1 Timothy Chapter 2
Verses 1-8: The Ephesian church had evidently stopped praying for the lost since Paul urged Timothy to make it a priority again. The Judaistic false teachers in Ephesus, by a perverted gospel and the teaching, that salvation was only for Jews and Gentile proselytes to Judaism would have certainly restricted evangelistic praying.
Religious exclusivism (salvation only for the elite), would preclude the need for prayer for the lost.
1 Timothy 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;”
“First of all” (or, “most important of all”): Prayer is to hold the preeminent place in church meetings. Four different types of prayer are mentioned here:
(1) Supplications” are precise requests for specific needs. The Greek word is from a root that means “to lack,” “to be deprived,” or “to be without.” Thus, this kind of prayer occurs because of a need. The lost have a great need for salvation, and believers should always be asking God to meet that need.
(2) “Prayers” is a general word embracing various kinds of prayer, confession, adoration, and so on. This word comes from a root meaning “to fall in with someone,” or “to draw near so as to speak intimately.” The verb from which this word derives is used of Christ’s and the Spirit’s intercession for believers (Romans 8:26; Hebrews 7:25). Paul’s desire is for the Ephesian Christians to have compassion for the lost, to understand the depths of their pain and misery, and to come intimately to God pleading for their salvation (see notes on Titus 3:3-4).
(3) “Intercessions” denote prayers to God on behalf of others;
(4) “Giving of Thanks” refers to prayers of praise.
Paul is now giving some last minute instruction to Timothy. “Supplications” in the verse above, means prayers, or requests. In this particular usage, “intercessions” means prayers. Intercessory prayer is generally when you are praying for someone else, not yourself. This would be the proper usage here since the prayers were for all men.
There are many different types of prayer, and perhaps, that is what is intended here. There is the prayer of adoration to God, there is a prayer for a specific request, and there is a prayer for others. There are many other prayers. I think I love the prayer where I do not want anything from God, but just to visit with Him. These are usually the sweetest times.
Paul possibly is telling Timothy here, that the church will be just as strong as the prayers that are prayed for it.
Verses 2-3: There are three reasons why the prayers of verse 1 are to be offered “for all men”:
(1) That Christians may enjoy a tranquil life (verse 2);
(2) Such praying is “good and acceptable” to “God” (verse 3);
(3) Such prayers help bring about the salvation of men (verse 4).
1 Timothy 2:2 “For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
“Kings, and for all that are in authority”: Because so many powerful and influential political rulers are hostile to God, they are often the targets of bitterness and animosity. But Paul urges believers to pray that these leaders might repent of their sins and embrace the gospel. Which meant that the Ephesians were even to pray for the salvation of the Roman emperor, Nero, a cruel and vicious blasphemer and persecutor of the faith.
“A quiet and peaceable life”: “Quiet” refers to the absence of external disturbances; “tranquil” refers to the absence of internal ones. While it remains uncompromising in its commitment to the truth, the church is not to agitate or disrupt the national life.
The word “quite” means “not troubled from without”; that is, intercessory prayer enables the good government to ensure that its citizens are not troubled by enemies or forces outside its borders.
“Peaceable” means “not troubled from within”; that is, the church’s prayer also aids the competent government in maintaining law and order within its own borders. The translation “godliness and honesty” is unfortunate, for the exercise of these virtues is not dependent upon the good government; they can be cultivated even in poor political management and persecution.
The text should read, “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life with the utmost reverence and respect.” This respect is for government authority. Respect can best be realized when rulers are competent and rightly discharging their duties. Otherwise, it is difficult to respect rulers when they are incompetent and unjust.
“Godliness and honesty”: “Godliness” is a keyword in this letter (3:16; 4:7-8; 6:3, 5-6, 11; 2 Timothy 3:5; Titus 1:1), indicating that there needed to be a call back to holy living, which had been negatively affected by the false doctrine. Godliness refers to having the proper attitude and conduct before God in everything; “dignity” can be translated “moral earnestness,” and refers to holy behaviour before men.
When it manifests love and goodness to all and prays passionately for the lost, including rulers, the church may experience a certain amount of religious freedom. Persecution should only be the result of righteous living, not civil disobedience (see notes on Titus 3:1-4; 1 Peter 2; 13-23).
It is especially important to pray for those who rule over us. If the leader of the country is a tyrant, it is not very likely that you would live a peaceable life. Pray for the Lord to lead the king to peace in the country. A godly king makes it pleasant for all his subjects.
At the time this was written there was much persecution of the Christians. Leaders, who were led by every little whim of circumstance, could make it very difficult to be a Christian. It was important to pray for the king to be fair and godly in his dealings with the Christians. Paul would know of the hardships of kings who were influenced by ungodly people.
He had been imprisoned several times. Sometimes he was held for a long time in prison because the ruler would not make a decision to release him, fearing the people or rulers over them. Paul used the fact that he was a Roman to save himself several times.
1 Timothy 2:3 “For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;”
“God our Saviour” (1:1).
We had said in an earlier lesson, that even though we could not respect the man in office, we must respect the office. Really men are in office because God allowed it for a reason. We should not speak against those God has put in power.
1 Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
“Have all men to be saved”: The word for “have”, is not that which normally expresses God’s will of decree (His eternal purpose), but God’s will of desire. There is a distinction between God’s desire and His eternal saving purpose, which must transcend His desires.
God does not want men to sin. He hates sin with all His being (Psalms 5:4; 45:7); thus, He hates it consequences, eternal wickedness in hell. God does not want people to remain wicked forever in eternal remorse and hatred of Himself.
Yet God, for His own glory and to manifest that glory in wrath, chose to endure “vessels” … fitted to destruction” for the supreme fulfilment of His will (Romans 9:22). In His eternal purpose, He chose only the elect out of the world (John 17:6), and passed over the rest, leaving them to the consequences of their sin, unbelief, and rejection of Christ (Romans 1:18-32).
Ultimately, God’s choices are determined by His sovereign, eternal purpose, not His desires (see note on 2 Peter 3:9).
“The knowledge of the truth”: Meaning “to be saved” (see note on 2 Timothy 3:7).
We will see from the following Scriptures just how important it is to the Lord for all to be saved.
John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
What is the knowledge of the Truth? It is to know Jesus Christ who is the Truth. It is God Himself who wants all men to be saved.
Verses 5-7: These verses provide threefold evidence confirming the assertion (in verse 4), that God does indeed want all to be saved.
1 Timothy 2:5 “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
“There is one God”: There is no other way of salvation (Acts 4:12); hence there is the need to pray for the lost to come to know the one true God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 45:5-6, 21-22; 46:9; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6).
“Mediator”: This refers to someone who intervenes between two parties to resolve a conflict or ratify a covenant. Jesus Christ is the only “mediator” who can restore peace between God and sinners (Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).
“The man Christ Jesus”: The absence of the article before “man” in the Greek suggests the translation, “Christ Jesus, Himself a man.” Only the perfect God-Man could bring God and man together (Job 9:32-33).
Before the cross of Christ, there was no way for man to go directly to the Father, God. The temple curtain was closed, and no one could enter in except the high priest. He could enter only when he was accompanied by the blood of the sacrifice. God was away from man, and it seemed impossible to reach God.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom opening the way to the common Christian to God. Jesus is the door. He is the Way. He is the only thing we need to reach the Father. We can pray directly to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ and God will hear our prayer.
The man Christ Jesus is mentioned here because the veil of separation in the temple was symbolic of the flesh of Jesus. It is the crucifixion of the flesh of Jesus that opened the way for you and me. Jesus is our Mediator. He is our High Priest, He is our intercessor.
Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Hebrews 8:6 “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
It is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that puts us in right standing with the Father.
1 Timothy 2:6 “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
“A ransom”: This describes the result of Christ’s substitutionary death for believers, which He did voluntarily (John 10: 17-18), and reminds one of Christ’s own statements (in Matthew 20:28), “a ransom for many.”
The “all” is qualified by the “many.” Not all will be ransomed (though His death would be sufficient), not only the many who believe by the work of the Holy Spirit and for whom the actual atonement was made (2 Peter 3:9).
Christ did not pay a ransom only; He became the object of God’s just wrath in the believer’s place, He died his death and bore his sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
“For all”: This should be taken in two senses:
(1) There are temporal benefits of the atonement that accrue to all people universally (4:10); and
(2) Christ’s death was sufficient to cover the sins of all people. Yet the substitutionary aspect of His death is applied to the elect alone (see above and notes on 2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
Christ’s death is therefore unlimited in its sufficiency but limited in its application. Because Christ’s expiation of sin is indivisible, inexhaustible, and sufficient to cover the guilt of all the sins that will ever be committed, God can clearly offer it to all. Yet only the elect will respond and be saved, according to His eternal purpose (John 17:12).
“To be testified in due time” (or, “the proof is given at the right time”): At the appropriate time in God’s redemptive plan (see note on Galatians 4:4). Jesus’ sacrifice is “proof” of God’s wish for all to be converted.
“Ransom” in the verse above, has to do with Jesus being the substitute for our sin. He purchased our salvation for us with His precious blood. We were captive of sin until He took our sin upon His body on the cross and sin for us died on the cross.
To “testify” means to tell something because you know it to be a fact. All who have been saved can testify of Jesus. Paul could definitely testify to Jesus. He met Him on the road to Damascus. Paul was to testify to the Gentiles of the fact that Jesus had purchased all who would receive Him with His precious blood.
1 Timothy 2:7 “Whereunto I have ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”
“Whereunto”: Paul’s divine commission was based on the truths delineated (in verses 3-6).
“Preacher”: The Greek word derives from the verb that means “to herald,” “to proclaim,” or “to speak publicly.” Paul was a public herald proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
“I speak the truth … and lie not”: Paul’s emphatic outburst of his apostolic authority and integrity is to emphasize that he was a teacher of the Gentiles.
“Teacher of the Gentiles”: The distinctive feature of Paul’s apostolic appointment, which demonstrates the universal scope of the gospel. Paul’s need to make this distinction suggests he was dealing with some form of Jewish exclusivism that had crippled the Ephesians’ interest in praying for Gentiles to be saved.
Paul was ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ to preach the gospel message to the Gentiles.
Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:”
“Verity” means truth. This then is saying that Paul brought the Truth to the Gentiles. Paul teaches them that faith alone, and not works, will save a man. Possibly, the reason that Paul is saying this again, is because the Judaizers were not pleased with the message that Paul brought.
They wanted the Christians to keep the old Mosaic Law, even though they were believers in Christ. Paul was reminding Timothy, the message of salvation through faith was the Truth.
1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”
“Men”: The Greek word for “men” as opposed to women. God intends for men to be the leaders when the church meets for corporate worship. When prayer for the lost is offered during those times, the men are to lead it.
“Everywhere”: Paul’s reference to the official assembly of the church (1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8).
“I will … that men pray everywhere” (or, “I intend … that men in every locality pray”): The Greek word andres means “manly.” Men are to lead audibly in public prayer; women are to pray silently. This directive remains the same “in every locality,” geography being no factor.
“Lifting up holy hands”: Paul is not emphasizing a specific posture necessary for prayer, but a prerequisite for effective prayer (Psalm 66:18). Though this posture is described in the Old Testament (1 Kings 8:22; Psalms 8:2; 63:4; 134:2), so are many others.
The Greek word for “holy” means “unpolluted” or “unstained by evil.” “Hands” symbolize the activities of life; thus “holy hands” represent a holy life. This basis of effective prayer is a righteous life (James 5:16).
“Without wrath and doubting”: “Wrath” and righteousness are mutually exclusive (James 1:20; Luke 9:52-56). “Dissension” refers to a hesitant reluctance to be committed to prayer.
The manner in which men are to pray is that of “lifting up holy hands,” that is, with a pure life which is “without wrath and doubting” (disputes).
To lift the hands up to heaven when you pray is a humbling experience. It is just recognition of where the answers to prayers come from. We humble our self to God in this process, and accept the answer He has for us. To receive answers to prayer, we must not have wrath in our life toward anyone. We must forgive to be forgiven.
We must also, believe that we receive when we pray, and we shall receive. Look with me, at what Jesus had to say about this.
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].”
Verses 9-15: Women in the church were living impure and self-centred lives (5:6, 11-15; 2 Timothy 3:6), and that practice carried over into the worship service, where they became distractions. Because of the centrality of worship in the life of the church, Paul calls on Timothy to confront the problem.
These verses give guidelines for the woman’s place in public worship. “With shamefacedness and sobriety” (or, “with modesty and discretion”): The female has a divinely implanted desire to have a good appearance, and Paul is not discouraging this. Rather, he is speaking against the extravagant and ostentatious dress.
1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”
“Adorn … modest apparel”: The Greek word for “adorn” means “to arrange,” “to put in order,” or “to make ready.” A woman is to arrange herself appropriately for the worship service, which includes wearing decent clothing which reflects a properly adorned chaste heart.
“Shamefacedness and sobriety”: “Shamefacedness” refers to modesty mixed with humility, which carries the underlying idea of shame. It can also refer to a rejection of anything dishonourable to God, or refer to grief over sin.
“Sobriety” basically refers to self-control over sexual passions. Godly women hate sin and control their passions so as not to lead another into sin (see notes on 1 Peter 3:3-4).
Women are neither to dress immodestly, so as to exploit their feminine charm, hindering their brethren from worship. Nor are they to overdo their dress, provoking their Christian sisters to jealousy.
“Braided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array”: Specific practices that were causing distraction and discord in the church. Women in the first century often wove “gold or pearls” or other jewellery into their hairstyles (“braided hair”), to call attention to themselves and their wealth or beauty.
The same was true for those women who wore “costly garments.” By doing so they would draw attention to themselves and away from the Lord, likely causing the poorer women to be envious. Paul’s point was to forbid the preoccupation of certain women with flaunting their wealth and distracting people from worshipping the Lord.
The church is a place to go and worship God. It is very important for women to dress in a manner not to draw attention to their selves. A woman’s beauty should not be her outward appearance of gold, or pearls, or fancy clothes. Her beauty should be from within. Women, who are modest in apparel and in their behaviour, are a blessing in the church.
1 Timothy 2:10 “But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
Those women who have publicly committed themselves to pursue godliness should support that claim not only in their demeanour, wardrobe and appearance but by being clothed with righteous behaviour.
This verse could be rendered: “But let them dress with that which is proper for women who profess, by their good works, reverence for God.” For such women, the proper dress should conform to their Christian testimony and behaviour.
Godly women are a real blessing to the church.
1 Timothy 2:11 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.”
“The woman … learn in silence”: Women are not to be the public teachers when the church assembles, but neither are they to be shut out of the learning process. The form of the Greek verb translated “learn” is an imperative: Paul is commanding that women be taught in the church.
That was a novel concept, since neither first century Judaism nor Greek culture held women in high esteem. Some of the women in Ephesus probably overreacted to the cultural denigration they had typically suffered and took advantage of their opportunity in the church by seeking a dominant role in leadership.
“Silence … subjection” (“to line up under”), was to characterize the role of a woman as a learner in the context of the church assembly. Paul explains his meaning (in verse 12): Women are to be silent by not teaching, and they are to demonstrate submission by not usurping the authority of the pastors or elders.
In public worship services, women are to learn “in silence with all” [the fullest] “subjection” to church leadership.
1 Timothy 2:12 “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
“I suffer not” The Greek word for “suffer not” is used in the New Testament to refer to allowing someone to do what he desires. Paul may have been addressing a real situation in which several women in Ephesus desired to be public preachers.
“To teach”: Paul used a verbal form of this Greek word that indicates a condition or process and is better translated “to be a teacher.” This was an important, official function in the church (Acts 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). Thus, Paul is forbidding women from filling the office and role of the pastor or teacher.
He is not prohibiting them from teaching in other appropriate conditions and circumstances (Acts 18:26; Titus 2:3-4).
“Usurp authority”: Paul forbids women from exercising any type of authority over men in the church assembly since the elders are those who rule (5:17). They are all to be men (as is clear from the requirements in 3:2, 5).
“Be in silence” (11).
Verses 13-14: A woman’s subordinate role did not result after the Fall as a cultural, chauvinistic corruption of God’s perfect design; rather, God established her role as part of His original creation (verse 13). God made woman after a man to be his suitable helper (see note on Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9).
The Fall actually corroborates God’s divine plan of creation (see notes on Genesis 3:1-7). By nature, Eve was not suited to assume the position of ultimate responsibility.
By leaving Adam’s protection and usurping his headship, she was vulnerable and fell, thus confirming how important it was for her to stay under the protection and leadership of her husband (5:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:6-7).
Adam then violated his leadership role, followed Eve in her sin, and plunged the human race into sinfulness, all connected with violating God’s planned roles for the sexes. Ultimately, the responsibility for the Fall still rests with Adam, since he chose to disobey God apart from being deceived (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
The prohibition against women teaching in the church is qualified (by Titus 2:4), which allows them to instruct other women (and probably children also).
1 Timothy 2:13 “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
Two reasons are given for the apostolic command of verse 12.
(1) Priority in Creation denotes man’s authority over a woman (verse 13). God could have created the woman first or both simultaneously; but He did not, as it was always His intention for man to lead and women to follow.
(2) In the serpent’s temptation (Genesis 3). The sad thing is that Adam was not deceived. He sinned in full knowledge.
1 Timothy 2:15 “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
“She”: That Paul does not have Eve in mind here is clear because the verb translated “shall be saved” is future, and he also uses the plural pronoun “they.” He is talking about women after Eve.
“Shall be saved”: The Greek word can also mean “to rescue,” “to preserve safe and unharmed,” “to heal,” or “to deliver from.” It appears several times in the New Testament without reference to spiritual salvation (Matthew 8:25; 9:21-22; 24:22; 27:40, 42, 49; 2 Timothy 4:18).
Paul is not advocating that women are eternally saved from sin through childbearing or that they maintain their salvation by having babies, both of which would be clear contradictions of the New Testament teaching of salvation by grace alone through faith alone (Romans 3:19-20), sustained forever (Romans 8:31-39).
Paul is teaching that even though a woman bears the stigma of being the initial instrument who led the race into sin, it is women through childbearing who may be preserved or freed from that stigma by raising a generation of godly children (5:10).
“Saved in childbearing”: Because mothers have a unique bond and intimacy with their children, and spend far more time with them than do fathers, they have far greater influence in their lives and thus a unique responsibility and opportunity for rearing godly children.
While a woman may have led the human race into sin, women have the privilege of leading many out of sin to godliness. Paul is speaking in general terms; God does not want all women to be married (1 Corinthians 7:25-40), let alone bear children.
“If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety”: The godly appearance, demeanor, and behavior commanded of believing women in the church (verses 9-12), is motivated by the promise of deliverance from any inferior status and the joy of raising godly children.
This verse is amphibological, that is, it means two different things concurrently, both of which are correct. “She shall be saved” has a soteriological and an ecclesiastical meaning.
The former means that although Eve fell “in the transgression” (verse 14), women can be spiritually saved from sin, provided they persevere “in faith and charity” [love] “and holiness with sobriety” (chastity). The ecclesiastical meaning indicates the woman “shall be saved” from having no role or significance in the local church.
Her primary ministry is that of “childbearing” and the rearing of children who will become godly adults and leaders. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”