Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” On Sunday we had a good chance to apply that passage, as we saw how 1 Timothy 2:9–15 is profitable for all God’s people.
Unfortunately, Paul’s words about men and women have often been misunderstood, misused, and even denied. Some have used this passage as a proof text to keep women quiet in church. Others have rejected Paul’s words because it smacks of male patriarchy. All in all, this passage IS a difficult one. Yet, we can make sense of it by paying attention to the context of 1 Timothy.
In the flow of Paul’s letter, these verses play an important role of showing how gospel-centered men and women worship God together. In this way, 1 Timothy 2 is not meant to give a place for men to exclude women from learning, speaking, or filling key roles in the church. It is meant to affirm the goodness of men and women and the complementary ways they serve God together.
On you can listen to this sermon online. You can also read a couple important blogposts about these verses. And below you can find a few response questions with additional resources.
If you are leading discussion on this passage, consider leaving a lot of open space for women to share how this passage has impacted them and how male leadership has helped of hurt them.
- Open ended: How have you seen this passage taught. applied, or misapplied? Do you have a general positive or negative stance towards these verses?
- How does your previous experience with 1 Timothy 2 and the way pastors have handled it impact your approach today?
- In the letter, how does this passage fit? What comes before it; how does that inform this passage? What comes after it; how does that inform this passage?
- How does seeing this passage in terms of God’s household and Paul’s instructions to men and women help you understand or apply this passage?
- How does understanding the temple in Jerusalem and the temple in Ephesus help us understand Paul’s words?
- What are the good works that Paul focuses on for men in verse 8? How might we apply this today?
- What are the good works that Paul focuses on for women in verses 9–10? Compare 1 Timothy 5:10. How might we misread this passage?
- What can our church do to better apply these words?
- Was Early Christianity Hostile to Women? by Michael Kruger
- Women and Christianity — by Stand to Reason quoting Rodney Stark
- Cult Prostitution in New Testament Ephesus: A Reappraisal by S. M. Baugh — This might be the most helpful article for understanding Paul’s words to women in 1 Timothy 2:9–10.
- Say What, Paul? Six Things 1 Timothy 2:8–15 Does Not Mean
- Say What, Paul? Six *More* Things That 1 Timothy 2:8–15 Does Not Mean
- Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 edited by Thomas Schreiner and Andreas Köstenberger
- God’s Design for Men and Women: A Biblical Theological Survey by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger
- Good’s God Design by Claire Smith
- Women’s Ministry in the Church by Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan
- Jesus and the Feminists by Margaret Köstenberger
- The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Impact of Feminism on Church and Culture by Mary Kassian
Soli Deo Gloria, ds