I Timothy 2:11-12 Applies To Secular Activities Also

Most believers correctly understand that when I Timothy 2:11-12 tells a woman not to “teach, nor to usurp authority over the man,” that restricts her from preaching a sermon to the church assembly (see also I Cor 14:34-35). But a failure to notice the context causes many to incorrectly limit I Tim 2:11-12’s application to the church assembly. Consider the following questions which help us to observe the context …

1. Is the church assembly mentioned anywhere in the whole chapter of I Timothy 2?

2. Should praying for all men and those in authority (vs.1-3) occur “only in the assembly”?

3. Are we supposed to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (verse 2) “only in the assembly”?

4. Are men saved (verse 4) “only in the assembly”?

5. Do men come to a “knowledge of the truth” (verse 4) “only in the assembly”?

6. Do men pray “every where” (verse 8) “only in the assembly”?

7. Are women to dress modestly (verse 9) “only in the assembly”?

8. Are women supposed to profess “godliness with good works” (verse 10) “only in the assembly”?

9. Are women to be in “subjection” to men (verse 11) “only in the assembly”? (think wife/husband at home as an example here)

10. Does “childbearing” (verse 15) occur “only in the assembly”?

11. Are “faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (verse 15) to be practiced “only in the assembly”?

If the answer to all 11 questions above is no, why would it be true that women are forbidden from teaching or usurping authority over the man (verse 12) “only in the assembly”?

Since the context applies I Tim 2:11-12 to “every where” (spiritual and secular activities), we should do the same. If we can see I Tim 2:11-12 forbids a woman from teaching a class of men when the topic is the Bible, then we ought to be able to see the non-spiritual parallel: I Tim 2:11-12 also forbids a woman from teaching a class including men when the topic is secular (like a college mathematics class). If we can see I Tim 2:11-12 shows a woman should not be a boss over men in a church capacity (meaning she cannot be an pastor/elder), then we ought to be able to see the secular parallel: I Tim 2:11-12 also shows that a woman cannot be a boss over men in a secular capacity. She should not be a mayor, a governor, President of the USA, nor should she be a boss over men at any secular job.

Many decades ago the Biblical view presented in this message was accepted by most every Christian. The woman’s liberation movement squelched it. But the Bible hasn’t changed. I close with this point … If verses 9-10 (dressing modestly) applies at the university and in the workplace, why wouldn’t the very next two verses apply there also?

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