A Beautiful Household (pt. 2): Brothers Who Lead, Sisters Who Labor, and a Heavenly Father Who Knows Best 

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A Beautiful Household (pt. 2): Brothers Who Lead, Sisters Who Labor, and a Heavenly Father Who Knows Best (Sermon Audio)

Who do you say you are? And what importance does your family play in defining your answer?

On Sunday we completed part 2 of a message looking at the household of God in 1 Timothy 2:8–15. We also considered just how much our culture’s individualism works against our understanding of the Bible, especially this passage.

Throughout Scripture, God’s work of salvation is always aimed at creating a people, not just saving individuals. Jesus said he came not to bring peace, but a sword and to separate people from their families in order to make them part of his family. His words in Matthew 10:34–39 are unsettling, but they are also saving. He concludes, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

If we take Jesus seriously, he calls us to radically redefine our lives by his words and his family. In this sermon, I applied this concept of being adopted into Christ’s family to understand the challenging words of 1 Timothy 2:11–15. You can listen to the sermon online. Response questions and additional resources can be found below. Continue reading

Say What, Paul? Six Things 1 Timothy 2:8–15 Does Not Mean

glass8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

[This is the first of two posts on 1 Timothy 2:8–15. These posts are meant to complement the two sermons I am preaching on this passage at our church.]

A lot has been said, could be said, and needs to be said about 1 Timothy 2:8–15, but many of things said have either been misleading or just plain wrong. This is true for feminists who deny the apostolic witness of Paul, evangelical feminists (egalitarians) who affirm his apostleship but restrict his words to Ephesus, and traditional Christians who have demeaned women by so vociferously proving the point that women cannot teach men in the church, they have effectively denied the vital place of women—and women teaching, see Titus 2:3–5—in the church.

In scholarship, the most thorough explanation of this passage has been the book Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15, edited by Thomas Schreiner and Andreas Köstenberger. If you are studying this passage, this is a must-read. I have found much help in it and highly recommend it.

What follows cannot replace a thorough multi-discipline study of the passage. What I do want to do is outline a number of ways we must not read this passage. Without claiming to have a full grasp of everything in 1 Timothy 2:8–15, therefore, here are six things the passage does not mean or imply. Tomorrow, I’ll add another six. Continue reading

Kephalē and Context: Toward a Biblical Understanding of Headship

mwFor more thirty years, an exegetical debate has raged between complementarians and egalitarians over a single word: Kephalē, the Greek word for ‘head.’

The former argue that this word means “authority over,” while the latter argues the word means “source.” In the New Testament, this word can be found to have both connotations, even in the same book. For instance, Colossians identifies Christ as the preeminent head of the church and the nourishing head from which the church derives its life and growth.

Colossians 1:18. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent

Colossians 2:19. . . . the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Still, debate remains. Without getting into all the exegetical evidence—of which there is plenty; Wayne Grudem tracks down 2336 uses of kephalē in one article—I want to show how the claim that “authority over” is exegetically unsubstantiated is actually unfounded. Far better to see kephalē as a word that wonderfully displays the original design of Genesis 1–2, men and women equal in value, distinct in roles. Continue reading

Marriage: An Evangelistic Conversation Starter

A good friend of mine, Jedidiah Coppenger, who happens to be the new basketball coach at Boyce College, and who blogs with some quality brothers at Baptist21, recently posted a reflection on trends in evangelism that he has experienced as a cell phone salesman.  Throughout more than two years of work three things stood out as counter-cultural evangelistic conversation starters: family, work, and marriage.  His thoughts on marriage correspond with many of the things I have reflected on over the last couple months.  Listen to what he says:

First, a biblical view of marriage seems to be a significant place for evangelistic conversations. Sadly, it seems like most Christians look at marriage the same way that they look at the American Post Office. They don’t care how the Post Office orders itself, just as long as it delivers. Likewise, they don’t care how the marriage is ordered, just as long as it lasts. There is something attractive about this approach in light of the divorce-ridden culture in which we live. After all, some say, with as much divorce as there is, do whatever you can! This type of attitude will be well accepted by your lost coworkers and the culture at large.

But cultural accommodation isn’t the goal. After all, you won’t find a Bible verse saying, “Marriage is so hard that you should do whatever works best for you personally. The ordering that works best your marriage may or may not work for another. Just make what you can of it. Good luck.” Instead, you’ll find very clear directions from the Apostle Paul on the most volatile part of marriage, how the couple should relate to one another. The Apostle says that “the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church” (Eph. 5:23) and that wife should submit to her husband as the church does to Christ (Eph. 5:24). So the husband is placed in a position of authority and the wife in a place of support. Both, of course, stand before God as equals (1 Pet. 3:7), but they serve distinctly.

Will this solve all of the marital problems? Of course not. We are all sinners. But with more Christian husbands seeking conformity to the headship displayed by Jesus as he gave his life for the good of his bride on the cross, the role of the husband as leader will look less like a privilege and more like a glorious burden. And if more Christian wives joyfully submit to their husband’s leadership like the church does to her husband, Jesus, then the role of a submissive wife will look less like a prison and more like a place of freedom and joy. Marriages like this won’t make you popular, but they will be used of God to make you holy. And, by God’s grace, as more Christian marriages conform to the Christ-church picture in the midst of a culture that will continue to glorify christ figures (husbands) who forsake their brides, the curiosity of more unbelieving coworkers and neighbors will be awakened. Hopefully, through consciences that know something has been lost, these friends will ask us for the reason for the order in our homes. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to point them to the order in the household of God.

I wholeheartedly agree.   May we who love the gospel order our homes and our marriages in such a way that our lives confront disinterested family members, co-workers, and neighbors with a kind of marriage that does not fit the 21st Western mold.  By ordering our marriages and conducting ourselves according to a heavenly logic, we can better tell the world of the Christ-church mystery that they were created to enjoy.  As Jed asserts, this won’t make us popular, but perhaps for those who have eyes to see it will make the gospel persuasive–which is far more important.  Lets pray and work towards that end!

You can read the rest of his post here.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss