Paul addresses some issues that Timothy is dealing with in his position of shepherd of this body. The first is prayer and the second is gender roles within the body.
We are ALL called to pray for those in authority over us. I admit that I don’t spend a lot of time doing this. That is something I need to deal with. But I also don’t spend time cutting down those over me. I don’t blindly support everything they do but I DON’T trash them either. God placed them in authority, and as David said, “The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 26:11).
God is Lord of Heaven and Earth. He knows what He is doing and doesn’t have to share all the insights with me. I appreciate the insights He does share but then I wonder too if I’m interpreting them correctly. One thing I know for sure is that God wants ALL of us to turn to Him and be His children. I also know that that’s not going to happen. He said so Himself. This does not make one life more valuable than another though and until the final day of reckoning we are to pray for all people. Only He knows which prayers will be met with a “yes” and which will receive a “no.”
The next concept Paul addresses is hard for me, especially with my background and family history. I want to say, “But what about today? Does this still apply? Are all women to ‘take a knee’ when it comes to leadership in the church?”
I have several female family members who are or have been the lead pastor in their churches. I’ve sat under at least one woman pastor. My mother is an ordained minister and officiates at weddings. None of these amazing women would be allowed this role in the church order Paul is putting forward. How do I reconcile this? Honestly, I don’t know. But I trust these women to know the Lord’s voice in their own lives and follow Him.
On this same line, I thought of my own position as “author” of this blog. I am a woman and there are sure to be some men who read my blog. Am I putting myself out there as a “teacher” or “leader” over them? The answer I received to this when I questioned it with God was no. This is my personal journal and I’m sharing what I receive. I’m not expecting anyone to take my words alone and not check them out for themselves. I am also I simply want to share what He shares with me.
When I went to my bible helps for these verses they brought up two points regarding Paul’s directives. The first was that Paul cited creation’s order for one of his reasons for this command. And Paul’s second point was the cause of men’s and women’s original sin; Eve was deceived and Adam committed a willful act of disobedience.
We know that in the Fall God placed Adam over Eve in authority. The fall magnified and solidified this relationship. Because Eve was deceived, her husband could have pleaded her case with God that evening. But he chose instead to listen to her and join her in her sin. I think God placed Adam in authority over Eve as a protection for her more than a punishment. His authority was a shield for her gullibility. “For him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin” (James 4:17).
Nothing can change God’s original order of creation. It is simply what it is. Nor can we change original sin. What I do believe is that women can change her “gullibility” to sin. Women can be and are led by the same Spirit as men, when they are believers. Also our culture has shifted dramatically since the time the bible was penned. So how does this translate into women in authority in the church? That is something each of us will have to take up with God. I have no authoritative answer and wouldn’t feel free to give one even if I did.
Father God, thank You for those in authority. You placed them there for a reason; even the ones I don’t like or have trouble with their policies. This includes authorities all around the world, not just here in my home country. Forgive me for not praying for them like I should. I know they do NOT have an easy job. I also want to pray for the people who are openly disparaging them. Please help them find constructive ways to help bring about change. Help them find ways to support the office without necessarily glorifying the person holding it.
Lord Jesus, You came to ALL mankind; both male and female. I believe You use both equally too in Your Kingdom. How that translates here on earth, I don’t know. I trust that You have authority to call whomever You want to the offices You have established. As long as what I’m receiving is from You, I will receive it with gladness from whomever You send it through. If it isn’t from You, I will equally reject it from whomever is presenting it. I believe man can be fooled just as well as women and women can choose to sin just as easily as men.
Holy Spirit, open my eyes to Your truth in all of this. Don’t let me be so swayed by my culture that I toss out Your instructions. Help me hear everything through Your filter.