1 Timothy chp 2 vs 9 to 15 – The Worth of Womanhood - J Stewart Gillespie 

  1. Woman Before Self (2:9) – Worth and value 
  2. Women and men (2:11-14) – Headship 
  3. Woman before God (2:15) – Salvation 

If there's an elephant in the room! 

First time in generations that this section of the scriptures would be regarded as controversial, maybe even derogatory or subversive. 

On issues of gender society swings between extremes: 

Devaluing femininity – the woman as the possession of her husband, with few or no legal rights – hinted at in the cultures lieing behind the scriptures: Abraham out of Mesopotamia with the practice of polygamy, Solomon with 700 wives and NT practices at Corinth (chp 6) – temple prostitution, the temple of Aphrodite. 

Feminism of the present day, the confounding of equality of worth with distinctiveness of character. A woman does not have to lose her identity to be of equal value and worth to a man. 

In contrast to the widely swinging ideologies of society the bible is remarkably consistent from beginning to end, in fact 1 Timothy chp 2 will draw from and is founded on Genesis chp 3! 

Men and women are: 

Equal in worth 
Distinctive in character 

Every Scotsman knows that you can be 'the same but different' 

Dignity - Equal value under the law – both equally covered by laws on murder, protected in the event of divorce, father and mother equally honoured in the commandments. When God moves in mercy to Jericho He saves Rahab. It is to the home of Mary and Martha that Christ often reverts, it will be women who are faithful even to the cross and it is women who are chosen as the first witnesses of His resurrection. 

Distinctiveness – distinctive and complimentary in character and abilities. 

Good to see science catching up! 

6500 genes expressed differently 
Chromosomal differences 
100 different gender differences in brain function – men have single sided language, women bilateral language centres, men grey matter thinkers, women white matter thinkers, women more inter connectedness, distinctions in those areas dealing with emotion, different perception of colour, more colour perception in women. 
Differences in personality: 

5 major personality domains: 

  • Agreeableness 
  • Extroversion 
  • Neuroticism 
  • Openness to experience 
  • Conscienciousness 

Women generally score higher in: 

  • Agreeableness 
  • Extroversion 
  • Neuroticism 

Men usually score higher in some of the subdomains of conscientiousness. 

Lippa study confirmed this, 200,000 people in 53 countries. 


Women better at working with people 

Men better at working with things 

Scandinivian countries have done more than any other countries to attempt to abolish gender inequalities and improve the access of women to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. In these countries the gender distinctions in personality are actually the greatest, Costa et al. In these countries: 

1 in 20 nurses are male 

1 in 20 engineers are female 

Woman Before Self (2:9) – Worth and value - Identity 
Women and men (2:11-14) – Headship 
Woman before God (2:15) – Salvation 

Woman Before Self (2:9) – Worth and value – Identity 

Very topical and important 

We know the cost of everything and the value of nothing 

Mental health and depression – part of this is a low sense of personal value and worth. 

In young men often a response to a failure to achieve goals – not where they thought they would be regards work, education, financial security or relationships. Failure to achieve – low self esteem. 

In young women a low sense of self worth often linked with their perception of how others value them, how they stand in relation to others, to their peers; not as pretty, not as popular, not as thin as others. 

How do we value worth? 

In a materialistic society we are stuck with things and possessions and money as the means. 

Here in 1 Timothy 2 we have the real worth of womanhood, the real worth of the person. 

Not in the external (v9) 

Found in the internal (v10) 

Not measured in terms of physical things nor material possessions. 

The braiding with gold and pearls was a display of wealth, even the husbands wealth – a trophy wife, kind of doubly demeaning to the true value of the woman! 

What of those women without that wealth? 

Are they of less value? 

The true worth of womanhood is to be found proceeding from that relationship with Christ; 'godliness' (1 Tim 3:16) 

Riches proceeding from relationship 

The wealth of the sanctuary 

Valued ultimately and absolutely by the value of the price paid for us! 'God who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all...' 

Women and men (2:11-14) – Headship 

Order and headship 

'let the woman learn...' 

The value of well taught sisters! 

Every bit as important for their: 

ministry amongst other sisters 
teaching of children 
testimony and witness 

Apostle Paul ahead of his time: 

Jewish education in pre Christian times was often in the homes of Rabbis: 'Bet Rabban' – House of Teacher 
Jewish public schools in Palestine saw their beginning in Palestine in the 1st century AD under Joshua Ben Ganla but they were for boys 
First Jewish public school in europe – 1918 in Krakow 

Headship: 1 Co 11:3 

The principle is not that of value nor worth nor of importance but rather that of order! 

The role of public, audible teaching is given to men 

Headship issue 

The structures of headship is fundamental to the function of creation. 

Woman before God (2:15) – Salvation 

By the woman sin came in 

By the woman salvation came in 

Divine Grace 

The fall of Genesis chapter 3: 

'good for food' 
'pleasant to the eye' 
'fruit to be desired to make one wise' 

In the curse of Genesis 3: 

Serpent roundly condemned 
Adam and his labours cursed 
Eve – curse and uniquely a glimpse of blessing and grace with the promise of the 'seed of the woman...' For Eve, with the fall came: A Promise, A Prospect and A Purpose. Immeasurable Grace. 

When we take the : 

Finite to its conclusion 

Principle to its pinnacle 
Experience to the extreme 
Finite to the conclusion 

The pinnacle, the extreme, the conclusion of the incarnation of Messiah through the woman appears to sanctify the role of women in child bearing down through the generations. 

We get a hint of it in: 

Jochebed and Moses 
Hannah and Samuel 
Elisabeth and John Baptist 

Just as The Saviour comes by 'childbearing' so too 'childbearing' in general becomes a unique source of blessing to men and women. 

Eve – 'life giver' 

Mission motherhood 

The woman will influence mankind form the bottom up rather than from the top down (Hendrickson)


Outline notes from our series of Bible teaching messages in 1 Timothy chapter 2, available for free audio download or to listen online,   

Yours by God's grace in Christ   

Dr J Stewart Gillespie