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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
1 Timothy 2



Verse 1


CHURCH ORDER PRESCRIBED, 1 Timothy 2:1 to 1 Timothy 4:16.

1. In worship, 1 Timothy 2:1-15.

a. Public prayer universally to be offered by men, 1 Timothy 2:1-8.

1. Therefore—As an outflow from the general charge of 1 Timothy 1:18. First of the specific elements of the charge.

Supplications, prayers, intercessions—Words nearly synonymous, accumulated to show the variety yet oneness of prayer. Supplication is the call of felt need; prayer is the generic word for asking divine favour; intercession is more immediate and personal entreaty.

All men—The religion for our entire race suggests prayer for the entire race.

Verse 2

2. For kings—Specially the most important of men on earth, whose wellbeing and welldoing have most effect on the wellbeing and welldoing of all other men. Kings is here simply the representative term, suggested by the habits of the age, for any other governmental ruling persons or person, as queen, president, stadtholder, or senate.

All… in authority— Official agencies, the whole officiary, under the supreme.

That—Such public intercession for rulers does not terminate in the wellbeing of the persons. It takes place in order that the quietude necessary to the wellbeing, temporal and eternal, of the community, may be preserved. See notes on Romans 13:1-7. Quietude, godliness, and honesty, that is, orderly deportment, were the results sought in prayer.

Verse 3

3. This—The seeking these results by the public prayers of the Church.

Good intrinsically, and also acceptable to God.

Verse 4

4. Will have—Rather, who wills. It is the divine ideal, willed by God to be accomplished.

All men—The same all as in 1 Timothy 2:1. The reason why prayer should be made for all is, that God wills the salvation of all. On the reason why all are not saved see note on Ephesians 1:10.

And to come—In order that they might be saved to the knowledge of the truth, by which they would be saved.

Verse 5

5. The universality of the mediatorship proves the universality of the provided salvation; for as God is one and Christ the mediator is one, so both are for not a part but for the whole to be saved. A universal God and a universal mediator proves a universal humanity, between whom and God he mediates.

Mediator—One who serves as communicator between two parties.

Men—The all men of 1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Timothy 2:4.

The man—Without the definite Greek article, a man. Men are mediated with God by a man, who, by being a man and yet divine, partaking a double nature, brings God and man into contact and unity.

Verse 6

6. Gave himself—So that his death was voluntary. Note, John 10:15; John 10:18. While God gave his son, (John 3:16,) the son concurrently yet freely gave himself.

A ransom—A very expressive substitutive term, αντιλυτρον, antilutron. Lutron (from λυω, luo, to release) is the loosing-money by which a person is ransomed from durance. It is the term applied to Jesus by himself in Matthew 20:28, and Mark 10:45. But the present is not only lutron, but, with the prefix anti, instead, is more explicitly a lutron placed instead of the person in durance.

For all—The all a third time presented. The emphatic insisting on a universal atonement, limited, not by divine circumscription, but by human rejection.

To be testified in due time—The translation gives accurately the general sense. But the Greek literally is, the testimony in its own times. The noun, the testimony, is in apposition not with ransom, but with the entire preceding clause. The giving himself a ransom was itself the testimony.

Own times—In that period of human history to which it providentially belongs.

Verse 7

7. Whereunto—Namely, to the testimony.

A preacher, and an apostle—Literally, a herald, and a sent one.

Truth… and lie not—Alford puts it rather strongly, that this intense self-affirmation by Paul is an old man’s repetition, by habit, of the necessary self-assertions against his opponents used in younger days, as in 2 Corinthians 11:31, and Romans 9:1, and in Galatians throughout: “These had almost become stock phrases.” The very obvious reply is, that such phrases do not occur in epistles which did not face the impugners of his apostleship, as Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. What called them forth now was the appearance of a new set of impugners, by whom he was, doubtless, posted as a liar, and against whom he is flinging, through Timothy, these indignant self-testimonials. Teacher… in Christian faith and divine verity, or truth.

Verse 8

8. I willI determine. The expression of apostolic authority, decisive with Timothy and the Ephesian Churches.

Men—In antithesis with women in 1 Timothy 2:9; as assuming that public worship would be usually conducted by men. Every where—In all Timothy’s Churches; and, by implication, in all other places of worship.

Lifting up—The ordinary, if not the natural, gesture of prayer; either as a motion of offering to God, or more probably as the natural movement of helplessness seeking aid.

Holy hands—Pure hands, as innocent of wrongdoing, or purified therefrom by penitence, pardon, and sanctification. So Psalms 26:6 : “I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar.” As the hands should be holy the heart should possess pure love without wrath, and pure faith without doubting. We must cast out every malevolent feeling towards man before we can come with perfect trust before God.

Verse 9

b. With orderly array and deportment of women, 1 Timothy 2:9-15.

9. The apostle is still enjoining the orderly conducting of public worship, the manner of men’s prayer, and the style of women’s dress and deportment in the religious assembly. All this must be read with clear reference to what we have said in 1 Corinthians 11 of the women of that age and clime.

In like manner—Supply I will from 1 Timothy 2:8.

Modest apparel—Ellicott renders it, “in seemly guise,” inasmuch as the Greek word includes not only the apparel but the whole presentation.

Shamefacedness—The old word in the earlier editions of the English Bible was “shamefastness,” analogous to steadfastness, which in later editions has become the present unfortunate word, “shamefacedness,” for modesty.

Sobriety—The calm reserve of feminine self-respect.

Braided hair— Rather, hair-braids.

Gold—Which was often woven into the hair-braids.

Costly array—The ordinary form of female extravagance. And this is counterbalanced usually by half a dozen forms of male extravagance, such as ardent spirits, cigars, blooded horses, etc. The precepts of the apostle are good for all ages, and especially the present days of “fast” living. They are based in pure taste and sound reason. Pure simplicity of taste ever becomes the Christian. Yet it can hardly be said that the articles here specified are placed under positive prohibition. The principle of modest dress and deportment is stated under a mention of specific articles. And here, as in 1 Peter 3:3, the articles are not so much specifically forbidden, as counsel given that it is not in these that our claims to the respect of others should consist. And as it is the sacred congregation that the apostle here is regulating, he powerfully dissuades the making the sanctuary, not a place of devout worship, but of fashionable display.

Verse 10

10. Good works—Are the true ornamentation of the Christian lady. She need make no display of asceticism, nor spend her time, money, and health in elaborating a singular plainness of style. Nor is it any virtue to dress cheaply to hoard money in the coffers. It is a poor sham to mistake cheap apparel for humility, when its savings are laid up for one’s children, perhaps to squander in dissipation. But a great appropriateness to her profession of godliness it is if she studies a true simplicity of taste, and spends what she saves by avoidance of extravagance in charities and good works. And all this good advice may be addressed, perhaps with double force, to the Christian gentleman. The money burnt up in cigars, and that largely by Christian men, might give the gospel to the world.

Verse 11

11. In silence—Rather in quietude, the absence of any commotion.

Verse 12

12. Teach—The apostle does not prohibit to pray or prophesy, but to teach, as that would be to usurp authority. These rules are founded in nature as in grace, and apply to all but the gifted, or those “moved by the Holy Ghost” to “prophesy” or “pray.”

Verse 13

13. This law of nature our apostle authenticates by the sacred history of the creation.

Adam was first formed—And Eve added as the “help meet” for the original man.

Verse 14

14. Not deceived—He was, perhaps, induced to sin by love of Eve, more knowingly than she, and so perhaps more guiltily.

Verse 15

15. Be saved in childbearing—Rather, through childbearing. It may signify that she shall be saved through or by childbearing as a means or instrument: or throughout the process of childbearing as an endurance. In the former meaning it is plausibly applied by some able commentators to the bearing by woman of the Messiah. Thus she who brought death brought life. Paul’s allusion would then be to Genesis 3:15, the prophecy that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent. Woman shall be saved through that wondrous birth.

If they—There is here a sudden change from she, woman, to they, women; from the collective sex to its individual members. And thus most remarkably is it expressed that the whole sex may be saved by Christ if its individuals continue in faith. Yet the immediate application of Paul’s words is to the women of the Churches for whom he is laying down regulations of behaviour. The second meaning is, that through even the sorrow of childbearing, imposed by the fall, the sex may be finally saved by the faith of its members, exemplified by the correspondent virtues.


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 25th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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