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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 2

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-15

1 Timothy 2:1-3 . I exhort therefore, that supplications and prayers be made for all men for kings, and all that are in authority. Civil government is in its own nature paternal: it is designed to protect our persons, to secure our earnings, and give us the power to lock our doors at night: it also provides for the orphans, the aged, and the blind. In a word, its object is to secure peace at home, wealth and commerce abroad, and to give confidence and hope to posterity. Justly then, next to salvation for the chief of sinners, does Paul enjoin the full worship of the church for kings, and the whole gradation of rulers.

1 Timothy 2:4 . Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. This, says Theophylact, is the reason why we should pray for all. But the English reader stops here to gather up the sense. If God will have it to be so, who can hinder Omnipotence? He perceives something wrong; he pauses, he doubts. The Greek relieves him: Ος παντας ανθρωπους θελει σωθηναι . The Latin of St. Jerome reads, qui omnes homines vult salvos fieri. Word for word, the Greek and Latin are, God “who willeth all men to be saved.” The version of Montanus is the same, and so is the German. Calvin’s reading is, Lequel veut que toutes gens soyent sauvez. Who wills that all nations should be saved. Beza and Tremellius equally recede from the plain meaning of Paul. Qui quosvis homines vult servari. Alas, alas, that men should adhere to creeds which put St. Paul to the blush. Dr. William Gell, who published learned Discourses on an amendment of our present translation, reads as above. Dr. Hammond, Dr. Whitby, and Wesley read the same. The sense of Paul is exactly given in the Common prayer. “Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live.”

1 Timothy 2:8 . I will that men pray everywhere. True devotion gives elevation to me soul. A great high throne is the place of our sanctuary from the beginning. To this throne of grace all flesh shall come, in public worship, in secret devotion, in silent sighs and breathings of the soul. With the bending of our knees, with the lifting up of our eyes to heaven, we must pray with our whole heart, and with holy hands. If we regard iniquity in our heart, the Lord will not hear our prayers. Job could say that his prayer was pure, there being no iniquity in his hands. But prayer is here, as occasion may offer, put for every other part of devotion, and in the ardour of our supplications we should always ask without doubting, without reasoning, or any misgivings of mind, for there is no nay in the promises. They are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:11 . Let the women learn in silence. This, it would seem, respects whispering, from a rule of the synagogue, cited by Maimonides, a learned rabbi on that subject.

1 Timothy 2:15 . She shall be saved in childbearing, if she continue in the faith. Though she was first in the transgression, yet the promise that her Son the Messiah should bruise the serpent’s head, was equally given to her, as to her husband. It was a promise of full redemption to man, under the threatening of destruction to the works of the devil. It was a promise given to posterity in the second Adam, the Lord from heaven. God had indeed said, as Dr. Anselm Bayly reads, “I will multiply the sorrows of thy conception;” but now he promises divine aid in the pain of travail, and in the hour of parturition.


St. Paul having daily kept the flock in safety under his crozier, was solicitous that they should stand well in the estimation of the secular shepherds, who protected them with the sword of magistracy. He would not have them accused of any dereliction of civil duties. Having shown the happy effects of the gospel on religious society, he was equally concerned that its influence should shine in the relations it bore to peace and order in public life. With him it was a first injunction, to pray for all men, for God has so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son for its salvation; and he is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. Conformably to this, Tertullian says, “We pray for the long life of our emperors, for the security of the empire, the safety of the imperial house, for a loyal senate, for a good people, and a quiet world.” Apol.

‘Our prayers must not only be addressed to heaven to deprecate calamities, and to obtain temporal blessings, but sincerely for the salvation of the whole body politic. God willeth all men to repent and be saved. The gloss of Menochius here is, that God wisheth the salvation of all men, inasmuch as on his part he has seriously and of his own mind done all that is sufficient for the salvation of all, in giving them a sufficient Mediator.’ The next phrase, “to come to the knowledge of the truth,” in St. Paul’s idea, implies a genuine state of grace. Example: “The servant of the Lord must be gentle in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth.” Likewise, St. Paul declares himself to be an apostle according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledgment of the truth. Titus 1:1. Then let us pray fervently for all, for who can tell but the worst of men may soon become the best.

We have next the manner of our daily prayers. It is to lift up holy hands, for the prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. It is to pray without wrath or malice, because asking pardon for our own sins, the mutual pardon of another is implied; and malice would disqualify for pardoning love. It is in short to pray in faith, nothing doubting. And how can a God of love, of redeeming longsuffering and covenant love, deny grace to a suppliant people?

Let the women, as Erasmus says, pray after the example of the men; but let it be in a dress assortable with sobriety and decency, and not decorated like pagan women attendant on marriages and feasts, with embroidery of gold and gems: these ill become the house of God. Also when admitted into the mixed circles of society, as well as in private life, let them give a reverent heed to what their husbands say, and learn in quietness, as it is in the Greek, and in subjection. To do otherwise would be to invert the order of God: for Adam was first formed, then Eve; and the woman was first deceived. Nevertheless, though the woman be in subjection, she has claims that her husband should love her as Christ loved the church; and she shall be saved in her domestic duties of bearing and educating of children. Here is her sphere to live and walk by faith; and without continuing in this holy faith no creature can be saved.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 2". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-timothy-2.html. 1835.
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