"For among them [false teachers] are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth." - the apostle Paul, writing to the young pastor Timothy, 2 Timonthy 3:6-7
The expression translated "weak women" in this passage is a diminutive: it could be more accurately translated "little women." These women are "small" - they are childish. They are weak/small because they are burdened with sin, controlled by their passions, and continuously overwhelmed. (Can you say drama queen?) Although these women seem to be busy learning, they are incapable of discerning truth. And verse 5 tells us that because they do not know truth, these women are easily led astray by false teachers.
Paul contrasts these "weak women" to two strong women, Lois and Eunice, Timothy's mother and grandmother. Lois and Eunice were strong women because they were strong theologians: they knew the word of God, they rightly handled truth, and they understood the practical implications of sound doctrine for daily life. As Paul addresses the issue of weak women in Timothy's congregation, Paul exhorts Timothy to remember what these strong women - Lois and Eunice - taught him as a child.
As Paul affirms the significance of Lois and Eunice's influence, he concludes with a familiar verse that underscores the importance of Scripture and its power in our lives: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man [or woman!] of God may be competent, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16).
I have had some people tell me that serious study of Scripture is man's work. That women don't need to study theology - that's for men to do, particularly the preacher. Our job as women is to listen attentively and affirm whatever we are taught.
Paul says something very different.
When Paul addresses the issue of weak women in the church - women who are weak because they do not know Scripture and are unable to discern the truth - he does not consider their weakness to be something good or healthy. Rather, having weak women in the church is a problem that needs to be corrected.
If we do not want to be weak women - if we want to be strong women, like Lois and Eunice - then, ladies, we must be serious students of the Word of God. We cannot content ourselves with knowing a few pet verses or Psalm-inspired choruses from our favorite praise songs. Instead, we must diligently seek to know the truth about God and about ourselves as revealed in all of Scripture, Genesis to Revelation.
Not only should we be diligent students of Scripture individually, but, yes, we must listen attentively to sound teaching from the pulpit. We need to glean wisdom from those who have made the study of Scripture their lives' vocation.
Why do you and I need to rightly discern and handle truth? So that we can examine what is taught in our present culture in light of the truths of Scripture. This is true of the culture we encounter both outside of the church and within the church. (Remember those false teachers who led the weak women astray in the above passage? Yep, they were in the church.)
To avoid being led astray by false teaching, to master our often fickle passions, to not be continuously overwhelmed - in short, to be strong women, we must be firmly grounded in truth. To be strong women, we must be diligent students of God's Word.
Sound like hard work? It is. But be encouraged: this is work that will make you strong.
3 months ago