1 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 2.
An Admonition to Pray for All Men on the Basis of Christís Atoning Death. 1 Tim. 2, 1-8.
For whom Christians should pray and why: V.1. I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, v.2. for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. V.3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, v.4. who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the Truth. Having laid the basis of sound doctrinal teaching in, the first chapter, as Timothy was to observe it in his work in the congregation, the apostle now speaks of the order of services as it then obtained in the congregations, referring particularly to the custom of public prayer: I exhort, then, that, first of all, be made supplications, worshipings, intercessions, thanksgivings for all men, for kings and all that are in authority, that a tranquil and quiet life we may lead in all piety and honesty. The duty of making prayer prominent in the Christian life is here enjoined with emphasis, as among those obligations incumbent first of all. Prayerful intercourse between the Lord and the believers is not observed nearly so carefully and dutifully as the Lordís will requires it. The exhortation of the apostle, therefore, is altogether in order to this day. He names supplications, the prayers that flow from the consciousness of need and misery; worshipings, in which the ideas of adoration and supplication are combined; intercessions, prayers made in behalf of some one else, Rom. 8, 27. 34; and thanksgivings, since it is self-evident that Christians always acknowledge the gifts of the Lord with grateful hearts. Since the feature of intercession is prominent even in the names of prayers as here given, it is not surprising that the apostle now mentions some of the persons that are to enjoy the benefit of this labor of love. In general, all men are here included; all men without exception are objects of the Christiansí prayers, whether converted or unconverted, whether friends or enemies, Matt. 5, 45. 46. But from this great mass the apostle separates certain classes by mentioning them by name: kings and all that are in authority, all that occupy a position of power in the world, especially the persons that constitute the civil government. Christians that pray for the needs of all men cannot overlook the special needs of the government, no matter what form this government may have; they pray to the Lord for the peace of the city and country of which they are citizens, knowing that in the peace thereof they shall have peace, Jer. 29, 7. If the government makes proper use of the various functions entrusted to it by God, as the prayer of the Christians asks, then the result will be that they can lead a quiet, tranquil, peaceable life, in all godliness, in the right worshiping of God, and in all honesty, in good conduct toward all men. The Christian religion, which, the believers confess and profess, must find its expression in daily life.
Lest Timothy and all other readers of the letter overlook the emphasis of the passage, the apostle calls attention to it in stating the reason for demanding such general prayer: This is fine and acceptable before our Savior, God, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Prayer for all men is enjoined by God, and it is this prayer that is good, approved of God; it meets with His pleased appreciation when Christians give evidence of the spirit of love toward all men, living in them. God the Father is here again called the Savior of men, for in this capacity His love extends to all human beings without exception. Deliberately and in the face of all modern opposition Paul here explains the term ďSaviorĒ as applied to God, saying that God will have all men to be saved. Godís gracious will is universal, it has in mind all men without exception, Rom. 8, 32; Titus 2, 11. It is not merely a pious wish which He holds, but it is His earnest, will that all men should be partakers of the salvation earned by the atoning work of Christ. And the manner in which they receive this salvation which is prepared before all people is this, that they come to the knowledge of the truth. All men should not only know about the message of perfect redemption as contained in the Gospel, but it is Godís will that they also should accept the saving grace, apply its glorious assurance to themselves, and thus become the owners of the bliss pledged therein, John 3, 16.
The offer of salvation is universal, hence also intercessory prayer should be general: V.5. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, v.6. who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. v.7. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not,) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. V.8. I will, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. This fact, that the gracious will of God unto salvation extends to all men, is so important that Paul brings another point in support of his statement: For one God there is, one Mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, He that gave Himself as a ransom for many, to be attested to at His own time. There is only one true, revealed God, therefore there is only one gracious will unto salvation. The matter must not be represented as if God had one will for those that are saved, and another will for those that are damned. He has only one will, that of His grace and mercy, by which He desires all men to be saved. Furthermore: The Mediator Christ Jesus, God and man in one person, is one; the redemption is one. There is no varying degree of excellency and power for the various people in the world, as if the atonement were not just as full and complete for the gross transgressor as for the self-righteous moralist. The redemption of Christ Jesus is there for all men in the same degree. He is purposely designated the Mediator between God and men, for His atonement has come in between God and the sinful, condemned world and has restored the relation which should obtain between God and men. By becoming a true man, by taking upon Himself the sin, the guilt, the punishment, the death and damnation of mankind, He has made full satisfaction for all men; as the Advocate and Representative of all men He can step before God and demand full acknowledgment from divine justice for His satisfaction, for His work of redemption. All of this was accomplished through a single work of redemption, through the fact that Christ gave Himself as the ransom instead of all men. They should have been slaves in the power of the devil in all eternity, but He paid the full price to deliver them, and salvation is now prepared before the face of all men, to be attested to by all the ministers of the Gospel and by all Christians in this great age of fulfillment as the most glorious fact of all ages. All the world should hear this testimony, all men should be assured of salvation in Christ Jesus.
This thought gives the apostle an opportunity to point to his apostolic authority: For which I am ordained a herald and apostle, (the truth I say - I am not lying,) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. Paul had been called, ordained, for this testimony, for this proclamation of the grace of God, particularly to the Gentiles, Acts 9, 15. His lifeís work was that of being a herald of the Lord, of preaching the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins, 1 Cor. 9, 27; 15, 12. Moreover, he belonged to the special ministers of God, to the men that had been fitted out, endowed with special apostolic power and authority. In the face of all actual and possible opposition on the part of errorists, of Judaizing teachers, the apostle can place the calm asseveration that he is not guilty of lying, but is speaking nothing but the truth. Paul could not and would not yield his position for one minute, for he was responsible to God for its proper upholding. He is a teacher of the Gentiles in faithfulness and truth. These were the two attributes which characterized his work; to these he could point without undue self-glorification; they were evident before the eyes of all men in his ministry.
With the reasons for general prayer thus abundantly established, the apostle now resumes his admonition: It is my will, then, that the men should pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without anger and doubt. The apostleís tone here is very solemn and emphatic, he delivers his charge by virtue of his apostolic authority. The men should pray, they should have charge of the prayers in public worship. In every place such prayers should be offered, for the worship of the New Testament is not confined to any particular buildings or holy localities. No matter where a Christian congregation meets for worship, whether that be in the finest cathedral or in a sod-house on the prairie, the prayers are acceptable to God. Only they must be made in such a way that the men raise holy hands, lifting them up in a gesture of prayer which was in use in the Church of the Old Testament as well as in that of the New. Holy, pure hands are mentioned as representing the proper condition of the whole body, for a heart that is filled with thoughts and projects at variance with the holy will of God cannot pray acceptably, and the finest gesture of prayer is hypocrisy in such a case. Therefore Paul adds: Without anger and doubt. So far as men are concerned, the heart of those that pray, in public worship must be free from bitterness, vengeance, hatred, wrath. And so far as the Lord is concerned, a heart that expresses a prayer and still is filled with doubts as to the possible fulfillment of the prayer, defeats its own ends. Doubt not only interferes very seriously with the earnestness of prayer, but actually neutralizes its effects, for doubt is unbelief.
The Station and Calling of Christian Women. 1 Tim. 2,9-15.
V.9. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, v.10. but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 17. V.11. Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. V.12. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. V.13. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. V.14. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression. V.15. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in child-bearing if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. In the first part of the chapter the apostle had discussed the form of public worship with special reference to the participation of men. He now considers the case of the women: Likewise also the women (I admonish) to adorn themselves in modest dress, with modesty and moderation, not with plaited locks and gold or pearls or costly array, but, what becomes women professing reverence of God, by means of good works. This is also a part of the divine charge which Paul gave, not only to the women of Ephesus and of the other Christian congregations, but to the Christian women of all times. He shows them what conduct, what behavior the Lord expects of them at all times, but particularly in public worship. The mantle or dress in which they appear in public, and especially in church services, should be decent, modest, in no way suggest the specific female characteristics nor call attention to the sex of the wearer. This is further emphasized by the words: modesty and moderation. A Christian woman will show also in her dress that she avoids all that is suggestive and indecent, that she possesses the moderation and sober-mindedness which keeps sensual excitement in check. Where true chastity lives in the heart, and not a disgusting prudery, the dress of a woman will express the beauty of a womanly personality, but will never accentuate the charms of sex. It is the latter trait, so prominent in our days, which the apostle now censures in such sharp words as being incompatible with the finest adornment of Christís disciples. The apostle names plaited hair, the braided, waved, and curled coiffure which was affected by the super-stylish women of those days and particularly by the loose women. Another characteristic of that class of women was the extravagant use of gold and pearls, of jewelry of every description, a feature which always becomes prominent in the same ratio as morals decline. He finally names costly array, luxuriant, extravagant dress, which attracts attention by its showiness. Such lavish adornment, finery, and baubles are not conducive to the dignity of a Christian woman, particularly not in public worship; it belongs to a sphere with which Christian women have nothing in common. The adornment, the finest ornament of believers rather, that which should distinguish Christian women, is the reverence toward God which they profess and give evidence of through good works. By unselfish service of others a Christian girl or woman will be clothed with the finest garment, Col. 3, 12; her good works will be her most splendid jewels, Prov. 31, 10.
Having spoken of the appearance of women in public services, the apostle now adds a definite prohibition, forbidding women to be public teachers of a Christian congregation: But to teach I do not permit a woman, nor to exercise dominion over man, but [admonish her] to be in silence. This he connects with his command: Let a woman learn in silence with complete subjection. St. Paul undoubtedly had a reason for repeating a charge which he had given once before, 1 Cor. 14, 33-35. Learn, receive instruction, the woman should indeed, she was by no means excluded from public services; on the contrary, women often formed a very large and prominent part of the congregations, as their frequent mention in the New Testament indicates. But this learning of the woman was to be done in quietness and silence. She was not to interrupt the sermons or doctrinal discussions in public services by questions or remarks of her own, she was in no way to interfere with, or take part in, the public teaching of the congregation as such. Her position is indeed, in many questions pertaining to the household, one of coordination, in the public life and teaching of the congregation, however, strictly one of subordination, one of complete subjection. Public teaching of the Word is not permitted to women; they are not to become preachers or teachers of the congregation as such, although they may very well teach children and young people outside of public services, and may also give individual instruction to older people. Cp. Titus 2, 3. 4; Acts 18, 26. But in no way and at no time shall the woman exercise dominion over the man, neither in public worship, by presuming to be a public teacher, nor at home, nor in any other sphere of activity. The apostle once more emphasizes that she should be in silence, that her role is that of a listener and learner in public and not that of a teacher. The highest excellence of a Christian woman is that of following her calling in the quiet seclusion of the home.
The apostle now supports his rule of silence on two grounds: For Adam was created first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, overcome by deceit, was in the transgression. The priority of Adamís creation is thus a testimony for the order of God that the man should lead and rule for all times. God made woman as an helpmeet for man, the subordination of women holding good even before the Fall. The woman was and should be in the relation of dependency to the man, from which it follows that her status should not be that of a leader or teacher in the Church. In the second place, the story of the first man shows that there was no temptation and fall as long as he was alone. As soon, however, as the woman, the weaker vessel, was present, Satan made his attack. Thus Adam was not deceived, was not seduced, but Eve was overcome by the devilís deception; she fell into the trap set by the enemy and then persuaded her husband to join her in the foolish transgression. So the Fall was brought about, which, in its sad results, continues to this hour. Here again the subordination of the woman is plainly shown, a fact which excludes her from being a teacher in public worship, where her office would give her dominion over the man.
In order, however, to guard against the idea as if the subordination of woman in any way reduces her right and her participation in the blessings of the Gospel, the apostle adds a word of comfort: But she will be saved through child-bearing, if they remain in faith and love and holiness with sobriety. ďSt. Paul, taking the common-sense view that child-bearing, rather than public teaching or the direction of affairs, is womanís primary function, duty, privilege, and dignity, reminds Timothy and his readers that there was another aspect of the story in Genesis besides that of womanís taking the initiative in transgression: the pains of childbirth were her sentence, yet in undergoing these she finds her salvation.Ē 6) Not, indeed, as though child-bearing were a means of earning salvation, but the home, the family, motherhood, is womanís proper sphere of activity. Every normal woman should enter holy wedlock, become a mother, and rear her children, if God grants her the gift of babies of her own. That is womanís highest calling; for this God has given her physical and mental gifts. Unless God Himself directs otherwise, a woman misses her purpose in life if she does not become a helpmeet of her husband and a mother of children. And this is true of all Christian women, if they perform all these works of their calling in faith in the Redeemer and in the consequent unselfish love, in the sanctification which seeks to make progress day by day. In this way they all exercise the moderation, the sobriety, the chaste watchfulness over all sinful lusts and desires, which effectually drives out lewd passion and makes all the members of the body instruments in the service of God. 7)
Summary. The apostle gives directions concerning prayer in public worship, basing his admonition upon the universality of Godís grace; he instructs the Christian women as to their station in the Christian Church, bidding them above all serve the Lord in their calling as mothers, with all quiet modesty.