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1 Timothy 3:11 – Serving wives

05-01-2024 - Posted by Hans

The wives, similarly, are to e grave, not adversaries, sober faithful in all things.

According to some this verse refers to the wives of the servants, but in that case we would have expected the reading “their wives.” In the foregoing, Paul discussed “the supervisor” as “the husband of one wife” (3:2) and when speaking of “the servants” he also uses a masculine plural. But this verse makes it clear that there are also female servants.

In Romans 16:1 we read that Paul recommends a certain Phoebe and she was a “servant of the ecclesia” in Cenchrea (near Corinth). Apparently she also took Paul’s letter to the Romans with her and he warmly recommends that she receive a hospitable welcome in Rome. Paul speaks of her with the greatest regard and calls her a “patroness of many” (Rom. 16:2). Paul had strong thoughts about male and female (see 2:11-15), but there is absolutely no question of the ‘misogyny’ that he is so fondly accused of today.

Like male servants, female servants are expected to be morally qualified (“grave”) for their position. Do not act ‘diabolically’ or act as adversaries. And they too are said to be down-to-earth and “faithful in all things”. As the saying is faithful (3:1), so anyone who serves prominently in the ekklesia would be characterized by faithfulness.