Monday, April 4, 2011

Shut Up!

In I Timothy 1:18-I Timothy 2:11 Paul writes concerning not getting away from holding faith and a good conscience. He warns Timothy of the potential of becoming shipwrecked in that way and give the example of Hymenaeus and Alexander. But rather than allowing himself to become shipwrecked also, Paul tells Timothy how to avoid it.

His first instruction is prayer be made for all men. He mentions supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks. These are all types of what we would call prayer. Paul makes special mention of government leaders. When we pray it doesn’t always seem like we’re doing that much, but prayer should be a priority. It should come first.

Prayer for all men will help us to have a quiet and peaceable life, but it is clearly something God wants us to do. Paul points out that God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. If for no other reason, we should be praying for other people because God wants them to be saved. I don’t think this just means that we should pray for Jesus to save them. After all, Paul mentioned all kind of prayer. We should ask for their protection. We should ask God to help them. We should thank God for them. And yes, we should ask God to convict them of their sins. God loves these people. We should too and pray for them.

For that reason, Paul says, he wants men to pray everywhere. Now what is interesting about this statement is the next statement, “In like manner also, that women should adorn…” We generally read verse 8 and think, “Okay, Paul thinks men and women should be praying,” but verse 9 makes it clear that Paul is talking about men as in male. I don’t think that let’s women off the hook because verse 9 may have more to do with a comparison between the manner in which men are to pray, “lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting” than it does with saying that men should pray and women shouldn’t, but Paul is very clear that he wants men to pray.

Men need to be the leaders in their homes. When the time comes to go to church, it should be the man who tells the family that they’re going to church. He shouldn’t wait for his wife to ask if he’s going to church. He should go and expect his family to follow. When the family or church faces a challenge, it should be the men who step forward in faith, leading the way for the rest of the church to trust God to provide. That isn’t to say that women can’t act in faith too, but the men need to lead in faith and prayer.

When Paul begins to talk about the women, it appears that we can summarize what he is saying by saying that women shouldn’t draw attention to themselves. Since he uses the phrase “in like manner”, these aren’t disconnected thoughts. It’s hard for men to lead when their wives are putting on a big show. That’s not to say that a woman has to put on a sour face before she walks into the church building, but women need to be mindful of what they need to do in order to allow men to lead.

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” Women have a tendency to fill every silence with words, as if they are afraid of the silence. Men tend to welcome the silence because it allows them to compose their thoughts before they speak. To put this plainly, women, if you want to let men lead the way God want them to lead, shut up.