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For the past few lessons, we’ve looked at biblical womanhood in the family. Today, we’ll begin looking at biblical womanhood in the church setting, examining the beautiful position God has given women in the gathering of the Body.
Questions to Consider
1. Read Galatians 3:28 (if you have a moment, read all of chapter 3 for a fuller view of the context). What does this verse, especially in light of the remainder of chapter 3, mean? What does it mean to be “one in Christ Jesus”? How does this verse speak to the concept of unity in the church? How does this verse speak to the equal value of every person in the eyes of God? When it comes to a soul being saved, is there any difference between a woman or man, slave or freeman, Jew or Greek? Do Greeks have to repent more than Jews? Does Jesus have to work harder to save women than men?
2. Briefly review the topics of lessons 4-9 (links above). Are any of these concepts (identity in Christ, being created by God, etc.) specific to one sex, or do they apply to all people? Make two lists: “Things Christians Are” and “Things Christians Do”. List about 5-10 things Christians are (ex: forgiven, ambassadors for Christ) and things Christians do (ex: pray, show mercy). Are any of the things you listed specific to men only or women only? Considering all the things the Bible says Christians are and Christians do, what would you estimate is the percentage of things all Christians are to be and do versus the percentage of things that are only for men or only for women?
3. Examine the 1 Corinthians passage. Verse 33 is kind of the “theme verse” of 1 Corinthians 14. What is the main subject of this chapter? (Hint: See section heading here). What is the venue (home, church, marketplace, etc.) in which the instructions of chapter 14 apply? (33b) Briefly skim over the rest of chapter 14. What was the overall, “for the greater good,” reason for the instruction to women in v. 34-35? What were some other activities and people the Holy Spirit, via Paul, placed restrictions on in chapter 14? Why? What is the main priority of chapter 14? Does the instruction in 34-35 mean that women may never utter a word once they step through the doors of the church? How do you know that? What do these instructions mean, and how do they apply to women in the church today? What do these instructions teach us about our responsibility to pay attention to the preaching and teaching of the Word and learn from it? How can this passage help us to see the value and edification in discussing the Scriptures at home with our husbands?
4. Go to the 1 Timothy and Titus passages by clicking on the “Read These Selected Scriptures” link at the top of today’s lesson. Recall that when the Bible was written, there were no chapter and verse numbers. (Those were added much later.) First Timothy and Titus would have read like one long, continuous letter or e-mail. Click on the “options” icon and uncheck the box next to “verse numbers”.
Now read the 1 Timothy passage, noting the flow of thought and how the end of chapter 2 is interconnected with chapter 3. What is the main idea of this passage? (OK, now click the verse numbers back on. :0)
What is the first word of verse 11? Think about women’s social status and value in Paul and Timothy’s culture, and in many cultures since that time, even today. Why does the Holy Spirit instruct pastors to “let” women learn? What does this teach us about the responsibility God places on us as women to learn His Word? Would you categorize verse 11 as a “do this” or “don’t do this” verse?
Examine verse 12. Is this mainly a “do this” or “don’t do this” verse? What two things does the Holy Spirit say women are not to do in the gathering of the church body? What does He say women are to do? Think about God’s nature and character. Does He ever give instructions arbitrarily or just to spoil our fun? Why does God give us commands and instructions, generally speaking? Are the instructions in verse 12 good for women and for the church?
Does God have to give us the reasons behind His instructions, or is “because I said so” sufficient reason for us to obey Him? Take a look at 13-14. God kindly gives not one, but two reasons for His instructions in verses 11-12. What are those two reasons? How do they fall in line with God’s design for male headship and leadership across biblical history in the hierarchical structures He has set up?
The 11-15 passage starts with a “do this” verse (11), followed by a “don’t do this” (12) “and here’s why” (13-14) section, then finishes up with another “do this” verse (15).
Verse 15 can be a little cryptic to us today because we equate the word “saved” with salvation. Does verse 15 mean that women gain salvation by having children? How do we know it doesn’t? The NASB helpfully, and more accurately, renders this word as “preserved“. We don’t feel it much today, but think about the stigma women (particularly Jewish women) carried at the time this was written simply because they were daughters of Eve. Paradise was lost and the curse of sin entered the world because of a woman, many men thought, and they viewed and treated women accordingly. Yet who was chosen to bring the Messiah into the world? And following in her footsteps, a major way godly women can “save” or “preserve” the reputation, esteem, and value of womankind is to “continue in” what 3 godly character traits? (15) Because if they continue in those three godly character traits, they will be raising up a godly seed to the Lord (even if the children they bear aren’t perfect like Mary’s child was :0)
So we’ve seen the position women are to occupy in the church, followed by the positions women aren’t to occupy, and that’s followed, in the 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 passages by the p_____s m__ are to o____.
According to the 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 passages, which positions are men to occupy in the church? What is an overseer? (Use your cross-references if necessary.) Go through these two passages circling any words or phrases that indicate that pastors, elders, and deacons are to be men. Are these positions open to all men in the church?
Examine each of the three sections (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 3:8-13, and Titus 1:5-9) individually. How could the wife of a pastor, elder, or deacon help him, or make things easier for him, to meet the biblical requirements for his office? (Ex: How could a pastor’s wife make it easier for him to be hospitable?)
If you’d like to discuss this lesson with other women who are participating in the study, join our Imperishable Beauty Bible Study Discussion Group on Facebook.
If you’d like to dig deeper on some of these passages, you may enjoy reading the following articles from my Rock Your Role series:
All Things Being Equal (Galatians 3:28)
Order in His Courts: Silencing Women? (1 Corinthians 14:33b-35)
Jill in the Pulpit (1 Timothy 2:11-12)
Suggested Memory Verse
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.