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God's High Calling for Women, Part 4

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2024 4:00 am

God's High Calling for Women, Part 4

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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The highest ideal of Christian womanhood is here. And this is how the Church is to work, beloved. Look, we're led by men in the worship of the Church. They pray, they preach, they teach, they give leadership to the Church. But the perfect balance of that is the influence of godly women that raised that godly generation. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. The career opportunities, power, and independence women experience today, can that produce lasting happiness and satisfaction? What can wives and mothers do to maximize their joy while on earth? The bottom line, what brings women true fulfillment?

Well, the answer to that question lies in a special blessing God has given only to women. And today on Grace to You, John MacArthur examines that unique blessing as he continues his current study. John calls it God's high calling for women. If you have your Bible, turn to the book of 1 Timothy and follow along as John begins today's lesson. Let's open our Bibles together as we study God's Word to 1 Timothy chapter 2.

1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 9 through 15 is our present text. We're studying together God's plan for women in the Church. Now the affirmative statement of verse 11, let the women learn in silence with all subjection, is given a clarifying and supporting counterpart in verse 12.

Let's look at it. But I permit not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man but to be in silence. And all the verbs in that verse are present and that means they have a sort of a continuing idea.

I am not allowing a woman to be engaged in teaching or to be taking authority over the man but to be continually in silence. In other words, all of those present indicative indicate that this is a continual commitment on the part of Paul through the Holy Spirit. Now let me give you a little bit of insight into some of the terms. Look at the word permit. It always means to allow someone to do what they desire to do. It has the inherent idea in it that someone desires to do something. And what he is saying here is I do not permit women to teach nor usurp authority and by the choice of words he is saying in effect even though they desire to do that. And that was the problem in that church and it's still the problem today because there are women even today who desire to teach and preach in the church and to take authority. Women have always desired to rule.

We go back to Genesis chapter 3 verses 15 and 16 and you remember that part of the curse that God brought upon men and women in the fall was that woman would desire to control man and he would have to rule over her and therein is the conflict of the sexes born out of the fall. And even in the church it is true there are women who are discontent with their God-given role and they seek to reach a place of prominence in teaching and taking authority over the man. But Paul says I do not permit them to do that even though that is their desire. And that obviously means in the duly constituted church when it comes together in its official worship. This has reference then to the authoritative pastor-teacher role, the one who articulates the Word of God. And nowhere in the New Testament, as I said, is any woman ever presented in any such office or role as teacher in the church.

Nowhere. In fact, let's go further into verse 12. For a woman to try to take that rule is to usurp authority over the man. And here you have a very interesting word for usurp authority, authentain. Yes, that word is used only here in the whole New Testament. And it indicates, I believe, as it is properly translated, a person desiring to usurp authority.

A recent study of that verb conducted by Dr. George Knight in New Testament studies concludes that the common use of that outside the Bible, when you don't have a lot of uses of a word in the Bible, you go outside to find out how it was used. The common use of that word indicates, and I quote, to have authority over. And that's really all it means. Now the reason that is important is, women who want to eliminate this verse, and there are women who want to, women pastors, women teachers, and women elders would like to get rid of this verse. So what they will say is, it means this, I permit not a woman to teach nor to take abusive authority. In other words, it's okay for her to teach and have authority if it isn't abusive. But a careful study of that word means, leads us to understand that it means to take authority, period. It has nothing to do with abusive authority. In fact, if he was talking about abusive authority, he wouldn't be just talking about women, he'd also be talking about what?

Men, because it would be just as much a sin for them as for women. So the idea here is parallel to teaching. He is saying, I want a woman to learn in silence with all subjection. Now her silence is the silence of not being the teacher, and her subjection is the subjection of not being the authority. She is not to have authority. She is not to be a teacher, she is not to be a ruler in the church. That is the prohibition that the apostle gives us. So women in the church then are not to be in any position where men are subordinate to them. And I say again, please, it doesn't mean women can't pray, can't teach, can't speak out for God, it doesn't mean they can't ask questions in a proper environment where questions are invited, it does mean in the public worship of this church, these things are set down as God's standard. Now notice that in verse 11, let the women learn in silence, and at the end of verse 12, but to be in silence. So silence here is the issue, before and after.

This brackets the section and thus contains the main idea. They cannot exercise the office of teacher and ruler in the church because that is inconsistent with their God-given design, their God-given design. The issue then is not the way in which women rule, it is not the way in which they teach, as some would have us to believe that they're not to teach in a domineering way, it is that they would teach or rule at all. That is the issue. So women who don't lead in the public prayer of the church in verse 8 also don't teach, also don't give rulership over the church, also don't lead in public display of gifts as in the early church in prophecy in tongues, and so forth.

So you get the picture. Now you say, well, does this wipe out all of our instruction? No. Do you remember Acts 18 where Aquila and Priscilla instructed Apollos, there's a time and a place where women are to be instructing others, and there may even be a time and a place where a woman and her husband could instruct another man, even a man who was a preacher, but it wouldn't be in the public worship and service of the church. Somebody says, well, do women have spiritual gifts? Well, what a ridiculous question.

Because you believe what you have just seen here doesn't mean we're saying, well, women have no gift of teaching and women have no gift of speaking for the Lord. They have no verbal gifts at all. They have no leadership gift. That's absurd. Of course they do.

Of course they do. And the Lord who bestows them those gifts offers them ample opportunity to use those gifts without violating His standard design for their role in the church. It is not necessary that because a woman has the gift of teaching, she has to appear in the public assembly of the church to teach. It is not necessary that because she has gifts in the area of leadership that she has to lead the church. The thought that woman is somehow wronged when she is limited to her own God-ordained sphere as a woman, and when her claim to be a man and do a man's work in the church is not admitted is absolutely irrational.

There's plenty of room for her to exercise her gifts to the very fullest by God's intent. And somebody else says, well, what about missions? Well, what about missions? We need missionaries. What would we do without women missionaries? God bless women missionaries. But I don't think women being on the mission field necessarily have the right to violate the Word of God.

God doesn't violate His own principles for expediency's sake. People say, what about the shortage of men? Well, if there's a shortage of men, Jesus gave us the answer. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth what?

Laborers into His harvest. Now, I want to add to this that this in no way abuses women, but this is a tender and sympathetic understanding of the role and intent of a woman. Let not a woman enter into the sphere of activity for which God has never designed her.

She is planned for a different role. Women don't sing bass. Men don't have babies. People have have lied to also say, well, well, the only power in society and the best place to be is is to be in leadership. It is more fulfilling to lead than to follow. Think about that.

Is that really true? You want all the stuff that comes with being a leader? You better have a heavy, heavy, heavy load on your back and be able to carry it.

You better have some strong legs and a strong back because leadership is not the easiest thing. Ego makes people seek prominence and with it to seek the responsibility to prove their power. But such responsibility, take my word for it, is not always a welcome friend. Frankly, if you want to know the truth, subordination and subjection is the condition of the greatest peace and the greatest happiness, the greatest contentment, the greatest safety and the greatest protection because somebody else is doing all the caring for you. So don't live under the illusion that you can really know a great experience in life if you can just get on top of the pile and control everything.

I say to women who would seek to do that, stay where you are under the loving care and nurture, nourishment, strength and protection of your husband and of the leaders of the church. And that's a much happier place to be. The burden is much lighter. Subjection, my dear friends, is not a punishment. It is a privilege.

It is a privilege that someone should care for you and that's by God's design. And speaking of God's design, let's go to our next point. Their design.

Their design. And here to support what He has just said come these two wonderful verses, 13 and 14. Here is the root of the role of a woman in the design of God. Verse 13, For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

Now that is so clear. Woman's place was ordained in the order of the creation. Adam was made first and then woman.

First, protos, first in rank, chief. He is ish, she is ishah in the Hebrew. This is not a cultural issue, friends. This is not a cultural issue.

Those people who say, Well, this was just some bias. This is not any Pauline bias. This is not some rabbinical gloss. This is Genesis. This is creation.

It isn't temporary and it isn't cultural. Adam was first formed, then Eve. Now look at verse 14.

This is fascinating. And Adam was not deceived. But the woman being deceived was in the transgression. We talk about the fall of Adam and rightly so because in Romans chapter 5, that is the way Paul refers to it, as in Adam all died, so forth. We talk about the fall of Adam because Adam, his name represents generic man, if you will.

His name represents the race. He is the head of the race and he did fall. But we have to keep in mind that he didn't fall first. First, the woman fell. And her fall confirms what verse 13 said. That woman needs a head. She needs a strengthener. Because when she got out from under the strength of Adam and tried to operate independently in conflict with the enemy, she was what?

Deceived. And the intent of what the word is saying here is that woman needs protection. That she has a certain vulnerability. She was designed with the need for a head. She was designed with the need for a leader.

She was designed with the need for a protector and a savior. And it is inherent in the nature of woman that she should not find herself in that position of ultimate responsibility. For woman has a deceivability when out from under the headship of a man. So the woman then, in verse 14, was deceived. She showed by that her inability to lead effectively.

She met her match and more than her match in Satan. She shows an inability to act independently of her protector. So subordination of women in the church wasn't invented by Paul. It is rooted in the nature of the sexes and it is confirmed in the fall. Now may I say to you that a woman is not more defective than a man.

Please. She was deceived and he subjected himself to her deception. The weakness of a woman is that she needs a head. The weakness of a man is he needs a woman. We are not less defective than women. We are differently defective. We're defective in different ways. We're temptable and vulnerable in different ways. So that's the reason that we affirm the leadership of men.

It is in the creation and the fall. No daughter of Eve should follow the path of Eve and lead to tragedy by entering into the forbidden territory of rulership, which was intended for man. Now at this point somebody might conclude that, wow, women have really caused this race a lot of problems.

That's right. She's the one that did this thing. She's more susceptible perhaps to sin or temptation.

No, just different. But doesn't this leave a terrible stigma on women? Many women would say, boy, I'm happy in Romans 5, but I'm not too happy in this passage. I don't mind Adam's fall, but this is a little heavy for us women to bear. It might leave the impression that woman sort of lies under God's permanent displeasure. So to avoid that we come to the final point, their contribution in verse 15.

And this is just marvelous. I don't know why people get so mixed up about this verse. Their contribution, wonderful, instructive verse. Nevertheless, or notwithstanding, or in spite of all that, she shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith and love and holiness with sobriety or self-control. Now look at this verse.

What a fascinating thing. She shall be saved through childbearing. Now this is in contrast to another phrase. Look at verse 14. Adam wasn't deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Parabasis, she stepped over the boundary.

She stepped over the line. So she's in the transgression. Women are in sin.

The stigma of the fall is on woman. But she shall be saved through childbearing. Now somebody said, what kind of salvation is this? Well, what do you mean you're saved from sin through having babies?

No, it couldn't possibly be that. Well, notice it says she shall, she shall be saved. Future tense shows that it couldn't refer to Eve. Some would like to think it refers to Eve and the bearing of her children, but it doesn't, she shall be saved. Furthermore, if they continue in faith means it's more than one woman. Some think it's Mary and the she is, she being Mary was saved by bearing Christ. It's a nice thought, but I can't imagine anything more obtuse to this passage. How in the world you could ever read that into it, I don't know.

I don't see Mary and I don't see the birth of Christ here. She must be the generic sense when compared with the word they. The woman was deceived and in the transgression. Nevertheless, she broadens to include all women, shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in, so the she sort of melts into the they.

Now what is he saying? All women are saved through childbearing. In what way?

What kind of a general statement is that? What kind of saved do you mean here? Well, not saved from sin, but listen to this.

The word saved can mean delivered or it can mean saved from things other than sin. What we have to understand here is that all women are delivered. Now listen carefully. All women are delivered from the stigma of having caused the fall of the race by childbearing. In other words, women led in the fall, but by the wonderful grace of God, they are released from the stigma of that through childbearing.

What's the point? Listen carefully. They may have caused the race to fall by stepping out of their God-intended design, but they also are given the priority responsibility of raising a godly seed.

You understand that? That's the balance, not soul salvation, not spiritual birth, but women are delivered from being left in a second class permanently stigmatized situation for the violation of the garden. They are delivered from being thought of as permanently weak and deceivable and insubordinate. Can you imagine what it would be like if men had babies and all women ever contributed to the human race was the fall?

The balance of it. Women led the race into sin, but bless God, God has given them the privilege of leading the race out of sin to godliness. You say, how so?

Mark it down. Because in the raising of a godly seed, it is the godliness and the virtue of the mother that has the greatest impact on the young life in the next generation. Is that not so? Theirs is the challenge to raise a godly seed. God has designed this to give woman back her dignity.

She is saved from the stigma of the fall and her path to dignity and usefulness and her great contribution comes in accepting what God said that you'll bear children. Motherhood then is woman's appointed role in general. Now obviously God doesn't want all women to be mothers.

Some of them He doesn't even want to be married. 1 Corinthians 7, some have the gift of singleness. Some He allows to be barren for His own purposes. But as a general rule, just like marriage is generally the grace of life as Peter calls it, so motherhood is that which reverses the stigma of women and allows them to provide for society the rearing of a godly seed which in a real sense reverses the curse for which she was so responsible. The pain of childbearing was the punishment for her sin but the result of bearing the child is the deliverance from the stigma of that sin.

Marvelous how God has worked that out. The pain she goes through reminds her of her sin. The result reminds her of God's restoring grace and puts her back in a place where she makes a positive contribution to the godliness of the next generation. She may have caused a generation to plunge into sin but she can by being a mother who raises godly children bring a generation to God. And what Paul is saying by the Holy Spirit is that a woman must accept her God-given role. And that role is not to give outward, overt leadership to the church but to raise a godly seed. And that's why he says she'll be saved in childbearing but only if, look at it, she continues in faith and love and holiness and self-control. If she is godly, she can raise that godly seed.

And you know to me it is so sad and tragic that women want to whine over an unfulfilled life because they can't act like men. And they have the unique privilege of raising a godly generation of children who are nursed at their very breast and who bear an intimate relationship with them that no father can know. And thus do they restore dignity to that fallenness to which they contributed and thus do they become all that God intended them to be. They are delivered from the results of sin and able to maintain a positive influence in society and in the church by accepting the role as a mother who raises godly children. That's why it says even when younger widows lose their husbands, verse 14 of 1 Timothy 5, I will therefore that the younger women marry and bear children and rule the house.

That's their calling. The highest ideal of Christian womanhood is here. And this is how the church is to work, beloved. Look, we're led by men in the worship of the church. They pray, they preach, they teach, they give leadership to the church, but the perfect balance of that is the influence of godly women that raise that godly generation.

And the only way that'll happen is if they, and look at it closely in verse 15, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control. They have to be the kind of woman described in verse 9 and 10, who are not into the clothes and to the outward flaunting of sexuality and desire and wealth, but they are women whose hearts are marked by godly fear and self-control, who are strong in faith, they believe God, strong in love toward God, who are pure and holy and who manifest self-control. Godly Christian women will raise the next generation. You want to know why there's a woman's liberation movement?

Because there's a devil who doesn't want God to get his work done. Her faith in the Lord, her sincere love for God, her holiness and purity of life, her modest self-control, mark her spiritual state as such, who will bring forth children who will bless the world, and as she brought forth once a curse, she now brings forth a blessing. That's her call. That's Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, looking at the crucial role women have in God's economy. Today's lesson is part of John's current study titled God's High Calling for Women. Well, John, with Mother's Day this weekend in the United States and Canada, I have a question on behalf of all the husbands listening today, as well as those men who are preparing for marriage. What are some practical ways a Christian husband can help his wife be the godly mother she wants to be?

Yeah, I think it's very basic. You can't be the godly mother that you should be, that the Lord desires you to be, unless you know what that is, unless you know what God's standards are. So the first responsibility of a husband toward his wife is to instruct her in what God has revealed about his design for the woman. This is not intended to make you bound to some antiquated pattern of life. This is not designed to limit your freedom. This is God's design for you to be the most fulfilled woman you can possibly be.

That's right. The greatest fulfillment of a woman is to be a godly mother in the home, and Scripture is explicit about that. That's where a woman finds her greatest fulfillment. So it is the husband's responsibility to instruct his wife, to do so patiently and kindly and lovingly. And then secondly, it's a critical reality to make sure that you and your wife are part of a fellowship in a church where the Word of God is taught and honored, because that church and the teaching from the pulpit that is faithful to the Word of God will come alongside you as a husband and assist you in teaching your wife.

And look, the culture is so powerful and infected with all kinds of ungodly, feminist ideas, and these sometimes die hard. So you need all the help you can get in the process of moving your wife in the direction of God's design. So be a part of a church where the Word of God is proclaimed and where there's a communion of people who also want to be godly moms and godly dads and want to have a godly marriage so that they have some support and some fellowship in like, precious commitments. That is really very important. And then be a kind and loving and gracious and merciful caretaker of your wife as she progresses in understanding these things.

Thanks, Jon. That is helpful as we look ahead to Mother's Day this weekend. And friend, if I can ask a favor of you, would you drop us a note today, or perhaps this weekend, and let us know how God's High Calling for Women, or perhaps another recent series, has ministered to you? Your feedback is vitally important to us, so contact us today. Our email address is letters at, that's letters at, or if you prefer regular mail, you can write to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. And be sure to mention the call letters of the station you listen on any time you get in touch.

It's also very important to us. Thank you for doing that. And also remember that you can download all four messages from Jon's current study, God's High Calling for Women, free in MP3 and transcript format. And in fact, all of Jon's sermons, over 3,600 messages, are available at our website,

You can download them free of charge. And to hear those sermons from your mobile device, download the Grace to You Sermons app. It gives you access to all of Jon's sermons wherever you go. The sermons app and individual MP3s are free at Now for Jon MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Remember to watch Grace to You television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378, and to be here next week when Jon looks at the profound truth of the simple tales Jesus told as Jon launches his study of the parables titled, Stories with Purpose. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time. On Monday's Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-10 05:46:46 / 2024-05-10 05:57:26 / 11

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