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THE FIRST LETTER TO TIMOTHY
“COUNSEL TO MEN AND WOMEN”
1 Timothy 2:1-8 – Why Men Pray and How
1TM2:1 Therefore, first of all,59
supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving61
to be made on behalf of all humans.62
First of all: Or, MOF: my very first counsel. Paul now outlines the role of men and women in the early Church.
These are principles and parameters for Timothy to guide and command in the home churches he visits.
Encourage: Or, exhort, urge.
Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving: Or, petitions, earnest requests, humble entreaties. Paul lists four forms of petitions to God.
Made on behalf of all humans: Or, KJV: made for all men; KNX: all mankind.
1TM2:2 On behalf of kings and all those having authority63
– that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life64
in all reverence and seriousness.65
That we may lead a tranquil and quiet life: Or, peaceable, undisturbed,
calm. Paul does not urge prayers for political successes or failures but rather than Christians may lead a normal and life of peacefulness. The Church had no fight with the powers that be but sought a means – as peacemakers – to be peaceable with
all persons. [See notes on Romans 12:18.] The Christian neighbor is not characterized as confrontational or adversarial, but rather strives to get along with those in the community.
In all reverence and seriousness: The Greek for “reverence” is EU-SEBEIA [Strong’s Concordance #2150, godliness, piety] The root has the meaning of an
excellent and proper awe-inspiring fear of God. Or, godliness, godly. The Greek for “seriousness” is SEMNOTETI [Strong’s Concordance #4587, honorable, honest, venerableness, gravity] Or, honesty, gravity, decorum, dignity, respectful, reverent
spirit, high standards of morality. The Christian neighbor is characterized in the community as a religious, well-mannered and decent human being who strives for peaceful relations with all. The whole idea of Paul seems to echo Jeremiah 29:7.
1TM2:3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior66
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: The reason why these prayers are favorable is explained
in the next phrase. Research the word savior with regard to God, Jesus, as well as Israelites judges and kings. Never does Paul include the Holy Spirit with the designation “savior.”
is willing to have all humans saved67
and to come to a complete knowledge of the Truth.68
Who is willing to have all humans saved: The Greek for “wants” is THELEI and means “willing”.
[Strong’s Concordance #2309, determine, reckon, inclined, preference] Or, KJV: who will have all men to be saved; WEY: wishes; MOF: desires; TAY: longs. Though some may read this to mean universal salvation, what God wishes, and what happens in reality
may be different. Compare 1 Timothy 4:10. [Isaiah 45:22]; and see notes on 2 Peter 2:9 and 2 Peter 3:9. [John 3:16-21, 35]
1TM2:5 For, [there is] one God!69
Also one mediator of humans70
– a human, Christ Jesus.71
For, [there is] one God: The Greek is HEIS GAR THEOS, or, “One for God.” [Meaning: “For there
is one absolute God.”] Or, KJV: for there is one God; MON: for God is one. It is like an exclamation echoing 1 Timothy 1:17. Paul makes a clear distinction between the one God and the one mediator. They are not one and the same. [Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians
8:4] Paul never calls Jesus or the holy spirit, “one God.”
Also one mediator of humans:
Or, KJV: one mediator between God and men; GDS: one intermediary; BER: go-between; BAS: peacemaker. The word “mediator” only occurs here and Galatians 3:19, 20 and Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24. The idea of a mediator is suggested by Isaiah 53:12.
1TM2:6 The One having given himself72
a substitutionary ransom73
on behalf of all – and that Testimony in its own season!74
The One having given himself: Or, sacrificed himself. [Philippians 2:6, 7]
A substitutionary ransom: The Greek is unique here, ANTI-LYTRON. [Strong’s Concordance #487, corresponding, opposite, atonement,
redemptive price] See notes on Matthew 20:28. Paul does not mean all humans will be saved, for Jesus has it, “a ransom in exchange for many.” [LYTRON ANTI POLLON]
That Testimony in its own season: Or, KJV: to be testified in due time; RHM: the testimony in its own fit times; NAS: proper time; WEY: a fact testified to at its own appointed
time; BEC: this was announced at the right times; BAS: witness of which was to be given at the right time.
1TM2:7 For such [testimony] I was appointed a preacher and an apostle75
(I speak truth! I do not lie!), a teacher of non-Jews76
regarding conviction and truth.77
I was appointed a preacher and an apostle: See notes on 1 Timothy 1:1 on “apostle.” An apostle is one sent by another – a representative. Jesus is called the Apostle. [Hebrews 3:1] Jesus chose the original twelve apostles, Judas later replaced by Matthias. [Acts 1:15-26] Paul was chosen by Jesus himself to become the Apostle to the non-Jews. [Galatians 2:8] Other elders held the office of apostle. [1 Corinthians 12:29; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 11:5; Ephesians 4:12] There were to be end-time apostles. [Revelation 18:20] God is never spoken of as an apostle as no one ever sends Him. In a limited and qualified sense all Christian saints have an “apostleship” as they have been sent to preach the Gospel. [Romans 1:4]
Regarding conviction and truth: Paul’s apostleship centered on two things: faith and truth. Neither can be separated.
1TM2:8 Therefore, I want the men to pray in every place,78raising holy hands [Psalm 141:2] without anger and divisive opinions.79
I want the men to pray in every place: It is interesting that Paul only mentions men [ANDRAS = males] here in the matter of formal prayer. The reason may be explained in his later counsel to women. Paul normally uses the Greek ANTHROPOS [=humans] while Luke almost always favors ANDROS [=male]. So Paul’s use of ANDRAS here is purposeful.
Raising holy hands without anger and divisive opinions: On “raising holy hands” compare Psalm 141:2. Cultures vary in their gestures and positions during prayer. Some may wish to look heavenward with palms raised to God, while others prefer the bowed head with folded hands on knees. Regarding Paul’s counsel against anger and divisive opinions, the Greek for the latter is DIALOGISMOU [Strong’s Concordance #1261, dialog, discussion, debate, dispute, and divided reckonings.] Or, KJV: without wrath and doubting; RHM: disputings; WMS: dissentions; TCN: controversy; BEC: argument. Prayer has a unifying affect and becomes even more powerful when devoid of a divisive atmosphere.
1 Timothy 2:9-15 – Women in God’s Household
1TM2:9 In addition, women:80
to adorn themselves with appropriate dress,81
soundness of mind,82
adorning themselves modestly, not with braided hair83
and gold or pearls, nor costly clothing.84
To adorn themselves with appropriate dress: The Greek for “adorn”
is KOSMIO [Strong’s Concordance #2887, orderly, decorous; see details on the related word KOSMOS] The word “cosmetics” is drawn from this. Or, modest apparel, becoming, seemly attire, becoming attire, orderly, appropriate, proper clothes.
Such is an abstraction with relative degrees depending on the culture. However, the principle seems clear. Dress may proclaim the type of person so adorned. Note the “garb of the prostitute” in Proverbs.
Not with braided hair: The Greek is PLEGMASIN [Strong’s
Concordance #4117, plait, twine, braid]. Or, elaborate hair-styles. Paul’s godly advice seems simple and straightforward. He else where discourages shorn hair and here he seems to encourage a simple and modest hairstyle. Women were judged – as they are today – by how they fix their hair. [Note Jezebel at 2 King 9:30.] Cultures will vary on the parameters. Consider 1 Corinthians 11:6, 14.
Gold or pearls, nor costly clothing: The Greek for “costly clothing” is POLYTELEI. [Strong’s Concordance #4185, extremely expensive, very precious, of great price] Or, rich clothes, expensive finery, valuable jewelry. One cannot read the Nazarene and fail to see his view on riches and wealth. [Luke 12:33] Both gold and pearls were as costly in the first century as they are in the twenty-first. The Christian may find a better way to use her “riches” than in hairstyles. What is costly or expensive will vary from place to place and according to culture. Compare notes on 1 Peter 3:3. It is an interesting observation that Paul nowhere speaks in a similar vein regarding male dress.
1TM2:10 But rather, what is proper for women professing godly reverence through good works.85
What is proper for women professing godly reverence through good works: “Godly reverence” is from the Greek THEO-SEBEIAN [Strong’s Concordance #2317, devoutness, piety, godliness]. Or, fear of God. Compare the principle at Proverbs 31:30. See notes on 1 Peter 3:4. What is “proper” is also governed by local culture. It is not the same in New York as it is in Nairobi or Baghdad. “Good works” generally refer to charity and hospitality. [2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:10]
1TM2:11 Let a woman learn in silence in all subjection.86
1TM2:12 I do not allow a woman to teach,87
nor to have a man’s authority,88
but rather to be in silence.89
I do not allow a woman to teach: Or, I suffer not; BAR: I do not allow a woman to teach. Paul will go on to give
his reasons. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:3, 7-10; 14:33-37. The statement seems simple and straightforward, leaving no misunderstanding. However, these verses as well as those in 1 Corinthians have come under considerable “twisting” [2 Peter 3:16]
rather than merely accepting the “Master’s commandment.” There is no example in the Christian Bible of a woman teaching before a house church. How women may teach is explained by Paul in Titus 2:3, 4 – a work of enormous proportions.
Women are to concentrate their teaching on their children and other women, thus preparing the next generation. Jesus did not appoint any women as teaching disciples. Paul’s counsel parallels the Jewish synagogue and is generally followed in most modern
Nor to have a man’s authority: Or, BAR: to have authority over
men. Paul does not use the wider ANTHROPOS here but the limited word ANDROS [=males], which means a male person. The Greek for “authority” is AUTHENTEIN [Strong’s Concordance #831, act individually, dominate, usurp authority] Or, KJV: usurp
authority over the man; ALF: rule over; BER: domineer. Thus, a woman in the Church would not argue, debate, contradict, instruct, correct or try to rule over an appointed male elder. Compare Genesis 3:16 in the Jewish Greek Septuagint where the male
is to rule over the woman who is to remain in subjection. As Paul writes later, the wife and mother will rule her own house.
To be in silence: Or, quietness, remain quiet, keep still: BAR: a woman must keep quiet. The Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote, “The beauty of women is their silence.” Though this seems derogatory, this is not what Paul has in mind.
He defines the roles of men and women distinctly, with the woman’s domain the home, while the male’s the spiritual community, both in the church and home. In the congregation the Christian woman was to learn in silence and not raise questions during
formal worship services. The family was strengthened by the advice of asking a question of her husband at home. The husband would have the responsibility to find the answer to her question. If needed her husband could seek out the teaching elders for direction.
[1 Corinthians 14:35; Ephesians 5:22]
1TM2:13 The reason is because90Adam was formed first, then Eve.91
[Genesis 2:21, 22]
The reason is because: Drawing on Genesis Paul gives two reasons here still binding on the Church. He gives additional
reasons in 1 Corinthians 11:8-10.
Adam was formed first, then Eve: The male has seniority
over the woman for Adam was alone learning from God for an unknown time period before Eve was made. Eve learned God’s commandment from her husband and not directly from God. [Genesis 2:18] They were not created together at the same time.
1TM2:14 Also, Adam was not deceived,92
but in contrast,
woman, having been deceived, has come to be in transgression.93
[Genesis 3:1, 6]
Adam was not deceived: There are two factors here: a) God spoke directly to Adam regarding the Tree and not to
Eve. Eve heard of God’s command from Adam. b) Satan did not attack Adam but sought out the “weaker vessel.” [Genesis 3:1, 6; 1 Peter 3:7] Compare notes on 2 Corinthians 11:3.
Woman, having been deceived, has come to be in transgression: Or, GDS: it was the woman who was deluded and fell into sin. There are many views on this phrase. It seems
to suggest that Adam transgressed openly and with full knowledge; while the woman was something deceivable, having not heard the command directly from God, she had to trust her husband. [Genesis 3:12; 2 Corinthians 11:3] It is the man Adam who is blamed for
humanity’s sin. [Romans 5:12, 14]
1TM2:15 However, she will be protected through her bearing children,94
if they continue in deep conviction and benevolent empathy for others,95
along with sanctification and soundness of mind.96
She will be protected through her bearing children: Or, BAR: women will be saved by motherhood. It is clear Paul recommends the woman’s role as mother. Whether he means her child-bearing relates
to her own salvation, or is merely a protection for her by keeping her occupied according to God’s purpose, is a subject of debate. Compare notes on 1 Timothy 5:14. In the early Church two matters were vital: growth in discipleship, and the product of
the next generation born to Christian families. The women dominated the latter, and the men the former. God’s command to Noah’s sons and daughters-in-law is still binding. [Genesis 8:17]
If they continue in deep conviction and benevolent empathy for others: Over and over the Christian Bible stresses these two elements involved in
salvation: faith and loving works. [1 John 3:23] We note the word “if” – the woman will be saved in her producing children only if she remains a faithful and loving Christian. Two other factors are important as Paul continues.
Along with sanctification and soundness of mind: The Christian mother who believes and is loving must also “perfect
holiness in the fear of God.” [2 Corinthians 7:1] At the same time she must remain sensible, sober, modest, self-restrained, good sense, good judgment. Thus Paul has stated five factors involved in her salvation: childbearing, faith, love, holiness, and soundness of mind. [See notes else where on soundness of mind.] This is a woman who echoes Proverbs 31:10-31 – this is a loving mother with deep faith in God, characterized by holiness and healthy thinking.
Review Questions on Chapter Two
What does Paul encourage?
What is the reason for these prayers?
What does God wish?
What shows Jesus was not God?
What does Paul want men to do?
What does Paul counsel as to women’s adornment?
What does Paul state as to how woman should learn and whether they should teach?
Why does not permit a woman to exercise authority over a man?
What will save or protect Christian women?
Summary of Chapter Two
This chapter is almost evenly divided between men and women and their place in the Christian community. Men are exhorted to pray for all men, including those in high places of civil authority. Paul’s reason is that Christ, a human himself, gave himself
as a ransom for all humans. Women are also counseled regarding dress, hairstyles, and jewelry. He also outlines their place in the Church and directs them to be in subjection, raise children and demonstrate faith, love, holiness, and soundness of mind.