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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

1 Timothy 2

Verse 1

2:1 “First of all”: First, that is before anything else is done. “In the first place, above all, especially” (Arndt p. 726). “My first request (first in importance)” (Robertson p. 567).

Public or Private Prayer?

Even though much of the teachings in this section would apply to both public prayers and private devotions, it would appear that the primarily application was the public worship of the church.

1. It appears that this section extends to chapter 3:15, which is talking about how a person is to behave himself or herself in the church that is God’s household.

2. What is written in 2:9-12 seems to fit a public circumstance better than a private devotion.

3. The reference to kings and rulers may refer to an old controversy among Jews about prayers in public worship for heathen rulers.

4. The submissiveness in 2:11 in this section does not merely apply to a husband, but to other men as well.

2:1 “I urge that”: “The apostle employs four words to indicate the different elements in prayer” (Hiebert p. 50).

2:1 “Entreaties”: “Primarily a wanting, need, then an asking” (Vine p. 200). “Coming from a verb meaning ‘to lack’, it signifies prayer which springs from a sense of need. A conscious sense of need is essential to all effective praying” (Hiebert p. 50).

2:1 “Prayers”: The general term for prayer. “It is always restricted to prayers directed toward Deity” (Kent p. 100).

2:1 “Petitions”: “The verb signifies to fall in with a person; to draw near so as to converse familiarly” (Vincent p. 216). “Free familiar prayer, such as boldly draws near to God” (N.T. Syn. Trench p. 190). “The word picture is that of coming to a king and appealing to the king’s favorable response to whatever request is made” (Reese p. 45). “A life lived in fellowship with God gives confidence in prayer” (Hiebert p. 50).

2:1 “And thanksgivings”: The three previous words indicate various aspects of prayer, this word includes that but also emphasizes the spirit in which prayer needs to be offered. “It is the spirit of gratitude for blessings already received and those yet to be received. It is the complement of all true prayer” (Hiebert p. 50). “Trench gives us the thought that thanksgiving will persist even in Heaven ( Rev_4:9 ; Rev_7:12 ), when all the other forms of prayer have ceased because of the fruition of things prayed for” (Reese p. 45). “Prayer does not mean only asking God for things; prayer also means thanking God for things. For too many of us prayer is an exercise in complaint” (Barclay p. 67).

2:1 “Be made”: The tense here is present, this is to be a habitual practice. “On behalf of all men”: This certainly was a contrast between the Jewish attitude toward Gentiles which led to a refusal on the part of the Jews to pray for Gentiles or for government officials who were Gentiles. 1. All men are sinners and need our prayers, for God desires that all would repent ( Rom_3:23 ; 2Pe_3:9 ). “If such praying were useless, the apostle would not write here what he does write” (Lenski). Note, such prayers do not automatically save them, a person must still repent and be baptized, but such prayers do accomplish something, such as giving them another day to repent or giving them a favorable opportunity in which to hear the gospel. Such prayers include praying for our enemies ( Mat_5:44 ), for the peace of the country or city in which we live ( Jer_29:7 ), and for those in positions of authority (2:2).

Do we realize the importance of our prayers? Who would pray for sinners if Christians did not? Only Christians can boldly approach God ( Heb_4:14-16 ). “If this command is carried out, no man is left unprayed for. We cannot pray too widely” (Kent p. 101). When is the last time that we really took this command seriously? When was the last time that we prayed specifically for our neighbors, coworkers, and others? Everyone needs our prayers, from those in positions of leadership and power, to the person living hand to mouth.

Verse 2

2:2 “For kings”: This term was used for Roman Emperors; it was also used for the highest governors in some of the provinces, such as King Herod. The Roman Emperor at the time of this letter was Nero. Both Jeremiah (19:7) and Ezra had commanded the Jewish people to pray for their conquering heathen rulers. “God Himself has given to human rulers this authority ( Rom_13:1 ff), and Christians can assist them by prayer. It is significant that Paul singled out for special mention a group of persons who might be the most easily hated by Christians. These were the days of the infamous Nero. The administrators in most areas did not wholeheartedly protect Christians. Consequently, believers had learned to fear the power resident in their governments. But lest that fear become hatred, Paul urged the antidote-prayer” (Kent p. 102).

2:2 “And all who are in authority”: This covers all the lesser officials under the Emperor.

2:2 “So that”: One of the purposes of such prayers.

2:2 “We may lead a tranquil and quiet life”: The term “tranquil” indicates tranquility arising from without, while “quiet” indicates a tranquility arising from within. Thus there is nothing selfish or wrong about praying for an absence of persecution and a life that is free from outward disturbances that hinder our worship. In addition, such a peaceful condition would also benefit the entire country and all citizens including Christians. We need to pray that rulers would have the wisdom to see that Christians are good for a country and are not a threat. A tremendous amount of our lives is affected by the policies and plans of those in authority, we cannot have the attitude that whatever government I am under does not affect me. “Paul believed that prayer made a definite difference in national affairs and brought about conditions favorable to the furtherance of the Gospel” (Hiebert p. 53). Such peace would include the absence of war, revolution, rebellion and persecution.

2:2 “In all godliness and dignity”: Peaceful times are not a reason to sin or indulge in temptation; rather they are times in which one can serve God and their fellowman effectively. “Godliness” can be defined as a Godward attitude resulting in always doing what is pleasing to God. The term “dignity” means “reverence, seriousness, respectfulness and holiness” (Arndt p. 747). “It is a quality of life that earns respect” (Reese p. 48). “It never forgets the reverence due to God; it never forgets the rights due to men; it never forgets the respect due to self. It lives forever conscious of duty human and divine. It describes the character of the man who never fails God, man, or himself” (Barclay p. 70).

Thus the prayer is that government officials would create policies that enable the Christian to serve both God and man . “The duty of government is to protect men’s God-given rights. It is not the government’s prerogative to determine by vote what is right. God has already settled that” (Reese p. 48).

Verse 3

2:3 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”: God views such prayers as being attractive and winsome. There is one God, the Creator of all men, thus He wants prayers to be made for all. The person who believed in many gods could not do this, for the god to whom he prayed might be against some group ruled by another god. Such prayers also reveal good hearts that are free of prejudice and hatred even though they might be persecuted while they are offering such prayers.

Verse 4

2:4 “Who desires all men to be saved”: Another reason we are to pray for all men and pray that they would see the wisdom in Christianity, is that God desires that all men accept His salvation in Jesus Christ. This verse infers that God has not predestined specifically which individuals will be lost and saved (regardless of their own choices). God desires all men to be saved and has made such possible in having Jesus die for all men ( 1Ti_2:6 ) and by the gospel being preached to all men ( Mar_16:15 ), yet God does not force men to accept this offer of salvation ( 2Pe_3:9 ). The KJV here reads, “Who will have all men to be saved”. Some have argued that this teaches that God will automatically save everyone; of course this would contradict the rest of the Bible. A man must also be willing to be saved ( Rev_2:21 ; Rev_22:17 “he that will, let him take the water of life freely”). “That some men are not saved is not due to any inefficacy or deliberate limitation in the divine will, but is due to man’s rejection of God’s appointed means of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (Hiebert p. 53).

Please note, the fact that many will end up lost ( Mat_7:13-14 ) is not caused by any fault or deficiency with God or His power. In spite of God’s efforts and desire, people end up lost because they refuse His kind and gracious offer.

2:4 “And come to the knowledge of the truth”: One must learn the truth prior to salvation ( Joh_8:31-32 ), but this verse is speaking of a full, deep and precise knowledge. “While it is true that man must have certain knowledge of the truth to be saved, there remains yet much to be learned after he is saved” (Hiebert p. 53).

2:4 “Knowledge”: “Denotes knowledge that is the result of concentrating the attention upon” (Kent p. 104). “Precise and correct knowledge” (Thayer p. 237).

2:4 “The truth”: This is another name for the Gospel message, the faith, that Christians must believe ( Col_1:5 ; Joh_17:17 “Thy word is truth”).

1. In the process of being saved man is not passive. Man must be willing to listen and learn.

2. After salvation, God expects Christians to continue learning ( 2Pe_3:18 ; Heb_5:12-14 ; Mat_28:20 ; Act_2:42 )

3. All who really want to be saved can know the truth, and the truth is singular, not plural. There are not different truths for different people, rather there is only one body of truth ( Eph_4:4-6 ).

4. Every Christian can know the truth precisely, fully, and accurately ( Eph_5:17 ).

5. Those who are lost do not come to this knowledge of the truth ( 2Ti_3:7 ). Some have bits and pieces of the truth and even unbelievers now and then see or hit upon one of God’s truths, but some of the truth is not enough.

Verse 5

2:5 “For there is one God”: This is the reason why prayers are to be directed to all men and the reason why there is only one body of truth. Compare with 1:17. If there is one God then naturally all men would be of interest to Him. “There is not one God for this nation, one for another, one God for slaves and one for free men, one God for rulers and another for subjects” (Reese p. 53). This truth should be a tremendous relief for all who live on this earth. We need only concern ourselves with serving and pleasing the one true God. The man or woman who lives in a world supposedly governed by many gods can never know when they have omitted the honor which is due to some god, and have so offended him.

2:5 “And one mediator also between God and men”: The term “mediator” means a “medium of communication, arbitrator” (Thayer p. 401). Literally a go-between. If there is one mediator, then the services of this mediator are available to all men, both Jews and Gentiles. “Some have attempted to understand this expression to mean Christ is ‘one’ among many, and have included angels, saints, and the Virgin Mary as other mediators. This is exegetically impossible as seen in the preceding clause. To say Christ is one among many mediators is to say that God is one among many gods, a thought that hardly needs refutation” (Kent p. 105).

2:5 “The man Christ Jesus”: Please note that Jesus is not a man who became God, but rather, Jesus is God who partook of flesh ( Joh_1:1 ; Joh_1:14 ; Php_2:6 ff). Notice generic term “man”, Jesus is indeed the perfect mediator for all men generally. Jesus is the perfect mediator, for He is both God and man and is suited to mediate perfectly for both parties. As man He completely understands and knows by experience what challenges men face on this earth in serving God ( Heb_2:18 ; Heb_4:14-16 ). The designation “man” also contradicts the Gnostic teaching that the Jesus who died on the cross was not a man but merely a phantom. “In Him all men are summed up, and so He is the representative, not of this or that man only, but of all mankind” (Hiebert p. 55). This term “man” that means “mankind”, means that Jesus is the perfect mediator for all men and not just those in Western civilization.

Verse 6

2:6 “Who gave Himself”: This is another reason why Jesus is the perfect and sole mediator between men and God, Jesus died for all men, He voluntarily gave Himself so that all could be saved. The term “gave” speaks of the voluntarily act of self-giving, indicating His love and concern for the human race. See Gal_2:20 .

2:6 “As a ransom”: This term means a “ransom-price”. Jesus said the same thing when He was upon the earth ( Mat_20:28 ; Mar_10:45 ). The Greek term rendered “ransom” was very common in the ancient world and often referred to the practice of buying back of people who had been sold as slaves or captured in war. This ransom was not paid to the devil, for the devil himself is a sinner and has no moral right to accuse others of sin. Rather, justice and holiness require punishment for sin ( Rom_6:23 ), and Jesus was willing to suffer the punishment that we deserved ( Rom_5:6-9 ). Prior to our salvation, we were all slaves to sin.

2:6 “For all”: There are no Calvinistic ideas of limited atonement in this verse. “Potentially, Christ’s death was for all. It was not limited by nationality or position. Its only limitation is that occasioned by the unwillingness of any to receive the gift and accept the redemption” (Reese p. 55). See Rev_5:9 ; 2Co_5:15 .

2:6 “The testimony given at the proper time”: This truth that Jesus died for all men needed to be proclaimed. When the right and proper time arrived, Jesus not only died for all men, but God had this message sent out to the entire world ( Mat_16:15 ). “That testimony could be borne only when the fullness of time had come, and the Incarnation had presented a mediator for all men” (Hiebert p. 55). The above is the heart of the Gospel message ( 1Co_15:3-4 ). See Gal_4:4 ; Rom_16:25-27 .

“As a final argument to show the adequate basis for universal prayer, Paul points to his own commission that was to be a herald, apostle, and teacher of Gentiles. This commission to Paul came from Christ, and specifically directed him to Gentiles. Hence no racial or class distinctions are valid in the scope of the Gospel ( Act_9:15 ). Paul raised this issue, not to vindicate himself, but to show the divine interest in Gentiles and rulers as illustrated by his own experience” (Kent p. 106).

Verse 7

2:7 “For this”: It was exactly for the purpose of proclaiming the above message that Paul was selected by Jesus.

2:7 “I was appointed a preacher”: Paul has already noted that Jesus placed him into service ( 1Ti_1:12 ). The term “preacher” means “a herald”. “In the ancient world a herald was the person who by order of a superior made a loud, public announcement of the exact message the superior wanted made known” (Reese p. 56). The same term is found in 2Pe_2:5 and 2Ti_1:11 .

2:7 “And an apostle”: See 1Ti_1:1 .

2:7 “I am telling the truth, I am not lying”: From other letters we learn that in the first century various groups or individuals had claimed that Paul was not a genuine apostle ( Rom_9:1 ; 2Co_11:31 ; Gal_1:20 ). Even to this day various voices in the religious world seek to argue that Paul really did not speak by inspiration. “Don’t let the church ever forget the divine character of Paul’s appointment to apostleship!” (Reese p. 57).

2:7 “As a teacher of the Gentiles”: Paul was specifically sent to the Gentiles ( Act_26:17-18 ; Rom_11:13 ; Rom_15:16 ; Eph_3:1 ).

2:7 “In faith and truth”: Paul was appointed to instruct the Gentiles about faith and truth. This statement, “indicates the element or sphere in which he discharges his office as teacher of Gentiles. He preaches with a sincere faith in the Gospel and makes a truthful presentation of the Gospel which he believes” (Hiebert p. 56).

Verse 8

2:8 “Therefore”: Having established the point that God wants His people to offer prayers for all men, Paul now proceeds to give some instructions to both men and women about their lifestyles if they expect their prayers to be acceptable to God.

2:8 “I want the men”: The term “men” here does not refer to the human race, that is “mankind”, but rather is very specific and only refers to males. “The men points specifically to the men as distinguished from the women. The men only are to lead in public prayer. The words also imply that all the men of the congregation were desired to take part in public prayer. Public prayer was not restricted to the leaders of the church. These regulations were to be universally observed, ‘in every place’, that is, in every city where believers assembled for public worship” (Hiebert p. 57). The above would be another indication that this section is dealing with public worship, for women can certainly pray in private and with other women and children.

2:8 “In every place”: In the New Testament there were no set places for prayer (like a physical temple) ( Joh_4:21 ; Mal_1:11 ). This statement sets aside the notion of the Jews and Gentiles who believed that prayers offered in temples were more acceptable to God, than prayers offered anywhere else. The early church met in all sorts of places, thus we have the statement “in every place”. This would include, wherever Christians meet.

2:8 “To pray”: This is in the present tense.

2:8 “Lifting up”: This was a common posture in prayer ( Neh_8:6 ; 1Ki_8:22 ; 2Ch_6:12 ), yet was not the only posture in prayer. “Standing to pray with upraised hands was regarded as reverent among the Jews and was common in the early Church” (Hiebert p. 57). “The prayer was offered, the man who prayed was to stand with out-stretched arms and hands with the palm raised upward, symbolic of awaiting of gift from above” (Reese p. 60). We also find kneeling in prayer ( Psa_95:6 ; Dan_6:10 ; Luk_22:41 ; Act_9:40 ), and even prostrating oneself as one prays ( Mat_26:39 ; Mat_17:6 ).

2:8 “Holy hands”: Those men leading such prayers need to be men living pure lives, that is, having hands undefiled by sin. “Clean hands” are a figure for uprighteous and purity of life ( Psa_24:4 ; Psa_28:2 ; Jam_4:8 ; Isa_1:15 ). “The one leading in prayer must have ‘holy hands’, hands unstained with sin through employment in impure deeds. He who would lead others to the throne of God must be morally qualified to do so” (Hiebert p. 57). “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear” ( Psa_66:18 ). Thus men who are unfaithful have no business offering public prayers.

2:8 “Without wrath”: That is, without anger and indignation. “Relates to the personal attitude toward others, the inner disposition of ill-will and resentment. We cannot truly pray for those with whom we are angry” (Hiebert p. 57). “Wrath” would include the unwillingness to forgive those who repent ( Mat_18:21-35 ; Mat_6:14-15 ; Eph_4:31-32 ). Even though these Christians could face persecution from the government, they are not allowed to stop praying for such authorities and neither are they allowed to plot revenge.

2:8 “Dissension”: “A deliberating, questioning, a disputing” (Vine p. 322). “Doubt, dispute, argument” (Arndt p. 186).

1. We must avoid introducing our private resentments and angry passions or opinions into our prayers. “A person who harbors such an argumentative attitude towards another, or irritation or resentment, can hardly be one to offer a sincere prayer. Angry feelings can have no place in the heart of one who really prays, whether in public or private” (Reese p. 61).

2.“Cavillings (trivial fault-finding), questionings proceeding from a captious, unbelieving spirit” (Pulpit Comm. p. 35).

3.“Prayer is to be without the element of skeptical criticism” (Vincent p. 221).

4. One cannot pray effectively if they are doubting God’s goodness and power ( Jam_1:6-8 ).


Verse 9

2:9 “Likewise”: That is, in the same way, similarly, this word links this paragraph with the preceding discussion, showing that public worship is still the overall context. “It is hard to believe that here in verses 9 and 10 the topic has temporarily changed to something not related to worship. Just as men are to make necessary preparations before they come to worship (2:8), so the women are to give evidence of the same spirit of holiness, as they make preparations to come to worship. Just as men’s lives were important to their worship and offering prayers, so the women’s lives were important to their worship” (Reese p. 62). Women do pray during times of public worship, but the word “likewise” is not to be interpreted that women lead such prayers as men do. “As the men were to follow the instructions given to them regarding leading in prayer, the women likewise are to follow carefully the instructions about to be given to them” (Dewelt p. 53).

2:9 “I want”: The italics indicate that there is no verb in the Greek for this expression, the translators, to help the reader, have supplied this expression from what Paul said in 2:8. Obviously, the instructions in 2:9 are not optional any more than the instructions of 2:8.

2:9 “Women”: The Greek term rendered “women” can mean “women” and or “wives”.

2:9 “With proper clothing”: The term “proper” means: “Decent” (Vine p. 79). “Respectable, honorable” (Arndt p. 445). The idea of this word includes that which is well arranged; we would say it should be in “good taste”. “Slovenliness in dress and appearance is unbecoming a Christian woman” (Hiebert p. 58).

2:9 “Modestly”: Denotes reverence, respect, and a sense of shame. “This is that modesty which is ‘fast’ or rooted in the character” (Vine p. 17). “In it is involved the innate moral repugnance to the doing of the dishonorable act, which shrinks from over passing the limits of womanly reserve and modesty, as well as from the dishonor which would justly attach there to” (Trench pp. 68,71). A proper reserve. The terms “modesty” and “discreetly” denote the state of mind necessary for one who is concerned with adorning themselves with proper clothing. Not only must the clothing be proper, but the attitude, the manner or look of the person wearing it must be proper as well. “Denotes that self-respect which shrinks from all that is immodest and unseemly and bases respect for others on self-respect” (Hiebert p. 58).

Remember: “The word modest does not only refer to the cut of the dress but to the attitude of the one wearing it” (DeWelt p. 54).

2:9 “Discreetly”: “Denotes soundness of mind, sound judgment, habitual self-government” (Vine p. 44). “Good judgment, moderation” (Arndt p. 802). “The well-balanced state of mind resulting from habitual self-restraint” (Hiebert p. 58). Such a well-balanced state of mind will protect a woman from vanity

Point to Note:

“One’s attire is the expression of tastes, interests, and even character. Consequently, the manner in which a woman dresses indicates a great deal about what sort of woman she is” (Kent p. 110). One cannot argue that clothes have nothing to do with the person wearing them or that what a person wears says nothing about the condition of their mind and heart.

2:9 “Not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments”: “The reference is to the custom then prevalent in fashionable life, of interweaving in the hair gold, silver, pearls, causing it to flash brilliantly in the light” (Hiebert p. 59). Added to this, Roman women often had figures of harps, coronets, wreaths, emblems of temples and conquered cities woven in their hair as well.

2:9 “Costly”: That which is extremely expensive and requires a great outlay.

Points to Note:

God does not forbid jewelry, as God is not forbidding putting on dresses in 1Pe_3:3 , rather God is warning against the preoccupation with outward adornment. The amount of outward adornment a person may wear can depend upon age, relative rank in life, and the means which one may possess, yet the true line is passed when more thought is given to this external adorning than the inward attitude of the heart. “Any external decoration which occupies the mind more than the virtues of the heart, and which engrosses the time and attention more, we may be certain is wrong” (Barnes Notes p. 135).

Extravagant personal display obviously has been a temptation for women in all ages. In addition, such external emphasis does not always arise from wanting to impress the opposite sex, at times women are simply trying to out-do or impress their own gender. “He would exclude all that might distract the worshiper or reflect upon the spiritual dignity of the members” (Hiebert p. 59).

Neither is Paul insisting that Christian women wear drab dress. “Even this may be worn with vanity; the very drabness may be made a display” (Lenski p. 560).

Verse 10

2:10 “But”: In contrast to the temptation to place all the emphasis on the outward man.

2:10 “By means of good works”: “Rather than depending on what she herself simply puts on the outside, the ultimate adornment is a life of good works (loving service) which she puts on” (Reese p. 66). Examples of women who adorned themselves with such good works are found in: Act_16:14-15 ; Act_9:36-39 ; 1Pe_3:3-4 . “Every Christian woman should prize more highly a testimony to her loving deeds of service than a reputation as the best-dressed woman in the congregation” (p. 66).

2:10 “As befits”: This is the adornment that “fits” a woman professing to be faithful.

2:10 “Women making a claim to godliness”: That is women who are claiming to be worshippers of God. “Godliness” is defined as reverence towards God. “A woman who wants to proclaim loud and clear that she is a Christian, does so by her deeds” (Reese p. 66).

Verse 11

2:11 “Let a woman quietly receive instruction”: From the context we are still dealing with public worship. “From a consideration of the woman’s adornment for attendance at public worship, Paul passes to a consideration of her position in the worship service” (Hiebert p. 59). Carefully note that Christianity elevated the status of women. Women have value, they are intelligent, and they can understand spiritual truths and doctrinal instruction is not wasted upon women. The term “woman” includes any adult female, whether single or married.

2:11 “Quietly”: The word here does not refer to a complete absence of speaking, but to an attitude, a spirit, and a disposition. This same word is used in 1Ti_2:2 to describe a quiet and tranquil life, see also 2Th_3:12 .

2:11 “Receive instruction”: Suggests that one of the purposes of an assembly of the congregation is for instruction ( Act_2:42 ; 1Ti_4:13-16 ; 2Ti_4:2 ). The verb here is in the present tense, and implies continual learning. That means that instead of presuming to lead she is to have the attitude of attending to the teaching of others. “This injunction does not mean that Christian women are to surrender their mind and conscience to the dictation of men, only their general attitude is to be that of willing listeners” (Hiebert p. 60).

2:11 “With entire submissiveness”: “Subordinating herself in every respect” (Arndt p. 847). Of course, submissiveness cannot be forced, rather this is something that a woman voluntarily does. “She is to conduct herself in a manner which does not writhe under authority. She is not to regard herself as unnecessarily imposed upon because of her sex. She is exhorted to assume the attitude of a disciple and be continually learning” (Kent p. 112). “The gospel elevated the woman and gave her a position of spiritual equality with the man before God, but it does not remove the original position of subordination that God ordained for the woman” (Hiebert p. 60).

In the context the submissiveness under consideration is in the public assembly, where she is not teaching, but she is learning. She is to respect and honor God’s order of authority among His people.

Verse 12

2:12 “But I do not allow”: Seeing that Paul spoke by inspiration ( 1Co_14:37 ), this is something that God does not allow as well.

2:12 “A woman to teach or exercise authority over a man”:

1. The term “man” in the above verse means a male adult in distinction from a woman.

2. We know that woman are allow to teach other women, in fact they are commanded to do so ( Tit_2:3-5 ).

3. Thus the teaching role that is forbidden to women is that of assuming a position of authority as a teacher over men, such as preaching or teaching a mixed class of female and male adults.

4. The verse implies that the position of a teacher of men and women is a position of authority ( Tit_2:15 ; 1Ti_4:11 ; 1Ti_6:2 ).

2:12 “To teach”: The word “teach” is a present tense infinitive, implying continual, habitual and repeated action. In the presence of men or answering a question in class, women often say things that provide instruction to men, what is forbidden is the role as the official teacher of the class. Thus in the case of Priscilla and Acquila instructing Apollos ( Act_18:26 ), a woman can give her input and make comments, but she is not to assume the role as the teacher of the class. The same would be true of home bible studies. The woman can assist in the discussion, but she cannot lead the class when men are present.

2:12 “Or exercise authority over”: The expression means to govern another, to have authority over. Thus women are prohibited from taking the lead in the public worship services, including offering public prayers, preaching, serving the Lord’s Supper, and so on.

Point to Note:

Some have tried to argue that a woman can preach as long as the men of the congregation give her permission, yet God has already overruled the men of the congregation in the above verse, “I do not permit”. Others have argued that a woman can preach as long as she does not exercise authority over the men. The problem with this view is that preaching and teaching are inherently authoritative acts ( Act_13:1 ; Eph_4:11 ). The preacher or teacher is assuming a role that has authority ( Tit_2:15 ).

2:12 “But to remain quiet”: Same as verse 11. Compare with Luk_10:30 .

Point to Note:

One question that arises at this point in the discussion is does the teaching in the above verse have any application outside the assembly in the secular realm. That is, can a Christian woman teach and exercise authority over men, both Christian and non-Christian in the work place? First, such a discussion needs to first deal with the role of a woman outside the home and passages such as 1Ti_5:14 and Tit_2:5 . Secondly, nothing is truly “secular” for the Christian. Christian men are expected to have “holy hands” not only in reference to worship but also in reference to any other aspect of their lives, including working at a secular job ( Eph_6:5-9 ). In addition, I believe that all would concede that a Christian woman is expected to dress modestly both in and outside the assembly, and that a woman needs to have a meek and quiet spirit in every place ( 1Pe_3:2-4 ). Just as men need to realize that they need to treat all women with courtesy and respect, and be willing to defend any woman who is being threatened, it would seem logical that a woman is not given the right to depart from her role just because she finds herself in a different setting. If men are expected to be gentlemen and sacrificial leaders in all places, then would it not follow that women are expected to be ladies on all occasions?

Verse 13

2:13 “For”: Paul will proceed to give two reasons for the above prohibition. Please note that the reasons for the above instruction are not silly or flimsy, and neither are they cultural.

2:13 “It was Adam who was first created, and then Eve”: This is exactly the same order that is found in Genesis chapter 2, which infers that Gen_2:1-25 is a historical trustworthy account that is to be taken literally. God is telling us that the order of Creation is very significant. The woman was created as a help-meet ( Gen_2:18 ), thus to exercise authority over a man (to act as his master) would be contrary to the order of Creation. Compare with 1Co_11:8-9 . Please note that while the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross ( Col_2:14-16 ), the instruction in Genesis on this point was not. Jesus noted a similar truth in Mat_19:3-9 . Eve was not designed to direct, rule, or supervise Adam, but rather to assist him.

Some have tried to argue that Paul’s teaching in 1Ti_2:11-12 only applied to that time period and culture, yet Paul appeals to the very beginning that transcends time and culture. In addition, if the teaching in the New Testament concerning the role of women only applied to that time and culture, then are men under no obligations to obey what God says to them? ( Eph_5:22 ff; 1Ti_2:8 )

Verse 14

2:14 “And”: Here is the second reason.

2:14 “It was not Adam who was deceived”: While Adam sinned ( Rom_5:12 ), Adam was not deceived by what the serpent said. When Adam sinned, he did it deliberately, knowing full well what he was doing.

2:14 “But the woman being quite deceived”: That is completely and thoroughly deceived ( Gen_3:13 ). Thus the fall was the result of Eve violating her divinely appointed role, Adam forsaking his role, and Eve assuming the role of leader and head. Both violated their positions, and the world has never been the same since. “Disaster comes when that relationship is violated” (Kent p. 115).

2:14 “Fell into transgression”: Even though Eve was thoroughly deceived, she is still responsible for her sin. Being led astray by a smooth talker does not make our deviation from the truth any less sinful. People who are deceived by false doctrine or false teachers are still in transgression.

Point to Note:

God’s point here is not that men are smarter than women, for the ages are filled with men who have been deceived ( 2Ti_3:13 ). Neither is His point that men are more spiritual, for Adam disobeyed God at the same time. Rather God’s point is to clearly point out what happens when men and women abandon their God appointed roles.

Verse 15

2:15 “But”: Even after transgression God provides hope and a way of escape.

2:15 “Women shall be preserved through bearing of children”: The term “preserved” can refer either to temporary deliverance, eternal salvation, or both. The term “through” denotes the attendant circumstances, and “childbearing” involves not only giving birth to children, but raising them as well.

1. Obviously the verse is not teaching that women become Christians by having children ( Mar_16:15-16 ).

2. Nor is the verse teaching that being a mother is an automatic ticket to heaven, notice the “if” that follows the above statement.

3. Some have argued that the above is teaching that faithful Christian women will never die while delivering children, but this seems to go against the general tenor of Scripture, that is, God never promises that bad things will not happen to His people.

4. Many feel that the verse is teaching that women will experience salvation equally with men through fulfilling their function in the home, just as men function publicly in leadership in the church. “Child bearing denotes the proper sphere in which the woman finds the true fulfillment of her destiny” (Hiebert p. 62). That is, women end up saving themselves in the process of seeing to it that their children are properly taught and saved. Just like men end up saving themselves by seeing that they are teaching the truth ( 1Ti_4:16 ).

5. Others argue that the child-bearing under consideration is the child-bearing done by Eve, that is, through Eve and the eventual arrival of Jesus (born of a woman: Gal_4:4 ), women, as well as men, have access to salvation. “Woman has been given the capacity to save herself and all others because it was through woman that the Savior was born” (DeWelt p. 57).

6. Some feel that the word “saved” could also carry ideas of deliverance in this life, that is, functioning in her role as mother a woman avoids many pitfalls and heartaches and others experience when they abandon that role.


2:15 “If”: Yet having and raising children is useless without the following qualities, for unbelievers continue to have and raise children and yet end up lost.

2:15 “They continue in faith”: Salvation is conditional ( Col_1:23 ). This means continuing in the faith, and continuing to trust what the apostles taught.

2:15 “Love”: ( 1Co_13:1-3 ). Remember love is the goal of our instruction ( 1Ti_1:5 ).

2:15 “Sanctity”: That is, moral purity ( 1Jn_2:15-17 ; 2Co_7:1 ; Heb_12:14 ). “The daily dying unto sin and being renewed unto holiness” (Reese p. 83).

2:15 “With self-restraint”: The same word is translated “discreetly” in 2:9. It means self-control, good judgment, and constantly living by proper and spiritual desires. This is the state of mind necessary for one who is concerned with continuing in faith and love.

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 2". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.