The sign says: SPEED LIMIT 35. We drive 38. The sign says: SPEED LIMIT 70. We drive 73. There’s nothing like an imperative to reveal our rebellious natures. And in today’s culture, there’s nothing like making a distinction between the sexes to raise our hackles. But today’s imperative does just that—make a distinction between the sexes (there are only two, by the way), that is. Writing to Pastor Timothy concerning order in worship in the church, Paul says, “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (I Tim. 2:11, 12).
What Is Often Overlooked. Kneejerk indignation and cries of prejudice ignore or dismiss several salient points concerning this verse and the context of Scripture as a whole. First, women must receive instruction. This is a uniquely biblical doctrine. The clear implication of this statement is that women are expected to learn God’s holy truth right alongside men. There is not one body of truth for men and another for women. There are not “higher” truths that only men can comprehend or be permitted to receive. No, women receive all the truth of God without exception. This elevation of women, this equality of opportunity to learn runs counter to ancient human culture. Both the Old Testament law and the New Testament gospel were to be learned by women. In contrast with modern man’s views, the Bible exalts women. Second, women are acknowledged to be able teachers in the proper context. For example, the older women are expected to teach the younger women and children (Tit. 2:3-5). In an even more striking example, we read that Apollos was “an eloquent man . . . mighty in the Scriptures.” Furthermore, he “had been instructed in the way of the Lord” so that he “was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus. . . . But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:24-26). That women are honored in Scripture can also be demonstrated by the fact that a Samaritan woman was the first person to whom the Lord revealed the fact that He was the Messiah (John 4:25, 26), and a woman (Mary Magdalene) was the first person to whom the Lord revealed Himself after His resurrection (Mk. 16:9). Third, and most significantly, Christ, who is very God, one in essence and being with the Father, submitted to God (I Cor. 11:3). It is a lie of Satan to maintain that submission equates to inferiority. Submission is both an honor and a privilege.
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