The place of women in the Church


The emphasis in this passage is on the place of womenin the local church. The word translated “subjection” (v. 11) is translated “submit” in Ephesians 5:21-22 and Colossians 3:18. It means literally to “rank under.” Anyone who has served in the armed forces knows that “rank” has to do with order and authority, and not with value or ability. Submission is recognizing God’s order and joyfully obeying it. Husbands should be submitted to the Lord, Christians should submit to each other (5:21), and wives should be submitted to the Lord and to their husbands. Paul admonished these believing women to give evidence of their submission in several ways:

1. Modest Dress (v. 9). The word translated “modest” simply means “descent and orderly.” Ephesus was a wealthy commercial city, and some women there competed against each other for attention and popularity. Paul admonished the Christian women to major on the “inner person.” He did not forbid the use of nice clothing or ornaments but emphasized modesty.

2. Godly Works (v. 10). Paul did not suggest that good works are a substitute for clothing! Rather, he was contrasting the “cheapness” of expensive clothes and jewelry, on the outside,  with the true values of godly character and Christian service that must come from within.

3. Quiet Learning (v. 11). In emphasizing godly conduct for women, Paul stressed, with Peter, “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (I Peter 3:4). She should exercise “quietness” and help keep order in the church.

4. Respecting Authority (vv. 12-15). Women are permitted to teach but in their teaching ministry, they must not “lord it over” men. There is nothing wrong with a godly woman instructing a man in private (Acts 18:24-28); but she must not try to take the place of a man, as a congregational teacher in the church.


I am very thankful for the godly women (especially my wife and my mother) who have given evidence of their submission in the home and because of it have had a great influence in my life and ministry over the years.    

I Timothy 2:8-15 (English Standard Version)

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