Pray for All People
2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
1 Timothy 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
When we think of prayer – often it revolves around the things that affect us directly. I mean, this is how it often works. We have burdens, difficulties, questions and we seek the help and guidance, wisdom and discernment for things that are pressing in upon us.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s amazing to consider how God is all-knowing and sovereign and yet has chosen to let us help Him change the world through our prayers. Consider the magnitude of this! This is truly one of the great mysteries of God and His desires.
So with this aspect, Paul states:
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”1 Timothy 2:1-2
It’s usually pretty easy to pray for those we love. In fact, it comes pretty naturally. But it should not end there. We should be in prayer daily for our enemies. We should be in prayer for those we have a conflict with. Yes, we should pray for those who annoy us. This really falls into ‘all men’ as he states. God desires to work in these who are against us just as he wants to work in us and family members who are struggling with their own relationship with Him.
But here in 1 Timothy 2, he goes further in encouraging prayers for rulers and authorities. Let’s consider the monumental aspect of this. During the writing of this letter, the emperor was Nero. He was one cruel ruler who later would make Believers the scapegoat for the great fire that destroyed the city in 64 AD. Blaming the Christians, they were brutally killed, butchered, burned and fed to animals. This is a remarkable statement of Paul to pray for the leaders.
Paul’s goal always and he states it here a few verses later, God wants “all men saved.” This is the nature of the broad challenge. Pray for those whom you love. Yes, do that and be consistent. But also pray for your enemies. Pray that God would do whatever it takes to bring them into a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Even though they are pressing in against you and possibly your own prayers are for personal responses or protection to such attacks, pray for their souls. Yet, also pray for our elected officials and yes, in this political year those who are running for office.
We get so caught up in our desire for those we love and our own responses to our enemies even. We may even have become incredibly political in our stance as the world seems to get crazier by the day. Before anything else, bring these names before the throne of God each day and intercede on their behalf to the One who desires they come to know His Son fully.
1 Timothy 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
As a child, I would sometimes hear my parents say, “As long as you are under this roof, you will live by our guidelines.” Every parent must choose how they will govern their house and what expectations they will have for those under their authority. For Christians, we have joyfully responded to Jesus, placing ourselves under His authority as a part of God’s household. In 1 Timothy 2, Paul gives us practical reminders of how we are expected to live as children of God.
Keep in mind, these are not random topics. We learned in 1 Timothy 1 that false teachers had infiltrated Ephesus and were trying to hypnotize believers with their so-called special knowledge. Paul’s direction here in 1 Timothy 2 was surely a counter-attack to the deceit that was being spread within the church.
Another important point to keep in mind is that throughout the Old and New Testament we notice that the fervent followers of God were also great citizens. Whether living in their homeland or under foreign rule, there was always a respect for the authority structures in place.
It is true that once we are insiders we often forget what it’s like on the outside. After coming to Christ, we should spend time healing and growing in our faith, and that is a continual process. However, we also must remember the big picture calling that Jesus has for each one of our lives. We can become so internally focused that our prayer life neglects those who are outside our inner circle. Paul reminds the church to pray for secular leaders and those in positions of authority.
For the Jewish Christians, this may have been a difficult word. Praying for Gentile leaders wasn’t natural and maybe this is why in verse 8 Paul instructs the prayers to be offered without “anger or argument.” But let’s be honest; this is relevant today. In our society, there are Christians who are so zealously aligned with a political party that they consider it offensive to utter a prayer for a leader on the opposite side of the fence. Paul wanted these Christians to place their allegiance to Christ far above their political or social opinions.
Have you ever attended an event and been underdressed? It’s a terrible feeling. You feel excluded and out of place. More importantly, you just don’t feel welcome. The next piece of instruction on Paul’s list is his warning to women to be modest and sensible with their hair, clothing, and jewelry. Why?
We must keep with the context and train of thought that Paul is communicating. It is easy to make assumptions. In the prayer section, Paul touched on unity. Exclusion was a big deal in the early church and it’s a big deal today too. In ancient times, braided hair, gold jewels, pearls, and fancy clothing was really only available to women of wealth. The flaunting of these styles caused others to not only feel inadequate from a physical perspective but possibly even spiritually neglected by God.
We see evidence in 2 Timothy that the false doctrine being preached was a form of the modern-day prosperity gospel. It’s possible that those who were modestly dressed felt neglected by God in comparison to those who reflected wealth. It’s also possible that they assumed these people had a deeper faith because of their blessed outward appearance.
Paul debunks this type of thinking by stating that a woman with good works who worships God is what really matters. Once again, he draws their focus back to restraining personal desires in order to preserve unity in Jesus. He does not want personal preferences to become a stumbling block for weaker believers.
1 Timothy 2:11 has stirred up quite a controversy within the church today. Are women really commanded to remain silent in church? I have studied this from many angles and still do not feel that I can land on an interpretation with 100% confidence. However, I will outline some brief points to consider and weigh in on where I personally land.
Generally-speaking, two interpretations have been prescribed by scholars today.
- Women must not be permitted to teach or have authority over men within the church. Their role is that of a submissive learner. The Genesis reference in verses 13-15 would further support this theory by the fact that in the order of creation, men were created first and there were negative consequences from Eve’s deception. This view would say that Paul’s advice is universal in nature, meaning, it should be applied to all church authority structures.
- Women in Ephesus were given temporary restrainment because of the false teaching and heresy being spread in that particular church. The Genesis reference is an example of how Eve’s deception caused incredible consequences just like the deception of women (by false teachers) would do the same in Ephesus. This view is local in nature, meaning, it should be applied to the immediate context at the church in Ephesus.
First, if you read my commentary on Romans 16, you know that I believe Paul allowed women to be placed in positions of leadership within other congregations. The fact that Paul is addressing false teachers at Ephesus does play a major role in how I interpret these passages. We must also take into consideration the entire sweep of Scripture to decide if Paul’s writing here is descriptive or prescriptive. Is he describing the problem at Ephesus or is he prescribing that all women and all churches follow these instructions?
I personally land on a combination of both ideas but I lean far more to the descriptive side (Point 2). I do think there is an order of creation and that God has a specific role for each of us with the man being the “head,” however, I do not see enough consistency to validate a universal teaching that women must be silent within the church.
First, the Greek word for silence also means ‘stillness’ or ‘restfulness.’ It seems Paul wanted the women to settle down rather than sit in complete silence. This would make sense based on the fact that women, in general, led the pagan religions of Paul’s day. Upon conversion to Christianity, these same women may have brought remnants of their demonstrative rituals into the church (this definitely was happening in Corinth). I think Paul wanted Timothy to allow women to learn without being disturbed.
Furthermore, Paul had no problem with giving women authority and responsibility in well-led congregations. Lydia, Phoebe, and Priscilla all had important roles in different congregations. If there were pagan women in Ephesus who had just converted to Christianity and came into the assembly with their gold jewelry, braided hair, and loud, distracting behavior, it would make sense that Paul would want to shut that down for the sake of unity and discipleship! 1 Timothy 2 drives home a consistent truth; your allegiance to Christ and His body far outweighs your personal desires.