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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 2

Contending for the FaithContending for the Faith

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Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown. Commentary on the Whole Bible. Homewood, Illinois: Richard D. Irwin, Inc., n.d.

Johnson, B.W. The People’s New Testament with Notes. Vol. 2. Delight, Arkansas: Gospel Light Publishing Company, n.d.

Lipscomb, David. New Testament Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Company, 1942.

Thayer, Joseph H., D.D. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. Grand Rapids, Michigan: AP&A, n.d.

Vine, W.E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1956.

Verse 1

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

The Apostle Paul begins by setting forth direction for public worship. He uses four terms to indicate that prayer should be made with such earnest zeal as to obtain the attention of God and with enough force to beseech, beg, and admonish His aid.

Only minor distinctions can be made in the meaning or application of the terms "supplications," "prayers," and "intercessions" since they all imply prayer to God.

supplications: The term "supplications" means to beg something of or to entreat or pray humbly. The term implies earnest request, desire, and petitions of God on behalf of the needs of others and ourselves, asking that God’s mercy, goodness, and blessings be bestowed on us to keep us from evil and to grant salvation based upon our faithfulness (Revelation 2:10).

prayers: This term implies reverent devotion to God because of what He is capable of performing and providing. The root word suggests a meeting with God, one provided only for his obedient children (John 9:31; Proverbs 15:29; Proverbs 28:9).

intercessions: This term implies praying for others, requesting that God will aid, assist, and show mercy upon them in whatever way the law of divine justice will allow. For example, one might pray that the sinner’s life be spared until he hears the gospel and has a chance to obey or for political dignitaries in their decisions (as in the case of Abraham interceding for Lot and those with him in Sodom, Genesis 18:24-32). When Peter was in prison, "prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him" (Acts 12:5).

giving of thanks: This act involves expressing to God our heartfelt thanks for all He has done and will do for our welfare, both spiritually and physically--for life, health, prosperity, and all that is involved in making up this life.

be made for all men: We should ask God’s favor and blessings upon "all men" without regards to selfish motives in any form.

Verse 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: It is obvious the apostle here refers to the highest political office to be held by man in any worldly state or nation, be it kings, emperors, or presidents who serve as leaders and rulers of both governments and people (for example the Emperor of Rome, 1 Peter 2:17; Pharaoh of Egypt, Acts 7:10-18; King David of Israel, Acts 13:22). He is one who has the power or authority to exercise the highest control and influence (Romans 5:14; Romans 5:17; Romans 6:12).

The idea suggested here is that, while we should pray for all men regardless of their role in life, we should not overlook praying for the superior leaders. The soul of one high in office is of no more value than that of a common servant or slave (for God is no respecter of person--Acts 10:34); however, since so much depends upon both the character and plans of his rule, we need to have special prayer on his behalf that God will influence his decisions for the good of his people and all mankind.

all that are in authority: Paul here refers to anyone ruling in high places, those who have great honor bestowed upon them with authority. In short, they are the rulers of the land. We should be mindful of them in prayer even though they rule over us in a lesser capacity than a king.

that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life: Paul here gives the reason for the command to pray for those in authority: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life--that is, that we may live the Christian life and worship God freely without fear of molestation from the civil authorities or governments. Both words "quiet" (Thayer 279) and "peaceable" (Thayer 281) are translated from the Greek as "tranquil" (Vine 242) (1 Peter 3:4, RV) and suggest the idea of peace from without and within, receiving no disturbance from others.

in all godliness and honesty: The term "godliness" implies all our duties toward God. The word "honesty," sometimes translated "gravity" (Thayer 573) or respectfulness, suggests our dealing with and duty toward our fellowman.

Verse 3

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

The idea of observing the instruction just presented in praying for others, whether it be for all men as individuals or kings and dignitaries in their offices as supreme rulers of the land, meets with divine approval of God.

Verse 4

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Who will have all men to be saved: The expression "who will have" is better translated "would have" (ASV). God has not decreed that all men be saved since all have not been, but He desires their salvation (Revelation 22:17; Romans 10:16; Romans 1:16). In the same manner that the Lord desires that all should be saved, be it kings or subjects, masters or servants, He likewise would have prayers prayed for all men, for He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). It was His concern for the wicked that caused Him to give His son "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

and to come unto the knowledge of the truth: When one receives the truth, it is then his duty to accept it. God desires that all understand what is required for salvation and that they not be deceived into thinking they are saved when they are not. On the other hand, since God does not save mankind separate and apart from the truth, the question "What is truth?" (John 18:38) is an imperative one to consider. The answer is obvious. Jesus says in prayer to God, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Then again He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). It is the knowledge of that truth, as He had told them earlier, that "shall make you free" (John 8:32). Even though He wills that all men be saved, He does not take away the free moral agency of man to choose his destiny.

Verse 5

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

there is one God: He is the one mind, purpose, maker, preserver, and governor of all people in every nation. Unbound by border, race, or status, He expects the same of every nation and individual. He is the same God to all (Acts 10:34). Therefore, He will not recognize any other form of a god (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6), nor will He share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 48:11).

The Jews in general believed there was only one God but held to the idea that He was a Jewish God. They would not accept the idea that he was the God of other nations or people. Guided by inspiration, the Apostle Paul writes that in Christ Jesus "the middle wall of partition" between the Jew and Gentile is broken down, and now both can be saved in Him (Ephesians 2:11-16).

one mediator: A mediator is an "arbitrator" (Thayer 401), go between (Vine 54), a middle person, a peacemaker between two parties at odds or enmity with each other. For one to stand as a mediator between God and men and plead the case for reconciliation, he must have the nature and understanding of both. Therefore, Jesus, bearing the identity of God (Hebrews 1:3) and the true image or nature of man (Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:15), was in himself both God and man, thus the only one qualified as a mediator for all men.

The knowledge of one God for all men would be to no avail if there were no mediator to reconcile man to his God. For God is so holy and man so sinful that corrupt man could not appeal to a holy, sinless, and divine God on his own (Isaiah 59:1-2). Necessity demanded that Jesus become the incarnate; thus, being God and man, He was able to bring about a reconciliation in and through himself, that being on conditional terms. Therefore, Jesus is the only mediator for all who will come to the knowledge of the truth and obey the gospel.

This passage was not given merely to prove that Jesus is a mediator but rather that He is the only one who could serve in the reconciliation between God and man because he was both.

Verse 6

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Who gave himself a ransom for all: Paul does not say that He gave himself for the Jewish nation or for any one race of people but, rather, that He paid the price by giving himself as a ransom for "all." Thayer defines "ransom" (Antilutron) as "what is given in exchange for another as the price of his redemption" (Thayer 50), suggesting a substitute ransom was paid to set men free: a life for a life. His life for our life, His death that we might live (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). By that death He was able to reconcile man to God, setting him free from the sins which had separated him from his maker.

It was by the sin of man that death entered the human race. As Paul says in his Roman letter, it was "death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for they all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). With the sentence of death passed upon all men, Jesus took our place as a substitute and died for us. He paid the price of death for us. He was the ransom! Although that price was sufficient to make a way for our freedom from death’s sentence, it is effective only to those who will submit their lives and will to the Lord.

to be testified in due time: The Revised Version renders this "the testimony to be born in its own time." This due time (season) seems to refer to the period beginning with Jesus’ death, marking the end of the Mosaic period and lasting through the Christian age until time shall be declared no more. Thus, the substance of the gospel message is that Christ gave himself as a ransom. It is that message, proclaimed by the apostles, that preachers are to affirm during the Christian Age.

Verse 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.

Whereunto: Having declared the ransom of Christ as the "substance" of the gospel in the preceding verses, Paul now declares his role in this ministry. "I am ordained a preacher (a herald or a proclaimer)," he says, "an apostle," to publish the good news to the Gentiles that "all men" would now have access to salvation.

ordained: This word specifies that Paul is one "set apart" for a special cause or purpose (Thayer 623).

I speak the truth in Christ and lie not: Paul no doubt uses this expression to place strong emphasis on what he had said and to refute the Jews who questioned and denied his apostleship. He was letting them know he had received from the Lord the things that he had spoken.

in faith and verity: The words "verity" and "truth," translated from the same Greek noun aletheia, are used to signify "only the truth." They emphasize the sincerity of Paul’s faith and the integrity of his character as he preached the true gospel, not one that was fabricated, fictitious, or false.

Verse 8

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

I will therefore: This expression indicates the apostle’s strong desire for what he is about to express.

that men pray every where: Paul wants all men, not just Jews, in every place to pray. Prayer is not limited to the assembly, although wherever Christians assemble for worship, prayer should be offered. It should be so common that Jesus said, "My house should be called the house of prayer" (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). But prayer should extend beyond the assembly. Paul says that men should pray "every where": it should reach into every individual life and Christian home.

lifting up holy hands: This expression is not to be taken literally. We are not taught to hold up our hands when we pray; rather, Paul suggests that we are to be free from evil that defiles one’s heart and life, to be righteous, and to be pure in mind and action, free from all known sins.

The Jews had a practice of washing their hands before praying to signify they had put away all sin from themselves and were living a holy life. When the Christian comes before God’s presence in prayer, he must figuratively cleanse himself by being in humble submission to the divine will.

without wrath and doubting: Orge, the Greek word for "wrath," is one of man’s strongest passions. The term means anger, signifying a long lasting condition of mind and sometimes indicating a view toward taking revenge. When left unguarded, it could lead to violent sin and harmful effect to oneself and others alike. Either anger or doubting (disputing), when entertained in the heart, serves as a hindrance to a Christian’s prayer. One should dismiss all evil feelings against others and harbor no unforgiving spirit when approaching the throne of God and asking for forgiveness.

Verse 9

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

In like manner also that women: Up to this point, the apostle has addressed men, but now he focuses his attention on women and their behavior as Christians. The expression "in like manner also" indicates that the commands that follow are as mandatory as those already given.

adorn themselves in modest apparel: Women are instructed to dress and behave in such a manner as not to bring special attention to themselves. They were not to overdress, underdress, nor wear revealing clothes that would distract the thoughts of others.

"Modest apparel" suggests that the clothing of Christian women is to be orderly, well arranged, and decent--neither extravagant nor a display to draw attention to self.

shamefacedness and sobriety: Shamefacedness is defined as "a sense of shame, modesty" (Thayer 14). It is a self-restraining manner yielding not to vain impulses. Sobriety carries the idea of a "well-balanced state of mind" brought on by self-restraint (Lipscomb). It denotes soberness, sound mind, and judgment.

not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. It was the custom and fashion at the time the apostle wrote for women to plait their hair, interweaving with the natural hair strings of jewelry. The hair would thus sparkle and glitter in the light and draw attention to the women. Some women also wore gold and pearls on headbands over the head or on the neck, arms, or ankles with rings or chains. Such vanity and idle show are forbidden (1 Peter 3:3-4; Isaiah 3:16-23).

Verse 10

But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Good works and deeds, not jewelry or expensive clothes, should be the women’s adornment while professing true religion (1 Timothy 5:10-14; Titus 2:3-5). Her attraction and beauty should be that of the hidden man of the heart with a quiet and meek spirit full of good works. These in the sight of God are of great price (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Verse 11

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

When a public speech (lecture, discourse, or sermon) is being presented, the women are instructed to learn in silence, so as to benefit by what they hear. They are forbidden either to assist or refute what is being taught. They are to remain in subjection.

Verse 12

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

It would be erroneous to suggest that the apostle is telling Timothy that a woman cannot teach in any capacity, anywhere, anytime, on any subject. The elder women, in fact, are instructed to teach the younger women to perform the womanly role as a wife, mother, and homemaker (Titus 2:3-5). Further, in Acts 18:26, Aquila and Priscilla take Apollos unto themselves and teach him "the way of God more perfectly." That teaching, too, was in a private capacity. Certainly, the scriptures leave no room for dispute as to whether she can teach; we should bear in mind, however, that anywhere a woman can teach she can teach man, woman, or child, and where she is forbidden to teach she can teach none.

The woman’s role in public worship is that of a quiet, mannerly, and orderly one in all that she does. The man (masculine gender), not the woman, was appointed of God to do the teaching (2 Timothy 2:2). This principle was designed by the Lord.

But I suffer not a woman to teach: As to when and where she cannot teach, Paul says to the church at Corinth, "Let your women keep silence in the church: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). The apostle explains here that the woman is to be modest, sober, silent, and submissive. Her teaching is always to be in a private setting. Under that condition, she may teach anyone. But public teaching is outside of her sphere.

nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence: The word "nor" in this verse separates the two things that Paul forbids a woman to do. "I suffer not a woman to teach," he says, and "I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man." The words "nor" and "neither" are disjunctive conjunctions and separate the two infinitives: "to teach" and "to usurp authority." That separation of the two actions forbidden of a woman does away with the idea sometimes advanced that the apostle is saying "I suffer not a woman to teach over the man."

Verses 13-14

For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Paul calls to mind the story of the creation and the fall of Adam and Eve as the reason a woman is so instructed not to take the position as a teacher in the church. To do so would be in direct conflict with God’s order of arrangement.

For Adam was first formed, then Eve: That man was first created gave him a degree of preeminence over the woman. That fact, in conjunction with the woman’s being deceived in taking of the forbidden fruit, is the basis for the inspired command for the woman not to usurp authority over the man.

Unlike Eve, Adam was not deceived. He ate of the fruit knowing it was in rebellion to what the Lord had said. One sinned in ignorance, being deceived in believing she would not die, and the other sinned with full knowledge. However, they both committed the same sin, the same day, and both faced the same consequence: they were driven from the presence of God and the Garden of Eden.

Paul’s point in this passage, though, seems to be that since the woman led in the fall in the Garden of Eden she cannot assume a leading role in the church as a teacher. But there is nothing more honorable than the role of a mother, wife, and homemaker that God has prescribed for the woman. The honor in her role is reason enough that she should never step into the place of leadership, ruler, or teacher in the church. She must take her place as a quiet learner rather than display a voice of authority as an instructor, lecturer, or teacher. Regardless of the movements in this modern age, for a woman to attempt to take on this masculine role would be in direct conflict with the divine order (1 Corinthians 11:3).

Verse 15

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Like many other terms in the scripture, "childbearing" suggests several meanings. It does not refer only to giving birth. It embraces the idea of training, caring for, and teaching the little ones as well as being a good mother and taking care of "home duties" (Jamieson 1350). B.W. Johnson says, "The apostle means here, that women will be saved in the line of their duties, and that those duties are domestic rather than public" (263) (Titus 2:4-5).

The woman’s quiet role contrasts sharply to the public role in which God places man. But simply because she is not in the spotlight does not mean the Lord has overlooked her need of salvation. She shall be saved in this quiet and honorable role under the described condition: "if" she continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. Her salvation, then, comes not by way of public teaching (verses 11-12; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35) but in the fulfilling of her domestic duties and maintaining the role God has designed for her.

Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on 1 Timothy 2". "Contending for the Faith". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ctf/1-timothy-2.html. 1993-2022.
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