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 1 Timothy 2 

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Instructions On Worship (ch. 2:1 - 15)

Paul’s first instruction to Timothy seen in verses 1 and 2 is that “requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving” be offered for everyone, including kings.  The reason why Paul wanted prayer for everyone, including kings, was so that they could live a peaceful life in all godliness. Paul had inner peace with the Lord, but he didn’t have external peace with the world around him. Paul lived a very rough life.  He seemed to be fighting with everyone, with his fellow Jews, with Romans, and with Roman officials.  I see him as just wanting a bit of peace in his life so he could tell people about Jesus.  That's all.  


The addition, and the specification of "kings" here is interesting.  Many people, including Christians would not want to pray for kings because they were tyrants.  Yet Paul says, "pray for everyone, including kings", as if to say, "don't leave out kings, even though you don't feel like praying for them".  We need to understand that these kings were for the most part tyrants.  They were not elected officials. And again, the reason why Paul said we should prayer for them is so there would be sufficient peace to proclaim the good news of Jesus.   


Note that Paul lists four things here, requests, prayers, intercession and thankfulness.  Giving thanks to God is not all that hard to understand.  But what about the other three things he lists here.


The Greek word for “request” (supplication in the KJV) is “deesis”.  This word means “ request or prayer based on a need or a desire”.  The words “need and desire” are the important words here.  Paul is saying to pray earnestly for your needs. 


The Greek word “proseuchomai” is the word translated as prayer.  It is the most often used Greek word for prayer used in the New Testament.  It simply means to pray, or to speak to God. 


The Greek word “enteuxis” is the word that is translated as “intercessions” .  The basic definition of this word means “a meeting with”.  Thus it is used as a meeting with someone to request something on the behalf of someone else.  It was often used in the first century in respect to meeting with kings to ask a request of him.  Intercession is coming before God and petitioning him for something, usually on the behalf of someone else.


It is thus clear that there are more than one type of praying.  Four aspects of prayer are listed here in this one verse, that is, general praying, asking as a result of a need or even a desire, petitioning on the behalf of someone else, and giving thanks to God.


In verses 4 and 5 Paul says that this kind of praying “is good and pleases God our Saviour who wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”. There are two things that God wants according to this verse, and they are, all men to be saved, and all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. Paul emphasized knowing the truth.  In our world of relativism, knowing the truth is not all that important.  Even in many Christian circles, some would rather have an experience than know the truth.  The lack of truth has gotten the church into the weakened position it now finds itself in.


I always say that the reason why I am a Christian is because I believe that Jesus and what He says is the ultimate truth, and if this indeed is true, then I have no other logical choice other than to be a Christian.


I believe truth matters, even though the Evangelical world of late is de-emphasizing the importance of Biblical truth.  Because knowing the truth follows being saved in this verse, I think that God expects us to grow in truth as Christians.  We often don't grow because we do not have a desire to know Biblical truth.  The post-modern church de-emphasizes Biblical truth.  This should never be. 


Verse 5 states a very important theological truth. It says that there is “one God” and also that there is “one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus”.  There is only one way to approach the only God and that is through Jesus.  Once again, this thinking in our society seems very archaic, but this is what the Bible clearly states and this is what Christians must believe.   This is a fundamental Biblical fact that cannot be compromised.  Again, the post-modern church says that there is more than one way to God. That's far from Biblical truth.  I would suggest that if you hear anyone saying such a thing, you view him or her as not being a true Christian.  He or she clearly does not believe what Jesus Himself has clearly said.     


In verse 6 Paul says, “who gave Himself as a ransom for all men”.  The Greek word “lutron” is the root word of the Greek word that we translate as “ransom”.   Luton ” is a “means of loosing”.  In this particular verse a variation of “lutron” is used which gives the specific meaning of “a loosing for someone else”, or a “substitutionary loosing”.  Thus the great Biblical teaching that says that Jesus gave His life freely under the judgment of God for all men.  Jesus was punished in our place.  He paid the ransom price with His life.  Some have  suggested that He paid this price to satan, but this  is not true.  He paid the price to God His Father on our behalf.


The next phrase that says “the testimony given in the proper time” seems to suggest to me that the life of Christ  was a testimony given in God’s timing.  It is very clear to me that God has a timetable of events and absolutely nothing is done outside of His timetable.


In verse 7 Paul says, “for this reason I was appointed a herald and an apostle”.  The only reason why Paul was appointed to God’s service was to spread this news that Jesus Christ ransomed His life for all.  Then Paul goes on to say that he was also appointed to be a “teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles”.  Paul was set apart as the spokesman of God to the Gentile world.  He knew his calling and he devoted every breath of his life to the fulfilling of this calling, or as he said earlier “the command of God to preach the gospel”.


Sometimes we make a big deal about certain tiles and ministries  in the church.  Sometimes I wonder if Paul made such a big deal as we do.  Here, in one verse, he calls himself a herald,  an apostle, and a teacher.  Paul seemed to be a number of things.  I personally think the main thing he was, was an apostle.  That being said, he was also a number of other things as you can see.   


In verse 8 he says that “he wants men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing”.  Lifting up “holy hands” is a form of submissive worship to Jesus.  By using the word “holy” this tells me that simply lifting up hands that may not be holy is not good enough.  These hands must be holy hands to be a true act of submissive worship.  Then while we have our hands raised we must not be angry or in a dispute with anyone we are lifting our holy hands with.  This would be something to think about the next time you lift your hands in a worship service.


I think this is important because so many times people attend a church service to worship.  They worship while at the same time having difficulties with others they are worshipping with.


In verses 9 and 10 Paul speaks to Timothy about how woman should dress and act in a time of worship.  He is basically saying that the good deeds of women should be more visible than what they wear.  Modesty in dress should be foremost in the thinking of women when they think of what to wear.  Concerning the braided hair, and expensive gold and pearls that some might have worn, this  was often viewed as seductive, since it appears prostitutes of the day dressed in this fashion.  Without getting too legalistic, I think the emphasis here should be modesty of dress and good works of women.  A person’s life, whether man or woman, should reflect Jesus and not ones self.  Showing off a body in public may not necessarily reflect Jesus, but ones body instead.


I don't believe that wearing ear rings and other jewelry is a sin.  Paul spoke to this issue because that is what prostitutes of his day wore.  The idea is simply, not to dress as a prostitute would dress. That would apply to whatever generation in which one lives.  


The last paragraph is somewhat controversial in nature and is often interpreted as being culturally relevant.  That is to say that this is a cultural thing and not necessarily something for us today, but we need to be careful with such thinking.  If one passage of Scripture is interpreted culturally not relevant to us, where do we draw the line with other passages?


Paul says in verses 11 to 15  that women should learn in quietness and in submission.  The text implies submission to men.  He also says that a woman should not teach or have authority over a man.  Why does Paul say this?  “Because Adam was formed first, then Eve”.  Paul’s argument on this point is based on creation.  He most likely foresaw  some questions being raised by this command and decided to get to the bottom of the issue by basing his comment on God’s creation.  Since God made man first, then he made woman for man, therefore man should have authority over woman.  I believe we should simply accept the truth of this statement with no argument.  Paul is not putting women down.  He is only setting forth an authority structure that he believes is from God.  When men and women know their place, and when they function in it properly, things will go better for both of them. Women shouldn't understand Paul to say that men are better than women because God made man first.  It's not a matter of better or worse.  It's an Old Testament culture that placed the first born in authority over the rest of his siblings.    


Paul goes on to say an interesting thing when he says that man was not the one who was deceived. We know the story of creation and Eve was the one who gave into satan’s inquiries.  Indeed Eve was deceived.  Adam simply followed in Eve’s deception.  Paul says that Eve became a sinner as a result of her being deceived.  Paul does not say that Adam became a sinner.  Did Adam actually become a sinner then?  I believe Adam became a sinner too.  I also believe that Paul thought that Adam became a sinner because in Romans 5:12 he says, that “sin entered the world through one man (Adam).  If sin entered the world through Adam, then Adam sinned and became a sinner.


Although Eve was the one who was initially deceived, the command of God was given to Adam, not to Eve.  Therefore Eve was deceived, and Adam was disobedient.  Both became sinners, resulting in us being born into sin.


In verse 15 Paul says that “women will be saved in childbearing”.  Many interpretations have been given to this verse.  One popular one is that woman will actually be saved, or become Christians by giving birth.  This is ridiculous and far from Scriptural.  Just because one sees the word “saved” here does not mean Paul is speaking of salvation.  You must interpret words in the context in which they are being used. The word saved is used in all sorts of ways in the Bible.  Here I believe Paul is saying that the Lord will help a woman during giving birth to her child if she truly has given her life to Jesus and is walking it out in practice, or even save her life if she is in danger because of giving birth.  The reason why Paul would have said this in the first place is that one of the judgments placed on Eve after her sin, was that she would give birth in great pain.  Paul is suggesting that to a certain measure, Jesus will help soften the judgment of God placed on women as seen in Gen. 3:16.   


At this point I'd like to insert an article I wrote on 1 Timothy 2:11 to 14. 


1 Timothy 2:11 to 14 is probably the most controversial of Paul's statements concerning women.  It's been hailed by some men and despised by some women.  "A woman should learn in quietness and in full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve."  Let's examine each phrase of this passage to see what Paul might be saying. 


"A woman must learn in quietness."  The verb "must learn" is a Greek present active imperative verb.  That means this was a command, not a suggestion.  As I've already stated, in the male dominated world of Paul's day the majority of women were less educated than men.  Historians tell us that Christian women tended to interrupt meetings by asking questions to clarify what was being said.  In order to not interrupt the flow of a meeting Paul instructed women to learn in a more quiet way.  For example, she could be educated at home by her husband, something pagan men back then were not interested in doing.     


Some women recoil at the words "in full submission" in this verse.  I've already commented on the Greek word "hypotasso" that's translated into our English New Testament as "submit", or in this case "submission."  This Greek word in its common street level usage was a cold hearted, harsh, dictatorial word.  It meant "to rank under," as a soldier ranked under his superior officer.  Although the New Testament still understands "hypotasso" as ranking under, it softens its meaning from its general usage.  In Biblical terms "hypotasso," or "submit," is a submission based on mutual love and respect for one another.  Paul was encouraging a woman to submit to her husband and to the elders of the church based on a mutual love and respect, both for each other and for Jesus.  


"I do not permit a woman to teach."  I've previously stated that Priscilla was a well known lady teacher in the book of Acts.  I've also stated that Paul admired her as seen in Romans 16:3.  How do we reconcile Paul's respect for this lady teacher when he told Timothy that women shouldn't teach?   


The next phrase helps answer the above question.  It reads, "Or to have authority over a man."  The Greek word "authenteo" is translated as "authority" in this phrase.  This word means "to exercise authority on one's own account."  What you miss in the NIV Bible is that Paul was not saying that a woman can't have any authority.  He was saying that a woman must not usurp, as the King James Bible better translates it, the authority from a man.  A woman must not take it upon herself to exercise authority and teach, and by so doing ignore the authority of the man. 


Priscilla was a teacher, but she didn't usurp her husband's authority.  Every time she is mentioned in the book of Acts it's always in conjunction with her husband.  Their names always appear together.  She taught alongside her husband as a co-worker in the service of the Lord.  Paul had no problem with a woman teaching as long as she didn't step beyond her authority in the local church. 


Paul addressed ecclesiastical authority in 1 Timothy 3:1 to 7.  He listed certain qualifications for elders or overseers, one being that he must be the husband of one wife.  In other words, he must be a man, and an older man at that since the Greek word "presbyteros" that's translated as elder means "older man." 


In verse 13 Paul backed up his teaching on submission by saying Adam was formed first, then Eve.  I realize this is no longer culturally acceptable in today's post modern evolution indoctrinated world, but for Christians, the Genesis account remains the historic fact.  God created Adam first.  He then created Eve to live alongside Adam, and not below, as I believe the Hebrew text implies in Genesis 2:20.


Without a serious study of 1 Timothy 2:11 to 14 you will misunderstand Paul.  His understanding of women's issues was not as cold hearted as many think it was.

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