Balanced, Spirit-filled Order in the Church Provides Stability and Growth.

Women have God-ordained value in the local church. The church does not function well with just men. God designed this institution to work with members of both genders.


1 Timothy 2:8 further explains Paul's instructions on evangelistic prayer from verses 1-7. Men are to pray with "holy hands," a figurative phrase illustrating pure hearts. This prayer is offered by those whose character that is not quick-tempered and does not love discord. The specific wording of "men" shows that men are to lead in corporate prayer.

Verse 9 starts with the word "likewise." Women are also to pray with pure hearts like the men. Paul writes a few additional reminders for the ladies of the church.

Women are to Direct their Hearts Reverently (verses 9-10)

These instructions on dress show "a contrast between the artificial glamour of the world and the true godly life." In the Ephesian culture, some women would spend an entire year's worth of their husband's salary on one extravagant outfit. Their dress was gaudy and lavish, and their aim was to be noticed. This distracted others from the reason they gathered for worship in multiple ways.

Paul is not forbidding dressing nicely or wearing jewelry. Neither is he supporting slovenly dress, which can equally distract from worship. He is not laying out a dress code, but directing his message to the heart of godly ladies in the church. He asks them to be conscientious about their clothing choices.

Adorning ourselves modestly means to do so in a decent and orderly fashion. The Greek word gives root to the English word "cosmetic," meaning planned out and put together. Discreetly simply means to use common sense. Our dress for worship should not mimic the world, but keep in mind our audience of One.

Here is one good question when considering what you wear to worship: "Will what I'm wearing be a distraction to any soul that I'm worshipping with today?" If you are walking with God and your heart desires to please Him, He will answer you.

New believers and new attenders at Grace may not have been taught the principles of this text yet. Don't talk to them about their dress until you have earned that right. In a disciple-making church, a pastor or discipler can address these issues in the right way at the right time. Then potential issues will be addressed privately before they ever become a public issue.

The body of Christ is an organic environment of constantly growing people, from new believers to those who have been in the Lord for 70-80 years. As each one continues in private devotion, growing as a family, following your discipler, and growing in worship and service habits, you will not be a public distraction to the teaching of God's Word.

Instead of drawing other people's gaze to your looks, allow them to notice you for your good works.

Women are to Direct their Hearts Discerningly (verse 11)

Women are to peacefully receive instruction in the Word. The word in 1 Timothy 2:11 often translated "submission" is not the same as silence. Public testimonies or asking questions are appropriate. In corporate worship and organized gatherings for Bible study, where both men and women are present, men are to lead in the teaching of God's Word. Women are to have a peaceable disposition while enjoying God's order for the church.

Women are to Direct their Hearts Vertically (verse 12-15)

In the public teaching of God's Word, women are not permitted to instruct or exercise authority where men are present. In both Jewish and Greek culture, manhood began at the age of 13. Paul gives three reasons women are not allowed this position:

An Argument from Creation

Women were simply created with a different role than men. Men are to be primary leads, not superior. Both women and men are souls made in God's image with equal value. The order God has created is not ours to tamper with.

An Argument from the Fall

Both Adam and Eve were at fault for their sin. Eve was deceived, and Adam allowed it to happen by not taking his primary role. Women are not more susceptible to temptation in their nature.

An Argument from the Child-rearing Process

Women who are mothers do have their own congregation at home. They instruct and pastor their children, fully functioning as spiritual leaders in their home. Mothers can instill a thorough, gradual understanding of Scripture in their children as they pursue the same goal. These children will then influence the church, who watches the results of a mother's instruction.

Application Points

  • When is the last time you bowed your head and prayed for those around you to be saved?
  • Men, are you leading in prayer and evangelism as this text instructs?
  • Women, evaluate your own hearts. Are you reverent and discerning when you come to worship? Are you receiving the Word of God with a peaceful disposition? Do you direct your heart vertically to the Lord?
  • If you are a woman under 60, consider interviewing an older lady saint in our church. Ask her what she has learned about not being a distraction to public worship in her years of growing as a Christian.
  • If you are a mother, do you instruct the congregation of your children at home? You were saved to disciple and shepherd them.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Peter 3:1-6 – The quiet disposition a Christian woman shows in worship is first influential in her home.
  • John 3:30 – Our desire should be that Christ would be known more than us.
  • Titus 2:3-4 – Older Christians are to teach younger saints.
  • 1 Corinthians 14 – Paul's other instructions about women's disposition and activity in corporate worship.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:8-10 – Paul's argument of gender roles from creation.
  • Romans 5:12 – Sin entered the world through Adam.
A Hymn to Encourage: "I Love Thee, Lord Jesus"

I love Thee, Lord Jesus, my Savior divine;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, I know Thou art mine.
I love Thee, I love Thee, and that Thou dost know;
But how much I love Thee, my actions shall show.

O Jesus, my Savior, with Thee I am blest,
My life and salvation, my joy and my rest:
Thy name be my theme, and Thy love be my song;
Thy grace shall inspire both my heart and my tongue.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus, my heart's dearest Guest;
My Savior and Master, I give Thee my best.
I love Thee for dying on dark Calvary;
I love Thee for showing Thy great love to me.

Quotes to Ponder

"Paul laid down a general principle that encouraged the believing women of that day. Their ministry was not to run the church but to care for the home and to pastor their children to the glory of God. Their home congregation would give them abundant opportunities for teaching the Word and ministering to the saints."

— Warren Wiersbe