|Volume 21 Number 8 August 2019||
Brian R. Kenyon
First Timothy 2:9-12 is a passage of Scripture most “modern thinkers” do not like. The very idea that God would limit what women can do in the church is a real turn-off to many people. What people need to realize, however, is that the Almighty God, who created us, knows what works best in human relationships, whether in the home or in the church! Concerning leading worship where both men and women are present, God wills that “men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). The word translated “men” (from aner) is gender specific for males (same word in Acts 8:12; 17:12; 1 Timothy 2:12). In contrast to men who are to worship by providing holy leadership, women are to worship by allowing the men to lead. This is not easy to those of a worldly mind. However, when Christian women correctly “dress” their hearts, God’s “commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3), and His will is done!
Paul, through the Holy Spirit, addressed the proper, spiritual clothing when he wrote, “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). In these verses, Paul gave three pieces of the character-outfit Christian women are to wear for their God-given role in the church.
First, Christian women are to dress modestly. The term “modest apparel” [proper clothing, NAS; respectable apparel, ESV] is from a word (kosmios) that means respectable, honorable, in good taste. The Greek word occurs again only one other time where it is used of an elder’s qualification to be “of good behavior” [orderly, ASV; respectable, NAS] (1 Timothy 3:2). A person’s outward appearance is a mere reflection of her heart (1 Peter 3:3-4). What do Christian women reflect when they wear clothes that attract undo attention to them, whether it is too much or not enough? A woman who wants all the attention will not easily be submissive to men in matters of leading worship.
Second, Christian women are to dress their hearts respectfully. The word “propriety” [shamefacedness, KJV; modestly, NAS; with modesty, ESV] is translated from a word (aidos) that means modesty, reverence, respect. The word occurs again in some manuscripts only in Hebrews 12:28 where it is translated “reverence.” Respect or reverence for God is necessary for a woman to fulfill her role of submission to a man leading in worship. Respect for God’s Word will allow her to submit and to follow God’s instruction on any matter, including worshiping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Third, Christian women are to dress in sound judgment. The word translated “moderation” [sobriety, KJV; discretely, NAS; self-control, ESV] (from sophrosune) means reasonableness, rationality, mental soundness, good judgment, moderation, self-control (1 Timothy 2:9, 15). When a Christian woman’s heart is dressed in this spiritual garment, she will be able to discern the boundaries that God has set and what actions, even those of a particular culture, would transgress those boundaries (1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 14:34-35). A heart that is not clothed in these three traits will promote the opposite of a submissive spirit!
Rather than dressing to receive excessive attention given to physical adornment, Christian women are to dress themselves outwardly with good works (1 Timothy 2:10). Good works are to be her attraction and proof of a life given to God (1 Timothy 5:10). Jesus told all Christians, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). As male prayers are to come from holy lives, so female dress is to come from godly hearts that translate into submissive lives. Women who claim to be followers of God ought to internally dress and externally act as such, but that can only happen when their hearts are clothed with modesty, respect and sound judgment! Indeed, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
Does It Make Any
Difference How We Worship?
Ernest S. Underwood
Several times each week an advertisement by a local First United Methodist Church aired on the local cable television. The ‘pastor’ of that church stated, “We recognize that not everyone worships the same…” He went on to say that the First United Methodist Church offers three different types of worship—Contemporary, Traditional and Casual services “where we break out the old Cokesbury Hymnal.” Then, viewers were invited to “Pick a service that meets your needs.”
This television commercial plainly sets forth the fact that this church and its pastor are in no way interested in what the Bible says about worship that is offered to God. Where and when does God in His new covenant (the New Testament) give men a choice of how they worship Him? When did He say that men should choose a way of worship that pleases them or meets their needs, rather than offer worship which pleases Him?
In His conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus stated:
Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:21-24)
Notice that Jesus talked about the time that is coming and now is when God expects His people to worship “in spirit and in truth.”
The ‘pastor’ also talked about “praise teams.” In another commercial he is pictured with a large drum set in the background. We wonder if he would take the time to try to harmonize praise teams and musical instruments with Jesus’ statement, “…in spirit and in truth?” Of course, we know that he will not, simply because he cannot. He has already laid down the premise that the worship offered should be that which pleases the worshiper regardless of whether it pleases God. If the twang of a guitar string, the beat of a drum, or the strains of an organ or piano is what pleases one, or as he states, “meets your needs,” then a person does that even though God has nowhere authorized such in the New Testament church. On the other hand, if one wants to acceptably worship God, he will forsake the doctrines of men and follow the Word of God. In Matthew 15:8-9 Jesus said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
The writer of Hebrews stated, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Hebrews 11:4.) The two sons of Adam and Eve offered worship to God by the sacrifices that they brought. Abel operated by faith, which came by hearing the word of God. Since we learn in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” we know that God had instructed these sons in the kind of worship He expected. This Abel did. However, Cain evidently decided that God’s desire in the kind of worship He wanted didn’t matter. Evidently, Cain worshiped in the way that ‘met his needs,’ a way that was neither commanded nor authorized. Jude spoke in condemnation of those who “have gone in the way of Cain” (Jude 11). It would appear that the ‘pastor’ is encouraging his people to follow the way of Cain rather than the way of Christ. Jesus also had something to say about some teachers with such attitudes and those who follow them. In Matthew 15:13-14, He said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” We personally know some good people in that church. It is our hope that the ‘pastor’ will forsake his present course of leading them into the ditch and will begin to preach and to practice the truth.
[Editor’s Note: Disregarding what God has specified in the New Testament for Christian worship is typical of denominations, but unfortunately, some churches of Christ likewise err in the same ways described above. How we worship God is an identifying characteristic of individuals and churches as they either represent the church of the Bible or mere manmade churches. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]