Ephesus, where Timothy led a growing church, was the centre of the pagan cult of Diana (or Artemis). The magnificent temple in Ephesus was one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’ containing an ebony statue of the goddess. It was a culture in which women strove for dominance; and ungodly sexual practices were considered normal.
Against this background, Paul called for women who believed in Jesus to dress in a way that did not flaunt their sexuality or power. Instead they should be eager to serve the believers and others in a humble way as part of their worship to God. In that culture Paul wanted the women to learn to submit in the church and at home and to honour their husbands, raise children in godly households, and encourage their husbands to be the spiritual leaders at home.
The principles of husbandly care, fatherly provision and male headship continue throughout the Bible. However women often have to take a leading role because of the circumstances they find themselves in. Nevertheless the Bible affirms the blessing which comes to a family when the husband and father accepts his responsibility to nurture his wife and children, as well as others in the church. The heavy pressures of family life today impose increasing loads on the wife and mother which would be made much easier as the husband prays for his family and teaches them the truth from God’s Word. In that way the whole family may grow up as effective disciples of Jesus Christ; and the church is stabilised in the truth.
© Dr Paul Adams