Wednesday, March 18, 2015

P2 - God's vision for godly womanhood: The richness of the godly woman - 1 Tim 2:9-10

1 Timothy 2:9-10 "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing,modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness."

In yesterday's post we established the general outline of 1 Timothy 2 and the specific outline of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 in an attempt to capture God's vision for womanhood in the wider context of His overall vision for the people of God. God's overall vision of His people in the church includes His specific visions for godly manhood (1 Timothy 2:8) and womanhood (1 Timothy 2:9). In yesterday's post we ended with the following outline of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, the text that speaks on the subject of godly womanhood:

God's vision for biblical womanhood
1. Richness of the godly woman. 1 Timothy 2:9-10
2. Role of a godly woman. 1 Tim 2:11-15
3. Redemptive purpose of godly women. 1 Timothy 2:15

Today's post aims to explore the first of these points, namely the richness of the godly woman as understood from 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and other scriptures. 

The richness of a godly woman as set forth in the scriptures
The value of a woman of God in the scriptures, in the church, in the home and in society cannot be overstated. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 sets forth the source of a godly woman's beauty and sense of confidence that contrasts with what the world typically says about such matters. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 mentions three words that spell out for us the richness of the woman of God. 

A godly woman embodies honor to God
In 1 Timothy 2:9 we can note the honor to God such a woman brings into the life of others. 1 Timothy 2:9a states - "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing....". The underlined word "proper" can be rendered "honor" or "that which conveys modesty that is befitting of the person's internal character". In a day and age where women are depicted in dishonorable ways, and in ways that oftentime compromises the respect due to women in general, the woman of God should know how to not only wear clothing that points more to Jesus than herself. According to this text, she ought to adorn her life in the garments of honorable living that causes others to want to draw closer to Jesus. In reading through Jewish literature written in between the Old and New Testaments, this particular word emphasizes people who dress for the sake of communicating honor and respect for themselves and others in the name of the Lord.

A godly woman inwardly demonstrates beauty for God
The second term we see conveying the richness of godly woman hood is in the word we see in 1 Timothy 2:9b - "modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments....". This notion of "braided hair and gold or pearls" has to do with a particular way in which the women of the culture of that day dressed and carried themselves to attract illicit attention. Now before I go any further, I will say that I am in no way opposing the use of cosmetics as used in typical everyday circumstances, nor is this text. What is interesting about the the word translated "adorn" is the verb "kosmeo" from whence our English word "cosmetics" derives. The word "kosmeo" speaks of arranging things in their proper order, hence the beauty being described here in the text refers to a well-ordered interior spiritual life that in its expression is literally a beautiful life dedicated to God and the benefit of others. The text is not opposing cosmetics, but rather is emphasizing the source of beauty and opposing a certain abuse of outward beautification. Paul is opposing the use of cosmetics and clothing that would cause a woman to be suggestive or to exploit her value as a woman for the sake of temporary financial gain.  We hear all the time how women are negatively and unrealistically portrayed in the media and magazines. 

Where does the woman of God's true beauty derive? To reinforce Paul's point here in 1 Timothy 2:9 about "modestly", the Apostle Peter writes these words in 1 Peter 3:3-4 "Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." The term "modesty" refers to a soundness of mind which leads to soundness of heart and thus a beautiful outward expression of life. The type of beauty described here is the type that others would want to have and which can only be obtained by having a walk with God. In other words, the woman of God's interior beauty begins with how she is ordering her mind by the scriptures. As the woman of God cultivates her interior relationship with God, the confidence that comes with the soundness and appeal of true beauty will flow from the inside out. 

Practically speaking, people find themselves wanting to be in the company of a woman of God who balances herself in the matters of the mind, the heart and loving-kindness towards others. When interior beauty is pursued, the outward beauty will follow. So a woman of God's richness is expressed in how she embodies honor to God and internally cultivates a beauty for God but notice a third way we see the godly woman's richness in these verses....

A godly woman emphasizes her character in godly living
1 Timothy 2:10 states in the NASB - "but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness." The phrase translated "making a claim" here in the NASB is rendered by other translations (KJV, ESV) as "profess godliness". In other words, women who aim to be consistent women of God desire to have their internal character and outward conduct matching one another. 

In the pagan culture of Ephesus of the 1st century, to which Paul wrote 1 Timothy, women were treated very poorly by men and oftentimes would adorn themselves in suggestive ways or live the kind of lives where they put on outward masks that covered up the brokeness and emptiness they felt on the inside. This warped sentiment that is the result of broken male culture corresponds with what we see going in in today's culture. The potential richness of a woman of God is exchanged for manmade, cheapened views of womanhood. When God's vision of womanhood is embraced by faith in Jesus Christ, the value of women is not only raised but restored to what God had originally planned it to be. Moreover, the richness of women in God's plan actually exceeds what was originally expressed in the opening chapters of Genesis, since in Christ, godly women along with godly men are called to not only bring to order this visible creation, but are also called to co-reign with Jesus in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:5-10). 

How scripture depicts a woman of God flowing in the richness of godly womanhood
So a woman of God is a woman rich in how she embodies honor to God, inwardly demonstrates beauty for God and emphasizes character leading to life in God. Where can we look in scripture to see this richness of godly womanhood in action? I encourage the reader to consider Proverbs 31. Now we won't go into near the detail like we did in 1 Timothy 2:9-10. With that said, we will close out today's post by noticing a general outline of Proverbs 31 that can serve as a map for guiding the reader in seeing how the richness of godly womanhood is communicated in that passage:

The richness of godly womanhood in Proverbs 31

1. Richness of a godly mother communicating wisdom to her children. Proverbs 31:1-9

2. Richness of a godly wife enriching the life of her marriage. Proverbs 31:10-28

3. Richness of a godly woman in her praise to God. Proverbs 31:29-31

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