(Note: Before being “jumped on” for the title of this essay by those who may not be all that familiar with biblical language, let me point out (as I do below) that the phrase is from the pen of the apostle Paul. What follows was first posted as an Observation on my Facebook page on Friday, July 5, 2019. I have expanded the material and send it forth this week to a wider reading audience, hoping that it will stimulate thoughtful reflection on the part of all who read it).
Paul, “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 1:1), penned these words: “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:6-7, KJV). The American Standard Version retains the description of “silly women,” while the New King James Version describes them as “gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts.”
It goes without saying that “silliness” and “gullibility” are not limited to women. Plenty of men also are characterized by these signs of glaring instability and insecurity. But in the context of II Timothy 3:6-7 Paul is describing the perilous times of the last days (see verses 1-5), and singles out silly or gullible women as being particularly vulnerable to the seductions of men characterized by the ungodly traits listed. (Verses 1-5 need to be read and given serious thought and reflection).
Examples of “silly women” in today’s world would be those who dress in a sensual and seductive manner, seeking the lustful attention of the opposite sex (or, in today’s sexually perverted society, the lustful attention of even the same sex), while sensible and sane women adorn themselves “with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (I Peter 3:4). A Godly woman concerns herself with Christian decorum, appropriateness, and true elegance when it comes to dress, while a silly woman does not.
“Silly women” today promote abortion in the name of demanding control over what they can and will do with their own body. Such women need to be reminded of the importance of maintaining control over their own body before they become pregnant, rather than after they have become pregnant! “Silly men” are often in support of such “silly women.” A number of silly women who support abortion and a far left agenda (including Socialism) have been elected to Congress and are far better known for their silly noise and clatter than for their common sense. Several of them are now seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States.
“Silly women” in the current culture want to usurp the role of men in the leadership of the church, including serving as preachers. They have been “led captive” by those professing to be wiser than God Himself. In an earlier letter to Timothy Paul had written:
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (I Timothy 2:11-14).
Elsewhere it is stated that “the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness” (II Corinthians 11:3). Tragically, Eve was the first in a long line of vulnerable, gullible women. Little wonder that the apostle Peter describes the woman as “the weaker vessel” (I Peter 3:7).
As the old apostle points out, “silly women” are “ever learning,” always chasing the latest cultural fad, “movement,” or politically correct agenda. Consequently, they are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” as set forth in God’s word, the Bible (John 17:17).
None of this is to be understood as “anti-women.” The Bible (in both the Old and New Testaments) upholds the dignity, honor, and rightful and respectable role of women. The creation of woman was necessary to the completion of man (Genesis 2:18-25).
“For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man…Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as the woman was from the man, even so the man also is through the woman; but all things are from God” (I Corinthians 11:8-12).
Each is dependent on the other, and as husband and wife, they are to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). The pages of both Testaments are filled with the names of Godly wives and mothers. Proverbs 31 is one of the most beautiful tributes to womanhood found in all literature.
Rather than being “anti-women,” the Bible sets forth what God says with reference to the highly prized role of women as wives and mothers, their role as teachers of their children and other women, how they are to dress and conduct themselves in society, their restrictions when it comes to public leadership in the work and worship of the church, the fact that they are the weaker vessel, and the reality that they are especially vulnerable to the immoral tactics and actions characteristic of “perilous times.”
All people—both men and women—need to heed the warning of Paul when he wrote: “Be not wise in your own conceits (opinion [NKJV], estimation [NASB])” (Romans 12:16,KJV).
Hugh Fulford, September 3, 2019
- September 4: Willette Church of Christ, Red Boiling Springs, TN