1 Timothy 2:1
1I exhort therefore. These exercises of godliness maintain and even strengthen us in the sincere worship and fear of God, and cherish the good conscience of which he had spoken. Not inappropriately does he make use of the word therefore, to denote an inference; for those exhortations depend on the preceding commandment.
That, above all, prayers be made. First, he speaks of public prayers, which he enjoins to be offered, not only for believers, but for all mankind. Some might reason thus with themselves: “Why should we be anxious about the salvation of unbelievers, with whom we have no connection? Is it not enough, if we, who are brethren, pray mutually for our brethren, and recommend to God the whole of his Church? for we have nothing to do with strangers.” This perverse view Paul meets, and enjoins the Ephesians to include in their prayers all men, and not to limit them to the body of the Church.
What is the difference between three out of the four kinds which Paul enumerates, I own that I do not thoroughly understand. The view given by Augustine, who twists Paul’s words so as to denote ceremonial observances customary at that time, is quite childish. A simpler exposition is given by those who think that “requests” are when we ask to be delivered from what is evil; “prayers,” when we desire to obtain something profitable; and “supplications,” when we deplore before God injuries which we have endured. Yet for my own part, I do not draw the difference so ingeniously; or, at least, I prefer another way of distinguishing them.
Προσευχαὶ is the Greek word for every kind of prayer; and δεήσεις denotes those forms of petitions in which something definite is asked. In this way the two words agree with each other, as genus and species. ᾿Εντεύξεις is the word commonly used by Paul to signify those prayers which we offer for one another. The word used for it in the Latin Translation is “intercessiones,” intercessions. Yet Plato, in his second dialogue, styled Alcibiades, uses it in a different sense, to moan a definite petition offered by a person for himself; and in the very inscription of the book, and in many passages, he shows plainly, as I have said, that προσευχὴ is a general term.
But not to dwell longer than is proper on a matter that is not essential, Paul, in my own opinion, simply enjoins that, whenever public prayers are offered, petitions and supplications should be made for all men, even for those who at present are not at all related to us. And yet this heaping up of words is not superfluous; but Paul appears to me purposely to join together three terms for the same purpose, in order to recommend more warmly, and urge more strongly, earnest and constant prayer. We know now sluggish we are in this religious duty; and therefore we need not wonder if, for the purpose of arousing us to it, the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of Paul, employs various excitements.
And thanksgivings. As to this term, there is no obscurity; for, as he bids us make supplication to God for the salvation of unbelievers, so also to give thanks on account of their prosperity and success. That wonderful goodness which he shews every day, when “he maketh his sun to rise on the good and the bad,”(Mat_5:45,) is worthy of being praised; and our love of our neighbor ought also to extend to those who are unworthy of it.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim 2:1. I exhort therefore that, first of all] Rather, I exhort therefore first of all; as my first special injunction after my general charge and commission, ch. 1 vv. 3-5, 18, 19; the verb itself partly suggests the taking up of the subject in new form.
that … supplications … be made] The position of the Greek verb suggests its being middle voice rather than passive. So R.V. margin and Alford following Chrysostom: ‘I exhort to make supplications.’ The present tense implies the habitual making; and the absence of a subject leaves it unemphatic. In a modern rendering it might run exactly “I recommend therefore first of all the practice of common supplication and prayer, of common intercession and thanksgiving, in behalf of all men.” The middle is found in 17 places at least in N. T., in two of these governing the same word ‘supplications,’ Luk_5:33; Php_1:4. So Chrysostom in his comment here uses as the natural phrase ‘for all the world … we make our supplication.’ The only place where the passive occurs is in the perfect participle, Heb_12:27, ‘as of things that have been made.’
supplications, prayers, intercessions] In the first word there is, from its derivation, the idea of a felt ‘want’ and petition for its supply; cf. esp. Php_1:4; Luk_1:13; 2Ti_1:3. Notice how in English, in the prayer of St Chrysostom, ‘our common supplications’ is explained by “requests” and by “desires and petitions.”
In the second, the idea of vow and ‘worship towards’ God, cf. Mat_21:13, ‘my house shall be called the house of prayer,’ Act_2:42, ‘they continued stedfastly … in the breaking of bread and the prayers.’
In the third, the idea of a personal interview and solicitation, such as Abraham’s for Sodom: either (1) against, or (2) for some one: for (1) cf. Act_25:24, ‘made suit to me, crying that he ought not to live,’ Rom_11:2, ‘he pleadeth with God against Israel’: for (2) Rom_8:26, ‘The Spirit (and ver. 34 Christ Jesus) maketh intercession for us,’ Heb_7:25 ‘He ever liveth to make intercession for us.’ See note also on chap. 4:5.
The plural of each as being a collection of concrete examples is the earlier way of representing the abstract noun; and it also helps to give the force, implied by the whole context, of common, public, prayer. Augustine says that the four words refer to the liturgical form of administration of Holy Communion: we may certainly say the converse that our ‘Divine Liturgy’ is modelled on this authorised rule, taking e.g. the modern ‘Prayer for the Church Militant’ with its express embodiment of this passage, or the ancient Gloria in Excelsis—(1) “In earth peace, goodwill towards men: (2) we bless thee, we worship Thee, O Lord, (3) Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us; (4) we give thanks to Thee, God the Father Almighty”: or taking the service as a whole, we get (1) the supplication for mercy and grace in the Kyrie after each Commandment, in the collects for the Queen and that for the day and the Church Militant, (2) the prayer of worship in the prayers of humble access and consecration, (3) the intercession in the Lord’s Prayer and following prayers, (4) the thanksgiving of the Gloria in Excelsis summarising all before.
1 Timothy 2:1
I exhort, therefore – Margin, “desire.” The word exhort, however, better expresses the sense of the original. The exhortation here is not addressed particularly to Timothy, but relates to all who were called to lead in public prayer; 1Ti_2:8. This exhortation, it may be observed, is inconsistent with the supposition that a liturgy was then in use, or with the supposition that there ever would be a liturgy – since, in that case, the objects to be prayed for would be prescribed. How singular would it be now for an Episcopal bishop to “exhort” his presbyters to pray “for the President of the United States and for all who are in authority.” When the prayer is prescribed, do they not do this as a matter of course?
First of all – That is, as the first duty to be enjoined; the thing that is to be regarded with primary concern; compare Luk_12:1; 2Pe_1:20. It does not mean that this was to be the first thing in public worship in the order of time, but that it was to be regarded as a duty of primary importance. The duty of praying for the salvation of the whole world was not to be regarded as a subordinate and secondary thing.
Supplications – It is not entirely easy to mark the difference in the meaning of the words used here, and it is not essential. They all relate to prayer, and refer only to the different parts of prayer, or to distinct classes of thought and desire which come before the mind in pleading for others. On the difference between the words supplications and prayers, see notes on Heb_5:7.
Intercessions – The noun used occurs only in this place and in 1Ti_4:5, of this Epistle. The verb, however ἐντυγχάνω entungchanō, occurs in Act_25:4; Rom_8:27, Rom_8:34; Rom_11:2; Heb_7:25. See the meaning explained in the Rom_8:26 note; Heb_7:25 note. There is one great Intercessor between God and man, who pleads for our salvation on the ground of what he himself has done, but we are permitted to intercede for others, not on the ground of any merit which they or we possess, but on the ground of the merit of the great Advocate and Intercessor. It is an inestimable privilege to be permitted to plead for the salvation of our fellow-men.
Giving of thanks – That is, in behalf of others. We ought to give thanks for the mercy of God to ourselves; it is right and proper also that we should give thanks for the goodness of God to others. We should render praise that there is a way of salvation provided; that no one is excluded from the offer of mercy; and that God is using so many means to call lost sinners to himself.
For all men – Prayers should be made for all people – for all need the grace and mercy of God; thanks should be rendered for all, for all may be saved. Does not this direction imply that Christ died for all mankind? How could we give thanks in their behalf if there were no mercy for them, and no way had been provided by which they could be saved? It may be observed here, that the direction to pray and to give thanks for all people, showed the large and catholic nature of Christianity. It was opposed entirely to the narrow and bigoted feelings of the Jews, who regarded the whole Gentile world as excluded from covenant mercies, and as having no offer of life. Christianity threw down all these barriers, and all people are on a level; and since Christ has died for all, there is ample ground for thanksgiving and praise in behalf of the whole human race.
1 Timothy 2:2
2For kings He expressly mentions kings and other magistrates because, more than all others, they might be hated by Christians. All the magistrates who existed at that time were so many sworn enemies of Christ; and therefore this thought might occur to them, that they ought not to pray for those who devoted all their power and all their wealth to fight against the kingdom of Christ, the extension of which is above all things desirable. The apostle meets this difficulty, and expressly enjoins Christians to pray for them also. And, indeed, the depravity of men is not a reason why God’s ordinance should not be loved. Accordingly, seeing that God appointed magistrates and princes for the preservation of mankind, however much they fall short of the divine appointment, still we must not on that account cease to love what belongs to God, and to desire that it may remain in force. That is the reason why believers, in whatever country they live, must not only obey the laws and the government of magistrates, but likewise in their prayers supplicate God for their salvation. Jeremiah said to the Israelites, “Pray for the peace of Babylon, for in their peace ye shall have peace.” (Jer_29:7.)
The universal doctrine is this, that we should desire the continuance and peaceful condition of those governments which have been appointed by God.
That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life By exhibiting the advantage, he holds out an additional inducement, for he enumerates the fruits which are yielded to us by a well regulated government. The first is a peaceful life; for magistrates are armed with the sword, in order to keep us in peace. If they did not restrain the hardihood of wicked men, every place would be full of robberies and murders. The true way of maintaining peace, therefore, is, when every one obtains what is his own, and the violence of the more powerful is kept under restraint.
With all godliness and decency The second fruit is the preservation of godliness, that is, when magistrates give themselves to promote religion, to maintain the worship of God, and to take care that sacred ordinances be observed with due reverence. The third fruit is the care of public decency; for it is also the business of magistrates to prevent men from abandoning themselves to brutal filthiness or flagitious conduct, but, on the contrary, to promote decency and moderation. If these three things are taken away, what will be the condition of human life? If, therefore, we are at all moved by solicitude about the peace of society, or godliness, or decency, let us remember that we ought also to be solicitous about those through whose agency we obtain such distinguished benefits.
Hence we conclude, that fanatics, who wish to have magistrates taken away, are destitute of all humanity, and breathe nothing but cruel barbarism. How different is it to say, that we ought to pray for kings, in order that justice and decency may prevail, and to say, that not only the name of kingly power, but all government, is opposed to religion! We have the Spirit of God for the Author of the former sentiment, and therefore the latter must be from the Devil.
If any one ask, Ought we to pray for kings, from whom we obtain none of these advantages? I answer, the object of our prayer is, that, guided by the Spirit of God, they may begin to impart to us those benefits of which they formerly deprived us. It is our duty, therefore, not only to pray for those who are already worthy, but we must pray to God that he may make bad men good. We must always hold by this principle, that magistrates were appointed by God for the protection of religion, as well as of the peace and decency of society, in exactly the same manner that the earth is appointed to produce food. Accordingly, in like manner as, when we pray to God for our daily bread, we ask him to make the earth fertile by his blessing; so in those benefits of which we have already spoken, we ought to consider the ordinary means which he has appointed by his providence for bestowing them.
To this must be added, that, if we are deprived of those benefits the communication of which Paul assigns to magistrates, that is through our own fault. It is the wrath of God that renders magistrates useless to us, in the same manner that it renders the earth barren; and, therefore, we ought to pray for the removal of those chastisements which have been brought upon us by our sins.
On the other hand, princes, and all who hold the office of magistracy, are here reminded of their duty. It is not enough, if, by giving to every one what is due, they restrain all acts of violence, and maintain peace; but they must likewise endeavor to promote religion, and to regulate morals by wholesome discipline. The exhortation of David (Psa_2:12) to “kiss the Son,” and the prophecy of Isaiah, that they shall be nursing — fathers of the Church, (Isa_49:23,) are not without meaning; and, therefore, they have no right to flatter themselves, if they neglect to lend their assistance to maintain the worship of God.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim 2:2. in authority] R.V. in high place. The noun occurs only 1Co_2:1, ‘I came not with excellency of speech,’ but the participle in Rom_13:1, ‘the higher powers.’
Though there is no special reference to Roman emperors, yet as Wordsworth well says, under the circumstances of its writing, this exhortation is ‘an evidence of the courage and divine commission of St Paul.’ It is also a practical reply to the charge, so commonly brought at the time and after, of civil disaffection.
in all godliness and honesty] ‘Godliness,’ a constant devout realization of God’s presence and greatness. The word occurs ten times in these epistles, and in 2Pe_1:3, 2Pe_1:6, 2Pe_1:7; its opposite in 1Ti_1:9. It is another characteristic word of the Pastoral Epistles. ‘Honesty’ appears to have the same sense as in the Marriage Service, ‘that they may live together in godly love and honesty,’ that is, purity and fidelity to the marriage vow, and therefore well to represent the Greek word which only occurs here and 3:4, and Tit_2:7. The idea is that of propriety of conduct, the outward counterpart of godliness. The adjective which occurs 1Ti_3:8, 1Ti_3:11; Tit_2:2 and Php_4:8 is in the last place rendered by A.V. ‘honest,’ by R.V. ‘honourable.’ Joseph in his thought and in his conduct exemplified both; “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Conybeare’s rendering gravity has been adopted by the commentators and R.V. The Prayer for the Church Militant expressly echoes this verse, ‘that under her we may be godly and quietly governed.’
quiet and peaceable] Rather, peaceable and quiet; ‘outward peace and inward tranquillity’ Olshausen and Ellicott, who translate ‘quiet and tranquil’: but the distinction is doubtful, and R.V. gives ‘tranquil and quiet.’
life] ‘Manner of life’ according to the usual distinction between bios and zoè. See Trench, N. T. Syn. § 27.
1 Timothy 2:2
For kings – As it is a positive maxim of Christianity to pray for all secular governors, so it has ever been the practice of Christians. When St. Cyprian defended himself before the Roman proconsul, he said: Hunc (Deum) deprecamur-pro nobis et pro omnibus hominibus; et pro incolumitate ipsorum Imperatorum.
“We pray to God, not only for ourselves, but for all mankind, and particularly for the emperors.”
Tertullian, in his Apology, is more particular: Oramus pro omnibus Imperatoribus, vitam illis prolixam, imperium securum, domum tutam, exercitus fortes, senatum fidelem, populum probum, orbem quietum, et quaecunque hominis et Caesaris vota sunt. Apol., cap. 30.
“We pray for all the emperors, that God may grant them long life, a secure government, a prosperous family, vigorous troops, a faithful senate, an obedient people; that the whole world may be in peace; and that God may grant, both to Caesar and to every man, the accomplishment of their just desires.”
So Origen: Ευχομεθα τους βασιλεις και αρχοντας μετα της βασιλικης δυναμεως και σωφρονα τον λογισμον εχοντας εὑρεθηναι. Cont. Cels., lib. viii.
“We pray for kings and rulers, that with their royal authority they may be found possessing a wise and prudent mind.”
Indeed they prayed even for those by whom they were persecuted. If the state be not in safety, the individual cannot be secure; self-preservation, therefore, should lead men to pray for the government under which they live. Rebellions and insurrections seldom terminate even in political good; and even where the government is radically bad, revolutions themselves are most precarious and hazardous. They who wish such commotions would not be quiet under the most mild and benevolent government.
That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life – We thus pray for the government that the public peace may be preserved. Good rulers have power to do much good; we pray that their authority may be ever preserved and well directed. Bad rulers have power to do much evil; we pray that they may be prevented from thus using their power. So that, whether the rulers be good or bad, prayer for them is the positive duty of all Christians; and the answer to their prayers, in either ease, will be the means of their being enabled to lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
And all for and for all, A.V.; high place for authority, A.V.; tranquil and quiet for quiet and peaceable, A.V.; gravity for honesty, A.V. 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 loc.).
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) 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 high place (ἐν ὑπεροχῇ); elsewhere only in 1Co_2:1, where it is rendered “excellency.” But in Rom_13:1 we have ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις “the higher powers;” and in 1Pe_2:13, τῷ βασιλεῖ ὡς ὑπερέχοντι, “the king as supreme.” In 2 Macc. 3:11 the phrase, ἀνδρὸς ἐν ὑπεροχῇ κειμένου, occurs; and in Polybius, οἱ ἐν ὑπεροχῇ ὔντες It is often used in Polybius for “authority” or “power.” That we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity. 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); found only here in the New Testament. The derivatives, ἠρέμιος ἠρεμέω, etc., are common in the LXX. They all apply to a still, undisturbed, life. Quiet (ἡσύχιος); found only here and l Peter 3:4 in the New Testament, and in the LXX. in Isa_66:2. But the noun ἡσυχία and the verb ἡσυχάζειν are common.
Godliness (εὐσεβεία). One of the words almost peculiar to the pastoral Epistles (1Ti_3:16; 1Ti_4:7, 1Ti_4:8; 1Ti_6:3,1Ti_6:5, 1Ti_6:6,1Ti_6:11; 2Ti_3:5; Tit_1:1); but elsewhere only in Act_3:12; 2Pe_1:3, 2Pe_1:6, 2Pe_1:7; 2Pe_3:11. Cornelius was αυησεβής, and so was one of the soldiers who waited upon him (Act_10:2, Act_10:7). Ananias was ἀνὴρ εὐσεβής (Act_22:12, T.R.). The adverb εὐσεβῶς is also peculiar to the pastoral Epistles (2Timothy fit. 12; Tit_2:12). Gravity (σεμνοτής): so rendered also in the A.V. of 1Ti_3:4 and Tit_2:7—the only other places in the New Testament where it is found. So also the adjective σεμνός (1Ti_3:8, 1Ti_3:11; Tit_2:2). Elsewhere in the New Testament only in Php_4:8, where it is rendered” honest” in the A.V., and “honorable” in the R.V. 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 godly man.
1 Timothy 2:2
In Paul only 2Co_11:32.
That are in authority (τῶν ἐν ὑπεροχῇ ὄντων)
Ὑπεροχή authority only here and 1Co_2:1. Several times in lxx Originally, projection, prominence: metaphorically, preeminence, superiority. In Byzantine Greek, a little like our Excellency. This very phrase is found in an inscription of the early Roman period, after 133 b.c., at Pergamum. Paul has the phrase ἐξ ουσίαι ὑπερεχούσαι higher powers, Rom_13:1; and οἱ ὑπερέχοντες those in high places is found Wisd. 6:5.
We may lead (διάγωμεν)
Pasto. Comp. Tit_3:3.
Quiet and peaceable (ἤρεμον καὶ ἡσυχιον)
Ἤρεμος, N.T.o. In Class. only the adverb ἠρέμα quietly. Ἡσύχιος tranquil, oP. Only here and 1Pe_3:4. In lxx once, Isa_66:2. Ἡρεμος denotes quiet arising from the absence of outward disturbance: ἡούχιος tranquillity arising from within. Thus, ἀνήρ ἡσύχιος is the composed, discreet, self-contained man, who keeps himself from rash doing: ἤρεμος ἀνήρ is he who is withdrawn from outward disturbances. Hence, ἤρεμος here may imply keeping aloof from political agitation’s and freedom from persecutions.
Better, gravity. Honesty, according to the modern acceptation, is an unfortunate rendering. In earlier English it signified becoming department, decency, decorum. So Shakespeare: “He is of a noble strain, of approved valor and confirmed honesty” (Much Ado, ii.1). This noun and the kindred adjective σεμνὸς only in the Pastorals, except Phi_4:8. The adjective signifies reverend or venerable; exhibiting a dignity which arises from moral elevation, and thus invites reverence. In lxx it is used to characterize the name of God (2 Macc. 6:28); the words of wisdom (Pro_8:6); the words of the pure (Pro_15:26).
See on 1Pe_1:3, and see on sound doctrine, 1Ti_1:10. oP. Mostly in the Pastorals.
1 Timothy 2:3
3For this is good and acceptable before God. After having taught that what he enjoined is useful, he now brings forward a stronger argument — that it pleases God; for when we know what is His will, this ought to have the force of all possible reasons. By good he means what is proper and lawful; and, since the will of God is the rule by which all our duties must be regulated, he proves that it is right because it pleases God.
This passage is highly worthy of observation; and, first, we draw from it the general doctrine, that the true rule for acting well and properly is to look to the will of God, and not to undertake anything but what he approves. Next, there is likewise laid down a rule for godly prayer, that we should follow God as our leader, and that all our prayer should be regulated by his will and command. If due force had been allowed to this argument, the prayers of Papists, in the present day, would not have abounded with so many corruptions. For how will they prove that they have the authority of God for having recourse to dead men as their intercessors, or for praying for the dead? In short, in all their form of prayer, what can they point out that is pleasing to God?
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim2:3. For this is good and acceptable] We should omit For; for the apparent abruptness compare Php_4:5, The Lord is at hand,’ 2Ti_4:18 (right reading), ‘The Lord will deliver me.’ The connexion by ‘this’ or ‘these’ occurs in every chapter of this epistle; cf. 1:18; 3:14; 4:11, 15; 5:7; 6:2. It is especially characteristic of St John. Cf. Joh_1:30; Joh_6:50, Joh_6:58; 1Jn_2:22; 1Jn_4:6; 1Jn_5:6, 1Jn_5:20.
good and acceptable] Are taken best together with ‘in the sight of.’ Cf. a similar coupling and similar added clause in 4:4.
God our Saviour] Rather, our Saviour God, or ‘our saving God.’ The first of four places where this order is observed, Tit_1:3, Tit_1:2:10, Tit_1:3:4; here there is an obvious emphasis, as the thought of the next verse comes into view.
1 Timothy 2:3
For this is good and acceptable – That is, it is good and acceptable to God that we should pray for all people. The reason is, that he desires their salvation, and hence it is agreeable to him that we should pray for it. If there were no provision made for their salvation, or if he was unwilling that they should be saved, it could not be agreeable to him that we should offer prayer for them.
1 Timothy 2:4
4Who wishes that all men may be saved. Here follows a confirmation of the second argument; and what is more reasonable than that all our prayers should be in conformity with this decree of God?
And may come to the acknowledgment of the truth. Lastly, he demonstrates that God has at heart the salvation of all, because he invites all to the acknowledgment of his truth. This belongs to that kind of argument in which the cause is proved from the effect; for, if “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to every one that believeth,” (Rom_1:16,) it is certain that all those to whom the gospel is addressed are invited to the hope of eternal life. In short, as the calling is a proof of the secret election, so they whom God makes partakers of his gospel are admitted by him to possess salvation; because the gospel reveals to us the righteousness of God, which is a sure entrance into life.
Hence we see the childish folly of those who represent this passage to be opposed to predestination. “If God” say they, “wishes all men indiscriminately to be saved, it is false that some are predestined by his eternal purpose to salvation, and others to perdition.” They might have had some ground for saying this, if Paul were speaking here about individual men; although even then we should not have wanted the means of replying to their argument; for, although the will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man.
But I say nothing on that subject, because it has nothing to do with this passage; for the Apostle simply means, that there is no people and no rank in the world that is excluded from salvation; because God wishes that the gospel should be proclaimed to all without exception. Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake salvation. But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and not to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations. That God wishes the doctrine of salvation to be enjoyed by them as well as others, is evident from the passages already quoted, and from other passages of a similar nature. Not without good reason was it said, “Now, kings, understand,” and again, in the same Psalm, “I will give thee the Gentiles for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for a possession.” (Psa_2:8.)
In a word, Paul intended to shew that it is our duty to consider, not what kind of persons the princes at that time were, but what God wished them to be. Now the duty arising out of that love which we owe to our neighbor is, to be solicitous and to do our endeavor for the salvation of all whom God includes in his calling, and to testify this by godly prayers.
With the same view does he call God our Savior; for whence do we obtain salvation but from the undeserved kindness of God? Now the same God who has already made us partakers of salvation may sometime extend his grace to them also. He who hath already drawn us to him may draw them along with us. The Apostle takes for granted that God will do so, because it had been thus foretold by the predictions of the prophets, concerning all ranks and all nations.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim2:4. who will have] The exact rendering is that of R.V. who willeth that all men should he saved—not the stronger word bouletai, ‘desireth,’ with a definite purpose. Chrysostom’s comment is “if He willed to save all, do thou will it also; and if thou willest, pray for it”: and Theod. Mops, in the Latin translation “evidens est quoniam omnes vult salvari, quia et omnes tuetur, quia est omnium Dominus.” Thus the Greek fathers accepted St Paul’s words in their prima facie sense. The Latin fathers seek to guard their application; and St Augustine actually says “by ‘all’ understand ‘all the predestined,’ because men of all sorts are among them.” The phrase is not “willeth to save all,” which would have been very near to universalism; but there is implied “the human acceptance of offered salvation on which even God’s predestination is contingent” Alford.
be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth] Notice the order of the words; salvation is according to the N. T. usage, past, present and future.
Past, 2Ti_1:9, ‘God who saved us and called us.’
Tit_3:5, ‘he saved us through the laver of regeneration.’
Present, Rom_13:11, ‘work out your own salvation.’
Act_2:42, ‘The Lord added … those that were being saved.’
Future, 1Pe_1:5, ‘guarded unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’
2Ti_4:18, ‘will save me unto his heavenly kingdom.’
And here we are evidently to understand by the two clauses first a rescue from ignorance and sin, from life in untruth, and then an advance from this first knowledge of one’s true self as a sinner to the complete and perfect knowledge of the truth. So far then as the word ‘salvation’ and ‘saved’ are used to describe an experience of the first of these two stages, and are understood to be so limited, the language is Apostolic; and that indeed is a more incorrect usage which refers the word only to final safety, without guarding it as in our collect by a defining epithet “towards the attainment of everlasting salvation,” and without remembering the express statement of the Prayer-Book Catechism that by Baptism we have been now “called to a state of salvation.”
At the same time, so far as any teachers or evangelists regard all as finished and completed at conversion, they ignore and contradict the latter clause here; God willeth that all should come to the full knowledge of the truth, and not stay ever resting on a past acceptance of the message of forgiveness. The word for full knowledge, epignosis, is repeated four times in these Epistles, 2Ti_2:25, 2Ti_2:3:7; Tit_1:1, and is contrasted with the knowledge, falsely so called, of the heretical teachers, cf. 6:20; Tit_1:16.
The simple verb is rendered by Westcott, Joh_3:10, to ‘perceive by the knowledge of progress, recognition.’ See also on Joh_2:24.
The force of the distinction between the simple and compound word is well seen in 1Co_13:12, “Now I am getting to know in part; but then I shall fully know, even as God knew me fully.”
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
1 Timothy 2:4
“Imitate God.” Since He wishes that all should be saved, do you also wish it; and if you wish it, pray for it. For prayer is the instrument of effecting such things [Chrysostom]. Paul does not say, “He wishes to save all”; for then he would have saved all in matter of fact; but “will have all men to be saved,” implies the possibility of man’s accepting it (through God’s prevenient grace) or rejecting it (through man’s own perversity). Our prayers ought to include all, as God’s grace included all.
to come — They are not forced.
unto the knowledge — Greek, “the full knowledge” or “recognition” (See on 1Co_13:12; Phi_1:9).
the truth — the saving truth as it is in, and by, Jesus (Joh_17:3, Joh_17:17).
1 Timothy 2:4
Who will have all men to be saved – That is, it is in accordance with his nature, his feelings, his desires. The word “will” cannot be taken here in the absolute sense, denoting a decree like that by which he willed the creation of the world, for then it would certainly be done. But the word is often used to denote a desire, wish, or what is in accordance with the nature of anyone. Thus it may be said of God that he “wills” that his creatures may be happy – because it is in accordance with his nature, and because he has made abundant provision for their happiness – though it is not true that he wills it in the sense that he exerts his absolute power to make them happy. God wills that sickness should be relieved, and sorrow mitigated, and that the oppressed should go free, because it is agreeable to his nature; though it is not true that he wills it in the sense that he exerts his absolute power to produce it. A parent wills the welfare of his child. It is in accordance with his nature, his feelings, his desires; and he makes every needful arrangement for it. If the child is not virtuous and happy, it is his own fault. So God wills that all people should be saved. It would be in accordance with his benevolent nature. He has made ample provision for it. He uses all proper means to secure their salvation. He uses no positive means to prevent it, and if they are not saved it will be their own fault. For places in the New Testament where the word here translated “will” (θέλω thelō), means to desire or wish, see Luk_8:20; Luk_23:8; Joh_16:19; Gal_4:20; Mar_7:24; 1Co_7:7; 1Co_11:3; 1Co_14:5; Mat_15:28. This passage cannot mean, as many have supposed, that God wills that all kinds of people should be saved, or that some sinners of every rank and class may be saved, because:
(1) The natural and obvious interpretation of the language is opposed to such a sense. The language expresses the desire that “all men” should be saved, and we should not depart from the obvious sense of a passage unless necessity requires it.
(2) Prayer and thanksgiving 1Ti_2:1 are directed to be offered, not for some of all ranks and conditions, but for all mankind. No exception is made, and no direction is given that we should exclude any of the race from the expressions of our sympathy, and from an interest in our supplications. The reason given here for that prayer is, that God desires that all people should be saved. But how could this be a reason for praying for all, if it means that God desired only the salvation of some of all ranks?
(3) In 1Ti_2:5-6 the apostle gives reasons showing that God wished the salvation of all people, and those reasons are such as to prove that the language here is to be taken in the most unlimited sense. Those reasons are:
(a) That there is one God over all, and one Mediator between God and people – showing that God is the Father of all, and has the same interest in all; and,
(b) That Christ gave himself a ransom for all – showing that God desired their salvation.
This verse proves:
(1) That salvation is provided for all – for if God wished all people to be saved, he would undoubtedly make provision for their salvation; and if he had not made such provision, it could not be said that he desired their salvation, since no one can doubt that he has power to provide for the salvation of all;
(2) That salvation should be offered to all people – for if God desires it, it is right for his ministers to announce that desire, and if he desires it, it is not proper for them to announce anything contrary to this;
(3) That people are to blame if they are not saved.
If God did not wish their salvation, and if he had made no provision for it, they could not be to blame if they rejected the gospel. If God wishes it, and has made provision for it, and they are not saved, the sin must be their own – and it is a great sin, for there is no greater crime which a man can commit than to destroy his own soul, and to make himself the eternal enemy of his Maker.
And to come unto the knowledge of the truth – The truth which God has revealed; the “truth as it is in Jesus.” notes, Eph_4:21.
Again, That Nature [viz. God’s] is not susceptible of evil. But He is also good of His own will; it is therefore susceptible. But one may not so say, far be it! Again, was He brought into being, willing it, or not willing it? But neither may one say this. Again, circumscribes He the world, or no? If He circumscribes it not, He is Himself circumscribed, but if He circumscribes it, He is infinite in His nature. Again, circumscribes He Himself? If He circumscribes Himself, then He is not without beginning to Himself, but to us; therefore He is not in His nature with Out beginning. Everywhere one must grant contradictories.
Seest thou how great the darkness is; and how everywhere there is need of faith. This it is, that is solid. But, if you will, let us come to things which are less than these. That Substance hath an operation. And what in His case is operation? Is it a certain motion? Then He is not immutable: for that which is moved, is not immutable: for, from being motionless it becomes in motion. But nevertheless He is in motion, and never stands still. But what kind of motion, tell me; for amongst us there are seven kinds; down, up, in, out, right, left, circular, or, if not this, increase, decrease, generation, destruction, alteration. But is His motion none of these, but such as the mind is moved with? No, nor this either. Far be it! for in many things the mind is even absurdly moved. Is to will, to operate, or not? If to will is to operate, and He wills all men to be good, and to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), how comes it not to pass? But to will is one thing, to operate, another. To will then is not sufficient for operation. How then saith the Scripture, “He hath done whatsoever He willed”? (Ps. 115:3.) And again, the leper saith unto Christ, “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” (Matt. 8:2.) For if this follows in company with the will, what is to be said?
Accordingly, when we hear and read in Scripture that He “will have all men to be saved” although we know well that all men are not saved, we are not on that account to restrict the omnipotence of God, but are rather to understand the Scripture, “Who will have all men to be saved,” as meaning that no man is saved unless God wills his salvation: not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will, but that no man is saved apart from His will; and that, therefore, we should pray Him to will our salvation, because if He will it, it must necessarily be accomplished. And it was of prayer to God that the apostle was speaking when he used this expression. And on the same principle we interpret the expression in the Gospel: “The true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world:”4 not that there is no man who is not enlightened, but that no man is enlightened except by Him. Or, it is said, “Who will have all men to be saved;” not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will (for how, then, explain the fact that He was unwilling to work miracles in the presence of some who, He said, would have repented if He had worked them?), but that we are to understand by “all men,” the human race in all its varieties of rank and circumstances,—kings, subjects; noble, plebeian, high, low, learned, and unlearned; the sound in body, the feeble, the clever, the dull, the foolish, the rich, the poor, and those of middling circumstances; males, females, infants, boys, youths; young, middle-aged, and old men; of every tongue, of every fashion, of all arts, of all professions, with all the innumerable differences of will and conscience, and whatever else there is that makes a distinction among men. For which of all these classes is there out of which God does not will that men should be saved in all nations through His only-begotten Son, our Lord, and therefore does save them; for the Omnipotent cannot will in vain, whatsoever He may will? Now the apostle had enjoined that prayers should be made for all men, and had especially added, “For kings, and for all that are in authority,” who might be supposed, in the pride and pomp of worldly station, to shrink from the humility of the Christian faith. Then saying, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,” that is, that prayers should be made for such as these, he immediately adds, as if to remove any ground of despair, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God, then, in His great condescension has judged it good to grant to the prayers of the humble the salvation of the exalted; and assuredly we have many examples of this. Our Lord, too, makes use of the same mode of speech in the Gospel, when He says to the Pharisees: “Ye tithe mint, and rue, and every herb.” For the Pharisees did not tithe what belonged to others, nor all the herbs of all the inhabitants of other lands. As, then, in this place we must understand by “every herb,” every kind of herbs, so in the former passage we may understand by “all men,” every sort of men. And we may interpret it in any other way we please, so long as we are not compelled to believe that the omnipotent God has willed anything to be done which was not done: for, setting aside all ambiguities, if “He hath done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth,” as the psalmist sings of Him, He certainly did not will to do anything that He hath not done.
1 Timothy 2:5
5For there is one God This argument might, at first sight, appear to be not very strong, that God wishes all men to be saved, because he is one; if a transition had not been made from God to men. Chrysostom — and, after him, others — view it in this sense, that there are not many gods, as idolaters imagine. But I think that Paul’s design was different, and that there is here an implied comparison of one God with the whole world and with various nations, out of which comparison arises a view of both, as they mutually regard each other. In like manner the Apostle says, “Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yea, it is one God who justifieth the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.’ (Rom_3:29.)
Accordingly, whatever diversity might at that time exist among men, because many ranks and many nations were strangers to faith, Paul brings to the remembrance of believers the unity of God, that they may know that they are connected with all, because there is one God of all — that they may know that they who are under the power of the same God are not excluded for ever from the hope of salvation.
And one Mediator between God and men This clause is of a similar import with the former; for, as there is one God, the Creator and Father of all, so he says that there is but one Mediator, through whom we have access to the Father; and that this Mediator was given, not only to one nation, or to a small number of persons of some particular rank, but to all; because the fruit of the sacrifice, by which he made atonement for sins, extends to all. More especially because a large portion of the world was at that time alienated from God, he expressly mentions the Mediator, through whom they that were afar off now approach.
The universal term all must always be referred to classes: of men, and not to persons; as if he had said, that not only Jews, but Gentiles also, not only persons of humble rank, but princes also, were redeemed by the death of Christ. Since, therefore, he wishes the benefit of his death to be common to all, an insult is offered to him by those who, by their opinion, shut out any person from the hope of salvation.
The man Christ Jesus. When he declares that he is “a man,” the Apostle does not deny that the Mediator is God, but, intending to point out the bond of our union with God, he mentions the human nature rather than the divine. This ought to be carefully observed. From the beginning, men, by contriving for themselves this or that mediator, departed farther from God; and the reason was, that, being prejudiced in favor of this error, that God was at a great distance from them, they knew not to what hand to turn. Paul remedies this evil, when he represents God as present with us; for he has descended even to us, so that we do not need to seek him above the clouds. The same thing is said in Heb_4:15, “We have not a high priest who cannot sympathize within our infirmities, for in all things he was tempted.”
And, indeed, if this were deeply impressed on the hearts of all, that the Son of God holds out to us the hand of a brother, and that we are united to him by the fellowship of our nature, in order that, out of our low condition, he may raise us to heaven; who would not choose to keep by this straight road, instead of wandering in uncertain and stormy paths! Accordingly, whenever we ought to pray to God, if we call to remembrance that exalted and unapproachable majesty, that we may not be driven back by the dread of it, let us, at the same time, remember “the man Christ,” who gently invites us, and takes us, as it were, by the hand, in order that the Father, who had been the object of terror and alarm, may be reconciled by him and rendered friendly to us. This is the only key to open for us the gate of the heavenly kingdom, that we may appear in the presence of God with confidence.
Hence we see, that Satan has, in all ages, followed this course, for the purpose of leading men astray from the right path. I say nothing of the various devices by which, before the coming of Christ, he alienated the minds of men, to contrive methods of approaching to God. At the very commencement of the Christian Church, when Christ, with so excellent a pledge, was fresh in their remembrance, and while the earth was still ringing with that delightfully sweet word from his mouth, “Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” (Mat_11:28,) there were, nevertheless, some persons skilled in deception, who thrust angels into his room as mediators; which is evident from Col_2:18. But what Satan, at that time, contrived secretly, he carried to such a pitch, during the times of Popery, that scarcely one person in a thousand acknowledged Christ, even in words, to be the Mediator. And while the name was buried, still more was the reality unknown.
Now that God has raised up good and faithful teachers, who have labored to restore and bring to the remembrance of men what ought to have been one of the best-known principles of our faith, the sophists of the Church of Rome have resorted to every contrivance for darkening a point so clear. First, the name is so hateful to them, that, if any one mentions Christ as Mediator, without taking notice of the saints, he instantly falls under a suspicion of heresy. But, because they do not venture to reject altogether what Paul teaches in this passage, they evade it by a foolish exposition, that he is called “one Mediator,” not “the only Mediator.” As if the Apostle had mentioned God as one out of a vast multitude of gods; for the two clauses are closely connected, that “there is one God and one Mediator;” and therefore they who make Christ one out of many mediators must apply the same interpretation in speaking of God. Would they rise to such a height of impudence, if they were not impelled by blind rage to crush the glory of Christ?
There are others who think themselves more acute, and who lay down this distinction, that Christ is the only Mediator of redemption, while they pronounce the saints to be mediators of intercession. But the folly of these interpreters is reproved by the scope of the passage, in which the Apostle speaks expressly about prayer. The Holy Spirit commands us to pray for all, because our only Mediator admits all to come to him; just as by his death he reconciled all to the Father. And yet they who thus, with daring sacrilege, strip Christ of his honor, wish to be regarded as Christians.
But it is objected that this has the appearance of contradiction; for in this very passage Paul enjoins us to intercede for others, while, in the Epistle to the Romans, he declares that intercession belongs to Christ alone. (Rom_8:34.) I reply, the intercessions of the saints, by which they aid each other in their addresses to God, do not contradict the doctrine, that all have but one Intercessor; for no man’s prayers are heard either in behalf of himself, or in behalf of another, unless he rely on Christ as his advocate. When we intercede for one another, this is so far from setting aside the intercession of Christ, as belonging to him alone, that the chief reliance is given, and the chief reference made, to that very intercession.
Some person will perhaps think, that it will, therefore, be easy for us to come to an agreement with the Papists, if they place below the only intercession of Christ, all that they ascribe to the saints. This is not the case; for the reason why they transfer to the saints the office of interceding is, that they imagine that otherwise we are destitute of an advocate. It is a common opinion among them, that we need intercessors, because in ourselves we are unworthy of appearing in the presence of God. By speaking in this manner, they deprive Christ of his honor. Besides, it is a shocking blasphemy, to ascribe to saints such excellence as would procure for us the favor of God: and all the prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and even the angels themselves — are so far from making any pretension to this, that they too have need of the same intercession as ourselves.
Again, it is a mere dream, originating in their own brain, that the dead intercede for us; and, therefore, to found our prayers on this is altogether to withdraw our trust from calling upon God. But Paul lays down, as the rule for calling on God in a proper manner, faith grounded on the word of God. (Rom_10:17.) Justly, therefore, everything that men contrive, in the exercise of their own thoughts, without the authority of the word of God, is rejected by us.
But not to dwell on this subject longer than the exposition of the passage demands, let it be summed up in this manner; that they who have actually learned the office of Christ will be satisfied with having him alone, and that none will make mediators at their own pleasure but those who neither know God nor Christ. Hence I conclude, that the doctrine of the Papists — which darkens, and almost buries, the intercession of Christ, and introduces pretended intercessors without any support from Scripture — is full of wicked distrust, and also of wicked rashness.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim 2:5. For there is one God] Usually taken as a proof of God’s willing all men to be saved, as in the quotation from Theodore, ver. 4. But the parallel passage is ch. 3:15, 16, where the test word ‘the truth’ leads at once to the recital of an apparently well-known elementary creed. And so here, verses 5 and 6 give us a creed, a brief exposition of ‘the truth’; and verse 7 is seen to have a much plainer connexion and stronger force—this creed, this Gospel, is what you have received with my imprimatur as apostle of the Gentiles, and is ‘the truth,’ whatever the teachers of false knowledge may say. See App. A iii.
and one mediator … the man] Accurate rendering requires one mediator also …
(himself) man. The word ‘mediator’ has now come to be applied without explanations to Christ; a token of the later use, even of creed formulary. The places in Heb_8:6, Heb_9:15, Heb_12:24, where Christ is thus spoken of in contrast to Moses would lead on to this usage. ‘Man,’ not of the angelic race, whose aid some would wish to use for mediation, Col_2:18. Cf. Heb_2:16.
“The other equally essential condition that he should be God is not here insisted on, for the tendency of Gnosticism was to Docetism.”
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God — God’s unity in essence and purpose is a proof of His comprehending all His human children alike (created in His image) in His offer of grace (compare the same argument from His unity, Rom_3:30; Gal_3:20); therefore all are to be prayed for. 1Ti_2:4 is proved from 1Ti_2:5; 1Ti_2:1, from 1Ti_2:4. The one God is common to all (Isa_45:22; Act_17:26). The one Mediator is mediator between God and all men potentially (Rom_3:29; Eph_4:5, Eph_4:6; Heb_8:6; Heb_9:15; Heb_12:24). They who have not this one God by one Mediator, have none: literally, a “go-between.” The Greek order is not “and one mediator,” but “one mediator also between … While God will have all men to be saved by knowing God and the Mediator, there is a legitimate, holy order in the exercise of that will wherewith men ought to receive it. All mankind constitute, as it were, ONE MAN before God [Bengel].
the man — rather “man,” absolutely and genetically: not a mere individual man: the Second Head of humanity, representing and embodying in Himself the whole human race and nature. There is no “the” in the Greek. This epithet is thus the strongest corroboration of his argument, namely, that Christ’s mediation affects the whole race, since there is but the one Mediator, designed as the Representative Man for all men alike (compare Rom_5:15; 1Co_8:6; 2Co_5:19; Col_2:14). His being “man” was necessary to His being a Mediator, sympathizing with us through experimental knowledge of our nature (Isa_50:4; Heb_2:14; Heb_4:15). Even in nature, almost all blessings are conveyed to us from God, not immediately, but through the mediation of various agents. The effectual intercession of Moses for Israel (Num_14:13-19, and Deu_9:1-29); of Abraham for Abimelech (Gen_20:7); of Job for his friends (Job_42:10), the mediation being PRESCRIBED by God while declaring His purposes of forgiveness: all prefigure the grand mediation for all by the one Mediator. On the other hand, 1Ti_3:16 asserts that He was also God.
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God – This is a reason for offering prayer for all people, and for the declaration 1Ti_2:4 that God desires that all people should be saved. The reason is founded in the fact that he is the common Father of all the race, and that he must have the same desire for the welfare of all his children, He has made them of one blood Act_17:26, and he must have the same interest in the happiness of all; compare Eph_4:6 note; Rom_3:30 note.
And one Mediator between God and men – see Gal_3:19-20 notes; Heb_9:15 note. This also is given as a reason why prayer should be offered for all, and a proof that God desires their salvation. The argument is, that there is the same Mediator between God and all people. He is not the Mediator between God and a part of the human race, but between “God and men,” implying that He desired the salvation of the race. Whatever love there was in giving the Mediator at all, was love for all the race; whatever can be argued from that about the interest which God has in man, is proof of his interest in the race at large. It is proper, therefore, to pray for all. It may be remarked here that there is but one Mediator. There is not one for kings and another for their subjects; one for the rich and another for the poor; one for the master and another for the slave. All are on the same level, and the servant may feel that, in the gift of a Mediator, God regarded him with the same interest that he did his master. It may be added also that the doctrine of the Papists that the saints or the Virgin Mary may act as mediators to procure blessings for us, is false. There is but “one Mediator;” and but one is necessary. Prayer offered to the “saints,” or to the “Virgin,” is idolatry, and at the same time removes the one great Mediator from the office which he alone holds, of making intercession with God.
The man Christ Jesus – Jesus was truly and properly a man, having a perfect human body and soul, and is often called a man in the New Testament. But this does not prove that he was not also divine – anymore than his being called God (Joh_1:1; Joh_20:28; Rom_9:5; 1Jo_5:20; Heb_1:8), proves that he was not also a man. The use of the word man here was probably designed to intimate that though he was divine, it was in his human nature that we are to consider him as discharging the office. Doddridge.
1 Timothy 2:6
6Who gave himself a ransom for all The mention of redemption in this passage is not superfluous; for there is a necessary connection between the two things, the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and his continual intercession. (Rom_8:34.) These are the two parts of his priesthood; for, when Christ is called our priest, it is in this sense, that he once made atonement for our sins by his death, that he might reconcile us to God; and now having entered into the sanctuary of heaven, he appears in presence of the Father, in order to obtain grace for us, that we may be heard in his name. (Psa_110:4; Heb_7:17.) So much the more does he expose the wicked sacrilege of the Papists, who, by making dead saints to be companions of Christ in this affair, transfer to them likewise the glory of the priesthood. Read the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, towards the conclusion, and the beginning of the fifth chapter, [Heb_4:14,] and you will find what I maintain, that the intercession by which God is reconciled to us is founded on the sacrifice; which, indeed, is demonstrated by the whole system of the ancient priesthood. It follows, therefore, that it is impossible to take from Christ any part of the office of intercession, and bestow it on others, without stripping him of the title of priesthood.
Besides, when the Apostle calls him ἀντίλυτρον, “ a ransom,” he overthrows all other satisfactions. Yet I am not ignorant of the injurious devices of the Papists, who pretend that the price of redemption, which Christ paid by his death, is applied to us in baptism, so that original sin is effaced, and that afterwards we are reconciled to God by satisfactions. In this way they limit to a small period of time, and to a single class, that benefit which was universal and perpetual. But a full illustration of this subject will be found in the Institutes.
That there might be a testimony in due time; that is, in order that this grace might be revealed at the appointed time. The phrase, for all, which the Apostle had used, might have given rise to the question, “Why then had God chosen a peculiar people, if he revealed himself as a reconciled Father to all without distinction, and if the one redemption through Christ was common to all?” He cuts off all ground for that question, by referring to the purpose of God the season for revealing his grace. For if we are not astonished that in winter, the trees are stripped of their foliage, the fields are covered with snow, and the meadows are stiff with frost, and that, by the genial warmth of spring, what appeared for a time to be dead, begins to revive, because God appointed the seasons to follow in succession; why should we not allow the same authority to his providence in other matters? Shall we accuse God of instability, because he brings forward, at the proper time, what he had always determined, and settled in his own mind?
Accordingly, although it came upon the world suddenly and was altogether unexpected, that Christ was revealed as a Redeemer to Jews and Gentiles, without distinction; let us not think that it was sudden with respect to God but, on the contrary, let us learn to subject all our sense to his wonderful providence. The consequence will be, that there will be nothing that comes from him which shall not appear to us to be highly seasonable. On that account this admonition frequently occurs in the writings of Paul and especially when he treats of the calling of the Gentiles, by which, at that time, on account of its novelty, many persons were startled and almost confounded. They who are not satisfied with this solution, that God, by his hidden wisdom, arranged the succession of the seasons, will one day feel, that, at the time when they think that he was idle, he was framing a hell for inquisitive persons.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim 2:6. a ransom] The word is a compound naturally formed, as time passed, to represent Christ’s own teaching, antilutron thus recalling the lutron anti of Mat_20:28; Mar_10:45. On this last verse Maclear distinguishes, from Trench’s Syn., p. 276, the three great circles of images in Scripture used to represent the purport of Christ’s death:
(a) sin offering or propitiation, 1Jn_2:2, 1Jn_4:10.
(b) atonement, i.e. at-one-ment, reconciliation with an offended friend, Rom_5:11; Rom_11:15; 2Co_5:18, 2Co_5:19.
(c) ransom, or the price paid for the redemption of a captive from slavery, Rom_3:24; Eph_1:7.
This third image, which is St Paul’s latest love, occurs again, Tit_2:14, ‘that he might redeem us from all iniquity,’ and is chosen by St Peter, 1Pe_1:18, and the writer to the Hebrews, Heb_9:12.
Our Article II. like this creed, and unlike the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, adds a statement of the purport of Christ’s death to its statement of the fact; but takes the first and second of these images to express it; “who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice not only for original guilt but also for all actual sins of men.” Cf. Art. XV.: ‘He came to be the Lamb without spot, who by sacrifice of Himself once made should take away the sins of the world.’
to be testified in due time] R.V. the testimony to be borne in its proper seasons; the neuter substantive having its proper sense, ‘that which was to be testified of.’ The word may well have come into this creed from the familiarity of the Jewish Christians with its use (as Wordsworth suggests) in the Pentateuch, where it occurs 30 times in connexion with the Holy of Holies, the Tables of the law, the Tabernacle and the Ark. Cf. Act_7:44, ‘Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness.’ ‘The redemption made by the Blood of Christ was the True Testimony which was reserved for its full revelation in its own appointed season,’ Eph_1:10, ‘a dispensation of the fulness of the seasons to sum up all things in Christ.’
The reading is not doubtful, though from the apparent abruptness (sufficiently accounted for if part of a brief creed) the scribes in the mss. seem to have stumbled at the clause, each giving some variety for smoothness. See note on verse 5 for the connexion; which makes the force and relevance of the familiar phrases strong and clear.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
1 Timothy 2:6
gave himself — (Tit_2:14). Not only the Father gave Him for us (Joh_3:16); but the Son gave Himself (Phi_2:5-8).
ransom — properly of a captive slave. Man was the captive slave of Satan, sold under sin. He was unable to ransom himself, because absolute obedience is due to God, and therefore no act of ours can satisfy for the least offense. Lev_25:48 allowed one sold captive to be redeemed by one of his brethren. The Son of God, therefore, became man in order that, being made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, as our elder brother He should redeem us (Mat_20:28; Eph_1:7; 1Pe_1:18, 1Pe_1:19). The Greek implies not merely ransom, but a substituted or equivalent ransom: the Greek preposition, “anti,” implying reciprocity and vicarious substitution.
for all — Greek, “in behalf of all”: not merely for a privileged few; compare 1Ti_2:1 : the argument for praying in behalf of all is given here.
to be testified — Greek, “the testimony (that which was to be testified of, 1Jo_5:8-11) in its own due times,” or seasons, that is, in the times appointed by God for its being testified of (1Ti_6:15; Tit_1:3). The oneness of the Mediator, involving the universality of redemption (which faith, however, alone appropriates), was the great subject of Christian testimony [Alford] (1Co_1:6; 1Co_2:1; 2Th_1:10).
1 Timothy 2:6
Who gave himself a ransom for all – This also is stated as a reason why prayer should be offered for all, and a proof that God desires the salvation of all. The argument is, that as Christ died for all, it is proper to pray for all, and that the fact that he died for all is proof that God desired the salvation of all. Whatever proof of his desire for their salvation can be derived from this in relation to any of the race, is proof in relation to all. On the meaning of the phrase “he gave himself a ransom,” see the Mat_20:28 note; Rom_3:25 note; on the fact that it was for “all,” see the notes on 2Co_5:14.
See also the Supp. note on the same passage.
To be testified in due time – Margin, “a testimony.” The Greek is, “the testimony in its own times,” or in proper times – τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις to marturion kairois idiois. There have been very different explanations of this phrase. The common interpretation, and that which seems to me to be correct, is, that “the testimony of this will be furnished in the proper time; that is, in the proper time it shall be made known through all the world;” see Rosenmuller. Paul affirms it as a great and important truth that Christ gave himself a ransom for all mankind – for Jews and Gentiles; for all classes and conditions of people alike. This truth had not always been understood. The Jews had supposed that salvation was designed exclusively for their nation, and denied that it could be extended to others, unless they became Jews. According to them, salvation was not provided for, or offered to pagans as such, but only on condition that they became Jews. In opposition to this, Paul says that it was a doctrine of revelation that redemption was to be provided for all people, and that it was intended that the testimony to this should be afforded at the proper time. It was not fully made known under the ancient dispensation, but now the period had come when it should be communicated to all; compare Rom_5:6 note, and Gal_4:4 note.
1 Timothy 2:7
7For which I have been appointed. That it may not be thought that he makes rash assertions — as many are wont to do — on a subject which he did not well understand, he affirms that God had appointed him for this purpose, that he might bring the Gentiles, who had formerly been alienated from the kingdom of God, to have a share in the gospel; for his apostleship was a sure foundation of the divine calling. And on this account he labors very hard in asserting it, as there are many who received it with no small difficulty.
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie. He employs an oath, or protestation, as in a matter of extraordinary weigh and importance, that he is a teacher of the Gentiles, and that in faith and truth These two things denote a good conscience, but still it must rest on the certainty of the will of God. Thus he means, that he preaches the gospel to the Gentiles, not only with pure affection, but also with an upright and fearless conscience; because he does nothing but by the command of God.
Was appointed for am ordained, A.V.; truth for truth in Christ, A.V. and T.R.; I lie for and lie, A.V.; truth for verity, A.V. I was appointed, etc. It is quite in St. Paul’s manner thus to refer to his own apostolic mission (see Rom_1:5; Rom_11:13; Rom_15:16; 1Co_1:1, 1Co_1:17; 1Co_3:10; 2Co_5:18; Gal_1:1, etc.; Eph_3:2, Eph_3:8; and many other places).
A preacher (κήρυξ; as in 2Ti_1:11). So Mar_16:15, “Preach the gospel” is Κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον; and in Mar_16:20, “They… preached everywhere” is ‘Εκήρυξαν πανταχοῦ; and 2Ti_4:2, “Preach the word” is Κήρυξον τὸν λόγον; and generally it is the word rendered “preach.” It combines the idea of authority in the preacher who is the authorized herald (Rom_10:15), and publicity for his message (Mat_10:27; Luk_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 1Ti_1:3, 1Ti_1:19, 1Ti_1:20 (comp. Rom_11:13; Rom_15:15, Rom_15:16).
1 Timothy 2:7
I am ordained (ἐτέθην ἐγω)
Better, I was appointed. See on Joh_15:16.
A preacher (κῆρυξ)
Lit. a herald. See on 2Pe_2:5. Paul does not use the noun, but the kindred verb κηρύσσειν to proclaim or preach is very common in his writings. See Rom_10:8; 1Co_1:23; 2Co_4:5; Phi_1:15, etc.
I speak the truth in Christ and lie not
Omit in Christ. A strange asseveration to an intimate and trusted friend. Apparently an imitation of Rom_9:1.
A teacher of the Gentiles (διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν)
Paul does not use this phrase. He expressly distinguishes between teacher and apostle. See 1Co_12:28; Eph_4:11. He calls himself ἐθνῶν ἀπόστολος apostle of the Gentiles (Rom_11:13); λειτουργός Χριστοῦ Ἱησοῦ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles (Rom_15:16); and δέσμιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἱησοῦ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν τῶν ἐθνῶν prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles (Eph_3:1).
In faith and verity (ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀληθείᾳ)
Or faith and truth. The combination only here. Paul has sincerity and truth (1Co_5:8), and sanctification of the Spirit and faith of the truth (2Th_2:13). The phrase must not be explained in true faith, nor faithfully and truly. It means that faith and truth are the element or sphere in which the apostolic function is discharged: that he preaches with a sincere faith in the gospel, and with a truthful representation of the gospel which he believes.
1 Timothy 2:8
8I wish therefore that men may pray This inference depends on the preceding statement; for, as we saw in the Epistle to the Galatians, we must receive “the Spirit of adoption,” in order that we may call on God in a proper manner. Thus, after having exhibited the grace of Christ to all, and after having mentioned that he was given to the Gentiles for the express purpose, that they might enjoy the same benefit of redemption in common with the Jews, he invites all in the same manner to pray; for faith leads to calling on God. Hence, at Rom_15:9, he proves the calling of the Gentiles by these passages.
“Let the Gentiles rejoice with his people.” (Psa_67:5.)
“All ye Gentiles, praise God.’, (Psa_117:1.)
“I will confess to thee among the Gentiles.” (Psa_18:49.)
The material argument holds good, from faith to prayer, and from prayer to faith, whether we reason from the cause to the effect, or from the effect to the cause. This is worthy of observation, because it reminds us that God reveals himself to us in his word, that we may call upon him; and this is the chief exercise of faith.
In every place This expression is of the same import as in the beginning of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, “with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” (1Co_1:2,) so that there is now no difference between Gentile and Jew, between Greek and barbarian, because all in common have God as their Father; and in Christ is now fulfilled what Malachi had foretold, that not only in Judea, but throughout the whole world, pure sacrifices are offered. (Mal_1:11.)
Lifting up pure hands As if he had said, “Provided that it be accompanied by a good conscience, there will be nothing to prevent all the nations from calling upon God everywhere. But he has employed the sign instead of the reality, for “pure hands” are the expressions of a pure heart; just as, on the contrary, Isaiah rebukes the Jews for lifting up “bloody hands,” when he attacks their cruelty. (Isa_1:15.) Besides, this attitude has been generally used in worship during all ages; for it is a feeling which nature has implanted in us, when we ask God, to look upwards, and has always been so strong, that even idolaters themselves, although in other respects they make a god of images of wood and stone, still retained the custom of lifting up their hands to heaven. Let us therefore learn that the attitude is in accordance with true godliness, provided that it be attended by the corresponding truth which is represented by it, namely, that, having been informed that we ought to seek God in heaven, first, we should form no conception of Him that is earthly or carnal; and, secondly, that we should lay aside carnal affections, so that nothing may prevent our hearts from rising above the world. But idolaters and hypocrites, when they lift up their hands in prayer, are apes; for while they profess, by the outward symbol, that their minds are raised upwards, the former are fixed on wood and stone, as if God were shut up in them, and the latter, wrapped up either in useless anxieties, or in wicked thoughts, cleave to the earth; and therefore, by a gesture of an opposite meaning, they bear testimony against themselves.
Without wrath Some explain this to mean a burst of indignation, when the conscience fights with itself, and, so to speak, quarrels with God which usually happens when adversity presses heavily upon us; for then we are displeased that God does not send us immediate assistance, and are agitated by impatience. Faith is also shaken by various assaults; for, in consequence of his assistance not being visible, we are seized with doubts, whether or not he cares about us, or wishes us to be saved, and things of that nature.
They who take this view think that the word disputing denotes that alarm which arises from doubt. Thus, according to them, the meaning would be, that we should pray with a peaceful conscience and assured confidence. Chrysostom and others think that the apostle here demands that our minds should be calm and free from all uneasy feelings both towards God and towards men; because there is nothing that tends more to hinder pure calling on God than quarrels and strife. On this account Christ enjoins, that if any man be at variance with his brother, he shall go and be reconciled to him before offering his gift on the altar.
For my part, I acknowledge that both of these views are just; but when I take into consideration the context of this passage, I have no doubt that Paul had his eye on the disputes which arose out of the indignation of the Jews at having the Gentiles made equal to themselves, in consequence of which they raised a controversy about the calling of the Gentiles, and went so far as to reject and exclude them from the participation of grace. Paul therefore wishes that debates of this nature should be put down, and that all the children of God of every nation and country should pray with one heart. Yet there is nothing to restrain us from drawing from this particular statement a general doctrine.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
1 Timothy 2:8
I will — The active wish, or desire, is meant.
that men — rather as Greek, “that the men,” as distinguished from “the women,” to whom he has something different to say from what he said to the men (1Ti_2:9-12; 1Co_11:14, 1Co_11:15; 1Co_14:34, 1Co_14:35). The emphasis, however, is not on this, but on the precept of praying, resumed from 1Ti_2:1.
everywhere — Greek, “in every place,” namely, of public prayer. Fulfilling Mal_1:11, “In every place … from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same … incense shall be offered unto My name”; and Jesus’ words, Mat_18:20; Joh_4:21, Joh_4:23.
lifting up holy hands — The early Christians turned up their palms towards heaven, as those craving help do. So also Solomon (1Ki_8:22; Psa_141:2). The Jews washed their hands before prayer (Psa_26:6). Paul figuratively (compare Job_17:9; Jam_4:8) uses language alluding to this custom here: so Isa_1:15, Isa_1:16. The Greek for “holy” means hands which have committed no impiety, and observed every sacred duty. This (or at least the contrite desire to be so) is a needful qualification for effectual prayer (Psa_24:3, Psa_24:4).
without wrath — putting it away (Mat_5:23, Mat_5:24; Mat_6:15).
doubting — rather, “disputing,” as the Greek is translated in Phi_2:14. Such things hinder prayer (Luk_9:46; Rom_14:1; 1Pe_3:7). Bengel supports English Version (compare an instance, 2Ki_7:2; Mat_14:31; Mar_11:22-24; Jam_1:6).
1 Timothy 2:8
I will (βούλομαι)
Better, I desire. See on Mat_1:19, and comp. Phi_1:12. Paul’s word is θέλω I will. See Rom_16:19; 1Co_7:32; 1Co_10:20; 1Co_14:5, 1Co_14:19, etc.
Everywhere (ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ)
Lit. in every place. Wherever Christian congregations assemble. Not every place indiscriminately.
Lifting up holy hands (ἐπαίροντας ὁσίους χεῖρας)
The phrase is unique in N.T. olxx. Among Orientals the lifting up of the hands accompanied taking an oath, blessing, and prayer. The custom passed over into the primitive church, as may be seen from the mural paintings in the catacombs. See Clement, Ad Corinth. xxix, which may possibly be a reminiscence of this passage. The verb ἐπαίρειν to raise, twice in Paul, 2Co_10:5; 2Co_11:20; but often in Luke. Ὁσίους holy, oP. See on Luk_1:75.
Without wrath and doubting (χωρὶς ὀργῆς καὶ διαλογισμῶν)
The combination only here. Ὁργὴ is used by Paul mostly of the righteous anger and the accompanying judgment of God against sin. As here, only in Eph_4:31; Col_3:8. Διαλογισμός in N.T. habitually in the plural, as here. The only exception is Luk_9:46, Luk_9:47. By Paul usually in the sense of disputatious reasoning. It may also mean sceptical questionings or criticisms as Phi_2:14. So probably here. Prayer, according to our writer, is to be without the element of sceptical criticism, whether of God’s character and dealings, or of the character and behavior of those for whom prayer is offered.
1 Timothy 2:9
9In like manner also women As he enjoined men to lift up pure hands, so he now prescribes the manner in which women ought to prepare for praying aright. And there appears to be an implied contrast between those virtues which he recommends and the outward sanctification of the Jews; for he intimates that there is no profane place, nor any from which both men and women may not draw near to God, provided they are not excluded by their vices.
He intended to embrace the opportunity of correcting a vice to which women are almost always prone, and which perhaps at Ephesus, being a city of vast wealth and extensive merchandise, especially abounded. That vice is — excessive eagerness and desire to be richly dressed. He wishes therefore that their dress should be regulated by modesty and sobriety; for luxury and immoderate expense arise from a desire to make a display either for the sake of pride or of departure from chastity. And hence we ought to derive the rule of moderation; for, since dress is an indifferent matter, (as all outward matters are,) it is difficult to assign a fixed limit, how far we ought to go. Magistrates may indeed make laws, by means of which a rage for superfluous expenditure shall be in some measure restrained; but godly teachers, whose business it is to guide the consciences, ought always to keep in view the end of lawful use. This at least will be settled beyond all controversy, that every thing in dress which is not in accordance with modesty and sobriety must be disapproved.
Yet we must always begin with the dispositions; for where debauchery reigns within, there will be no chastity; and where ambition reigns within, there will be no modesty in the outward dress. But because hypocrites commonly avail themselves of all the pretexts that they can find for concealing their wicked dispositions, we are under the necessity of pointing out what meets the eye. It would be great baseness to deny the appropriateness of modesty as the peculiar and constant ornament of virtuous and chaste women, or the duty of all to observe moderation. Whatever is opposed to these virtues it will be in vain to excuse. He expressly censures certain kinds of superfluity, such as curled hair, jewels, and golden rings; not that the use of gold or of jewels is expressly forbidden, but that, wherever they are prominently displayed, these things commonly draw along with them the other evils which I have mentioned, and arise from ambition or from want of chastity as their source.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim 2:9. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves] The point of likeness consists in the fitting attitude of men and of women towards Public Worship and Common Prayer; for men, to lead in prayer with suitable posture and prepared spirit; for women, to attend in quiet dress and quiet behaviour, ‘unadorned’ but still ‘adorned the most’ with the halo of their church work. Cf. Tit_2:3.
modest apparel] Or, seemly guise, if we take the word (which occurs only here) to refer like the Latin habitus not solely to dress but also to demeanour. The simple noun occurs often, e.g. Luk_15:22, ‘bring out the best robe.’ The compound verb is used by the ‘town clerk of Ephesus,’ Act_19:36, ‘ye ought to be composed.’
with shamefastness and sobriety] The word ‘shamefacedness’ is a vulgar printer’s corruption of the word used by the translators of the A.V. ‘shamefastness,’ now restored to the A.V. in the copies printed side by side with the R.V. The original word aidôs implies a reference to external standards; a feeling of what is due to another (God or man) irrespective of consequences (in contrast to aischunê, the same feeling through fear of harm); the other word sôphrosunê, characteristic of these epistles, implies restraint upon oneself from an innate sense of what is right. The English words of the A.V. may carry the same distinction. Compare Xen. Cyrop. viii. i. 31, ‘the shamefast shun what is openly disgraceful, the sober-minded what is disgraceful in secret also.’ Cf. ch. 3:2. Trench, N. T. Syn., is not quite right.
broided hair] Lit. ‘plaitings’; ‘gold’ seems to have the best support of mss. here, though ‘gold coins’ is the best supported word in the parallel passage, 1Pe_3:3, ‘plaiting the hair and wearing a necklace of coins.’
costly array] The R.V. raiment; the word in its form suggests what we convey by the modern term ‘wardrobe.’
In like manner for in like manner also, A.V. and T.R.; braided for broided, A.V.; and gold for or gold, A.V.; raiment for array, A.V. 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 depending upon βούλομαι. There is a little doubt as to the exact meaning of καταστολή 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 1Pe_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, ‘in strict accord with,’ or ‘together with’] not with braided hair,” etc. A woman’s true ornament is not the finery which sire gets from the milliner, but the chaste discretion which she has from the Spirit of God.
Modest (κόσμιος); only found in the New Testament here and in 1Ti_3:2, where it is rendered” of good behavior” in the A.V., and “modest” in the margin, “orderly” in the R.V. It is common in classical Greek in the sense of “welt-ordered,” “welt-behaved.”
Shamefastness (αἰδώς, bashfulness). So the edition of 1611; “shamefacedness” in the later editions is a corruption. Archbishop Trench compares “stead fast,” “soothfast,” “root fast,” “master-fast,” “footfast,” “bedfast,” with their substantives (‘Synonyms of New Test.,’ § 20.).
Sobriety (σωφροσύνη, as in 1Ti_3:15, q.v.); soundness, health, purity, and integrity of mind. Ἁπὸ τοῦ σώας τὰς φρένας ἔχειν (Chrysostom, ‘Ap. Trench.’).
Braided hair (πλέγμασιν); found only here in the New Testament, but used in Aquila and Theodotion, instead of the πλεκείς or πλακείς of the LXX., in Isa_28:5, for הרָיפִץְ, a “diadem,” or “twined garland.” In classical Greek πλέγματα are anything twined, tendrils of the vine, wickerwork, chaplets, etc. The corresponding word in 1Pe_3:3 is ἐμπλοκὴ τριχῶν, “plaiting the hair.”
Costly raiment (ἱματισμῷ πολυτελεῖ). For ἱματισμὸς, comp. Luk_7:25; Luk_9:23; Act_20:33; Psa_45:10, LXX.; etc., which show tinct the word is used κατ ἐξοχήν of any splendid garment (Schleusuer). Πολυτελής, costly. St. Peter manifestly had this passage before him from the marked verbal coincidences, as well as close similarity of thought (ἐμπλοκή χρύσιον κόσμος ἱμάτιον, πολυτελής ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι (compared with δι ἔργων ἀγαθῶν), ἡσυχία ὑποταγή, (compared with ὑποτασσόμεναι), ἁγαίαι γυναῖκες κ.τ.λ. (compared with ἐπαγγελλόμεναις θεοσέβειαν). (See reference to St. Paul’s Epistles in 2Pe_3:15.)
1 Timothy 2:9
In like manner (ὡσαύτως)
The writer’s thought is still running upon the public assemblies for worship.
Adorn themselves (κοσμεῖν ἑαυτάς)
Κοσμεῖν adorn, oP. Of female adornment, 1Pe_3:5; Rev_21:2. In Mat_25:7, of trimming the lamps. From κοσμός order, so that the primary meaning is to arrange. Often in lxx and Class. Prominent in the writer’s mind is the attire of women in church assemblies. Paul treats this subject 1Co_11:5 ff.
In modest apparel (ἐν κατασψολῇ κοσμιῳ)
Καταστολή N.T.o. Once in lxx, Isa_61:3. Opinions differ as to the meaning. Some apparel, others guise or deportment = κατάστημα demeanour, Tit_2:3. There seems, on the whole, to be no sufficient reason for departing from the rendering of A.V. and Rev. Κοσμίῳ modest, seemly, Pasto. Note the word – play, κοσμεῖν κοσμίῳ.
With shamefacedness and sobriety (μετὰ αἰδοῦς καὶ σωφροσύνης)
Ἁιδώς N.T. (αἰδοῦς in Heb_12:28 is an incorrect reading). In earlier Greek, as in Homer, it sometimes blends with the sense of αἰσχύνη shame, though used also of the feeling of respectful timidity in the presence of superiors, or of penitent respect toward one who has been wronged (see Homer, Il. i. 23). Hence it is connected in Homer with military discipline (Il. v. 531). It is the feeling of a suppliant or an unfortunate in the presence of those from whom he seeks aid; of a younger man toward an older and wiser one. It is a feeling based upon the sense of deficiency, inferiority, or unworthiness. On the other hand, it is the feeling of a superior in position or fortune which goes out to an unfortunate. See Homer, Il. xxiv. 208; Od. xiv. 388; Soph. Oed. Col. 247. In the Attic period, a distinction was recognised between αἰσχύνη and αἰδώς: αἰδώς representing a respectful and reverent attitude toward another, while αἰσχύνη was the sense of shame on account of wrong doing. Thus, “one αἰδεῖται is respectful to his father, but αἰσχύνεται is ashamed because he has been drunk.” Trench (N.T. Synon. § xix.) remarks that “αἰδώς is the nobler word and implies the nobler motive. In it is involved an innate moral repugnance to the doing of the dishonorable act, which moral repugnance scarcely or not at all exists in the αἰσχύνη. Let the man who is restrained by αἰσχύνη alone be insured against the outward disgrace which he fears his act will entail, and he will refrain from it no longer.” The A.V. shamefacedness is a corruption of the old English shamefastness.
“Schamefast chastite.”Knight’s T. 2057.
“’Tis a blushing shamefast spirit that mutinies in a man’s bosom.”
Richard III. i. 4.
It is one of a large class of words, as steadfast, soothfast, rootfast, masterfast, handfast, bedfast, etc. Shamefaced changes and destroys the original force of the word, which was bound or made fast by an honorable shame.
Σωφροσύνη sobrietys oP. Once in Acts, Act_26:25. The kindred verb σωφρονεῖν to be of sound mind, Rom_12:3-5; 2Co_5:13; Tit_2:6. Several representatives of this family of words appear in the Pastorals, and with the exception of σωφροσύνη and σωφρονεῖν, nowhere else in N.T. Such are σωφρονίζειν to be soberminded (Tit_2:4); σωφρονισμός discipline (2Ti_1:7); σωφρόνως soberly (Tit_2:12); σώφρων soberminded (1Ti_3:2). The word is compounded of σάος or σῶς safe, sound, and φρήν mind. It signifies entire command of the passions and desires; a self-control which holds the rein over these. So Aristotle (Rhet. i. 9): The virtue by which we hold ourselves toward the pleasures of the body as. the law enjoins.” Comp. 4 Macc. 1:31. Euripides calls it “the fairest gift of the gods” (Med. 632). That it appears so rarely in N.T. is, as Trench remarks, “not because more value was attached to it in heathen ethics than in Christian morality, but because it is taken up and transformed into a condition yet higher still, in which a man does not command himself, which is well, but, which is better still, is commanded by God.” The words with shamefastness and sobriety may either be taken directly with adorn themselves, or better perhaps, as indicating moral qualities accompanying (μετὰ with) the modest apparel. Let them adorn themselves in modest apparel, having along with this shamefastness and sobermindedness.
With broidered hair (ἐν πλέγμασιν)
Lit. with plaitings. N.T.o. Rend. with braided hair. Broidered is a blunder owing to a confusion with broided, the older form of braided.
“Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse,
Bihinde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.”
Knight’s T. 1049 f
Costly array (ἱματισμῷ πολυτελεῖ)
Neither word in Paul. Ἱματισμός, signifies clothing in general. Πολυτελής costly occurs only three times in N.T.
1 Timothy 2:9
In like manner also – That is, with the same propriety; with the same regard to what religion demands. The apostle had stated particularly the duty of men in public worship 1Ti_2:8, and he now proceeds to state the duty of women. All the directions here evidently refer to the proper manner of conducting public worship, and not to private duties; and the object here is to state the way in which he would have the different sexes appear. He had said that he would have prayers offered for all people (1Ti_2:1 ff), and that in offering such petitions he would have the men on whom devolved the duty of conducting public devotion, do it with holy hands, and without any intermingling of passion, and with entire freedom from the spirit of contention. In reference to the duty of females in attendance on public worship, he says that he would have them appear in apparel suitable to the place and the occasion – adorned not after the manner of the world, but with the zeal and love in the cause of the Redeemer which became Christians. He would not have a woman become a public teacher 1Ti_2:12, but would wish her ever to occupy the place in society for which she was designed 1Ti_2:11, and to which she had shown that she was adapted; 1Ti_2:13-14. The direction in 1Ti_2:9-12, therefore, is to be understood particularly of the proper deportment of females in the duties of public worship. At the same time, the principles laid down are doubtless such as were intended to apply to them in the other situations in life, for if modest apparel is appropriate in the sanctuary, it is appropriate everywhere. If what is here prohibited in dress is wrong there, it would be difficult to show that it is right elsewhere.
That women adorn themselves – The words “I will” are to be understood here as repeated from 1Ti_2:8. The apostle by the use of the word “adorn” (κοσμεῖν kosmein), shows that he is not opposed to ornament or adorning, provided it be of the right kind. The world, as God has made it, is full of beauty, and he has shown in each flower that he is not opposed to true ornament. There are multitudes of things which, so far as we can see, appear to be designed for mere ornament, or are made merely because they are beautiful. Religion does not forbid true adorning. It differs from the world only on the question what “is” true ornament, or what it becomes us, all things considered, to do in the situation in which we are placed, the character which we sustain, the duties which we have to perform, and the profession which we make. It may be that there are ornaments in heaven which would be anything but appropriate for the condition of a poor, lost, dying sinner on earth.
In modest apparel – The word here rendered “modest” (κόσμιος kosmios), properly relates to ornament, or decoration, and means that which is “well-ordered, decorous, becoming.” It does not, properly, mean modest in the sense of being opposed to that which is immodest, or which tends to excite improper passions and desires, but that which is becoming or appropriate. The apostle does not positively specify what this would be, but he mentions somethings which are to be excluded from it, and which, in his view, are inconsistent with the true adorning of Christian females – “broidered hair, gold, pearls, costly array.” The sense here is, that the apparel of females should be such as becomes them, or is appropriate to them. The word here used (κόσμιος kosmios), shows that there should be due attention that it may be truly neat, fit, decorous. There is no religion in a negligent mode of apparel, or in inattention to personal appearance – anymore than there is in wearing gold and pearls; and a female may as truly violate the precepts of her religion by neglecting her personal appearance as by excessive attention to it. The true idea here is, that her attention to her appearance should be such that she will be offensive to no class of persons; such as to show that her mind is supremely fixed on higher and more important things, and such as to interfere with no duty which she owes, and no good which she can do, either by spending her time needlessly in personal adorning, or by lavishing that money for dress which might do good to others, or by neglecting the proprieties of her station, and making herself offensive to others.
With shamefacedness – With modesty of appearance and manner – an eminent female virtue, whether in the sanctuary or at home.
And sobriety – The word here used means, properly, “sanity;” then sober-mindedness, moderation of the desires and passions. It is opposed to all that is frivolous, and to all undue excitement of the passions. The idea is, that in their apparel and deportment they should not entrench on the strictest decorum. Doddridge.
Not with broidered hair – Margin, “plaited.” Females in the East pay much more attention to the hair than is commonly done with us. It is plaited with great care, and arranged in various forms, according to the prevailing fashion, and often ornamented with spangles or with silver wire or tissue interwoven; see the notes on Isa_3:24. The sense here is, that Christian females are not to imitate those of the world in their careful attention to the ornaments of the head. It cannot be supposed that the mere braiding of the hair is forbidden, but only that careful attention to the manner of doing it, and to the ornaments usually worn in it, which characterized worldly females.
Or gold, or pearls – It is not to be supposed that all use of gold or pearls as articles of dress is here forbidden; but the idea is, that the Christian female is not to seek these as the adorning which she desires, or is not to imitate the world in these personal decorations. It may be a difficult question to settle how much ornament is allowable, and when the true line is passed. But though this cannot be settled by any exact rules, since much must depend on age, and on the relative rank in life, and the means which one may possess, yet there is one general rule which is applicable to all, and which might regulate all. It is, that the true line is passed when more is thought of this external adorning, than of the ornament of the heart. Any external decoration which occupies the mind more than the virtues of the heart, and which engrosses the time and attention more, we may be certain is wrong. The apparel should be such as not to attract attention; such as becomes our situation; such as will not be particularly singular; such as shall leave the impression that the heart is not fixed on it. It is a poor ambition to decorate a dying body with gold and pearls. It should not be forgotten that the body thus adorned will soon need other habiliments, and will occupy a position where gold and pearls would be a mockery. When the heart is right; when there is true and supreme love for religion, it is usually not difficult to regulate the subject of dress.
Costly array – Expensive dress. This is forbidden – for it is foolish, and the money thus employed may be much more profitably used in doing good. “Costly array” includes that which can be ill afforded, and that which is inconsistent with the feeling that the principle ornament is that of the heart.
Ver. 10.—Through for with, A.V. (The change from “with” to “through” is quite unnecessary, though more strictly accurate. “With” does equally well for ἐν and διά, 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 other passages in the New Testament where it occurs, ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι means “to promise,” except in ch. 6:21, where, as here, it means “to profess,” as it frequently does in classical Greek: Ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι ἀπετήν, σοφίαν, etc.
Θεοσεβεία only occurs here in the New Testament; but it is used in the LXX in Job 28:28; Gen. 20:11; also in Xenophon. In John 9:31 we have Θεοσεβής “a worshipper of God.”
Through good works. Compare the description of Dorcas (Acts 9:36, 39).Ἔργα ἀγαθά mean especially acts of charity (comp. ch. 5:10; 2 Cor. 9:8, 9; Col. 1:11; elsewhere it is used more generally, like ἔργα καλά, though this phrase also sometimes points especially to acts of charity, as in ch. 5:10; 6:18; Titus 3:14; Heb. 10:24).
12But I suffer not a woman to teach. Not that he takes from them the charge of instructing their family, but only excludes them from the office of teaching, which God has committed to men only. On this subject we have explained our views in the exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. If any one bring forward, by way of objection, Deborah (Jud_4:4) and others of the same class, of whom we read that they were at one time appointed by the command of God to govern the people, the answer is easy. Extraordinary acts done by God do not overturn the ordinary rules of government, by which he intended that we should be bound. Accordingly, if women at one time held the office of prophets and teachers, and that too when they were supernaturally called to it by the Spirit of God, He who is above all law might do this; but, being a peculiar case, this is not opposed to the constant and ordinary system of government.
He adds — what is closely allied to the office of teaching — and not to assume authority over the man; for the very reason, why they are forbidden to teach, is, that it is not permitted by their condition. They are subject, and to teach implies the rank of power or authority. Yet it may be thought that there is no great force in this argument; because even prophets and teachers are subject to kings and to other magistrates. I reply, there is no absurdity in the same person commanding and likewise obeying, when viewed in different relations. But this does not apply to the case of woman, who by nature (that is, by the ordinary law of God) is formed to obey; for γυναικοκρατία (the government of women) has always been regarded by all wise persons as a monstrous thing; and, therefore, so to speak, it will be a mingling of heaven and earth, if women usurp the right to teach. Accordingly, he bids them be “quiet,” that is, keep within their own rank.
A. T. Robertson
1 Timothy 2:12
I permit not (ouk epitrepō). Old word epitrepō, to permit, to allow (1Co_16:7). Paul speaks authoritatively.
To teach (didaskein). In the public meeting clearly. And yet all modern Christians allow women to teach Sunday school classes. One feels somehow that something is not expressed here to make it all clear.
Nor to have dominion over a man (oude authentein andros). The word authenteō is now cleared up by Kretschmer (Glotta, 1912, pp. 289ff.) and by Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary. See also Nageli, Der Wortschatz des Apostels Paulus and Deissmann, Light, etc., pp. 88f. Autodikeō was the literary word for playing the master while authenteō was the vernacular term. It comes from auṫhentes, a self-doer, a master, autocrat. It occurs in the papyri (substantive authentēs, master, verb authenteō, to domineer, adjective authentikos, authoritative, “authentic”). Modern Greek has aphentes = Effendi = “Mark.”
1 Timothy 2:13
13For Adam was first created He assigns two reasons why women ought to be subject to men; because not only did God enact this law at the beginning, but he also inflicted it as a punishment on the woman. (Gen_3:16.) He accordingly shews that, although mankind had stood in their first and original uprightness, the true order of nature, which proceeded from the command of God, bears that women shall be subject. Nor is this inconsistent with the fact, that Adam, by falling from his first dignity, deprived himself of his authority; for in the ruins, which followed sin, there still linger some remains of the divine blessing, and it was not proper that woman, by her own fault, should make her condition better than before.
Yet the reason that Paul assigns, that woman was second in the order of creation, appears not to be a very strong argument in favor of her subjection; for John the Baptist was before Christ in the order of time, and yet was greatly inferior in rank. But although Paul does not state all the circumstances which are related by Moses, yet he intended that his readers should take them into consideration. Now Moses shews that the woman was created afterwards, in order that she might be a kind of appendage to the man; and that she was joined to the man on the express condition, that she should be at hand to render obedience to him. (Gen_2:21.) Since, therefore, God did not create two chiefs of equal power, but added to the man an inferior aid, the Apostle justly reminds us of that order of creation in which the eternal and inviolable appointment of God is strikingly displayed.
1 Timothy 2:14
14And Adam was not deceived He alludes to the punishment inflicted on the woman: “Because thou hast obeyed the voice of the serpent, thou shalt be subject to the authority of thy husband, and thy desire shall be to him.” (Gen_3:16.)
Because she had given fatal advice, it was right that she should learn that she was under the power and will of another; and because she had drawn her husband aside from the command of God, it was right that she should be deprived of all liberty and placed under the yoke. Besides, the Apostle does not rest his argument entirely or absolutely on the cause of the transgression, but founds it on the sentence which was pronounced by God.
Yet it may be thought that these two statements are somewhat contradictory: that the subjection of the woman is the punishment of her transgression, and yet that it was imposed on her from the creation; for thence it will follow, that she was doomed to servitude before she sinned. I reply, there is nothing to hinder that the condition of obeying should be natural from the beginning, and that afterwards the accidental condition of serving should come into existence; so that the subjection was now less voluntary and agreeable than it had formerly been.
Again, this passage has given to some people an occasion for affirming that Adam did not fall by means of error, but that he was only overcome by the allurements of his wife. Accordingly, they think that the woman only was deceived by the wiles of the devil, to believe that she and her husband would be like the gods; But that Adam was not at all persuaded of this, but tasted the fruit in order to please his wife. But it is easy to refute this opinion; for, if Adam had not given credit to the falsehood of Satan, God would not have reproached him: “Behold, Adam is become like one of us.” (Gen_3:22.)
There are other reasons of which I say nothing; for there needs not a long refutation of an error which does not rest on any probable conjecture. By these words Paul does not mean that Adam was not entangled by the same deceitfulness of the devil, but that the cause or source of the transgression proceeded from Eve.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim 2:14. the woman being deceived was in the transgression] The compound verb should be read as in 2Co_11:3, ‘as the serpent beguiled Eve’; ‘Adam was not beguiled,’ a general negative, limited by the compound verb following, ‘you may say he was not beguiled in comparison with the complete direct beguiling of Eve’; the woman being beguiled is found in transgression.
‘Was’ does not represent properly the perfect, lit. ‘is become,’ used, according to Greek idiom, because the past event is viewed as having a present influence, and continuing in its effects.
Here it helps the transition from the particular case of Eve in the past to the general case of women now. This is also aided by the further change to the future in ‘shall be saved.’
1 Timothy 2:14
And Adam was not deceived – This is the second reason why the woman should occupy a subordinate rank in all things. It is, that in the most important situation in which she was ever placed she had shown that she was not qualified to take the lead. She had evinced a readiness to yield to temptation; a feebleness of resistance; a pliancy of character, which showed that she was not adapted to the situation of headship, and which made it proper that she should ever afterward occupy a subordinate situation. It is not meant here that Adam did not sin, nor even that he was not deceived by the tempter, but that the woman opposed a feebler resistance to the temptation than he would have done, and that the temptation as actually applied to her would have been ineffectual on him. To tempt and seduce him to fall, there were needed all the soft persuasions, the entreaties, and example of his wife.
Satan understood this, and approached man not with the specious argument of the serpent, but through the allurements of his wife. It is undoubtedly implied here that man in general has a power of resisting certain kinds of temptation superior to that possessed by woman, and hence that the headship properly belongs to him. This is, undoubtedly, the general truth, though there may be many exceptions, and many noble cases to the honor of the female sex, in which they evince a power of resistance to temptation superior to man. In many traits of character, and among them those which are most lovely, woman is superior to man; yet it is undoubtedly true that, as a general thing, temptation will make a stronger impression on her than on him. When it is said that “Adam was not deceived,” it is not meant that when he partook actually of the fruit he was under no deception, but that he was not deceived by the serpent; he was not first deceived, or first in the transgression. The woman should remember that sin began with her, and she should therefore be willing to occupy an humble and subordinate situation.
But the woman being deceived – She was made to suppose that the fruit would not injure her, but would make her wise, and that God would not fulfil his threatening of death. Sin, from the beginning, has been a process of delusion. Every man or woman who violates the law of God is deceived as to the happiness which is expected from the violation, and as to the consequences which will follow it.
Cambridge Bible Humphreys
1 Tim 2:15. in childbearing] R.V. gives the exact force of the Greek through the childbearing, and leaves unsettled which particular interpretation is correct
(1) the A.V. ‘in childbearing,’ the preposition rendering merely the circumstances, cf. Rom_4:11 ‘in uncircumcision’; or
(2) the margin of R.V. ‘through her childbearing’: ‘her child-bearing which is her curse may be her highest blessing, as with man’s doom, labour; her domestic life and duties, the sphere of woman’s mission, St Paul lays great stress on good works, the performance of the common duties of life, in opposition to the irregularities of the times; and yet adds the necessary previous condition “if they abide in faith” ’; so Conybeare; or
(3) ‘through the Childbearing—the Incarnation of Christ,’ an early interpretation quoted by Theophylact, and also given in the Ancient Catena recently recovered and published by Dr Cramer, and supported by Hammond, Ellicott and Wordsworth, on the grounds
(a) that the parallel passage in 1Co_11:8-12 closes with a reference to the Incarnation,
(b) that in speaking of the transgression and sentence it was in itself natural and appropriate to speak of the sustaining prophecy,
(c) that ‘saved’ and ‘through’ both gain in fulness of force.
On the whole (2) seems most probable, this ‘childbearing’ being singled out from among the ‘good works’ of ver. 10. Compare ch. 5:13, 14, where the younger widows are urged not to be ‘idle’ (lit. ‘workless’) or ‘busybodies’ (lit. ‘prying into the work of others’) but to ‘marry, bear children, rule the household’; and note that the verb there and the noun here for childbearing occur nowhere else in N.T. This thought of ‘work’—woman’s proper work—lasts on then to the end of the chapter, and gives the natural transition to other work, the ‘good work’ of a bishop in chap. 3.
if they continue] i.e. women, from ‘the woman’ of ver. 14; the aorist tense implies ‘continue stedfastly.’
faith and charity and holiness] Rather as R.V. love and sanctification, the form of the latter word implying a process of repeated acts: so ‘doubting’ above, the harbouring of doubt upon doubt. The fundamental idea of the Greek noun is ‘separation and, so to speak, consecration and devotion to the service of the Deity’; Trench, N. T. Syn., p. 316. Cf. 2Ti_1:9, ‘called us with a holy calling.’ ‘But the thought lies very near that what is set apart from the world and to God should separate itself from the world s defilements and should share in God’s purity.’ Hence the appropriateness of its being linked here with ‘sobriety’ so as to recal the feminine modesty and purity of ver. 9. Cf. Westcott, Heb_10:10 ‘the initial consecration and the progressive hallowing.’
1 Timothy 2:15
She shall be saved in childbearing (σωθήσεται διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας)
Better, “through the childbearing.”
(1) Saved is used in the ordinary N.T. sense.
(2) She shall be saved is set over against hath fallen into transgression.
(3) It is difficult to see what is the peculiar saving virtue of childbearing.
(4) The subject of σωθήσεται shall be saved is the same as that of ἐν παραβάσει γέγονεν hath fallen into transgression. A common explanation is that γυνή is to be taken in its generic sense as referring to all Christian mothers, who will be saved in fulfilling their proper destiny and acquiescing in all the conditions of a Christian woman’s life, instead of attempting to take an active part as teachers or otherwise in public religious assemblies. On the other hand, the woman, Eve, may be regarded as including all the Christian mothers. Notice the change to the plural, “if they continue.” She, though she fell into transgression, shall be saved “by the childbearing” (Gen_3:15); that is, by the relation in which the woman stood to the Messiah. This seems to be the better explanation. Τεκνογονία child bearing, N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Comp. τεκνογονεῖν to bear children, 1Ti_5:14. The expression is utterly un-Pauline.
If they continue (ἐὰν μείνωσιν)
They, the woman regarded collectively or as including her descendants. The promise does not exempt them from the cultivation of Christian virtues and the discharge of Christian duties.
A Pauline word; but the triad, faith, love, sanctification, is unique in N.T.
1 Timothy 2:15
Notwithstanding she shall be saved – The promise in this verse is designed to alleviate the apparent severity of the remarks just made about the condition of woman, and of the allusion to the painful facts of her early history. What the apostle had just said would carry the mind back to the period in which woman introduced sin into the world, and by an obvious and easy association, to the sentence which had been passed on her in consequence of her transgression, and to the burden of sorrows which she was doomed to bear. By the remark in this verse, however, Paul shows that it was not his intention to overwhelm her with anguish. He did not design to harrow up her feelings by an unkind allusion to a melancholy fact in her history. It was necessary for him to state, and for her to know, that her place was secondary and subordinate, and he wished this truth ever to be kept in memory among Christians. It was not unkind or improper also to state the reasons for this opinion, and to show that her own history had demonstrated that she was not designed for headship.
But she was not to be regarded as degraded and abandoned. She was not to be overwhelmed by the recollection of what “the mother of all living” had done. There were consolations in her case. There was a special divine interposition which she might look for, evincing tender care on the part of God in those deep sorrows which had come upon her in consequence of her transgression; and instead of being crushed and broken-hearted on account of her condition, she should remember that the everlasting arms of God would sustain her in her condition of sorrow and pain. Paul, then, would speak to her the language of consolation, and while he would have her occupy her proper place, he would have her feel that “God was her Friend.” In regard to the nature of the consolation referred to here, there has been a considerable variety of opinion. Some have held, that by the expression “she shall be saved in child-bearing,” the apostle designs to include all the duties of the maternal relation, meaning that she should be saved through the faithful performance of her duties as a mother.
Robinson, Lexicon. Rosenmuller regards the words rendered “child-bearing” (τεκνογονία teknogonia), as synonymous with education, and supposes that the meaning is, that a woman, by the proper training of her children, can obtain salvation as well as her husband, and that her appropriate duty is not public teaching, but the training of her family. Wetstein supposes that it means “she shall be saved from the arts of impostors, and from the luxury and vice of the age, if, instead of wandering about, she remains at home, cultivates modesty, is subject to her husband, and engages carefully in the training of her children.” This sense agrees well with the connection. Calvin supposes that the apostle designs to console the woman by the assurance that, if she bears the trials of her condition of sorrow with a proper spirit, abiding in faith and holiness, she will be saved. She is not to regard herself as cut off from the hope of heaven. Doddridge, Macknight, Clarke, and others suppose that it refers to the promise in Gen_3:15, and means that the woman shall be saved through, or by means of bearing a child, to wit, the Messiah; and that the apostle means to sustain the woman in her sorrows, and in her state of subordination and inferiority, by referring to the honor which has been put upon her by the fact that a woman gave birth to the Messiah. It is supposed also that he means to say that special honor is thus conferred on her over the man, inasmuch as the Messiah had no human father. Doddridge. The objections to this interpretation, however, though it is sustained by most respectable names, seem to me to be insuperable. They are such as these:
(1) The interpretation is too refined and abstruse. It is not that which is obvious. It depends for its point on the fact that the Messiah had no human father, and in the apostle had intended to refer to that, and to build an argument on it it may be doubted whether he would have done it in so obscure a manner. But it may reasonably be questioned whether he would have made that fact a point on which his argument would turn. There would be a species of refinement about such an argument, such as we should not look for in the writings of Paul.
(2) It is not the obvious meaning of the word “child-bearing.” There is nothing in the word which requires that it should have any reference to the birth of the Messiah. The word is of a general character, and properly refers to child-hearing in general.
(3) It is not true that woman would be “saved” merely by having given birth to the Messiah. She will be saved, as man will be, as a consequence of his having been born; but there is no evidence that the mere fact that woman gave birth to him, and that he had no human father, did anything to save Mary herself, or any one else of her sex. If, therefore, the word refers to the “bearing” of the Messiah, or to the fact that he was born, it would be no more proper to say that this was connected with the salvation of woman than that of man. The true meaning, it seems to me, has been suggested by Calvin, and may be seen by the following remarks:
(1) The apostle designed to comfort woman, or to alleviate the sadness of the picture which he had drawn respecting her condition.
(2) He had referred, incidentally, as a proof of the subordinate character of her station, to the first apostasy. This naturally suggested the sentence which was passed on her, and the condition of sorrow to which she was doomed, particularly in child-birth. That was the standing demonstration of her guilt; that the condition in which she suffered most; that the situation in which she was in greatest peril.
(3) Paul assures her, therefore, that though she must thus suffer, yet that she ought not to regard herself in her deep sorrows and dangers, though on account of sin, as necessarily under the divine displeasure, or as excluded from the hope of heaven. The way of salvation was open to her as well as to men, and was to be entered in the same manner. If she had faith and holiness, even in her condition of sorrow brought on by guilt, she might as well hope for eternal life as man. The object of the apostle seems to be to guard against a possible construction which might be put on his words, that he did not regard the woman as in circumstances as favorable for salvation as those of man, or as if he thought that salvation for her was more difficult, or perhaps that she could not be saved at all. The general sentiments of the Jews in regard to the salvation of the female sex, and their exclusion from the religious privileges which men enjoy; the views of the Muslims in reference to the inferiority of the sex; and the prevalent feelings in the pagan world, degrading the sex and making their condition, in regard to salvation, far inferior to that of man, show the propriety of what the apostle here says, and the fitness that he should so guard himself that his language could not possibly be construed so as to give countenance to such a sentiment.
According to the interpretation of the passage here proposed, the apostle does not mean to teach that a Christian female would be certainly saved from death in child-birth – for this would not be true, and the proper construction of the passage does not require us to understand him as affirming this. Religion is not designed to make any immediate and direct change in the laws of our physical being. It does not of itself guard us from the pestilence; it does not arrest the progress of disease; it does not save us from death; and, as a matter of fact, woman, by the highest degree of piety, is not necessarily saved from the perils of that condition to which she has been subjected in consequence of the apostasy. The apostle means to show this – that in all her pain and sorrow; amidst all the evidence of apostasy, and all that reminds her that she was “first” in the transgression, she may look up to God as her Friend and strength, and may hope for acceptance and salvation.
If they continue – If woman continues – it being not uncommon to change the singular form to the plural, especially if the subject spoken of have the character of a noun of multitude. Many have understood this of children, as teaching that if the mother were faithful, so that her children continued in faith, she would be saved. But this is not a necessary or probable interpretation. The apostle says nothing of children, and it is not reasonable to suppose that he would make the prospect of her salvation depend on their being pious. This would be to add a hard condition of salvation, and one nowhere else suggested in the New Testament. The object of the apostle evidently is, to show that woman must continue in the faithful service of God if she would be saved – a doctrine everywhere insisted on in the New Testament in reference to all persons. She must not imitate the example of the mother of mankind, but she must faithfully yield obedience to the laws of God until death.
Faith – Faith in the Redeemer and in divine truth, or a life of fidelity in the service of God.
Charity – Love to all; compare notes on 1 Cor. 13.
Holiness – She must be truly righteous.
With sobriety – All these things must he united with a becoming soberness or seriousness of deportment; notes, 1Ti_2:9. In such a life, woman may look to a world where she will be forever free from all the sadnesses and sorrows of her condition here; where, by unequalled pain, she will be no more reminded of the time when.
– “Her rash hand in evil hour.
Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck’d, she.
And when before the throne she shall be admitted to full equality with all the redeemed of the Lord. Religion meets all the sadnesses of her condition here; pours consolation into the cup of her many woes; speaks kindly to her in her distresses; utters the language of forgiveness to her heart when crushed with the remembrance of sin – for “she loves much” Luk_7:37-48; and conducts her to immortal glory in that world where all sorrow shall be unknown.