Interpreting Scripture through Our Filters

04. February 2012 1 Timothy 0

Text: 1 Timothy 2:8-15
Theme: Guidelines for women
Key verses (from The Voice NT): “…here’s what I want to see…Women, the same goes for you: dress properly, modestly, and appropriately. Don’t get carried away in grooming yourself…Instead, as is fitting, let good works decorate your true beauty and show that you are a woman who claims reverence for God. It’s best if a woman learns quietly and orderly in complete submission…it’s not my habit to allow women to teach in a way that wrenches authority from a man” (v. 8-12a).
What God said to me: Dwayne, welcome to my presence. I’ve brought you up here to this tiny cabin in the woods to speak with you, to instruct and inspire you, to bless you. Listen, obey, and work it hard. Those are my mandates to you over these next 4 days of writing. As for this passage, you need to approach this with caution and careful prayer and study. Do not assume you will immediately understand such a difficult topic as thi s. There are at least four filters you will see this passage through. You may not mean to or even realize you are doing it. Here are the filters: 1. Teaching. As you try to figure out what Paul really “meant” you will immediately search your memory banks–both conscientiously and unconscientiously. You will try to reconstruct what you’ve heard teachers and preachers say about this passage and this subject over the years. Take note that you will mostly consider those teachers you trusted the most or agreed with the most. 2. Tradition. You’ll ask yourself, “What has my church and those people I’ve always trusted thought about these verses? How have they lived out what it says; how have they acted? Have the women I’ve respected the most adhered to the letter of this teaching? 3. Logic. What makes the most “sense” to you? You are bound to ask yourself that one. You will naturally try to discern what Paul really “meant” when you wrote it. If your intellect can’t understand and co nclude that it’s reasonable and logical, then you will tend to assume Paul couldn’t have been speaking literally, that somehow you need to rephrase what he wrote to suit your logical conclusions. 4. Preference. If you’re not really careful, you’ll try to interpret it based on what you personally like or dislike. If these verses are agreeable to you as they are, then you’ll probably find yourself accepting them easily. But if they go against your lifestyle or your wishes, then you will do everything you can to explain it away and change the meaning to fit your preferences. There should be a fifth filter that takes precedence over all the others. And that’s faith. Ultimately, what I want you to do is to take what my Word says in faith. You need to ask yourself, “Am I willing to accept what these passage says and obey it, even if I don’t understand it completely or particularly like it?” Remember Dwayne, study to show yourself approved before me, so you won’t be ashamed but rightly interpreting my Word.
What I said to God: Holy and awesome Savior and Holy Spirit, I thank You for meeting with me in this cabin today. I am desperate to hear from You and gain a heavenly perspective. As I write the Praise Portions and other devotional pieces this week, help me keep in mind these filters. May I take You at Your Word and willingly obey You, no matter what I think or how it may affect me.