Are there gender-specific sins? Or, to put it another way, are there sins that men are particularly susceptible to, and are there sins that women are especially susceptible to?
In 1 Timothy 2:8-15, the Apostle Paul identifies two sexes, male and female, distinguishes between them, and then addresses sins that each are prone to, and that can be especially problematic in the church. In verse 8, he addresses two male sins in the church:
Paul began discussing public worship in verses 1-2. He digressed in verses 3-7 to speak of the great salvation and the great Savior that motivates our worship and prayer. In verse 8 and following, he returns to the details of public worship.
MEN ARE TO LEAD IN PUBLIC PRAYER
“ I desire then that in every place the men should pray” (8).
The command to pray: “I desire” is not just a personal preference, but is based upon reason. It’s often used to describe an authoritative command.
The place of prayer: “Every place” appears four times in Paul’s writings. All four times it refers to the official assembly of the church for public worship.
The leaders in prayer: “That the men pray.” The Greek word here for men is the specific word for “male” as opposed to female. When it comes to public prayer in public worship, it is men, males who are to lead the congregation in prayer. This is a call to men to step up to the plate, to take the lead, to take responsibility and initiative.
Passive leaders are poor leaders.
“I know men who have no problem leading, but they lead in the wrong way and in the wrong direction.”
MEN ARE TO PRAY WITH HOLY HANDS AND HEARTS
“...men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (8b).
Holy hands (looking to God): This posture may simply give outward expression to inner thoughts and feelings, that we are weak and we extend our hands to the one who can help us. Or it may be that the outward physical actions encourage the inward disposition of looking to God in dependence.
Holy hearts (loving others): Having an encouraged a dependent relationship to God in prayer, he then calls for a loving relationship with others. The problem in Ephesus was that instead of men praying with clean hands, they prayed with clenched fists! I once did an internship at a church in Scotland. The weekly prayer meeting was like a war zone as two of the men engaged in theological battle in their public prayers. An angry spirit, an argumentative spirit, is not conducive to prayer.
You can’t be poisonous in private relationships and pious in public prayer.
LIVING THE BIBLE
Men can be too passive or too aggressive. To the passive, the Apostle Paul says, "Men are to lead in public worship." To the aggressive, Paul says, "Men are to lead with holy hands and hearts." Therefore, replace fear-full passivity with faith-full activity, and angry aggression with loving affection if you want public worship to be heavenly worship.
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