TO TEACH OR PREACH IN THE CHURCH. "Let a woman learn in silence in all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to lord it over the man, but to be in silence." This injunction has a threefold relation - first to herself, then to her husband, then to the Church.

1. She is to learn in silence. This duty concerns herself. She is to be a learner, not a teacher. She is to give all devout attention to the public instruction, so as to learn more and more of Christ and his gospel. And if what she heard was either difficult or doubtful, she was to ask her husband at home (1 Corinthians 14:34); and, in case of his inability to meet her difficulties, she could resort privately to the authorized teachers of the Church. This learning attitude was to be "in all subjection" both to her husband and to the rulers of the Church. Yet it did not imply that she was to accept false teaching, or forego her just right to prove all things and reject what was unsound.

2. She is not to lord it over the man. As teaching or preaching is the act of those in authority, her assumption of this function would imply a lordship over her husband. Husband and wife are "heirs together of the grace of life," but the gospel has not exalted woman to a position of authority over her husband.

3. She is not to teach in the Church.

(1) This injunction of the apostle does not forbid her teaching privately, either her children, as Timothy was taught by his mother, or her servants, or the younger women (Titus 2:4), or even her husband privately on fit occasions, or even strangers, as Priscilla taught Apollos (Acts 18:26).

(2) It forbids her teaching in public.

(a) It is suggestive that the words usually translated in the New Testament "to preach" (κηρύσσω εὐαγγελίζω, καταγγέλλω) are not used in connection with this prohibition, as if women were merely forbidden to preach, but still allowed to teach. The word used here is "to teach" (διδάσκω), and the word used in 1 Corinthians 14. (λαλέω) - "to talk, chatter, babble" - is even more comprehensive. These words all include preaching as the greater includes the less; therefore preaching is also forbidden to women.

(b) Prophesying was forbidden to women as well as teaching. This was a supernatural gift enjoyed both by men and women in the primitive Church, but is not enjoyed now by either men or women. It is never in the New Testament used for preaching, or for mere speaking in meeting. But were there not women who prophesied in the Corinthian Church? (1 Corinthians 11:4, 5.) (α) The gift of prophecy being connected with the gift of tongues, and both being now obsolete, the title of women to the exercise of such a gift in this age utterly fails. (β) The apostle, in his discussion concerning prophecy and the gift of tongues, forbids women to speak at all in the Churches (1 Corinthians 14.). It was in the very midst of his injunctions respecting the use of supernatural gifts that he says, "As in all Churches of the saints, let your women keep silence in the Churches, for it is not; permitted to them to speak... for it is a shame for women to speak in the Churches." Prophesying as well as preaching is forbidden to women. (γ) Much unnecessary difficulty has been caused by the passage respecting "a woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered" (1 Corinthians 11:5). The apostle seems for the time to allow the practice, while he condemns the manner of its performance; but afterwards he forbids the practice itself. In the earlier passage he rebukes merely the indecency of an existing custom, and then in the later he forbids the custom itself. Calvin says, "By condemning the one he does not commend the other." You cannot regard as of equal authority a practice and a command, both explicit and repeated, which destroys the practice. (δ) "But these directions were given to Greek Churches, and cannot apply to the women of our day." We answer that they apply to all Churches; for the apostle says, "As in all Churches of the saints, let your women keep silence in the Churches." The reasons given for the prohibition prove that it has nothing to do with usages, or customs, or times, or races.

II. THE REASON OR GROUND OF THE APOSTLE'S PROHIBITION. It is to be found in the original law of the relation of woman to man.

1. Man's headship in creation. "For Adam was first formed, then Eve." Man's priority of creation is the first reason, but it is to be taken together with the statement in 1 Corinthians 11:8, 9, "For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man; for also the man was not made for the sake of the woman, but the woman for the sake of the man." Besides, as "the Head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man" (1 Corinthians 11:3). "The husband is the head of the wife" (Ephesians 5:23). The woman, therefore, stands under law to her husband, and therefore any attempt on her part to assume the part of head or guide is to overturn the primal order of creation.

2. Woman's priority in transgression. "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being altogether deceived fell into transgression." They both sinned; but Adam was not deceived, for he fully understood the sin he was committing when he yielded to the persuasiveness of his wife.

(1) This reference implies the truly historical character of the narrative in Genesis. It is no myth or legend. The fall of man is an historic fact of the greatest importance, for it grounds the doctrine of original sin, without which human nature, says Pascal, is an inexplicable riddle.

(2) The deception was practiced upon Eve, not upon Adam, for she confessed that the serpent beguiled her.

(3) This facility of deception on her part seems to suggest to the apostle her inferiority to man in strength of intellect, and the consequent wrongness of allowing to woman an intellectual supremacy over man.

III. THE BLESSING UPON WOMAN STANDING WITHIN HER TRUE SPHERE. "But she shall be saved through the child-bearing, if they abide in faith and love and holiness with sobriety."

1. It is here implied if, at woman is to find her right sphere in the relations of motherhood. The change of number implies that Eve is here to be regarded as the representative of her sex. Her sphere is in the home life; her destiny lies in the faithful discharge of its duties. Eve was to be the mother of all living; it was to be through the seed thus given her that the curse was to be lifted off the world, and the head of the serpent bruised. There is an evident allusion in "the child-bearing" to the Incarnation, but it points likewise to the collective seed associated with Christ.

2. It implies that women are not saved, as Roman Catholics contend, by mere childbearing, so that a woman dying in her travail is necessarily saved, for the apostle links with it certain spiritual qualifications as necessary to salvation.

(1) Faith - implicitly resting in the Divine promise and upon the Divine Redeemer, "as the seed of the woman;"

(2) love, as the inspiration of all her wifely and motherly duties;

(3) holiness, as implying purity of life, circumspectness of walk, and devotedness to God;

(4) with sobriety, as marking the self-effacing, self-restraining, self-governing spirit which she is to carry into all the conditions of her life as a Christian mother. T.C.









For Adam was first formed.
As to the question, "Which is the most important, man or woman?" if I may be allowed to speak in editorial style, I should say, "the discussion must now stop." Let those who like it "sit apart upon a hill retired" and discuss the kindred questions, "which is the most important, convex or concave, night or morning, east or west, green land or glancing water?" For ourselves we are, I hope, content to take Florence Nightingale's advice — "Keep clear of all jargons about man's work and woman's work, and go your way straight to God's work in simplicity and singleness of heart," each one to do what each one can do best. Now, we know that, as a rule, some things that women can do right nobly at a crisis, are not best for them to do when men are to be had. As a rule, I think it is not best for women to man a lifeboat; but one black night at Teignmouth last year, when the men were all out of the way, or else were not sharp enough, the women got the lifeboat out. With shrill, quivering cheers they carried it through the battling breakers, dragged a vessel off the sand-bar, and saved precious life. When we hear that they did all this without any help from the unfair sex, who can help saying, "Well done!" I go farther and say that, as a rule, in my private opinion, it is not best for women to preach in public, but where, in exceptional cases and with extra ordinary gifts, women like Mary Fletcher and Priscilla Gurney go out of their way, and all by themselves publicly launch the lifeboat of the gospel to snatch souls from the sea of sin and from the rocks of death, again I say to the praise of grace, " Well done!" They remind me of the Roman who said, "I have broken the law, but I have saved the State!" They are under a higher law than the law they violate, and I am no more able to doubt the validity of their orders than I can doubt the sanity of the New Testament.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

1. The punishment of the woman — "in child-bearing."

2. The comfort of the woman — "she shall be saved."

3. The condition of the salvation — "if they continue." Wherein is implied an exhortation to continue in faith, etc.Many observations might be raised.

1. The pain in childbearing is a punishment inflicted upon the woman for the first sin.

2. The continuance of this punishment after redemption by Christ, doth not hinder the salvation of the woman, if there be the gospel-conditions requisite.

3. The exercise of faith, with other Christian graces, is a peculiar means for the preservation of believers under God's afflicting hand. I shall sum them up into this one. The continuance of the punishment inflicted upon the woman for the first sin doth not prejudice her eternal salvation, nor her preservation in child-bearing, where there are the conditions of faith and other graces.

I. CONCERNING THE PUNISHMENT. Child-bearing itself is not the punishment, but the pain in it. For the blessing, Increase and multiply, was given in innocency. And because this punishment is the greater, it is disputed in the schools whether Adam's or Eve's sin were the greater. We may, I think, safely make these conclusions.

1. In regard of the kind of sin, it was equal in both. They both had an equal pride, an equal aspiring to be like God.

2. In regard of the first motion to this sin, Eve's sin was the greater. She was the seducer of Adam, which the apostle expresseth in the verse before the text.

3. In regard of the woman's condition, the sin was greater on Adam's part.(1) Because he, being the man, had more power to resist, more strength to argue the case.(2) Eve had a stronger and craftier adversary to deal with, the subtlest of all the beasts of the field (Genesis 3:1), animated and inspired by a craftier devil. The stronger the tempter, the more excusable the sin.(3) Eve had the command of not eating immediately from her husband, which laid not altogether so strong a tie upon her as it did upon him, who had it immediately from the mouth of God, and therefore was more certain of the verity of the precept.

II. OF WHAT NATURE IS THIS PUNISHMENT?

1. It is not a punishment in a rigid sense, nor continued as such.(1) Because it is not commensurate to the nature of the sin, neither is it that penalty which the law required. Death was due, and death immediately upon the offence; but death was kept off by the interposition of the mediator, and this which is less than death inflicted at present. Where death is deserved, and a lighter punishment inflicted, it is rather an act of clemency than strict justice, and may be called by the name of a partial pardon or reprieve, as well as a punishment.(2) It is not a reparation of the injury done to God. One reason of the institution of punishment is to repair the damage the person offended sustains by the malefactor, as far as he is capable.(3) It is not continued as a part of satisfaction to the justice of God; as though Christ needed the sufferings of the creature to make up the sum which He was to pay for us, and which He hath already paid. These punishments are to awaken men to a sight of their first sin.(4) The proper impulsive cause of punishment is wrath. In inflicting it He preserves the authority of a Judge; in preserving under it, and pardoning the sin for which it was inflicted, He evidenceth the affection of a Father.

2. Yet it is in some sort a punishment, and something more than an affliction.(1) In respect of the meritorious cause, sin. This is not inflicted as an act of absolute sovereignty, but a judicial legal act upon the demerit of sin.(2) Because if man had stood in innocency, neither this grief, nor indeed any other, had been.

III. THIS PUNISHMENT DOTH NOT HINDER SALVATION THOUGH IT BE CONTINUED.

1. God intended not in the acceptance of Christ's mediation to remove in this life all the punishments denounced after the Fall. God takes away the eternal, but not the temporal. Some parts of Christ's purchase are only payable in another life, and some fruits of redemption God intends for growth only in another soil; such are freedom from pain, diseases, death, and sin. But the full value of Christ's satisfaction will appear when there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, when the day of redemption shall dawn, and all tears be wiped from believers' eyes. But God never promised the total removal of them in this life to any saint; no, though he should have all the faith and holiness of all the catalogue of saints in the Book of Life centred in him.

2. Christ never intended, in the payment of the price of our redemption, the present removal of them. He sent, after His ascension, the Spirit to be our Comforter, which supposeth a state wherein we should need comfort; and when are we under a greater necessity of comfort than when the punishment of sin is actually inflicted on us?

3. Christ intended, and did actually take away the curse of those punishments from every believer.

4. Hence it will follow that to a believer the very nature of these punishments is altered. In the one the sting remains; in the other it is pulled out. The cord that binds a malefactor and a patient may be made of the same hemp, and a knife only go between; but it binds the malefactor to execution, the other to a cure.

5. Therefore all temporal punishments of original sin, though they remain, do not prejudice a believer's present interest.(1) They cut not off his relation to God.(2) They debar not from the presence of God. God may be and is as near to us in supporting as He is in punishing.(3) They break not the covenant. His rod and His stripes, though they seem to break ore, backs, make no breaches in His covenant (Psalm 89:32-34).

6. Add to all this, that the first promise secures a believer under the sufferings of those punishments. God's affection in the promise of bruising the serpent's head was more illustrious in His wrath than the threatening. There are the bowels of a father in the promise before there was the voice of a judge in the sentence. But it may be asked, What is the reason these punishments are continued since the redemption wrought by Christ? There are reasons —(1) On God's part.(a) It is congruous to the wisdom of God to leave them upon us while we are in the world.(b) It is congruous to the holiness of God. God keeps up those punishments as the Rector and Governor of the world, to show His detestation of that sin which brought a disorder and deformity upon the creation, and was the first act of dishonour to God, and the first pollution of the creature.(c) It is a declaration of His justice.(d) It is useful to magnify His love. We should not be sensible of what our Saviour suffered, nor how transcendently He loved us if the punishment of sin had been presently removed upon the first promise.(2) On our parts. It is useful to us(a) To make us abhor our first defection and sin.(b) To make us fear to sin and to purge it out. Sin hath riveted itself so deep that easy medicines will not displace it. It hath so much of our affections that gentle means will not divorce us from it. We shall hate it most when we reap the punishment of it.(c) To exercise grace.

1. Faith and trust — "She that is desolate trusts in God" (1 Timothy 5:5). The lower the state, the greater necessity and greater obligation to trust; such exercises manifest that the condition we are in is sanctified to us.

2. Obedience in a believer hath a greater lustre by them. It was the glory of Job that he preserved his integrity under the smartest troubles.

3. Humility. These punishments are left upon us to allay our pride, and be our remembrancers of our deplorable miscarriage.

4. Patience. Were there no punishments there would be but little occasion for patience.

(S. Charnock.).

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