I Timothy 2
1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” I exhort therefore. The insertion
of the connecting particle “therefore” marks that this arrangement of Church
prayers is a part — as the following words, first of all, mark that it is the
first part — of that charge or administration which was now committed to
Timothy. Supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings (see the
Prayer for the Church Militant). The question naturally arises whether the
first words here used — δεήσις – deaesis – petitions; supplications -
προσευχάς – proseuchas – prayers - and ἐντεύξεις - enteuxeis - pleadings;
interecessions - have any distinctive meaning, or are merely accumulated, like
synonyms m legal documents, or various phrases in rhetorical addresses, to ensure
completeness and to add force. It is against the notion of any distinctive
meaning attaching to them that no such distinction can be supported by
actual use. In Philippians 4:6 two of the words (προσευχή and δέησις) are
used in conjunction as here with εὐχαριστία - eucharistia – thanksgiving –
with no apparent difference, both being the way of making known their requests to
God (so also Ephesians 6:18 and ch. 5:5). Again, in the ancient Liturgies, the words
δεέσθαι - deesthai – a wanting; a need; then an asking; entreaty, supplication –
and προσεύχεσθαι - proseuchesthai - praying to God - are constantly used of
the same praying. It may, however, perhaps be said that every δέησις is a προσευχή,
though every προσευχή is not a δέησις. The δέησις is a “petition” — a distinct asking
something of God, which a προσευχή need not necessarily be. It may be merely an act
of adoration, of confession, of recital of God’s mercies, and so on. So as regards
ἐντεύξεις here rendered “intercessions.” There is nothing in the
etymology or in the use of this word, which only occurs elsewhere in the
New Testament in ch.4:5, to limit the meaning of it to “intercession.” Nor
has it this meaning in the passage where it occurs in the Liturgy of St.
Clement, near the close, where God is addressed as Ὁ καὶ τῶν σιωπώντων
ἐπιστάμενος τὰς ἐντεύξεις, - Ho kai ton sioponton epistamenos tas
enteuxeis - who understandest the petitions even of those who are silent.
In some instances outside the Bible, it means “a request preferred in a personal
interview,” which is an extension of its common meaning in classical Greek of
“access,” “an interview,” “social intercourse,” or the like. But when we turn to
the use of the verb ἐντυγχάνω – entugchano – intercession - in the New Testament,
we seem to get the idea of “intercession.” Eντυγχάνειν τινι – entugchanein tini -
is to go to someone to ask him to take action against or in favor of some third
party (see Acts 25:24; Romans 11:2; 8:27-28, 34; Hebrews 7:25); and so
Chrysostom (quoted in Steph., ‘Thesaur.’) explains ἐντυχία – entuchia - to be the
action of one who applies to God to avenge him of those who have done him wrong.
So that perhaps “intercessions” is, on the whole, the best rendering here,
though an imperfect one; and would comprise the prayers for the emperor, for
the Church, for the sick, travelers, slaves, captives, etc., for the bishops,
clergy, and laity, etc., and such prayers as “Turn away from us every plot
(ἐπιβουλήν - epiboulaen – plan; plot ) of wicked men” (Liturgy of St. Mark).
ἐντυχίας primarily denotes “a lighting upon, meeting with” (akin to B); then, “a
conversation”; hence, “a petition,” a meaning frequent in the papyri; it is
a technical term for approaching a king, and so for approaching God in
“intercession”; it is rendered “prayer” in 1 Tim. 4:5; in the plural in 2:1
(i.e., seeking the presence and hearing of God on behalf of others).
For the synonymous words, see PRAYER (Vine’s Expository Dictionary
of New Testament Words)
The Regulation of Public Worship (v. 1)
The apostle gives Timothy a series of injunctions respecting the assemblies
for public worship, which sprang naturally out of the solemn charge he had
given him in the previous chapter.
therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, supplications, thanksgivings,
be made for all men.”
Ø The leading place given to prayer in this series of instructions
respecting the administration of the Church, proves its pre-eminent
importance. It is the breath of vital godliness.
o God promises to hear public prayer (II Chronicles 7:14-16);
o Christ sanctifies it by His presence (Matthew 18:20);
o the saints delight in it (Psalm 42:4);
o they are to be exhorted to the exercise of it (Hebrews 10:25);
o it is not to be conducted in an unknown tongue (I Corinthians
Ø The variety of terms in which it is here described implies the diversity
of circumstances in which God’s people are placed.
o “Petitions.” This term expresses the sense of insufficiency and need,
and may be a special form of a particular prayer.
o “Prayers.” This is prayer in general, as representing the spirit of
o “Supplications.” This signifies a closer dealing with God, a more
childlike confidence in prayer.
o “Thanksgivings.” This suggests that element which ought never to be
absent from our supplications — gratitude for past mercies.
· FOR WHOM ARE WE TO PRAY? “For all men.”
Ø It would not be acceptable prayer if we were to pray only for ourselves.
It is not Christ-like to look down with a sense of superiority upon the
mass of men as sunk in perdition.
Ø We are bound to love all men, and therefore to pray for their welfare.
Much of our happiness depends upon our identifying ourselves lovingly
· PRAYERS ARE SPECIALLY TO BE MADE FOR KINGS AND
Ø Such persons pre-eminently need our prayers.
o They wield great power for good or evil;
o they are exposed to many dangers;
o they are liable to greater temptations than other men.
Ø God has power to influence their public action.
o The hearts of kings are in His hands;
o He sets them up and He removes them (Daniel 2:21);
o He can establish their throne in righteousness and justice
Ø Kings can do much to promote the well-being of the Church of God.
“That we may pass a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and
gravity.” We should pray for kings, because they can promote our
outward peace and our inward tranquility, by restraining the bad and
encouraging the good. Kings can thus protect us in the exercise of our
religion and in the practice of godliness. Wicked kings can expose the
godly to cruel risks, and expose their gravity to unseemly perils.
Ø The duty of praying for kings is not affected by the consideration that
they are pagans, or oppressors, or persecutors.
Ø Christians will pray the more earnestly for them that God will change
their hearts. All the kings were pagans in the days of the apostle, and many
of them persecutors.
Ø It was specially necessary to enjoin prayer for kings upon Christian
communities, consisting largely of Jews who had an intense longing to
throw off the Roman yoke. It is a curious fact that it was the cessation of
prayer by the Jews on behalf of the Roman emperor that led to the final
war four years after this injunction was given by the apostle. It may have
been owing to his injunction that the Christians were not involved in the
disasters of that fatal rebellion.
2 “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet
and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” For kings, etc. The early
Liturgies closely followed these directions. “Every day, both in the evening and
the morning, we offer prayers for the whole world, for kings, and for all in authority”
(Chrysost., in lee.). So in the Liturgy of St. Mark: “Preserve our king in peace, in
virtue, and righteousness.... Subdue his enemies under him... incline him to peace
towards us and towards thy Holy Name, that in the serenity of his reign we
too may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all piety and honesty [or,
‘gravity’].” In the Liturgy of St. Clement: “Let us pray for kings and those
in authority, that they may be peaceably inclined toward us, and that we
may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all piety and honesty [or, ‘gravity’].” In
the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom: “Let us pray for our most religious and
God-protected emperors, and all their palace and court.” “We offer this
our reasonable service on behalf of our most faithful and Christian (φιλοχρίστων –
philochriston) emperors, and all their palace and court.” And in the Liturgy of
St. Basil: “Remember, Lord, our most religious and faithful kings... that in their
serenity we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity. Remember,
O Lord, all rulers and all in authority, and all our brethren in the palace, and the whole
court.” In authority – in high place (ἐν ὑπεροχῇ - en huperochae – authority;
excellency; superiority); elsewhere only in I Corinthians 2:1, where it is rendered
“excellency.” But in Romans 13:1 we have ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις -
exousiais huperechousais - “the higher powers;” and in I Peter 2:13, τῷ βασιλεῖ
ὡς ὑπερέχοντι, - to basilei hos huperechonti – “the king as supreme.”
That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty..
The prayer for the rulers is recommended (as was explained in the above extracts
from the Liturgies) in order to obtain for Christians a tranquil life, undisturbed by
persecution and molestation, in spite of their peculiar way of life. Their
wish was to be allowed to live in the faith and obedience of the gospel, “in
godliness and gravity,” without being interfered with by the heathen
magistrates. The clause in the Prayer for the Church Militant which
corresponds to this is “that under her we may be godly and quietly
governed.” Tranquil (ἤρεμος - aeremos – peaceable; tranquil); found only here
in the New Testament. The derivatives, ἠρέμιος; ἠρεμέω - aeremios; aeremeo -etc.,
are common in the Septuagint. They all apply to a still, undisturbed, life. Quiet
(ἡσύχιος - haesuchios - quiet); found only here and I Peter 3:4 in the New
Testament, and in the Septuagint in Isaiah 66:2. But the noun ἡσυχία - haesuchia –
quietness - and the verb ἡσυχάζειν - haesuchazein – quiet - are common. Godliness
(εὐσεβεία)– eusebeia - godliness). One of the words almost peculiar to the pastoral
Epistles (ch.3:16; 4:7-8; 6:3,5, 6,11; II Timothy 3:5; Titus 1:1); but elsewhere only in
Acts 3:12; II Peter 1:3, 6-7; 3:11. Cornelius was αυησεβής - auaesebaes –
devout - and so was one of the soldiers who waited upon him (Acts 10:2, 7). Ananias
was ἀνὴρ εὐσεβής - anaer eusebaes – devout man - Acts 22:12. The adverb
εὐσεβῶς - eusebos – godly - is also peculiar to the pastoral Epistles (II Timothy
3:12; Titus 2:12). Gravity - (σεμνοτής – semnotaes – gravity): so rendered also
in the Authorized Version of ch.3:4 and Titus 2:7 — the only other places in the
New Testament where it is found. So also the adjective σεμνός – semnos –
grave – ch. 3:8, 11; Titus 2:2). Elsewhere in the New Testament only in Philippians
4:8, where it is rendered “honest” in the Authorized Version, and “honorable” in
the Revised Version. In classical Greek σεμνός is properly spoken of the gods,
“august,” “venerable,” and, when applied to persons, indicates a similar quality.
Here σεμνοτής is the respectable, venerable, and dignified sobriety of a truly
A Quiet Life (v. 2)
Nothing in the gospel was revolutionary. Its aim was not to upset thrones,
but to purify all the centers of power; not to make assault at once on
polygamy and slavery, but to undermine them by the Christian spirit and
sacrifice. Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said that the sole purpose of
Christianity was to “sanctify the secular.” Prayer is here made for kings and
all in authority. Rulership there must be. Anarchy is misery. Fields must be ploughed;
grain must be stored; homes must be protected; or else weakness becomes the prey
of strength. The purpose, then, of God, in ordination of law and government, is that
we may enjoy a quiet life. To some a quiet life is the least desirable thing; but it
is the life of nature, and it is the most blessed life. How quietly the flowers
blow, the stars shine, the dew descends, the birds wing their flight, the light falls!
We need good government to preserve us from the violent, the lewd, and the
criminal. The sea of human passion is always ready to break its barriers; the
volcano would soon burst through the crust.
Quietness is the great enjoyment of life. Our happiest hours have been quiet ones —
home; by the river or the sea; in the valleys and in the forests; and in the
of God. “That we may lead,” which implies continuance.; life without trepidation;
absence of the disorders which check industry, prudence, and. enterprise
A Peaceable Life (v. 2)
Christ said, “Peace I leave with you” (John 14:27), and He intended this to be the
element in which nations and families and individuals should live. Through
faith in Him, we have peace with God, peace with our brother, and peace in
ourselves. The world delights in noise and tumult; fills its forums with
fierce discussions and debates; hangs the pictures of Wouvermans, with
their fierce battle-fields, on its walls. Some people are said to delight in
strife — to be what is called “law-thirsty;” and in quiet villages, even, you
meet with antagonisms that are fierce and frequent.
not by carnal weapons, but those that are mighty through God, and which
have the secret majesty of their power in the cross. (Romans 12:21;
II Corinthians 10:4-5)
Unquestionably the microscope shows us insects at war in the globule of
water; and the beasts of the forest meet in deadliest conflict. But man is to
triumph over himself; reason is to be lord over passion, and CHRIST
IS TO BE LORD OVER ALL!
disputation are, there the atmosphere is destructive of all holy, happy life.
under which they rose. (Democracies are said to last around 200 years
and perhaps that is why we are crumbling – CY – 2013)
He came to fulfill the angels’ song, “Peace on earth, and good will to man;”
and one day, by His cross, He will draw all hearts unto Himself!
Moral Loveliness (v. 2)
“In all godliness and honesty.”
Rousseau remarks, “A country cannot well subsist without liberty, nor
liberty without virtue.” Peaceable lives must be godly lives. The safety of a
nation is not “lions chained,” but “lions turned to lambs.” Modern
sociology thinks it can do without godliness. It has invented some
philosophy of morals of its own; some ideal of utility called “the greatest
good of the greatest number.” Philosophers may understand it, but
common people cannot. So much depends on what is meant by “the
greatest good.” For if you exclude the soul, the greatest good is only a
SECULAR PARADISE and that is death to all the heroism which can
deny itself earthly pleasure for the sake of high spiritual ends. By “godliness”
we understand God-likeness in men. Some talk of seraphic holiness; we
prefer the old word “godliness.” Let a seraph be a seraph; we want to be
men. It is not wise for children to sing, “I want to be an angel;” they
should want to be good children. We want godliness; purity like
God’s; pity like God’s; fidelity like God’s; holiness like God’s.
“Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44-45)
fine ideas of spirituality that set at naught common morality must find
honor amongst us. While our hearts are in heaven, our feet are upon the
Ø We must be honest to our convictions; act out what we think;
dare to be true to ourselves.
Ø We must be honest in word; dealing in good coin; not pretending to be
what we are not. Better honest silver than counterfeit gold.
Ø We are to be honest in deed. Whether we build, or buy, or sell, whether
we paint with the artist, or mingle in the marts of commerce, we are to
see to it that the stamp of honesty is on all we do. For all this we
are to pray; for there is a great sky over us all, and A GREAT
FATHER IN HEAVEN AND A GREAT SAVIOUR in whose
Name we may pray. So life will be peaceful and holy;
based upon the granite rock, but bathed in the delicate haze of the
firmament of heaven; solidity clothed with beauty; and He to whom
we pray heareth us always.
3 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;”
Acceptable (ἀπόδεκτον)– apodekton welcome); only here and ch. 5:4 in the New
Testament, and in one doubtful passage in
in Plutarch. The verb ἀποδέχομαι – apodechomai - to receive gladly, is
frequently used by Luke (Acts 2:41 – the word contains in itself the idea of a kind
reception — a welcome). God our Savior (see ch.1:1 and Luke 1:47; Titus 1:3;
2:10, 13; 3:4; II Peter 1:1; Jude 1:25, by which it appears that the phrase is confined
to the pastoral among Paul’s Epistles). In the Old Testament the phrase occurs
frequently (see II Samuel 22:3; Psalm 106:21; Isaiah 43:3; 45:21).
4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the
knowledge of the truth.” All men, etc.; to show that it
is in accordance with God’s will to pray for “all men” (v. 1). (For the
doctrinal statement, comp. v. 6; Titus 2:11; II Peter 3:9)
The Beneficial and Acceptable Nature of Such Universal Prayer
“For this is good and acceptable before God our Savior.”
· SUCH PRAYER FOR ALL SORTS OF MEN IS GOOD. It is good:
Ø Because it springs from a good motive, a loving interest in our fellowmen.
Ø Because it is directed to a good end, the promotion of their highest
Ø Because it is a divinely commanded duty.
· SUCH PRAYER IS ACCEPTABLE BEFORE GOD OUR SAVIOR.
It meets God’s highest approval because it is in accordance with his own
gracious designs toward the sons of men.
· REASON OR GROUND FOR THIS UNIVERSALITY OF OUR
PUBLIC PRAYERS. It is good and acceptable “before God our Savior,
who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the
truth.” He wills that all men should be saved, therefore we should pray for
all men. Our prayers will thus be in conformity with His wilt.
Ø Consider the nature of the salvation here described.
o It is not mere salvation from intellectual error, for it is that which is
involved in “the full knowledge of the truth.”
o It is not mere salvability, as if He made the salvation of all men possible.
o It is not salvation merely offered for man’s acceptance, but salvation
actually obtained and enjoyed. The immediate end is “the knowledge
of the truth,” the ultimate end salvation in its completeness.
Ø Consider the relation of the Divine will to this salvation. “Who will
have all men to be saved.”
o There is nothing in the language to justify the theory of Universalists
that all men will ultimately be saved.
§ The apostle uses the term θέλει – theli – is willing, not the
stronger term βουλέται – bouletai which implies will with
a purpose or intent.
§ If he had used the term σῶζαι – sozai - He must have
saved all; but the word is σωθῆναι – sothaenai – to be
saved, implying His will that they should be brought, through
the knowledge of the truth, to salvation.
§ If we are to interpret the will of God by his providence,
we must understand it in consistency with the fact that the
large majority of mankind have never heard of salvation
and have no knowledge of it.
§ It must be remembered that many must have failed to reach this
salvation before Christ died at all.
o The language of universality is consistent with other language of
§ Christ says, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto
me” (John 12:32); “All men shall see the salvation of the
Lord” (Luke 3:6). The Messiah “shall pour out His Spirit
upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28). Christ “died for all,” and He
may therefore be truly called Salvator hominum (Saviour
of men). He died for all to arrest the immediate execution
of the sentence of the Law upon man for sin; to obtain for
him unnumbered blessings in this life, that He might secure
a proper foundation for the offer of salvation through His
§ But the design of God in the death of Christ had not the same
relation to all. He is “the Savior of all, but especially of them
that believe.” (ch. 4:10) HE IS THE SAVIOUR OF:
ü of His people,
ü of His Church,
ü of the elect.
§ The language of universality used in the passage was suggested
by way of contrast to the restrictiveness of Gnostic teaching,
which led the apostle to say to the Colossians that his aim was
“to present every man perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:27-28);
perhaps, likewise, the restrictiveness of a narrow Judaism,
for he emphasizes in the context his mission as “a teacher
of the Gentiles.” There is deep mystery in God’s counsels.
But he here sets forth his good will to man, and charges it
on the conscience of believers to pray that ALL WITHOUT
EXCEPTION should be brought to the knowledge of the
5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus;” For there is one God, etc. The connection of ideas
indicated by γὰρ – gar – for - seems to be this: Pray to God for all men,
Jews and Gentiles, barbarians, Scythians, bond and free. For this is good and
acceptable in the sight of the one God, who is the God of all the nations of the
earth. And God wills that all should come to the knowledge of the truth as it is
in Jesus, because Jesus Christ is the One Mediator between God and all men,
BY WHOM ALONE men can come to the Father, and who gave Himself
a ransom for all. One Mediator. The term μεσίτης – mesitaes – mediator –
is only applied to our Savior in the New Testament here and in Hebrews 8:6; 9:15;
12:24. In the only other passage where Paul uses it (Galatians 3:19-20) it is
applied to Moses the mediator of the Old Testament. In the Septuagint it only
occurs in Job 9:33. The man Christ Jesus. The human nature of our Lord is
here insisted upon, to show how fit He is to mediate for man, as His Godhead fits
Him to mediate with God.
6 “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
The testimony to be borne in its own times for to be testified in
due time, Authoriized Version. Τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδιοις - to marturion kairois
idiois – the testimony to eras - This phrase is somewhat obscure, and is
differently explained. But the most literal rendering and the best sense seems
to be: “ The testimony, at its proper time, to which I was appointed a preacher
and an apostle,” meaning that the mediation and redemption of Jesus Christ
was the subject-matter of that testimony which, he, Paul was appointed to bear
at the proper time. Τὸ μαρτύριον εἰς ὃ - to marturion... eis ho (of the
next verse) must be taken together, without any intervening stop. This accounts for
the article τό. The exactly parallel place is Titus 1:1-2, as a close comparison of
the two passages will show. A further proof of the identity of thought in the two
passage’s is the recurrence in both of the phrase, ἐπιγνωσις ἀληθείας -
epignosis alaetheias – acknowledging of the truth. A ransom (ἀντίλυτρον –
antilutron - ransom ; here only in the New Testament, but it is used perhaps
by Symmachus in Psalm 48:9 (49., Authorized Version), where the Septuagint, has
τιμὴν τῆς λυτρώσεως τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ - Gaen timaen taes lutrosteos taes psuchaes
autou – for the redemption of their life is costly, no payment is ever enough - following
the reading יְקַר, instead of יֵקַר as in the Hebrew text. “What means a ransom? They
were about to perish, BUT IN THEIR STEAD HE GAVE HIS SON, and sent us as
heralds to proclaim the cross” (Chrysostom). The equivalent word in the
Gospels is ἀντάλλαγμα – antallagma – exchange - Matthew 16:26;
Mark 8:87). Ἀντίλυτρον –- antilutron – substitutionary ransom - does not
seem to differ materially in meaning from λύτρον – lutron – ransom - the common
classical word (i.e. redemption money), and used by our Lord of His own life given
as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). It is the price given as an
equivalent for setting free the prisoner, or sparing the forfeited life; λυτρόω –-
lutroo –( Luke 24:21, etc.), λύτρωσις – lutrosis - (Luke 1:68, etc.), λυτρωτής –-
lutrotaes – (Acts 7:35), ἀπολύτρωσις – apolutrosis – (Luke 21:28; Romans
3:24, and passim), have all the sense of “redeem,” “redemption,” and the
like. In due time. The notion of a time specially appointed for Christ’s
coming into the world is frequently dwelt upon in Scripture; e.g.
Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; Hebrews 1:2 (camp. Acts 17:30-31;
II Corinthians 6:2). (See the same phrase, ch.6:15.)
The Self-Giving of Christ (v. 6)
“Who gave himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” We are
indebted to the slavery of Paul’s time for the use of the word “ransom.”
So literature, in its words, enshrines history. We cannot make a perfect
theory of the Atonement. Many have tried. Some have taken the idea of
slavery; some have taken the idea of debt. There has been the
“commercial” theory, and the “legal” theory; but no theory is complete
that does not contain all the ideas. That we are the slaves of sin, and that
Christ ransoms us, is the great doctrine of the gospel.
What is the great study of the dying Roman age? SELFISHNESS!
The patricians, wrapped up in togas, saw, in the Colosseum, the
gladiators fall to amuse them. The great generals brought home as
slaves — physicians, musicians, and workmen, and used them as good
its own homes. Not only the humanity of that age, but the HUMANITY
OF EVERY AGE WITHOUT CHRIST tends to self-ism. The
Teaching of the cross is the only social philosophy. It does
not take. It leaves men to the personal use of their gifts and possessions;
but it says, “Give yourself — your purest ideals, your best impulses,
your noblest powers, for the good of others.”
held men by the throat, and not by the heart; and they were lifted to
Caesarship by the Praetorian guards. They rose and fell by the sword; and
the dagger or the
the Savior, “saying that he also Himself is Christ, a King” — an
unconscious prophecy, and yet how true! His kingdom came without
observation (Luke 17:20); it was an empire within the heart; it was not in
word, but in power; it was not with observation, but it silently grew like
the mustard seed. Its foundation was in this, “HE GAVE HIMSELF!” —
His exquisite sensibilities, His sacred energies, His unwearied endurance,
His contact with shame and scorn; and then, on the cross, He died, “THE
JUST for the unjust, to bring us to God.” (I Peter 3:18)
7 “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the
truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and
verity.” I was ordained (placed;appointed). It is quite in Paul’s manner
thus to refer to his own apostolic mission (see Romans 1:5; 11:13; 15:16;
I Corinthians 1:1, 17; 3:10; II Corinthians 5:18; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 3:2, 8;
and many other places). A preacher (κήρυξ – kaerux – a herald) as in
IITimothy 1:11). So Mark 16:15, “Preach the gospel” is Κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον –
kaeruxate to euaggelion and in v. 20, “They... preached everywhere” is
'Eκήρυξαν πανταχοῦ - Ekaeruxan pantachou - and II Timothy 4:2, “Preach the
word” is Κήρυξον τὸν λόγον – Kaeruxon ton logon - and generally it is the word
rendered “preach.” It combines the idea of authority in the preacher who is the
authorized herald (Romans 10:15), and publicity for his message (Matthew 10:27;
Luke 12:3). I speak the truth, etc. The reason for this strong asseveration of his
office as the apostle of the Gentiles is not at first sight apparent. But it was probably
made in view of the antagonism of the Judaizing teachers referred to in ch.1:3, 19-20
(compare Romans 11:13; 15:15-16).
Universalism (vs. 1-7)
· UNIVERSALITY IN OUR APPEARING BEFORE GOD ON BEHALF
Ø Broad teaching. “I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications,
prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men.” This is the first
duty which pressed upon the apostle’s mind, as claiming attention. If a
priest is one who acts for others, then there is here required of us priestly
service, which is only in accordance with our being called, in I Peter 2:5,
a holy priesthood. Our priestly service is here regarded as twofold.
o Prayer for all. For the sake of emphasis and fullness three words are
used to denote prayer, which a Greek would be better able to
distinguish than we can do now.
§ The first word “supplications” seems to mark the
state of need out of which petitions take their rise.
§ The second word “prayers” seems to mark our
approaching God with our petitions.
§ The third word “intercessions” seems to mark the
urgent way in which we are to approach God with
An intercessory character is given to all three by the accompanying
words. It is right that we should turn our wants into petitions for
ourselves, that we should approach God with these petitions, and
that we should press them with all urgency. But there is a range of
want beyond ourselves which we are here directed to cover by
intercession. We are to turn the wants of others into intercessions for
them; with our intercessory petitions we are to go to the throne of grace,
and we are to press them there with all the urgency of which we are
capable. We are not to be so selfish as to think only of ourselves in
our prayers. The Spirit, even in the way of blessing us, would direct
us away from ourselves to what others need. But for whom are we to
intercede? This is the point to which the teaching of the apostle
specially refers. It is certainly our duty to intercede for our family and
friends. “He that provideth not for his own, and specially for those
of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
(ch. 5:8) And, if we do not take the wants of our own before God,
we are not acting the natural part, which is to be expected of us as
Christians. But there is also a family selfishness, from which, if we
would have the larger blessing, we must be freed in our prayers.
“O God, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly
beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest
be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health
unto all nations.” We are not to be prevented from interceding for
others by reason of their ill desert. God has shown us Abraham, that
prince of the elder covenant, using his privilege on behalf of
undeserving Lot, and
on behalf of ungodly
shown us His afflicted patriarch Job under direction to pray for the
uncharitable Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad. They were to offer sacrifice;
but God said, “My servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I
accept.” (Job 42:8) “We are to pursue the sinner with love; we are to
weave around the impenitent a network of prayer from which he may
find it hard to extricate himself.” We are not to allow obscurity or
distance to separate us from souls. Surely we are entitled to convey
our prayers to the most forgotten soul in this world. Roman Catholic
writers are to be commended for the stress they lay on the ties which
unite us to the great human society in which God has placed us. It is
not their truth, for it is simply the spirit of our being here enjoined to
offer up prayer for all men. We are to think of ourselves as belonging
to a great world of need, belonging to it more than we do to ourselves;
and we belong to it in this way, that we are bound to pray for it with
all earnestness that the ends of Christ may be advanced in it; thus,
we believe, making our influence felt in circle after circle to its utmost
o Thanksgiving for all. It is the frequent teaching of the apostle that
thanksgiving is to accompany the presentation of petitions. We are
not to be so much taken up with our wants as to forget our mercies.
While, then, we are to be quick to see the wants of others, we are
also to be quick to see their mercies. And while we turn their wants
into intercessions, we are to turn their mercies into thanksgivings.
But for whom are we to thank God? We are especially to give thanks
for those who are bound up with us in the family unity, if they are
free from calamity, and more so if they are the subjects of saving grace.
There may be those in our homes who cannot thank God for themselves,
and we are to do this for them. But we are to give our thanksgivings a
wider sweep, We are to give thanks for our neighbor, even when he
may bear us a grudge, even when his interests may seem to conflict
with ours. We are to get beyond all that would narrow our
souls, and lay hold upon this, that God sees fit to bless him; and why
should we begrudge the Giver His due of praise? We are to thank God
for those who are sensible of their mercies, and are not remiss
themselves in thanking God. We do not need to be afraid of God
receiving too much gratitude for mercies bestowed. If there are those
who are ungrateful for mercies and do not give God the glory, it is
meet that we, who have a right understanding of things and are
jealous of God’s glory, should see that He is not robbed of His
sacrifice of praise (“the calves of our lips” – Hosea 14:2 – CY –
2019). Our thanksgiving is to extend far beyond our knowledge.
We are to seize the spirit of universality which the apostle here
teaches. “Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy
servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy
goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men.” A requirement
for both parts of this priestly work is, that we take pains to acquaint
ourselves with the men that dwell on the earth, and with what is
taking place among them. A second requirement is that we open our
hearts to their needs and mercies. By intelligence and large-
heartedness, our work shall answer its end, viz. the calling down
of blessing on men.
o Special teaching. “For kings and all that are in high place; that we
may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.” We
are to understand the highest and the subordinate representatives of
authority in the state. Our duty branches out in the same way as before.
§ Prayer for kings and magistrates. We are to pray for them
especially in their official capacity, that they may be enabled
faithfully to discharge the duties of their office, and to glorify
§ Thanksgiving for kings and magistrates. In this land we can
give unfeigned thanks to God that we enjoy so largely the
blessings of good government. (One of the many penalties
from an apostasy from God is “poor leadership”. CY –
2019) The public recognition of kings and magistrates would
be conducive to their leading a tranquil and quiet life (The
Old Testament equivalence to “But they shall sit every
man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall
make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath
spoken it.” (Micah 4:4)
his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to
* Read: Jeremiah 23:5-8
* Read: Zechariah 3:1-10 (compare Isaiah 66:8)
* Compare the words of Rabshakeh in Isaiah 36:13-21
* Read Psalm 81:8-16
“Our churches don’t need more coffee bars, laser lights,
Cool worship songs, celebrity pastors, and topical sermons on
HAVING YOUR BEST LIFE NOW!
We need men who will teach the whole Word of God,
who will magnify Jesus above all else,
Who won’t minimize sin, but call people to repent,
And who will make it clear that
JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE SAVED
And without faith in Him, you will not go to heaven!
* The first words ("kings - all in authority") point to the state
not using its power against them.
* The second words ("we may lead a quiet and peaceable life
in all godliness and honesty")point to their not provoking
a collision with the state.
By the course enjoined, a right impression would go abroad
regarding them, that they were not decriers of dignities, nor
secret plotters against the existing form of government. It was
good advice which was given to the Jews of the Captivity:
“Seek the peace of the city, whither I have caused you to
be carried away captives, and Pray unto the Lord for it:
for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that
love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within
thy palaces. For my brethren and companion sakes, I will
now say, Peace be unto thee." (Psalm 122:6-8) So the
good advice of the apostle here saved the Christians (in
(and it will for you "upon whom the ends of the world
are come." (I Corinthians 10:11) They could follow the
quiet course in all godliness and gravity.
* The first word ("qodliness") points to the habit of the
Christian’s mind, which is that he has a regard to the
will of God in all things.
* The second word ("honesty") points to his having a
regard to the propriety of things, which is “the appropriate
setting of higher graces and virtues.” Not mere policy,
but the God-regarding habit, and the sense of propriety,
kept the Christians in the quiet course.
o Motive. “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”
The intermediate reference is brought in to illustrate the universality
of our service for others. This service in its universality is
recommended, as having a high excellence in itself. Moreover,
it is peculiarly pleasing to God in His character as Savior, which
is to be further brought out. Even Rousseau is our teacher of
universality. “The good man,” he says, “plans his life with a
reference to the whole, while the wicked man would gladly
order all things with reference to himself. The latter makes
himself the center of all things, the other orders all with
reference to a common Center, even to God.”
· UNIVERSALITY OF THE PURPOSE OF SALVATION. “Who
willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the
truth.” It would be making feebleness of the words to suppose the
apostle’s idea to be that God is willing that all men should be saved, as it is
plainly dogmatic prejudice that accounts for Calvin’s assertion that the
apostle is thinking, not of individuals, but of classes of men. It is a great
truth, of which we are not to be robbed, that OF EVERY MAN IT
CAN BE SAID THAT GOD WILLETH THAT HE SHOULD BE SAVED!
We are to think of His will as in a state of active volition. It was in this state
when, in the depths of eternity, he formed the purpose of our salvation.
(Revelation 13:8) It is in this state now when, in the pleadings of the exalted
Christ, in the workings of the Spirit, in all the dealings of Providence, He is
seeking to secure the condition of our salvation, viz. our coming to the
knowledge of the truth. We are to understand not mere intellectual
knowledge, but experimental knowledge by our laying hold by faith
upon our Representative, and coming to know in our experience that
there is salvation in Him. This His active volition is directed toward all;
it cannot Be said that He desires the salvation of one more than of another.
He uses means, not towards one here and another there, but towards all
alike coming to the knowledge of the truth, AND FINDING AMPLE
AND EVERLASTING SHELTER IN HIS LOVE! And if it is so with God,
it is made plain as it could not otherwise be, that we are not to narrow down
our petitions and thanksgivings (which are expressive of active volition) to
a little circle of our own, but are to widen them out even toward all men.
· UNIVERSALITY OF THE DISPENSATION OF SALVATION.
Ø Presided over by the one God. “For there is one God.” The pagan idea
was that there were many gods. There was a god for every nation, a god
for every small community, a god for every household. The god so
attached was supposed to be devoted to the interests of his devotees, in
preference or even in opposition to the interests of all others. What was
that but breaking up the race into factions, and under the most powerful
example? We have a much nobler conception — all men under one God,
and not different men under different gods. As we are all under the
canopy of heaven, so we are all under the same canopy of the Divine
love. “Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles?
Yes, of the Gentiles also.” (Romans 3:29) "And hath made of one
blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and
hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their
habitation. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel
after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of
us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;" (Acts
“The great God that loveth all,
Hath made both great and small.”
Ø That shuts out all clashing of administration. As all are under the same
Divine government, so all are governed on the same impartial, universal
principles, and governed toward the one end of their salvation.
Ø In the hands of the one Mediator. “One Mediator also between God
and men, Himself man, Christ Jesus.” A mediator is one who acts
between two. Christ Jesus is here said to be Mediator between God
and man. God, as it were, allows the administration to go out of His
hands, but it does not suffer in doing so; for it passes into the hand,
not of many mediators with many administrations, but into the hands
of ONE MEDIATOR, by which there is preserved the grand equality
and universality of the administration. Christ could mediate on the
Divine side, being God Himself, thus carrying into the administration
the whole mind of Him whom He represented. The remarkable thing
which alone is noted was that, to mediate on the human side,
He became man, being linked not to some men, BUT TO ALL
MEN so that His mediation could be in the interest, not of some,
BUT OF ALL! It is matter for solemn thought to every man that
Christ is linked to him, and linked to him with a view — according
to the whole spirit of the administration — to his being saved.
· UNIVERSALITY OF THE RANSOM. “Who gave himself a Ransom
for all.” If the language had been that Christ gave Himself for all, there
would not have been excluded the idea of substitution. But emphasis is
given to this idea by the word which is translated “ransom.” It is literally
“loosing-price instead of.” It is implied that we were captives, hopelessly
bound in the consequences of our sins. Not able to do anything for
ourselves, we needed to be indebted to a substitute. The price our
Substitute paid as ransom was Himself, i.e. His life, which, being the life of
Him who was God as well as man, was more than equal to the lives of all
men together. Such is the way — not to be too much literalized — in
which the truth is conveyed here. The stress of the thought is to be laid on
all. Time was when it was considered dangerous to say that Christ died for
all. The apostle does not shrink from it, neither here nor where his
language is that “Christ tasted death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9)
It adds a deep solemnity to the
existence of a man that THIS PRICE HAS
BEEN PAID FOR HIM! How shall he get rid of the obligation incurred,
unless by doing as the captive does for whose ransom the stipulated money
has been paid? As the captive goes forth into the possession of freedom,
grateful to his redeemer, so let each of us go forth into the possession
of our freedom in Christ, grateful to Him as having REDEEMED
US BY HIS BLOOD!
· UNIVERSALITY OF THE TESTIMONY. “The testimony to be borne
in its own times.” It is generally assumed that the reference is to the
universal proclamation of the gospel. But there is this to be considered,
that what is to be witnessed to is, that Christ Jesus gave Himself a Ransom
for all, i.e. ALL:
Ø that ever lived,
Ø that live now, or
Ø shall ever live.
And this does not seem to be properly witnessed to or borne out merely by
the men of a distant time, or of distant times or ages, all having the knowledge
of the gospel. It is better not to fix down the manner of the testimony, but to
allow the verse to remain in its own universality, to have its due weight as
one of many verses that bear upon the same point. There is suggested —
not more than suggested — some great testimony to THE UNIVERSALITY
OF THE RANSOM! We cannot tell what the testimony will be, as it is
here, for good reason, not condescended on. It is not borne now, but it is
to be borne — it may be after long ages — yet in its own times.
· PAUL’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE
TESTIMONY. “Whereunto I was appointed a preacher and an apostle
(I speak the truth, I lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”
Paul was privileged in his day — before the arrival of the times — to help
forward the demonstration of the universal ransom. For this he was
appointed a preacher, literally a herald, i.e. one that cried aloud in the
Name of Christ and spared not. He was also appointed to the high office of
apostle, with which is connected the double asseveration, “I speak the
truth, I lie not.” We cannot think of it being made thus strong for the sake
of Timothy, but for the sake of some who were to be reached through
Timothy. He was further appointed a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and
truth. In this he overstepped Jewish limits, and was entering as far as he
could into the universality of the gospel. And what he called upon men
everywhere to do was TO BELIEVE, the object of their faith being
THE TRUTH THAT CHRIST DIED FOR THEM AND FOR ALL!
Reasons for This Universality of Prayer
in the Relation of All Men to God and Christ (vs. 5-7)
“For there is one God, one Mediator also between God and men, the man,
Christ Jesus.” The salvation of men cannot, therefore, be to us a matter of
· THE RELATION OF ALL MEN TO GOD. The unity of God is
consistent with all differences of dispensation. “There is one providence
belonging to the one God.” The apostle tells the Romans that, “as God is
one,” He is the God of the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Romans 3:30).
There is, indeed, “one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4-5). The
apostle also says, “The mediator” (Moses) “is not of one” — one seed, i.e.
including Jew and Gentile, for Moses had nothing, to do with the Gentile
— but God is one, in relation to Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:20). In
these passages the apostle sets forth THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE
GOSPEL OFFER! But in the text he infers the universality of the
Divine good will from the provisions made for man’s salvation.
· THE RELATION OF ALL MEN TO THE MEDIATOR. “One
Mediator also between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus.”
Ø There is but one Mediator. The Gnostic mediation of angels is,
therefore, excluded (Colossians 2:15, 18). Likewise the mediation
of saints and angels, as held by the Church of Rome. This idea is
dishonoring to THE ONLY MEDIATOR. There is no Scripture for
the distinction made between a mediator of redemption (Christ) and
mediators of intercession (saints and angels).
Ø The Mediator was man as well as God.
o He was truly man, in opposition to the Docetic notion
that He did not possess a real human nature.
o He was God as well as man in His Mediatorship, in
opposition to the Roman Catholic theory that He only
mediated in His human nature. The design of this error
is to make way for human mediators. It is said to be
absurd to conceive of Christ as God mediating between
sinners and Himself.
§ We answer that the Divine nature operated in
Christ’s priestly work as well as the human, for
“He through the eternal Spirit” (His own Spirit)
“offered Himself to God” (Hebrews 9:14).
§ If He did not mediate in His Divine nature as well
as His human nature, He could not have been in any
sense Mediator of the Old Testament saints,
because their redemption was completed before
He came in the flesh. The human nature is naturally
emphasized because of the work of suffering and
death which is here ascribed to Him.
o The passage does not imply that Christ was not God. He is
elsewhere frequently called God and true God, but here
there is a necessary reference to the catholic doctrine of a
subordination of office.
o The reference to the mediatorship brings up the idea of a
covenant between God and man. Christ is the Head of
humanity, the new Man, the Lord from heaven, able to
restore the lost relationship between God and man.
o The mediatory agency is wrought through Christ’s sufferings
and death. “Who gave Himself a Ransom for all.”
§ This proves that all the blessings of redemption come
from the death of Christ, not merely from His incarnation.
§ He voluntarily gave Himself as the Victim, yet He is
“God’s unspeakable Gift.” (II Corinthians 9:15)
§ His death was strictly substitutionary. The words of
the apostle resemble those of our Lord Himself —
“He gave Himself a Ransom for many” (Matthew
20:28). He was thus the Substitute contemplated by
the apostle as the Messiah who had obtained from
the Father the heritage of all families and nations
of the earth, not Jews alone, but Gentiles.
testimony to be borne in its own times.”
Ø Thus the death of Christ is the great message to be carried to all
the world. It is not His birth, or His example, or His truth, but,
above all, what is the completion of them all — HIS DEATH
Ø It is to be preached in all times till THE SECOND COMING
OF THE LORD!
Ø The apostle’s own relation to this testimony. “Whereunto I was
appointed a herald and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not);
a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” Thus the universality
of THE REMEDIAL SCHEME (planned before the foundation
of the world - see Revelation 13:8) is represented by the very
mission of the apostle himself. He was “a herald” to proclaim the
glad tidings here; “an apostle” — let men say what they will, he
is an apostle, therefore THE SURPASSING IMPORTANCE OF
HIS MESSAGE — and “a teacher of the Gentiles” — to mark the
world-embracing character of his gospel — “in faith and truth,”
to signalize respectively the subjective and the objective elements
in which his apostleship was to find its appropriate sphere
8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath
and doubting.” I will, (I desire) etc. He takes up the subject again which
he had opened in v. 1, but had somewhat digressed from in vs. 4-7, and gives further
directions as to the persons who are to make the prayers spoken of in v. 1, viz. men
(τοὺς ἄνδρας – tous andras), not women, as it follows more at large in vs. 9-15.
The stress is clearly upon “men” (or, “the men”). The prayers had been already
ordered in v. 1; the additional detail, that they were to be offered by men, is now
added. “every where”; not, as Chrysostom thinks, in contrast to the Jewish worship,
which was confined to the temple at
Christian congregation is assembled. Lifting up holy hands. (compare
Psalm 26:6; 28:2; 44:20; 63:4; II Chronicles 6:12-13). Without wrath. It appears
from several passages in Chrysostom that the habit of praying angry prayers was
not unknown in his day. “Do you pray against your brother? But your prayer is not
against him, but against yourself. You provoke God by uttering those impious
words, ‘Show him the same;’ ‘So do to him;’ ‘Smite him;’ ‘Recompense
him;’ and much more to the same effect” (‘Hom.’ 6.). In ‘Hom.’ 8. his
comment on this passage is: “Without bearing malice.... Let no one approach
God in enmity, or in an unsalable temper.” And doubting (disputing;
διαλογισμοῦ ~ - dialogismou – disputing). The exact meaning of διαλογισμός
is perhaps best seen in Luke 5:21-22, where both the verb and the substantive are
used. The διαλογισμοὶ are cavillings, questionings proceeding from a captious,
unbelieving spirit. They are διαλογισμοὶ πονηροὶ - dialogismoi ponaeroi –
evil thoughts; reasonings - (Matthew 15:19). The word is always used in a bad
sense in the New Testament. Forms of prayer were not yet established in the Church,
but these cautions show the need of them.
9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest
apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair,
or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” In like manner – The apostle here
passes on to the duties of women as members of the congregation, and he places
first modesty of demeanor and dress, the contrary to these being likely to
prove a hurt and a hindrance to their fellow-worshippers. Adorn themselves
in modest apparel. This is obviously the true construction, κοσμεῖν - kosmein –
adorn; decorous - (from which we get the word cosmetics) depending upon
βούλομαι – boulomai – I will; I am intending. There is a little doubt as to
the exact meaning of καταστολή - katastolae – apparel; raiment; clothing –
here, the only place where it occurs in the New Testament. Alford argues strongly
in favor of the meaning “apparel.” But it may also mean “steadiness” or
“quietness” of demeanor; and then the phrase will be exactly parallel to
I Peter 3:5, “The incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit.”
And the meaning will be, “Let Christian women adorn themselves with a
decent and well-ordered quietness of demeanor, in strict accordance with
[or, ‘together with’] shame-fastness and sobriety [μετά - meta - ‘in strict
accord with,’ or ‘together with’] not with braided hair,” etc. A woman’s true
ornament is not the finery which she gets from the milliner, but the chaste
discretion which she has from the Spirit of God. Modest (κόσμιος - kosmios); only
found in the New Testament here and in ch.3:2, where it is rendered “of good
behavior” in the Authorized Version, and “modest” in the margin, “orderly” in the
Revised Version. It is common in classical Greek in the sense of “well-ordered,”
“well-behaved.” Shamefacedness (αἰδώς – aidos – modesty; bashfulness).
Sobriety (σωφροσύνη – sophrosunae – sobriety; sound judgment) as in
v. 15, q.v.); soundness, health, purity, and integrity of mind. Braided hair
(πλέγμασιν – plegmasin - braids); found only here in the New Testament, but
plakeis – plait; twine; braid - of the Septuagint, in Isaiah 28:5, for צְפִירָה, a
“diadem,” or “twined garland.” In classical Greek πλέγματα are anything
twined, tendrils of the vine, wickerwork, chaplets, etc. The corresponding
word in I Peter 3:3 is ἐμπλοκὴ τριχῶν – emplokae trichon - “plaiting the hair.”
Costly array (raiment) (ἱματισμῷ πολυτελεῖ - himatismo polutelei –
costly clothes). For ἱματισμὸς, compare Luke 7:25; 9:29; Acts 20:33;
Psalm 45:10, “dressed in gold of Ophir” - Septuagint; etc., which show that the
word is used κατ ἐξοχήν - kat exochaen - of any splendid garment. Πολυτελής,
- polutelaes – costly; expensive - (see Mark 14:3; I Peter. 3:4, and frequently in
the Septuagint). Peter manifestly had this passage before him from the marked verbal
coincidences, as well as close similarity of thought (ἐμπλοκή χρύσιον κόσμος ἱμάτιον –
emplokae chrusion kosmos himation – braiding; gold; adorning garments – (v.9) –
πολυτελής ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι – polutelaes agathopoiousai – costly; well-doing –
compared with δι ἔργων ἀγαθῶν – di ergon agathon - by good works – (v. 10),
ἡσυχία ὑποταγή - haesuchia hupotagae – quietness; subjection – v. 11 –
(compared ὑποτασσόμεναι - hupotassomenai – in subjection – (I Peter 3:5),
ἁγαίαι γυναῖκες etc.– hagaiai gunaikes – holy women (Ibid.) - compared with
ἐπαγγελλόμεναις θεοσέβειαν – epaggellomenais theosebeian – professing godliness;
reverence for God (v.10). (See reference to Paul in II Peter 3:15-16.)
The Conduct of Public Prayer by Men (v. 8)
The apostle now proceeds to indicate the persons by whom public prayer is
to be conducted, and the spirit which is to govern this part of public
· PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLIES IS TO BE CONDUCTED
BY MEN. “I wish then that prayer be made in every place by men.”
Ø It is for men to manage and direct the public services of the Church; it
is for women to take a more quiet though not less real place in worship. As
woman had been emancipated by the gospel — for there were no longer
“male and female” in Christ — and as she had taken such a prominent
place in ministering to Christ, the apostles, and the saints, there may have
been a disposition on the part of female converts to assert themselves
in the public life of the Church at
apostle expresses not a mere wish or desire, but, what is equivalent to a
solemn command, that the men alone should be responsible for the conduct
of the public services. The injunction does not affect the right or duty of
women to conduct prayer in private life or in meetings of their own sex.
Ø Prayer is to be made in every place. This rule is to obtain in all public
assemblies of the saints, wherever held. There is, perhaps, a recollection of
our Lord’s words that there is to be no restriction of prayer to one holy
place (John 4:21).
· THE SPIRIT AND MANNER IN WHICH PUBLIC PRAYER IS TO
BE CONDUCTED. “Lifting up holy hands without wrath or disputing.”
Ø The posture must be reverent. It was customary for the Jews to pray
with uplifted hands. It was likewise the general attitude adopted by the
early Christians. It was the attitude significant:
o of the elevation of the heart to God;
o of the expectation of an answer from heaven.
Ø The uplifted hands must be holy. They must be hands unstained by vice.
“Cleanse your hands, purify your hearts” (James 4:8). The hands must
from any sin that would render prayer unacceptable to God. “
you, make you clean” (Isaiah 1:16).
Ø Prayer should be free from all passionate feeling. “Without wrath and
disputing.” Perhaps arising from religious altercation or debate. Prayer
belongs to the peaceful heart. Faith and love are its two sustaining
principles, and exclude the idea of passion against our fellow-men.
Modest Adornment (v. 9)
“That women adorn themselves in modest apparel.” The gospel never
permits asceticism. As God is the God of beauty, and nature is clothed with
garments (like the high priest of old) of glory and beauty, so here we have
the true idea carried out in religion. Women are “to adorn themselves.”
God’s most beautiful work in creation, the human frame, is to be fitly
appareled; for, to this day, art knows no higher subject than the human face
and form. But:
because the nature of the being adorned is a sacred nature. Woman is
the true guardian of virtue. Her manner, her temper, her spirit, — all
these constitute the best defense of virtue. (I read last night in
a Wild West magazine at the grocery store that one of the two
things that a cowboy of old was afraid was “a woman of virtue!”
I wonder about the common man today??? – CY – 2013)
of shame-heartedness, there will be absence of shame-facedness.
(“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?
Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:
Therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time
that I visit them, they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.”
(Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12). The womanhood of that age had sunk very
low. By turns woman had been the toy or slave of man. The gospel
uplifted her; for we are all equal in the sight of God. There was neither
male nor female there (Galatians 3:28); and she must help THE
GREAT IDEAL and by modest apparel show the innate modesty
of her thought and feeling. For, say what we like, DRESS ACTS
UPON THE MIND AND THE CHARACTER! DRESS LIKE
CLOWN AND YOU WILL FEEL LIKE A CLOWN. Modest
apparel need not be shorn of taste and refinement and true beauty. It is no
dishonor to a woman that she likes dress. It is not Christian to destroy that
taste; but that which becometh women professing godliness is modest
though beautiful apparel.
10 “But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
Through for with, Authorized Version. (The change from “with” to “through”
is quite unnecessary, though more strictly accurate. “With” does equally
well for ἐν - en and διά - dia, the one applied to the ornaments and dress in or with
which the woman adorns herself, the other to the good works by which she
is adorned). Professing godliness. In all ether passages in the New
Testament where it occurs, ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι – epaggellesthai – profess –
means “to promise,” except in ch. 6:21, where, as here, it means “to profess,”
as it frequently does in classical Greek. Qeosebei>a – theosebeia – godliness;
reverence for God; only occurs here in the New Testament; but it is used in the
Septuagint in Job 28:28; Genesis 20:11; also in Xenophon. In John 9:31 we have
Θεοσεβής – theosebaes - “a worshipper of God.” With good works.
Compare the description of Dorcas (Acts 9:36, 39). Ἔργα ἀγαθά -
erga agatha – good works - mean especially acts of charity (compare ch. 5:10;
II Corinthians 9:8-9; Colossians 1:11; elsewhere it is used more
generally, like ἔργα καλά - erga kala – works ideal - though this phrase
also sometimes points especially to acts of charity, as in ch.5:10; 6:18;
Titus 3:14; Hebrews 10:24).
The Attire and Deportment of Women
in the Christian Assemblies (vs. 9-10)
The apostle continues his directions in relation to public prayer.
“Likewise,” he says, in effect, “let women when they pray be modestly
adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not
with braided hair, and gold, and pearls, and costly raiment.”
Ø The injunction refers specially to the dress of women in the
Christian assemblies, which ought not to be showy or
conspicuous, calculated either to swell the heart of the
wearer with pride, or to attract the eyes of others in
forgetfulness of the SOLEMNITY OF PUBLIC WORSHIP.
Ø While adornment is expressly allowed, according to age and station,
to the exclusion of anything slovenly, there must be nothing in the
attire or deportment inconsistent with modesty, self-restraint, or
Christian simplicity. There must be no excessive care bestowed
upon the adjustment of the hair, and no adornment with gold,
or pearls, or costly array inconsistent with the attire previously
recommended. Plaiting the hair may be the most convenient way
of arranging it, and wearing ornaments is no more sinful in itself
than wearing apparel. The injunction is that women should not
seek such adornments as would either endanger piety or draw
away their affections from higher things.
women professing godliness) through good works.”
Ø Religion is external as well as internal. There is the form which
must be clothed with the power of godliness; religion must not
be secret, but manifest to the world. Therefore women must
profess the Christian name, and take part in the worship of the
Ø There must be a harmony between the profession of godliness
and those deeds of mercy and piety which, Dorcas-like (Acts 9:36),
show the true disciple of Jesus.
Ø The highest distinction of women does not spring from dress or
decoration, but from the luster that is thrown round their character
by works of goodness. They will thus “adorn the doctrine of God
our Savior” (Titus 2:10).
11 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” Compare
I Corinthians 14:34. So Acts 22:2, παρέσχον ἡσουχίαν – pareschon
haesouchian - s properly rendered in the Authorized Version, “They kept silence.”
And ἡσύχασαν – haesuchasan – (Luke 14:4 and Acts 11:18) is rendered,
both in the Authorized Version. and the Revised Version., “They held their peace.”
With all subjection - ejn pa>sh| uJpotagh~| - en pasae hupotagae ; as ch. 3:4.
The words occur also in II Corinthians 9:13; Galatians 2:5. But the verb
ὑποτάσσομαι – hupotassomai - very common in the sense of “being subject.”
It is used of the subjection of the wife to her husband (I Corinthians 14:34;
Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; I Peter 3:1).
12 “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the
man, but to be in silence.” Suffer. Ἐπιτρέπειν – epitrepein – I am
permitting - is rendered “suffer” in the Revised Version in Matthew 8:21;
19:8; Mark 10:4; Luke 9:59, etc. Silence. The true type of the womanly
attitude is that of Mary, who “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His Word”
13 “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” Was formed (ἐπλάσθη –
eplasthae – was formed; was molded ). The word used in the Septuagint in
Genesis 2:7, Ἔπλασεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον etc.– Eplasen Ho Theos ton
anthropon …… - “The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the
ground;” and in (Ibid. v.19) of the beasts of the field; whence the word
πρωτόπλαστος - protoplastos - “first made;” “first formed,” (Wisdom of
Solomon 7:1; 10:1 Authorized Version), , (I guess to put it in modern
nomenclature “prototype!” - CY – 2013) So in Romans 9:20 man is called
τὸ πλάσμα – to plasma - “the thing made;” and God is ὁ Πλάσας – ho Plasas –
“He that made it.” “Plaster,” “plastic,” “protoplasm,” are, of course, from the
same root. (For the argument, see the very similar one in I Corinthians 11:8-9).
14 “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the
transgression.” Beguiled (twice) for deceived, Authorized Version;
hath fallen into for was in the, Authorized Version. Beguiled (ἠπατήθη –
aepataethae –deceived; seduced - . The same word as is used in Genesis 3:13,
“The serpent beguiled me;” ἠπάτησέ με, Septuagint (compare II Corinthians 11:3,
where the verb used is ἐξηπάτησεν – exaepataesen – beguiled; deluded; out seduced).
Hath fallen into transgression. Fell (not hath fallen) is the right tense to use
here in English, though the Greek perfect, it is true, contains the further idea of
continuance in the fall, as in I Corinthians 9:22; 13:11; I Thessalonians 2:1;
II Peter 2:20. So also Matthew 1:22; 19:8; 21:4; 25:6; Mark 5:33; John 1:3;
II Corinthians 1:19; and elsewhere, γέγονε – gegone – has become in the
transgression - is best rendered by the past (not the perfect) tense. It
has frequently the notion of transition into a certain condition (see
Romans 6:5; 7:13; I Corinthians 9:22; 13:11; II Corinthians 5:17; 12:11;
Galatians 4:16, etc.). Bishop Ellicott gives the passages in which γίγνομαι –
- gignomai – falling; has become - followed, as here, by ἐν (Luke 22:44; Acts
22:17; II Corinthians 3:7; I Thessalonians 2:5), “denoting entrance into, and
continuance in, any given state.” As regards the apostle’s statement, Adam
was not beguiled, we must understand it as based merely upon the text in
Genesis to which he refers, in which Eve (not Adam) says, , Ὁ ὄφις ἠπάτησε με -
Ho ophis aepataese me - “The serpent beguiled me.” Just as in
Galatians 3:16 he reasons from σπέρματι – spermati – seed - being in the
singular number, and as the writer to the Hebrews 7:3 reasons from the silence
of Genesis 14. regarding the parentage of Melchizedek. Huther (in lee.)
says that this mode of reasoning is peculiar to allegorical interpretation.
15 “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue
in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” She shall be saved; i.e.
the woman generically. The transition from the personal Eve to the generic
woman is further marked by the transition from the singular to the plural,
“if they continue,” etc. The natural and simple explanation of the passage is
that the special temporal punishment pronounced against the woman, immediately
after her sin, “In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16) —
(to which Paul here evidently alludes) — and endured by all women ever since,
was a set-off, so to speak, to the special guilt of Eve in yielding to the guile of the
serpent; so that now the woman might attain salvation as well as the man
(although she was not suffered to teach) if she continued in faith and
charity. The child-bearing (τῆς τεκνογονίας – taes teknogonias –
child bearing; parenting); here only; but the verb τεκνογονέω -
teknogoneo – to be bearing children - which occurs in ch. 5:14, is found
(though very rarely) in classical Greek. The equivalent, both in the Septuagint
and in classical Greek, is τεκνοποιέω – teknopoieo – childbirth.
(ἀγιασμός - hagiasmos – holiness; sanctification -Romans 6:19;
I Thessalonians 4:3, etc.). (σωφροσύνη - sophrosunae – sobriety); as in
v. 9. It only occurs besides in Acts 26:25.
The Proper Sphere and Behavior of Women (vs. 11-15)
The apostle is still thinking of the public services of the Church.
CHURCH. “Let a woman learn in silence in all subjection. But I permit not
a woman to teach, nor to lord it over the man, but to be in silence.” This
`injunction has a threefold relation — first to herself, then to her husband,
then to the Church.
Ø She is to learn in silence. This duty concerns herself. She is to be a
learner, not a teacher. She is to give all devout attention to the public
instruction, so as to learn more and more of Christ and His gospel. And if
what she heard was either difficult or doubtful, she was to ask her
husband at home (I Corinthians 14:34); and, in case of his inability to meet
her difficulties, she could resort privately to the authorized teachers of the
Church. This learning attitude was to be “in all subjection” both to her
husband and to the rulers of the Church. Yet it did not imply that she was
to accept false teaching, or forego her just right to prove all things and
reject what was unsound.
Ø She is not to lord it over the man. As teaching or preaching is the act
of those in authority, her assumption of this function would imply a
lordship over her husband. Husband and wife are “heirs together of
the grace of life” (I Peter 3:7), but the gospel has not exalted woman
to a position of authority over her husband.
Ø She is not to teach in the Church.
o This injunction of the apostle does not forbid her teaching
privately, either her children, as Timothy was taught by his mother,
or her servants, or the younger women (Titus 2:4), or even her
husband privately on fit occasions, or even strangers, as Priscilla
taught Apollos (Acts 18:26).
o It forbids her teaching in public.
§ It is suggestive that the words usually translated in the New
Testament“to preach” (κηρύσσω – kaerusso;
εὐαγγελίζω – euaggelizo; καταγγέλλω - kataggello)
are not used in connection with this prohibition, as if women
were merely forbidden to preach, but still allowed to teach.
The word used here is “to teach” (διδάσκω - didasko),
and the word used in I Corinthians 14. (λαλέω - laleo) —
“to talk, chatter, babble” — is even more comprehensive.
These words all include preaching as the greater includes the
less; therefore preaching is also forbidden to women.
§ Prophesying was forbidden to women as well as teaching.
This was a supernatural gift enjoyed both by men and
women in the primitive Church, but is not enjoyed now
by either men or women. It is never in the New
Testament used for preaching, or for mere speaking in
meeting. But were there not women who prophesied in
v The gift of prophecy being connected with the gift of
tongues, and both being now obsolete, the title of
women to the exercise of such a gift in this age utterly
v The apostle, in his discussion concerning prophecy and
the gift of tongues, forbids women to speak at all in the
Churches (I Corinthians 14:34-35). It was in the very
midst of his injunctions respecting the use of supernatural
gifts that he says, “As in all Churches of the saints,
let your women keep silence in the Churches, for
it is not; permitted to them to speak... for it is a
shame for women to speak in the Churches.”
Prophesying as well as preaching is forbidden to women.
v Much unnecessary difficulty has been caused by the
passage respecting “a woman praying or prophesying
with her head uncovered” (I Corinthians 11:5). The
apostle seems for the time to allow the practice,
while he condemns the manner of its performance; but
afterwards he forbids the practice itself. In the earlier
passage he rebukes merely the indecency of an existing
custom, and then in the later he forbids the custom
itself. Calvin says, “By condemning the one he does not
commend the other.” You cannot regard as of equal
authority a practice and a command, both explicit and
repeated, which destroys the practice.
v “But these directions were given to Greek Churches,
and cannot apply to the women of our day.” We answer
that they apply to all Churches; for the apostle says,
“As in all Churches of the saints, let your women
keep silence in the Churches.” (I Corinthians 11:4)
The reasons given for the prohibition prove that it
has nothing to do with usages, or customs, or times,
It is to be found in the original law of the relation of woman to man.
Ø Man’s headship in creation. “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”
Man’s priority of creation is the first reason, but it is to be taken together
with the statement in I Corinthians 11:8-9, “For the man is not of the
woman, but the woman of the man; for also the man was not made
for the sake of the woman, but the woman for the sake of the man.”
Besides, as “the Head of every man is Christ, the head of the
woman is the man” (Ibid. v. 3)). “The husband is the head of the
wife” (Ephesians 5:23). The woman, therefore, stands under law to her
husband, and therefore any attempt on her part to assume the part
of head or guide is to overturn the primal order of creation.
(Paul going so far as to connect it with the evil angel’s attempt to
overthrow God – v.10 – CY - 2013).
Ø Woman’s priority in transgression. “And Adam was not deceived,
but the woman being altogether deceived fell into transgression”
(v. 14). They both sinned; but Adam was not deceived, for he fully
understood the sin he was committing when he yielded to the
persuasiveness of his wife.
o This reference implies the truly historical character of the narrative
in Genesis. It is no myth or legend. The fall of man is an historic fact
of the greatest importance, for it grounds the doctrine of original sin,
without which human nature, says Pascal, is an inexplicable riddle.
o The deception was practiced upon Eve, not upon Adam, for she
confessed that the serpent beguiled her.
Ø This facility of deception on her part seems to suggest to the
apostle her inferiority to man in strength of intellect, and the
consequent wrongness of allowing to woman an intellectual
supremacy over man.
TRUE SPHERE. “But she shall be saved through the child-bearing,
if they abide in faith and love and holiness with sobriety.” (v. 15)
Ø It is here implied that woman is to find her right sphere in the
relations of motherhood. (Contrast the National Organization of
Women’s conflict of interest over this statement. How unmotherly
is “ABORTION ON DEMAND?” - CY – 2013) The change of
number implies that Eve is here to be regarded as the representative
of her sex.
o Her sphere is in the home life;
o her destiny lies in the faithful discharge of its duties.
Eve was to be the mother of all living; (Genesis 3:20). it was to be
through the seed thus given her that:
o the curse was to be lifted off the world, and
o the head of the serpent bruised.
There is an evident allusion in “the child-bearing” to THE
INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST but it points likewise
to the collective seed associated with Christ.
Ø It implies that women are not saved, as Roman Catholics contend, by
mere childbearing, so that a woman dying in her travail is necessarily
saved, for the apostle links with it certain spiritual qualifications as
necessary to salvation.
o Faith — implicitly resting in the Divine promise and upon
the Divine Redeemer, “as the seed of the woman;”
o Love, as the inspiration of all her wifely and motherly duties;
o Holiness, as implying purity of life, circumspectness of walk,
and devotedness to God;
o Sobriety, as marking the self-effacing, self-restraining,
self-governing spirit which she is to carry into all the conditions
of her life as a Christian mother
Public Worship (vs. 1-15)
The whole chapter is given up to directions concerning the public worship
of the Church. We may notice the following particulars.
together in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, it meets as
PREEMINENTLY AS THE FRIEND OF THE HUMAN RACE!
As the Church of Him who is the world’s Savior and Redeemer, it
must manifest the same spirit of universal love which animated Him.
It is not as being haters of the human race (as their enemies falsely said),
but as being true lovers of their kind, that Christians banded themselves
together and refused all fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.
This love, then, was especially to be shown in their united prayers. When
they came together, though perhaps their enemies were thirsting for their
blood, they were to offer up their united prayers for ALL MEN. Specially,
with a view to the peace and order of society, should they pray for kings
and governors and all in authority, that by God’s blessing upon their
government the course of this world might be so peaceably ordered that
His Church might serve Him joyfully in all godly quietness. And if we
consider how much human happiness depends upon good government
on the part of the rulers, and upon quiet obedience to the laws on the part
of the people, we shall see how much need there is for such prayers. In
our own days the restless spirit that is abroad, the impatience of all control,
and the general weakening of rule and authority all over the world,
increases the need both of wisdom and strength in rulers, and consequently
for the strengthening of their hands by the prayers and intercessions of the
people of God.
ASSEMBLIES. These are limited to the men. The prayers and the
teaching in the congregation are to be conducted by men only. The
difference of sex, and the different social and religious functions of
each sex, are really of Divine appointment. As Paul says to the
Corinthians (I Corinthians 11:9), “the woman was made for the man,
and not the man for the woman;” (but not in the sense of Gangster
Rap, which is a great player in the 21st Century in the battle for the
minds and hearts of youth. It crosses cultural lines and is producing
results , the kind which will bring about the destruction of the
world, and does not play in the solution of problems of the world!
Just one of the many moral evils in society that are much more
threatening to humankind that GLOBAL WARMING – see
Revelation 11:18 - CY – 2013) and all the subsequent relations of the
man and woman, in the family, in the state, and in the Church, are naturally
evolved from their primeval state as ordered by God. It is obvious, too, that
there must be harmony in these various relations, and that the principle
which rules in one department of life must rule in the others also. Anyhow,
it is distinctly laid down, on
the apostolic authority of
Church assemblies the functions of public prayer, and public teaching and
preaching, are confined to men. The wide field of more private female
ministrations is still open to godly women, and seems to be amply justified
by the existence of prophetesses in the primitive
Church, and by such examples as that of Priscilla (Acts 18:26). As regards
the character of the men who lead the prayers of the congregation, three
qualifications are named:
Ø quietness of spirit, and
Ø simplicity in the petitions.
The hands that are lifted up to God in prayer must be clean hands, unstained
by blood, untainted by bribes or dishonest gains, unpolluted by any evil
deeds. The prayers that are offered must come from hearts where no
malice or ill will dwells, no resentment for wrongs received or injuries
endured; and from minds where the spirit of controversy is dumb, and
no caviling is to be found. Sincerity and godly simplicity, with an honest
faith in the faithfulness of God, are essential to acceptable prayer.
Paul insists is THE MODEST DRESS AND DEMEANOUR OF THE
CONGREGATION. This applies especially to the women, but it is true of
the men also. Christians come to church to worship the glorious God, to
humble themselves before His holy presence, and to hear His Word, not for
display, not to attract notice, not for vain-glory or worldly vanity. It is,
therefore, quite out of place for either men or women to make a parade of
finery in church. The ornaments best suited for persons professing
godliness at all times, but especially when they approach the throne of
God, are those of a pure heart and a meek spirit, and an abundance of
good works. It is the hidden man of the heart which needs adorning for
its access to the court of heaven.
The Sexes in the Christian Assembly (vs. 8-15)
· THE PART OF THE MEN — TO LEAD IN PRAYER. “I desire
therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without
wrath and disputing.” The mind of the apostle, as here expressed, is that in
every place where men and women assemble for Divine worship, the duty
of conducting the public devotions shall devolve upon the men. They, and
not the women, as appears from the following contrast, are to be the mouth
of the congregation in prayer offered to God. This assignment of leading in
prayer to them is mentioned along with the appropriate bodily posture, viz.
the lifting up of the hands (as toward heaven) in the way of invoking the
Divine blessing upon the congregation. With this is connected the inward
qualification — lifting up holy hands, i.e. that do things that accord with
their being engaged in so sacred a service. It is not the place that is to
hallow the hands, but it is the hands that are to be holy, to be in keeping
with the place. The orderliness implied in the men having their proper place
would tend to prevent the use of unholy perturbation of feeling, and the
breaking forth of unseemly disputing, such as would unfit the congregation
for engaging in prayer. “He that prays to God,” says Jeremy Taylor, in
‘The Return of Prayers,’ “with an angry, that is, with a troubled and
discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into a battle to meditate, and sets
up his closet in the out-quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier garrison
to be wise in. Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer, and
therefore is contrary to that attention which presents our prayers in a right
line to God. For so have I seen a lark rising from its bed of grass, and
soaring upwards, and singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and
rise above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud
sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and
inconsistent, descending more at every breath of the tempest than it could
recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings, till the little
creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over;
and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had
learned music and motion from an angel.”
· THE PART OF THE WOMEN.
Ø To be becomingly dressed. “In like manner, that women adorn
themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness, and sobriety; not with
braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment; but (which becometh
women professing godliness) through good works.” It is with regard to
dress that the apostle charges the women. They are not forbidden to adorn
themselves. In nature God has a regard to adornment; the flowers are
painted chiefly in the way of appealing to the sense of the beautiful. So the
apostle regards it as particularly appropriate to the women that they are to
adorn themselves; but they are to adorn themselves in modest apparel.
There seems to be a wider reference than modest, and a twofold reference.
It is apparel that is suitable to women as such. This certainly excludes
dress that shocks the womanly feeling of modesty. But it also includes
dress that is tasteful. Apart from what is expensive, good taste may be
displayed in dress, as in the proper blending of colors. There is no religion
in negligence as to dress. A woman should never be above attending to
what is clean and whole and neat in dress; and especially should she attend
to this in appearing in the house of God. It is apparel that is suitable to
women in respect of their circumstances. Age, rank, means, demands of
religion, come in as modifying conditions. A brightness of color that is in
place in youth, is out of place in age. The servant is not to dress as her
mistress. She who dresses upon a small income is not to be as she who
dresses upon a large income. There is not to be dressing as though this
world were a paradise, and not, as it really is, full of human want. With
outward deportment as to dress, are connected the inward feelings. There is
shamefastness, as the word originally was in the Authorized Version. This
feeling given to the woman should make her shrink from all impropriety in
dress. There is also sobriety, or the feeling that keeps the love for dress
within the bounds of reason and religion. The apostle descends to particulars.
Women are not to adorn themselves with braided hair and gold, or pearls, or
costly raiment. It cannot be meant that these things are absolutely forbidden.
Long hair is an ornament to a woman, and it is natural that it should be braided.
Gold is an excellent substance, and can be wrought into most beautiful forms.
It is God who has given the luster to pearls. Ideas of what is beautiful can be
carried to a great extent in garments, as in the garments prescribed for the
Jewish high priest. It can only be meant that they are to be duly
subordinated by women. They are not to make ends of them, as women of
the world do. They are not to vie with one another in the use of them.
They are not to be used in the way of gratifying personal vanity, or in the
way of ostentation and drawing attention upon them. They are not to be
used as though they were essential, being only on the outside, and an
uncertain possession which cannot be carried beyond the world. They are
only to be sought in connection with, and in due subordination to, inward
virtues. This is the thought to which the apostle carries us forward. There
is that which becomes a woman professing godliness, i.e. professing to be
regulated by the will of God in dress as in all matters. And the will of God
will be considered in connection with the state of the world. It is such a
world that Christ needed to come into it to save it. Moreover, it is such a
world that Christ’s servants need to do much saving work in it. And a true
Christian woman will not set her heart on what is showy or genuinely
beautiful in dress or ornament, but will set her heart on what is more
valuable. She will seek to be adorned with the ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. (I Peter 3:4)
She will seek to be adorned, as the idea is here, with a kindly, benevolent
disposition, such as finds its medium in good works. She will consider that
the time and money unnecessarily spent upon the braiding of the hair, and
gold, or pearls, or costly raiment, is so much taken from her power of
performing good works. It must be said that the position of a true Christian
woman has its difficulties. Fashion which exercises such a sway is not the
expression of pure Christian sentiments. It is to a large extent the expression
of worldliness, or the striving after externals. The true Christian woman, then,
has it as her task, on the one hand, not to go altogether against fashion so
as to be singular and to call attention to her, which would offend her
feeling of modesty; on the other hand, to attain to simplicity and
inexpensiveness in dress, so as to leave her free for discharging her
Christian function as a doer of good works.
Ø To be a learner, and not a teacher. “Let a woman learn in quietness
with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have
dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.” The woman is to be
receptive with regard to public teachings. She is to be a learner, not
breaking the silence even to the extent of asking a question. For the
language here is partly to be explained by what is said in I Corinthians
14:35, “And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at
home.” The position of the apostle, that a woman is not to be a teacher in
the house of God, is very implicit: “I permit not woman to teach.”
Whatever her qualifications — and some women are better qualified to
teach than some men — the apostolic enactment is against her teaching.
This enactment is grounded in what is natural. It would be reversing the
natural order of superiority for men to sit under a woman as their teacher.
It would also be giving woman a publicity from which every one who is
unsophisticated and retains her native modesty must shrink. Her natural
unfitness set forth in two facts.
o Eve was created after Adam. “For Adam was first formed, then
Eve.” The apostle regards this fact as emblematic of a headship
originally given to the man, which carries with it his exclusive right
to be a teacher in the house of God.
o The woman was first in the transgression. “And Adam was not
beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into
transgression.” We are not to understand that, for introducing sin
into the world, she was thrown into a subordination which did not
originally belong to her. But rather the way in which, acting for
herself without regard to her husband, she was worked upon by the
tempter was emblematic of a natural disposition which unfits her
for taking a public position. Promise annexed. “But she shall be
saved through the child-bearing, if they continue in faith and love
and sanctification with sobriety.” So eminent an interpreter as
Ellicott interprets this of the child-bearing by pre-eminence — woman
giving birth to the Messiah — but without good reason. The apostle has
been excluding woman from activity in Church life in connection with
which there is publicity; here he points to her proper destiny as activity
in family life. There is reference to the form in which the curse fell upon
the woman; in connection with this is there promise of blessing. There
is not excluded from the promise the lower salvation. A mother, laying
hold upon this promise, can hope in her danger to be preserved alive,
with due submission, as is right in the sphere of temporal blessing,
to the disposing of God. There is special reference to the higher
salvation. “She shall be saved,” shall find the path of her highest
well being, “if they” (there is a change to the class of Christian mothers,
or more generally of Christian women, one depending to a certain extent
on all) — “if they continue in faith,” i.e. toward Christ, “and love,”
i.e. especially toward the needy, “and sanctification,” i.e. attention to
the rules of personal purity, with such sobriety as shall keep them to
their proper sphere.
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