(12) But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve. (14) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (15) Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
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Paul comments on the woman’s curse in this passage, a section of Scripture that has come under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years. What is immediately striking about Paul’s reasoning and conclusion on Genesis 3:16regarding the church is that he upholds it! Modern theological thought would reason that the effects of “the Fall” are nullified under Christ’s blood, but Paul says, “Not so!” They may be diminished, but not eradicated.
Paul cites the fact that God created Adam before Eve as his proof that God intended the man to lead. He backs this up by showing that while Eve proved subject to deception—thus, she was the “weaker” of the two—Adam, whose sinwas sheer disobedience, did not. Thus, Eve’s sin establishes that woman should not take the lead from man; that route, by the biblical example of our first parents, generally leads to problems. The apostle concludes that a woman, formed by God as a helper to Adam and more inclined to being deceived, should not teach or lead men in the church.
On the other hand, as Ephesians 5:25-29, 33 plainly shows, Christian men must no longer “rule over” their wives. Loving authority is not domineering or despotic, but humble, caring, gentle, kind, and patient. In the same vein, Christian women should submit to and respect their husbands (verses 22-24, 33). Submission is not manipulative or grudging, but done in faith, respect, and humility.
How, though, is a woman “saved in childbearing”? The word Paul uses for “saved” (sozo) can be used for both physical deliverance from danger and spiritual salvation. How does faith, love, holiness, and self-control prevent or nullify the physical dangers of pregnancy? Conversely, is not salvation by grace? Which salvation does the apostle mean here?
Neither. A third explanation fits the context better. Paul’s main concern in this section is proper order within the church. Men, he writes, should pray and teach. Women should adorn themselves modestly and do good works, but they should not be teaching publicly or leading men. Verse 15 explains what their primary concern should be: “childbearing.” Thus, it means that much of God’s judgment of women will be based on how well they perform their God-given role in bearing children.
To us, this sounds quite misogynistic, but to the Greek speaker “childbearing” (teknogonia) covers a great deal more ground than just “popping out babies.” The Strong’s Concordance definition shows that the extended meaning is “maternity (the performance of maternal duties).” W. E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, agrees, writing that it “impl[ies] the duties of motherhood” (p. 190). The Twentieth Century New Testament translates this clause, “But women will find their salvation in motherhood.”
Paul’s exhortation aims to bring marriage and family back to what God intended of men and women before Adam and Eve’s sin. Just as God will judge men according to how well they fulfill their roles as husbands (leaders) and teachers, so He will judge women by their performance as wives and mothers. Since salvation, particularly the period of sanctification, is a process that covers our entire converted lifetimes, how well we fulfill our God-given responsibilities within our families will make a difference in God’s judgment. Paul says we must perform these duties in faith, love, holiness, and self-control—just as we must do everything else in our Christian lives.
To summarize, then, the apostle simply states that God will judge and reward a woman according to her growth as a Christian within her appointed sphere of influence: her family. God Himself has drawn the lines between the sexes, and we should do our best to fulfill our roles with excellence, not rebellion or complaint. In this way, we will make progress in reversing the effects of the curses in the Garden of Eden.
— Richard T. Ritenbaugh
To learn more, see:
The First Prophecy (Part Two)
(28) Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
God’s intention is clear. We are to gain property and possessions by honest work and/or inheritance from those who have the right to give them. We must come into possession of things in a way God approves.
The verb “labor” indicates exertion to the point of exhaustion. In addition, Paul admonishes us not merely to work to satisfy our personal needs and desires, but also to be able to give freely any excess to others in need. The admonition implies distributing the excess personally rather than indirectly through an agency. He adds in Acts 20:35, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the LordJesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Stealing is totally against the grain of God’s way of life. Our God is a working, creating God (John 5:17), and we cannot be in His image if we are gaining possessions through stealing. In the spirit of God’s law, a person not only steals by taking another’s possessions, but also by refusing to work in order to share and give to others in need.
This commandment does not reach its fullest expression until the ninth and tenth are added to it. Stealing frequently has its genesis in a desire to have something one has no money to purchase, or the unwillingness to workpatiently until one does. Deception then enters. A person will try to acquire a desired possession in such a way that others will think he procured it honorably. We can stop this sin at any point in the process, but few make any effort to restrain their lust, deceit, and itching fingers.
Robert Kahn was correct in saying, “There are a hundred ways to steal but only one way to be honest.” In order not to steal, we must be scrupulously honest. What good is it if we are one-half or three-quarters honest? What if God was honest with us only part of the time? Could we trust Him? Can others really trust us if we are only partially honest? Do we lock our doors because we trust everybody? Thievery creates distrust, fear, and suspicion, destabilizing institutions and communities.
The reason we should refrain from stealing is not just to avoid sinning. This in itself is very good, but scrupulous honesty produces integrity, wholeness. Such integrity enables us to live confidently before God and man. The apostle John writes in I John 3:18-19: “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.” Personal integrity is a major source of positive, confident living.
A conscience can be either a good or bad guide because it is educated by an individual’s experiences. Practicing scrupulous honesty builds character and educates the conscience in the right direction so that it will send the right prompting at the right time. We cannot allow ourselves room to rationalize stealing. We must be scrupulously honest always, or our character will descend on a path of degeneracy.
There are hundreds of ways to steal, and dozens of excuses for stealing, but only one way and one reason and one law of integrity. That way is honor, that reason is a clear conscience, and that law is God’s. He says, “You shall not steal.” Never. In any way. From any one.
— John W. Ritenbaugh
(5) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
Examine yourselves – Paul advises in Galatians 6:3-4: “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” The Greek word for examine here is dokîmázô, which means, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, “‘to test, prove,’ with the expectation of approving.” It can also indicate “to discern” or “to distinguish,” suggesting proving whether a thing is worthy or not.
The Living Bible adds clarity to Galatians 6:4: “Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.” We realize it is unwise to compare ourselves with others (II Corinthians 10:12), but there is noneed to compare ourselves with anyone else if we seek God’s help in making the inner secrets of our hearts plain to us through His Spirit! Then, we can work on changing what God reveals that He is concerned about in us.
And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. (5) But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
While Revelation 21:8 says that the fearful have their part in the lake of fire, it is a paradox that a Christian must have fear. It just has to be the right kind of fear, as Christ teaches here. While the wrong kind of fear can lead to eternal death, the right kind of fear leads to eternal life: “Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27,New Living Translation, NLT).
The benefits of the right kind of fear are not limited to the distant future and the promise of eternal life, but it also has great benefits for the here and now for us and even our children after us, as the following scriptures indicate:
» Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. (Psalm 34:9)
» He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. (Psalm 145:19)
» By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4)
» For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him. . . . As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:11, 13)
» In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)
» They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. (Jeremiah 32:38-40)
— Pat Higgins
He tells us to deny ourselves. This means we must disown and renounce ourselves and give everything—all our works, interests, and enjoyments—to the standards set by God. Paul says to bring under our control every thought that opposes God and His way (II Corinthians 10:5). I repeat this one several times every day! I’m always having to take captive my thoughts and make them obedient to Christ!
Jesus also instructs us to bear our cross. We need to embrace the situations God has set us in, and with faith in Him to bring us through them, bear the troubles and difficulties that come upon us. Just as Jesus accepted His role, even to “the death of the cross” we need to be content with what God gives us to do. As Paul says in I Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
God wants us to lay down our lives for Him. The object of our lives is not our personal happiness or fulfilling our every desire. Our goal is God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), but notice what Jesus says next: “And all these things shall be added to you.”
There are two sides to this issue. Jesus says that if we insist on preserving our way of life, with all its wrong hungers and desires, we will lose it eternally! But if we take control of our mind and emotions and destroy our way of life—ridding ourselves of all the wrong thoughts and desires that are against God—then God will save it eternally! The better option is obvious. What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul?
Satan has filled the world full of crap of every sort to tempt people, including the people of God. Hungers of lust, power, money, and fame might sound pretty awesome after the drudgery of day-to-day living, but Satan’s way is a trap, though an enticing one. It always looks good on the outside, but inside is sin, destruction, and ultimately death, eternal death.
God allows us to make decisions. He allows us to learn from the decisions we make—both right and wrong. The right decision to make about the wonderful calling and opportunity He has given to us is to yield ourselves under the mighty hand of God in faith that He will work in us. His work is always wonderful and good.
Well, it’s Catholic, of course! The Book of Judith is part of the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical scripture and appears in the Old Testament of Catholic Bibles. The nation of Israel treated the Apocryphal books with respect, but never accepted them as true books of the Hebrew Bible. The early Christian church debated the status of them, but not too many early Christians believed they belonged in the canon of Scripture.
The Book of Judith, believed to be written in the late second century or early first century B.C., recounts the story of God providing a woman, Judith, to deliver the Jewish people in a time of great need and despair. In the story Judith lives in the town of Bethulia. She is a beautiful and wise widow who becomes incensed with her town elders when they “test” God rather than trust Him and they decide to capitulate to King Nebuchadnezzar’s top general, Holofernes, to surrender if God does not save them in five days.
Judith feels that giving God such a deadline is arrogant and inappropriate in the extreme. She tells the elders she has a plan, but must leave the city for it to be successful. She refuses to tell any details, leaves with her slave woman, and goes to Holofernes’s camp pretending she is providing him help to defeat her fellow Jews.
Holofernes is caught up by her beauty and takes her into his camp and company. Her voluptuousness and wiles attract him, and lust blinds him to her deceit. Judith manages to get Holofernes alone in his tent when he is excessively drunk. (funny how often this happens back in the day) When he passes out, she beheads him, steals back to Bethulia, displays the result of her intrigue, and becomes the town’s heroine.
They think this book was first written in Hebrew, but it’s not for sure.
Like other books in the Apocrypha, there are things that are a bit off, like the claim that Nebuchadnezzar ruled over the Assyrian Empire from Nineveh. He actually ruled over Babylonia. Plus, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, had destroyed Nineveh years earlier, making this story’s history suspect. A lot of people view this account as a variation of the Exodus story, where faith in God and reliance on Him for deliverance from fear and protection from harm and evil is what believers must always do.
Resources: The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce and Logos Bible Software.