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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
1 Timothy 2

 

 

Verses 1-15

We have seen in chapter 1 that the grace of God must predominate as the one principle of true blessing, and the one corrective when falsehood threatens. Chapter 2 now calls for an attitude consistent with this grace, in the face of all the inconsistency that prevails around us. Here is true Christian character in connection with the house of God: prayer is of utmost importance.

This word "exhort" is the same as "charge" or "command" previously seen, a responsibility placed solemnly upon Timothy's shoulders, and certainly intended for all saints. And "first of all" surely impresses upon us the fact that earnest prayer on behalf of others is of vital consequence, not only for the sake of their blessing (which is deeply important), but for the maintaining of true Christian character in the house of God, the Assembly.

"Supplication" involves earnest entreaty, certainly no mere "saying of prayers," but the desire earnestly expressed. "Prayer" is making request in a dependent spirit. "Intercessions" refers to having an audience with God on behalf of others. But "giving of thanks" is most salutary here. We may little think of this in regard to "all men," but it is the Word of God. All are His own creatures, and whatever their character or conduct, we are told to give thanks for them, as well as to pray for them. Let us never forget it. This will serve to help us to maintain a proper attitude toward them.

Kings and all who are in authority are specially singled out as to this. It is God who has put them in this place, whatever the form of government may be, or whatever abuses of true government may appear. Elsewhere we are told to obey those who are in authority, but never told to use our influence in reference to who should rule, or how he should do it. Of course, obedience to God is supreme above all obedience to government; and there may be occasions when one must deliberately disobey the government in order to obey God. But in the main, a spirit of obedience to God will be seen in an attitude obedient to government. Add to this prayer and giving of thanks, and the tendency will always be toward our leading a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty. No doubt abnormal conditions may exist where government is viciously determined to destroy Christianity; but here a more normal condition of things is contemplated.

Being "good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior" certainly implies that such prayer is a verbal offering to God who is pleased with it. And though He is the eternal God, His very character is that of "Savior" - certainly manifested as such in the person of Christ - and prayer of this kind is consistent with His own gracious desire that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. To be saved certainly comes first, yet it does not end here: the knowledge of the truth is a matter also of great importance; so that our prayers for others are not to be confined to requests for salvation, but for their learning the precious truth of God.

It may be a question with us as to why others are in Scripture called "gods," as in John 10:35 : "He called them gods unto whom the Word of God came." But the answer is given us in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 : "There is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many and lords many), but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one lord, Jesus Christ, and we by hirn." If idols are called this, it is mere vanity: the believer does not acknowledge it at all. Or if God calls the elders of Israel "gods," it is simply as being representatives of the true God: in any full, proper sense, there is only one God, as Israel well knew. But if this is true, then He is not the God of Israel only, but also of Gentiles.

The one Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus, was as necessary for Jews as for Gentiles: neither could actually be brought to the true God except by and through Him. And His becoming Man was an absolute essential, in order that any man might really know the eternal God. He is the "Daysman," of whom Job speaks, one who might lay His hand both upon God and upon man (Job 9:33). For of necessity there is between God and man a naturally impassable barrier. How can mere finite, earthbound man comprehend an infinite, eternal, omniscient God? In fact men commonly use this argument to dismiss any consideration of their responsibility Godward. Of course, this is vain, for the fact is that God is a God who reveals Himself. Admittedly, in the Old Testament this was only a partial revelation, though progressive. But this is completely changed in the person of the Man Christ Jesus. His incarnation involves more than mediatorship, for He is Himself the revelation of the eternal God in human form; but His mediatorship is of vital consequence for all men, for only through Him may anyone actually be brought into contact with the Living God.

Moreover, He is available for all; in fact has given Himself a ransom for all. This word holds the thought of loosing or setting free by means of substitution. If one was to be a mediator, this too was requisite, for man's sin had estranged him from God, a question that must be settled as part of a mediatorial bringing of men to God. Not that all are actually ransomed, but the ransom is fully sufficient for all. To be applicable, it must be received by faith in the Man Christ Jesus, the Son of God.

"To be testified in due times" refers to the testimony now declared after man's time of testing and probation had shown every other alternative powerless: for long years God had patiently borne with and waited for man to be given every opportunity to prove himself apart from the necessity of a Mediator. Now the precise time has come for the revela­tion and testimony of the One Mediator.

Verse 7. Paul's first designation of himself here, "a preacher" or "herald" involves his being sent to publish the truth of Christianity. This was God's appointment, as is that of apostle and teacher. Apostle, however, adds the character of God-given authority to his message, an authority that rightly requires subjection in the hearer. None can claim this today: apostles are no longer appointed of God: their authority rather remains for us in the Scriptures they have written, though they themselves have long since departed this scene. But here Paul inserts the arresting parenthesis: "I speak the truth in Christ: I lie not." If one would question Paul's apostolic authority, it is solemnly imperative that this issue must be fairly faced: it can be no matter of indifference: it is either fully true, or wickedly false. He will allow no neutrality in regard to the matter. Let us therefore acknowl­edge it with wholehearted acceptance, as God manifestly intends. "A teacher of the nations in faith and truth" is added here, for this is more than publishing and calling for subjection to the message. The orderly teaching of the fullness and significance of that message was another spiritual gift communicated to Paul. It was necessary that Paul speak firmly and decidedly of these functions for which he was appointed of God; though, on the other hand, he makes no mention whatever of the particular gift or gifts possessed by Timothy. In this matter it is wise and right for us to be as Timothy, expecting no definite characterization of our gift, but doing what we can in a spirit of true godly subjection and faith. The results will manifest the gift; but there is no need for us to know or to declare what gift we have, for we shall never be in the position of the apostle Paul, to whose message God drew such attention as to require obedience. This message was particularly to "the nations," not Israel alone. In fact elsewhere we are told he himself was wrought upon mightily by God toward the Gentiles, in con­trast to Peter's distinctive ministry to the Jews (Galatians 2:8). His last expression in 1 Timothy 2:7, "In faith and truth," certainly presses the deep importance of this ministry as a special communication from God.

It will be seen in these verses (8 to 15) that in reference to prayer there is a decided difference insisted upon between men and women. Men were to pray everywhere, which would of course include the public place, which is not that of the woman. A brother in the Lord should be prepared at all times to rise to the occasion of lifting his voice in audible prayer. We see this preeminently in the Lord Jesus (John 6:11; John 11:41-42; John 12:27-28), but in the apostle Paul also (Acts 27:35, etc.), and certainly with the lifting up of holy hands. If one's hands are soiled by questionable works, he is generally loathe to pray publicly (and should be), for this will draw more attention to his hands. Let the man not ignore his responsibility to pray; but let him back this up with becoming honorable conduct.

It may seem strange that it is necessary to add here, "without wrath and doubting (or reasoning)." Yet how solemn a warning that public prayer must not be taken advantage of to express one's displeasure in another. This has too often been done. Even Elijah prayed against Israel (Romans 11:2-3); and on one occasion we read, "Moses was very wroth, and said unto the Lord, Respect thou not their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them" (Numbers 16:15). This is not true prayer, for prayer must express both submission to, and dependence upon, the grace of God. Wrath must here give place to true concern for the blessing of others. Let us not abuse the sacred privilege of publicly addressing God in such a way that God is not really honored. But doubting or reasoning is another grave hindrance to true prayer, for it is the opposite of simple confidence in the Lord. Doubtful rationalizing is certainly offensive to a God of pure love and grace, who delights to answer prayer in the best possible way for His beloved saints. It is insulting, particularly in public, to address Him without some simple, honest confidence of faith, that He will answer according to His perfect will.

Though the man is responsible to take the public place in regard to speaking on behalf of God, the emphasis as regards the woman is rather upon her deportment as before the eyes of others. The man is to have the spirit of subjection in the manner of his praying: in like manner the woman is to have the spirit of subjection in her silent, lowly conduct of godliness. Decent deportment is to be coupled with decent dress: nothing should be ostentatious in one way or the other. The unseemly drawing of attention by means of costly attire, jewelry and gold, is far from reflecting the character of her Lord and Master. Equally offensive of course would be a slovenly, careless deportment, for this has its roots in the same pride and self-will as does the other. The details of dress, etc., would surely be easily and rightly adjusted where faith and godliness are in true exercise, as opposed to the common self­will and self-expression of our day. But positive "good works" stand over against the negatives that are to be avoided.

1 Corinthians 14:1-40 is clear that the woman is not to speak at all in the assembly. In our present chapter it is shown that teaching is not for her, whether in the assembly or elsewhere, if any public character of things is involved. At least, if men are present, it is not the woman's place to teach. The instructing of women or of children in less public circumstances could hardly come under the same restriction, but the woman must be careful that her teaching in any case does not put her in a place of any kind of prominence. It is in fact her glory to be in quietness. The reason for this given here is to be closely observed! Adam was first formed, then Eve. It is-simply order in God's creation, with no question of moral superiority or inferiority involved at all, nor any question of ability. It is God's order, and any infraction thereof is disorder.

This is emphasized too by the fact that Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the trans­gression. The woman did have a safeguard if only she had remembered the woman's place. When Satan tempted her, she could simply have referred the matter to Adam; for here was a case of the tempter ignoring her head, and coming to the weaker vessel. Adam was not deceived, but sinned with his eyes wide open, no doubt out of affection for his wife. Certainly he is no less responsible: it is guilt in both cases; but this still illustrates the fact that man, being characterized particularly by intelligent and deliberating judgment, is fitted for the public place; and woman, more rightly marked by her feelings and intuition, is fitted for the more quiet place of subjection.

Childbearing is consistent with this lowly place, but a blessed honor nevertheless which is not given to the man. If any woman is inclined to question these things, she may well be greatly benefited by considering the many godly mothers of Scripture, whose subject lowly character shines with a beauty that can be seen in no other way. Yet, let us notice too that her being "saved in childbearing" is conditional not only upon her own continuing in faith and love and holiness with discretion, but upon this being true of both husband and wife: "If they continue." This surely impresses upon us the vital value of true spiritual unity in the marriage rela­tionship: a woman who marries an ungodly husband could not claim such a promise as this.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/1-timothy-2.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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