In chapter two of this letter, Paul will move from personal encouragement of Timothy, by confirming his teaching and the necessity of disciplining false teachers, to instructions concerning prayer and some of the purposes of prayer.
In this section, Paul will remind Timothy that prayers are to be made for all men so that mankind might come to know the truth and be saved. For this reason, Paul stresses that prayer is an absolute necessity in the work of bringing the lost to salvation, and the proper role of men and women in the church, who are committed to the task of bringing the gospel to the world.
Instructions on Prayer - 2:1-7
Types of prayer
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings,
- I Timothy 2:1a
Paul describes a variety of reasons and objectives that we should strive for in prayer.
A. Supplication (entreaties) - DEÉSIS
This means a specific request, or a request within a certain situation. For example, "Dear God, please help my husband to find a job."
B. Prayer - PROSUCÉ
A general word referring to all types of prayers that we make throughout our day. (i.e. request, adoration, praise, confession, etc.).
Note the difference between supplication and prayer: we should always pray that our families be saved; a supplication is made that our cousin, who has begun to study the Bible obey the gospel. Supplications are more specific.
C. Intercession – Petition
This word suggests a more intimate relationship with God. It is a pleading, or a begging of God, without restraint, on someone else's behalf. In Romans 8:27, 34, Paul says that the Spirit and Jesus do this for the Christians. We can intercede for others with God because the Spirit is within us (Acts 2:38) and Christ is among us (Matthew 28:20).
Gratitude is the first of the heavenly virtues. Ingratitude is the first step that leads to total ungodliness (Romans 1:21). Cultivating a grateful attitude in prayer and in life leads us to a more peaceful heart and joyful spirit. Gratitude for what God gives us enables us to enjoy our blessings without guilt.
Who to Pray for
1b …be made on behalf of all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
- I Timothy 2:1b-2
Prayer for all because salvation for all begins with prayer for all. Even those in authority, kings and rulers. At the time, there was an issue in the church that it was not right to pray for pagan rulers. Yet, when our society is at peace and running well, it is easier to proclaim the gospel.
- Tranquil and quiet – calm and without strife describes the goal of rulers in society, to maintain this and justice.
- Godliness and dignity - These words describe a Christian's state of mind in an environment of quietness and tranquility. Godliness = devoted to God. Dignity = serious, sober.
Although these are best developed in times of peace, they can also be cultivated in times of stress and war.
Why Should we Pray for These Things? – vs. 3-7
A. This is God's Will
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- I Timothy 2:3
God is pleased when this environment is present. And these prayers are offered because it promotes His ultimate goal, which is the saving of all men. God wants everybody to know the truth and to be saved, not just a chosen few.
B. God's Will is Worked out with the Gospel
5For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth; I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
- I Timothy 2:5-7
Because there is only one God and one manner in which men can be saved, the preaching of the gospel is necessary, so any environment that promotes this is pleasing to God.
In verse 6, Paul makes a parenthetical statement, reviewing the main points of the gospel message (Christ's atoning death to redeem, or to pay for our sins).
Since this letter was semi-public, the contents of it had to be taught. Paul takes this opportunity to mention the gospel in general terms. He uses the word ransom. Ransom for all. A ransom is a payment to buy something back. Jesus is the ransom given to buy back our moral debts to God and thus free us from the cost of death due to our sins.
This, not the Gnostic teachers' ideas, is the true gospel, the true manner of salvation. The testimony, born at the proper time, refers to the many who have proclaimed this message throughout history:
- The faith and salvation, spoken of by the prophets.
- The announcement of Christ's deity and His work to the Apostles by God
- at baptism,
- at the Mount of Transfiguration,
- at His resurrection.
- The proclamation of the gospel by the Apostles at Pentecost.
God declared His plan to save man at proper times and events throughout history so that everybody could get the good news.
- Paul concludes that he has been chosen to be the one of these proclaimers
(in a very long line of proclaimers) about the manner in which God is
going to be saving mankind.
- This is why he says he was chosen to be a preacher, a proclaimer, and an Apostle (special messenger).
- His special goal is to bring the message of the gospel to the non-Jews, in other words, to the Gentiles.
Unlike the Gnostic teachers, he does not lie, but faithfully, always, teaches the truth, that we are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ, to the Gentiles (now Jews).
Instructions on Conduct and Role – 2:8-15
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
- I Timothy 2:8
Verse eight summarizes and climaxes verses 1-7.
Since God wants all to live in quietness and security, so that the saving gospel can be preached, we should be busy making all kinds of prayers for people in top positions, like kings, and everyone else on down.
With this in mind, Paul specifies that he wants men (the word, here, is not generic. It is not mankind, or humans. The Greek word, here, is for a male, actually) for a husband, to lead the prayer. When the types of prayers he mentions in the 1st chapter are prayed, the men are the ones who should do the praying.
"In every place" refers to every place where public worship is offered, since this letter is an instruction to the church, not to the family unit, and is meant to direct the ministers in how to conduct church affairs, especially when it gathers publicly.
And not just any male, but the ones that are qualified: only those men who could lift up holy hands. (Lifting hands was the Jewish style of prayer, different posture than today). Paul is more concerned with the man's character than the style of prayer. Holy refers to a person who is pure and undefiled, who is clean. How could an immoral brother's prayer be effective on behalf of another? Without wrath or dissension. This refers to one who is not the cause of trouble or division in the church. Men who lead in prayer have the responsibility to remain pure and peaceful. Better to have no prayer than a prayer by one who is not qualified.
The man that prays brings all of the hopes and the needs before God in prayer, he should be worthy and prepared to go before the king – of glory!
Culture vs. Command
This verse brings up a common point of discussion, and sometimes division, in the church – the role of women in the church.
In the church we have several positions on this issue. Here are the four positions:
- The conservative view. In this view, women do nothing in public worship, except sit and listen, both during the worship and the Bible class, women never speak, period.
- The mainline position. Women help, by perhaps preparing the communion, the elements, and they do participate in Bible class, and share their ideas in class, but they do not teach a class, they do not preach sermons.
- The progressive view. Women pass the communion trays, they lead prayer, they serve as deacons.
- The liberal view. Women and men can do all of the ministries, including being elders or deacons or preachers.
The difference is caused by the disagreement over the concepts of culture or command. In other words, what belongs to culture and can be changed as culture evolves and changes, and what belongs to commands, which are given by God and not subject to change
A. Modern example: Women wear jeans to church. One hundred years ago, a woman wearing pants to church, let alone jeans, would have been scandalous. But today, in our culture, we think nothing of it.
B. Foot washing. Jesus told His disciples to wash each other's feet, in John 13:5-15. He is washing their feet and he says to them, "If I, your teacher, wash your feet, you should wash each other's feet." Does this mean every time we have communion; we should wash each other's feet? In those days, foot washing was a sign of hospitality and respect.
- Today, we have cars, shoes, carpets, slippers. The cultural ritual of foot washing is gone, but the meaning behind it remains. We do other things to show our love, to show welcome, respect, humility for others. For example, we offer our own room to sleep in for overnight guests; we give people a ride to church.
Jesus taught His apostles to humble themselves, to respect others, and to offer hospitality. He used a cultural form of that era, foot washing, to make His point.
- The Apostles continued to teach the church to humble itself, and love and respect others. Paul taught that in Ephesians 4:31 to 5:2, and John, in I John 4:7. But they did not command foot washing as the way to demonstrate this Christian humility, respect and love. It was an eternal principle wrapped up in a first-century format, foot washing.
We have other ways, other cultural forms today to practice the eternal principle of love and welcome and hospitality.
Baptism. Jesus commanded His disciples to be baptized, as a response of faith to the gospel (Matthew 28, Mark 16).
Baptism was an ancient religious cultural form used by pagans and Jews, usually as a purification rite. Jesus takes this form and gives it His meaning (regeneration). He ties this to the gospel and commands the Apostles to preach this to the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). The Apostles teach and preserve this rite in their writings. They command that it remain unchanged as part of the gospel (Galatians 3:26-28). This is a religious cultural form that is given by Jesus to keep, and confirmed by the Apostles' teaching (Acts 2:38; 22:16). This is an enduring command and remains despite the changes in culture because:
- Jesus commands it.
- He imposes it upon all those who will become His disciples.
- he Apostles teach and preserve this rite in their sacred writings.
- they teach other Christians and preach to non-Christians that baptism is a necessary step in the process of becoming a Christian.
- This is a command and is meant to be kept until Jesus comes (Ephesians 4:5).
Most issues of disagreement between liberals and conservatives crop up when deciding how to interpret what is command and what is custom.
Churches that have women ministers, or homosexual ministers, or other "liberal practices" do so because they consider certain issues simply cultural things that can be changed to suit today's mindset.
The more things you think are based on culture, (homosexuality was forbidden in the first-century because it was not in their culture. Today we are more accepting of this in our culture, so it is okay), the more liberal you are.
The less you think Bible issues are based on culture, and more based on commands, the more conservative you become. Because there are less things in the Bible that change with culture or are permitted to change with culture.
The key is to realize that some things in the Bible are cultural and some are eternal commands and we should be able to know the difference.
So that the men and not the women pray in the church, what is that? Is that cultural or is that command? Well, it was a cultural thing for men to be in leadership roles at that time, especially in the Jewish culture. But women served in pagan temples, and they took significant leadership roles in Greek temples and Roman temples.
The key is to see that Paul is teaching this to the church as a general instruction, and this teaching is confirmed in another passage with even stronger language.
34The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. 36Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?
37If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. 38But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
- I Corinthians 14:34-37
Paul was giving a command for the entire church and had the authority to do so because the Lord had commanded him to teach this concerning men and women's role in the assembly.
Also, there is no other conflicting teaching on this anywhere in the New Testament. This is what the early church did so that holy and peace-loving Christian men were to lead in prayer whenever the church met for worship and communion was what Paul taught in the New Testament.
It may be tempting to change this in light of different attitudes about women in our culture, today. We have to remember that our first goal is not to appease the fashion of today's culture.
Our task is to know what God desires and carefully follow that, even when it is not popular.
Paul explains how men are to express godliness (holy hands, etc.). Now, he explains how women are to do the very same thing.
9Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
- I Timothy 2:9-10
Note that he says "likewise." In the same manner that the men are to comply to God's will, so are the women. He says that the women who desire to claim to be godly need to do or not do certain things.
Of course, the things a woman does in order to be godly are the same today as they were then. Jesus charged men with certain things to do that do not change. The same thing can be said of women.
Both men and women do similar things today to achieve this state. Being honest and kind and righteous, those things have no gender. So, this epistle applies to women then, as it does to women of our day.
So, some two thousand years ago, a Jewish man said that if women want this "righteousness label," there are some things that they need to do.
- (KOSMEO)/ Adorn - They need to cover themselves and surround themselves with things that are good and godly.
- Proper Clothing - The word proper, here, provides the context of this teaching. Clothing that is proper for the gathering of the saints. Proper in the sense that the clothing is indicative and reflective of other religious and holy women of the era.
For example, this is where the veil came in. The veil meant that a woman was self-contained and respected the leadership of her father, or her husband. That was the symbolism of the veil. Without the veil, a woman could not freely and easily move about in that society.
In the first century, veils were proper to express this truth. Today, they do not do this. That is not how you express that truth. Today, if a woman wears a veil, she is actually separating herself from the culture.
The covering of oneself also spoke to one's attitude, not just clothing. It was the clothing and the attitude together that mirrored a person's true character. So, the word and virtue of modesty suggests certain things:
- Purity and Decency, not Suggestive or Sensual – A woman who reveals her body in some immodest way reveals her lack of love for her Christian brothers, who may have to struggle with lust and other sins, provoked by her immodesty and their weaknesses. After all, love is kind.
- Modesty also refers to a freedom from conceit, pride, or vanity – Many women spend more time preparing the outside before coming to worship, but very little time preparing the inside.
The word discreet does not only mean a person can keep a secret:
- It means to be sober or serious-minded, or spiritually minded,
- Not giving to showing off, not ostentatious or frivolous or silly,
- Not overdressed to create a false, or puffed up attitude,
- Also not under-dressed to create a false image of poverty, or not caring about one's appearance.
- It means to be mature and reflect that maturity in how we dress, how we live, where we live, how we wear our clothing, how we use our resources.
Paul says that the way to adorn or cover ourselves with modesty and discretion is not by wearing certain clothing or jewelry, or the way the hair is fixed. It seemed that in the church there was an attempt by women to make statements about their position by what they wore and how their hair was done. (Nothing has changed).
Paul is not saying that you cannot look nice, or that you cannot have jewelry or get your hair done. He is merely saying that these are not the things that create a sense of modesty and discretion in a Christian woman.
He also says that a woman achieves true modesty and discretion by covering oneself with good deeds. Jewels, nice clothing, makeup, hair, these are not wrong (with God, all these things are neutral). If a woman depends on these things to please God, to be noticed by Him, she will be disappointed in the end.
The point is that God notices and blesses obedient, humble, godly, modest, men and women in the church.
Attitude of Women While Learning
Paul leaves off the idea of how a woman needs to be – pleasing to God, and moves onto the issue of how women should conduct themselves while learning and worshiping in the assembly, which needs to be led by men.
A woman must quietly receive instructions with entire submissiveness.
- I Timothy 2:11
Here, the word quiet (HÉSUCHIA) refers to one's quiet disposition, or tranquil nature, which is a manifestation of a meek and gentle inner life.
It is an attitude of mind. It does not mean to keep absolute silence, otherwise how could a woman sing praises to God, confess Christ, proclaim amen! Learning in a spirit that does not disturb others. Just because a person does not teach or lead, or says little in class, does not mean that they are quietly receiving instruction.
Quietly receiving instruction is learning in the spirit of gentleness and humility. This spirit will be evident even in a woman who asks questions.
That is her outward attitude (quiet is the inward attitude). In these circumstances, it would mean that she neither takes on the role of teacher nor judges the teacher. Submissive, as a student is to learn what is being taught with a mind to apply something to our lives, rather than listening to the lesson and judging the ability of the teacher and his knowledge.
The point is that a woman is to cultivate an attitude which promotes personal growth and knowledge within her, and harmony with others around her.
But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
- I Timothy 2:12
An apposition is a grammatical construction where two words refer to a common thing or person. For example, today I prayed to the Lord Jesus. Well, Lord and Jesus are two words that refer to the same person.
Paul uses this apposition device, in verse 12 with the words teach and authority. In the Jewish culture, the one who taught had the authority.
In regard to women, Paul is saying that a woman is not to exercise control, operation, function. She is not to exercise authority over a brother in the body of Christ when it meets. Now, in the church, teaching and preaching involves the exercise of spiritual authority. It did then, it continues to do so now.
- When there is a mixed assembly, men are to provide the spiritual leadership embodied in the teacher's role.
- Women can teach, however. They can teach other women, they can share the gospel and teach the unsaved, they can teach children.
The Bible is silent on women's role in the work world. There is nothing in the Bible that says a woman cannot work. A woman can become President of the United States but in the church, she receives instruction quietly. This is her challenge in the modern world. Obeying God in this question, against all social norms in our culture, is very difficult. (Men also balked at Jesus' teaching, whether they were Jews or Gentiles, they did not like that they were to only have one wife).
Two Reasons why the Teaching on the Role of the Women in the Church is a Command and not a Cultural Thing.
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
- I Timothy 2:13-14
It's based on two eternal principles:
1. God Created Man First, and then Woman - vs. 13
Man has the primary position in the creation, established by God, not society. Paul confirms this idea in 1 Corinthians 11:2-3. In the spiritual body of Christ, all things function according to the spiritual order, the divine model, not the secular model. The church is not like society, or the government, or corporations. It is a divine thing, and it is organized along spiritual lines. There is God, and Christ, and man, and woman: this is the divine link and order and we reflect this in the church.
2. Woman Sinned First - vs. 14
Eve was deceived into disobedience. Adam was not fooled; he was induced through his feelings for his wife. Because of this deception, God reaffirmed the role of the woman as that of submission to her husband. It was a role she abandoned in her seduction by Satan. She went to him instead of to her husband.
Her punishment was to be the birthing of children in sorrow and pain. Giving birth to a child was meant to be a happy thing but turned into a sorrowful, painful moment. This is the idea that helps explain verse 15.
But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
- I Timothy 2:15
This experience of having children, however, will be turned into a favorable one because of her ultimate salvation. Having and raising children will be painful and dangerous, but because of salvation in Jesus, it will become a joyful one. If she continues in this universal life-giver role, and she does so with faith, love, purity, modesty and good sense, she will survive child bearing and rearing, and she will also survive death to be raised again when Jesus returns.
So, Paul sets the initial structure of the church by ordering it along fundamental lines of men and women, establishing the natural and eternal, commanded, not cultural, roles that each men and women should play in the body of Christ.
Next, Paul will discuss the structure of organization among the men who are responsible for the leadership.