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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 2

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1Ti 2:1. Therefore indicates a reference to some former considerations. They especially are to be found in chapter 1:3 and 18, where the apostle reminds the evangelist of what was expected of him after being given his charge. Resuming his directions for the carrying out of the great work in the "warfare" amid the various conditions of the wrld, he instructs the evangelist that he will begin the details (first of all) with the subject of prayers in their various forms. Some commentators think this instruction has reference to the public services of the congregation. Doubtless it includes that, but verse 8 commands that men pray every where, which makes the exhortation general. Any address made to God may be called a prayer generally speaking, but there are various forms or classes of the addresses, and they are specified in this verse which I shall define briefly. Prayers are requests of any degree of intensity that may be chosen. Supplications are the more earnest requests made under intense necessity. Intercessions are prayers on behalf of others who are in need of the mercy of God. Giving of thanks are expres-sions of gratitude for favors that have already been received from the Lord. For all men is a general statement as to "the subject of our prayers."

Verse 2

1Ti 2:2. In this verse the apostle specializes on the ones for whom Christians should pray, namely, for those who are in positions of authority, and whose rule may have some effect on the liberties to be enjoyed by the citizens. The object of such prayers is that Christians be undisturbed in their desire to lead a godly life. We know Paul did not expect these prayers to affect the rulers directly, for they would not hear them. The only conclusion possible is that if the prayers are scriptural, then God will take some hand (in His own divine way) to see that the rulers govern aright as to our liberties. If that is not the intention, then He would certainly not require the disciples to pray for the rulers. This is not a new doctrine, for Nebuchadnezzar had to eat grass seven years to be convinced "that the most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men" ( Dan 4:25). It may be replied that it was in Old Testament times that this was said. Well, we will come to the New Testament, to Rom 13:1-4, where the temporal ruler is declared to be "the minister of God," and we can see how the subject is treated, and that God has never repealed what he told the king of Babylon.

Verse 3

1Ti 2:3. See comments at chapter 1:1 as to God being titled Saviour. The immediate occasion for the term in this verse is hat follows in the next verse. This is good refers to the results of a life of honesty and godliness that may be practiced by the disciples, when not hindered by improper legislation. God is desirous that rulers as well as private persons may be saved, and a godly life displayed before them by faithful servants of God will be a help in showing them the value of the plan of salvation as provided by the Father. (See Mat 5:16.)

Verse 4

1Ti 2:4. It should be noted that the salvation of men is connected with the knowledge of the truth; the latter is necessary for the former.

Verse 5

1Ti 2:5. Idolatry and the worship of many gods was a common condition in the world when the Gospel was first proclaimed. K ngs and other rulers knew something about hearing the causes of their subjects. The dignity of the office was such that a citizen had to be represented by an agent wno could act between the ruler and his subject. These same rulers were often among the believers in many gods, and they (like their own subjects) approached some one of their many objects of worship by means of a priest officiating for them at the heathenish altar. It was appropriate for them to learn that if they are saved through the doctrine preached by the Christians, they must abandon the idea of many gods and realize that there is only one God and hence only one mediator, who is the man Christ Jesus. He was a man in order to represent fairly the human seeker after God, and he was Christ Jesus in order to be good enough to receive recognition before the throne of this God.

Verse 6

1Ti 2:6. Being man as well as God, it was possible for Christ to be used as a ranso:n in the form of a sacrifice. For all is in contrast with the sacrifices offered under the law, for they were on behalf of the Jews only; Christ died for both Jew and Gentile. To be testified. The fact that Jesus died as a ransom, and then came back to life that He might complete the plan of salvation, was to be proved and testified or borne witness to by the chosen proclaimers. In due time. When the fact of His resurrection had been accomplished, and the Holy Spirit came upon these chosen pro-claimers to qualify them to speak, it was then only that the due time had come. That is why Jesus gave the instructions recorded in Luk 24:48-49 and Act 1:7-8.

Verse 7

1Ti 2:7. Whereunto refers to the testifying to the truth of Christ's ransom mentioned in the preceding verse. For the purpose of engaging in this testimony, Paul was ordained a preacher. The first of the italicized words is from TITHENI at this place, and Thayer's definition is, "To set, put, place." For the complete information of the word "ordain" as given in Thayer's lexicon, see comments at Joh 15:16, in the first volume of the New Testament Commentary. Paul was not only ordained a preacher but also an apostle. Any Christian may preach the good news (Act 8:4), but only an apostle could speak with miraculous inspiration and have power to bestow the Holy Spirit on others (Act 8:15-16). I speak the truth in Christ and lie not. Paul could say this because he had been ordained as an apostle, hence the things he preached were bound to be the truth. Teacher of the Gentiles. Any disciple had the right to tell the story of the cross to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews, but Paul was given the special commission to be "the apostle of the Gentiles" (Act 9:15; Rom 11:13). In faith and verity. Paul was to lead the Gentiles into the faith of the Gospel, and out of the myths of heathen errors. This could be done only by giving them the divine truth that he as an inspired apostle could do; verity is a Greek word for the truth.

Verse 8

1Ti 2:8. Lifting up holy hands means hands of men who are living holy or righteous lives. The lifting up of the hands is merely an allusion to the ancient practice of presenting the uplifted hands in respectful petition to God (Neh 8:6; Psa 141:2; Lam 3:41). The command pertains to the kind of hands being lifted up, and not as to the posture of the body during prayer; the Lord is not concerned about that matter. That the men were to pray every where shows the apostle was not especially writing of prayers in the public assembly of the church. Wrath and doubting. The first word means anger that would be disposed to inflict punishment on someone. The last word denotes a disposition that is given to questioning. Not that discipline or discussion should be done without prayer, but the outstanding thought of the apostle here (as will be seen in several following verses) is a time of earnest but calm approach to the throne of grace. A man under the impulse of the italicized phrase would not be in a frame of mind suitable for such a season of prayer.

Verse 9

1Ti 2:9. in like manner is all from the Greek word HOSAUTOS, and one word in Thayer's definition is "likewise," and that word does not necessarily mean a repetition of some previous action, but rather that the writer has something more to say. It is as if the apostle said, "furthermore, I have something to say about the women." Neither does the use of the words men and women in these verses support those who take extreme views on the "woman question." If the fact that Paul mentions the men in verse 8 means that they only are the ones who may pray, then the women are prohibited entirely from that act of devotion. It will not do to say that it is in the public assembly where they are thus forbidden, for the apostle said the prayers were to be offered "every where," and even the most radical objectors will admit that women have the right to pray outside the public assembly. What proves too much proves nothing, hence we must conclude that Paul was not writing about which sex could pray, but what kind of men might do so, and that they might do so in every place. The proper general demeanor of women, especially as it respects her relationship to man in all walks of life, is the subject of the rest of this verse and of the rest of the chapter. Neither does it apply to the public assemblies any more than to the social life. Therefore it is a perversion of this chapter to make it a regulation of "women's duties and privileges in the church," for the passage was not written for that purpose. It is God's intention for woman to be attractive in the eyes of man (1Co 11:7-9), but He instructs her as to what shall constitute her attractiveness. Apparel is from KATASTOLE which Thayer defines, "a garment let down, dress, attire." It is evident that modest apparel means a woman's clothing should not be such as would expose her body in a way to suggest evil thoughts. Shamefacedness means womanliness; the opposite of brazenness. The Greek word for sobriety is also defined "self-control" in Thayer's lexicon. This restriction will serve as a regulation in the things named in the rest of the verse. Immodest women braided their hair as a means of holding more of their showy jewels here enumerated, in order to excite the attention of the opposite sex. They likewise depended on the costliness of their clothing to attract the men. A woman who possesses this sobriety (self-control), will not use these things to such an extent that she will suggest improper thoughts in the minds of men. Hence a controlled use of these feminine trinkets is not forbidden as far as this passage is concerned.

Verse 10

1Ti 2:10. The adornment of women is introduced in the beginning of the preceding verse, and the subject has not been changed. That shows the present verse is in line with the same subject, for it closes with the phrase good works. We know Paul has not been writing exclusively of the public assembly; in truth, he has not been considering that subject as much as in other places, for we do not regard the assemblies as the places for the practice of good works as that expression is commonly used. Furthermore, the matter of feminine adornment pertains to the social sphere of human life, in which the question considered is what is the proper and what the improper means a woman should use in order to interest the opposite sex. If a woman who professes to be godly in life will back it up with good works, she will be making herself attractive in the highest sense of the word. These remarks are not restricted to unmarried women in the matter of being adorned in the eyes of men, for the success and happiness of the married state is dependent to a great extent upon the regard the husband can have for hits wife. If she maintains the same modesty of bodily adornment after marriage that attracted the man and induced him to obtain her for his wife, he will continue to be happiest when in her society.

Verse 11

1Ti 2:11. Learn in silence. Even the extremists must admit from this phrase that the woman has a right to learn. However, they insist that she must be silent while learning, making a literal use of the word. But it is a principle universally recognized by all courses of learning throughout the world, that the best method of imparting and receiving instruction is by the question and answer system. Jesus used it in the temple (Luk 2:46-47). Even in the case of 1Co 14:35, Paul permits the woman to learn about the special matters her gifted husband knows about; she may "ask her husband." It may be replied that she is to do so "at home." Certainly, and the chapter we are studying applies to the home more properly than any other place. She is not very silent while asking a question. Are we to suppose that she must keep her ears open and her mouth closed? Certainly not if she is to "ask" her husband for the information. The apparent difficulty is caused by misunderstanding the word silence. It is from the Greek word HESUCHIA, and Thayer's first definition is the word "quietness," and his explanation is, "descriptive of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officially meddle with the affairs of others." It is the word for "quietness" in 2Th 3:12. Paul surely does not expect a man to work for a living and at the same time maintain silence in the literal sense that is attached to the word by many well-meaning disciples. But this is not all the apostle says in the same sentence about the way a woman is to learn, for he says she is to do so with all subjection. The last word is from. HUPOTAGE which Thayer defines, "obedience, subjection." It is the word for "subjection" in 1Ti 3:4, and we know that a child can be in subjection to his father, even while using his tongue for conversation. The verse as a whole means that a woman has the right to speak and ask questions of men, but it should be in the spirit of humility and not forgetting that she is not to act as one in authority.

Verse 12

1Ti 2:12. This verse very properly follows immediately after the preceding one, since the outstanding thought in that place is the subject of authority as it pertains to the relation between men and women. I suffer not a woman to teach. I am quoting this much of the verse only for the present, because it is the part that is usually relied upon by the extremists on the "woman question," to prove their notion on the subject. These same disciples will condemn the denominational world for taking a part of the scripture out of its connection in order to make a point. But for the sake of the widespread argument, let us consider this so-called prooftext as it is quoted, which makes no exception or provision for one. It is an established principle that an explanation of a passage that makes it contradict another passagee, is bound to be wrong since the Bible does not contradict itself. Well, the extremists' use of this clause makes it contradict Col 3:16 where we know the women are included, and the verse says for them to teach one another,, and the same Greek word is used in both passages. It is true that "everybody" joins in the singing, even those wno are not members. That is no valid argument since two wrongs do not make one right. Furthermore, if the underscored clause is to be taken generally, then the women members of the congregation should be forbidden to participate in the singing, also the people of the world should be informed not to sing, in the same manner that we notify the audiences that only faithful members have any right to the Lord's supper. The foregoing remarks would be appropriate even though the italicized clause had been written with regard to the public assembly only, which would be impossible to prove. So then, since "what proves too much proves nothing," it follows that the words marked do not prove that women are entirely prohibited from teaching. Now let us give this subject fair treatment and see what else the apostle has to say about it. The next word is nor and it is properly translated. It is from the Greek word OUDE which Thayer defines, "and not," and he explains by saying "continuing a negation" [something denied or forbidden]. Webster defines the word nor as follows: "Likewise not: and not.: or not," so that what is said of the words preceding nor is on the same proviso as what follows the next negation, namely, usurp authority over the man. If a woman presumes to teach over the man and hence act in an authoritative way, she violates this verse, whether it be in the public assembly or in the social circle. The case in Acts 18:2426 is in point here. A preacher of the Gospel was in error on an item and they (both the man and the woman) took him unto themselves and expounded or taught him in the way of the Lord more perfectly. Thus a woman helped to teach a preacher in the doctrine of the Gospel. But nothing indicates that she assumed an authoritative attitude, in desregard for the authority of her husband or ,the presence of the other man. Had she done so she would have violated the teaching of this passage. Silence is the same in the original as in verse 11, explained at that verse which the reader should see.

Verse 13

1Ti 2:13. In this and the following verse, Paul gives two reasons for his restrictions upon the woman, which are not identical but are related. The one in this verse is based upon the prestige one has by reason of priority; Adam was first formed. The man was not created for the sake of the woman, but it was the other way around, which indicates that the man possessed some precedence or importance over the woman.

Verse 14

1Ti 2:14. Eve was deceived but Adam was not. Both of them sinned, but the statement is made with regard to their talents or reliability, more than to their moral character. The main object with Paul still is to show why the man and not the woman is to be entrusted with authority. Since a wman is more easily deceived than a man, she is restricted from authoritative teaching, and when she teaches it must not be over the man, but under his supervision; and such a work may be edifying to others even though it is not the expression of authority. Was in the transgression. It is a sin to transgress the law of the Lord, even though one is induced to do so by being deceived. Jesus taught this same truth in Mat 15:14, and it proves that the mere fact of being honest ( all deceived persons are honest at the time) will not save a person.

Verse 15

1Ti 2:15. While Eve was the first woman, and the one who brought transgression into the world, all women bear the same relation to God as to responsibility. We know Paul means to include them in the argument, for he has been writing to women of his day, and referred to Eve only to show the reason why he placed the restrictions on her--on women in general. However, such restrictions as he placed on woman need not endanger her salvation as we shall see. -the shall be saved in childbearing. This cannot mean the woman is given assurance of passing safely through childbirth, for the salvation is made conditional that she continue in faith, etc. It would be foolish to say a woman will live through childbirth provided she lives right afterward. Neither can it mean she will be saved through the birth of Christ, for that is true also of man, if he is saved at all. But it is replied that a woman was chosen to bring the Saviour into the world, hence she and her kind have the promise of salvation through her act. Again, that is just as necessary for the man as for the woman. The part that Mary performed in nurturing and bringing forth Jesus into this life was just like the experience of all mothers. It was the conception that was different, and that was not anything done by her personal choice. The italicized words are preceded by the word notwithstanding. Although the first woman transgressed, and as a result all her daughters down through the ages are destined to suffer the increased inconvenience and added sorrow of childbirth, yet that very thing will be one of the conditions on which she can save her soul. There are regular terms of salvation set forth in the Gospel, and all men and women must observe them regardless of their station in life. But there are special duties that apply in particular to those who are parents or children; husbands or wives; and neither of them can take the place of the other, and no two of them have the same obligations. The special duty of woman is to bear children, which is one of the conditions on which she may be saved. Of course, motherhood alone will not assure a woman of salvation, but she must follow it up with a life of faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. In 1Ti 5:14 Paul commands women to marry and bear children. It is therefore one of the conditions of salvation imposed upon woman. A woman who is able to bear children and refuses to do so, will find herself in trouble on the judgment day.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 2". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/1-timothy-2.html. 1952.
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