October 22

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 2 is a continuation of verse 20 from the previous chapter, where Paul admonished Timothy to keep the faith, unlike Hymenaeus and Alexander. It starts “therefore,” because for this reason, Paul gave this instruction: to pray for people, kings, and all who are in authority. Why? So that people will know Him and come to Him in faith.

Within the context of prayer, Paul continues to give the Pastor wisdom for dealing with men and women in his congregation in the Greek city of Ephesus. First, let me share some background to Timothy’s congregation. In Ephesus, many worshipped the Roman goddess Diana (Acts 19:28-36). This Roman goddess was said to be able to have offspring without male involvement. The Roman goddess taught that women were the originator of life, causing the female gender to have superiority over the male gender.

In verses 13-15 Paul references Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. He says Adam was the first of creation, then Eve, establishing that women were not the originator of life.

Paul says Eve was deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, believing a lie, but Adam was not deceived. He didn’t believe the lie that he could be like God, but he was responsible for transgression because he knew the truth and rebellion against God. Because he was created first, he heard the instruction of God and then shared it with Eve. In this first century culture, men were taught, then men would teach their wives and children. Today, in most cultures, women are educated the same as men, so this application was for the culture of that day.

“Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” This Scripture doesn’t make much sense if we don’t understand the culture. Women in that day would pray to the goddess Diana for an easy delivery. Paul mentions putting our faith in God, not in Diana.

In verse 9 Paul addresses wives, saying, “In like manner” after encouraging men to pray without anger and controversy. Paul wants wives to also pray and to live without anger and controversy. Paul is working toward harmony and love, holiness, and self-control (verse 15). Because of the Roman influence on the Ephesus community, there were women who were not living in unity with their husbands.

Paul addresses the topic of modesty. Some women try to control men through their sexuality. They understand the carnal nature, and try to gain an upper hand through temptation and desire. It’s a power move. We can see this power play by many feminists today. Paul addresses the issue, saying outward appearance should be modest, not overpowering men, but working in unity, a godly trait for the Christian woman.

In verse 11, the word for “women” in this verse can also be translated “wives.” Paul encourages wives to be submissive to their husbands, not trying to overpower them. In the culture of the day, they were to learn from their husbands. In addition. The world “to teach” in Greek is didasko which can be translated, “to claim to be the author or originator of something.” When women tried to teach their husbands in this culture, they were trying to overpower the husband, taking a place of authority over him.

Paul was not saying that women could not teach the Bible, or that women could not minister to men. If married, a woman can be submissive to God and her husband, and she can still serve in church leadership. In several of Paul’s writings, he refers to women who teach and have authority in the church. Paul isn’t writing something that conflicts with the value and appreciation he had for female ministers. One example is Priscilla, a woman who taught Scripture in the early church, alongside her husband, Aquilla.

Let’s be open to receive the gifts and callings God has on His people, whether male or female, bound or free, Jew or Gentile. We’re equal in Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 7-8

One thing I see throughout Jeremiah is a Father calling for His children to return. In chapter 7 verse 3 it says, “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.” God also says that He continually has called out to the Jewish people, which shows the depth of love He has for them and His longing for them to return to Him. In verse 8 He shares His agony of how His people have believed lying words and how going after other gods has been to their hurt.

In chapter 8 verses 10-11, we see the desperation of God to reach people, but even His messengers have disappointed Him, dealing lightly with the sin issue, instead of with the weight and seriousness of the devastation of rebellion against God, lacking the mercy of the Father that would lead them to forgiveness and freedom. The prophet shares the grief of God, saying in Jeremiah 8:21-22 “For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning; astonishment has taken hold of me. 22) Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?”

We should know for ourselves and for the other people with whom we share this planet, even in our sin, God loves us and longs for us to return to Him and enjoy His fellowship. As representatives of God, we should imitate the Father. When we mention sin, we should always emphasize a Savior of those sins and light up the path that points to home.

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