“In this church there is no fashion, no smiles, no fun, no hairdo, no jewellery. We believe in godly women!”
Yeah, and don’t let her wear shoes and make sure she isn’t allowed out on her own. You can always tell a churched women, not sure of herself, conflicted, often dressed about fifty years behind the times and determined to please others.
But when you read Bible verses like this, is it in any wonder? “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” 1 Timothy 2:9 (KJV)
Literally millions of women around the world live in fear, confusion, deprivation and suffer beatings; and what’s more, often the church supports and even enforces this desperately wicked situation. Why? Because the Bible says so?
The apostle Paul on the phone again.
In our last blog I spoke about imagining the New Testament letters as one side of a phone call. In this particular phone call Paul is answering Timothy’s questions and concerns as he battles to keep false teaching out of the Ephesian church. We can do exactly the same here.
In the verse addressed to the women we note that the first words are “in like manner”; so before we go any further we had better find out exactly what ‘manner, Paul is talking about.
A word for the men
Verse 8 says “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” 1 Timothy 2:8 (NKJV).
We can now see that the word to the women is actually attached to one for the men.
If we were to apply this verse as the church has used the one to the women over the last 1,700 years we should insist that all Christian men should pray everywhere with their hands in the air whilst being nice and filled with faith. Have you ever tried to get men to a prayer meeting? But here we are commanded that ALL men obey this, aren’t we?
Back to Ephesus
Remember the temple of Diana( Artemis)? In this temple many prayers were said, the woman would pray for the protection of their virginity, safety in childbirth, provision etc. When praying they would put on provocative clothing, wear lots of jewellery, their prayer could also include very suggestive movements as they petitioned their idol.
The men on the other hand had a different agenda, Diana was also a hunter, a killer. They would pray specifically for the destruction of their enemies; they would lift their hands and shout angry prayers to persuade Diana to move on their behalf.
Tuesday night prayer
Can you imagine the scene? Timothy has called the believers together for prayer and what is he faced with? A bizarre combination that would be something like a cross between a pole dance and a street fight. There are all these strange goings on with the scantily clad and heavily adorned women whilst the men are screaming vengeance. More tea vicar?
Timothy reaches out for help.
In our imaginary phone call Timothy is relaying this debacle to Paul, who we hear giving his wisdom. I think it would go something like this:
Paul, “Yes, I want all the men to pray, but they lift their hands as befitting men of God, without all this anger and unbelief. They should be praying for people to be saved not destroyed.” (see verses 1-3)
Timothy, “Okay Paul, I’ve got that. What about the women?”
Paul, “In the same way as the men, I want them to pray in a way that befits them as women of God. Non of this crazy cult sex stuff, they don’t need the jewellery or the haircuts. God will hear them because they have faith.”
There is no universal command here, Paul is shepherding the new converts away from the perverse, works based cult they had come out of, and introducing them to the life of freedom and faith that Jesus died to bring us.
Ladies, if you want to, buy some make-up, put on some heels and wear a new outfit, go for it!
God really doesn’t mind you dressing nice, just be modest and let your inner beauty shine; and if you need to help it with a bit of make-up, go for it and enjoy!
And finally let’s all remember that God hears us because of what Jesus did, and not because of our language, clothes, bodily movements or anything else.
Go well my friends 🙂