COMMENTARY

1 Timothy 2:9-15


9 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;

[In like manner also] That is, he wills or commands what follows, as he had commanded what went before.

[That women adorn themselves] The apostle seems to refer here to different parts of the Grecian and Roman dress. The stola seems to have been originally very simple. It was a long piece of cloth, doubled in the middle, and sewed up on both sides, leaving room only for the arms; at the top, a piece was cut out, or a slit made through which the head is passed. It hung down to the feet, both before and behind, and was girded with the zona round the body, just under the breasts. It was sometimes made with, sometimes without, sleeves; and, that it might sit the better, it was gathered on each shoulder with a band or buckle. Some of the Greek women wore them open on each side, from the bottom up above the knee, so as to discover a part of the thigh. They were termed showers (discoverers) of the thigh; but it was, in general, young girls or immodest women who wore them thus.

[With shame-facedness and sobriety] The stola, though simple in themselves, were often highly ornamented both with gold and precious stones; and, both among the Grecian and Roman women, the hair was often crisped and curled in the most varigated and complex manner. To this the apostle alludes when he says: "Not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly rainment." They might follow the custom or costume of the country as for the dress itself... but they must not imitate the extravagance of those who, through impurity or littleness of mind, decked themselves merely to attract the eye of admiration or set in action the lying tongue of flattery.

Were religion out of the question, common sense would say in all these things: Be decent, but be moderate and modest.

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

[But (which becometh...)] That is: Good works are the ornaments with which women professing Christianity should seek to be adorned. The Jewish matrons were accustomed to cry to the bride, "There is no need of paint, no need of antimony, no need of braided hair; she herself is most beautiful."

11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

[Nor to usurp authority] A woman should attempt nothing, either in public or private, that belongs to man in his peculiar function. This was prohibited by the Roman laws.

[But to learn in silence] It was lawful for men in public assemblies to ask questions, or even interrupt the speaker when there was any manner in his speech which they did not understand; but this liberty was not granted to women.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

And by this very act God designed that he should have pre-eminence.

14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

[Adam was not deceived] It does not appear that Satan tempted the man; the woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." (Genesis 3:13) Adam received the fruit from the hand of his wife; he knew he was transgressing, he was not deceived; however, she led the way and in consequence of this she was subjected to the domination of her husband.

15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

[She shall be saved in childbearing] She shall be saved by means, or through the instrumentality, of childbearing or of bringing forth a child. Amidst the different opinions given of the meaning of this very singular text, that of Dr. Macknight appears to me the most probable, which I shall give in his paraphrase and note.

"However, though Eve was first in the transgression, and brought death on herself, her husband, and all her posterity, the female sex shall be saved (equally with the male) through childbearing - through bringing forth the Savior, if they live in faith and love and chastity with that sobriety which I have been recommending.

"...The salvation of the human race, through childbearing, was intimated in the sentence passed upon the serpent, Genesis 3:15, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Accordingly, the Savior being conceived in the womb of his mother by the power of the Holy Ghost, he is truly the seed of the woman, who was to bruise the head of the serpent; and a woman, by bringing him forth, has been the occasion of our salvation."

[If they continue] The change in the number of the verb, from singular to plural, which is introduced here, was designed by the apostle to show that he does not speak of Eve, nor of any particular woman, but of the whole sex.

Without faith it is impossible to please God, or to be saved; and without love it will be impossibe to obey. Faith and Love are essentially necessary to holiness and sobriety; and unless men and women live in these, they cannot, scripturally, expect to dwell with God forever.


Historical information drawn from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from Amazon.com

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