can mortal man be in the right before God?

“Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” Job 4:17 (ESV)

Another good question. But this one appears rhetorical.

Eliphaz, Job’s so-called friend, may be well-meaning but he’s sadly inept. He thinks he knows it all. Yet he is quite wrong in his understanding and assessment of God (Job 42:7).

Instead of offering Job comfort and care, he blunders through a diatribe about Job’s failings.

It’s an easy thing to do. Our inclination is all too often to speak first. Dispense advice. Extol platitudes.

And it’s not like this specific question is necessarily wrong. We know that “they have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3).

Why? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Yet blaming Job and his sinfulness for all these calamities misunderstands God and His motives.

“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

Job’s emotions are raw and tangible (Job 6:1-4).

Eliphaz would do better to use his two ears to listen. His too arms to hold. And keep his one big mouth shut (Job 16:1-2).

Ultimately we all need to better understand God. And that’s best done by listening to Him: by reading His word, the Bible.


prayer : that I would be quick to listen and slow to speak

action : work through the Don Carson Bible daily reading plan

Manhood, Womanhood, and the Freedom to Minister

1Ti 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 2:8-15 (ESV)

How sad that Scripture, God’s Holy Word, can cause such strife and division within the church.

It pains me every time I hear Christians arguing over the meaning of this text.

Yet listening to John Piper in his sermon, “Manhood, Womanhood, and the Freedom to Minister“, my understanding of these verses is now much, much clearer.

And interestingly, my view has not changed from what it was before but simply clarified. A testament to the sound teaching I’ve received in the past.

The message I take from the sermon, and of course God’s Word, is that men and women both have important, valuable roles to perform.

The “silence” spoken of in this chapter is not so much a complete absence of voice but rather a respectful quietness.

There is a ministry role for every believer. And there are countless opportunities available to both men and women allowing them to exercise their God-given gifts.

But what women are excluded from doing is exercising “authority” over men, especially through “teaching”.

This doesn’t mean they cannot teach. But the form that “teaching” will take may well differ to that performed by men.

We would do well to read Scripture more carefully and prayerfully rather than jumping to conclusions, taking passages out of context, or worse still, applying our own cultural biases to influence our thinking.

Because “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)


prayer : that I would be mindful when reading and interpreting Scripture, asking for godly wisdom to provide me with insight and understanding

action : seek God’s will for the ministry role He would have me do within my church