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Melvin Blalock

I have been asked to deal with several passages pertinent to modest apparel and the woman’s role in the church. These may be viewed as separate topics, but they are certainly connected. It was with some trepidation that I agreed to accept this subject. With many, this is not a popular subject, whatever one might say will probably displease someone. However, I seek not to please men, but God. That being said, I am honored to participate in this study and to give consideration to the following passages in the order that was requested: Deuteronomy 22:5; 1 Peter 3:3; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Timothy 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; and 1 Timothy 2:8-15.

Deuteronomy 22:5The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

This prohibition is not at all difficult to understand. These instructions were given to Old Testament Israel. It applied with equal force to both sexes and absolutely forbade cross-dressing. The woman was not to wear a man’s garment, nor was the man to wear a woman’s garment. This tells me that the unisex movement did not originate with God. God created men and women to be different, and He insisted upon that distinction being readily discernible. The clothing was to be such that would easily distinguish the sexes. To attempt to obliterate this distinction was contemptible to God. To use the wording of Deuteronomy, “it was an abomination.”

Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary (#844 1) defines this word to mean something “disgusting, an abhorrence.” Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English, Third College Edition, offers the following definition: “an abominating; great hatred and disgust; loathing; anything hateful and disgusting.”

God found this practice disgusting. My friends, that is pretty strong language. Some may feel we need not be concerned with this passage because is in the Old Testament, but I am always concerned when God says He abhors something. I cannot imagine our eternal and unchangeable God, who is so definite about something He finds disgusting, at a later time becoming acclimated to it and acceptant of it. While it is true that we are not amenable to the laws of the Old Testament, we do not discard principles that are clearly set forth there in God’s dealings with man. We are reminded of this in the New Testament by the following passages:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (1 Corinthians 10:6).

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Many commentators say that “scriptures” in this passage refer to the Old Testament.

I like what Matthew Henry had to say in his commentary regarding Deuteronomy 22:5: “The distinction of the sexes by apparel is to be kept up, for the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, v. 5.”

There are New Testament passages that show plainly that God still wants men to look and act like men and women to look and act like women. Effeminacy in men is condemned. Jesus talked about soft or effeminate clothing on men in Matthew 11:7-8, saying that they who wear such are in king’s houses.

Paul said that the effeminate would not inherit the kingdom of God
(1 Corinthians 6:9). Concerning the hair, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:14-15:
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

In these passages as well as those we have under consideration, we find that God has distinctive roles for men and women and that their wearing apparel is also to be distinctive of their gender.

Certainly there is much teaching about morality and righteousness in Deuteronomy 22. There are things recorded there for our admonition even in this last dispensation of time. In studying these issues, it has been my observation that God has not lowered moral standards since those words were given to Israel so long ago. God has not “loosened up” on any moral issues that I can think of. If anything, the standard is higher in the New Testament. Adultery is an example: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Divorce for any cause was tolerated under the Mosaic system, which is not so in this dispensation.

Let me say clearly that the unisex movement was clearly forbidden under the law, and I believe it is no less an abomination to God today. Lesbianism and homosexuality are often associated with cross-dressing. Homosexuality was also an abomination to God (Leviticus 18:22). Like cross-dressing, homosexuality is not specifically called an abomination in the New Testament, but it is denounced plainly as sin. The point is that if either of these was an abomination then, we believe they are no less an abomination today. Homosexual will close the doors of heaven against its adherents (1 Corinthians 6:9). The Deutonomy passage has to do with the subject of the woman’s role and her modesty, which is shown by not wearing that which pertains to a man.

I Peter 3:3-4Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

The Holy Spirit in this passage is de-emphasizing the outward adornment and exalting the inward beauty, the ornamentation of a gentle and quiet spirit. It should be understood that he does not forbid the wearing of certain ornaments, or that of apparel, but rather the inner person is where the emphasis is to be placed. Dr. James MacKnight offers the following comments:
Let it not be the outward adorning only. The word ‘only’ is supplied here, agreeably to the known phraseology of scripture, and to the nature of precept. For we cannot suppose that the apostle forbids Christian women to adorn themselves with apparel suitable to their station, any more than the Lord forbade his disciples to labor for meat that perisheth, John vi.27. His meaning in that precept certainly was, that the disciples were not to labor for meat which perisheth only, but also for the meat that endureth to everlasting life…”

MacKnight used the Syriac version in his scripture reference. It reads as follows: “Of these, let the adorning be not what is outward only, of plaiting of hair, and of putting round golden chains, or of putting on clothes.” The NKJV has a similar rendering: (1 Peter 3:3) “Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel.” The language contained in these verses is known as a Hebraism, which is common in sacred languages. Guy N. Woods makes the following significant observation:

So here Paul does not forbid women to wear jewels, or to adorn themselves with modest apparel; he does admonish them to regard such as utterly worthless in comparison with the graces which adorn the Christian character, and which alone determine one’s worth in God’s sight.. .Paul also gave attention to the vanity characteristic of worldly women in adorning themselves with ‘braided hair, gold or pearls or costly raiment‘ (I Timothy 2:9), and from the historians of the period in which Peter wrote, we learn that women were disposed to go to extreme lengths in braiding and plaiting their hair, often arranging massive whorls of it several inches above the head into which had been woven twisted strands of gold and chains of pearls which glistened and scintillated in the light, thus making an impression of great brilliance.

I Timothy 2:9-10 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

Some argue that Paul is giving instruction for the woman’s adornment in the public assembly of the church. While his instructions would certainly include the assemblies, I believe he was concerned for the Christian woman’s adornment and behavior in general. I do not believe the verses in this text are limited to the assembly. I will later give you the reasons why I believe this to be true. In this passage, Paul is concerned with Christian women being adorned modestly. First, he speaks of modest apparel. It will be helpful to define some of the wording of this verse.

  1. E. Vinedefines the word “modest“:
    kosmios, orderly, well-arranged, decent, modest.

He defines the word “apparel“:  katastole… connected with katastello, “to send or let down, to lower” (kata, “down,” stello, “to send“), was primarily a garment let down; hence, “dress, attire,” in general (cf. STOLE, a loose outer garment worn by kings and persons of rank — Eng., “stole“); <1 Timothy 2:9>, “apparel” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words).

Thayer defines katastole, “A garment let down, dress, and attire.” Young defines this word, “long robe.” katastello is found in no other text in the Bible. When I read this definition of apparel, my mind envisions our godly sisters with their beautiful uncut hair and their modest dresses. We should not overlook this significant word, katastello, meaning “to send or let down, to lower.”

It is evident that modest apparel means a woman’s clothing should not be such as would expose her body in a way to suggest evil thoughts. Shamefacedness means womanliness; the opposite of brazenness.” The Greek word for sobriety is also defined ‘self-control’ in Thayer’s lexicon. (E. M. Zerr).


A woman may be so skimpily clad that she reveals her body, provoking lust, or she may be fully clothed, and yet her clothing be so tight that it reveals her anatomy to the point that she is no longer decent. Either is the opposite of “modest or seemly” attire. There are items of clothing that cannot be worn modestly in public. The woman may be attired so elaborately that it would calling attention to her and, hence, would not be modest.


Brother Mike Criswell gave the following good rules concerning modest apparel. He wrote of the three “L’s” — LotsLooseLong. He states:

This seems to be a good rule of thumb for both men and women. Lots, loose, and long, so it doesn’t reveal the form and shape of the body so as to incite lust in the opposite sex.


What principles are Christians to follow in deciding what to wear?


  1. The garment must distinguish the person from the opposite sex.


  2. The garment must not be too flashy but must depict a heart of modesty.


  3. The garment must not incite lust in the opposite sex.

Shamefacedness” is defined by W. E. Vine: “Shamefastness: aidos, a of shame, modesty, is used regarding the demeanor of women in the church, I Timothy 2:9. Shamefastness is that modesty which is ‘fast’ or rooted in character” (Davies; Bible English, p. 12).

In our immoral world, so many have no sense of shame, and they openly show that to be true by their demeanor and their mode of dress. The Apostle is saying that a godly woman will have that inward modesty, “shamefastness,” rooted in her character. By the indecent behavior and the improper attire worn by many, we are reminded of the words penned by Jeremiah: (8:12), “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush…” May God’s people never become so like the world that they lose their ability to blush.

Sobriety is another quality that composes the godly woman’s character. “Sobriety” is defined by W. E. Vine: sophrosune, denotes soundness of mind…Acts 26:25, “soberness;” 1 Timothy 2:9, 15, “sobriety;” ‘sound judgment’ practically expresses the meaning.

It is that habitual inner self-government, with its constant rein on all the passions and desires, which would hinder the temptation to these from arising, or at all events from arising in such strength as would overbear the checks and barriers which aidos (shamefastness) opposed to it (Trench, Synonyms, pp. xx, end).

In the first part of verse 9, he discusses the importance of wearing modest clothing and the inward qualities of the godly woman that govern her choices in that clothing. In the latter part of the verse, he speaks of undue emphasis being placed upon outward ornamentation. As we noted from Guy N. Wood in his commentary on 1 Peter, it was a common practice at that time to weave strands of gold and pearls and other costly array in the hair, calling undue attention to one’s self. Shamefastness and sobriety would rule against this practice. We should not conclude from this that all makeup and jewelry are forbidden, but moderation is the key. The real emphasis is not to be on the outward adornment. Paul says that the godly woman should adorn herself instead with good works (v. 10). This is not a contradiction of Peter when he said, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). Her meek and quiet spirit and her good works are the adornment that will make her truly attractive. When we study these verses, surely we are reminded of the “virtuous woman” in Proverbs. “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:30-31). The “virtuous woman” dressed in a way that was becoming to her station: “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple” (Proverbs 31:22).


There are several points that lead us to the conclusion that the verses in 1 Timothy 2 are not limited to the assembly. We will notice a couple of those at this point. It is absurd to think that Paul is only concerned with modest apparel in the assembly. Godly women are to dress always in a way that is indicative of inward modesty and sobriety. Further-more, her real adornment is to be that of good works that is becoming a woman professing godliness. Are we to suppose that these good works are only performed in the assemblies? Quite the opposite is true. Most good works performed by women are outside of the church assembly.

I Timothy 2:11-12
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

After instructing the woman on her apparel and adornment, Paul turns to the subject of the woman’s role. I am indebted to Brother Alan Bonifay for the following information, along with a good outline explaining these two verses. Alan noted in his study:


  1. Kinds of teachings:


  1. There are three distinct kinds of teaching situations described in the Scripture.
  2. The Word of God is to be taught in the worship assemblies of the church.
  3. Whether such assemblies are public or private is immaterial.
    b.When the church is called together for worship the rules of
    1 Corinthians 14 apply.
    c. In such situations, only faithful men may teach.
    d. Women must remain silent.


  1. The Word of God may also be taught in public situations.
  2. When it is, it must be done by faithful men.
    b.Women may not teach in such situations.


  1. The Word of God may be taught in “house to house” situations which are narrowly circumscribed “private sessions” under the authority of the Christian home and generally comprising a group only as large as one might expect to encounter in a house — in practical terms, it will probably be limited to less than a dozen participants on almost all such occasions.


  1. The question remains as to who is authorized by Scriptures to teach in such situations.
  2. In order to answer that question, we must examine another passage and its ramifications (1 Timothy 2:12).
  1. What does the Bible say about women teaching God’s Word?
    Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Timothy 2:11-12).
  1. What does this passage preclude?


  1. Women are prohibited from teaching the Word of God.
  2. Women are also prohibited from usurping authority over a man.


  1. What does the passage teach women to do positively?


  1. It teaches her to learn in silence.
  2. Silence can mean “rest, quiet, tranquillity; a quiet tranquil life as it does in 2 Thessalonians 3:12, or it can mean silence as it does here and in Acts 22:2” (AGL, p. 189).
  3. It also teaches that women are to learn “with all subjection.”
  4. Subjection means “to place or arrange under; to subordinate, 1 Corinthians 15:27; to bring under influence, Romans 8:20passively, to be subordinate, 1 Corinthians 14:32; to be brought under a state or influence, Romans 8:20; in the middle voice it means to submit one’s self, to render obedience, be submissive, Luke 2:51; 10:17” (AGL, p. 419). Here it conveys the idea of submissiveness as in 2 Corinthians 9:13 or Galatians 2:5.


  1. Does this passage refer only to the assembly of the church for worship?


  1. Many, if not most, commentaries say that it does.
  2. Many study Bibles and Bibles, which are arranged in paragraph form with

subheadings added, say so.

  1. Notwithstanding such authority, we say that the answer is “No” for at least three reasons.


  1. There is absolutely nothing in the text, the context or even the remote context, which indicates that the assembling of the congregation for worship is in view — not one shred of evidence exists for such a notion.
  2. Verse 8 instructs men to “pray every where.” Obviously, Paul’s command is not limited to church assemblies.
  3. In verse 9, if the assembly were in view, then outside of the assembly, women would not be prohibited from wearing immodest apparel. Such a contrived position approaches the absurd.


  1. Why, then, do many commentaries take the view that Paul references the worship assemblies of the church in this passage?


  1. Roman Catholic and Protestant churches are so rife with error that this

position is more convenient.

  1. Likewise, digressive churches of Christ have their own agendas to sustain.


  1. Then, does this passage teach that women are forbidden to teach God’s Word at all?


  1. If this were all the New Testament said about women teaching the Scriptures, the answer would be “yes.” However, it is not all that is said.


  1. In 2 Timothy 1:5and 3:14-17, Timothy’s mother and grandmother are commended for teaching Timothy the Scriptures from his infancy.
  2. In Titus 2:3-5, older Christian women are commanded to be “teachers of good things” in order that they might equip or train the younger women concerning their Christian obligations as wives and mothers.


(1) kalodidaskalos — teaching what is good, a teacher of good(AGL, p. 211).

(2) sophronizo — properly to render any one.. .to restore to a right mind; to make sober-minded, to steady by exhortation and guidance” (AGL, p. 396).


  1. Acts 21:9— Philip had four daughters who possessed the gift of prophecy.
  2. 1 Corinthians 11:5— This passage gives regulation to women concerning praying and prophesying.
  3. Acts 18:26— Priscilla assisted her husband, Aquilla, in instructing Apollos.


  1. In view of all of these passages instructing women to teach, what then does 1 Timothy 2:11-12 mean?


  1. In light of verses 8-9, the scope of the passage is broader than the worship assembly.
  2. It is not, however, so broad in scope as to be without limit, for women are instructed to teach God’s Word in certain circumstances.
  3. Acts 20:20provides the clue, for Paul separates public teaching from that conducted on the intimate basis of “house to house” teaching.


(1) “Publicly” here includes the teaching that is open to or accessible to the public.

(2) “House to house” teaching is that which occurs on the privacy level of someone’s home.


  1. Conclusively, then, what is forbidden to women in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is any form of public teaching of God’s Word.

Comments from Others:

Though most commentators hold the public assembly view, commentator E. M. Zen is an exception. He writes beginning at 1 Timothy 2:1: Some commentators think this instruction has reference to the public services of the congregation. Doubtless it includes that, but verse 8 commands that men pray everywhere, which makes the exhortation general.

Matthew Henry writes concerning prayer in his comments on
I Timothy 2:8: “Men must pray everywhere: no place is amiss of prayer, no place more acceptable to God than another.” Ellicott comments on the Greek word for “learn,” manthano, and states that it is “in antithesis (contrast) to didasko.” On the subject of Christianity changing the primal relationship of women to men, he also states:

While it animated and spiritualized their fellowship, it no less definitely assigned to them their respective spheres of action; teaching and preaching to men, ‘mental receptivity and activity in family life to women‘ (Neander, Planting, vol. I, p. 147, [Bohn]).

What grave arguments these few verses supply us with against some of the unnatural and unscriptural theories of modern times!” (Ellicott, p. 52). Thus, the role of the woman is ‘in antithesis to’ or in contrast to being a teacher. Thayer defines didasko as “to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses,” while manthano is defined as “to learn, be appraised.” Ellicott also says, “Every form of public address or teaching is clearly forbidden as at variance with the woman’s proper duties and destination” (Ibid.).

Alford states on 1 Timothy 2:11-12:

Let a woman learn (in the congregation, and everywhere: see below) in silence in all (possible) subjection (the thought of the public assemblies has evidently given rise to the precept (see I Corinthians xiv. 34); but he carries it further than can be applied to them in the next verse): but (the contrast is to a suppressed hypothesis of a claim to do that which is forbidden; c. a similar de, I Corinthians xi. 16) to a woman I permit not to teach (in the church primarily), or, as the context shews, anywhere else (Alford, p. 319).

Before leaving this passage, we must discuss the clause, “usurp authority over the man.” There are two things that the woman is prohibited from doing. She is prohibited from teaching (delivering a didactic discourse) and from usurping authority over the man. These are two independent phrases separated by the conjunction “nor.” This Scripture does not say anything about “teaching over the man,” as some allege. For obvious reasons, the Sunday School brethren want to give it that construction to sustain their unscriptural practice of women teaching a Bible class so long as men are not present.

Brother Jerry Cutter states the following in a tract called “The Teaching,” pages 18-19:
Usurp authority over” is.. .only one word in the Greek, and means “Exercise dominion over one . . ..I Timothy 2:12” (Thayer’s Lexicon, p. 84). In short, “over” is not connected with “teach” in I Timothy 2:12, but only with having dominion over the man, or the second part of the verse. b. The Bible does not say, “I suffer not a woman to teach over the man!” The passage says nothing about “teach-over.” Rather, it, says, “I suffer not a woman to teach,” nor do something else. c. Compare these two parallel passages:


(1) I Timothy 2:12: “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man.” If “over the man” modifies both “teach” and “usurp authority,” consider the following and see the contradiction:


(2) Leviticus 19:14: “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind...” Shall we say that the prepositional phrase, “before the blind,” modifies the first prohibition? If so, the passage merely means, “Thou shalt not curse the deaf before the blind.” In other words, according to such logic, it would be perfectly all right to curse the deaf, provided it is not done before the blind.”

What may we conclude from 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and the other passages concerning the woman teaching? First, we learn that a woman is prohibited from being a public teacher of God’s Word, and in that sphere she is to remain silent. Second, we further learn that she is never to usurp authority over the man, but to be silent, or in subjection.

I Corinthians 14:34-35Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

There is nothing difficult to understand about the wording of this text. We have already shown by 1 Timothy 2 that the woman is not permitted to teach except in private situations. Obviously, in the assembly she is prohibited from doing such. Paul emphatically says that she “is not permitted to speak,” but that she is to be “under obedience, as also saith the law” (1 Corinthians 14:34). The NKJV reads, “. . .but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.” I have wondered about the expression, “as also saith the law.” MacKnight refers the reader to that law given in Genesis 3:16.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”


Paul shows that her role is one of submission. She is to be a learner in the assembly and not a teacher. She is not to ask questions in the assembly; but if she has questions, let her ask her husband at home. Paul says, “Let your women keep silence in the churches” (v. 34), and then in verse 35, “. . . for it is a, shame for women to speak in the church.” Some have labored to explain away these strong prohibitions because they plainly condemn their women preachers and teachers. Some argue that this was written to the church at Corinth during the age of spiritual gifts and does not apply to the church today. First, we would point out that this message was not only for first-century Corinth. At the introduction of this epistle, Paul wrote, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2). In the present chapter, he wrote, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). It is evident that these inspired words were for the benefit of the Lord’s church throughout the whole world and for infinity.


Brother Bennie Cryer wrote the following in the O.P.A. April 1, 1988, under the caption, “Some Thoughts on 1 Corinthians 14“:

“WHAT 1 CORINTHIANS 14 IS NOT TEACHING. 1. Its main purpose is not teaching rules to be used to regulate the use of spiritual gifts only. It does teach rules for edifying an assembly when the church gathers for the purpose of rendering spiritual service to God. The reason spiritual gifts were regulated by the rules for edification found in this chapter is because these rules could be violated by one with spiritual gifts in the same fashion they could be by teaching using knowledge he had acquired through study and meditation. It is not considering how that knowledge got into the teacher’s mind but how that knowledge is dispersed to the audience. It is to be done in such a way all may learn and all may be comforted. v. 31…”


Brother Cryer writes in his fourth point:

It is not teaching that only the wives of inspired prophets were to keep silent in the assemblies. It is teaching that the prophets’ wives were to keep silent in the assemblies, not because they were wives of prophets, but because they were women, ‘For it is a shame for women to speak in the church,’ ” vv. 34—35.

These verses obviously regulate the woman’s role when the church convenes an assembly. It is required that she remain silent in all such assemblies.

I Timothy 2:8-15
Now we wish to return to the verses recorded in 1 Timothy 2:8-15. In verse 8 he particularly addresses the men, telling them, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Some have concluded that since he addressed men in this verse, it shows that he has in mind the public church assembly. Nowhere in the entire chapter does he name the church assembly. He does say, “I will therefore that men pray every where...” “Every where” is surely more general than the assembly, athough the woman certainly would be excluded from leading a prayer or song in the assembly by this divine injunction. It is the men who are to taking the lead when public prayers are offered. My wife recently related a story to me about the time in a public gathering she was asked to return thanks for the meal by her supervisor. The supervisor, who was a woman, knew that Alberta was a preacher’s wife. Alberta was probably the only Christian in the gathering, but she declined because there were men present. I firmly believe that she did the correct thing.

Let us look back to I Timothy 2:1-2: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” He began this chapter with an exhortation to prayer. Should we conclude that the only times we are to pray for kings and all that are in authority is in the public assembly? E.M. Zen in his commentary says that the “every where” in verse 8 makes it general.

In verse 8, Paul wrote that men were to “pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” E. M. Zen makes the following observation regarding “lifting up holy hands“:
LIFTING UP HOLY HANDS means hands of men who are living holy or righteous lives. The lifting of the hands is merely an allusion to the ancient practice of presenting the uplifted hands in respectful petition to God (Nehemiah 8:6; Psalms 141:2; Lamentations 3:4). The command pertains to the kind of hands being lifted up, and not as to the posture of the body during prayer: The Lord is not concerned about that matter…”
Without wrath and doubting” are more qualifications to acceptable prayer wherever it is offered. Adam Clarke writes concerning “Without Wrath”: “Having no vindictive feeling against any person; harbouring no Unforgiving spirit, while they are imploring pardon for their own offences.”


Concerning “Doubting,” W. E. Vine, page 337, offers the following: “diaogismos expresses reasoning or questioning hesitation, 1 Timothy 2:8, See Dispute, A, No. I.” On page 324, W. E. Vine says “Dispute” denotes, primarily, an inward reasoning, an opinion.”

Dr. James MacKnight writes: “dialogismos sometimes signifies reasoning in one’s own mind, sometimes reasonings and disputings with others. See Luke ix. 46,47. The disputings of which the apostle speaks in this passage, are of those only about the times and places of prayer, but those about other points of religion, whereby bigots inflame themselves into rage against those who differ with them.”

After his directive to men about prayer, Paul then turns his attention to the women. We notice that he begins his dialogue with women by writing “In like manner.” E. M. Zen comments,


In like manner is all from the Greek word HOSAUTOS, and one word in Thayer’s definition is ‘likewise,’ and that word does not necessarily mean a repetition of some previous action, but rather that the writer has something more to say. It is as if the apostle said, ‘furthermore, I have something to say about the women.’

In the remaining verses of this chapter, the apostle discusses issues concerning modesty, adornment, and the woman’s role. He finishes up by explaining why woman has been assigned a submissive role. He shows why it is that she may not be a public teacher. We have already discussed modesty, adornment, and her restriction concerning the teaching in verses 9-12. Without rehashing material that we have already covered, let us proceed to verses 13-15:

For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”


We read the following in the Gospel Advocate Commentary: For Adam was first formed, then Eve. The reasons for this teaching are here given, which show the reach or extent of the principles. Adam had priority in creation. He was the original human being. Eve was from him and subordinate to him, and was formed a help suited to him. The argument here based on priority of creation is much strengthened by the following statement: “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.” (1 Corinthians 11:9). This teaching of Paul respecting the public position of woman as regards man, in which he shows that she is to hold a subordinate place, is based upon no arbitrary human speculation, but upon God’s original order in creation—that divine order which first created man and after man’s creation formed woman as his help meet.


This provides one of the reasons that the woman is not to exercise authority over the man, but to be in submission. Furthermore, she is not to be a public teacher.


In verse 14, we are furnished with the second reason. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14). MacKnight comments:


The serpent did not attempt to deceive Adam; but he attacked the woman knowing her to be the weaker of the two. Hence Eve, in extenuation of her fault, pleaded, Gen. iii. 13. “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.” Whereas Adam said, ver. 12. “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat;” insinuating, that as the woman had been given him for a companion and help, he had eaten of the tree out of affection to her.


Now let us look at the final verse in this discussion, verse 15: “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” There are at least four different ideas about the woman’s salvation in childbearing. I believe that Dr. James MacKnight is correct in his translation of verse 15. It reads as follows:
However, though Eve was first in transgression, and brought death on herself, her husband, and her posterity, the female sex shall be saved equally with the male, through childbearing; through bringing forth the Saviour; if they live in faith, and love, and chastity, with that sobriety I have been recommending.


His comments on this verse are insightful:

The word saved, in this verse, refers to the woman in the foregoing verse who is certainly Eve. But the apostle did not mean to say, that she alone was to be saved through child-bearing; but that all her posterity, whether male or female, are to be saved through the childbearing of a woman; as is evident from his adding, “if they live in faith, and love, and holiness with sobriety.” For safety in child- bearing doth not depend on that condition at all; since many pious women die in child-bearing, while others of a contrary character are preserved—the salvation of the human race through child-bearing was intimated in the sentence passed on the serpent, Gen. iii.l5. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise they head.” Accordingly, the Saviour being conceived in the womb of His mother by the power of the Holy Ghost, He is truly ‘the seed of woman’ who was to bruise the head of the serpent; and a woman, by bringing him forth, hath been the occasion of our salvation—Vulg.



In conclusion, we have determined from these words of Holy Writ that God has assigned a distinctive role for the woman, one that we are bound to honor. It is perhaps significant to point out that none of the apostles, elders, deacons, and evangelists of the New Testament were women. This is not to say that woman is inferior in intelligence or talent, but that God made her to be a help mate to man and assigned her a role of submission. He has explained to us why she cannot be a public teacher of God’s Word, and that matter should be settled. Not only does God expect her to behave in accordance with her femininity, but to look the part as well. Her wearing apparel is to be modest, and her adornment is to depict a character of shamefastness and sobriety. Truly the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is of great price in the sight of God.


[This is from the 2000 Preacher’s Study Notes]

 Recommended articles:

Introducing the Church of Christ – Ronny Wade

God’s Sevenfold Unity – Jerry Cutter

Repentance – J. W. McGarvey


The Ancient Faith website is a thematic collection of scholarly yet simple Bible essays and sermons, many of which were composed by Restoration preachers such as J.W. McGarvey, Moses Lard, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Campbell. These courageous men of faith through hours of Bible investigation studied themselves out of denominationalism, asking for “the old paths” (Jer. 6:16) and seeking to return to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We hope you will join with these men in their fervent plea to restore “the ancient order,” “the ancient gospel” or, as it was sometimes called, “the ancient faith.”