You Can Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

1 Timothy 2




Instructions on Worship (2:1-8)

1 In this section Paul gives Timothy instructions about worship in the church. In his instructions, Paul starts first of all with prayer. In Paul’s mind, there is nothing more important than prayer in the life of the church and in the life of the individual.

Just as true doctrine and teaching are essential for the church, so prayer is also essential. There are different kinds of prayer. The first kind that Paul mentions are requests, which are the simple statements of a desire or need. God is always ready to hear our requests. Paul then mentions prayers, a general word for private and public prayer to God. Then Paul mentions intercession, which is prayer primarily for others. Intercession is a very bold and free kind of prayer, in which the intercessor pleads with God on someone’s behalf.

Finally, Paul ends with thanksgiving, which is an important part of every prayer (see Romans 1:8; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 1:3; 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). Paul says that we must pray for all people everywhere (see Luke 6:27-28).

2 Among all the people we should pray for, Paul mentions here kings and all those in authority. Both Paul and Peter in other letters have taught that we must submit to those in authority (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17). But here Paul teaches that we must also pray for them. And we must pray not only for good leaders, but also for evil and corrupt leaders. We must pray that they will turn to God and begin to do His will, so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. The main purpose for praying for our leaders is not that we might live easy and comfortable lives, but that we might live in all godliness and holiness.

3-4 To pray for everyone (verse 1) is good in God’s sight. It pleases Him, because He wants all men to be saved—to receive SALVATION. This does not mean that God has determined that every man and woman will, in fact, be saved. It means only that God’s general desire is to see all people saved.2 God’s salvation is not for one race or nation alone—as the Jews mistakenly thought. Instead, God’s salvation is for everyone who believes. That’s why we must pray for all people, says Paul, so that they might come to a knowledge of the truth—that is, the truth of Christ—and thus find salvation (see 1 Timothy 4:910 and comment).

5-6 Christ is able to save us because He is the one mediator between God and men. Only through faith in Christ can we receive God’s pardon and be reconciled to Him (Romans 5:1).

How did Christ become our mediator? He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself. By offering Himself up, He paid the price for our sins. And that price was His own life, which He gave for us that we might be saved from punishment—from eternal death (see Mark 10:45; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:15 and comments). The testimony of Christ is that He offered Himself at the proper time to save sinners (see Galatians 4:4-5 and comment). The price or ransom that Christ paid—that is, His own life—is great enough to save all men. But all men, sadly, do not appropriate what Christ has done for them. They do not believe in Him; they refuse to obey God.

Salvation can be compared to a great feast. The feast is all prepared; but unless a man eats, he will remain hungry. Salvation can also be compared to a powerful medicine. The medicine can cure any disease; but unless a man takes the medicine, he will remain uncured.

Notice that Paul in verse 5 calls Christ the man Christ Jesus. Jesus was both fully man and fully God (Colossians 2:9). Because of this, Jesus is the sole and perfect mediator between us and God.

7 Christ came to save all people, not only Jews. For this reason, Paul was appointed to preach the Gospel of Christ to non-Jews, or GENTILES (see Galatians 2:7).

8 God wants us to pray, but He doesn’t want us to pray only with our lips. He wants us to pray also with holy hands—that is, with pure hearts. If we have kept any sin or evil in our hearts, God will not hear our prayer (Psalms 26:6-7; 66:18; Mark 7:6). If we are angry with our brother or have sinned against him in any way, we must first go to that brother and be reconciled with him; we must forgive and be forgiven. Only after that will God accept our prayers and offerings (see Matthew 5:2324).

Suitable Behavior for Women (2:9-15)

9-10 In Paul’s time, vain and worldly women used to braid their hair and tie it up with ribbons. They wore expensive jewelry and fancy clothes. Such women did this to show others how wealthy and important they were. Paul teaches here that such proud and ostentatious behavior is wrong. Rather, let women wear ordinary and suitable clothing. A woman’s finest “clothing” is her good deeds (verse 10); let her clothe herself with these (see 1 Peter 3:3-4).

11 Paul says that women must remain in submission to men. This rule applies to husbands and wives (see Ephesians 5:2224 and comment). It also applies within the church (see 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and comment).

12 Paul writes here that it is right for women to learn, but it is not right for women to teach men. In the church, women must not exercise authority over men; in this context, being a teacher implies the exercise of authority. However, Paul does not prohibit women from teaching children or other women (Titus 2:3-4).

Many Christians believe that in verses 9-12 Paul’s words refer only to the time and culture in which he lived; they say that his teaching in these verses does not apply to every culture and to every period of history. In Paul’s time, women were generally oppressed and put down by a male-dominated society. Therefore, it would obviously have been against the culture and practice of that time for women to teach men. According to this first opinion, then, Paul in these verses is simply reflecting the attitudes of his own time.

However, many other Christians disagree with this viewpoint. They say that Paul’s teaching here is for all times and for all cultures. They say that we too, in this present time, must follow what Paul wrote (see 1 Corinthians 11:5; 14:34-35; 2 Timothy 3:6-7 and comments; General Article: Women in the Church).

13 Paul now gives the reason why women should remain under the authority of men in the home and in the church: namely, because they were created after man was created. God created the first woman, Eve, from the rib of the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9). Therefore, man is the head of the woman (see 1 Corinthians 11:3 and comment).

14 Paul here gives a second reason why women should not teach and have authority over men: namely, because women are more easily deceived by false teaching than men are. In the Garden of Eden, that evil serpent Satan deceived Eve, not Adam (Genesis 3:1-6). True, Adam shared in Eve’s sin; but they fell into sin because Eve had first been deceived.

However, we cannot say on the basis of this verse that women are more sinful than men! Because even before Eve had been created, God had directly told Adam not to eat the fruit of that one particular tree (Genesis 2:16-17). Adam knew full well that it was a sin to eat that fruit; we cannot say that Eve deceived him. Adam was without excuse.

15 Because of Eve’s sin, God punished her, saying to her: “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing” (Genesis 3:16). But now Paul promises women that if they will continue in faith, love and holiness, God will preserve them through the pain of child birth. And indeed, this has proved true. From Paul’s time right down to this present time, women—to a greater degree than men—have demonstrated in their lives these three supreme qualities of faith, love, and holiness. Thus there is much truth in the saying: Women who aim for equality with men are aiming too low!